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I was watching a Ken Hackathorn video the other day on keeping your AR ready and reliable, and he passed on a tip on loading the magazine with one less shell than max. Meaning you should only load 29 rounds in a 30 round magazine for total reliability, and of course he mentioned proper lube also. This is the first time I have heard anyone mention this theory about AR mags. I shoot a Colt LE6920 with all Magpul magazines. Any thoughts on this theory?
 

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We found in the 60s that you never loaded the then 20 Rd mags with more than 18 if you didn't want problems. Followers and springs have evolved since that time. But I still follow that rule so I can't say if it's needed with today's mags. I just know I don't have mag issues with my ARs.
It's also the reason I don't use 8 Rd mags in my 1911. Tried it once. Always had problems with the last few rounds. Traded them for 7 Rd mags and problems were magically fixed. Maybe J.M. Browning knew something about reliability 100+ years ago.
 

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I do this with all of my large-capacity mags, both rifle and pistol. It seems that manufacturers tend to leave very little extra room in the mag for compression of the spring, follower and rounds when fully-loaded, and it leads to feeding issues for the first few rounds. Backing off the loaded capacity by a round or two gives the mag more "breathing room" and reliability is enhanced.

Technically the same theory applies to low-capacity mags like 1911s and pocket .380s, but I'll be damned if I walk around with just four rounds in my LCP.
 

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Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, my Army issued mags tend not to chamber and feed reliably if I were to fully load them. I used to load up 30-rounds then tried to chamber and see how the mags would behave. I don’t ever recall a fully loaded mag would feed very well the first few rounds. By experimenting, some mags I had to download by two counts and some down by 5 counts. I ended up by default just loaded the mags up to 25 rounds.

However I haven’t seen that sort of problem lately with MagPul, Lancer, IWI plastic, CZ BREN plastic or the current versions of aluminum USGI mags made by Okay/Surefeed, NHMTG or D&H. The mags that came with my SCAR16 rifles seemed okay at full capacity, as are the Beretta steel mags.

At this point, I’d say that modern M16 mags are good to go. At least with the good brands anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do this with all of my large-capacity mags, both rifle and pistol. It seems that manufacturers tend to leave very little extra room in the mag for compression of the spring, follower and rounds when fully-loaded, and it leads to feeding issues for the first few rounds. Backing off the loaded capacity by a round or two gives the mag more "breathing room" and reliability is enhanced.

Technically the same theory applies to low-capacity mags like 1911s and pocket .380s, but I'll be damned if I walk around with just four rounds in my LCP.
What do you consider large capacity in a 1911 mag? I carry my full size 1911 with a CMC Power Mag with a Tripp Super 7 spring kit, and my back up mag is an eight round Tripp Cobra Mag. They both have been tested extensively with no issues so far. I have dropped one round from my 20 and 30 rounders on my AR just because of what I was told.
 

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BTW there is another reason for reducing the capacity in your mags, and that is during tactical reloads you can fail to fully seat the mag due to the added spring pressure against the closed bolt. It would be pretty embarrassing to do a tac reload, get back in the fight and suddenly have your fresh mag fall to the ground.
 

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BTW there is another reason for reducing the capacity in your mags, and that is during tactical reloads you can fail to fully seat the mag due to the added spring pressure against the closed bolt. It would be pretty embarrassing to do a tac reload, get back in the fight and suddenly have your fresh mag fall to the ground.
I did that with a 1911 but ..... dont tell anyone. :biglaugh:
 

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I've done it too, more than once. As much as I prefer straight-up mil-spec 1911s I can see the logic behind having bumper pads on magazines.
 

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The AR is subject to this more than other rifles but it doesn't have to be this way. You usually can check your mags for full-load bind against the closed action by simply loading them one at a time and checking for possible additional room for movement. Check the ones that have some movement by locking them in against the bolt carrier. If it locks with normal effort, there should be no loading problem with the rifle unless something else is not right.
You should never try to force a mag to lock because the next thing you may see is the floorplate, spring and ammunition on the ground.
 

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I was watching a Ken Hackathorn video the other day on keeping your AR ready and reliable, and he passed on a tip on loading the magazine with one less shell than max. Meaning you should only load 29 rounds in a 30 round magazine for total reliability, and of course he mentioned proper lube also. This is the first time I have heard anyone mention this theory about AR mags. I shoot a Colt LE6920 with all Magpul magazines. Any thoughts on this theory?
Proper lube for the mag?

I usually back-off a few rounds on the 30-round AR mags...some are really tough to fully seat due to the added spring pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Proper lube for the mag?

I usually back-off a few rounds on the 30-round AR mags...some are really tough to fully seat due to the added spring pressure.
As I remember lubing the mag was not an issue, but making sure the AR bolt assemble and rails lubed was a big issue. Ken likes to keep his ARs in Cruiser mode, as I do in my safe, as the AR is not my primary home defense. I notice when I insert a full 20 or 30 round Magpul on a closed bolt I can not tell much difference at all, but I have started backing off one shell just for safe keeping.
 

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With Pmags it doesn't matter, I do download metals one round otherwise they are a b**** to seat on a closed bolt. DD mags can be loaded to 32 and still can lock in easy on a closed bolt.

Now I will say my 80 odd metal mags are older (90s) and/or 30 rounders from the ban years that I somehow acquired (weird right?) and not current ones.
 

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I've always loaded 30 rounds into the mags with no issues. Never had any stoppages with mags seating, loading a round or feeding or firing the mag empty.
 

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Now I will say my 80 odd metal mags are older (90s) and/or 30 rounders from the ban years that I somehow acquired (weird right?) and not current ones.
During the ban years I acquired a lot of metal USGI mags, but they were mostly used surplus ones with badly worn feed lips. Once the ban expired and new mags became available again I got rid of all of those and bought fresh ones.

Don't ever let any anti-gunner tell you how the '94 AWB "worked" and people weren't able to buy so-called assault weapons and full-cap magazines during that time. Once the initial buying panic subsided pre-ban stuff became surprisingly easy to find again, and prices actually dropped. I bought several pre-ban rifles like ARs and AKs along with the associated mags for them, I bought full-cap Glock mags, and I continued to modify my guns with "evil" features that were still readily available and legal as long as you didn't install them on a post-ban gun. If Biden gets in and he puts a similar AWB in place there are so many ARs and mags out there that nobody will have any trouble buying and collecting them for quite a long time. There is simply too much stuff out there for a ban to have any real effect on availability.
 

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If you're seating mags with authority and not limp wristing them a closed bolt with 30 rounds is a non-issue. You don't need any of this magazine wizardry, this isn't 30 years ago with black followers that would jam in the (even empty) mag body and worn out springs.
 

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As far as 1911s go 8 round mags have been reliable for a long time. The newer ones tubes are just a little bit longer and work great. They were designed as 8 rounders.
 

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But, but... do you guys carry those extra two loose rounds somewhere in your packs? :hrm:
 

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I was watching a Ken Hackathorn video the other day on keeping your AR ready and reliable, and he passed on a tip on loading the magazine with one less shell than max. Meaning you should only load 29 rounds in a 30 round magazine for total reliability, and of course he mentioned proper lube also. This is the first time I have heard anyone mention this theory about AR mags. I shoot a Colt LE6920 with all Magpul magazines. Any thoughts on this theory?
If he did the video with a Magpul PMag it would have been a 10 second video.

"Load it up full, and never needs lube".

Well, maybe 5 seconds.
 
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