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

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

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  1. Paul Calligaro

    Paul Calligaro Member

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

    Drail Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    Ron James Member

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

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    EDIT:

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

    FlyPenFly Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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.

    JMHO
     
  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    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

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    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.

    rcmodel
     
  15. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Member

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    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 Member

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  17. Headless

    Headless Member

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    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

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    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 Member

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

    Nick
     
  20. Robert Hairless

    Robert Hairless Member

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

    USMCDK Member

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    Origianlly posted by M2 Carbine

    Good God I hope that you didn't fire that ammo my friend???!!! if you did you are lucky to be here without and damage sustained. I could be wrond but I have been told if it's older then 10yrs don't trust it to fire and if it does go bang it has a chance of be the wrong kinda bang. This is something I was told in the military but hey people have been known to be wrong. sorry didn't mean to divert from the original reason of this thread. My bad.
     
  22. FlyPenFly

    FlyPenFly Member

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    People safely fire 60 year old surplus ammo all the time.

    It's more of a matter of inspecting the bullets, corrosion or dangerous ammo is pretty obvious to spot.
     
  23. USMCDK

    USMCDK Member

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    Tu che my friend it dawned on me after I had posted that. but still I would be very sceptical about doing it just outta my own safety and the safety of those possibly around me at the time.
     
  24. Travis McGee

    Travis McGee Member

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    In the 80s, I bougt a case of WW2 war production .45 ammo. The cases were nickel plated steel, some were a bit greenish with tarnish. They were dated about 1943, if I recall correctly. Every one of those 40+ year old bullets launched.
     
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    10 years? puh. Here recently, I've been shootin' reloaded ammo older than that. (Found some .357 and .41 mag stuff that I loaded up back in '89...and forgot that I had it.)

    If it's stored properly, it'll be good to go long after you've shed this mortal coil.
     
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