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Newbie question about AR15

Jul 5, 2006
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Should a full 30rd clip lock into the rifle without having to chamber the first round? If it does what am I doing wrong?
The clip should lock in without having to release the bolt.

I don't have enough experience to know what a common problem
might be that causes the magazine not to lock in. Some guesses:

Have you tried more than one magazine ? Do they all have the same problem? If so, it's probably not the magazine.

Are you sure you're pushing it in firmly enough. A good swift push is usually needed to seat it. It gives a "click" when it locks in.

Are you sure the upper and lower receiver are really properly mated? Is one of the take down pins not fully seated? There should be no play between the upper and lower, at least not in a new rifle.

Is there something blocking the magazine from seating? Like a loose piece of metal or foreign object (sometimes a primer gets blown loose and sticks someplace)?
When the bolt is open there is know problem. However when the bolt is close without a round in the chamber. The full mag does not want to lock. I've tried all my 30 rounders and they do the same. Is the gun designed to hold one in the chamber and 29 in the mag only? I didn't think it should but you never know. The upper and lower are mated flush.
However when the bolt is close without a round in the chamber. The full mag does not want to lock

Whenever you hear or read about the military underloading the mags to 28 rounds, that's the reason... not the oft stated reason that fully loading the mags weakens the spring.

With the bolt closed, and 30 rounds in the mag, there's not enough space for the follower and spring to compress to the bottom of the mag.

Either load them up to 28, or if loading 30, chamber the 1st round with the bolt locked to the rear and hitting the bolt catch.
You should be able to insert a stock 30 round mag with the bolt closed. It can take some force though & that's why many people are taught to smack the bottom of the mag after inserting it. JUst to make sure it's fully seated. If the mags/springs are new it may be more difficult than usual, but that should become easier with time.

Also, if there are aftermarket followers(i.e. Magpul) or springs(i.e. Wolf, etc) that may also effect the capacity of the magazine.

All of my aluminum body mags will insert at full capacity with the bolt closed. I have 5 steel mags (supposedly British) that are more difficult to insert when fully loaded. But after taking several courses and seeing some of the problems people have had using fully loaded 30s, I usually download by at least one round now. I actually prefer the 20s but they are harded to find & I keep all my good ones for matches.
I saw boxes of Colt and other mil-spec used 20 rd AR mags at the Concord NH gun show last weekend. Prices were good too (between $10 and 20 each, with the $20 for Colt branded only). Lots of 30 rd mags too, but most were marked as post-ban (date-stamped). [Not MA/NY/NJ legal.]
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