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Modifying .30 Carbine Magazine Follower to Hold Bolt Open
by Roy Seifert

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Disclaimer:  This article is for entertainment only and is not to be used in lieu of a qualified gunsmith.  Please defer all firearms work to a qualified gunsmith.  Any loads mentioned in this article are my loads for my guns and have been carefully worked up using established guidelines and special tools.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for use of these loads, or use or misuse of this article.  Please note that I am not a professional gunsmith, just a shooting enthusiast and hobbyist, as well as a tinkerer.  This article explains work that I performed to my guns without the assistance of a qualified gunsmith.  Some procedures described in this article require special tools and cannot/should not be performed without them.

Warning:  Disassembling and tinkering with your firearm may void the warranty.  I claim no responsibility for use or misuse of this article.  Again, this article is for entertainment purposes only!

Tools and firearms are the trademark/service mark or registered trademark of their respective manufacturers.

For some reason I am fascinated with military rifles.  I have always wanted to own a .30 M1 Carbine, so when I found one at a great price, I purchased it.  It is a commercial replica manufactured by Plainfield Machine Corp.  Research on the Internet indicated that this was one of the better commercial replicas built to military specifications, and if necessary, I could use military replacement parts.

The rifle came with a 30-round magazine.  The bump on the follower is cut flat at the rear, which allows the bolt to stay open after the last round.  This is the follower on the right.  Because the bolt is resting on the raised rear of the follower, it technically is not locked open; in fact, if you remove the magazine, the bolt will close.

I purchased two current production 15-round magazines and noticed that the bump on the rear of the follower was tapered, rather than flat.  Note the left follower.  This taper allowed the bolt to close after the last round, rather than stay open.  I liked the stay-open feature so I decided to modify the followers.


First, I took my high-speed rotary tool with a cut-off wheel and cut through the follower behind the ramp.  I was careful not to go too far on either side of the ramp, otherwise this could weaken the follower.

Once I made the cut, I took a steel punch and raised the cut end above the level of the follower.  I raised it only about the thickness of the bolt head.  Anymore and I could have split the metal.  I worked slowly and tested the follower in the rifle frequently.  Once the bolt held open reliably, I took a safe-edge file and filed the end of the lip flat.  I took some cold blue and blued the exposed metal.  The photo at the left shows the lip before I blued it.


Now, the magazines still feed rounds, but hold the bolt open after firing the last shot.


   © Copyright 2008 Roy Seifert.