How long will mag springs last loaded?


Rollo Tamasey
May 1, 2007, 10:59 PM
Has anyone left a magazine loaded for a long time and then had the spring loose its spring. If so how long have you left it loaded and what kind of gun was it for?

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May 1, 2007, 11:28 PM
I have a MAB model D in .32 ACP that I always kept the magazine loaded in its police holster in my bedside table. I kept the mag always loaded for a little less than a year and I sure noticed a lack of springiness for lack of a better word. It still works fine but when I close the slide on the first round, sometimes the bullets angle jams the slide. I just have to make sure I give the magazie a good tap before loading and it usually works fine.

May 1, 2007, 11:33 PM
Good quality springs lose their "spring" from use, not compression. In other words, load them and don't worry about it.

May 1, 2007, 11:37 PM
Has anyone left a magazine loaded for a long time and then had the spring loose its spring. If so how long have you left it loaded and what kind of gun was it for?
Yes. Glock 7, 9mm. The special graphite-polymer springs were utter crap.

1 old 0311
May 2, 2007, 06:05 AM
Jeff Cooper wrote that he loaded a .45, went off to WW2, and four years later was still fine.

May 2, 2007, 10:20 AM
Go to the Seecamp sight and read their FAQ - pretty funny actually.

Among other comments, he points out that automobile springs don't "set" just because the car is compressing them in the parking lot. It's the flexing of springs that causes wear.

May 2, 2007, 10:25 AM
They last until they corrode too much to function.

May 2, 2007, 10:43 AM
there were several "test" done in 1995 on Colt mod.1911A service pistols that were loaded in WW II and left alone.all functioned and went "bang" seven times. other posters are right,compression of a spring doesn't hurt it. jwr

May 2, 2007, 11:53 AM
Another one of those once-a-month questions for which there isn't any answer likely to suit everyone.

I've asked this same question in more than a dozen armorer's classes over the years.

I've asked it of factory technicians.

I've asked it of a couple of spring vendors, one of whom is a major manufacturer of springs.

I've asked it of many other LE firearms instructors and armorers.

It does to seem to vary a bit from single column to staggered types, and somwhat among different designs, models and calibers.

Nothing really definitive has ever really been forthcoming.

They'll last until they become too weakened to provide for consistent desirable feeding and functioning.

Your experiences may vary.

I've seen some exhibit obvious signs of becoming too weakened for optimal consistent functioning within a rather short time, and then I've seen them last a surprisingly long time ... under similar conditions of having been left fully loaded ... and everything in between.

I've listened to other armorers discuss similar variable experiences.

I've heard it recommended by firearms manufacturers & LE armorer instructors that they should be changed whenever they start to feel like they're losing tension, or after a recommended service life (tracked by either rounds fired and/or time left fully loaded).

Not all springs are made of the same materials, or in the same manner, or intended to function under the same conditions or in the same manner.

Some springs are expensive, and some less expensive.

Specifications can vary, depending on the desires of the customer, even when the springs are made for the same purpose.

If a vendor ships a container of 10,000 springs, there may be some variation if springs are selected at random and tested to see how well they may meet the requested specifications.

Experts can disagree with each other.

I replace my magazine springs on a preventive maintenance basis nowadays, which can admittedly vary from one platform (including design, size, etc.) and caliber to another.

Predictable is preventable, to some extent, from a risk management perspective.

Folks will generally do as they wish, for whatever reasons, real or imagined.

May 2, 2007, 06:11 PM
Theoretically I say it could happen, practically maybe not. A lot depends on how highly stressed the springs are in the fully compressed state. Some metals can exhibit what's called "stress corrosion cracking". Kind of like fatigue failure, but without the cycling of load. Basically the stress on the part can cause microscopic fractures to form around grain boundaries or small irregularities in the metal (which ALL metal has, even mirror polished surfaces).

Another related parameter is called "creep" in materials in which they can slowly deform over time under a load. I don't think a car spring analogy is very accurate. I believe fully loaded mag springs tend to have a much larger percentage of deflection from a resting state than an average car spring. This should mean the actual mag spring coils are more highly stressed than a car spring (even though the car spring is carrying a much higher weight)

Zach S
May 2, 2007, 06:12 PM
My P14 magsprings dont last if I load to 14 rounds, but do fine at 13. Those are the only ones I have wore out by leaving them loaded.

I mentioned this in a recent thread, but I have a Randall magazine that came with the AMT hardballer I got about six years ago. I dont use it, but do find it occasionaly and toss it in my rangbag when I do. Next visit to the range, I run a box of shells though it. I get home, lose the mag, and do it over again when I find it again.

The mag has been loaded since I got the pistol, and Randall went out of business in 83 or so. The mag has never failed.

May 2, 2007, 06:17 PM
What breaks springs is everyday unload and load up in the next morning.
I left a HK USP .45 12 round magazine lay around for 4 years and it worked without any problem.

May 2, 2007, 07:18 PM
According to my gigantic University Physics textbook-cum-body armor, springs can pretty much last indefninitely unless streched beyond their mechanical limits (kinda like how once you bend a piece of slinky wire, you can't really ever get it to sit flat again).

The springs in your car are made from pretty much the same material as the springs in your gun. They operate hundreds of thousands (millions?) of times per day and last for decades.

Neither normal use (loading and unloading) nor extended compression will cause springs to wear out.

Now, you could have a lemon spring that gives out quickly, or one with poor metallurgical properties (many cheap springs are not properly made or treated for long life), but in general springs made by a quality manufacturer will last for the life of your firearm barring any serious issues like being exposed to high heat, being physically streched beyond their limits and being deformed, or a few other conditions.

Steve C
May 2, 2007, 07:59 PM
I had a surplus GI Colt 45 standard 7round magazine loaded with Speer 200gr JHP (flying ashtray) ammo that spent 10 years in my vehicles glove box. When I sold the vehicle I tossed all the stuff from the glove box into a shoe box and it resided there for another 6 years as I had changed my vehicle gun to a .357 mag. When I came across it again I took it too the range and every round fed and fired perfectly. It even locked back the slide on my Colt Commander. the magazine is still in use and function perfectly to this day 12 years later.

From my experience I'd say that a single column magazine spring pretty much lasts a lifetime.

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