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· Nunquam Non Paratus
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Loaded or unloaded whatever your preference. The common wisdom now is that with newer spring steels the issue is not staying compressed that causes an issue with a magazine but the repeated cycles of loading and unloading.



Best answer? No one really knows for sure and it would be dependent on the different magazines and springs in particular. An internet and YouTube search will probably show less support for loading and unloading to relieve tension, but we all know how "the science changes".
 

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I've been using the same mags for years loaded. Haven't had any issues. Most I store empty. I keep two AR mags ready, 3 for my Glock, 3 for my nightstand gun. I have some mags marked for training that get dropped, but I don't leave them loaded.
 

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If the springs are not compressed beyond their elastic limit and were properly heat treated in the first place, leaving mags loaded is no issue. In 2011 I recovered dozens of WW2-era mags, for M1911 pistol, M1A1 Thompson, M1 Carbine, which had been stored loaded and were found in drop canisters cached by the Resistance in the Valtrebia mountains of Northern Italy, which all functioned normally and the ammo went bang. Time pencils, detonators, Comp B, Mills bombs and primercord also we're safely detonated in place by EOD personnel from the Alpini Regt
 

· Vigilant Curmudgeon
Pistolburgh, Taxylvania
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I read an article some years ago about a magazine that was found fully loaded since WW1 it was a 1911 mag. The author had no problems with it and he continued to use it for years. ymmv
I was advised by an older retired military man to store my magazines loaded, but NOT to capacity - one or two less. I like that idea, so I keep several set up like that.
Jaw Gesture Art Painting Tie
 

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I should know this answer as I probably an the only one here that has worked for a spring manufacturer.
In my defense that was 44 years ago and my job was machine repair, manufacturing tooling and prototype
work for the engineering department.
We did test for cycles to failure but no static load tests for set that I've ever saw,
probably because that could take years for a result.
My opinion is there would be an effect but it may take years to decades to show up.
I store some (magazines) but at only at half capacity.

If you say look at a car suspension that's under constant stress along with all the cycles with movement
they will eventually become weaker.
We're talking years, maybe a decade or more .
Sit on an old couch with coil springs if you need convincing.
 

· Premium Member
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modern magazines use modern springs.. The myth of only partially loading or storing empty is AT LEAST 70 years old... Keep your magazines loaded, Exactly the way God intended them to be...
In my old job I had access to thousands of magazines that were loaded or partially loaded, and I was able to "unload" them through guns whenever I wanted to, (in the interest of science, of course...). It was common to have the springs not have enough tension to feed the rounds, and these were mostly not 70+ year old magazines.

Do I think modern magazine springs are better? Yes.

Do I keep every magazine I own loaded 24/7? No.

Do I rotate the mags I have loaded out every so often? Yes.

YMMV.
 

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I don't really have any long term documentation or research, I keep them full.

I did however, at one time work at a job where we spec'd and evaluated springs from spring manufactures, and life cycle fatigue was a factor, not length of time compressed.
 
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