December 2, 2021

Podavach U-Loader Review: Speed-Loading .308/7.62 AR Mags


I can remember the joy of opening a new bulk can of rifle ammo being quickly replaced by sore thumbs and much of my range time spent stuffing those rounds into magazines. The ability to load magazines using nothing but the digits that God gave us is an important skill to maintain – but that doesn’t mean we have to punish ourselves!

Podavach U-Loader review
Podavach now makes a U-Loader specifically for .308 (7.62x51mm).

Magazine loading devices have been catching on in recent years, and new innovations continue to appear. Today, I review the Podavach U-Loader.

Across the Pond

The Ukrainian company, Podavach, uses a slightly different approach to the problem than others do, and their take on magazine loading results in what might be the fastest way to load up to 25 rounds of 7.62×51 (.308) that I’ve ever seen. It is certainly the fastest that I’ve used.

308 Ammo
Thumbing in the large .308 Win. rounds into a magazine can get old quickly. Looking for a way to speed up the process?

The ingenuity lies in the simplicity. Podavach introduced its original U-Loader a few years ago to accommodate small rifle rounds, such the common 5.56mm and 7.62x39mm fare. I have some experience using that tool for multiple calibers, and it is an essential part of a day at the range with my rifles.

308 magazine with ammo
Podavach now makes it easy to get large rifle cartridges in .308 quickly into the magazine.

The loader is constructed of strong plywood, nicely rounded, smoothed and finished. The original multi-caliber U-Loader includes a small tray that one can simply dump the rounds into from the boxes and then easily organize and feed them into the grooved loading track.

Using the U-Loader
The first step in using the Podavach U-Loader is to fill the tray with properly aligned ammunition.

The track is curved to ensure that the rounds are not going to bind as they are forced into the magazine, and this allows them to maintain that same orientation into the magazine box. The mechanism for loading the rounds is a square wooden pusher, used with good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Magazines are held in place by precision-cut grooves in the loader, and the user pushes them in while holding pressure downward to prevent excess movement. It all sounds more complex that it really is – and after doing it twice you find you’re an expert.

Podavach U-Loader loading ammo into magazine
The second step is to, with one fluid push, slide all the rounds into the magazine.

Pro Tip: Load the magazine with one strong, fluid push. If you stop halfway, or push too slowly there is a greater chance that the rounds will bind.

Stepping Up

After using the U-Loader for 5.56mm (AR), 7.62x39mm (AK) and .300 Blackout rounds for some time, I found myself wishing to have one for 7.62x51mm – you know, the beloved .308 round. Podavach has answered that wish and now makes the U-Loader specifically for that full-sized cartridge.

Magazines loaded with .308 ammo
These magazines were loaded very quickly using the Podavach U-Loader.

The .308 loader is more abbreviated without the tray area, which makes it even easier to stow in your rifle or range bag. It uses the identical method of loading and includes the pusher that is cleverly held in place with magnets. It is a breeze to use, and I found myself relying on it while at the range with my .308 SAINT Victor.

Conclusion

With the U-Loader, you can bring your can of military surplus M60 and dozens of magazines, spend a few minutes loading them, and then shoot all day long. And if you let the folks around you use it, you will probably be the most popular guy at the range! And best of all, you’ll save your thumbs so that they are not too sore to boast and brag about your range day on social media.

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