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Old January 27, 2013, 05:14 PM   #1
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Magazine retention (Browning BDA .45)

I saw the poll in the semiauto pistol forum, and it made me think about my Browning BDA .45. Basically, this is a SIG P220 Euro with Browning markings. It has the European-style heel mounted mag release.

Even when the catch is opened, the magazines stay put pretty tight. I assume that this pistol has some feature designed for magazine retention. Can anyone confirm this is the case? If this is a feature, can it be removed? I'd like the mags to move a bit more freely.

Thanks for any help!
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Old January 28, 2013, 12:41 PM   #2
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The magazine safety is probably holding the magazine pretty well.
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Old January 28, 2013, 07:48 PM   #3
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I posed this question on another forum, where a member pointed out that the latch is driven by the mainspring, and it presses against the mag. I took the grip panels off to take a look at what is really going on with the release, and sure enough he is right.

The heel-mounted latch does press against the back of the mags, so there is always friction. "How much friction?" you may ask. Enough that I can hold the pistol upside down by the unlatched mag, and it doesn't move. Retentive, indeed!

I had not previously noticed that the latch was driven by the mainspring. Now I am wondering if a spring swap will make both trigger pull and mag removal a bit easier.

I should have looked before I posted, but the internet was closer than my screwdriver set.

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Old February 1, 2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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I have a BDA.45, bought new in 1980. Mags are "retained" by friction, the mag catch presses on the spine of the mag as you pull it out. And that is the only way to remove the magazine, to pull it out. The gun does not have (and cannot easily be made to have) a drop free magazine.

This is common with a lot of European designed guns. Absolute max speed of a mag change was not the priority of the designers. On the other hand, it is virtually impossible to have your gun put out of action due to the mag catch being bumped and the mag dropping out.
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Old February 1, 2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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A BDA period IPSC shooter developed a reload that was not a whole lot slower than a Luger button*.

He hooked the exposed front of the magazine floorplate with his left forefinger, thumbed the latch, and PULLED. Then inserted a fresh magazine. He said he did have to walk a ways to get his mag back, the vigorous pull tended to fling it.

*If you look at the old guns, you will see that the first side button magazine catch on a mass production pistol was on the Luger, ca 1900. Early Colt/Browning designs had heel catches.
I have never seen it documented but would not doubt but what the Army liked the Luger arrangement and passed the word on to Colt between 1907 and 1909. Those being the prototypes that bracketed the change.
So the "American" magazine catch originated in Germany, and the "European" magazine catch was in common usage in the USA. Kind of like Boxer and Berdan primers, a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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The magazine safety is probably holding the magazine pretty well.
Browning BDA 45's do not have magazine safety, maybe you're thinking of the Hi-Power.
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Old February 15, 2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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I think (I know, thinking is dangerous - wears out the brain) that the first pushbutton magazine catch was on the Borchardt, so it was natural to carry it over to the Luger. I believe also that the Borchardt (1893) was the first pistol to have a detachable magazine, and to have the magazine in the grip.

Drop free really wouldn't work too well with a heel type of mag catch anyway, since the hand would be in the way of the magazine.

The normal way of removal is as Jim Watson says, activate the catch with the thumb and pull the magazine out with the fingers. The problem, from a fast reload point of view, is that with drop-free magazines, the off hand can be reaching for another magazine while the first drops free.

FWIW, the Borchardt/Luger magazine catch may not have been the only idea Browning got from that source. Up to about 1904, all Browning's cartridge designs were semi-rimmed, the result of reducing the rims of revolver cartridges to a minimum in order to work through a magazine. But around that time, Luger came to the U.S. with his 9mm pistol and a cartridge that was rimless and was supported on the case mouth. Browning's next cartridges, the .45 ACP and the .380 ACP, were rimless. But he did Luger one better and made those cartridges straight cased, better for feeding than the tapered Luger cartridge.

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