How often do you clean your magazines?


October 23, 2010, 05:48 PM
I disassemble and clean my magazines every time they are used, same as the gun. My neighbor, who shoots at least once a week, mentioned recently that he has never disassembeled any of his magazines for cleaning. He just wipes them off. Just wondering how others maintain their magazines.

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October 23, 2010, 05:51 PM
Never clean mine. Now if they were dropped in a lot of sand/dust or mud then I would, but just regular use, no.

October 23, 2010, 05:55 PM
Never cleaned mine. Never had need to.

October 23, 2010, 06:02 PM
I'm supposed to clean my magazine? Is this after I accidentally or intentionally drop them in something I shouldn't have? My local shooting range is indoors, so even if I did I doubt they'd get anything in them I'd need to clean out.

October 23, 2010, 06:21 PM
That is what compressed air is for. You can even buy it in Wal Mart at the computer stuff section. Cheap too!

October 23, 2010, 06:24 PM
Anyone who shoots USPSA outdoors drops their mags in the dirt (mud & water on a rainy day), so grit gets in there that's a given. I've had FTFs due to grit fouling up the spring or follower.

Good idea to strip them down and run a mag brush through the tube from time to time. Follower & spring get wiped with a dry cloth.

October 23, 2010, 06:25 PM
Dropped one in some muddy water while hunting once and of course it was full of 5.56. I just stuck it in some cleaner water and rinsed it off. Unloaded the mag and wiped the shells off. When I got home I think I ran warm sink water over and through it blew it out with air and shot a quick Breakfree CLP in it. Yea I know I use that stuff for everything except on peanut butter. That was a normal mil issue 30 round mag which I still have and use every now and then.

October 23, 2010, 06:32 PM
I clean mine, not every time I go to the range like I do with the pistols themselves but maybe once a month or so. All you guys that never have, ought to. Gunpowder residue gets in there just like it gets in your firearm. Now, not nearly as bad or heavily but it still does and its a good idea to keep everything in tip top shape, especially a SD weapon. I could see it causing feed issues without cleaning over extended periods of time. Maybe I'm a bit anal but thats my take.

October 23, 2010, 06:36 PM
Once a year. I have a toolbox full of spares for many different guns, and most get used during the year. I take them all apart, clean with solvent and oil lightly. I rarely replace springs, but some are pretty old, and I should lay out a plan to upgrade springs on a progressive basis. From 90 year old Colts, to 40 year old Walthers, to 30 year old CZ, some have gotten weak, and some HAVE been replaced. Any neglected mag can foil the dependability of your pistol.

October 23, 2010, 06:43 PM
Any neglected mag can foil the dependability of your pistol.
Not neglect...abuse.

October 23, 2010, 06:49 PM

October 23, 2010, 06:54 PM
When they get dirty/rusty... but seeing as that rarely happens, I would say once in a blue moon...

October 23, 2010, 06:54 PM
Magazines don't get dirty from (normal) use however situations as listed above can cause magazines to become soiled requiring a tear down and cleaning. I don't participate in IDPA matches or other types of competition where such magazine fouling can occur so it is a moot point for me. YMMV

October 23, 2010, 07:02 PM
For me I only clean them if they start to give me problems. I may hit them with the air gun once in a while to blow out the small junk also.

October 23, 2010, 07:03 PM
The Glock match magazines that gets dropped in the dirt get inspected regularly and cleaned probably once or twice a years.

Magazines that are range use only and never get dropped in the dirt just get wiped down on the outside.

I have yet to experience magazine related failure to feed and I replace the mag followers and factory springs with Wolff 10% extra power springs as needed.

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 23, 2010, 07:53 PM
Maybe once a year, or if they feel especially gritty.

Magazines are machines with moving parts, just like your firearm. Machines with debris and dirt in them have a higher chance of malfunctioning. If that's something you're OK with, then feel free to never clean them. Personally, I'm not OK with having a piece of my life-saving machine being perpetually dirty.

October 23, 2010, 09:00 PM
I'm another ~once a year type. Magazines definitely do get fouled with powder residue and carbon - not a lot, but it still accumulates over time. Just take one apart and wipe it with a clean white cloth and you'll see the black stuff come out.

Of all mine, I think 1911 mags tend to pick up the most fouling, but that's just my own experience.

October 23, 2010, 09:07 PM
Only when jamming is an issue. Every time you shoot the gun? That might work if you shoot 1 or 2 guns with 1 or 2 mags. When you go out and shoot 4-5 guns with 4-5 mags each, then you're getting to the point where you need to spend more time cleaning than shooting.

October 23, 2010, 09:13 PM
Cleaned mine today, thanks for reminding me.

October 23, 2010, 10:04 PM
Every couple of months, to maybe a year. When I take a gun completely apart for a detailed cleaning, the magazines will get taken apart as well.

Mad Magyar
October 23, 2010, 10:16 PM
Just slightly after each session. I use a wood dowel pin to depress the springs far enough to use a little oil to clean the black soot inside the mag with cosmetic cotton tips; wipe the follower & lips. Probably not needed, but I feel better....:) A complete disassembly about once a year.

October 23, 2010, 10:24 PM
I never put any type of lubrication is any magazine. That can create a real problem of debris collection. I do buff and polish all bearing surfaces to assure low friction follower travel.

David E
October 23, 2010, 10:27 PM
Only when jamming is an issue.

The prudent man cleans them before 'jamming is an issue.'..........:rolleyes:

October 23, 2010, 10:36 PM
Ultrasonic cleaners work great for cleaning mags. I had some M1 carbine mags that still had the cosmoline in them, put 'em in the US cleaner with some solvent, cleaned 'em right up.

M2 Carbine
October 23, 2010, 11:48 PM
How often do you clean your magazines?
I shoot a LOT but I doubt I've cleaned 20 magazines in 50 years, not counting a bunch that were in a fire.

October 24, 2010, 01:20 AM
Only when jamming is an issue.
The prudent man cleans them before 'jamming is an issue.'..........
Yeah, but so far a dirty magazine has never been an issue. The cleaning was just to rule it out as a problem. In fact, I don't recall ever cleaning the mags of my childhood Ruger 10/22. Do they even open?*

I do clean out a magazine if I hear something rattling inside, though. And I do open and inspect new mags. I've had some NIB mags with globs of grease inside.

* Edit: Yes, you can open them. And nope, I certainly never did!

Zach S
October 24, 2010, 02:32 AM
Under ideal conditions? Rarely. The last time I cleaned a magazine the feed lips and follower looked parkerzied. It was a stainless Metalform magazine...

If they end up in the dirt, ASAP.

Ever since I put 5,000 trouble-free rounds though a pistol with only a little lube every now and then, I haven't worried about guns getting fouled with GSR - its everything else I want to keep out. I take the same approach with magazines.

The Lone Haranguer
October 24, 2010, 06:40 AM
To do it every time seems overkill, but roughly every fourth or fifth time the gun is cleaned is reasonable.

October 24, 2010, 02:21 PM
I'm lazy so they get done every few thousand rounds. Usually after shooting in a match where they get dropped onto gravel or sand.

Along with any sand that I find inside I'm surprised at the amount of black powder residue that is also in there. Now the clearances in magazines is hardly something that will cause a jam from some of the burn residue but it's surprising how much builds up after a couple of thousand rounds spread between the five magazines I use. Or perhaps it isn't since that same build up occurs on the trigger action located at the rear of the frame. And I clean that out every 500'ish rounds fired.

David E
October 24, 2010, 02:29 PM
If the mag never sees the ground, there's not much cause to clean it very often, if at all. But most of mine do see the ground, so I clean 'em now and then.

October 25, 2010, 12:32 PM
Related question - how do you clean them? Seems to me that polymer mags should be ok to use soap & water, as long as they're completely dry before reassembly.

October 25, 2010, 01:04 PM
Clean and inspect when brand new (they always seem to be gummy) and lately I've decided to clean each complete set at the same time I change the parent gun's recoil springs-sort of like changing the battery in your smoke detector as a yearly ritual.

I'll admit that I have a couple of guns that went up until recently without ever having the mags disassembled-like, decades. But for now, with working guns, same time as the spring change. I just use cloth patches and hoppes #9; no fancy brushes and no greasy stuff...

October 25, 2010, 01:08 PM
I only clean them after they fail to feed, if they fail to feed after that, I'll replace the spring, and if it fails after that its in the trash with it.

I keep a fresh mag in my carry gun which gets carried way more than it gets shot.

October 25, 2010, 01:15 PM
Huh... I've never taken one apart to clean it. I've wiped them off with a rag then they were dirty, but never bothered to take them apart.

October 25, 2010, 04:09 PM
My honest opinion is most people don't have to clean them at all. In the military I cleaned them all the time but those magazines were doing everything I was doing in some pretty funky environments and I think that is where the idea comes from. If you are wading through waist deep water and the magazines are at waist height you need to clean them. If you are dropping them into sand and dirt clean them. If you are carrying a spare in a pocket you need to clean it now and then for pocket lint. But a magazine moving from a range bag in a closet to an indoor range and back, what exactly are you cleaning it for? I think you are getting into the don't fix what isn't broken area.

October 25, 2010, 04:56 PM
Never clean mine. Now if they were dropped in a lot of sand/dust or mud then I would, but just regular use, no.

I'm glad it's not just me. :)

October 26, 2010, 07:14 AM
Last Thursday I buy a loading tool for my Ruger MK III. First one breaks. Then second one breaks. Three guys at the shop examine my mag and ponder why this thumb saver keeps breaking all in one session. They give me a 3rd one still at no additional cost, but suggest not using it till I clean my magazines -- as if my mags are dirty and put excess pressure on the loading tool. When a loader can't stand the great pressure of a .22 Mag perhaps the tool was designed by a tool.

BS! The loading tool is a poorly designed piece of junk (breaks along a joint in the hard plastic). The plastic should have been thicker and/or more flexible so that it's not so fragile as glass.

My thumb pushed down the follower and my thumb didn't break! Gun is clearly getting dirty and in need of cleaning, but I sure don't see any real filth in the mags, nor notice any greater thumb pressure needed to load them relative to when they were pristine clean and perfectly new two months ago.

October 26, 2010, 11:15 AM
[/QUOTE]That is what compressed air is for. You can even buy it in Wal Mart at the computer stuff section[QUOTE]

Those cans don't put out a lot of pressure for very long. a small compressor with a receiver/dryer unit works better. The small airbrush types would even work. the dryer is essential as humid air compressed is heated then shot into the firearm as water. The dryers are cheap and worth the cost.

October 26, 2010, 12:06 PM
The dryers are cheap and worth the cost. +1 Absolutely a necessity! I wouldn't hesitate to clean a magazine that has been in a situation that caused it to get dirt in it. Routinely cleaning mags under "normal" use is not necessary but does no harm. It is like changing your engine oil at 3000 miles(under normal circumstances 7,000-10,000 is sufficient)) . It makes you feel good but isn't needed.

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