One Less Round in The Magazine


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Random Discharge
October 21, 2011, 07:51 AM
OK, we've had the N+1 capacity thread. But does anyone under load their semi-auto magazines (N-1) to prevent magazine spring setting in weapons whose primary job is to sit around loaded for long periods of time?

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1911Tuner
October 21, 2011, 08:04 AM
No. All springs take a certain amount of set after some use. It's assumed and factored in. Springs wear out from repeated cycling...not from being fully compressed. This is assuming a good spring and not over-compressing it.

In 1991, I had occasion to examine a 1911 pistol that had been stored loaded and in Condition One in an attic for over 60 years. When I test-fired the gun...it functioned just fine.

Drail
October 21, 2011, 08:28 AM
Pay particular attention to the statement "assuming a good spring and not over-compressing it". Unfortunately there are a number of magazines out there utilizing not so great springs and compressing them right at the limit of design limits or slightly beyond. (the ones that require you to use a tool to stuff the last 3 rounds in) A 7 round single stack mag using a quality spring working within its limits will continue to work as designed for many years left loaded. My experience has been that an 8 round mag spring that is only loaded with 7 rounds takes a very long time to wear out (left unloaded or cycled many times.)

Lawdawg45
October 21, 2011, 10:25 AM
"OK, we've had the N+1 capacity thread. But does anyone under load their semi-auto magazines (N-1) to prevent magazine spring setting in weapons whose primary job is to sit around loaded for long periods of time?"

Yes. My son's department here in Indy (IMPD) allows one less round in all 3 Glock models approved for on duty carry, although the required 2 spare magazines must be fully loaded.

LD

Dogguy
October 21, 2011, 10:37 AM
"Loading down" a round or two in hi-cap magazines has been recommended by numerous sources. So has rotating magazines. You'll get responses from some people on this forum who are pretty dogmatic about what will wear out a magazine faster. Frankly, I don't think it matters a whole lot whether you load down, rotate or keep them fully loaded. Springs will wear over time and need to be replaced eventually.

Personally, I don't load down but I do rotate magazines in my carry guns.

Drail
October 21, 2011, 10:46 AM
I think part of the problem here is that everyone uses the term "springs" as if they were all the same. "Springs" will do this - "springs" won't do this. Just try to consider that they are not all made to some universal specification and they all behave the same. Trust me, there are good ones and lousy ones. Do you know for sure which kind are in your magazine? Really?:scrutiny: Why take a chance?

TexasRifleman
October 21, 2011, 10:52 AM
Magazines are disposable items. Load it up full and replace the springs every couple of years if you want, they are super cheap.

You want to carry a gun for self defense then handicap yourself by putting less ammo in it that it's designed to carry? Doesn't make sense to me but whatever....

I have 3 magazines I use for carry, that stay loaded all the time. I replace the springs in the mags when I replace the recoil and firing pin springs. Paranoid? Probably, but I'm certainly not going to put less ammo in my carry gun to save a $8 spring....

MikeNice
October 21, 2011, 03:10 PM
I carry -1 as the OP put it. I have found that my CZ P-07 mag spring tends to wear out faster than I am comfortable with. I have had one of the original mags replaced and will be sending the other back shortly. Once the magazine fails to hold the slide open even occasionally I find it bothersome and a sign of potential failure.

As another poster mentioned I find that those thumb breaking magazines wear out faster. With my CZ it takes considerably more pressure from round 11 through 13. Rounds 14 and 15 are hard. The last round is nearly impossible for the first dozen cycles. My friend had a similar problem with a Spiringfield XD. The one magazine he had that was similar to my CZ mag gave up the ghost after about thirty cycles. It wouldn't properly feed the last three rounds.

I think it is better to go -1 with some magazines. If that limits you to a round count you are uncomfortable with consider a new magazine or a new gun.

Pyro
October 21, 2011, 05:42 PM
From what I've seen a spring will break before it loses its "springiness".

ForumSurfer
October 21, 2011, 05:56 PM
Here's my procedure:

1. Load to n+1
2. Shoot the darn thing
3. Does it fail?
3.a. Yes...downgrade to n-1. Return to step 2.
3.b. No...Repeat steps above over and over
4. Replace mag springs at manufacturer's suggested times.

Don't over-think it. It is a mag spring. You need to replace them eventually, anyway. I've got a boatload of different mag types at home, none of them fail prematurely due to n+whatever. Most (I try to keep them all fully loaded, especially handguns) stay loaded constantly to make spur of the moment range trips easier and quicker, except for aluminum gi ar-15 mags...they stay empty for fear of spreading the feed lips.

Carl N. Brown
October 21, 2011, 06:25 PM
If I underload it is to avoid damage to feed lips, not to springs. See no need to underload a standard 7 shot 1911 magazine.

rcmodel
October 21, 2011, 06:34 PM
Yes & no.

My 1911 7-round mags remain fully loaded and have been since sometime in the early 1960's.
Same with my S&W and SIG single-stack mags.
You can't hurt them by leaving them fully loaded.

Actually using them is what wears out the springs.

My Glock 23 mags are down loaded one or two rounds, because Glock mags are badly over-compressed when fully loaded.
The same probably applies to other brands of double-stack mags that hold a half a box of ammo.

rc

Random Discharge
October 22, 2011, 10:14 AM
Sounds like I'm being ridiculous loading my Kahr 9mm magazines N-1. I'm confident Kahr uses high quality springs. The K9 and MK9 are not 1911's, but they are single stacks. And as has been posted, buying new springs every few years is cheap anyway. Looks like I'll be loading them up one (probably not by 2 to N+1 though)!

ForumSurfer
October 22, 2011, 02:13 PM
Sounds like I'm being ridiculous loading my Kahr 9mm magazines N-1. I'm confident Kahr uses high quality springs. The K9 and MK9 are not 1911's, but they are single stacks. And as has been posted, buying new springs every few years is cheap anyway. Looks like I'll be loading them up one (probably not by 2 to N+1 though)!

Kahr uses top notch springs according to their website. They use wolf springs, pretty much the industry standard with all springs.

Obsidian
October 22, 2011, 05:29 PM
Spring material is the key there. The reliability problems we had with the M9 Magazines from about 2000 to late 2005 was attributed supposedly to the improper finishing on the inside of the magazine itself. However I disagree with the DOD's assessment of it having spent thousands of hours in weapon repair. It was terrible checkmate spring material, as these things even when polished and "fixed" according to specifications would fail from the first loading. As in the spring stopped working. Bends, kinks were the normal procedure. What this means is to test the magazines out for your chosen weapon. Use magazines that have a good reputation for reliability. Some will run for decades as has been noted, and some will wear out shortly.

Battle rifle magazines however I have seen fail more in the feed lip area. M1911 magazines tend to fail from rust and corrosion on the inside especially military style non tear down sorts.

I expect to have to replace springs or magazines regardless of what I carry or decide my life depends on.

For pistols however or when I was overseas every time I stripped the weapon down to clean it, I would swap a magazine. This was roughly once a week for a full strip. 7 M16 magazines meant every 7 weeks one was rotated out. This allowed me to clean the magazine and check it over for cracks and wear and tear on the springs. Currently Once a week or every two weeks I swap a loaded pistol magazine out for a unloaded one. Same principal applies. Check it over, and if there is a question on spring tension it is thrown out on the spot, or put in to a bin for replacement parts.

However I think that downloading a magazine to save spring life is harder on the magazine spring than fully loaded, but that is unverified scientifically. Just my observations on what I have seen in the years of a direct support repairman or Armorer.

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