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Will leaving your magazines loaded for long term harm the springs?

  • Yes

    Votes: 81 24.0%
  • No

    Votes: 257 76.0%
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Discussion Starter #1
I received the following PM in response to a post I made in a thread about long term storage, where I said that "wearing out the springs" on a magazine by leaving it loaded was an old wives' tale.

I didn't want to derail the thread but how do you figure that storing mags loaded wouldn't wear out the springs? For the same reason I don't leave the slide on my pistols in the locked back position as it keeps the spring under constant load.
This is one of those myths that will not die.

Can we resolve this once and for all?
 

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Here's my safety Sir
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Interesting, I don't take the chance with the mags I keep loaded (at home)I rotate them every 60 days. Which means that mag is used for two months out of every 24. At work we just ordered 4 springs for 4 Mossberg 590's the springs had gotten weak from constantly being loaded for the past several years. Four others are still in good condition and are about the same age, used under the same conditions. The 9mm, M9 mags are unloaded after each 12 hour shift then reloaded when reissued the next day/night shift.
 

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Its a proven fact springs under compression will lose their ability to properly rebound. There are hundreds of examples of it happening on a daily basis. Any spring has the ability to wear out, period. Magazines contain springs, not magical pieces of metal that somehow allow them to bypass the metallurgical properties of springs. Any manufacturer that claims otherwise is flat out wrong. They fail, its proven.

On the flip side, knowing this as a fact, I have every magazine loaded in this house, minimum two per firearm. I keep spare mags (out of rotations, just stored) but replacement springs are cheap compared to not having enough loaded magazines, and most quality firearms will function with a weak spring.
 

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I have four World war one 1911 mags that my Grandfather gave me with his colt 1916,
they are still reliable and spring tension feels the same as new mags....My high capacity Sig 226 mags That were law enforcement turn ins have decidedly weaker springs than my new 226 mags, though I have had no malfunctions with them, also my used ak-47 mags spring tension is decidedly lighter than my new polymer bulgarians, but they also work...
Bottom line..I think at some point double stack magazines will begin to malfunction, single stack mags will keep on ticking indefinitely....
 

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Here's my safety Sir
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Interesting, I don't take the chance with the mags I keep loaded (at home)I rotate them every 60 days. Which means that mag is used for two months out of every 24. At work we just ordered 4 springs for 4 Mossberg 590's the springs had gotten weak from constantly being loaded for the past several years. Four others are still in good condition and are about the same age, used under the same conditions. The 9mm, M9 mags are unloaded after each 12 hour shift then reloaded when reissued the next day/night shift.
Guess I should have added that the mags I keep (at home) loaded are also the ones used at the range at least every other week during their rotation. Hence I do have a good idea of their condition.
 

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Its a proven fact springs under compression will lose their ability to properly rebound. There are hundreds of examples of it happening on a daily basis. Any spring has the ability to wear out, period. Magazines contain springs, not magical pieces of metal that somehow allow them to bypass the metallurgical properties of springs. Any manufacturer that claims otherwise is flat out wrong. They fail, its proven.

On the flip side, knowing this as a fact, I have every magazine loaded in this house, minimum two per firearm. I keep spare mags (out of rotations, just stored) but replacement springs are cheap compared to not having enough loaded magazines, and most quality firearms will function with a weak spring.
+1

If you're spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on guns, mags, and ammo. Why not buy some extra parts for the inevitable failure of some parts.

Springs lose tension, it's going to happen at some point. Granted this will happen quicker with a loaded mag, but I'd rather reach for my AR and only be able to get one round out because the spring was too weak to feed another than to reach for my mag first, find the ammo, start to load the mag, BANG story over...
 

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Springs are generally fine long-term loaded, assuming quality springs. The issue with leaving mags loaded is generally that with light alloy or non-reinforced polymer mags the feed lips get "de-tuned" (i.e., deformed or otherwise bent out of shape) and cause feed problems.

Fieldworthy AK mags like Com Bloc "ridgeback" steel 30-rounders and metal-lined Bulgarian "waffle" polymer 30-rounders can pretty much be left loaded 'til TEOTWAWKI comes and expected to go *BANG!* 30 times.

AR PMAGs are supposed to work fine loaded for months at a time in battle-ready condition, or indefinitely when stored with the snap-on dust cover, which takes the pressure from the top round off the feed lips.

AR USGI mags are said to be susceptible to de-tuning of the feed lips if left fully loaded indefinitely, although there are various schemes for "down-loading" (leaving rounds out rather than loading to capacity) to preserve life and function.

I keep a couple dozen steel AK mags (and a few poly waffles) fully loaded and good to go at any one time, and I don't worry about them. They only get swapped out a couple of times a year, at most. I also have a few fully loaded PMAGs on hand with the dust caps on, but otherwise ready to rock. I change out all the loaded Glock mags in the house once a month, and the loaded M9 mags are swapped every two weeks like clockwork, even if that practice is based solely on anecdotal evidence. I'd rather be safe than sorry...
 

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when you are rotating your food, take a couple more minutes and rotate your mags...presto-chango...problem solved. If your radar is always turned on, you will know when to load all of your mags :thumb:
 

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lilc hit the point. It is not the springs you need to worry about. It is the magazine feed lips. In aluminum mags the feed lips can splay out under constant stress. This problem is supposed to not occur in stainless steel magazines. Pmags has also supposed to have fixed this issue. Downloading a magazine is supposed to help take some pressure off of the feed lips.:)
 

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Hell with voting:

After (Bout 99) I read ina gun rag about the author inhereting a 1911 that has had it's 3 mags loaded since the guy came back just after WW2.

THe mags functioned fine.

SO, I did my own test.
I loaded up several 1911 and AK mags and put them in a box.

I shot them/function checked them after 5 years.

THey were/are fine.

I have a couple I am gonna test after 20 years.
I expect the same results.

Read up on metal memory...

It's the back and forth (Compressions and releases that waer out metal.)
-Think of breaking a small piece fo metal... it's bending it back and forth, not bending it and holding it. RIGHT?
 

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Good question and I was asking this same question the other day. I was thinking that if you reduce the tension on your spring you could keep your ammo in the mag for a longer time. In other words, for a 10 round mag only keep 7 rounds in it. Your mags will not be empty if you need to use them immediately, but if you have a few extra minutes it won't take much time to fill them up.
 

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This is one of those myths that will not die.

Can we resolve this once and for all?
14 to 15.... yep we all agreed on this one:thumb:

at this rate will have all the worlds problems solved in no time!:rolleyes:



I think it does not hurt to leave the springs compressed.
 

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Madcritter HIT the nail on the Head. Being in the military we block our ammo in our mas wich means remove all off the ammo and give th mag a time to "rest"
 

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From school "I went to college for gunsmithing" we had similar discussions and pretty much came up with its use that wears out springs i.e. loading and re-loading a magazine spring with tension on it is less likely to wear out than a magazine that is being loaded/unloaded every day.

However that isn't saying a loaded magazines springs wont wear out. Personally I don't fully load mags because its hard on the feed lips that's a lot of pressure your exerting on some thin metal especially when looking at pistol mags and non military mags.

A related and almost as fun discussion is dry firing, btw the answer is don't on most rimfires but most if not all modern centerfires it wont hurt at all.
 

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This debate comes up every so often, with plenty of people advocating "rotating" magazines to preserve the springs. I never hear anyone advocating uncocking a pistol every six months to rest the hammer spring or keeping a rifle uncocked to preserve spring function. My 1911 is cocked about 99.9% of the time (except when cleaning or for the fraction of a second while firing) and I don't worry about the mainspring "taking a set". Sure, the springs may wear out after much use, but not just sitting there cocked.
 
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