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Ask the Gunsmith

How to Remove a Stuck Magazine Cap

by Reid Coffield   |  August 29th, 2011 4

Shotgun Magazine Cap

If you don't want to spring for the pliers, you can clamp the cap in a vise and turn the gun. You can see the padded jaws easily grasp the magazine cap with no damage to metal or finish.

Question: I’ve run into a number of pump and semi auto shotguns with magazine caps that are extremely tight. How can I remove them quickly and easily without damage? I don’t want to use any pliers or tools that will ruin or mar the knurling or finish on the magazine caps.

Answer: There are a couple of ways you can approach this problem. You definitely don’t want to use regular pliers with serrated steel jaws as that will definitely damage the magazine caps. Goodness knows you see a lot of older shotguns with scarred, beat up magazine caps where someone used the wrong tool to try to take m off.

The best solution is to use Brownells Magazine Tube/Cap Pliers. These are pliers with special curved cushioned jaws. The cushions are made of a tough plastic that last forever or so it seems. The pliers I own have been in use for many years and I have yet to replace the cushioned jaws. These pliers sell for less than $40 and are well worth the price.

The other option is just to place the magazine cap between the padded jaws of your vise and then turn the gun. When I do it this way, I use vise jaw inserts that are covered with leather. It works like a champ!

Gunsmithing Pliers

The Magazine Tube/Cap Pliers have padded jaws to prevent damage to knurled or blued magazine caps. Don't just grab these with your channel locks or youíll scar the cap for good.

  • Tom

    The tool is called a cannon plug pliers. I have used one in the aviation industry for many years.

  • P Becher

    These soft jaw round pliers are actually electronic connector back-shell pliers. They are normally used to tighten / loosen a round multi-pin connectors back-shell and cable clamp assemblies to the electronics connector /pin assembly.

  • Alan

    I've run into this in the field, and found that wrapping a leather belt, grain side to the cap, then gripping the cap with thumb and index finger while the other three grip the ends of the belt can put a lot more torque on the cap without damaging the knurling.

  • Don

    Channel Locks with thick leather epoxyed to the jaws works great as well. I have a pair I made up using a piece of scrap leather that I use for the same application as well as the lock nut/ring on AR free float tubes or anywhere a soft jaw is required. Pliers from bin at pawn shop $5 + free scrap leather + $5 for epoxy (I already had) = Priceless Tool.

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