|Have you ever wondered what makes the difference between the good shooters at matches and the great ones? Of course, there’s the skill involved in hitting the targets; but, what you may not know is that most top shooters spend a lot of time making sure their magazines are in tip-top shape. Anyone shooting semi-automatics knows that the firearm’s only as good as the magazine feeding the ammunition.
There are a bunch of matches taking place all around the country this summer – and, lots of opportunities to just head out to the range. Whether you’re competing or just trying to make the most of your limited time at the range, your magazines could add several seconds (or minutes) to your time or take all the fun out of your time on the range if you haven’t taken a few minutes before you head out to check them over.
You know all the rules about cleaning your firearms. The WebBench™ Cleaning Clinic is our most popular monthly column! You spend a great deal of time making sure that your firearm will perform the way you want it to. . . you spend money buying the best cleaners, solvents, pastes, patches and supplies you can find to keep your favorite shooter in tip-top condition. But, unless you know the secret weapon of Top Shooters, you probably don’t spend much time making sure the magazines are clean and ready to go.
Clean magazines are just as important in ensuring reliability as a clean firearm. A dirty magazine can result in misfeeds, costing you valuable time, lower scores, and missed opportunities in the field. Taking a few minutes to make sure your magazine is clean and all the parts are operating correctly will make your time on the range and in the field much more enjoyable.
Magazines have one purpose: to feed ammunition into the weapon. There are many firearms that use magazines, but for the purpose of this article, we will use the magazine of one of the more popular firearms in the shooting community: the 1911 Auto. The same rules apply to caring for magazines for all firearms (the particular parts will be different but what you need to look for won’t vary all that much).
Magazines have four basic components: follower, body, spring and base. There are many modifications, add-ons, and customizations to magazines, but all share these same basic components.
Some ammunition is cleaner than others… anyone who shoots knows this. Magazines collect residue with each round that is fired, the same as the pistol does. Over time, this residue can lead to feeding problems, causing rounds to fail to enter the chamber. To learn how to prevent this, we’ll tear down a 1911 magazine, inspect it, clean it, and put it back together.