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Keeping magazines loaded long-term?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FireInCairo, Aug 4, 2012.

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  1. FireInCairo

    FireInCairo member

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    Anyone have any opinions on this? Do springs wear out prematurely? Any other reason not to do this?
     
  2. smalls

    smalls Member

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    Springs wear from being repeatedly compressed and decompressed. Long time storage of loaded mags is no problem. Some people on the board own 1911 mags that've been kept loaded from WWII, and still feed fine.
     
  3. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

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    I bought my BHP in 1969 and it's original magazines have stayed loaded since then. Of course I unload them via the muzzle periodically, but the original magazines springs are still fine. I do have spares and will swap the old ones out when they begin to fail or feel mushy.

    I've bought a G20 in 1991 and a G23 in 1993. Their magazines have been treated in similar fashion with identical functionality results.

    Same for my 1911 bought around 1962.

    In all I have over 100 magazines of various ages and I've never had a magazine spring fail. That is not to say some won't, all mechanical devices eventually do, but mine have not.

    Maybe I've been lucky, but it just seems to me the whole issues of magazine spring failures is just way overblown for most of the civilian population when magazines are properly maintained. As usual, YMMV.
     
  4. johnnydollar

    johnnydollar Member

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    I agree with the above. Leave them loaded; they'll be fine.
     
  5. Drail

    Drail Member

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    It's not quite that simple actually. Suggest you go to Wolff Gunsprings website and read their guide on springs. Wilson Combat also has one. Good quality springs won't suffer from staying compressed but cheap ones will lose their temper if left that way. So how do you know which kind you have? You don't unless you replaced them yourself. Double stack mag springs that are crammed into a wad in the bottom of the mag will have a shorter life than a single stack mag spring that is only partially compressed under its design limit. If you need to use a loading device to get the last 3 or 4 rounds into the mag then the spring is getting stressed much more than a single stack 1911 magazine. Bottom line - if the gun absolutely positively has to work every time then leaving the spring fully compressed over long periods of time is not such a great idea. For every story I have heard about a WW I mag left loaded for 80 years and still works I have seen a dozen where the spring lost tension from being left compressed and wouldn't reliably feed the last 2 or 3 rounds. (and in WWI no manufacturer was buying springs from China). Install a new quality spring and 100% feed function is restored. Don't cheap out on springs, they are probably the one of the most important parts on a semiauto pistol.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  6. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    non-issue
    should be in the FAQ (also, there should be a FAQ) or a sticky
    springs are cheap anyway, you should be replacing them before they fail on a defensive gun
     
  7. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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  8. wrs840

    wrs840 Member

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    Stupid, chubby, ignorant.

    These are the bullies who want, no, NEED DESPERATELY, to tell everyone else how to live to their approval.
     
  9. HKGuns

    HKGuns Member

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    A well-designed spring in a high-cap mag, left fully loaded and fully compressed will degrade more quickly than the same spring downloaded a round or two. Springs follow Hooke's law and spring force is linear to displacement. Fully displacing a spring in a magazine will absolutely wear it out faster than downloading a round or two.

    Using them wear them out faster, but they are absolutely exerting force by being displaced with a full magazine of bullets. How close they are to their design limit when full and magazine design also come into play. Springs also have a tendency to relax when under constant tension, perhaps 5-10%, if that is enough to impede proper function, again, depends on magazine and spring design.
     
  10. gearhead

    gearhead Member

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    A properly designed magazine with a spring that is never subjected to excessive stress even when the magazine is fully loaded can be left loaded indefinitely. However, many (perhaps most) modern consumer-grade high-capacity handguns must make a few compromises to pack all that ammo into a small enough package. Also, many magazine spring designs aren't optimum for reliability. Based on that knowledge it makes me nervous to leave a magazine loaded long-term since I don't know what level of stress the spring is loaded to by design. What I do is keep 5-6 magazines for my carry and/or nightstand gun and only keep two fully loaded at any one time. I rotate the ones I keep loaded every time I go to the range.

    FWIW, I don't worry about a magazine that was designed for use in a military weapon. Reliability is typically not compromised in those firearms.
     
  11. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    What else would a "buy our mag springs" company conclude?
     
  12. PedalBiker

    PedalBiker Member

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    ^
    +1

    Or you can just throw them out after you've used them. It must be nice to be rich.

    FWIW DeGette was going on about price gouging a while back. When my house taxes went up 40% in ONE year I asked her if that was price gouging - she had no response. The lady is clueless about a lot of things.
     
  13. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    Degette is an idiot.
     
  14. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Why would "rotating" fully loaded mags make any difference? The springs are still being fully compressed.
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have left several magazines loaded for long term storage and all have worked just fine over the years. The only thing I do differently with my mags is that I don't have them all fully loaded, usually leaving 3 or 4 rounds out of the high capacity ones.
     
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