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Do you leave your clips full of ammo?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by gmh1013, Apr 12, 2010.

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  1. gmh1013

    gmh1013 Member

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    Or half full? Will leaving it full shorten the clip's life.
    I have a Sig Pro I keep loaded with 13 rounds to keep a full load off the springs but read it wont make much diff in the springs life.
     
  2. dovedescending

    dovedescending Member

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    Clips... don't have springs...

    As far as I know, it's the loading/unloading that eventually wears out a spring. Leaving a magazine full won't shorten its little life by any appreciable amount.
     
  3. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Noooo, but I leave my magazine that I carry fully loaded. It hasn't been unloaded (except for cleaning) for over a year. That includes the magazine in the Kimber...
     
  4. Fastcast

    Fastcast Member

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    I know the new thing is to believe leaving them fully loaded doesn't ruin/weaken the springs. I'm not really buying that logic. I've seen far too many used pistols sold by little old ladies, with full mags, that had shot springs. Their husband died 10 plus years ago and she finally decides to sell his gun but never would touch it, to unload the mags.

    IMO.....Spring steel will develop memory if compressed continuously for too long.

    I'm sure some will say I'm crazy but the poof is in the pudding.
     
  5. possum

    possum Member

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    i keep my magazines full if of course they are my HD, and or CCW mags, if they are training mags then they are not left full after i leave the range.
     
  6. Demitrios

    Demitrios Member

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    Fastcast says:
    I don't mean to belittle you or your opinion but spring steel was designed specifically to retain its "memory" even when compressed or distorted. Chances are the pistols you've witnessed being sold by widows were probably uncared for and improperly maintained so that when they were sold the magazines were in poor condition as well.
     
  7. KenW.

    KenW. Member

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    I have some 1911 mags that have been loaded twelve - thirteen years and they seem fine.

    I got my Grandpa's Nazi Hi-Power in his will; I know that mag had been loaded for a generation and still works great.
     
  8. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    My duty magazines, and my home defense magazines were/and are always
    left loaded; that includes magazines for the West German SIG-SAUER P220A,
    the Springfield Armory XD [both in .45 ACP), as well as the KEL-TEC P3AT
    .380~! ;) :D
     
  9. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I keep all my clips and mags loaded. I load them when watching movies, etc. I like being ready when I make a range trip. I've discovered that loading at the range sucks. I generally shoot the ammo I have loaded in mags, then switch to another gun. I don't really bring boxed ammo anymore, except for weird guns I only have one or two mags for.
     
  10. Fastcast

    Fastcast Member

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    Of course but like with most things, the way something is designed and they way it performs in the real world are two different things. Not to mention not all things are created/manufactured equally. Some springs you may get away with it, others you may not.

    I'll prefer to error on the side of caution and rotate my mags so as not to leave them fully loaded for extended periods of time......You may do as you please. After all it's only a spring. :)
     
  11. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    Not so.

    This practice may acually hasten the demise of your springs, but probably not by much.

    Steel weakens when compressed and released; it is this repeated cycle that causes a reduction in the life of the spring. Leaving it fully compressed or decompressed makes no difference to the spring. The change in orientation of molecules needed to change the properties of the spring only occurs with the application of use or heat. Sitting statically compressed applies neither.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  12. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    If constant pressure caused springs to sag or weaken your car would be sitting on the bumpstops just a few years after it was built. The springs on your car/truck are weakend by repeated cycling just like the springs in your magazines.

    Buy well known brand name magazines, make sure they work in your gun. I load mine up and check them up every week for any crap that may have found it's was into them. I'll unload them only once a month for a close inspection (after firing some rounds thru them). After a year of constant loaded duty I replace the spring or the whole magazine and use the old one for range or match duty.

    BTW a clip holds ammo to be loaded into the weapon's magazine (mauser's and garand's use clip's) a magazine holds the ammo and helps control feeding of ammo into the weapon. Sorry it's just a little pet peve of mine
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  13. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    Depends on how long "too long" is and the quality of the spring.


    I had a loaded SKS spring go soft after only about four years.
    On the other hand, in 1961 a fellow at work gave me a fully loaded 1911 magazine that he said his Grandfather brought back from WWI. The fellow said he didn't know what ever happened to the pistol but as long as he can remember the magazine had been in the back of a drawer, fully loaded. He never saw his Grandfather, or anyone else, ever touch the gun.

    The mag was loaded with (best I can recall) 1916 dated ammo.

    I should have kept the ammo but I wanted to see if it would fire. All seven bullets cleared the barrel but didn't begin to work the slide.

    Best I could tell the mag spring was as good as new and the magazine got mixed up with my other 1911 magazines where I'm still using it to this day.

    Full. Sometimes for years at a time.
     
  14. ScratchnDent

    ScratchnDent Member

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    Both.

    I keep some loaded all the time, and some more stored clean and empty as spares for when my every day mags eventually wear out, get damaged, or lost.
     
  15. PTK

    PTK Member

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    In my (professional, as a mechanical engineer) opinion, you're incorrect. ;)
     
  16. jkulysses

    jkulysses Member

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    The pink power ranger is stronger than the blue one...
     
  17. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    I've had clips loaded for decades without any issues.
    [​IMG]

    I've also had magazines loaded for years without any issues.
    [​IMG]

    This subject clearly belongs with this poor equine:
    [​IMG]

    (please use the search, there are hundreds of threads on this subject)
     
  18. Fastcast

    Fastcast Member

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    Ok than.....What is the natural state of the spring? Uncompressed correct so according to your own explanation, when the spring is compressed the molecules change correct? Now if the spring stays this way and the molecules are not allowed to return to there natural state, they are static but in their unnatural state correct? I'm not following how this could make no difference in the life of the spring. :confused:

    I believe this is what I'm saying.....It depends on the quality of the particular spring in question.

    I'd bet the farm, that if you took a new car and didn't drive it at all but left it sit (experiment) for say 20 years, that ground clearance would not be as high as when new. :scrutiny:
     
  19. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I bought two m1 carbine detachable box magazines in a pouch that had been part of an estate auction. They had been left loaded since the end of WWII (1945) and I bought them in the early 1990s. Nearly forty years loaded. I cleaned them up and have used them at the vintage military matches for the past few years. They work fine.

    My son had to replace a tube magazine spring in a shotgun that had been left loaded with eight rounds for a period of a few months. I guess it depends a lot on the quality of the steel in the springs and the attention paid to heat treating the springs.

    The general rule I have heard is that quality magazine springs are weakened more by frequent flexing than by constant pressure.
     
  20. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Member

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    gmh1013, wake up man, wake up!!!

    Don't you know that flexing a magazine spring will being on the second coming and result in the end of life as we know it (according to intenet knowledge anyway)

    I have magazines that I have used since 1962 and have worn out several guns before the magizines. (Well, I got rid of the guns and kept the magazines).

    It may depend on the manufacturer and the steel used in the springs but I personally haven't seen a worn out spring on a 1911 magazine, not saying it can't happen, just that I haven't had it happen to me, (yet).

    Now tomorrow my Commander may decide to puke instead of shoot and I may have to edit this post, so be it.
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    I sure hope these magazines that I use for my Kimber hurry up and weaken. Make them easier to load...:neener:

    Probably not in my life time, darn it!!
     
  22. RUT

    RUT Member

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  23. gmh1013

    gmh1013 Member

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    I have read the only auto (magazine ) that is not under stress in the 7 round 1911
    and have read in a Guns and Ammo that they can be fully loaded for 50+ years and still fire all seven rounds with no ill effects.
     
  24. powermad

    powermad Member

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    The great spring myth.

    Here some good reading on the subject that may shed a little light for some.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/..._27/ai_99130369

    FindArticles > American Handgunner > May-June, 2003 > Article > Print friendly

    Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
    John S. Layman

    The shooting sports are full of some of the most knowledgeable and capable people you'll meet anywhere. I've been impressed consistently with the abilities of those I meet at the range to diagnose and fix a gun problem with as little as some spray lube and a cotton swab. However, sometimes a myth will creep into the folklore.

    The magazine spring myth has been around for many years and is growing in popularity. It goes something like this: "You should unload your magazines when they're not in use or the spring will weaken causing failures to feed." This has gone as far as shooting competitors actually unloading their magazines between stages to extend the life of their springs. A variant of this myth is: "You should never load a magazine to capacity and should always leave it one round short." What if you need that round some day?

    Recently, I read an article in a gun magazine suggesting you rotate your magazines so the ones not in use can "recover and rest." The same author uses the phrase "spring-set" to describe weakness of a spring because it was compressed for a long time. Hogwash. There's nothing further from the truth. Springs don't care how long they're compressed and don't require rest, recreation or even a vacation from time to time.

    Shameful Spring Benders

    To put this one to rest, you have to understand creep. Creep is the slow flow of a non-ferric metal like copper, brass and lead under force. At temperatures outside of a furnace, steel doesn't have any appreciable creep. Under most conditions, steel flexes and then returns to its original shape. When pushed past its elastic limit, steel will bend and not return to its original shape. All designers of well-made magazines make sure the spring never approaches the elastic limit when the magazine is fully loaded. Honest. This means the spring will not weaken when the magazine is fully loaded -- not even over an extended time. Like 50 years. American Handgunner recently ran a story about a magazine full of .45 ACP that had been sitting since WWII and it ran just fine on the first try. So there you go.

    Now that the light of truth is leaking out, lets talk about what is causing failures to feed. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.

    Carlton Nether, Customer Service for Beretta USA, tells us keeping a pistol magazine loaded for an extended period doesn't cause magazine spring failure, however, failures to feed can result. He says, "The ammo will 'roll' in the magazine. If the mags are kept loaded and moved around a lot -- say on a cop's belt -- the rolling action can, over time, cause creases in the cases. These creases can cause malfunctions. Also the top bullet will roll against the magazine lips and creasing can occur there as well. Just check old ammo that's been bouncing around in a magazine for a long time.

    We tell police officers if they keep loaded magazines, take a few seconds to "cycle" the ammo. Periodically unload the mag and reload it in a different sequence. This movement will allow the bullets to be in different parts of the magazine and help eliminate creasing.

    At STI, Dave Skinner, President and CEO says, "Personally, I rotate my 'under the bed' and 'under the seat' mags about every six months. I always empty them the 'fun' way and have never had a failure." Given what we learned above, this sounds like a good idea. Smith and Wesson customer service also says magazines can stay loaded indefinitely without hurting the spring.

    As we add force onto a spring, it will displace the same amount for each amount of force we add. This is true until the spring passes a certain point called the elastic limit. Robert Hooke discovered this theory back in 1660. Hooke's Law states: "If the applied forces on a body are not too large, the deformations resulting are directly proportional to the forces producing them." Which means, in actual human being language, if we load a spring past its elastic limit, it permanently deforms. It still provides a force against the load but the force is no longer proportional. If this happens, when we unload the spring (such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded) the spring never returns to a state where it can provide the same load for the same amount of displacement.

    Trust Us

    When a magazine manufacturer designs a spring, they plan for a preload. The spring is already compressed some in the magazine. On the curve below, this would be Point A. The spring compression would be designed to be below the Elastic Limit. When fully compressed, the spring would be at Point B. If the spring is ever compressed past the elastic limit, say to Point C, it won't ever behave the same. Like a recalcitrant lazy Uncle, it will have a lower spring force for each amount of displacement. On the drawing, the spring would now cycle between points D and E. This means that -- particularly with the last bullet or two -- the force pushing the bullet up would be less and lo-and-behold, a mis-feed might occur.

    When somebody stretches your spring to "fix" your magazine, they are trying to get you back on the original curve. They may get pretty close, however, it's unlikely the spring will ever perform to its original design. The elastic limit is now shifted lower and your magazine spring may fail to perform fairly quickly.

    Having said all this, if you have a magazine that isn't feeding right, what should you do? First, disassemble the magazine and clean it thoroughly. Then try it with new, factory ammunition in a freshly cleaned gun. This takes away some of the possible causes. If you are still having feed problems, send it back. Even the low cost, after-market magazine manufacturers will fix the problem at no cost to you other than shipping. If it's a magazine from the gun's manufacturer, let them troubleshoot and repair the problem. Otherwise, toss the mag. It's not worth risking your life to save a few bucks. And that's the truth.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Definitions

    Creep: The flow or plastic deformation of metals held for long periods of time at stresses lower than the normal yield strength.

    Elastic Limit: The maximum stress that material will stand before permanent deformation occurs.

    Yield Strength: The stress at which the metal changes from elastic to plastic in behavior, i.e., takes a permanent set.

    Permanent Set: Non-elastic or plastic, deformation of metal under stress, after passing the elastic limit.

    Magazine Recommendations

    * Clean your magazines when they get gritty. Apply oil then remove all excess. Oil attracts dirt that may cause malfunction.

    * If you find rust on the spring, this is culprit. Rust changes the thickness of the metal and reduces the force applied to the follower. Cleaning off the rust may help. For a gun you depend on, replace the spring. All the major brands and most of the smaller ones have replacement mag springs available or try Wolff Springs.

    * If you keep a magazine loaded for long periods, rotate the rounds every few months. If you carry a pistol on the job or in your car, cycle the ammo frequently. These actions prevent creases from forming which may cause a misfeed.

    * If you experience feed problems, first clean your magazines and weapon. Fire a couple magazines of new factory ammo to see if this resolves the problem. If not send the magazine back to the manufacturer -- or toss it.
     
  25. Strahley

    Strahley Member

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    No but I leave my magazines full
     
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