Magazine Springs if Kept Loaded?


May 26, 2011, 06:38 PM
I've got a small .380 pistol I don't shoot anymore sitting loaded, bullet in the chamber, next to my bed.

Will keeping the magazine spring compressed like that drastically shorten its life?

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May 26, 2011, 06:46 PM

May 26, 2011, 07:28 PM
Leaving your magazines loaded won't hurt them. I have some 1911 mags that were given to me by a retired Army Major in the early 1970s. They’ve been loaded constantly since 1972 and they work fine. Sometimes I don't use them for years at a time. They always work and I always reload them and put them away.

We often hear that springs get worn out when mags are loaded and unloaded. I think that’s a firearms "urban legend".

I collect vintage trumpets and cornets. Some of my horns are 90-110 years old. The valve springs on the professional models have been cycled, literally, hundreds of thousands of times. One trumpet, a 1908 King "Master", was owned by a professional jazz player who wore the valves to the point where they leaked badly. When I bought it from him, he told me he'd replaced the felt and cork spacers several times, but the springs were original.

If they made springs that good over a century ago, I wouldn't worry about your magazine springs.

May 26, 2011, 07:48 PM
If the spring was made from high quality spring steel and correctly tempered it will not weaken it to keep it under compression as long as it is not being compressed past its design limits (like it is in most 17 round double stack magazines). If it's a cheaply made spring then there is no way to tell how long it will last before weakening. How do you know which kind of spring you have? - you don't unless you replaced it with a known quality spring from Wolff or ISMI. Don't be tempted to take a spring out and "stretch it" in an attempt to bring it back to life (many guys will tell you to do this), it will ruin the temper of the spring. In the earlier part of the 20th century there were very few "cheap" springs being used in mechanical devices. Companies were proud of their reputation and built things to last a lifetime. Unfortunately today everything is "disposable" , it dosn't have to last, it just has to sell and as a result the good stuff is a little harder to find and costs a bit more. It has been a practice for many years by guys who have actually seen springs fail to download a magazine by 1 or 2 rounds if it's going to be stored for long term and some will say it's unnecessary but it can make the difference between having a gun with less rounds that feeds 100% and having a gun with more rounds but problems feeding the entire mag. So many people now want a high capacity gun and can't understand why they can't stuff it full and forget about it for months. Buy good springs and don't overstress them.

May 26, 2011, 08:42 PM
Ive always been told that loading and reloading weakens the springs, keeping them loaded wont do a thing...

May 26, 2011, 08:44 PM
Ive always been told that loading and reloading weakens the springs, keeping them loaded wont do a thing...

This. Springs weaken by repeated compressions and decompressions. The length of a single compression isn't really a factor in wearing the spring down.

You can leave your gun loaded for as long as you wish with no ill effects.

May 26, 2011, 08:57 PM
'Course, the act of shooting and reloading will weaken the spring eventually.

May 26, 2011, 09:29 PM
Practice shooting with your pistol. Practice makes perfect and keeps your ammo fresh. The springs are the least of your worries and cheap to replace for your heirs in the next generation when they wear out.

May 26, 2011, 11:28 PM

and this

of which there is a lot of referenced sources.

Short answer is not 'drastically' but some will occur. Its an overall design dependant issue.

May 26, 2011, 11:34 PM
It seems like too trivial an issue to worry about. Just spend a few bucks on some spare mag springs if you're concerned about them failing. I think it's sensible to have spares of common wear parts for any gun that you use a lot.

May 26, 2011, 11:43 PM
It's an old wives tale of shooting.

Spring compression will not hurt the spring.

May 27, 2011, 03:03 AM
The magazines for my Browning High Power have been fully loaded ever since I bought it back in 1966. The still worked fine last week.

May 27, 2011, 05:38 AM
My 1911 mag springs all seemed to poop out. 2 original Springfield mags and 2 Colt mags. I just put new 11 lb wolf springs in all of them because I was getting double feeds toward the end of the mag.

We'll see if it helps.

Anyway, I keep the mags loaded, but I also have maybe 2000 rounds through the gun, plus factor in several dozen manual load/unload cycles. Who knows what played a role in them weakening. Stuff wears out and springs are cheap and easy to replace.


May 27, 2011, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the info. To explain, I was asking for two reasons:
1) Went shooting with a friend who, admittedly, doesn't take good care of his equipment. He kept getting FTF because his mag springs were really weak especially when the mag was nearly empty. He claimed it was because he left the mags loaded, but I think it was just dirt in the mag or really old springs.

2) The company that makes my bedside gun might go out of business due to lawsuits. I was trying to figure out if I should stock up on springs/magazines.

Of course, I could just use my range gun as my bedside gun, but I'd always forget to put it back (I use my range gun a lot, but only shoot my bedside gun once every 3 months or so.)

May 27, 2011, 05:51 PM
I’ve always been told that loading and reloading weakens the springs, keeping them loaded won’t do a thing...

Springs weaken by repeated compressions and decompressions.

Nope. Read post #41 in the link referenced above.

May 27, 2011, 10:05 PM
It's not an old wives tale, I have seen it happen. But about 50% of the spring failure is how much compression the spring was under for how long and the other 50% is what they made the spring out of and well they tempered it. There's really good ones and really bad ones out there. Don't ignore your springs and assume they'll never let you down. They absolutely can. All of the guys who swear they've never seen one fail simply haven't seen it. Yet.

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