Sunday, December 9, 2012

High Standard Speed Loader

High Standard speed loader

Recently I spent a day at the shooting range with my wife.  She had a fun time shooting a couple hundred rounds through a .22 High Standard Supermatic Trophy pistol.  But we probably spent more time reloading the magazines than shooting.  And holding that little follower button down on the magazine became uncomfortable pretty quickly.

Volquartsen MagLatch for Ruger MK pistols

A day or two later I came across this MagLatch for the Ruger MK pistols from Volquartsen.  Since the Ruger magazine is similar to the High Standard, I figured I could make one to fit the High Standard magazines.  Of course I could have machined one out of nylon but I have been looking for projects for a supply of ShapeLock that I have.  This seemed like a good one.


ShapeLock is an ultra-high molecular weight low temperature thermoplastic.  What that means is when it gets hot it becomes very pliable, almost like clay.  But when it cools and sets it is a very hard plastic, almost like high density polyethylene (i.e. plastic cutting boards).  It is great for quickly making prototypes, molds, tooling, custom parts, joints, mounts, etc.

Disassembled the magazine
I started by disassembling and cleaning the magazine.  Then I reassembled the magazine without the spring.  I didn't want the spring tension to work against the ShapeLock as it set.  I wedged a little piece of plastic in between the magazine and follower to hold the follower in place.

Magazine without spring.
Everything ready
Next, I nuked a mug of water taking it up to about 170 degrees F.  You are supposed to have the water at 150 degrees, but the water cools pretty quickly when you add the ShapeLock.  A small hot plate kept the temperature up while I worked.  The ShapeLock was placed in a small strainer and submerged in the mug.  In hindsight, the mug was too small for the amount of ShapeLock I was using.  I had to keep kneading and re-submerging the ShapeLock to get it thoroughly heated.  If I were doing it over, I would have used a much larger bowl of water.

Warm ShapeLock wrapped around magazine
Once it was heated, I kneaded it into a disc about 1 cm thick.  Then I wrapped the disc around the magazine and squished it in place.  I held it for about a minute until it started to set.  Then I let it cool for about 10 minutes.  By then it was holding it's shape, but it was still easy to cut.  So I started removing excess material with a utility knife.  Once it got harder to cut I used a scalpel that I heated with a torch to melt through the ShapeLock as I cut.  Be sure to save all of the trimmings.  They can be reused later.  After a bit of cutting and shaping, I installed it on the magazine.  It fit!  Looks like this thing might work after all.

Rough cutting

Test fit.  It works!

The final step was making this unsightly hunk of plastic look presentable.  I cut it down to size on my scroll saw.  I used a relatively course wood blade at the slowest speed.  Then I smoothed it up on the belt sander.  It sands OK if you keep the pressure low and let it cool every so often.  I removed any last bits with a high speed cutter in my Dremel tool.

It looks much better in person than it does in these pictures.  More important, it works perfectly!  Slide it on, lock it in place, and just drop your ammo in.  No more sore thumbs!

Update:  I have made a commercial version of this.  It is available here.  Full details in this blog post.


  1. you need to make one of these for the sport king

    1. I'll make you a deal. You loan me a Sport King magazine and I will design one for it just like this When I send the magazine back to you, I'll send the ThumbSaver with it for free. Email me if you are interested