1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How long can you keep a magazine loaded without damaging it.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Paul Calligaro, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. How long can a magazine be kept loaded with out damaging it. What do police departments tell their officers?
  2. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    Well first off, I wouldn't concern myself with what police depts. tell their officers. They are not firearm experts. Magazine springs wear from repeated compression and release. In other words just being loaded has no effect on the spring.
  3. TAB

    TAB Well-Known Member

    that is not ture... It does have an effect, how much depends on the spring. In other words, it depends on the mag.
  4. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    A quality mag? Years.
    Welcome to THR, Paul!
  5. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    You can load a good quality magazine and put it away for your great grand kids to use.:p
  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    I have an OEM Colt 7-round magazine that I installed a Wolff spring in about 6 years ago. I've left it loaded to capacity ever since, and fire the rounds in it once a year through a 1942 GI Colt...reload it to capacity, and place it back in the box with the pistol. So far, there have been no failures to feed or lock the slide on empty. The spring hasn't weakened to any discernible degree.
  7. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    In 1962 a co-worker gave me a loaded 1911 magazine that his Grandfather had brought back from WWI.
    To the best of his knowledge the magazine had never been used or unloaded.
    Best I recall the ammo was dated about 1916.

    The magazine was fine. Now it's in with my other 1911 magazines and I don't know which one it is.

    I have many magazines that are always loaded, most for years at a time.
  8. novaDAK

    novaDAK Well-Known Member


    M2 just said what I had in mind :)
  9. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Well-Known Member

    It will corrode before it gets "tired" as springs do not tire unless you exceed it's elastic capability. They do "break In" though.
  10. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Well-Known Member

    There are varying opinions, various studies, and everyone has their own story to tell...If I know a certain pistol is not going to be fired for a time; just load one less in the mag...You'll sleep better...:)
  11. johnle

    johnle Well-Known Member

    compression and decompression wears springs.

    If you load a magazine, and forget about it. Chances are very high that it'll be just as reliable when your grand kids get to it.
  12. loop

    loop Well-Known Member

    It really depends on the mag, the design and the manufacturer.

    Many of today's high-capacity, double-stacked mags go beyond the compression limits of the springs. There are many stories about 1911 mags that have survived many years loaded without a problem. Thank JB and the U.S. military for the design.

    In 1911s, if a mag malfunctions I trash it. Even premium 1911 mags are cheap enough.

    However, on most double stacks I replace mag springs relatively frequently. OTOH, I'm a stickler for perfectly functioning firearms. If it doesn't hurt my thumb to put in the last two rounds I replace the spring.

    But, I also have a box full of baggies with mag parts in them. There are followers, base pads, springs, mag tubes, etc. If a follower shows wear the mag gets a new spring and follower and possibly a base pad if it shows deformation.

    Maybe I'm a fanatic, but I rarely have mag-related malfunctions. I may not be a good person to base a decision on either. I've averaged 600 rounds a week of .45 ACP in the past month. About 200 a month are shot in competition.

  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    I really wouldn't know. I can never keep one loaded long enough to find out. Keep shooting them empty.:D

    Shelf life on a spring that is designed to be compressed? A long long time. People have found WW II .45 ACP magazines that have been left loaded for 50 years and they functioned O K...
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Some mags are fine forever.
    1911 mags come to mind. Browning Hi-Powers are another.

    Those mags were designed from the getgo so as not to stress the spring in the slightest when left fully loaded.

    Modern hi-caps of today are a different story.

    Glock mags for instance, are over-compressed when fully loaded.
    The spring will degrade fairly quickly if left fully loaded.

    Down-load a Glock mag a couple of rounds and the spring will last forever in storage, just like a 1911.

  15. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Well-Known Member

    If you over compress a spring, it doesn't really matter how long you've kept it over compressed, the damage is done.
  16. springer7676

    springer7676 Active Member

  17. Headless

    Headless Well-Known Member

    I don't think that high cap double stack mags are uniformly problematic either - I've got 3 factory 14rnd mags for my S&W 659 that have been loaded non stop for at least 10 years and the springs are fine - not to mention those mags have fed more than 25,000 rounds through the gun itself without any problems with the springs yet. Sounds like Glock's in particular have a crappy magazine design if what you guys are saying is true.
  18. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    I have many magazines in .223 from veteran friends who used them during the Vietnam war. I have a few old Wilson Rogers and two Pachmyr magazines. I don't even know how many Colt magazines I have, both in .45 ACP and in .380 ACP. I don't even consider the more modern SIG and H&K magzines I own.

    And none of them has ever failed.
  19. Nikdfish

    Nikdfish Well-Known Member

    I believe that the short answer would be that loaded mags are probably good until corrosion sets in ...

  20. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Well-Known Member

    Twenty-five years is the longest I've done it so far.

Share This Page