DIY Magazine Loader Tutorial

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  1. ichthyo
    DIY Magazine Loader Tutorial

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    I was considering purchasing a loader of some kind because my 20 round Redball mags and some from other firearms just weren’t fun to load. After looking at my options, I decided to try to make one. I was able to craft a working “speed loader” (speedier than me loading by hand) from PVC pipe. After making the first one, I continued to refine the process. This tutorial will be based on my findings for what worked best.

    For a 9mm Luger magazine, Schedule 40 PVC pipe 1” in diameter is perfect. You can buy it in white or black. I’m using white for this article because the photos show the process better than black.

    Heating PVC pipe to 200-220 degrees softens it and allows you to bend and shape. You can heat it with a propane torch being careful not discolor the surface, you can use a heat gun, or easiest of all for this purpose, just put it in boiling water for a minute or so. I recommend the boiling water technique as it won’t discolor the surface and leaves the white pipe looking great.

    I used the 10 round 995TS carbine mag dimensions to form a wooden blank slightly larger than the magazine to stretch the heated pipe to the proper shape. You can just use the magazine, but you need to wrap it with something to make sure the final piece will slip over the magazine easily. I think wrapping the magazine with plastic wrap and then a few of layers of duct tape would be okay since on my first attempt I just stretched it directly over the magazine. It was too tight and I had to dremel the inside a bit to make it loose enough to slide over the magazine. If the magazine has a locking tab that is flared out, beware that once you slide the pipe over the magazine, the tab may not let you get it back off (ask me how I know).

    So here we go. Cut a piece of PCV pipe to the proper size for your magazines. The proper size would be 1.5” longer than body of the finished product. This 1.5” length is cut and formed into the point to pushes the follower down. For a 995TS, a pipe length of around 5” would be good. You can go longer if you want and then cut the bottom off to the desired final length later.

    Cover the magazine or wooden blank with cooking oil to lubricate the process. I used PAM spray. Place the section of pipe in boiling water for couple of minutes. Use a screw driver to lift the pipe out of the water. Wear heavy leather gloves and simply slide the heated pipe over the magazine or blank. Put pressure on the sides of the pipe to force it to take the basic shape of the magazine. If it cools before you get it the way you want, put it back the water and repeat the process. Once you are happy with the shape run some cool water over it and the basic shape is now formed.

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    The next step is to create the 1.5” curved point that pushes the follower down. Measure the inside width of your magazine’s feed lips to determine the terminal width of the point. It can be wider at the base to give extra strength. Draw your lines on the pipe and use a dremel cutting wheel, coping saw, and or table saw for this step. Once you have this step cut and smoothed to the desired final finish, head back to the boiling water and stick the point into the water to soften. Simply bend it down. It is important make sure when pushed down, that it hits the back third of the follower on the magazine. At this point you have a functional loader.

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    Finally you can finish the project a variety of ways. You can just leave the natural color of the pipe or you can dye white PVC black, you can stipple it with a soldering iron to give it texture, or you can apply some type of grip tape. I happened to have some nice grip tape I used for mine.

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    Here are some tips on painting\dying PVC. I have two good methods. The first is a Superblack paint maker pen. I have one I use to touch up anodized aluminum gun parts. It works great. The second is a liquid shoe polish and PVC cement primer mixture. I put a small amount of liquid black shoe polish in a small shot glass, dipped the PVC primer soaked dauber into the shoe polish and dabbed in on the PVC. That worked great and is my preferred option as I already had shoe polish and PVC primer on hand.

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