keeping mags loaded?


January 18, 2008, 10:47 PM
Is there any harm in keeping mags loaded?? I have a bunch of AR mags and was thinking about keeping them loaded up.. Is there any down side to it??

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Hands of blue
January 18, 2008, 10:53 PM
It is my understanding that it is fine. It is the cycling of compressing the spring then uncompressing the spring that weakens them.

January 18, 2008, 10:53 PM
I've heard a lot of people talk about compressed springs, but I've kept mags loaded for long periods and shot them with no problem. Problem is you won't really notice until it causes a problem and then it's too late. Just to be safe, I usually rotate out mags and keep 4 or 5 full at all times. They aren't that expensive to stock up on and I can't imagine how bad of a SHTF situation I would be in that I would need more than 5 full mags for each of my rifles (and most of my pistols). Those are the first to get burned during the next range session and I'll let it cool while I load more or just load them all up prior to going to the range.

January 18, 2008, 11:01 PM
no down side

1200 meters
January 18, 2008, 11:07 PM
Keeping Magizines loaded for moderate time periods is O.k. , butduring combat we unloaded cleaned and reloade weekly (unless of course you "unloaded" in a fire fight Monthly wouldn't be bad. I'd be hesitant to keep the springs compressed for months at a time. We cut Beretta mag springs in half and wove then into other magizines because we were having the first rounds stove pipe to frequently after jumping or running. Things with some impact. after the additional piece of spring thatdidn't happen any more. blitz

January 18, 2008, 11:35 PM
There have been numerous stories of magazines left loaded for 50+ years, that functioned perfectly.

Once a spring is compressed, nothing is going on with it metallurgically until it moves again (assuming normal temperatures).

There really should be a sticky about this.

January 18, 2008, 11:37 PM
It's the compression and expansion that wears springs Recently in Germany some renovations of an old building were being done and some old WW2 MP-40 mags were found, loaded. The springs worked just fine. All they did for @60 years was sit in a closed off building ....

January 19, 2008, 12:10 AM
It is more a matter of physics and engineering than opinion... That is, if you trust those guys. (Some people are still havin a hard time grasping this whole gravity thing)

Springs, by design, fatigue from a number of things... The only example that is relevant in mag springs, is cyclic loading. Unless you let your spring rust like crazy.... A spring under a static load is not "working"... They are not fatiguing while sitting loaded. You actually fatigue them more by rotating them out.

January 19, 2008, 12:53 AM
I keep 2 or 3 per weapon, but not topped off, if it's a 12-15 round mag, I keep 9 or 10 in it. This has no scientific foundation, it just seemed like it would be a good idea, so far so good, and I have mags loaded that way for 10 years, still work ok. I keep one in the gun, and one next to it, in my safe, if I need to grab one, I know it's loaded and I have a second mag ready.

January 19, 2008, 01:50 AM
I keep all of my AR mags fully loaded at all times. I've never had a problem with any of them.

January 19, 2008, 06:32 AM
leave em loaded no issues.

Claude Clay
January 19, 2008, 10:29 AM
+1 just seems less stressful this way.

January 19, 2008, 12:08 PM
springs only do work when they are moving, and that is when they get fatigue. you can't hurt them by leaving them compressed.

however, they can still collect dust inside them. and sometimes corrode. so I am inclined to periodically unload them, clean them, oil them, and reload. sometimes I unload them at the range by just shooting them.

i don't keep all that many mags loaded anyway. not convinced I need them all loaded.

Green Lantern
January 19, 2008, 12:30 PM
Thanks, this is one of those questions that I needed answered as well.

I suppose that naturally what applies to AR and pistol mags also applies to shotgun mag tubes?

I don't think I'll go and load ALL my mags, but I may load up a few "just in case." ;)

January 19, 2008, 12:34 PM

1200 meters
January 20, 2008, 03:10 PM
Guys an unloaded spring is not working and thesly not being strained. Loading put stress on the spring material. the stress in in the form of resisted energy. Notice it gets tougher to get the last couple of rounds into the magizine (greater force is required). The spring stays stressed as long as it is loaded an will accomidate or grow weaker with time. Stress over time = fatique. Intermitant stress over time = fatique, just takes longer.

January 20, 2008, 03:26 PM
The correct answer is available on THR but it's not as simple as "yes" or "no" and it doesn't appear on this thread.

January 20, 2008, 03:45 PM
For your reading enjoyment:

January 20, 2008, 11:49 PM
In my experience, the things people learn from their basic science classes are worse than useless because of all the simplifications, conditions and assumptions placed on the problems to make them tractable. What they learn doesn't mirror the real world because they forget all the caveats and only remember the answer. IDEAL springs don't weaken from being left compressed. In the real world, springs are not ideal since they're not manufactured perfectly or of perfect materials and they also have limits on how far they can be compressed or stretched before they begin to weaken.

Leaving good quality springs compressed won't hurt them if they're not "over-compressed". I have never heard of any problems with decent quality single-stack mags but it's not unheard of for double-stack magazine designers to overcompress their springs in an attempt to boost their capacity specs. Wolff Gunsprings has a good answer to this question on their FAQ. Even with the double-stacks this seems to have become much less common.

If you notice your mag springs weaken from being left loaded for long periods (you do check them periodically, right?) then replace them with high-quality springs. If they weaken again, replace the springs again and leave the mags underloaded by a round or two.

January 21, 2008, 09:09 AM
All springs are not created the same.
All springs are not used the same.

Know YOUR springs and realize that mine may not be like yours.

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