Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thumb Savers and Speed Loaders - Yes, you need one.

PART 1: .22 Caliber Hand Guns
When I go to the range with my Ruger Mark III Hunter, I don’t shoot 100 rounds. I don’t shoot 200 rounds. Usually, when I take out the Mark III, I blow through 300-600 rounds, or sometimes more. And why not, at $14 per 550 rounds of Federal .22LR, there’s no real reason to conserve or shoot sparingly.

The first time I did this I didn’t have a thumb saver. The next day I went out again and my thumb was so sore from pulling down on the follower button that after only two magazines, I was ready to call it quits. That’s when I spotted a great make-shift solution.

Next to my gear bag was a water bottle and the little blue cap. I picked up the cap, turned it sideways, covered the follower button with it and pulled down against the spring. My thumb was still tender but it made it easy enough that I was able to enjoy my day at the range until I could buy a “real” thumb saver (doesn’t really work with a S&W Model 41 since there isn’t a pronounced follower screw or button on latch on to).

There are several .22 Thumb Savers on the market and most are between $3-5. The ones that work with a Ruger Mark III work with the Browning Buck Mark don’t work with the S&W Model 41 since it has a different design and requires its own speed loader.

I own one made by Butler Creek but is now discontinued, too bad because it works very well. It can still be found on eBay and on a few web sites. A friend of mine has an ADCO Loader that works every bit as well as the Butler Creek and there’s always the HKS.

Since .22 is so cheap to shoot, you’ll want a way to make it fun and easy to shoot hundreds of rounds in one day. Don’t believe me?





Grab a Coke or water bottle cap and give it a try. Your thumb will thank you.




PART 2: Non .22 Hand Guns
For reloading all other magazines (.380-.45) there’s the amazing and unbeatable Butler Creek UpLULA. HKS makes $12 thumb loaders that do a great job but they are single caliber units only. The UpLULA can replace four or five magazine loaders saving you 25-35 dollars or more! Not to mention tons of space in your range bag.

I've successfully used the Up LULA on a Kel-Tec .380, Glock, Taurus, Para and Springfield 9mm and .40 mags, a a variety of .45 mags. Mine has yet to find a magazine it didn't agree with. You can buy one at AMAZON.com (Click on link).



The Springfield XD and XDm’s come with a reloader that I’ve tried and they’re not nearly as easy to use or as fast as the Up LULA. Plus, they’re designed to work on XDs.

Tough guys don’t think they need thumb savers right? Wrong, guys that don’t shoot much don’t need thumb savers and speed loaders. All of you that have pushed 16-18 rounds into a hi-capacity mag know what it’s like to get those last few in.

If you shoot enough, you will get a sore thumb pushing rounds into a magazine. This blog is called “Firearm Fun” and is dedicated to making shooting…fun. For a mere $30 you can have a .22 loader AND a universal loader that after one trip to the range will more than earn their keep in your range bag.


Did you like this article? Check out the PAST REVIEWS at the top of the page for several more. If you'd like to share your knowledge by posting an article or review, contact me at Kennard.yamada@gmail.com.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, brother. The Butler Creek Thumb Saver rules! After hearing about them, I searched the web and found one site that had them where others had it on their web site but showed that is was discountinued. Luckily, I found two at a local Sportsmans Warehouse. $3 and I would have paid $10 at that point.

    Also, I have an SA XD9. The included mag loader is OK. But you have to pull up on it to put another bullet in after pushing a bullet in. Useable for loading one mag but not for multiple mags at the range. I bought the UpLULA right before doing a one day Practical Pistol class expecting to unload ~400 rounds. The UpLULA was quick and easy. Using the XD loader would have been a literal pain loading 25 mags (16/mag).

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