range reload time save stripper clips
Nick Leghorn for TTAG
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Every time I go to the range I see the exact same thing going on. Shooters spending somewhere near 70% of their time feeding magazines and only about 30% of their time actually pulling the trigger.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but think about your last range trip and how much time you spent reloading. Don’t you wish there was a way to speed the process and make it easier?

It turns out that there is, and it was invented about 150 years ago.

range reload time save stripper clips
Nick Leghorn for TTAG

There was a time when stripper clips meant the difference between life and death. The ability to load your weapon faster than your enemy is crucial on the battlefield, and so every military bolt action firearm (and many semi-auto firearms) manufactured after the 1880’s used some form of clip to hold a number of rounds together and make it easier to feed the gun.

range reload time save stripper clips
Nick Leghorn for TTAG

This example, a 5-round stripper clip designed for the Mosin Nagant M1891, may be somewhat tricky to master, but if used properly, it can reload the rifle much faster than shoving each cartridge in the gun one at a time.


Yes, even modern firearms can take advantage of this system. The AR-15, for example, uses magazines that were designed to allow a “guide” (Maglula makes a good one) to be attached to the back to allow 10-round strips of ammunition to be inserted quickly.

Three clips later and about 15 seconds later, your magazine is full while the rest of the people on the range are still loading individual rounds and hurting their thumbs.

range reload time save stripper clips
Ryan D. Larson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If you look at it in total, stripper clips may not save you much time. It’s as fast or faster to load the magazine directly than to load the stripper clips, then feed them into the magazine.

But it all depends on when you do it. You can trade time spent in front of the tube loading stripper clips for extra trigger time behind the gun at the range when it counts.

You can buy ammo pre-loaded on stripper clips, then re-use the empties. Or you can buy the clips themselves pretty cheaply and do the work yourself. Having used them a number of times myself there’s no way I’m going to waste any more perfectly good shooting time at the range any more.

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  1. Yeah, we used to just hold the clips against the mag and use another mag to push in the rounds. You can do it pretty easily. Load a mag in seconds.

  2. I still use them. SKSs,AKs, Mosin Nagants.. I first used them to reload M16A1 magazines at Fort Benning (Basic and Infantry School)way back in the Stone Age.
    I’m actually OK with an SKS ,a bandolier of stripper clips and a few other things as a ” grabbit and go” kit.

  3. Stripper clips and loader tools are all fine.

    My solution is to own lots of magazines and load at home when I have the time. When I go out shooting, I never use up time loading magazines at a range or in the field. I just pull them from my already loaded box or carry pouch or bag, etc.

    • Loaded mags are a cool way to save time but a lot of ranges, at least near me in the fabled “sunshine” state, want unloaded mags so as to check for reloads and steel ammo, which they don’t like.

      Actually I don’t mind loading at the range too much, when I go I stay a while, reloading slows the pace and means I don’t burn as much ammo and thus money as if I just had cases of loaded mags ready to go… Man I would either be done in 5-10 minutes… Or broke.

      I do use stripper clips for 5.56 sometimes. Have some maglulas too for pistols but thumbs work as well.

    • Interestingly enough. This is one of the many reasons I love revolvers. I actually spend more time shooting and less time loading at the range when I shoot revolvers. I don’t own lots of mags for the semis I have, but the ones I do have are loaded before I arrive.

    • My local indoor range just uses a gigantic magnet to check for steel cased or cored ammo. (They steal the brass, so they don’t want steel casings in the pile, I guess.)

      My local outdoor range doesn’t give a shit and I just show up with an entire ditty bag full of loaded magazines. If I ever go through the entire bag, I know I’ve spent more than enough time at the range that day.

  4. Why is everyone in such a hurry? Reloading is an excuse to enjoy the sun, chat about guns, check out other people’s shooting, complain about Andrew Cuomo (FUAC), and otherwise enjoy the day… plus it improves the cost per minute of range time ratio considerably.

    • The time and place to complain about Cuomo is, was and remains at the voting booth, where shame on gunowners, to few acted in their own defense.

      • I don’t remember when the SAFE Act came up for a public vote. Remind me? Or maybe you are alluding to all the electoral gains we’ve made in NY since the Pataki administration, such that gun owners in NY now rule the state, but just sit home on election days because “meh.”

        Probably the second one.

      • “If you have to ask then go get informed”

        …Wow. Dude, you do realize that asking questions is HOW you get informed right? Freaking rocket scientist over here, holy shit.

        (Note: the above is sarcasm, as you quite clearly lack the intelligence to be a rocket scientist. Feel free to google any of the big words I’m using, I assume anything with more than two syllables baffles you)

        • Most modern handguns have magazines with single round at the top from where they feed into the chamber. Stripper clips would not work with such magazines. There is simply no way to squeeze cartridges between those feeding lips from top down.
          But there are some pistols with double feed magazines, some even removable, that can take advantage of stripper clips. Mauser C96 is one of them.

    • There are some pistols loaded from stripper clips. Notably the Mauser C96 “Broomhandle” and the Austro-Hungarian Steyr 1912, and some others.

      But in reality nothing after WW1.

    • On a serious note, you can get stripper clips for your Mauser C96 or Mannlicher M1901 but nobody makes them for Hi-Points.

      • You don’t reload a Hi Point. When it’s empty you throw it at the bad guy. Then, while he’s distracted by the large and ugly projectile coming his way, you reach into your duffle bag and pull another fully loaded Hi Point.

        Hi Points are cheap enough to not bother reloading. Just buy a bunch and throw away when done.

    • Interesting question, as – in addition to the actual pistols mentioned below – there are a number of pistol-caliber carbines and rifles out there. The MP5 and Thompson come immediately to mind. Plus, if you can shoot it out of a semi-auto pistol, somebody has likely made an AR that can chamber it. (That includes .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum rimmed cartridges, btw.)

      The Thompson “stick” mags are double stack and so could be fed from a stripper clip. While the stick mags don’t have a detent to hold a strip, apparently, M-14 strips work to hold .45ACP rounds, and it should be possible to gin up an adapter. (An excellent project for a 3d printer, I’d say.)

      • 9mm will fit in 5.56 clips, but I don’t think anyone makes a spoon-thingy (technical term) for any of the 9mm subgun mags out there

  5. Yeah best to spend time at home loading mags while watching tv, than spending time at the range. If your indoor then your outta luck. or even load your stripper clips at home too,

  6. In the Communist state of New York, if you want the usual AR-15 accessories (pistol grip, adjustable stocks , flash suppressor, etc)., the 10 round (limit) magazine needs to be pinned – which makes it a pain to have to stop and break down the rifle every 10 rounds to manually reload. I discovered a really great tool – a 10 round auto-loader from http://www.meanarms.com. You preload them the way you would a magazine, press it into the ejection port, push the rounds in with your thumb, and you’re good to go. I have 4 of them that I pre-load before I go to the range and they work great! (And yeah, I know – it sucks to live in this state – don’t rub it in!!)

  7. Used “stripper clips” for years and years shooting bolt action rifles in National Match Course type competition. Very simple devices that worked as intended. By the way, on a historical note, prior to WW 1, and U.S. entry into the festivities, Mauser filed suit, and won against the U.S. for violation of patent. The Mauser Company had taken out a parent on the “stripper lips”, aka ” charger clips”.

  8. Transporting loaded mags may be considered having a loaded firearm. Check the rules if you live in a slave state.

    • They are not an issue in California. The Court of Appeal held that “loaded” as used in the Penal Code means a magazine attached to a rifle or pistol with one in the chamber. It overturned a conviction of someone who had shot gun shells attached to the stock. Still, it is better to keep the mags out of the gun, but loaded mags are fine.

  9. I learned after my very first carbine course. Now I always arrive with a Rubbermaid tote full of loaded mags and while everybody else is sitting in the dirt loading I’m on the firing line.

  10. My church has a Security Team. As a perk, the church has a corporate membership (!) at an outdoor range in Weld County, Colorado – a 2A sanctuary. For a mere $120/yr, I can show up anytime I want (usually when it’s warm and NOT windy), and stay as long as I please. If you feel any pangs of jealousy, talk to your pastor – do the math of the net-present-value of a corporate membership – against the probability (.01%) of multiple deaths (>$1M). My pastor saw the light.

    While mag dumps can be a real hoot, it’s always a good idea to check your accuracy and then think about what techniques can improve while reloading your magazines.

    • Or people who value their time and don’t shoot boutique calibers.

      If you’re sighting in a 5.56 carbine, factory 5.56 works just fine. My time is worth far more than the money I would save by hand loading 55gr pills.

  11. My range has some weird/excessive rules, but loaded mags is not one of them. Can’t shoot at human outline targets! My XD came with a cheap and effective loader, but it didn’t work well with other 9mm mags. Bought a Maglula, works great on everything I’ve got.

  12. I load mags at home. Its not called the “loading” range. I bring 250 rds of 22LR, 90 rds of 556 and 120 rds of 9 mm. I dont have time to waste.

    But then again I’m not going to a square range. I have never seen anyone loadings mags at MCTA.


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