It is important to properly maintain both rifle and pistol magazines not just for reloading purposes but for efficient functionality when cycling ammunition cartridges while at the range. When a magazine is maintained the spring inside will properly slide the next rifle or pistol round into the chamber of the weapon being fired. However, when a magazine is not maintained the spring may become dry or eventually rusty causing the rounds to not be properly cycled resulting in jams and misfires. Fortunately though maintaining magazines of all types is fairly simple with just a few steps on how to properly clean them, store them, and replace specific parts.
The majority of magazines are designed to be easily taken apart for cleaning purposes. Either the bottom of the magazine will slide off allowing access to the spring or a specific side needs to be unscrewed. It is older magazines and “clips”, from the second world war, that generally are a bit trickier to disassemble. Once the spring is removed oil it down using the same lubricant that is used to clean the rifle or pistol. Be sure to wipe away any sediment, powder, or rust that may have been collected over time. Once finished reassemble the magazine for storing.
Storing magazines properly is of the utmost importance when maintaining rifle and pistol magazines. When magazines are not properly stored the spring inside may become weak and eventually break completely failing to slide any rounds. There are two options when storing magazines; either fully loaded or empty. Storing magazines with just a few rounds or half loaded will force unnecessary stress on the spring shortening its overall life-span. Instead, keep magazines intended for daily carry fully loaded so that the spring is fully compressed and in proper working function. Keep additional magazines that are meant for the range or hunting empty so that the spring has absolutely no stress while in storage.
Rifle and pistol magazines should be cleaned every few times that they are taken out to the range. However, issues such as the spring is not sliding rounds properly, has become jammed inside the magazine itself, or even rounds frequently jamming while firing on the range are all clues that the magazine may need repairs. The first repair should be replacing the spring as this is one of the most common parts of the magazine that breaks first. If parts other than the spring need to be replaced than most likely a new magazine will need to be purchased or a gun-smith will need to be sought out.
“Magazine Maintenance.” By Bob Campbell
“Clip vs. Magazine.” By Steve Johnson
“How to Clean Pistol Magazines.” By Dale Yalanovsky