Airsoft magazines - a guide for beginners
Airsoft gun magazines
For shooting, our airsoft guns need BBs. However, these would be nothing without an effective way of administering them. The magazines that are the subject of this article are the best. We have many kinds. They are made of different materials. However, they all have two things in common. They are used to carry BBs and without them most replicas would not shoot properly. It is true that there are constructions that do not use traditional magazines. For example, we find airsoft revolvers that use dummy bullets. So are some historical structures. But can't you call it a slightly more complicated magazine? I would venture to say that the items we discuss in this article are more important in airsoft than in firearms. A real rifle is more or less easily loaded with single cartridges. In an airsoft gun, this is probably only theoretically possible.
Division of airsoft magazines
Before we move on to practical advice, it is worth considering the classification of different types of magazines. The introduced division will help us to find out which magazines will be suitable for us when we buy them. It will also be helpful to orientate later in the article, when we discuss their specific applications. When preparing for this text, I found it best to divide it into three categories.
Here, the most important factor will be which airsoft guns support which magazines. So, we will find general categories such as M4 or AK replica magazines. Or magazines for machine gun replicas. Thanks to this division, we will catch various constructions, even quite rare ones such as shells or cartridge boats. This is probably the most diverse division.
Airsoft gun propulsion
This draws only one line. On one side you will find gas magazines. And on the other hand, all the others. Why is it so important? Well, spring and electric replicas do not require their magazines to contain anything other than BBs. However, gas ones usually require such a solution. Therefore, when powering replicas with gas systems, we have to buy usually quite expensive magazines that also store gas.
Airsoft magazine capacity
This is probably the most popular method of splitting these constructions. The most important division in this criterion is the distinction between hi-cap and other magazines. In the group of others, we have an even further distinction between mid-cap, low-cap and real-cap magazines. It is usually assumed that hi-cap magazines start with about 200 BBs capacity. However, I prefer to distinguish them by their internal structure. Mid-cap magazines will have a spring to feed the BBs. In hi-caps, we have a mechanism that requires winding, which is responsible for pushing the BBs into the airsoft gun. Therefore, I believe that low-caps and real-caps are actually a subgroup of mid-caps. This is already an internal and contractual division. That is why I propose to assume that low-caps are all with a capacity of up to about 80 BBs and real-caps are magazines with a capacity corresponding to the live firearm equivalent. We will probably find exceptions to these rules. Likewise, probably every real-cap will be a low-cap and every low-cap will be a mid-cap, but maybe let's not go any further. The most important thing is that if it is necessary to wind the magazine, it is a hi-cap, and if not, some kind of mid-cap and that's it.
Should you format your airsoft magazine or not?
There have been several myths about magazines over the years. They came from many repeated anecdotes from times when not everyone had access to first-hand information. It was the same with magazines. Initially, most players were doomed to use hi-cap magazines. These were added to airsoft guns and not everyone had the opportunity to buy a set of mid-caps. Not only for financial reasons, but because of the lower availability of such goods in stores.
From those times we have an interesting myth that magazines need to be formatted. What is it all about? It is assumed that you should first load the magazine with about ten BBs, unload it, load ten more, and so on until the magazine is full. I haven't found any information on where it comes from. Apparently, this way the spring in the mid-cap magazine forms better. I'm not an expert in materials science. What I do know is that I haven't done it for years. I formatted my first mid-cap magazines like crazy. However, it quickly turned out to be quite a cumbersome procedure. I haven't had any problems since I stopped doing it. I also don't know anyone who would have problems because they didn't format the magazine.
However, it is difficult to point out any negative consequences of this procedure. So, if you really want to and won't be able to sleep at night knowing that you have unformatted magazines, nothing will happen if you do it. However, I do not intend to go back to it myself and my magazines, and I already have a lot of them, work without any problems. I will damage them faster by throwing them out of the airsoft gun or accidentally dropping them on the ground than if I had to encounter problems with the spring.
Is it worth lubricating magazines?
Speaking of what to do and what not to do, it is worth considering lubricating the magazines. It is sometimes said that it is worth using silicone oil on their springs. Some say that it is enough to insert it through the hole for the BBs. Others, however, say that you have to disassemble the magazine and apply it to the entire spring. Let's say it very clearly. Lubricating the springs in magazines is a very bad practice. And I already explain why. First, it's unnecessary. The spring is enough to be clean. Magazines can be cleaned with compressed air or isopropyl alcohol. No problem with that. It is important that after cleaning they are dried and folded correctly. The magazine spring does not need lubrication to function properly. As long as it's not dirty.
Lubricating magazines not only doesn't help, it's also potentially dangerous. The spring lubricated with silicone oil easily collects dirt or sand. In addition, it dirties the inside of the magazine and the BB. They, in turn, work in the airsoft gun and carry this dirt with them. In the best case, it worsens the performance of the replica, and in the worst case, it can lead to more serious damage. Do not lubricate the magazines.
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