Something that many don’t realize is that magazines are consumable items. Or perhaps people are aware of this and simply buy more magazines. While we’re not against you having more magazines, before you shell out extra dollars we’d like to present the alternative option: keep your current mags alive.
How do we do that? By doing routine maintenance and the occasional deep cleaning. Below, we’ll go over how we take care of our mags and why.
It’s honestly simpler than it sounds. After each trip to the range, dust off your mags by wiping it down with a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth. Don’t let the dust, dirt, and grime build up! When you shoot, bits and pieces your brass casings, including carbon, can also spread to your gun’s magazine well. Wipe that area down too as needed to ensure smooth reloading.
You may think the quick and dirty answer is to just spray everything down with Remington Oil or some type of lube but that is the exact opposite of what we want to do — keep our mags dry! If your mags are wet with lube, they will only extract more foreign contaminants and eventually affect your reloading, magazine performance, or its lifespan.
If you want to get into the nitty gritty and take apart your magazines, it’ll only take a couple of tools and some cleaning supplies:
- Pick, Probe Tool, Thin flathead screwdriver, or Punch
- Foaming Gun Cleaner
- Nylon Gun Cleaning Brush
- Cleaning Patches
- Eye Protection
Whether you’re working with magazines for your handgun or AR-15 rifle, each mag is going to have a baseplate which you’ll need to remove to do the deep cleaning. You can use anything at your disposal to push down the locking button, shape or mechanism to remove your baseplate but we recommend using picks, probe tools, thin flathead screwdrivers, or even a punch. If you want to be fancy you can buy a magazine plate disassembly tool specific to your gun’s brand as well.
When removing baseplate, do this slowly because even if you’re working with a worn down spring it’s still going to shoot out quickly if you don’t block it and nobody wants to lose an eye this way. (Don’t forget to wear eye pro)
Once you’ve taken out the spring and follower, use a foaming gun cleaner to clean out the magazine. Use a foaming gun cleaner (we recommend Hoppe’s) and with a nylon gun cleaning brush, scrub the grime and grit out of the mag. Finish up by using gun cleaning patches to wipe away any remaining debris and completely dry out the inside of the magazine. Remember: do not lube the magazine spring. We want everything to be dry. Reassemble the magazine and you’re done!
A lot of gun owners like to customize their magazines with baseplate extensions that increase mag capacity, fun custom colors and personal engravings. If you’re using a baseplate extension, it usually means you’ll need to install a new spring as well to be able to handle the higher capacity’s load. Take that opportunity to clean your magazine, and you’ll thank yourself later.
If you’re experiencing magazine-related failures like feeding issues, an affordable solution could be to buy a brand new spring instead of a new magazine. Depending on brand — some factory magazines are notorious for costing $25 to $55 per! Rather than piling up a bunch of dead mags, revive them with new springs and keep your magazines clean instead!
Don’t have these problems? That probably means you don’t own a firearm yet! Well we can fix that today. Get yourself an 80% AR-15 to fully customize and build out on your own or an 80% pistol and now you’ll also know how to take care of your magazines in the future.