A magazine is the storage unit and feeding method for ammunition and derives its name from the magazines of old where ammo was stored by armies. Magazines are either detachable, which are standard for most rifles, semi-automatic pistols, and semi-automatic shotguns, or nondetachable, which are standard for some bolt action rifles, as well as most shotguns. It must be noted belt-fed weapons do not usually use magazines; the belt may be contained in an ammo box.
Gravity Fed MagazinesEdit
Usually refers to a top mounted, gravity fed magazine; also known as a hopper. These were used in manually operated weapons such as Gatling Guns, Nordenfelt Guns, Gardner and Bira machine guns. Hopper magazines are somewhat still in use with heavier applications such as anti-aircraft weaponry.
Detachable magazines come in various shapes, sizes, capacities and stacking styles. Capacities can range anywhere from 3-100+ rounds depending on the ammunition and magazine type. Types of magazines include Drum, Box, Casket and snail drum and the stacking styles in each of these can vary from single stack to quadruple stack (a recent innovation). They can be reloaded using stripper clips.
Single column magazines are usually found on pistols.
Double column magazines have the rounds staggered in order to fit more rounds into the magazine and still keep the magazine relatively compact.
Single feed is found on double column magazines, mostly found on pistol magazines. They are usually awkward to reload.
Double feed is where the rounds are staggered and enable speedloading. This is the most reliable feed.
Usually found in bolt action service rifles often fed with charger clips.
Detachable and quick loading, used on most firearms.
A widened box magazine that holds more rounds like a drum magazine but less bulky and complicated.
A round shaped magazine intended to hold more rounds; earlier models were complicated, expensive and heavy. They are often seen on weapons in a squad automatic weapon role.