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Old 12-12-2010, 02:10 PM
SofaGeorge SofaGeorge is offline
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Default Can you keep a shotgun fully loaded for a long time?



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I've read the theory of downloading the magazine a couple of shells to reduce fatigue of the spring - but I wondered if anyone here can speak from real world experience about keeping a pump shotgun's tube magazine fully loaded for a long period of time.

I've never actually tried it... and so far the only posts I'm finding are from people who have never actually done it and are giving their "theories" (the same word could also be spelled b--- s---... but what do I know.)

So the question here... has anyone ever left a shotgun fully loaded for a year or more... and if so did it affect the spring or warp the rounds?
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:56 PM
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yes...i did use it some though but loaded it again when I was done...no problems at all.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:05 PM
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I too would like to know. For a couple months I kept 6 loaded in the tube, nothing chambered. If I had to, a quick pump and its ready, or I could drop in a slug from my sidesaddle if I needed a longer shot.

But now I emptied it since my friend who was in the Army said it could cause stress to the magazine spring and possibly impede its function. I'm more apt to believe this in handgun magazines or auto-loading shotguns, but I run a pump so I don't see how. Anyway I'd like to know too :D
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:07 PM
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Well i was told by a gunsmith you can keep them loaded but to unload them a couple times a month
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:11 PM
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Springs don't get "stressed" unless they are loaded beyond their design tolerances.

A shotgun magazine spring can easily tolerate being fully loaded for years.

There may be other reasons for not leaving the gun loaded, but spring stress isn't one of them.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:55 PM
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Kept the same five buckshot shells (my own loads) in a Mossy 500 for close to 15 years. Long term enough? I remove them once every other month or so to oil the gun.

The last shell *does* come out of the tube a bit weak compared to the rest, but it's in no way hindered from functioning. It's more along the lines of common spring pressure on the last round. The shell tops around the crimps are getting frayed from being loaded and unloaded so many times, I don't think I'd reload these again if fired, but they have in no way deformed the shells. They cycle perfectly fine.

rich
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Old 12-12-2010, 05:27 PM
SofaGeorge SofaGeorge is offline
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15 years seems long enough to answer the question.



On second thought - anybody left theirs fully loaded for 20 years?













j/k
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:19 AM
whirlibird whirlibird is offline
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As an LEO armorer and ex-gunsmith, I can say that I replace the mag springs on our department scatterguns every two years.

They're left loaded day in and day out. The only time they're unloaded is for cleaning or when they're being shot.

I started this after 2 of our 4 scatterguns failed to feed the last or next to last round from the magazine. (870's and 500's)

My personal Benelli hunting shotgun, started having issues with 3" shells. It'd feed and operate with 2 3/4" shells but would fail to feed the last round from the mag when being fired with the 3". The mag spring had gone 'soft' and wouldn't fully get the 3" hull onto the lifter before the action would attempt to lift the round and jam the gun up. A new heavy duty spring and it runs like a champ again.

With extended mags, downloading to factory capacity, 4 rounds in the mag is not a bad idea, especially if the gun is to be stored for a long time. With the addition of a sidesaddle, the mag can be topped up as the weapon is brought into use.

The extended mags and HD springs can deform plastic hulls over time, especially when left fully loaded. Better to top up and avoid this.

Swap out your ammo once a year, by firing preferably.
This function tests the gun and makes sure everything still works properly, including the springs. Any hint of weakness in the mag spring, and it's time to replace.

Springs are cheap, hospital bills and funerals aren't.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:39 AM
SofaGeorge SofaGeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
As an LEO armorer and ex-gunsmith, I can say that I replace the mag springs on our department scatterguns every two years.

They're left loaded day in and day out. The only time they're unloaded is for cleaning or when they're being shot.

I started this after 2 of our 4 scatterguns failed to feed the last or next to last round from the magazine. (870's and 500's)

My personal Benelli hunting shotgun, started having issues with 3" shells. It'd feed and operate with 2 3/4" shells but would fail to feed the last round from the mag when being fired with the 3". The mag spring had gone 'soft' and wouldn't fully get the 3" hull onto the lifter before the action would attempt to lift the round and jam the gun up. A new heavy duty spring and it runs like a champ again.

With extended mags, downloading to factory capacity, 4 rounds in the mag is not a bad idea, especially if the gun is to be stored for a long time. With the addition of a sidesaddle, the mag can be topped up as the weapon is brought into use.

The extended mags and HD springs can deform plastic hulls over time, especially when left fully loaded. Better to top up and avoid this.

Swap out your ammo once a year, by firing preferably.
This function tests the gun and makes sure everything still works properly, including the springs. Any hint of weakness in the mag spring, and it's time to replace.

Springs are cheap, hospital bills and funerals aren't.
great post thx
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirlibird View Post
Swap out your ammo once a year, by firing preferably.
This function tests the gun and makes sure everything still works properly, including the springs. Any hint of weakness in the mag spring, and it's time to replace.
^^^There's your answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SofaGeorge View Post
15 years seems long enough to answer the question.



On second thought - anybody left theirs fully loaded for 20 years?

j/k
Not 100% of the time but damn close. I bought a brand spanking new Mossy 500 back in '88 and I just replaced the spring a few months ago. Easy and inexpensive to do. It'd be worth investing in a replacement to have around. I got mine from Brownells for less than $10.00

Good Luck
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:14 PM
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I kept my Dads old Browning pump loaded with 5 shell's for (10) ten years and no problems.
But I down load my 5.56 MM mags because there were probs with M16 mags in the late 60s and early 70s so I load them to (28) twenty eight Rounds. I inspect them (3) three times a year
XR750
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:34 PM
Wolfe Wolfe is offline
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It should not give you any problems at all.

But keep it out of children's reach.
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Old 12-14-2010, 05:57 PM
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similar question but different spring. If you leave a shotgun perpetually "cocked" (pumped without dry firing) does it weaken the striker spring?
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:04 PM
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You should read that article about spring "set" being a myth. The way metal works, the only way it fatigues is from constant use. There are reports of finding fully loaded guns hidden since WW2, and the workers took it out back and fired it all off with no problems. A testament to the longevity of springs in magazines and of ammo.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:31 AM
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Good stuff, but what about pistol mag springs? No difference? And what if you don't dry fire the shotgun after keeping it in cruiser safe mode, as Darwath mentioned? Will a primed firing pin weaken over time? I usually keep my handgun loaded, but nothing chambered, and I dry fire it. I've heard both sides saying dry firing can cause damage, then some who've always dry fired and nothing goes wrong. Would be good to get all this cleared up in one thread
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Darwath View Post
similar question but different spring. If you leave a shotgun perpetually "cocked" (pumped without dry firing) does it weaken the striker spring?
I have never tested it, but the answer I get from all educated sources is: no, it doesn't weaken the spring. You can keep any modern firearm cocked as long as you like.

(Again in that case you have to be especially careful it doesn't fall in any untrained hands.)

the same thing goes for pistol mag springs, rifle mag springs, trigger reset springs, and although I've never had any confirmation, I expect the same thing plays for recoil springs too.

Any modern made (made between now and 20 years ago or so) should not have any spring problems with any spring.

Dry firing doesn't hurt on 99% of the firearms, but on some guns it can hurt. Apparantly this is the case with the springfield XD(m) series (and I think there are more). Watch what this gunsmith says at 2:20 of the video below.


So on some types dryfiring can hurt, but in my opinion it shouldn't. I've dryfired my glock a million times and it's still rocking. And a lot more pistols are like that. That's how it should be.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:52 PM
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Leaving shotgun shells under pressure can also cause the plastic in the shell to compress a little. I've seen them compress to the point they don't feed.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtBooker44 View Post
Leaving shotgun shells under pressure can also cause the plastic in the shell to compress a little. I've seen them compress to the point they don't feed.
I actually plain to measure this and post an update in 3 months. I'm going to use precision tools to identify EXACTLY what or if any warping exists... and then I am going to ask the manufacturer for the EXACT tolerance for ammo loading.

I will measure every shell from the first to the last.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:49 PM
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We keep our 870's in our patrol cars with the tube fully loaded, and an empty chamber. I'm coming up on my 10 year anniversary with the sheriff's office. I've never seen one of our shotguns have a mag spring fail. They are however unloaded and oiled down at least every few months, then reloaded.

The only ill effect I've seen is to the shot shells themselves. In this southern heat, in a car, I've seen the plastic hulls get hot enough that the spring pressure squishes them, and then they are hard to chamber, or won't chamber at all.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SofaGeorge View Post
I actually plain to measure this and post an update in 3 months. I'm going to use precision tools to identify EXACTLY what or if any warping exists... and then I am going to ask the manufacturer for the EXACT tolerance for ammo loading.

I will measure every shell from the first to the last.
Want me to do the same? one of my shotguns lives in my garage, which at the moment is about 20 degrees.
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