Keeping mags loaded..definative answer?


March 9, 2004, 02:42 PM
What is the definative answer on keeping magazines loaded for extended periods of time? Will it hurt the springs or not?

By extended period I mean a year or so.

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March 9, 2004, 02:45 PM
If the spring isn't defective to begin with, then leaving it loaded is fine, period.

March 9, 2004, 02:48 PM
keeping it loaded will NOT hurt it. The thing that wears out mag springs (and all other springs for that matter) is the compression and decompression.

Besides, what good is an unloaded magazine?

March 9, 2004, 03:54 PM
I've talked to some engineers who work in this area and they confirm what Clean97GTI said. Keeping them loaded does not have an adverse effect on the springs. Continually loading and unloading is what ruins a spring. So once you've established that a magazine is reliable, set that one aside as your loaded magazine and use the others at the range.

March 9, 2004, 04:03 PM
in the 04 glock annual article about the g17 longevity test, the author said loading with 17rnds caused the totally compressed springs to set and go bad, downloading to 15rnds the magazines didn't wear out.


March 9, 2004, 05:01 PM
From Wolff Springs (I trust them)

5. Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds? How often should I change magazine springs?

Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and the subject of much debate and concern. Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as law enforcement applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs which are loaded up only when shooting. Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. Older designs where maximum capacity was not the goal such as the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was a lot of room for a lot of spring which reduced the overall stress on the spring. In recent hi-capacity magazines, the magazines were designed to hold more rounds with less spring material. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause fatigue at a faster rate. Unloading these magazines a round or two will help the life of the spring. Rotating fully loaded magazines will also help the problem somewhat but is not always practical. In applications where the magazine must be kept loaded, a high quality magazine spring such as Wolff extra power magazine springs, will provide maximum life. Regular shooting will verify reliability and regular replacement of magazine springs will provide the best defense against failure from weak magazine springs.

Ala Dan
March 9, 2004, 05:07 PM
Not that I don't trust anybody else's opinion;
but I certainly trust that of the fine folk's at
WOLFF springs.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

R.H. Lee
March 9, 2004, 05:08 PM
Keep 'em loaded and replace the springs once in awhile. No big.

I suppose you could test/measure them occasionally to see that they're pushing 10 - 12 lbs or whatever your pistol requires.

March 9, 2004, 05:22 PM
LE and the military keep them loaded forever...won't hurt a thing to do so.

March 10, 2004, 07:34 AM
They will stay good indefinately.............seriously. Just don overcompress the springs and your good.

Shoot well.......

March 10, 2004, 07:42 AM
IMHO.....Keep 'em loaded, but use them when you shoot. Its not like they will just up and fail on you. They will show that they are weakening by either no longer actuating the slide lock when empty or failing to feed the LAST round. This is the sign that you need to replace the spring.

March 10, 2004, 07:49 AM
PCRCCW said:
They will stay good indefinately.............seriously. Just don overcompress the springs and your good.

Bingo. OVER-compression of the springs is a killer, and assuming a good
quality spring, keeping the magazine loaded for extended periods won't
weaken it very much. Using it will hasten the spring's demise, but not
very quickly, again assuming a GOOD spring. There are a lot of shoddy
ones out there. When you think springs, think Wolff. They've got a
firm grip on how to make a good spring.

My habit is to load 7 rounds in a 7-round magazine, lock the slide back,
lock the magazine in, and chamber the top round. I don't lock in a magazine if the slide is in battery, I don't carry the gun as a 7+1,
and I rotate the carry magazines every month.

Magazines in long-term storage are disassembled, the followers taped to
the tube with the spring, and allowed to completely relax until called up.
My springs are happy springs...Yes indeed!

Git sprung!


March 10, 2004, 08:29 AM
I kept/carried three S&W Model 4046 mags fully loaded for over 10 years. Only time they were empty was when the gun was being fired and that was only a couple of times a year. They functioned perfectly throughout that period. (didn't like the gun, but the mags worked perfectly)

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