When I was a youth and enlisted in the Army, my usual firearms were single shot, double barrel, revolver or pump action and not a box magazine fed unit. My first experience was during training when I first fired the little M1 carbine. Lovely little weapon and I still love it today but, here is where it had gotten intense.
We were issued according to what we were carrying and if you had the M1 carbine you got 15 round magazines and if you had the M2 fully automatic version you got 30 round magazines. Being an old snap shooting country woods boy, two things immediately became clear. Unless I was in one hell of a firefight backed up by persons on both sides of me, I would never use the automatic enabled version because common sense told me that would be where the opponents fire would be concentrated immediately.
Desiring to preserve my hide, I objected to the tactics being taught and was hauled off to the rifle range where I was provided with the opportunity to fire for record every shoulder arm and pistol in the Army’s inventory.
I fired Expert with everything they threw at me that day and when the results were compared to my structured range and tactics records there seemed to be a great difference in results. I confided in the drill sergeant that I did not understand the windage adjustment on the rifles and when I applied what is known as Kentucky windage, unless they checked and saw that indeed my windage adjustment had not been made, I was not counted as making the shot.
They quickly told me that I was just fine the way I was and they would be happy to share a foxhole with me and that use of the windage adjustment was optional and for people who really were not shooters. This stuck in my memory and when discussing the M2 carbine and my reluctance to use it in that manner, they wanted to know if I saw anything else objectionable about it.
I said I had observed that the magazine protruded so low from the weapon that special care had to be taken in assuming a prone position to prevent damage to the magazine and this require extra time in assuming a prone position and increased the possibility of getting hit. After a short demonstration in which two magazines were damaged and would not feed the entire thirty rounds and also were difficult to remove from the weapon because of the damage, my thoughts on the subject were recorded and passed around.
Various shooters of the carbine had proven that the fifteen round magazine could be changed much more quickly and could be done in a full prone position without exposing yourself and you could not do this with the thirty round magazine. From then on until the retirement of that fine little weapon, anywhere I went while in the Army and was assigned a carbine, the option of six thirty round magazines or twelve fifteen round magazines were offered. I invariably chose the fifteen round magazines and left half of them still in their protective packaging in my pack as long as I was so armed.
After leaving the service I had given to me a fine looking lever action Winchester that had only one thing wrong with it–It would only accept three rounds in the magazine. The outer tube appeared free of damage and I acquired through a gun shop in Terra Haute, a completed magazine tube, spring and follower which, when installed, showed a bad kink in the follower spring which prevented loading more than the three rounds.
Second incident was a Remington Nylon 66 that had gotten damaged when a truck door was shut on it and crushed the magazine tube. Then this happened with a Marlin 60 which had been dropped. All of these things were repairable, except not at the moment when I needed it the most, but were rendered useless until parts arrived.
This colored my judgment since then and I have settled on ten round magazines for my Marlin 995 carbine which feed flawlessly, held enough ammunition for that follow up four rounds to the same vulnerable place theory which has stood me in good stead for years. It is easy to assume a prone position with this magazine inserted, it does not protrude lower than the heel of the stock and keeping extra loaded magazines on hand ensures that I have a recharge readily available if needed.
The fifteen round magazine sold by various people was junk to start with and was quickly damaged by a grandson on our first test. Added to the fact that since the 22 rim fire is a rimmed round the magazines can not be offset like a rimless round and therefore are not loadable from a stripper clip if any existed since it has to be loaded from front to back and depressing the spring when the last few are loaded is a real bear. Unless you have a slotted magazine with the stripper tool that depresses the magazine spring and follower for you along during the loading.
After trying all of the tests I have mentioned here, the ex-friend said that indeed all of this was so and a person just was well have an AR15 with which I agreed, except if you really needed a 22. He said if you really needed a .22, one with a smaller magazine would work just fine, to which I agreed. He was so mad when he realized he had outpointed himself he stormed off stating that he would never talk to me again. I should have just stayed sick.
Harold, as always, your writing inspires, educates, and incites deep contemplation.
I wonder how many lives are owed you because you were willing to rock the boat? Thank you!
I know a person who just put an HC3R Rapid Fire Reload 20 round on a vintage (60’s) Ruger 22; with a fine scope, this is one mean lookin’ 22!!!
There’s always allot of discussion on magazines lately, and one of the things I hear from folks is “why does someone need a big magazine?”. My answer is “why do you need a car that go over 100 mph, when the speed limit is much less?”. It’s freedom of choice. There are many things in this world that we really don’t absolutely need, but we have them. Does someone need a big motorcycle? Most likely not, but we have the freedom to make that choice.
Personally I don’t use the large capacity magazines very often, but there are times that I want to, and do. On the target range, you have more time for shooting and only have to reload every so often. Of course there’s always the ‘impressive’ factor, but you usually out grow that when you get older.
In my opinion it’s all about freedom of choice. In this case, one that’s guaranteed by the Constitution.
John, I wholeheartedly agree with your statement about freedom of choice. If you want it, by all means you should have it. I for one would much rather have a rifleman backing me who was well contented with his choice of weapon, magazine, equipment, etc than one who was distracted by being dissatisfied with his equipment when it came time to send the lead downrange in a real sticky situation. My comments were not meant as a guideline on what one should have, but like all postings I make simply a reflection on what has worked for me in the past and how I overcame shortfalls. This is the reason why I prefer detachable box magazines over tube fed since I can carry a pocketful of loaded magazines and pitch the good empties to the left and the defective ones empty or not to the right for later examination while I continue my firing as long as necessary.
Hi Harold! No, I wasn’t trying to be critical at all in regard to your article. Since you engaged the subject, it merely gave me an opportunity to put my .02 worth about it. These are troubling times, and there are many opinions out there. Some are well meaning, but very misguided.
I do enjoy your writings, as well as most everyone else. Keep em coming!!
I like it big. Large magazines give a gal more options down-range. I read someplace that even law enforcement pro’s only hit their intended target 50% of the time and less if that target is moving. So what about me? If I have only 6 or 8 shots it doesn’t leave me many options. And what if there is more than one simultaneous target? Living in an area with gang activity, if I see trouble it will probably come in multiples. I might need a whole belt of bullets. Thanks for sharing, Harold. Love your insights.
My posting was from a tactical viewpoint where every second of exposure is extremely dangerous. From experience gained I have concluded it is much easier to change a smaller undamaged magazine and get back in the game than to be struggling around trying to remove a damaged one. In your case I would recommend either belt fed or stoner SAW type magazine. I will stick with my choice since I have no intention of failing to hit what I am shooting at and politics has nothing to do with the magazine capacity.