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Maxfire speedloaders...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by IrvJr, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. IrvJr

    IrvJr Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I've recently gotten rid of my compact semi auto in favor of the J-frame revolver.

    I have been using HKS 5-shot speedloaders to load my J-frames quickly. I like the HKS loaders, but sometimes I get them stuck against the rubber Bantam Boot grips that I have installed on my gun.

    I recently bought a pair of Maxfire speedloaders. These loaders took me a bit more time to get used to, but they seem to work pretty well. These Maxfire loaders have a flat side that seems to allow a little more clearance for the rubber grips and they don't get hung up on the grips as easily.

    In order to load the gun with the maxfire loaders, you align the cartridges with the holes, push the speedloader towards the cylinder so the rounds are inserted into the chambers, then slide the speedloader away from the frame to shear the rounds off from the rubber loader and into the cylinders.


    This works pretty well, but I'm wonder if this type of action might put too much stress on the yoke of my J-frame.

    Does anyone have any experience with these Maxfire loaders? This might sound like a silly question, but do you think these are OK to use with my gun (60-14) or might they put too much strain on the yoke or other parts of the gun?

  2. fiVe

    fiVe Well-Known Member

    I have 2 for my J-Frame (642). I don't use them much, but they work well when I do. I have heard they put strain on the yoke, but I don't know how much stress is actually exerted before the rounds are released, and I've never seen any first hand reports showing any damage.

    I like them, but generally use speed strips more.
  3. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    I still have some of the original Safariland loaders for my Python, and I think those were pretty much the same design as the Maxfires. Also had some for my Det. Spl. at one time, but haven't used them for quite awhile.
    I used them a lot in the days when I went to the range at least weekly, and I don't think I did any damage by that. Never tried any with a Smith & Wesson, though.
    I wonder, if you're doing the reloading drill where two fingers of the "off" hand go through the frame, can you stabilize the cylinder enough with those two fingers and the thumb to reduce torsion on the yoke? I'll bet I was subconsciously doing something like that to keep the cylinder from turning while I peeled the speedloader away. :scrutiny:
    It's probably a good idea to do reloading drills with them periodically, to get familiar with them and to work out any stiffness in the loaders, so it was a good idea to ask about potential adverse effects like twisting the yoke. (Something I hadn't thought about until now.)
    I do use HKS loaders now for the Det. Spl., and Speed Strips when I want something more concealable, but I always thought the rubber Safarilands were pretty good for the price. I was thinking about the Maxfires for the same reason.
    Maybe somebody with tons of money will give us a grant to do some serious field testing on this. :D
  4. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    Revolver specialist gunsmith Grant Cunningham reccomends against the Maxfire loaders after he's seen guns come into his shop damaged by the use of the Maxfires. They do exert force on the crane/yoke and that can damage the gun after repeated use.
  5. IrvJr

    IrvJr Well-Known Member

    Hi Fellas,

    Thanks for the response. I did a google search on Grant Cunningham and found the reference Trebor mentioned about Maxfire loaders and the yoke. He does not recommend them because in his opinion they are slower to reload and also he has seen some guns with bent cranes which he says were apparently due to the use of the Maxfire reloaders.


    Incidentally, I called S&W and the customer service rep that I spoke with thought that using the Maxfires would be OK with the gun.

    However, I guess the verdict is still out on these loaders. They are not as fast for me as the HKS loaders that I also have, but I do like them because they're pretty fast and the rounds sit securely in the loader.

    I like Robo_Railer's suggestion on doing a long term study! Perhaps we could get a NIJ grant to buy several revolvers, several speed loaders, and cases of ammo plus unlimited range time!

    Here's a copy of the text from Grant's Blog regarding Maxfire speedloaders and the yoke...


    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  6. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Well-Known Member

    I would reccommend against using the Maxfires. A search will show that they are generally disliked by everyone. Use the HKS and take a razor blade to the Bantams for a little creative inletting.

    I've had to customize every pair of wheel gun grips I've ever owned in one fashion or another. Function should always overide form when dealing with carry guns.
  7. IrvJr

    IrvJr Well-Known Member

    Thanks HiWayMan - I did a google search on Maxfire Speedloader Crane and found a lot of negative feedback on the loaders (slow, too much lateral force on the crane). I guess I should have searched before buying them. I was surprised at how much force it took to strip the rounds off the loader when I got them the other day.

    I'll stick with my HKS loaders. They are fast and as you suggested, I can trim the rubber grips if I continue to have interference problems.
  8. HiWayMan

    HiWayMan Well-Known Member

    Don't feel too bad. I have a set of them sitting on the back of my work bench too. I'll trade them off to somebody, someday, maybe.
  9. fiVe

    fiVe Well-Known Member

    Guess I'll have to mothball mine, too. :(

    Then again, maybe I won't. I need to research this more and see if I can
    stablize the cylinder (to my satsifaction) thus preventing/reducing undue
    stress on the yoke.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  10. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    Although I prefer HKS speedloaders because they are "speedier", HKS (and others like Safariland) do not make loaders for all revolvers. Case in point is my only Taurus, the Model 451. Even with practice, the Maxfire is slower than the HKS but it's a whole lot faster than trying to load loose rounds under pressure. And because Maxfire is the only speedloader available for my 451 (if there are others-not speed "strips"-please advise), I'm grateful for that option.

    I think Robo Railer is right: if you stabilize the cylinder with the two middle fingers and thumb when employing any speedloader as many (if not most) of us were trained, the use of a Maxfire shoud not pose any harm to the cylinder/crane lock-up on a typical revolver.
  11. IrvJr

    IrvJr Well-Known Member


    If you are a righty, do you hold the Maxfire loader in your left hand while reloading? If so, how do you hold the cylinder?

    When I'm using the HKS loaders, I hold the frame with my left hand and stabilize the cylinder (as you and Robo_Railer describe). However, with the Maxfire loaders, it was kind of awkward for me to hold the loader in my right hand (I'm a righty) due to the angle of loader handle. Instead, I use my left hand and hold the gun in my right hand. THis makes it harder to stabilize the cylinder while reloading with the Maxfire devices.

    I agree - if the only option is no loader, the Maxfire is definitely better than nothing. Also, even if you don't stabilize the cylinder completely, I don't think the stress on the gun would be too much if you only use them occasionally.

    Thanks for the post!
  12. cherryriver

    cherryriver Well-Known Member

    When it comes to speedloaders, I am convinced the Safariland Comps are the fastest and most secure.
    Since I changed to competing with Comps, I have yet to leave six loads dumped in the carrier or on the ground. It happened way too often with the twist-lock ones.
    The Safariland ones are so easy to use, neophytes seem to almost have trouble.
    As an especially good example, last weekend I went to a small IDPA club match, with my Python and Comp IIs. There was one stage of 18 rounds that had the shooter pick the gun and all of the ammunition up off of tables, so no carriers or holsters were involved. That made it ideal for the others to run the stage afterwards with one another's guns.
    My Python was taken through seven or eight times, and only one of the experimenters was what one would call an experienced wheelgun user.
    All were shocked at how well they did, including the three on-the-clock loads and reloads. No ammunition was dropped or mishandled.
    Just push straight in. No second or third motion.
    If you are fortunate enough to be using a Comp III- suitable gun (Colt small-frames, Smith K & L frames, and a couple of others), you're even better off. The long handle lets you exert perfect directional control and gives you plenty to hang onto so you're even less likely to drop anything.
    I (almost) insist you give these a try. I have a drawerful of the other brand sitting collecting dust. The last time I used those infernal things, I left two cylinderfuls of loose cartridges laying while I kept digging for more.
    Yes, you can practice with and become proficient with the twisties, but why?
    Shown below is a Colt small-frame with both a Comp I (above) and a Comp III (in the gun). The Comp IIs are in between in "handle" size, and are all that's available for medium-frame Colts like Pythons.
    One more thing- learn to load with your left hand while your right holds the gun. There's no need to break your hold of the gun. Don't take my word for it- watch Jerry Miculek. Yeah, I know it's hard to change after (ten)(twenty)(thirty) years, but try. It's faster and better. I know it took me a couple of months to learn (after 30-some years), but my reloads are barely half the time now, from empty-last shot to full-first shot.
    Okay, off the soapbox.
  13. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Well-Known Member

    IrvJr: I shoot a lot of different revolvers and, with the exception of the aforementioned Taurus 451, I use an HKS to reload each of them. For this reason, I hold the revolver in the same position with the Maxfire as I do with the HKS, the left hand holding the revolver as previously described while using my right hand (I'm right-handed) to manipulate the speedloader. But, you're right, the Maxfire is easier to use when you reverse the hand position as you explained. I'm just trying to maintain as much uniformity as I can while reloading under stress.

    As I indicated earlier, the Maxfire is better than nothing (I think!:rolleyes: ). If and when, HKS (or whoever) ever comes out with a speedloader for my 451 the Maxfires get retired immediately. Until then, I'm glad I got'em. For those who are unacquainted with the proper use of a Maxfire, be advised that the wrong way (even though for me it instinctively seems the right way) to dump the rounds from the loader is to "peel" it away. The only way it works right is to move the loader sideways from the cylinder until the rounds are deposited.

    In your case, however, because you have a "J" frame Smith, do as others have suggested- either trim your existing grips or get ones that are suitable to use with conventional style speedloaders. Then chuck (or retire) those Maxfires!
  14. IrvJr

    IrvJr Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for the posts and the great tips.

    For now I'll stick to the HKS loaders that I have, but perhaps try some Safriland speedloaders in the near future.

    Aside from the speedloaders, I really dig my S&W 60. I just bought the dies and components to load .38sp/.357 mag loads and I'm looking forward to churning out some 158gr practice loads for my gun.
  15. Sisco

    Sisco Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of Maxfire's and have found they are bulky and the rounds tend to fall out when carried in a jeans pocket.
    For concealed carry I'm using Bianchi speed strips. Six rounds and fit in the watch pocket of most blue jeans.

    SAWBONES Well-Known Member

    I have several Maxfire speedloaders, for both the 5-shot S&W J-frames/Ruger SP101 and the 7-shot S&W 686.

    They work well enough if you practice with them a bit, and they don't feel as "loose" as the HKS variety, but they're rather bulky, like all speedloaders, especially when carried in one of the same company's double pouches, which is a hindrance to concealment.

    Of course there's a "learning curve" to using them, but it's shallow. The main problem is their bulk.
    I prefer full moon clips, but consider the Maxfire speedloaders a worthwhile alternative to the Bianchi Speed Strip, which ain't very speedy, even though it's easy to carry.:)
    No revolver-reload device (except maybe full-moon clips in the hands of a well-practiced man like Jerry Mikulek) will offer as fast a reload as a semiautomatic pistol, but fortunately for us non-LEOs, that's not likely to be too important.

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