Again, I am procrastinating, so I’ve decided to spend an evening in the workshop and make something useful out of junk… This time a quick loader for a .22 tubular magazine.
Why? Why not! Also because it takes a lot longer to load my little bee stinger than to unload it, a common problem I hear. Eventually, when I get around to it, I am going to buy a quick loader, but for now I thought I’d make one and see how it goes.
The path of least resistance
First, I thought I’d try the ‘common’ method. I thought I would take the easy way out and use Burger King or McDonald’s straws. Unfortunately no, they were a fraction too small in diameter, just enough to get the cartridges stuck in the straw. However, some fine dinning establishments may or may not be missing a box of straws, in the name of science, of course!
Next, I thought, well, I need to find a pipe! That’s how all great plans start, with a pipe!
I needed it to be around 1mm wider than the diameter of a 22 cartridge. BL-22 eats 15 rounds, plus a few fingers on either side for a stopper and a cap. A quick trip to my local hardware store and couple of dollars later I was set. Next, measure, cut and block one end.
I didn’t want to crimp or deform the tube, so I wedged a small piece of wooden dowel roughly 1.5mm wider than the diameter of the tube into one end. I then sanded it flush and beveled the outer circumference with a deburring tool, to smooth things out.
In hindsight, manufacturing a cap was bit of a challenge, I wanted to use something non-metalic to avoid an unlikely detonation. I decided to use a simple plaster wall rivet.
Once the rivet is expanded, it’s the perfect size to be used as a cap/plug.
This worked very well and at that stage I had a usable loader. Functionally it was pretty good. Made of soft metal to avoid scratching the tubular magazine. Roughly $5 aaaaaaaand yep! It looks like shit. So I thought it was time to bling-it-up a little.
The blocked end was pretty simple, I tried a bunch of different cases I have lying around and 44REM MAG turned out to be the best fit. I crimped the case as much as I could to add neck tensions and added a generous dose of epoxy.
Time to cobble me up a removable cap. I had few ideas floating around. I’ve experimented with bottle neck cases, but that didn’t look good and wasn’t really a cap. I am not sure why I even considered it.
Since the plastic rivet worked so well, I thought, maybe I could repurpose it somehow. And there it was, the brain fart I was waiting for! Remove the nail, cut the cap off and install the rivet inside the spent case. I did have to drill the primer pocket out, to accomodate the new screw…
…and here it is, the bubba quick loader DIY special.
Total cost, around $6.
At this stage it’s less about functionality and more about obsessive-compulsive, to see how far I can take it. So the next step is to investigate how I can combine a few of these tubes in a single spring loaded configuration. I have an idea, but I need some time to prototype.