Thanks to those who supplied expertise. The trouble is solved as far as I can tell, and it took:1) a brand new magazine spring from Numrich Arms, and 2) a brand new follower, likewise.
I was frankly *amazed* at the difference between the old spring, and the new one. I was able to install the old one without hardly blinking twice, the new one was like trying to stuff a snake into a keyhole. I finally hit on the idea of slipping a long thin piece of round stock down the center of the spring to keep it from kinking up as it was fed in.
Clearly the old follower was not the correct one for this gun, the new one was much larger in diameter on the pusher side, and is not designed to extend out into the elevator mechanism in the gun.
Because I did not want to load up a bunch of live rounds to test the feeding, I machined up four aluminum dummy .22 rounds, that was most of the time spend on this project.
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