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A Clip is not a Magazine!

        One of the most misused terms in firearms is "Clip".
        Depending on how you look at it, it is either amusing or pitiful that writers who consider themselves experts or authorities don't know the difference between a magazine and a Clip.

        A Clip is a very different thing to a magazine and the terms are not interchangeable.
        Saying "Clip" when you mean "magazine" is rather like talking about socks when you mean boots.

        A magazine can be defined as a container of ammo. A room full of shells on a battleship is a magazine, and so was the Parthenon when it was used as a powder store.
        In small arms terms magazine usually refers to a box, drum or tube with a spring inside to help feed the rounds. Magazines can be a fixed part of the weapon, or detachable. Most detachable magazines can be removed and replaced with a full one to reload the weapon, but there are guns such as the Lee Enfield where the magazine is only removed for cleaning, and is refilled by a different mechanism. (more of this in a moment).

        The ammo Clip was invented in 1885 by Mannlicher and provided a way to place a full load of rounds into a magazine in one action. What many people do not appreciate is that the Clip also forms an integral part of the gun's mechanism. If the rounds are not held in a Clip the gun cannot go through the full cycle of chamber, fire and eject.

If a weapon is clip-loading you can't load it with loose ammo.

        This is why the two terms should not be confused.
        Firstly because the Clip actually fits inside a magazine. Some Clip-loading automatic cannon don't appear to have any magazine, the Clip slotting onto the top of the weapon and the rounds feeding down. For simplicity we'll restrict our discussion to small arms.
         Secondly, when you say an arm is clip-loading you are describing a specific type of mechanism. When I say the Home defence shotgun should be a clip-loader, I'm specifying that it SHOUDN'T be capable of being loaded with loose rounds.
        One of the most famous and widely used clip-fed weapons is the M1 Garand rifle. It may be the wide use of this weapon that has caused so many Americans to confuse reloads with Clips. You might argue that you can hand-load a single round into the chamber of a Garand and fire it, but you are performing the loading part of the firing cycle instead of the Clip, so the above definition still holds.

        Chargers. A device that looks very much like a Clip is the Charger. Both resemble a little rail that holds the rounds by the rim.
        The difference is that the Charger is a form of speedloader that was invented by Paul Mauser in 1889. The Charger does not enter the magazine, but fits into a guide above it so that the rounds can be pushed from the rail down into the magazine.
        Examples of well known Charger loaded weapons are the Lee Enfield, Springfield 1906, SKS and Mauser C96 pistols. Many later models of Mauser pistol could be loaded with both Chargers and detachable magazines.
        If you are not sure if a weapon uses Chargers or Clips, then the big giveaway is whether the device fits inside a magazine or stays without. Also you can load a Charger loaded weapon with loose ammo. Many Chargers only hold half or a third of the weapon's magazine capacity, allowing the shooter to top up before he has shot empty.

        Chargers and Clips are both devices for loading magazines, but one is a vital part of the gun's mechanism and fits inside the magazine, the other is an optional device that does not.

        Stripper Clip (or Stripper) is an alternate term for Charger, "Stripper" being added to distinguish it from true Clips. Some authors mainly use this term for a type of Charger that is used to load magazines when they are not attached to the weapon. Either use is correct.

        Revolver Clips. Usually known as "Half Moon Clips" –although now there are "Full Moon" and "Third Moon" Clips.
        These differ a little from Rifle Clips in that their main function is to facilitate the ejection of the rounds rather than the feeding. Some revolvers for automatic cartridges do have rebated cylinders that you can use loose ammo in, but these won't eject by the gun's mechanism.

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