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In repeating firearms, the magazine is the place that stores the ammunition that has not been fired. When you work the action, a cartridge is picked up from the magazine and placed in the chamber ready to be fired.

Magazines are designed with a spring and follower that push against the cartridges to move them into the action. When checking a magazine to make sure it's empty, you must be able to either see or feel the follower; if you cannot see or feel the follower, there may be a cartridge jammed in the magazine, which can be dangerous. Tubular magazines require close attention to make sure a cartridge is not jammed in the magazine.

Magazines may be detachable or fixed.

  • Detachable magazines allow you to remove extra ammunition from the firearm simply by removing the magazine.
  • Fixed magazines require the ammunition to be removed manually from the gun itself. These include tubular, hinged-floorplate, and revolving magazines.
  • Only a five-round capacity is allowed on semi-automatic rifles and often only a three-round capacity is legal on shotguns for hunting. Check your local regulations.
Magazine with a semi-automatic pistol