The Ultimate Cliploader: A Review
For years and years, I owned a Ruger .22 pistol. You know the one, looks a bit like a Luger, long, thin, 10-round magazine? Actually, now that I think about it, mine was a 9-round magazine, but that's neither here nor there. I got it before they started calling them “Mark” whatever. It was a good little pistol, and I enjoyed shooting it. Right, wrong, or indifferent, though, so did Mrs. McGee. (As an aside, if you’re taking a wife or girlfriend to the range, she just might be a keeper. After almost 25 years of marriage, I can safely say Mrs. McGee is, in fact, a keeper.) Anyway, I’m a plinker at heart. Shooting for the bullseye is fine, but give me a .22 and some soup cans, and I’m a really happy guy. Mrs. McGee, on the other hand, prefers paper. She likes trying to make itty-bitty groups. So around Christmas 2017, I did a little horse-trading. In fact, this was the trade that I talked about in A Postcard from the Doghouse a while back. To avoid boring you with the details all over again, I’ll make it short: I traded around for a Ruger 22/45 Lite for myself and a 22/45 Target for Mrs. McGee. I knew that this meant that range days would involve lots of shooting for her and lots of mag-loading for me, so I went into it looking for two guns that share magazines, and I’m partial to Rugers.
I also started looking for a mag loader, in the hopes that I could squeeze in a little more shooting time when Mrs. McGee accompanied me to the range. I ordered a couple of little slip-on gizmos, which I’m sure will work fine if I ever use them. However, I ran across one item that caught my eye: The Ultimate Cliploader from McFadden Machine. It runs ~$22-25 dollars, depending on where you order, and the videos looked AMAZING. If you watch the promo videos, you’d think that a round will do anything but sit up and beg to get into that magazine. I knew those were the promo videos, but I figured for $25, I couldn’t go too far wrong.
As I recall, there were some instructions that came with the UCL. I think I skimmed them once and then set them off to the side. I promptly lost them, naturally. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that it didn’t work as well as the promo video showed. As it turns out, however, that was really my fault.
I watched a few YouTube videos about the UCL and gathered that the instructions said a few important things. One is that there’s a line on the “handle” of the UCL that will help you figure out the angle at which you should hold it. The other is that you should use a little lubricant in the chamber. Finally, that there’s a set screw in the handle that may need some adjustment. A few words about each of these:
First, the line on handle. There’s a small line on the handle that says “hold at horizontal” or some such. The idea is that if the little line is horizontal, then the body of the UCL should be at the ideal angle for feeding your mags. Maybe it’s my mags, maybe it’s the lubricant I used, but I have found that, for ideal performance, I need to hold the UCL at a slightly steeper angle than indicated by that line. The line is pretty darn close to right, so use it as a guide, but fiddle with holding the UCL at varying angles. When you hit it just right, you’ll know.
Second, lubricant. I searched the internet for a copy of the instructions that I mislaid, but could not find one. Still, the YouTube videos that I watched said that the instructions stated a preference for Rem Oil with Teflon. That’s all well and good, except that I could not find that around here. Rem Oil abounds, but I couldn’t find any with Teflon. In any event, I’ve been experimenting with Hornady One Shot, so I used that.
Third, the set screw. There’s a small screw in the handle of the UCL that may need some adjustment. I’m guessing that’s to account for small variations in the magazines for the various Marks, the 22/45, etc. I’m certainly not an expert on variations between the models and their magazines, so take that information for what it is: a best guess. In any event, after my first disappointing day with the UCL, I sat down with my mags, my UCL and some supplies, YouTube, and started my fiddling.
I spritzed some Hornady One Shot in the chamber, and began adjusting the set screw about one quarter of a turn at a time, and then trying to load mags. Eventually, SUCCESS! Rounds were, quite literally, falling into the magazine from the UCL. Then I switched ammo . . . . LESS SUCCESS! Quite simply, some ammo fed better than others. Maybe some rounds were longer than others? To be honest, I really didn’t think about cartridge length during my experimentation, but that may have played a role. I tried it with a variety of ammo, including Federal Game Kings, Remington Thunderbolts, Winchester Xpert (from about 1985), and a handful of others. Some were better than others, but I don’t recall any that just flat would not feed.
Here’s the bottom line:
· The set screw has to be adjusted, but that’s really, really easy to do. Be patient, make small adjustments, and keep testing it until you have it right.
· You’ll need to spray lube in the chamber about every 50-100 rounds. Or at least you do with Hornady One Shot. Maybe Rem Oil with Teflon lasts longer.
· It will load some ammo better than others.
· Was it worth my $25? ABSOLUTELY! Once I made the initial adjustments (all of which I think were actually covered in the instructions, to be fair), the McFadden Ultimate Clip Loader is pretty danged nifty. I consistently get 8+ rounds to load in a 10-round mag, with almost zero effort, and regardless of ammo brand or type. Perhaps more importantly, I can load magazines ridiculously fast. Regardless of whether I go alone or with Mrs. McGee, that means more time shooting and less time loading.