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Pistol and Rifle Magazine Loading 101

Loading magazines is a simple task. It can be made even easier by understanding a few basic principles related to the construction of a magazine.

Once you understand how a magazine works, paying attention to a few tips on technique will make loading mags simple. 

Pistol and Rifle Magazine Loading 101

How a magazine works:

Every magazine has a body, a spring, a follower and a bottom plate. The body of the mag holds the rounds, the follower allows the rounds to compress the spring and the bottom plate keeps it all contained; and allows for cleaning.

In order to get rounds into the magazine, the spring must be compressed inside the tube. The more the spring is compressed the more rounds you can load, but only to a certain limit. Do not try to overload your magazine as this can cause malfunctions in your gun’s performance.

Tip #1 – How to hold the magazine:

Pistol and Rifle Magazine Loading 101

Pistol: Compressing the spring can be made easier by resting the base of the magazine against a hard surface such as a tabletop. Use the round in your hand to push down on the follower and compress the spring. As the round gets low enough to pass the feed lips (or top of the magazine) tube, you slide the round past. As you load more rounds, the spring is compressed more and the pressure will make it increasingly more difficult to get rounds into the magazine. Having the magazine resting against a solid surface will help you compress the spring as you push those final rounds in.

Rifle: The same advice helps when loading rifle magazines. A firm surface will help as you compress rounds. The difference between rifle and pistol magazines is that for your conventional AR style magazine, loading 223 or 5.56, you can just click or snap the round into place. You simply push the round past the feed lips and it will compress the spring as you load more.  Where rifle magazines differ is loading for a bolt rifle or rifle that requires you to load it similar to a pistol magazine – push down with the base of the case until the spring is compressed enough that you can slide the round in and past the feed lips of the magazine and into place.

With rifle magazines, paying attention that the base of the round is against the back of the magazine will help make loading easier. One of the ways people run into trouble loading rifle mags is when the tip of the bullet catches on the front of the magazine because it’s not pushed back into place.

Tip #2 – How to hold rounds:

Pistol and Rifle Magazine Loading 101

How you hold the round in your hand is another consideration. Grabbing them so they are facing the same direction will help make the process of loading your magazine faster. If you are working with bulk ammo, this is a little more difficult. But if you have ammo in a box, simply slide the box past 5-10 rounds and flip them into your hand. They should be generally facing the same direction. This works for rifle or pistol rounds.

Tip #3 – Magazine pressure and thumb placement:

Pushing down with your thumb on the back of the rounds already in the magazine will also help you to compress the spring. Some magazine springs are very strong and it can be difficult. However, pressure from your thumb combined with pushing the rounds below down with the round you are currently loading will help overcome that spring tension.

Tip #4 – Keep mags clean:

A clean magazine is important in the function of the firearm and ammo. If you drop your magazine in the dirt or sand, take it apart and clean it. If you’re unsure of how to do this, search online for a video of your firearm’s magazine and you’ll find the information you need. Even if you’re relatively certain how to disassemble your magazine, watching a video from the manufacturer or a gunsmith will give you insight into tips for your particular magazine or base pad.

Knowing how your magazines and base pads work and how to take them apart is a very helpful piece of knowledge to have.

When in doubt, seek information out! 

Magazines are important in the function of your firearm! A semi-automatic firearm is designed to work with its intended magazine. The purpose of a magazine spring is to exert pressure on the rounds inside of it in order to push the next round up and feed it into place so that the bolt of your rifle or slide of your pistol can pick the round up and push it into the chamber.

Every firearm and magazine pairing can have small nuances that make it perform or not. Examples are an AR mag with a weak spring or an AR that doesn’t feed correctly – it’s always a good idea to try a different magazine before you mis-diagnose ammo or a gas system issue.  So before you jump to conclusions, always try a different magazine, watch a video or stop in at your local gun shop and ask for help. 

Make sure you are following Winchester on social media for more tips and information for the new firearm owner, and check out Winchester.comnewshooters for all the new gun owner info you could ask for in one place!

Step by Step Instructions to Sight in Your Rifle

For some, sighting in a rifle can seem like a difficult and scary task.

Maybe someone has always done it for you but now you want to learn. Or, maybe you’re a brand new shooter and have no clue. Regardless of why, the good news is you’ll be all set up in no time with a little instruction.https://www.youtube.com/embed/nugNKuS_NHQ?enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwinchester.com&widgetid=1

  • Ensure the scope is correctly mounted to the gun. All screws must be tightened equally! Purchasing quality rings and bases is extremely important. I use Tally rings and bases on all my setups. They do a great job with excessive use and abuse in the field, travel, weather and everything else I throw at them.
    Sighting In
  • Check the caliber of your gun which is located on the barrel in the middle of the gun. Every single firearm will have this marking to tell you exactly what it is. Many guns can look alike, so always double check the caliber matches the ammunition you plan to use before heading to the range.
  • Bring hearing and eye protection to the range. Ensure you will have a sturdy table to shoot from – either sandbags or some sort of solid rest to place your gun in. No this isn’t the same as your field setup, but you want to eliminate as much human error as possible and see where the gun is shooting.
Sighting In
  • Place your target and triple check that you have a good backstop and safe location to shoot the gun.
  • Start out close. I usually start by shooting at 25-yards to ensure my gun gets on If you can’t see where your shots are, it’s pretty hard to adjust accordingly. So, start close and go from there.
Sighting In
  • Once you see where shots are, make adjustments. When you unscrew the caps on your scope located on the top and side you’ll see adjustment numbers. It will say 4 clicks to an inch at 100-yards for example with an arrow pointing that direction. Remember you are only at 25-yards so everything is magnified and needs to be moved 4x what you want. Shoot again and see if you need more adjustments.  Once you are satisfied with where it is hitting move back.
  • I personally like to have my guns sighted in at 100-yards as this is where most of my shots take place.

Regardless of where you sight it in at, if available shoot at 200-yards and beyond as well so you can learn and practice. It’s important to know not only what your gear is capable of, but what you are capable of before hitting the field.

Range Etiquette 101 What Every New Gun Owner Should Know

When showing up to a range to shoot, it’s easy to get excited. Fight back the excitement for a second before you run out, hang your target and start shooting.

It’s a good idea to look around and take in who else is there and make sure that you are on the same page and have a plan. We’re going to look at a few key items to keep in mind when you show up to the range which will help you to be safe, and get a warm welcome from anyone on the range. 

Range Etiquette 101  What Every New Gun Owner Should Know

Safety First

When you show up to a range, if there are people engaged in shooting, put your eye and hearing protection on BEFORE you get out of your vehicle! Many ranges have overhead protection from sun and rain, and it can be very loud. So, put eye and hearing protection on before you get out of the car. Consider “doubling up” if you are indoors (ear plugs plus over-the-ear style earmuffs).

Shooting Range Etiquette

Private Vs. Public

Private ranges usually have a well -established set of rules to keep the range running well and to ensure people are behaving with good etiquette. If you arrive and don’t know the rules, check in, read them, and follow them.

Public ranges also have rules. If the range is staffed, then they’re essentially a private range but open to the public. Your payment and the waiver that you will likely sign means you are going to have to abide by the rules.

Some public ranges are free and unstaffed. Outdoor ranges are ones where you want to make sure you are on your toes and pay attention to who is around you and what they are doing.  Just because YOU know and follow rules, does not mean they will. Safety first!

Scenarios to keep in mind, because you might encounter them:

Scenario #1- You show up and Old Man Jenkins won’t stop to let you hang targets.

  • If this is a private range, you’re all paying to USE THE RANGE. It’s selfish to sit and keep others from using the range. So walk up politely when they are between shots. Introduce yourself and state that you would like to hang a target and ask if they are going to be stopping soon. If they don’t politely pause what they are doing and allow you to hang a target, it would be out of the ordinary. Most people will oblige you if you let them know what you want to do.
  • This also means when you arrive, the people already shooting will assume that you want to hang a target. Have that ready to go when you load your car up. That way, if they stop to talk to you, you can hang your target and they can go back to what they are doing.
  • Shooting Range Etiquette
  • If a person is really problematic, my best advice would be to wait for them to leave, or leave and call the range owner, or just come back another day. No use getting into a disagreement with someone on a range. They can’t stay forever. And if they’re disagreeable, it’s not going to be enjoyable for you

Scenario #2- people are not being safe.

  • Whether this is flagging themselves or others, failing to keep their finger off the trigger when necessary, shooting at inappropriate targets…the list can be long.
  • Whatever it is, be prepared that you just might need to speak up for your own safety.
  • Keep in mind this person could be newer than you, or just less informed. So, speak with consideration and explain you want to help them be safe or better understand safety tips.
  • If you see an immediate danger, call “CEASE FIRE” loudly for all on the range to hear. Walk up to whoever is the problem and politely tell them that something they are doing is unsafe and they are not adhering to the rules. Explain that you had to be vocal about it because it’s a sincere danger to him/her and those around them.
  • If the person doesn’t listen to reason, LEAVE and call the range owner.
  • If you are on a commercial range, go get the range officer. Don’t be shy about calling a ceasefire if you truly fear for your safety or that of others. This is one reason many people prefer going to a staffed range so they can focus on their shooting and not the habits of others. This doesn’t mean to let your guard down or ignore what others are doing…but the option of alerting people in charge means there’s some degree of separation between you and anyone exhibiting unsafe behaviors.
Shooting Range Etiquette

100 Years of Winchester’s Super-X!

This year is an incredible milestone for Winchester Super-X.

It officially reaches its 100thAnniversary! This has been a staple not just for myself, and family, but also for so many others over the years. 

100 Years of Winchester's Super-X!

Whether on the hunt for small game, predators, deer or plinking, Super-X has all of us covered.

Winchester's Super-X

With 100-years of exceptional quality and outstanding performance, Winchester truly created one of the most trusted and dependable rounds available. 

If heading out on a deer hunt, Winchester has you covered from 270 WIN to 30-30 WIN to 243 WIN and even a 308 WIN. It’s fun to reminisce back to some of the hunts we’ve shared together as a family using these rounds.

Winchester's Super-X

Ben and I have taken our kids out for numerous deer hunts using 243. I’m pretty sure their smiles say it all. I’ve taken my mom and grandma out using  270 for mule deer. Years ago up in Alaska, I brought my dad on a black bear hunt where he tagged out on a beautiful bear using 308. Lastly I decided to use our old family 30-30 for a Texas Hog hunt using my grandfather’s lever action Winchester 30-30. These are all memories I will never forget. 

Winchester's Super-X

I can’t begin to imagine the memories Super-X has been there for you, your friends and family over the last 100-years.

When preparing for fall and upcoming hunts, I always enjoy spending time at the range. This year was extra special as I was able to shoot some Super-X ammo from Winchester’s commemorative box while wearing one of their special anniversary shirts.

So many memories, so many special moments created over the past 100-years. A very special “thank you” to Winchester and the Super-X.

Basic Principles For Range Etiquette

When headed to the shooting range, here are some things you need to know and to adhere to each and every time you go. 

Basic Principles For Range Etiquette

Common practices can act as unspoken rules

There are common practices that are considered unspoken rules by many on the range. Knowing about these expectations will help you to be safe and feel welcome. Not knowing them can create awkward moments that nobody wants to experience.

Keeps guns cased and unloaded until they are on the firing line, pointed downrange.

NEVER handle firearms if someone is downrange setting up a target. Don’t handle the guns, leave the chamber of your gun open, empty chamber indicator inserted, or leave it on a rack off the firing line.

Be considerate if you are shooting a loud gun. For example, don’t set up to shoot a loud, large caliber next to a youngster with a .22; move over and give them space. If you have a rifle with a muzzle brake, separate yourself or move to an end lane. Tell people next to you that it will be loud, they may want to choose to step back when you shoot.

Do not move forward to pick up brass unless the line is clear and all guns are empty.

Range Etiquette

Consider the backdrop to your target: if you move a pistol target in too close, you can potentially impact the floor, or ceiling Indoor range) or cause rounds to impact over or outside the berm (outdoor range). So, understand your target and beyond. If you don’t know where to put it, ask range staff for help.

If the range has gone “cold” and people have stopped shooting, give a verbal warning that you are going to shoot again. Say, “Going hot. Everyone have eyes and ears?” and make sure you give people a chance to put their hearing protection back on. This is a key point to making yourself and others feel safe. It’s setting the expectation you don’t want your hearing damaged, and it’s just courteous.

Don’t shoot at other peoples’ targets. If someone is trying to zero their rifle and you walk up and start shooting their paper target, it’s not going to make you popular! This is more of a concern on outdoor ranges. If you don’t have paper, ask whoever is shooting if there is a target you can shoot at. They will likely tell you what they are using as a target and what you CAN shoot at. Too, most likely, they will give you a paper target to shoot at.

Don’t shoot across lanes indoors as this can lead to a round impacting the concrete floor, walls, or ceiling.

Pick up your brass when you are finished shooting. Follow any clean-up rules for the range you are at.

Public land and special concerns

Range Etiquette

Many states allow shooting on public land.  This is common in Western states where shooting in the desert might be allowed. Strive to be a good steward of the land!

People often bring junk to shoot at…this is not advised! You can have ricochets or pieces of bullet and bullet jacket sent in random directions. Shooting at anything that puts you at risk from catching fragments from projectiles is a bad idea, especially in remote locations!

When competing out West, we have used public land to obtain a 100 yard zero and it’s a very fun experience. One simply needs to address the shooting situation with an overall focus on safety.

Points to keep in mind on public land where you know shooting is allowed

Clean up whatever you bring; targets, sticks to attach them to, anything you shoot at – pick up your trash!

Pick up your brass or shotgun hulls.

Do not shoot at glass or other items that can leave dangers for others.

Make sure of your target and beyond! This is a very important step since there could be people hiking on the land that is “downrange” from where you are shooting. This is why many states and municipalities have outlawed shooting on public land.

Have a plan for emergencies! If you are shooting remotely and something goes wrong, you might be far from EMS or cell signal. If you don’t have a first aid kit and means of obtaining help, it’s truly a risk. Bring a friend to shoot with! A second set of eyes is always a good plan if you are on public land.

Check out if your state DNR has a page with info on public land open to shooting. It might help you understand what you need to pack before you go.

Focus on the positive

Wherever you decide to shoot, whether a fully-staffed indoor range or public land with no staff, understanding the 4 rules of firearms safety. Have a plan for what you want to accomplish. A safety plan will help get the most of your range time. And remember to treat anyone you meet on the range with the same level of respect and courtesy you’d like- it’s the best way to make new friends and have a good time.

Make sure that you are following Winchester for more tips on ways to enjoy your range time!

Why Shoot Or Hunt With A Suppressor

A common question I get asked when someone sees a suppressor on the end of my gun or in a photo is why? It’s a very reasonable question and answers may surprise you 

Why Shoot Or Hunt With A Suppressor

Noise Reduction- shooting can be hard on hearing along with those around you. The last thing any of us want is to be hard of hearing when we get older due to all our time spent shooting. Suppressors reduce noise by an incredible amount; the Banish 30 from Silencer Central that I shoot reduces the sound of my 300 Win Mag by 34 decibels. This not only is helpful to me as a hunter, but if I’m with a cameraman or guide they really appreciate it. Kids and new shooters are also often afraid of the loud sound of a gun, so a suppressor readily removers this as an excuse not to try target shooting or hunting.

Supressor

Recoil Reduction- along with sound reduction, you also get recoil reduction. The lower the recoil, the better the shooting as a rule. This is incredibly important for not only super precise first shots, but it helps you see where you hit the animal. And because you don’t have big recoil, it allows for faster follow-up shots if needed. The second thing most kids and new shooters are afraid of is recoil, so this reduction in recoil is also helpful to them.

Multiple Shot Opportunities- this is super important when coyote hunting, but often times animals you are hunting do not either know where the shot came from or what the sound was. This allows you to harvest more doubles coyote hunting and is also super helpful for deer hunting. If you’re sitting over a food plot and decide to take a shot, instead of blowing out the entire field, often times deer will continue to feed or walk slowly across the field. This helps put less pressure on your hunting property and keeps deer from associating your shooting blind with a hunter or danger.

Supressor

For years many people just assumed suppressors were illegal. They are now legal in 42 states and are made for rifles, rimfires, pistols, shotguns and even big bore guns. The best part in my opinion is suppressors are now super versatile. I had always been under the assumption you need a different suppressor for every gun. Now, there are options that work with all rifle calibers from 17 to 30 caliber magnums in one can. Good news about that is they easily swap from gun to gun as long as your rifle is threaded. And because of this, you only have to buy one suppressor and one tax stamp.

Before you know it, your waiting period will be over and you’ll only wish you had done it sooner!

PRIMER WINCHESTER BRAND

Non-corrosive, all weather primers deliver fast, dependable ignition under any shooting condition. In Winchester testing labs, primers are constantly and rigorously tested for consistency and sensitivity at temperatures and conditions far beyond the range of normal usage.

PRIMERS CCI BRAND

These are the “bread-and-butter” of reloading, the most commonly called-for primers in reloading recipes. CCI standard primers are remarkably clean-burning, leaving primer pockets cleaner and extending the time between pocket cleaning.

PRIMERS SHIPPING POLICY

Smokeless Powder and Primers ship from our warehouse with other products. This ensures no more than one Shipping Charge and one HazMat Charge per order (unless you also order products that Ship Separately from our Suppliers). Each order is limited to no more than 66 pounds each of Smokeless Powder, Primers. Smokeless Powder, Primers are considered hazardous materials, incur HazMat Charges, and can only ship ground freight within the continental U.S. Due to safety considerations and legal/regulatory reasons, Black Powder, Primers cannot be returned.