A New Magazine for the Ruger 10/22 – The High Tower Armory RM-25

IMG_6739Ah, the Ruger 10/22.  The first firearm for many shooters and a perennial favorite used for everything from plinking to small game hunting and, in some cases, military applications.  With over 5 million built in the past 50+ years, over a dozen factory variants, many more dealer exclusive variants, and hundreds – if not thousands – of aftermarket accessories available, to say that the 10/22 is popular would be quite the understatement.

It could be that one of the reasons for the Ruger’s popularity over some other .22 semi-auto rifles is its reliability, due in part to its famous rotary magazine.  Despite his feelings on so-called “high capacity” magazines, the late Bill Ruger did a pretty good job with this rifle and its feed system.  The only problem with it is that, perhaps to Bill’s satisfaction, it only held 10 rounds.

To solve that reduced-capacity magazine issue, a number of aftermarket magazines have popped up over the past few decades with varying degrees of success.  Some degrees lower than others, in my experience (yes, I’m talking about you, BC Hot Lips and Eagle).  Thankfully, the folks out at High Tower Armory (HTA) in Minnesota seem to have done a good thing with their new RM-25 magazine.

The RM-25 appears to be the solution to the reduced-capacity problem of the standard factory magazine and the reliability issues with some aftermarket offerings.  And while, yes, Ruger may have abandoned their namesake’s ideology and produced higher capacity BX-series magazines, HTA didn’t stop there – they also brought some welcome additions to the table.  

What Makes the HTA RM-25 Different?

IMG_6741One of the first things you will notice when looking at the 25-round capacity RM-25 is that it has windows.  These windows allow you know how close you are to being done loading the magazine as well as how close you are to running dry.  Unless you find yourself, for some reason, using your 10/22 in some sort of tactical situation, the former might be have the slight edge for practicality.  The HTA magazine has graduations along the windows at 5-round intervals, marked by the high visibility orange follower, to let you know how you are doing on your round count.  We did note that the asymmetric design of the follower allows for enough follower movement for the count to be off by about ¾ of a round on one side – about the only thing we could come up with to complain about.  Rest easy knowing that the other side lines up perfectly with the indications.

IMG_6743A feature that might be missed at first glance, however, is that the RM-25 disassembles without the use of any tools.  .22LR is often, by nature, dirty ammo and just about all semi-auto .22s are blowback operated, so crud can have a tendency to get into the magazine.  If you have spent much time using and servicing 10/22s, you might know that disassembling the magazines ranges from tedious, at best, to impossible.  The RM-25 disassembles much like many other (non-10/22) magazines do, by pressing a detent on the bottom and sliding off the floor plate.  Once the floor plate is removed, the two halves can be split and we can take a peek inside.

IMG_6748Once split, the RM-25 looks a lot like many other 10/22 magazines in this capacity range.  There’s a spring, a follower, a channel for the rounds to ride in, and a weird little orange thing up in the corner.  Wait a second… most magazines don’t come with a weird little orange thing up in the corner.  With the floor plate removed, the windows on both sides of the magazine can be slid out of the mag body.  Then, the high visibility orange pin that serves as the round count indicator can be taken out and replaced with a slightly longer version (the weird orange thing) that allows the ends to protrude through the window openings.  Viola:  finger assisted loading.  If you are a fellow shooter who enjoys shooting a few hundred, if not thousands of .22LR rounds in a weekend of plinking, you will likely appreciate this feature.

IMG_6744On the outside, another noticeable feature is the feed lips.  In our experience, the majority of the problems we have seen with lower-quality aftermarket 10/22 magazines stem from issues with the feed lips – either because they are constructed from cheaper materials like plastic, they have some odd-ball shape different from Ruger magazines, or both.  The HTA RM-25 feed lips have the factory profile and are not only constructed from steel, but are also nitride treated – a QPQ process that imparts such benefits as increased wear resistance, lubricity, and corrosion resistance.  Sounds like a good idea for a part that is going to have rounds fed into and stripped out of it and live near the dirty, violent end of a blowback operated firearm.

So, How Does it Perform?

HTAchargerOut of the package, the HTA RM-25 looked pretty swell.  It is available in a number of colors to suit just about any build, whether it is in your own stock or one of HTA’s PS90-inspired 90/22 bullpup stocks.  It looks and feels sturdy and well built and the fitment of everything was clean without any gaps, wobbles, or rattles.

Takedown is easy, although describing it as completely “tool-less” might be somewhat of a misnomer, as the floor plate detent is a bit recessed within the narrow detent hole.  Taking it apart is easier than a Glock magazine but marginally more difficult than a Walther P22 magazine, although I didn’t have any problem finding an improvised takedown tool.  Once the floor plate was removed, splitting the halves is easy, although one should proceed slowly their first time to pay attention to how the follower sits in the channel and how the halves rock out of the feed lips.  The window covers slide right out and appear to be identical, so keeping track of which is which is a non-issue.

IMG_6752I can speak from experience that if you load up the mag and decide not shoot it, you should probably go ahead and strip them out one-by-one instead of taking the magazine apart to get them out “the quick way.”  On the plus side, we also found out that reassembling the magazine from all of its constituent parts is pretty easy and none of them are so small that they can’t easily be found.

The alternate follower guide, which acts as the finger-assisted loading pegs as well as the round count indicator, stores nicely and securely in its cubby hole at the top of the magazine.  On the unit that we tested, the shorter piece (used when the windows are installed) stores slightly less securely, which allowed for a slight rattle.  Loading the magazine is smooth and easy using either method.

Through hundreds rounds of Winchester, Remington, Federal, and CCI ammo in a Bentz chambered 10/22 rifle and a stock Charger, we experienced only two malfunctions.  Both stoppages were stovepipes and both were on the first magazine being fired after taking it out of the packaging.  After that, it ran like a top in slow fire, fast fire, suppressed fire, unsuppressed fire and just about every other type of firing that we could muster.  After getting everything good and dirty at the range, the feed lips cleaned right up and looked as good as new.  Granted, looking good after a few hundred rounds is not the same as holding up over the years, but we saw no wear points and the construction looks solid enough that we think the HTA offering is a good addition to the aftermarket 10/22 accessory field.

 

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