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Magazine Spring Life?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Panzerschwein, May 31, 2016.

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  1. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    llo all, I tried researching this question but came up empty.

    I have a Bulgarian Makarov that came with two magazines, and just ordered 5 more magazines which are Bulgarian made and still in cosmoline. So, I've got a total of 7 magazines for it.

    But how long will those last? If I rotate mags to spread out the wear, how many rounds will it take to weaken the magazine springs to the point of unreliability? I plan to get another 5 or so mags in the near future. I just love my new Makarov and plan to shoot it a lot. I am just very curious as to long term durability of the magazines.

    If anyone knows, please help me. Thanks!
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Well, USGI .45 ACP magazines have service lives measured in decades.
    It is only the modern practice of squeezing in an extra round that we have to think about replacing springs.
    Wolff makes them for Makarov, so I expect you can keep your gun going roughly forever.
     
  3. Warp

    Warp Member

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    The biggest variable is probably the rate at which you will put rounds through the magazines. Do you have guestimate at annual round count?
     
  4. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    ^ Probably no more than 2000 rounds annually.
     
  5. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I'm thinking a dozen mags for a total of a couple thousand rounds per year will last for many years. Maybe only keep ones you need/want ready to go loaded and the rest unloaded.


    If I have a dozen mags that I want to last for years I probably keep two-three loaded and in/with the gun, two-three to use regularly at the range, and a couple unused 'put back'.
     
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  6. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    I had a war prize Radom VIS 9mm back in the 70's, the 45 year old magazine worked flawlessly. Springs will fail from being over stressed, corroded, or cycled beyond design. A magazine sitting in an armory locker for 30 years is IMHO new.
     
  7. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I'd wager the mags you already have will outlive you! But the more, the merrier. If you don't already have one, I recommend the Uplula magazine loader, worth its weight in gold.
     
  8. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Thanks all, I am not worried about the loaded magazines weakening, I know that shouldn't happen. I am more worried about the springs wearing out from loading/unloading when firing the pistol.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Don't worry about it.

    There are many more Importent things in life to worry about.
    * Where did I put my car keys?
    * Did I let the dog out before bed?
    * Is this milk too sour to use on my serial?
    * Why is my check engine light on for over a month now?

    That many mags will last longer then the gun.
    And the gun will last longer then you will.

    Fogadaboutit!!!

    rc
     
  10. Longhorn 76

    Longhorn 76 Member

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    When was the last time you replaced the valve springs in your car?
    Get the point?
     
  11. Warp

    Warp Member

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    I didn't get the point. Could you clarify?
     
  12. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    Cycling a conservatively designed coil spring below its' elastic limit many millions of times (4 stroke engine at an average of 1800 RPM, valve springs cycle at 15 times per second, takes a little less than 20 hours of driving to put a million cycles on the valve spring) has an insignificant effect on them, making worrying about their replacement an exercise in irrelevance. ;)
     
  13. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    The comment about valve springs (tappet springs) is ALSO addressed below -- same point: if a working spring is kept within the spring's design envelope, cycling a spring doesn't do much damage. Some of the newer designs (sub-compact guns and very hi-cap mags) intentionally push springs beyond that design envelope. The springs do MORE for less long; they become renewable resources. But those are special cases.

    The topic of mag (and recoil) springs comes up periodically and the comment, "only cycling" wears out springs is trotted out. Working springs CAN lead to wear, and leaving some mags fully loaded can ALSO lead to even greater wear -- and according to the science of spring design, it's not as simple as it seems. I'm repeating below, what I posted earlier in another discussion on another forum, but parts of this have been posted on this forum, too:

    According to the experts here and on another forum (The Firing Line), which has included a number of engineers who are familiar with the subject (at least one of them a metallurgist), most springs -- while they will degrade with use -- won't degrade enough to matter, if properly designed and properly used in the gun's design. They'll typically outlive the gun or the shooter. As noted above, however, many of the new SMALL gun designs, or guns with very high-cap mags, often push the springs' limits and springs and those spring can have shorter lives.

    When recoil or mag springs do degrade, due to cycling, it's because they have been compressed, near, or beyond that point of maximum (design) compression. If the spring doesn't compress to that point (called its elastic limit), the spring (even if the mag is fully loaded, or the slide is locked back) won't degrade much with use. A lot of gun springs, when cycled, NEVER get close to the spring's elastic limits.

    Working a spring alone isn't necessarily a problem: tappet springs in a car engine are an example -- as they may cycle many millions of times without failures over an engine's life... They're designed with reserve power, and unlike springs in some of the newer gun designs, they're not asked to do more work in less space, with less material than was once the practice.

    In earlier discussions here and on The High Road, it was noted that the small recoil spring for the Rohrbaugh R9 -- probably the smallest 9mm semi-auto -- should be replaced every 250 or sound rounds. That gun fires the same round as guns that have recoil springs that last thousands of rounds! What's the difference? That small spring is apparently pushed to it's elastic limits with each shot -- and that spring just can't last as long as other less stressed springs (that are made to fit larger spaces and use more metal). Most spring applications do NOT stress springs that much.

    The point of maximum compression is when (and where) spring wear takes place. If the spring is kept loaded, and the spring is near it's design limits at that point -- and, arguably, most mag springs are not be near that limit when fully loaded -- then the spring will degrade a bit more quickly than if the mag is downloaded for cycling or storage. For most full-size, non-hi-cap mags, it's not likely to be a problem. For some hi-cap guns, or for some sub-compacts, it can be an issue.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  14. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    If the gun is going to be a shooter, mag springs are one of the parts I would have on hand. I'll just tell you my experience. All mag spring replacements brought on by malfunctions, and were corrected by replacing the mag springs. I.e. I did enough testing to be very confident that mag springs were the issue.

    Glock 34:

    Had a set of three magazines I used all the time, replaced mag springs at 7500 rounds (average 2500 per magazine). Replaced with +10% ISMI, never had another issue the whole time I was shooting the gun... it had 13k on it when I switched guns.

    M&P Pro:

    Shot a total of 33k rounds through the gun. I had six magazines in use. I changed the springs a total of four times (lifetime average 1375 rds for each mag spring). However sometimes they were dead after 3000 rounds, and one set lasted 10k rounds. I firmly believe that not all the springs I had were created equal.

    Tanfoglio large frame (magazines are manufactured by Mecgar):

    I have one set of 6 magazines, now relegated to practice only due to wear on the followers and feed lips, but they have 50k through them and the springs have never been changed. Average 8300+ rounds through each and the springs are still going strong.

    So I don't believe that all springs are created equal and they can wear out. It is a cheap part; no reason not to have extras if it is a gun that is going to be shot much.

    EDIT: The vast, vast... vast majority of the rounds above had the magazine loaded with only 10 rounds due to competition division capacity rules, and were run with 100% stock baseplates, so the springs were nowhere near to being compressed beyond the design limits.
     
  15. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Pretty much the same regimen I use for many of my pistols. ;)

    I will, however, usually test-fire (to confirm normal function) the mags I'm going to "put back" against any eventual repair/replacement use, just in case I may need to pull them and put them into service.
     
  16. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    Yep, this topic (mag spring service life) often comes up yet seldom arrives at a common consensus.

    I've heard any number of opinions and recommendations offered by different gun companies over the course of having attended close to a couple dozen armorer classes/recerts over time. Discussed it with a major spring maker, too.

    I've experienced "worn out" weakened pistol mag springs over the years I've used a variety of pistols (and shotgun mag tube and rifle box mag springs, for that matter). Mostly I've seen them worn down by use for a lot of shooting, but I've also encountered weakened springs that were simply left loaded, but not used for a lot of shooting (not much cycling wear & tear).

    I've also observed a lot of instances in qual conditions where someone's pistol mags exhibited problems caused by obvious spring weakness, but the owner/user claimed that they only fired the guns when absolutely required to do so. Some explained that this meant 1-2 times a year, and some said it meant going years between shooting the guns, just leaving the mags fully loaded and stored away.

    People like to mention that well-made springs ought to last for long periods of time, when used properly, made of good quality materials and properly heat treated ... as if that means not-so-well-made springs are somehow rarities.

    You bought a Combloc surplus pistol. You think they hand-inspected each spring that was made, or used the highest quality materials and manufacturing methods they possessed?

    If a spring maker ships a crate of 10K mag springs to some gun company, you think each and every spring is identical in all aspects? I've learned (from gun companies) of it being discovered that some occasional springs didn't provide the intended service life and function after a short time.

    Magazine and recoil springs are relatively inexpensive. You can probably figure out how often you may need to consider replacement springs, the longer you own and use your surplus pistol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  17. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    that goes for all the springs.
     
  18. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Boy, you've really been smitten with that pistol, huh!? :D
     
  19. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I love mag spring threads!





    Lets just say you use 5 mags and save the other 2.



    2000 rounds per yr / 5 mags / 8 rounds per mag = 50 cycles per mag per year.


    I'm not sure of your exact age.......but, at that rate, they will almost certainly last longer than you AND the recoil spring as well.


    If they don't, you'll still have 2 spare mags. ;)



    Walt's post is spot on.
     
  20. CWL

    CWL Member

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    What you should do is number all your mags so you can keep track of their use as well as any issues that you may experience with any. Sometimes it's hard to remember which mag starts giving you malfs at the range unless you have a #.

    Just a way to keep track of firearms accessories and their performance.
     
  21. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    Cooldill,

    I recently purchased some used magazines for a Beretta 92FS. I disassembled them for cleaning and laid all of the springs side by side on the table for comparison. Although all of them are stamped Made in Italy only four of the magazine springs looked the same. The other four were either longer, the coils were different and/or they had a different bend for the follower. One spring had the top and bottom loops twisted in the opposite direction.

    A phone call to Wolff got me a 10 pack of 10% extra strength springs. I tossed the old springs in the trash.

    The Wolff springs are noticeably stronger than the originals. I have them all them fully loaded at the moment to help break the springs in.

    All of the old springs may work fine but new.ones are cheap lifetime replacement.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  22. phil dirt

    phil dirt Member

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    You can order mag springs from Wolff.
     
  23. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    You probably don't need THAT MANY magazines -- you just need to keep what you've got (7) and order some backup (replacement) mag springs from Wolff Springs (www.gunsprings.com.) The Wolff springs will be better quality and last longer than the factory springs.

    About the only time someone might NEED that many (12) mags is if he or she is shooting competitively, which isn't done that much with Makarovs. (And even then, the extra mags are for sake of convenience, so you don't have to rush to reload mags between stages of the competition!)

    Rotating mags just spreads the wear over a larger number of mags. Over the long term, you've not really saved anything.

    Keep in mind: springs don't heal after if they're rested after use. Replacing the springs when they start to cause problems makes more sense. You can also consider setting aside one or two mags solely for "carry" or "home defense" use -- as those "reserved" mags won't see much use or wear. The rest are then for fun at the range, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  24. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    I can't afford enough ammunition to wear out the springs in the two magazines I have for my Russian IJ-70 Makarov. When I was shooting IPSC, I replaced magazine springs after 5000 rounds. As others have noted, number the magazines and it's a lot cheaper to replace springs than buy another five magazines.
     
  25. HisSoldier

    HisSoldier Member

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    I seem to remember something about the Officer's model Colt, needing a new recoil spring every 300 rounds. Whether that's true or not I don't know, but I do believe that the IMSI flat wire spring changes the longevity of that.

    So, I wonder if flatwire springs have an intrinsic advantage or if the round wire Colt springs fail because of bunching at full recoil, and the flatwire is less susceptible to bunching out of alignment?
    If there is an intrinsic advantage maybe flatwire springs in mags would help longevity. All the talk about valve spring longevity doesn't account for 1911 8 round magazines reported tendency to lose mag spring pressure, but I'm here to learn. :) Maybe 8 round mag springs lose pressure because of forcing them into fully compressed mode all the time.
     
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