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Old September 21, 2011, 23:18   #1
bigstick61
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Trouble Using Charger Guide Top Cover

So I recently installed a charger guide top cover for greater convenience with use of a fixed magazine as the bullet button takes time to use and requires a tool you must fumble with and try not to lose. As it stands the charger guide top cover seems no better and quite possibly worse, but I seriously doubt that that is inherent in the design, so something somehow must be wrong with something.

When I try to charge the magazine, using both 5-round Australian surplus chargers and the aftermarket NC Star 10-round chargers, I meet a ton of resistance against the rounds and they all seem to want to go in their own seperate direction, forcing me to individually guide each cartridge into the magazine until the last couple which go in if enough force is used. Just to get one round into the magazine requires an incredible amount of force which prevents me from charging the rifle like I would do with any of my bolt-action rifles that use chargers; I have to use an odd position and often have to use my left hand instead of my right because I can't quite get a sturdy enough grasp holding the rifle in the normal manner.

Then there is the issue of getting the charger into the guide. When I try to insert the charger, the bottom gets caught at the lip that is meant to catch the small protrusions on the side of the charger. Today with a dremel I removed a tiny amount of metal from the left and right sides but the issue remains, although now I can with a ton of work and jiggling of the charger get it to get between the lips and force it down although they scrape the sides of the charger badly.

All of these things combined make charging the weapon extremely difficult, and that is without any stress, and also make charging the weapon take way too long, even longer than using a tool with the bullet button.

Is this normal (I doubt it)? Has anyone else had these issues? What, if anything, can I do to fix this problem?
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Old September 22, 2011, 10:33   #2
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Yes. I have, and it sucks. You may fare just a bit better with an original FN topcover. They are rare and expensive, but they are far better than the modern copies.
Also experiment with different strippers if you can (teh clips not teh chix)
Some work better than others
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:11   #3
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Check with EX1. He should still have some of the original Belgian M1/M2 stripper clip covers.
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Old September 22, 2011, 11:33   #4
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Barring any design/construction flaws in the top cover. Make sure your clips are clean w/ no damage (you knew this). Clean clips & spray w/ dry lube.'

When inserting clips, barring any obstructions/ hangups,,,place the thump on the back of the top cartridge, and the tip of the index finger under the tip of the top bullet and lift slightly, give the stack a good straight push.

And as has been said, consider an original cover.
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Old September 22, 2011, 12:58   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Illurian00
Barring any design/construction flaws in the top cover. Make sure your clips are clean w/ no damage (you knew this). Clean clips & spray w/ dry lube.'

When inserting clips, barring any obstructions/ hangups,,,place the thump on the back of the top cartridge, and the tip of the index finger under the tip of the top bullet and lift slightly, give the stack a good straight push.

And as has been said, consider an original cover.
An original top cover is simply out of the question. I cannot afford it and I would have to also have my receiver cut for the tabs, as I wouldn't want to remove them on an original like I have with the DSA part, and that just adds to the expense.

As for charging technique, I've been doing it the same as for all the other rifles I've used chargers with (M-14, FR-8, Turkish Mauser, Mosin-Nagant, K-31, Lee-Enfield, P17 Enfield). I'll try the thing with the index finger, as I haven't done that yet.

My chargers are all clean and undamaged (aside from the affect of the scraping from the top cover after the fact) except for a 10-rounder from which I forgot to remove the oil it was packed in, but that one actually went in the easiest. The Aussie ones are pretty darn gritty though from that phosphate finish used on them, but it's mostly been scraped off by the top cover.

I'm not sure the top cover affects the rounds towards the bottom wanting to go every which way, though. The result is they won't go into the magazine or they only partially go in, and then I have to manually place them in the magazine. It's actually faster for me to individually load all ten rounds in the magazine from the top.

The rounds I have been using are the Wolf lacquered steel-cased rounds (I don't know if that makes a difference or not).
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Old September 22, 2011, 18:12   #6
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I tried the technique suggested. It has helped me charge the magazine without issue a few times (although slower than for any other rifle with which I've used chargers), but only with the 5-rounders and that is still just a few times out of a couple dozen attempts.

I'm having less of an issue getting the charger into the guide. I think the metal wore a tad bit, just enough to allow most of my chargers to be inserted without an issue.

The problem I continue to face is that the rounds want to go everywhere but the magazine. There is a little bit of play at the bottom of the charger, but keeping it steady makes little difference. The rounds want to go left or right onto the rails in the receiver bordering the magazine over the feed lips, sometime pointing at relatively extreme angles left and right. They also want to go up, resulting in a round going partially into the magazine but too far forward with the nose sticking out over the top of the magazine and into the feed ramp and the next round going into the magazine on top of it, jamming the whole process.

I remember seeing a picture of an early charger that is similar to the Swiss one for the K-31 in that at the bottom of the charger goes from front to rear and there is a portion at the rear retaining the cartridges as well as a portion of the front connected by the aformentioned section. What caused me to remember that was a look at the charger guide for the magazines, which has a similar component at the front, which keeps the rounds from moving side to side. It makes me wonder if the early charger was meant to address a real issue (which leads to questions as to why it did not catch on) or if the issue was not present in original weapons or was fixed early on, leading to abandonment in favour of the Mauser-style NATO chargers that prevailed, as they are cheaper and easier to produce.

Without fixing this issue, loading with chargers will be highly impractical at best, impossible at worst, which is self-defeating and makes the expense of going this route a waste. Does anyone have any other troubleshooting ideas? Given that clearly charger loading was in the mind of the good people at FN, I seriously doubt this is a simple design flaw common to all FALs with charger guide top covers.
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Old September 22, 2011, 23:55   #7
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Not to be mean or anything but I'd just recomend moving to a Red state, then the problem would be permanently solved.
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Old September 23, 2011, 05:06   #8
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Originally posted by Zeusizme
Not to be mean or anything but I'd just recomend moving to a Red state, then the problem would be permanently solved.
Not an option any time in the next few years. The field of work I'm going into after I'm done with school requires me to live in a coastal area, and I much prefer California's coastal areas to those of the Gulf or east coast, so even when I have the means to move I may well not do so. Almost all of my friends and family are here as well and I am not a fan of abandoning the people of my state to their fate, which is the result of the conservative Californian diaspora; it only worsens the political environment. I'm not a fan of fleeing my home because people think mild tyranny, democratic or not, is acceptable state behaviour; I'd rather stand my ground. I can understand if some people feel differently, though.

What'd be nice is if Arizona got from Mexico the part of that country that is coastal and is between the Colorado River and its delta and the land north of a line drawn from the southernmost boundary of Arizona al the way to the coast (roughly). Arizona with a coastline would be sweet.

Anyhow, I like the option of charger-loading, so it is not just the inconveniences of Californian law that are motivating me.
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Old September 23, 2011, 09:09   #9
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Modifying your receiver for the original charger top should not be too expensive. I think Adam_762 charged me like $45 bucks or so for the tab cuts on the receiver but he also built my M2/M1/South African R1 mutt.

I would check with Gunplumber or 187 (Glen Riddle) or Randy Kline (sledgehammer).
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Old September 23, 2011, 13:05   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by raexcct2
Modifying your receiver for the original charger top should not be too expensive. I think Adam_762 charged me like $45 bucks or so for the tab cuts on the receiver but he also built my M2/M1/South African R1 mutt.

I would check with Gunplumber or 187 (Glen Riddle) or Randy Kline (sledgehammer).
There is also the shipping (and I am not that comfortable shipping a rifle) and the cost of the top cover itself. I cannot afford all of that right now. I had considered having my receiver modified already. But my issue seems to have little to do with the top cover itself, from what I can tell. The bottom three rounds want to go in various directions and they are not in direct contact with the top cover.
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Old September 23, 2011, 13:30   #11
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I do not know about your top cover or what to do about them going every which way, but you might reduce the friction by polishing your stripper clips. Have you tried running one through your shell tumbler? I hear this is a fairly accepted practice for Garand clips and might do you some good.
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Old September 23, 2011, 17:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by cvedrick
I do not know about your top cover or what to do about them going every which way, but you might reduce the friction by polishing your stripper clips. Have you tried running one through your shell tumbler? I hear this is a fairly accepted practice for Garand clips and might do you some good.
The friction issue is rapidly disappearing (I also don't own a tumbler for cases). I think the many efforts at charging the magazine have placed enough wear on the lip that it does not cause much obstruction if any on my various chargers.

The trouble getting the rounds into the magazine is the primary issue. Without that the charger guide is next to useless. It's not an issue with the chargers themselves. The rounds strip off just fine, especially on the aftermarket ones, which are very slick. The rounds just don't want to go into the magazine, at least not properly. They displace before they go in, and if they make it in, they only partially go in (but sometimes enough where a round can go in properly on top of the misplaced round, causing a total jam). If I had a guide at the nose of the cartridges like on the FAL magazine charging device I'm fairly positive it would not be an issue.
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Old September 23, 2011, 19:43   #13
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Take a look at your chargers. There are two types out there that will fit the nato round. One charger has 2 raised ridges on both sides and the other has only one.

One ridge:


2 ridges:



Check to see which ones you have. Then look to see how far the clip will go down into the charger. It should go almost to the mag follower if not barely touch it. The single ridge will go deeper than the double ridge version.

I got rid of the chinese clips I bought. They were about useless and allowed the rounds to fall out easily. The Aussie stripper clips were almost impossible to use. The park finish was very rough and prevented easy use. I suspect in a battle, the adrenaline would overcome this defect.
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Old September 23, 2011, 21:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by tac-40
Take a look at your chargers. There are two types out there that will fit the nato round. One charger has 2 raised ridges on both sides and the other has only one.

One ridge:


2 ridges:



Check to see which ones you have. Then look to see how far the clip will go down into the charger. It should go almost to the mag follower if not barely touch it. The single ridge will go deeper than the double ridge version.

I got rid of the chinese clips I bought. They were about useless and allowed the rounds to fall out easily. The Aussie stripper clips were almost impossible to use. The park finish was very rough and prevented easy use. I suspect in a battle, the adrenaline would overcome this defect.
I've got the Aussie type with one ridge. Most of the last few attempts with them have been successful albeit slower and requiring more force than is the norm for other rifles and carbines with which I've used chargers. The parkerizing isn't really an issue anymore with these; that wasn't the case when I first got them with the Aussie ammo I bought back when milsurp 7.62 NATO ammo was cheap and plentiful.

The rounds don't fall out of the NC Star Chinese aftermarket 10-rounders, but it takes little effort to push them out and the feeling is very slick. They go in as far as the 5-rounders. However, I have yet to successfully charge my magazine with them more than twice and that took a lot of effort and manipulation that would not be practical. The issues I had been having with the 5-rounders are greatly compounded with the 10-rounders; probably has to do with the greater difficulty of guiding or controulling more rounds versus the standard 5. They work fine in the guide for loading seperate magazines, but then again that device has a guide in front that seems to prevent the issues I've been having charging the rifle itself.

I may have to use the 10-rounders just for loading magazines, although I had really wanted to use these as my main means of charging a fixed magazine since I could charge the whole magazine in one shot if they had worked; I'll probably have to stick to the Aussie 5-rounders and maybe turn my Aussie bandoliers into little chest rigs that can also be used like bandoliers, which I can then fit in my mag pouches on my webbing.
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Old September 23, 2011, 22:02   #15
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you can buy "target grade" stripper clips from champions choice.
The guys that shoot 1903 springfields in matches seem to have good luck with them, they are NICE and smooth but they are like $4.00 each.
I would try using BRASS rounds. The Laquer finish on wolf ammo I think adds a lot of friction.
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Old September 24, 2011, 00:09   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cava3r4
you can buy "target grade" stripper clips from champions choice.
The guys that shoot 1903 springfields in matches seem to have good luck with them, they are NICE and smooth but they are like $4.00 each.
I would try using BRASS rounds. The Laquer finish on wolf ammo I think adds a lot of friction.
HTH
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I thought of using brass rounds, but for the opposite reason. The lacquered cases seem really slick against one another and I thought that might be contributing to the problem.

Right now I only have one brass-cased cartridge. If I can find some that is priced fairly closed to what I've been paying for Wolf (not much over 30 cents per round) I may get some in a few weeks, maybe split it with my friend so we can get a better price due to the bulk rates.
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Old September 24, 2011, 01:03   #17
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I have a DSA with the clip loading slot. I have found that placing the thumb pad on the case so that the thumb nail faces the clip and giving a steady down pressure gives the best results. This keeps the rounds level as they go into the magazine. it is also very important to make sure the clip is vertical in the slot and not leaning towards the muzzle because the stack will come apart and rounds go every which way. I have never been able to get the 10 round clips to work for me in any FAL or 7.62mm Lee Enfield or M1A.
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Old September 25, 2011, 15:29   #18
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I've fired an FAL equipped with the Tapco stripper clip top cover and a fixed magazine side by side with a FAL equipped with a PRK bullet button. The bullet button is much easier to use than loading with stripper clips. They are available from PRK firearms in Fresno and are easy to install. I think they are about $45 delivered. One nice feature of the PRK bullet button compared with others is that you can still open the rifle and remove the bolt.
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Old September 25, 2011, 16:50   #19
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Go to CalGuns and ask that question about using a BB.

The AR and Sig guys switch out mags all the time, no top loading.

The way that it was explained to me was that, if you have a mag locking device that takes a tool to remove the mag and a 10 round mag in the rifle then it is legal.

To load the rifle set a loaded 10 round mag next to the rifle take a tool and remove the empty 10 round mag from the rifle and insert the full 10 round mag in the rifle.

Now some might say that for the few seconds that a mag isnít installed in the rifle that the rifle is an illegal AW. But no one has been convicted of that that uses a BB because the rifle was assembled in or came into CA with a locking device and a 10 round mag which makes it legal.

I guess if you are paranoid you could hit the lever and separate the receivers by tilting them apart then switch mags.


If you donít have a PRK BB and would like one I will send you one for free, just PM me with your address.

The wife and I are retiring out of the PRK but I will keep up my CA Rifle & Pistol Association Membership to support my brothers behind the lines.

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Old September 25, 2011, 17:17   #20
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The trick with the PRK BB is to use an Izzy mag release.

It is wider at the bottom and sits closer to the window of the BB so all you need is the tip of a bullet to release the mag.

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Old September 26, 2011, 00:31   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by rajah
I have a DSA with the clip loading slot. I have found that placing the thumb pad on the case so that the thumb nail faces the clip and giving a steady down pressure gives the best results. This keeps the rounds level as they go into the magazine. it is also very important to make sure the clip is vertical in the slot and not leaning towards the muzzle because the stack will come apart and rounds go every which way. I have never been able to get the 10 round clips to work for me in any FAL or 7.62mm Lee Enfield or M1A.
Good to know about the 10-rounders. I wish I had known that before I bought them. I've tried the technique you've suggested (and realized that's what I had started to do unwittingly when I was able to successfully charge the magazine) and it seems to be working. Not as good as with all the other weapons that use chargers, but good enough, I suppose. If time is of the essence I could always transition to my sidearm, I suppose, provided I'm wearing it. It will certainly be good enough for range use, at the bare minimum. Perhaps with some practice and refinement I can get it down to where I want it in terms of speed and ease of reloading.
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Old September 26, 2011, 00:38   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by anothergunnut
I've fired an FAL equipped with the Tapco stripper clip top cover and a fixed magazine side by side with a FAL equipped with a PRK bullet button. The bullet button is much easier to use than loading with stripper clips. They are available from PRK firearms in Fresno and are easy to install. I think they are about $45 delivered. One nice feature of the PRK bullet button compared with others is that you can still open the rifle and remove the bolt.
My FAL is equipped with the PRK bullet button already. I chose it after going through the reviews of the different ones on CalGuns.

I don't see how it is easier than using chargers if one can use the chargers properly. I have to use a tool which I could lose and have to fumble with it with one hand while I try to change mags with the other (I only have one 10-rounder right now anyways), and then try not to lose my tool and put it away under stress, and the tool has to go into a small slot. That's just not very practical.

Unfortunately, the configuration the grip has to have to allow me to use 20-rounders and no bullet button is just as impractical, perhaps moreso, since it makes proper manipulation of the weapon very difficult and awkward, which is why I ultimately decided to go the BB route, as much as I didn't want to do so. With charger loading, I can at least get 5 rounds into the magazine faster than changing the mags with a BB and tool. Even with the difficulties I have now that I can charge my magazine, it is still faster and simpler than using a tool to change magazines.
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Old September 26, 2011, 00:54   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by HD Bee
Go to CalGuns and ask that question about using a BB.

The AR and Sig guys switch out mags all the time, no top loading.

The way that it was explained to me was that, if you have a mag locking device that takes a tool to remove the mag and a 10 round mag in the rifle then it is legal.

To load the rifle set a loaded 10 round mag next to the rifle take a tool and remove the empty 10 round mag from the rifle and insert the full 10 round mag in the rifle.

Now some might say that for the few seconds that a mag isnít installed in the rifle that the rifle is an illegal AW. But no one has been convicted of that that uses a BB because the rifle was assembled in or came into CA with a locking device and a 10 round mag which makes it legal.

I guess if you are paranoid you could hit the lever and separate the receivers by tilting them apart then switch mags.


If you donít have a PRK BB and would like one I will send you one for free, just PM me with your address.

The wife and I are retiring out of the PRK but I will keep up my CA Rifle & Pistol Association Membership to support my brothers behind the lines.

Thanks for your offer, but I already have one (wish I had seen your offer before I got one, they are pricey for what they are which kind of irks me given their purpose, i.e. that of limiting what we can do due to the mandates of the state).

The problem is the convenience. I shouldn't have to set my magazine down somewhere or add a ton of extra time to avoid that in order to reload and have to use a seperate tool to do so. That is just impractical, IMO, and the FAL does not lend itself as well as an AR-15 to some of the solutions that have come up in this area, and it does seem ARs and those that use the same mag releases are the current focus of tool development, with FALs rather neglected. Chargers can be very fast and in fact until I finished my FAL my primary home defence weapon and SHTF weapon was my Lee-Enfield, which is reloaded with chargers. I got pretty good at reloading it quickly with chargers. So far my FAL has proven not to be able to be reloaded so quickly in that manner, but it is still faster than my efforts at changing mags using an improvised tool of some sort and I don't have to set my ammo down or assume awkwards positioning and grasps in order to reload.

Regarding using the Israeli mag release, with the standard one that came with my parts kit, I can easily use the tip of a cartridge to press the mag release quite sufficiently. I may still use one next time I build a FAL, though.

I kind of wish I had the funds to go through the effort to acquire and utilize the metric top cover with the charger guide, as it appears in pictures to hold the charger in place better than the Canadian pattern that DSA sells and maybe even allow the bolt to push the empty charger out like on the Lee-Enfield (can't tell for certain from the pictures, though). It also looks more robust and less likely to need to be dehorned or catch on things. If I did decide to cut off the tabs (although I wouldn't, but supposing I did decide to do so) it would have also come out better since I wouldn't have needed to cut down the reinforcement the Canadian style one has, which I butchered (it looks bad; I went to high and it looks uneven and rough); on just grinding down the tabs I did a great job, especially for it being my first time using a Dremel tool.

Speaking of which, does anyone have suggestions for cleaning up the botched job on the charger guide top cover so it looks okay once it gets refinished? I think it might look alright if I just get rid of the remains of the reinforcing tab but I'm not sure if there is a clean way to remove those tabs. I'm certainly not going to take a Dremel to it at this point.
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Old September 26, 2011, 03:09   #24
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10 round Chargers were experimented with in the early/mid 50's by Britain/Canada/FN/America, The idea was dropped because of the same problems your having of trying to get all 10 rounds to load at once.

Back then they had a special Charger that supported the tips of the rounds during charging. The number of rounds the Charger held was dropped to 5 rounds, but then these complex chargers were dropped and the more conventional 'Mk.3 Charger' was adopted with the single pip.


(left) 10 round 'Horseshoe' clip compared to the (right) British 5 round 'Horseshoe' clip

If you want more info about the various 7.62x51mm stripper clips check out my website, it dose include measurements of various Chargers.

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Old September 26, 2011, 04:32   #25
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Quote:
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10 round Chargers were experimented with in the early/mid 50's by Britain/Canada/FN/America, The idea was dropped because of the same problems your having of trying to get all 10 rounds to load at once.

Back then they had a special Charger that supported the tips of the rounds during charging. The number of rounds the Charger held was dropped to 5 rounds, but then these complex chargers were dropped and the more conventional 'Mk.3 Charger' was adopted with the single pip.


(left) 10 round 'Horseshoe' clip compared to the (right) British 5 round 'Horseshoe' clip

If you want more info about the various 7.62x51mm stripper clips check out my website, it dose include measurements of various Chargers.

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That looks pretty close to the picture I saw, except what I keep picturing is closer to the K-31's charger in terms of shape, i.e. no bar going over the top, the connection from from to rear being on the side. The equivalent part on the guide for loading magazines seperately made a world of difference by guiding the noses of the cartridges. I wonder how difficult it would be for someone who knows what they're doing to fabricate something like that. As it is I'm doing okay if not great with the 5-round chargers, but chargers like those would be pretty sweet and probably would alleviate all issues or come very close to it.
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Old September 26, 2011, 05:04   #26
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Are your thinking of this type of experimental charger?



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Old September 26, 2011, 05:44   #27
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Are your thinking of this type of experimental charger?



Something like that. I only saw it from the cartridge side and the picture was grainy. I don't recall that plunger or whatever it is but it may just have been too hard to see. I like it, though. Given that primary loading was to be done by changing mags I can see why they just went with the cheaper Mauser-style charger, but something like this one would suit my purposes very well, since except in an emergency where I may not be inclined to care about petty laws or when out of State (or if the laws ever get repealed here) primary loading will be done with chargers. I bet experimental chargers like that cost a pretty penny these days, though.
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Old September 26, 2011, 11:04   #28
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Hello Kevin
I'm needing 93 of the 10 rnd horshoe clips.
Can you please send me a total w/ shipping via PM?

Thanks
Larry
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Old September 26, 2011, 14:14   #29
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That will be $18,600.00 + $44 Shipping

ohhh you wanted via PM.... bugger
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Old September 26, 2011, 15:40   #30
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No problem.
You send the clips and I'll send a check. They can wave as they pass by!

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Old September 26, 2011, 22:33   #31
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With the way the US Postal Service is at the moment I wouldn't get your cheque for 6 weeks, Damn the USPS has gone into super slowwww mode.
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Old September 26, 2011, 23:17   #32
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Quite the impressive web site you have Kevin. I'm envious.
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Old September 26, 2011, 23:39   #33
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Reviewing my bank account, you probably wouldn't get it at all!
I know your down to 57 of the clips anyway!!

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Old September 26, 2011, 23:44   #34
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To the OP regarding the loading problem.
Usually a firm, brisk, lengthy push will get them in quick w/ less time for the rnds to wander. Might try to use the thumb and index finger OR index and middle finger as a guide for the nose of the rnds.
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Old September 26, 2011, 23:51   #35
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Originally posted by 308/223shooter
Quite the impressive web site you have Kevin. I'm envious.
Its just something I threw together..... you too can make your own website of interesting junk.
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Old September 27, 2011, 00:00   #36
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Reviewing my bank account, you probably wouldn't get it at all!
I know your down to 57 of the clips anyway!!

Bugger and here I thought I could get that F150 off of southeast KS creigslist and do some work around the property
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