Gear, Parts and Accessories

Reload Your AR Magazines Fast Without Busting Your Thumbs

Caldwell Mag Charger with Magazine

Loading AR magazines is a chore but it is one of the most important tasks when using an AR—busting thumbs is just part of the job. Range time is precious, and I don’t want to waste time loading 30-rounders when I can be training, so I have a plan that involves tools that take the work out of recharging AR magazines.

Caldwell Mag Charger with Magazine
Reloading AR Magazines Fast Without Busting Your Thumbs

Before I head to the range, I load all of my magazines using a bench top loader such as the Magula AR15/M4 PMAG Range BenchLoader that is designed for serious magazine loading. It works with both metal and polymer magazines of any capacity. The Magula BenchLoader is also small enough, and light enough, that I can take it with me to the range. As long as I have a flat bench top or pickup truck tailgate, I can reload fast.

The Thunder Struck Loader also makes the chore quick and easy. Machined from tough high impact plastic, Thunder Struck Loader loads PMag, HexMag, Troy, Sig Arms, and Lancer magazines, as well as standard metal mil spec magazines. Just insert the magazine—5-, 10-, 20- or 30-round capacity—dump cartridges in the slot, align the cartridges, and push them into the magazine. It is that simple.

The Caldwell Mag Charger Tac30  can load 30 rounds in less than 10 seconds in nearly every type of AR magazine—both mil-spec and polymer types. It works with .223 Rem., 5.56 NATO, and .204 Ruger calibers, and allows a user to transfer cartridges directly from a 20-round box or a stripper clip. The Mag Charger Tac 30 is small and compact made of durable polycarbonate. It can pack in your range bag. The Mag Charger AR-15 is designed to accept 50 rounds directly from 50-round factory boxes or from 50-round aftermarket plastic storage boxes. Just dump a box of ammo into the Mag Charger, insert any AR magazine into the Mag Charger, and work the plunger to load 5 rounds per stroke.

Magula LULA
The Magula LULA fits over the top of a magazine and can load or unload AR15 quickly and efficiently.

For an even more compact loader, try the Magula M-16/AR-15 LULA Magazine Loader and Unloader. The LULA weighs 2 ounces and takes up very little room in my range bag. It takes about 35 seconds to load a 30-rounder and about 5 seconds to unload a 30-rounder using the LULA. I prefer to unload 30-rounders via the rifle’s trigger, but there are times when it is necessary to unload magazines. The LULA tool makes it easy.

When loading .308 Win./7.62x51mm magazines like those for an AR10, M14, H&K, M1A and others the NCStar 7.62x51mm Magazine Loader works fine for loading 10 rounds at a time. It uses stripper clip so your ammo needs to be loaded into the stripper clip prior to using the reloading. I know that may sound like extra work, but the loading the stripper clip is easier and faster than loading them into a magazine. The plastic body fits over the magazine and you just push the cartridges from the stripper clip into the magazine. It’s fast and increases shooting time. Your thumbs will thank you.

What’s your favorite reloader or do you simply ‘bust a thumb’? Share your tips or experiences in the comment section.

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Comments (8)

    1. Go on YouTube and look for Pop’s Quest. He is in Charleston, SC. He is a custom cabinet maker and he also makes reloaders from wood. I have two of them. If you’d like to see a picture of mine, email me and I’ll send pictures. They work great. I don’t have a 7.62×39 gun, so I can’t remember if he makes them for that or not. I know those are more banana shaped than the .223. Have a great 4th of July.

  1. Is it legal to load your magazines and transport them loaded? I don’t think it is in Rhode Island.

  2. So where is the loader that you just dump the cartridges into and pull a handle? All of these loaders make the process easier, but one still has to put the cartridges into them first!

  3. I use a stripper clip loader, such as the one made by NcStar. This is one of the most compact of the “high volume” (vs. one round at a time) loaders.

    I load up 10-round stripper clips, and then I can put 10 rounds into a magazine with one push of the loader handle. As an added feature, a magnet on the loader catches the stripper clips for reuse.

    Admittedly, you need to load up stripper clips beforehand, but that is something you can do in front of the TV, while you watch the game on the sports channel or the game on the hunting channel, your choice.

  4. Two others:
    ProMag – compact and 5 at a time. Easy on the thumbs ($10).

    Magulua – loads 30 rounds at a time (but, as it clamps on the mag, can finish larger mags, which the Thunder Struck can’t. More compact than the Thunder Struck loader, and more expensive ($150).

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