Keeping Your Gun Running

It all starts with your magazines. If they fail, it won’t matter how well your gun runs because ammunition won’t make it into the chamber to even have the chance to fire.

Mag failure

While practicing my reloads and tap/rack drills at the range recently, this little bit of joy (pictured) happened to me. I had an unplanned malfunction and performed the standard tap/rack. So, as I hit the magazine plate, the rounds in the mag jostled into the position pictured. This was able to happen because one round had partially loaded into the chamber so the remaining rounds were not locked into place as they would normally be if a round had chambered correctly. The malfunction turned out to be the dreaded double feed. That obviously ended my drill for the moment. I snapped the picture to use it as a diagnostic point. I know my magazine springs have lived well past their expected lifetime, so the onus of the malfunction is on me. However, this is a good point to remind everyone that magazines are wear parts of your gun. Replace them regularly! (I’m preaching to myself, but publicly!)

 

Springfield magazines are known to have weak springs. Since this incident, I have replaced my magazine springs with Wolff springs with +10% power. In subsequent trips to the range, this magazine failure has ceased to occur.

 

 

A Brief Primer on Magazines:

As a reference for the difference in the factory spring vs. the replacement, see the picture below. The original springs are on the left for a .45 ACP magazine and a 9 mm compact magazine. Notice how short the original spring is compared to the Wolff replacement. Replacing the magazine springs is very simple. The first step is to remove the baseplate (noted in the picture) of an empty magazine. The baseplate is held in place in by tension from the magazine spring against either a locking plate (pictured above the baseplate) or by a notch in the magazine. The locking plate has a button on it that seats in a hole within the baseplate. A notched baseplate will sit directly against the spring and “catch” it so it cannot slide off. Some kind of locking mechanism is required so that the baseplate cannot slip off and spill the ammo at your feet. It might take some effort to depress the spring, but baseplates are removable.

 

This should be done routinely to clean out the magazines—especially after shooting outdoors where magazines fall into dirt or grass and can pick up debris that will impact its function. The last piece of a magazine to know is called the Follower. The follower is the plastic piece that is pushed down as rounds are loaded into the magazine. This piece can also come out of the magazine in order to clean it.

 

When it comes time to reassemble the magazine, it is important to note the position of the follower within the magazine. It is also critical to orient the magazine spring correctly. The most “upward” point of both the follower and the mag spring should face in the same direction that the bullet does.

Mag springs

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