Cleaning Magazines-How Often?


July 1, 2013, 04:54 PM
Just sitting down to clean my SR9 and P238 and the thought hit me-Ive yet to clean my magazines. The SR has about 1000 rds through it (through mainly 2 mags)and the p238 probably 450 (2 mags). Im putting about 150 rds per wk through the sr9 and half that through the p238 currently. When will i need to clean (or check) them? I like cleaning my guns but not looking forward to chasing springs around the living room:cuss:. Im sure the answers will vary but i'd like to get some idea of how you all operate regarding mags. This may need moving to handgun forum..?

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July 1, 2013, 05:20 PM
Depends on use and the mags. I used to have to clean my Wilson 1911 mags about every week, especially my reloads, due to the witness slots leaving everything and anything in. More dust bunnies than under the bed.

My GI 1911, SIG and Glock, mags, dont seem to have the problem, and get/got cleaned once in awhile, if I think about it. Even then, not really worth the effort, as they rarely are very dirty inside. I clean them maybe once or twice a year.

July 1, 2013, 05:23 PM
You're supposed to clean the magazines..!? :D

hariph creek
July 1, 2013, 05:25 PM
Really depends on; how often shot, how often carried, how carried, and any other extenuating "environmental" factors.

I'm kind of obsessive, I do it more often than necessary.
My carry guns and mags get detailed once per month. Pocket lint is the reason.
Everything else is once a year. During the winter, when I've got some down time. Unless extenuating "environmental" circumstances apply.
I only use mags with removable base plates. It's not hard to contain the spring. As long as you anticipate it.

ETA: it's amazing how much/fast lint can accumulate.

July 1, 2013, 05:25 PM
I like cleaning my guns but not looking forward to chasing springs around the living room. Im sure the answers will vary but i'd like to get some idea of how you all operate regarding mags. This may need moving to handgun forum..?

I find cleaning magazines a hundred times easier and quicker in comparison to the actual firearm.

M2 Carbine
July 1, 2013, 05:29 PM
Only time I clean them is when I drop them in the dirt.

I've got magazines that haven't been cleaned in over 50 years.:)

July 1, 2013, 05:33 PM
I don't remember cleaning a magazine in 20 yrs. Other than wiping off a little powder once in a while.

July 1, 2013, 05:42 PM
Clean them every outing as they are part of the gun.

July 1, 2013, 05:45 PM
Cleaning Magazines-How Often?

Whenever it appears that they need cleaning.

July 1, 2013, 06:33 PM
When they get gritty enough to bind or I can hear sand rattling around in them.

July 1, 2013, 07:28 PM
thats encouraging. i better break mine open and see whats in there i have a feeling

July 1, 2013, 07:29 PM
the "dont ever clean them" crowd is really making me happy right now!
thanks for your comments fellas

July 1, 2013, 08:18 PM
If the magazine isn't clean; the pistol isn't clean. I clean my pistol after every shooting, preferably the same day.

July 1, 2013, 08:21 PM
I'm not big on more than a wipe down unless I have been 'out in the weather' or 'out in the dirt'.

Thing is, a LOT of my shooting is done in those conditions. So I suspect I clean/wipe them out more than I used to. Glad PMags are so easy to clean, I have filled a few with dirt.

July 1, 2013, 08:32 PM
Wait... you can reuse magazines?! ;)

July 1, 2013, 08:38 PM
I would never clean a mag until it starts to feel gritty when loading it. But, I do have an excessive amount of mags, so maybe they don't get as much wear or tear as someone with a pistol with two mags.

I also rarely clean any of my Glocks, because, well, they work great dirty...up to a point.

July 1, 2013, 08:46 PM
I think I've cleaned one or two of my magazines. When I cleaned them I realized how little "dirt" if got out of them. Haven't cleaned a mag since. I could see if I were to carry all the time, cleaning out lint and dust bunnies may be useful. I live in California so mine are mostly safe queens that get shot in very controlled environments.

I also don't clean my guns every time out. I really enjoy shooting, not cleaning. You can all stone me now. :D

July 1, 2013, 09:39 PM
Pretty much never. I have broken a poly mag feed lip without cleaning after probably 2500rds. It still shot!

July 1, 2013, 11:22 PM
I recently replaced the springs in my M&P 9L magazines and found after 2.5 years I should have done it sooner.

July 2, 2013, 12:27 AM
When they are dirty.

July 2, 2013, 12:33 AM
Most of my magazines get used in competition so they get cleaned almost once a week. They get dropped in the dirt and mud regularly, and that obviously can't stay in there.

July 2, 2013, 02:15 AM
aahhh... bascially NEVER.

I mean I would clean them if they get dropped in the dirt or mud. But when that's not the case... no cleaning.

I have at least 2,000+ rds through a particular Wilson 1911 magazine and I see no need why I should clean it. I shoot factory rounds and the magazine is not dirty. works flawlessly.

July 2, 2013, 06:31 AM
The last time I cleaned a magazine, all of the pictures rubbed off the pages.

July 2, 2013, 07:22 AM
Pockets, what were you cleaning from them? :evil:

July 2, 2013, 09:37 AM
thx guys

July 2, 2013, 11:32 AM
Depends on what you've been doing with them.

Doing action shooting on a range where you're dropping them on the ground? Every one to two range trips. I actually clean my mags more than I clean my guns there because they actually get mud/dirt/crud in them.

Shooting them carefully where you aren't dropping them on the ground? Next to never.

Carrying them around in your pocket? If them seem link clogged do so, otherwise don't bother.

Or general rule of thumb - with the mag empty push down on the follower. If it feels gritty then clean it. If its still going down smooth, then don't bother.

In general though I'm not big on cleaning guns that often. They need it every now and then, but the "Clean it every time you shoot it ZOMG!?!?!" crowd is mostly operating off of gun culture practices established back when black powder and corrosive primers were common. Modern guns shooting modern ammo just don't need to be cleaned that often.

July 2, 2013, 02:09 PM
I pop the spring out to shake out the dirt/grit every time they hit the deck on a sandy type surface, so... depending on where I am, many times per shooting session. If I'm on a grass surface or something else that doesn't penetrate into the mag when it hits the ground, then never, really... but usually I'm on more sand/dirt oriented ranges.

I find that they do accumulate a layer of carbon in the top half of the mag body; it is not really functionally a big deal since the follower and rounds are not really using any kind of tight tolerance during feeding, but even if I never dropped my mags in the dirt I'd still wipe that out every few thousand rounds on general principle.... maybe when I detailed the rest of the gun.

July 2, 2013, 03:51 PM
I wipe down the feed lips and follower after each use. If any end up in the dirt, it gets blown out with compressed air and disassembled if it still feels gritty.

July 2, 2013, 03:54 PM
I don't have any particular schedule, but usually after 500 rounds or so.

July 2, 2013, 04:54 PM
I make a ritual for once a year, thoroughly cleaned and oiled. I take them completely apart. I have anywhere from 3 to 25 magazines for each gun (the most for the .45 1911, just accumulated over the years), so that is a lot of cleaning. I just wipe them down, wipe out the top, and oil lightly after use during the year.

July 2, 2013, 05:05 PM
When I buy them, I clean out the factory goo, leave just the lightest coat of a good oil on the spring, and load them.

After that I clean them in the same manner when they need it, which unless they hit dirt, mud, or sand is very infrequently.

If one starts giving me issues, I clean it and try it again.

July 2, 2013, 05:58 PM
The only magazines I have ever cleaned in the last 30 years were military surplus mags that I bought and cleaned. Aside from that, I give my carry pistol mags a squirt from the air compressor if I see lint.... I think that happens about once every year or so.

July 2, 2013, 06:02 PM
No reason to clean unless you drop them in the sandbox or if they get wet.

July 3, 2013, 03:11 PM
I clean them when I first get them, to clean out any packing oil (especially with blued magazines produced overseas), check for anything left over from production that shouldn't be there, and to make sure everything that should be there is in proper position and good condition. I've found some brand new magazines that had the springs installed improperly (upside down & backwards :scrutiny: ).

I also clean them each time one of them hits the ground for quals, training, practice, etc. This is especially important for me because my agency range is an outdoor range covered with sand. I've seen many magazines fail to function normally after only being dropped once or twice onto the sandy ground.

Magazines are at the very heart of a semiauto pistol's normal operation & functioning.

I remember it being said in one of my armorer classes (Sig), that a pistol isn't really clean unless the magazines being used with it are also clean. There's something to be said for that thinking. ;)

As an armorer & instructor, I've seen more instances than I could ever hope to remember where some stoppage or functioning problem experienced by an owner or issued pistol user was discovered to be caused by a dirty, fouled, worn or damaged magazine, and the shooter didn't realize it until the gun stopped working during some course-of-fire. The typical response I received when asking them about how they maintained their magazines was either a blank look, or that they couldn't remember when they last disassembled, cleaned & inspected their magazine, or, that they'd never done so.

One of the other things I've also seen cause functioning problems is where someone wasn't sufficiently familiar with disassembly & cleaning of their magazines, and they reassembled them improperly, or else they weren't familiar with proper cleaning practices and did something that created problems for themselves where no problems were present before.

I like to try and prevent potential problems from occurring by some reasonable preventive maintenance now and again. ;)

The Lone Haranguer
July 3, 2013, 07:20 PM
Roughly every fifth time I clean the gun. I don't do any of that kind of shooting, but if I were in a competition or training class where I was making frequent mag changes and dropping them on the ground, I would clean them before the next session.

July 4, 2013, 01:31 AM
I clean after every shooting session. My gun is one of my tools and can't have a problem when I need it. I use those daubers soaked in hoppes and give it a quick wipe. Then I put a very super thin coat of oil.

Mat, not doormat
July 4, 2013, 02:43 AM
Double stacks get cleaned every time they hit the dirt. Single stacks might get cleaned if they start to bind or complain, unless they're part of the carry rotation, in which case twice a month.

.22 mags get cleaned when the waxy buildup makes them quit working.

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