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Magazine Rotation.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jiminhobesound, Feb 22, 2011.

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  1. jiminhobesound

    jiminhobesound Member

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    I assume this item has been covered in the past but I just joined so I have not encountered the question. How often should I rotate, or empty, shells from my pistols, rifles and shotgun? I currently rotate two clips every ten days for my pistols. I have a pump shotgun that I keep three rounds in the magazine at all times (it holds five). I have an enfield MKI and an SKS that I have kept fully loaded for months. I thought the military rifles would be capable of being constantly loaded and the shotgun would be OK when only half loaded. I appreciate your comments.
     
  2. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    Springs wear from loading and unloading, not being in a static state (compressed or uncompressed) so you can leave them loaded as long as you want.
     
  3. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    +1. Back in the mid 70's, my ex-father-in-law dug out his 1911A1 and 3 loaded 1911 mags that he'd brought back from WWII. The ammo was headstamped 1945. We shot 'em up with no problems and loaded 'em back up with fresh ammo and he put 'em away.

    Load 'em and leave 'em.
     
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    You don't have to rotate at all. Magazines are not damaged by being kept loaded. There was a user here awhile back who found his grandpa's war bring-back 1911 that had been stored in an attic, mag loaded, since 1945. He went out back and shot the gun empty, and it functioned flawlessly.
     
  5. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    This is the "Do my springs get soft from sustained compression?" question.

    The answer is NO.

    Your springs do not get soft from sustained compression.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1

    If you rotate your magazines to save the springs?

    You should probably also jack up your car and put it on blocks every evening when you get home from work to save the springs on it too.

    rc
     
  7. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Properly designed magazines should never need to be "rotated," but some magazine designs may be a bit aggressive on capacity, which means that the spring may experience some weakening over time. Since I function-test the magazines and ammo I've selected for defensive purposes about once a year anyway, that's how often mine happen to get rotated, but were it not for that, I would never even give it a thought.

    That said, if it would make you feel better, you could try downloading each magazine by one round--that should compensate for any potential shortcomings in the magazines' designs while saving the springs from unnecessary wear (and you from unnecessary effort). I don't think that rotating magazines really helps much anyway.
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Single stack magazines that are easy to load and contain high quality springs will probably not be affected by leaving them constantly loaded. Some double stack magazines (the ones that require you to use some sort of "loading device" to get the last couple of rounds in) are stressing the springs more and may take a set if left fully compressed over time. Especially if the springs are cheap mass produced junk (and there are a lot of those out there.) It wouldn't be a bad idea to leave those mags downloaded a few rounds. You just have to ask yourself if having full mag capacity is more important than feed reliability. Rotating magazines probably won't help and will just accelerate wear on the spring (quality or not).
     
  9. jiminhobesound

    jiminhobesound Member

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    Mag Rotation

    Great response and thank you very much. I grew up with hunting guns that got cleaned and put away until the next season. When I dealt with personal defense weapons in the Navy I always picked them up from the armorer and returned them to him. Consequently, I display my ignorance in matters of personal weapons care and feeding.
     
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    On the issue of "down-loading" mags, I down-load the mags on my carry gun because it makes it a lot easier to seat the mag on a closed slide if one round is omitted from the mag.

    I can live with 16 rounds in the mag instead of 17.

    I'm not doing it for the springs, I'm doing it for convenience and certainty of function in seating the mag on a closed slide.
     
  11. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I've been carrying the same 3 double stack mags fully loaded for a decade. They stay loaded all the time and get only unloaded when qualifying every six months. They have never given me an issue. Same for my last gun of a different brand that I was carried for about 9 years.
     
  12. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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  13. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    I believe Manco and Drail are correct.
    here is my experience;
    I had an xd40 with 12+1 capacity I carried as a security guard. when I bought it with three mags, the springs were all VERY stiff. Difficult to load. I left two of them full to the brim for 3 months with out touching them before I heard this so called "Myth". Now, I have been called a liar, dead wrong, and an idiot, but I am telling you the truth when I say, I noticed the springs on those two mags were lighter and easier to load at the end of those three months than they were when I first got them. At that point I decided to rotate them through on a weekly basis and only load 10 rounds instead of 12.(no one had told me rotating them wears them out also at that point) You can take that to mean what you will. Could their be other reasons for my findings? very possible, But the facts are I had mags with stiff springs, left them full for 3 months, with out being unloaded, then they had softer springs.

    Now, after I quit that job I ended up shooting that gun quite a bit, and I never had any jams, feeding issues, or malfunctions with any of the three mags, But I do believe in specific applications it will soften the springs. Would it ever be bad enough to cause a malfunction? I couldn't say. It does not seem to affect 1911's.

    My understanding is with tube magazines in shotguns, its not the spring you have to worry about, but the shells. They get compressed length wise causing a "bulge" in their diameter and then won't chamber.
     
  14. Radium

    Radium Member

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    what i understand normal springs wont get dammaged from being loaded.
    but leaf/ZigZag springs(dont remember the correct term. but springs that go in a only ZigZag pattern. not in a spiral pattern ) i remember that they could maybe possible one outta a bilzillion get sumkind of damage when fullyloaded for a longertime.
     
  15. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    It was the loading and unloading that did it.

    Materials science works the same for everyone.
     
  16. Kenneth

    Kenneth Member

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    Flexing wears a spring much more than just compression. Rotating your magazines will cause unnecessary wear of the spring. It still behooves (I always wanted to use that word in a sentence :rolleyes:) you to function check your SD and SHTF firearms and magazines once in a while.


    "Our wrongs we must right if we can through the Ballot Box, and if this fails us, through the Cartridge Box."

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote;
     
  17. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    Did it?
    So you are saying one loading and unloading of a mag can soften the spring to a very noticeable degree?(I really don't know, I only ever owned three semi auto pistols, and the xd was the only double stack)
    because i had taken it out and shot 100rounds through those mags before i started carrying and that didn't do it. why would the three month period loading be the one to change it? my theory (just a theory) it was out in both hot 100 degree weather( not to mention black things get very hot in the summer AZ sun) and about freezing weather within those three months, working a variety of afternoon, night and morning shifts in phoenix from Feb. - May. Maybe the temperature changes on a daily basis had more to do with it? The third mag never did get as soft as the other two, although I also noticed a change in that one as well after I started using it more.

    Any way, I really can't explain for sure why, but whether the myth is true or not, you probably wouldn't have to worry either way if you use them at less than full capacity. If it never caused a malfunction in mine, it probably wouldn't for others either.
     
  18. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    No, that isn't what he's saying. He's just saying the loading and unloading causes wear, nothing more.

    Are you basing this off of feel? Feel is subjective. Your fingertips may have been a little stronger the day you loaded it the 2nd time. I work out regularly and my max weight on a given body part can vary by + or - 15 pounds week to week. Unless you are measuring the exact spring tension, you just can't tell based on a subjective feel. If you want to experiment, buy 2 new mags, leave one as a control (empty), the other loaded and then measure the difference on a gauge...be my guest. I'd love to hear the results, even though it will not change my habits since my habits "work."

    I've left 1911, pmags and glock mags loaded for extremely long periods of time...over a year in extreme cases. Yes, I once left a glock mag loaded with cheap paper punchers in my glove box and forgot about it. Humidity, sweltering summer, below freezing in the winter...all sorts of stuff. Fired off just fine. Leaving them loaded will not cause damage. I think you should fire your defensive ammo from time to time, but not very often.
     
  19. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    I find that springs get "broken in" just like other parts: with new pistol mags especially, when BRAND new, I often have to really force feed the last round or two in there. Leave them loaded for a few days, and they are usually less stiff and near the amount of resistance that they will then have for a long lifespan. A little use will get them the rest of the way there.

    I have no concerns with leaving mags loaded for long periods of time. Since I don't shoot my actual carry gun nearly as much as I used to, I have gone months without unloading the mags (G19 mags) and haven't had a problem yet. I've had AR mags loaded for longer periods of time than that, and no issues with those either.

    This is one of those things that millions of people do, and the lack of mass reports of failure from weak mag springs indicates to me that there is absolutely nothing to worry about here.
     
  20. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    It's not a myth - it's proven science.
     
  21. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    sure I can tell by feel. I did have a control mag, the third one. And at the point were I started rotating them, it was stiffer than the other two, and remained stiffer in comparison to the others to the day I sold the gun. And no it wasn't a purposeful thing.

    Proven science? Can you provide irrefutable scientific proof about every magazine ever manufactured? Or even one for that matter? To many variables, not enough constants. This myth will never be debunked entirely nor can it be proven to be true, if for no other reason than that there are literally thousands of different types of magazines manufactured over the years Out of many different grade metals and alloys. All of which have different behavioral characteristics.

    I am signing off of these type of threads. they are pointless. Personally after my experience, I am not worried about it due to the fact that I never had a misfeed or jam. If you are worried about it, keep your mags less than full. if not, don't bother.
     
  22. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Bear in mind that there cannot be one rule that will apply to every magazine spring out there. The variables are (1) what kind of steel the springs are made out of and (2) how they were tempered into a spring. There are manufacturers that care about quality and there are some that are only looking at the profit margin. You can't tell anything about the quality of a spring by looking at it. If someone claims that they have never had a spring fail then all that means is they bought quality magazines. My point is - don't assume that your magazines can be left fully loaded and there will not be a problem just because someone else tells you that they have never had one fail. All you can do is test your own gear and see how it holds up and don't trust it until you know. I have had very good luck over the years with springs from Wolff and ISMI. A large percentage of all the others are a crap shoot. Buy good springs. Buy spares. Replace them immediately if they start giving last round feed problems. They're only good for so many cycles even if they're not being overcompressed. But with the preference for high capacity designs now a lot of them are.
     
  23. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    I have noticed this too. Especially with the notoriously stiff Glock mags the first time or two you load them.
    I read some extremely technical articles about the metalurgy of magazine springs and didn't understand all of it but the summary was that magazine springs take an initial "set" when they are new (which is why people often suggest leaving glock mags loaded for a week or so when new to cure the stiff spring issue) then have a constant rate of degridation from working the spring, loading and unloading.
     
  24. Drail

    Drail Member

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    If they are "taking a set" when they're new it is probably because they are being overcompressed. Most single stack mag springs don't exhibit this. Most double stack high caps do.
     
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Assuming good quality springs that are matched to the application...yes. The problem is that not everybody uses good springs...your equipment being supplied by the lowest bidder and all.

    All springs take a set when compressed or used. Properly engineered springs have had this set factored in.
     
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