AR-15 Magazines: Management and Speed-Loading
Dr. John Woods 04.14.14
If you are currently part of the flood of interest in AR-15 type rifles, then you probably own several ammo magazines for your rifle(s). Furthermore, if you participate in shooting games like 3-Gun competitions or other shooting sports at the range, then you likely have a whole knapsack full of AR magazines.
AR magazine management can be a study all its own. Everybody seems to have their own system for keeping up with this kind or that, aluminum, steel, or thermoplastic in various capacity sizes from 5 rounds up to 30.
I even color mine for specific uses. Black are for tactical range work, SHTF prep, and general defensive survival preparation. I usually load those mags with standard 55-grain, FMJ ammo that is cheap for practice shooting and can aggravate the heck out of any target. Many AR shooters live the by theory that more ammo is better, and these low shelf munitions are affordable in quantity. Current prices are back to around $400 for 1,000 rounds. Pre and post-election the same case would have cost $1,000 or more.
I use Brownell’s desert tan magazines for hunting ammunition. In those mags I load a 45-62 grain hunting load with some type of soft tip bullet designed for hunting varmints, nuisance animals like wild hogs, or white-tailed deer.
I load my green Magpuls with hunting ammo or special application loads. I put 300 Whisper or 300 ACC in black Magpul magazines and put a masking tape label on them to keep them separated. I am also in the process of acquiring different colors of magazine pouches and shoulder mag bags to hold my various magazines.
Like I said, everyone either has a system or needs one. If you are running one type of ammo in the same types of magazines, then your plan is simplified. When you shoot for sport, equip an AR for defensive measures, or hunt different types of game, then the process gets a little more complicated.
The issue of loading AR mags faces all AR shooters. Many a time I have sat on the floor in my home office watching Sunday afternoon football surrounded by boxes of .223 ammo. I would load one round at a time into the top of each AR magazine. It is a slow, boring, and thumb busting process. There simply has to be a better way.
There are various types of mag loading assist devices on the market these days. Some work pretty well, while others are not worth packing them home. So beware when buying a mag loader.
One AR magazine loader that I can without hesitation recommend is the new AR15/M16 Mag Loader by Cammo Brothers Products, also listed on the web site for White River Knives.
This AR mag loader is completely different than anything else on the market that I have run across. Essentially, it’s a long bar with an ammo tray and a hinge top that closes over the tray. The magazine is firmly inserted into the end of the loader, and then 20 rounds of 223/5.56 ammo is lined up into the tray with bullets up. The top is closed down and with one firm, quick movement, and the slide bar handle is racked to the left thereby inserting each round perfectly stacked into the magazine. Remove the loaded magazine, and you are ready to rock and roll.
It actually takes longer to describe the process than to do it. I took out one standard box of twenty rounds of ammo, lined them up in the Cammo Brothers loader’s tray, closed the top and slid the mag charging bar to the left. I suspect I did the whole process in less than 15 seconds. It was sure faster than loading one round at a time, or even using other hand grip lever type loaders that insert one cartridge at a time. One could easily load a thousand rounds into 50 20-round magazines in well under an hour of time. It would be easy also to teach a non-shooter to load mags using this loader.
The Cammo Brothers loader is made with high density nylon fiberglass and is designed for a lifetime of use. Reliability is guaranteed with a “No Questions Asked” lifetime replacement guarantee. “Any loader returned for any reason will be replaced free of charge,” says John Cammenga of White River Knife and Tool, Inc of Coopersville, Michigan.
On additional piece of good news about this new AR mag loader is its retail cost of only $25. They can be bought online at their web site, so check it out. They also make mag loaders for the AK-47 and the SKS/AK74. If you need quick magazine reloads, then this is the loader for you.