Comparing Different Stripper/En-Bloc Clip Systems

clip

The stripper clip was an extremely revolutionary, yet simple implement to make combat rifles more effective in battle. Prior to the invention of the clip/charger/feed strip, loading individual rounds could be slow and cumbersome (a lesson that Americans learned the hard way in the Spanish-American War of 1898) and the invention of a simple bit of pressed steel upon which rounds could be stored to facilitate faster loading was yet another brilliant innovation, that to this day is still relevant when loading certain rifles or even box magazines.

Many different systems and methods were devised to make use of clips, and below I explore some of them:



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • I am aware of the zig-zag loading method, but I have found that stacking the rims in the manner I did works a bit better for me. Perhaps I am just unlucky, but I have owned very few bolt guns with a properly functioning interrupter. All of my Mosins I have had over the years have plagued me with rim-lock so I have carried over my rim-stacking habit to the SMLE!

    • Ken

      I think the Soviet refurb process of mixing up the parts didn’t help make sure rifles received working interrupters, granted the Mosin I own now with a working interrupter is a refurb M91/30 and I’ve owned two Finnish Mosins without working interrupters. I have also come across a bringback Type 53 with a perfectly working interrupter. I don’t know what to make of it, but it could very well be that the military users of the Mosin weren’t too interested in making sure that the interrupters worked properly.

  • 1911a145acp

    Well done sir! I would note additionally many M-1 Garand aficionados and High-Power competitors recommend loading M-1 Garand clips “last on left” as they seem to function better that way.The SKS when loaded from Chinese chest pouches can maintain a very high rate of continuous fire- far superior to that of “aftermarket” extended fixed magazines.The SKS bolt should remain locked to the rear until retracted slightly to release it after topping of the internal magazine. I have loaded many rounds into Enfields via clips and never encountered rim lock on those. A little graphite lube or lead applied with a pencil will help smooth things along when applied liberally most stripper clips.

    • Ken

      The early M1’s (first 40k or so) would jam on the 7th round if the clips were loaded with the bottom round on the right. Basically there is a little guide rib on the left side of the receiver to make sure rounds feed into the chamber, but early on, Springfield Armory decided it was easier to simply mill a bevel on the top of it while boring the receiver ring out instead of sticking to Garand’s intended design.

      Even prior to that, it was already standard practice to load bottom round on the left. I’m not sure of the exact reason if they did not know about the 7th round jam issue, but doing so does make it easier for a right handed shooter to load an M1 since doing so places the top round on the right. The shooter can keep pressure on the top round while loading (and back of the hand against the op rod), which prevents Garand thumb.

    • Excellent info!

  • 1911a145acp

    More interesting history- John C. Garand ( pronounced like errand with a “G’ at the beginning ) famous American designer of the M-1, was actually Canadian born and immigrated to the U.S. at a young age. The “Russian” Mosin Nagant ( the “t ” is silent ) was actually ( mostly ) designed by a Frenchman ( Belgian ) Leon Nagant. Mosin was a Russian ordnance Captain. Savage Arms, Remington, Westinghouse Winchester ( Model 1895s) all built rifles for the Russians in the United States. The “British” Enfield was designed by American John Paris Lee. Lee had designed several moderately successful rifles before the SMLE ( Short Magazine Lee-Enfield ) Notably the Brits had adopted the Lee-Metford rifles in the 1880s. Enfield was the location of the Royal Smalls Arms factory. Just my 2 c

    • iksnilol

      A bit wrong there about the Mosin-Nagant. Nagant only made the interrupter. The story about it is interesting since there were some legal dispute.

      You can find out more about it by searching around a bit.

  • Tassiebush

    Great topic and video Alex! Also some great reading in the other comments Ken and 1911a145acp! To ask a question with the mauser and MAS being able to eject the clips, is that done by a beveled surface on bolt pushing the clip out of the guide? I’m just trying to visualize it. also with lee enfield and nagant would it have been possible to add this improvement?

    • Ken

      The clip pivots on the little bumbs while the bolt pushes it forward. On the Mauser/MAS/Springfield, the clip doesn’t go into a slot, but the bump simply rests on the divots in the receiver. On the Mosin and Lee-Enfield, the clips actually go into a slot, so you can’t ram the clip out.

      I don’t think this is an intention of the design, but my M91/30 self ejects clips more often than not. If you slam the rounds into the mag quickly, then the ejector kicks out the clip.

      • Tassiebush

        thanks for that. i watched it again and difference in pivoting movement was quite noticeable.

    • Only the bottom 1/4th of the stripper clip is inside the firearm’s action (stopped by a raised bit on the clip itself) so when one throws the bolt forward, the bolt face contacts the bottom of the clip only and forces it to leverage itself up and out/away.

      I am sure they could have engineered something to kick clips out of an Enfield or Nagant, but who knows why they didn’t. Cost? Too significant a redesign? Overlooked? Indifference? Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I can chime in.

      • Tassiebush

        that all makes sense. It’d be interesting to see if there was some “correct way” to rapidly remove the clip that’s been lost over time. i guess too the Enfield was very advanced when introduced, had a 10 shot magazine and much faster action so maybe they weren’t overly concerned if it took a tiny bit longer to top off. unsure with russians though. maybe it’s just an old design that wasn’t updated? still the disconnector on Mosin was a good idea!

      • gunsandrockets

        I bet it was hard enough to make a working charger for rimmed cartridges, let alone a charger that would kick clear by closing the bolt too.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Like the others, I found the video interesting and informative. Something I saw in another video that surprised me was that it’s possible to top up the Garand clip in the rifle! I had always heard that you had to fire off the whole clip or eject the clip and a bunch of loose rounds.

    • Tassiebush

      Great point! I for one did not know that! just watched video again and it makes sense with all that space in action and that clip with wide feed lips that you could push extras down into it!
      Lol of course this means it might be possible to make a garand stripper clip and guide rail to top up the enbloc clips!…

      • Pete Sheppard

        Now, to find the video…

  • gunsandrockets

    Re: SKS chargers

    In my experience SKS chargers didn’t hold onto the cartridges very well, and minor jostling caused a fully loaded charger to lose one or two cartridges from the ends.

    I too had trouble loading an SKS with a full charger, because the curvature of the stacked cartridges makes properly directing the force for loading tricky. I found the SKS much easier to load with a charger holding only 8 cartridges instead of 10.

    • Ken

      Test out different SKS clips. In my experience, the Yugo and Czech clips have good, stiff retaining springs and don’t lose rounds while the Chinese (circle 31 marked, came from NC Star) ones are crap that lose rounds.

  • gunsandrockets

    Re: Removal of rimmed cartridge charger from rifle’s receiver bridge

    I wonder…

    Would a quick flick, rotating the loaded rifle 90 degrees clockwise about the long axis, cause the empty charger to fall out of the rifle action?

    • Ken

      Yes, you can make the clip fly out with inertia, but easier and quicker to simply grab it out while your hand is moving back towards the bolt handle. Your thumb is already inline with the clip from pushing the rounds into the mag, so you can drag your thumb along it to knock it out as well.

      If you’re shooting a CMP match, the rapid fire stages are the only times you’re permitted use the magazine in the rifle anyway, so it’s the only time you’d use the clip. You shoot rapid fire from prone or sitting/kneeling, with a loop sling, so your range of motion is limited. You have 80 seconds to fire ten aimed shots, with a reload in there. You want the quickest way to ditch the clip, without moving your rifle any further than it already is from breaking position to load.

      When I’m loading my M1903 for rapid fire, I don’t try to eject the clip with the bolt since I don’t want to risk it getting stuck. I bump it out with my thumb as I return to position. I haven’t had to shoot a match with my Mosin yet with a rapid fire stage, but I’ve always practiced knocking the clip out with my thumb if the interrupter hasn’t already kicked it out.

  • For what it’s worth, I’ve had exactly the opposite experience as you regarding the SKS and Mauser 98. This makes me think it’s something particular to the rifle-clip combination: If you have a good clip and a good rifle, it works great. If not, then it doesn’t.

    Your clip isn’t loaded properly for the Lee-Enfield from a “historical” perspective. They were supposedly loaded with the rims alternating down-up-down-up-down. How often this was done as opposed to the more obvious method, I don’t know. Either way, the Enfield sucks to load.

    • Ken

      A few Mauser 98 clip and ammo combos are bad, such as the green lacquered 70’s Romanian ammo on the blued steel, 3 piece clips. Those clips are way too tight and the lacquer gives too much friction. The rounds work great on the two piece clips with the wavy spring, and the clips work great on brass cased ammo. German WWII lacquered steel case ammo also works on those clips. I’m guessing the lacquer on the Romanian stuff must be extra thick or something.

    • No kidding. Some shyster just sold me one and that sumbitch requires some serious finagling to get the rounds in 😉

  • gunsandrockets

    No, I have to disagree. That looks awkward. Topping off the clip while holding the op-rod back at the same time to keep the action open? That’s a three handed operation: one to support the rifle, one to load, and one to hold the action open.

    • Tassiebush

      yeah fair point. i must concede that i wouldn’t want to try that under pressure but i suspect the technique could be refined somewhat. If i owned one I’d be mucking round with it to see if that was the case.

  • Riot

    I wonder if anyone ever calls these “magazines”?

    • phuzz

      If I hadn’t seen this video then I’d probably call one of those chargers a magazine.

  • Tassiebush

    Yeah I found that afterwards and posted it too. It is a much better demonstration of the idea. As you say it is definitely only good for use during a lull in action. I got a bit overly optimistic when I said it didn’t look awkward. Put it down to enthusiasm 😉
    I think that technique looks like it could be further improved (for a right handed person) from the point where the bolt is let forwards onto the lifted clip holding the action open. The person could support the rifle with left hand and then finish topping it off with his right hand just the same as loading most integral magazine bolt action rifles. It would be relatively easy to shove the clip back down quickly if it were suddenly needed again.

  • Will do Graham! Thanks for the tip!

  • SSSN

    Have had reasonable luck with the two chines SKS I have owned over the years.
    They were certainly better then the aftermarket 30rd mag I used breifly. The
    curve of the stripper does cause some tedious moments…but then the 7/62×39
    case does have a slight taper to.