*Lever Action Speed-loader*
One thing has always annoyed me about my lever action carbine: how to load rounds into the magazine quicker, and without modifying the gun. Several years ago, I discovered that .357 and 38 ammo is a perfect fit for an SKS stripper clip. I can keep 10 rounds handy on a stripper clip and shuck them into my revolver two rounds at a time. Not as fast as a speed loader, but pretty quick. To load the rifle this way, I hold the gun and the clip with my left hand, then pull rounds one at a time from the stripper clip and feed them into the loading port. It's quicker than a butt cuff or belt loops, but not real fast. My thumb gets mashed in the process too.
Recently I found a way to make a speed loader for the lever action carbine. I'm pretty sure you could get it to work for any caliber of lever action gun. There are some *very* similar designs selling on the Internet for over $20 a pop. Here's how to make a pair of speed loaders.
Parts for Two Speed loaders:
"Speed loader tubes" 3' of 1/2" PVC sprinkler riser (it's gray with threads on the ends)
"Handles" 6" PVC nipple, 1" diameter (again, the gray, threaded stuff)
"Pusher Sticks" A bit of dowel or dry stick 8" long and about 1/2" in diameter
"Connecting Screws" Two small wood screws
(Since I used a dry stick and some screws from the scrap bin, all I spent on these was $2.60 at Home Depot)
Cut both of the PVC parts in half at about a 45 degree angle. It isn't critical, but 45 looks best. Scrape the cut parts smooth and remove any burrs.
Shave down the stick so it fits freely into the 1/2" pipe. Cut it in half and round the ends a little. You will trim it to specific length later.
On the long pieces, make a mark about 1 1/2" inch from each end. You will connect these dots with a saw-kerf running along the long edge of your pipe.
I used a table saw, with the blade set just tall enough to cut all the way through one wall of the pipe. I performed a plunge cut and stopped when the blade was almost to my end mark.
I found that the slot wasn't big enough for my wood screw, so I widened it with a second pass on the table saw. Then finish the ends of the cut up with a little hand saw.
Smooth out the slot you just cut. Time to load it up and figure out how to do final assembly. Slide the "pusher stick" into the back (threaded) end of the tube. Make sure you have at least 2 1/2" inside the tube. Insert as many of your desired rounds as the tube will hold. My tubes are 18" in length and will hold 9 .357 rounds.
Now eyeball where to drill the pilot hole for the "connecting screw". As you can see, I should drill the screw at the 1 1/2" mark. Remember this measurement and don't let anything move or get jostled. Slip the "handle" over the tube, and hold it flush with the end. Drill a 1/8" hole at 1 1/2" from the end, make sure it goes into the pusher stick. You need a good hole to keep the screw from splitting and binding your stick.
Drive the connecting screw through the handle into the pusher stick. You should be able to slide it back and forth down the slotted pipe. Cut off the excess end of the stick. The speed loader will work just fine like it is, but if you tip it over, your ammo will slide out. Not so speedy! Let's make a keeper.
I'm not real happy with this setup, and you may find a better way than I did, my way works, so here it is:
Drill another hole, this time 1/4" and in the slanted end of the pipe. Drill through the end of the slot, through the other side of the pipe.
Cut a long, tapered strip of inner-tube rubber. Feed the rubber through the slot, and out of this hole. Pull it tight, and your ammo won't fall out. To use, just grab the rubber and pull it out.
You're done. Fill it with your ammo (primer to the back!! You don't want to stuff a northbound shell into a southbound gun!) and poke the rubber keeper in it's place.
To use: grip the gun at the action with your left hand. Hold the slanted end of the speed loader against the loading gate. With the right hand, slide the handle toward the gun. You will feel the bullets going into the magazine. That last round sometimes has a hard time getting in, but it will go in with a little squirming.
There you go. A speed loader to fill a lever-gun magazine in just a few seconds. It takes about a half an hour to make two of them, and they cost $1.30 each.
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