Introduction: How to Load an AR15/M16 Magazine Using Stripper Clips

Picture of How to Load an AR15/M16 Magazine Using Stripper Clips

This instructable will demonstrate how to load an AR15/M16 magazine using the GI issued (formerly GI issued) stripper clips and the filler/guide tool.

I used a 20 round magazine because its easier to take pictures of with everything attached to it, but the process is the same for 30 round magazines.

I can't stress enough firearm safety, and because of that you will notice there are no firearms present in any of my photos. If you play with firearms or ammunition your playing with your life.

Step 1: What Your Going to Need

Picture of What Your Going to Need

Gather everything you going to need for the reload. Most of these stripper clip kits come with a GI issue style bandolier to keep everything in, but below are all of the major components your going to need to load your magazine using the stripper clip.

Step 2: Load the Clips

Picture of Load the Clips

Take your ammunition out of the box and load 10 rounds into the stripper clip by gently bending down the brass tab on the end of the clip.

Using the groove on the cartridge as a guide slide all 10 rounds down into the clip.

Step 3: Prepare to Load the Magazine

Picture of Prepare to Load the Magazine

Attach the stripper loading tool (sometimes called loading guide) along the "spine" of the empty magazine.... it would be pointless to load a loaded magazine =)

Take your first loaded stripper clip and slide it into the loading tool already attached to the magazine.

Step 4: Load You Magazine.

Picture of Load You Magazine.

Place you hand around the magazine and (as shown) use your thumb to push the rounds into the magazine.

Once your last round is inside of the magazine remove the clip. Repeat the process until your magazine is full then remove the tool and your ready to go!

Proper technique may take a magazine or two in order to master, but with a little patience and a little practice you can get really quick at doing this.

My first instructable, so be kind!


MillennialDIYer (author)2017-12-10

Stripper clips are way too unappreciated. Though once you start using them, you have zero patience for calling magazines "clips". This should have been featured!

JGDean made it! (author)2016-02-03

Applying the pressure in just the right place makes this easier (as you say, it takes practice). Applying the pressure in the wrong place makes it impossible! You also have to hold the loading spoon very tightly to the top-back of the magazine while you're pressing down on the cartridges to keep the whole thing from slipping, bending or folding over. They work, but they're a pain!

If you load very many magazines and want to use stripper clips to store your ammo, buy a Strip Lula (about $25-30). Check out reviews on YouTube & other places. MUCH easier to use and can load with or without the stripper clips.

rustygray (author)2015-02-17

Really great Instructable, As a veteran and shooter I know this process all too well.

That is why I invented and patented the Rapid magazine Loader USPTO 8,453,366.

Southpaw69 (author)2014-01-27

I know I'm very late to this party, but would this work with PMags?

oakleygear (author)Southpaw692014-03-24

It will work with PMag's and I've just confirmed that this weekend with a couple different capacity/generations. Use with confidence!

gpay10 (author)2014-01-05

Very good and usable info, straight and to the point. I tossed my plastic "speed loader" and bought the setup you showed, way faster and no more feed jams! thank you!

twarfield (author)2013-12-30

That's cool

mr. grim (author)2011-07-14

where did you get the tracers at?

daelans (author)2010-12-02

naw jk. i was actually trying to see if i could find something on a marine kit, cause im trying to get, or at least look like, the marine loadout for my airsoft.

daelans (author)2010-12-02

aw thats boring, i thought for sure a stripper clip had something to do with a ... y'know...

penguin27388 (author)2010-08-13

Don't use wolf. if you are shooting a lot or fast (dumping out a 30 rounder) the casing will melt to the breech.... now i use federal after that happen twice. also do NOT buy POF (patriot ordinance factory). there gun are terrible.

oakleygear (author)penguin273882010-11-14

I shoot a lot and fast.. never happened to me, but maybe its because I don't use JV firearms.

In the spirit of "be nice" I'm just going to say.. I think you are mistaken in your claim. Check your firearms owners manual and the labels on your ammo.

mr.smashy (author)oakleygear2010-11-15

LOL "JV firearms".

bellwolf (author)penguin273882010-11-14

FYI...some rifle companies will void the warranty if you use cheap ammo like wolf. The case has a coating on it that will coat the chamber and is next to impossible to clean once it is in there.

oakleygear (author)bellwolf2010-11-14

Once again.. in the spirit of "be nice" im. Just going to say.. I think you are mistaken in your claim. Check your firearms owners manual and the labels on your ammo.

Nothing is impossible to clean.

bellwolf (author)oakleygear2010-11-15

I agree nothing is impossible to clean given the right cleaning gear, cleaning solutions, etc. However, the owners manual for my particuliar AR15 does specifically mention ammo such as "wolf" and several other cheap brands of ammo will void the warrenty. People just need to be careful, be informed, and then do what they want.

oakleygear (author)bellwolf2010-11-15

Personally - if I found out that any brand of NEW ammunition would void my warranty I would be shopping for another firearm manufacturer and NOT anther brand of ammunition.

oakleygear (author)penguin273882010-08-22

I'm no advocate of any particular ammo but I've never had any trouble with wolf personally, but like with anything YMMV. I do, however, suggest you try and back up your claims when making a blanket statement about a brand or arms company.

rdl (author)2008-07-06

Great post (I guess I'm used to 5.56mm coming on stripper clips already, with point protectors, level A pack...). The 550 cord is great. Maybe I should make a post about my personal M1 Garand (.308) and the en-bloc clips, and "avoiding m1 thumb"

brandon borick (author)rdl2008-09-01

how did you get it in 308 iv only ever seen 30-06 or is it costume

Most of the modern era M1's are chambered in 308 - check out springfield armory.

your talking about an m1grat right???

grant sorry

vestie (author)brandon borick2009-12-26

Whoops. It's garand not grat or grant. While originaly issued in .30-06 most new m1's are in .308 although it is not unheard of to have an m1 in .30-06.

rdl (author)brandon borick2008-09-01

italian army "tipo 2" conversion, they also shortened it by 1".

Cerberus (author)2009-06-04

Great first! In the USMC we called those loaders "spoons"... Here is an extra tip: tie (dummy cord) your "loader/spoon" to your assualt vest or tac-rig so that you will never lose it, but leave enough slack to do the job. If you ever find yourself actually needing to load mags to keep you and yours safe, this is a piece of gear you DONT want to lose...

ILIKEPIE333 (author)Cerberus2009-06-07

You use AR15s in the Marines? I thought you guys use M16A2s, A4s, and M4s, M16/AR15s are Vietnam Era buddy. (plus AR15s are civilian models)

Cerberus (author)ILIKEPIE3332009-06-07

AR 15 is a civilian rifle if using common and contemporary nomenclature, not a military issued rifle as of now. But whats the difference for sake of this instructable? They all use the same magazines, except for a few quirks here and there.

ILIKEPIE333 (author)Cerberus2009-06-08

Isnt AR15/ M16s 7.62, because I thought I heard that somewhere? But I guess it depends, you, unlike me were (are?) in the Marine Corps, so you probably know more about it...

Cerberus (author)ILIKEPIE3332009-06-08

Former Marine, but now Im just a civy. The 7.62 NATO caliber is aka the .308, but it isnt shot from an AR 15, it is shot from an AR 10, (within the AR family, plus a whole mess of other rifles too ) The caliber you are thinking of for the M16s/M4 and even SAW is 5.56 NATO, aka the .223 Rem (similar but not the same). A great place to learn more about the "Black Rifle" is:

ILIKEPIE333 (author)Cerberus2009-06-09

Thanks for the info, I knew that it was a gun in the AR family

oakleygear (author)Cerberus2009-06-08

Thanks - glad you enjoy it.

Zombiehuntereky (author)2009-03-30

Never did think of keeping the guide on a piece of 550.

Zack Paetzold (author)2008-11-27

Good job on your first how to. Very good photos and all.

Vertigo666 (author)2008-06-14

Very nice.

oakleygear (author)Vertigo6662008-10-06

Thanks man... glad you like it!

chalky (author)2008-06-20

man your nails are clean are you a medic by any chance?? ps/nice rolex too:)

gunslinger10mm (author)2008-06-15

I'm pretty well versed in AR's but I've never heard of this. Good job. Thanks

It's always good to learn new things - if you still have your AR I recommend you pick up one of these kits and try using it. Like I mentioned earlier - this is very handy when your at the shooting range when your reloading magazine after magazine all day.

thematthatter (author)2008-06-12

our rounds come already on stripper clips but no tool to take them off with. they sell a little black highspeed piece of plastic at clothing sales that can unload and load m16 magazines. its 15 bucks but worth it if your frequently loading a combat load of magazines.

oakleygear (author)thematthatter2008-06-13

You could have saved $13 and picked up a loading tool like mine to load your mags. Old school trumps highspeed any day.

mr.smashy (author)oakleygear2008-06-13

Did your spoon have any sand on it?

oakleygear (author)mr.smashy2008-06-13

Nope... no sand, no mud, no carbon - nada! The real question is... should it have?

mr.smashy (author)oakleygear2008-06-16

It was a 50/50 chance. I tried to put together a good kit, I know all the clips aren't. Once they get too sandy, they're done.

MD_Willington (author)2008-06-16

Cool, now if I could only get one of those for loading my Galil magazines... Loading 35 rounds by hand gets hard on the thumbs.

mr.smashy (author)2008-06-11

You can get stripper clip guides and kits on eBay. I like US Armory, they're prices are decent. You can pick up a "spoon" for $2.00. Best price is free. Get a couple of extras and keep them with your rifles.

I like the loop of stripped paracord through the spoon. Trying to use strippers without a guide is really hard.

oakleygear (author)mr.smashy2008-06-12

They truly are the gifts that keep on giving!

rectifiedbuzz (author)mr.smashy2008-06-11

I appreciate the advice and suggestions, mr smashy. Thank you!

Hodge-Podge (author)2008-06-11

There needs to be more tactical stuff on instructables

oakleygear (author)Hodge-Podge2008-06-12

That's why I made this one!

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