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 Keeping magazines loaded?
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mwester89
Junior Member

169 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  2:33:03 PM  Show Profile
I know there could probably be an endless argument on this but, is it safe to keep good quality magazines loaded to their full capacity for extended periods of time?

cpermd
Advanced Member

5863 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  2:34:45 PM  Show Profile
Yes

CP
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PEZHEAD265
Member

USA
660 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  3:09:41 PM  Show Profile
Be carefull if you transport loaded mags in a car some states consider that a loaded weapon and you are breaking the law.
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mwester89
Junior Member

169 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  4:35:53 PM  Show Profile
Ok, thanks, I was just wondering if I could keep them loaded for whenever I wanted to go shooting, since the place I shoot is my backyard, transporting them is not a problem.
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beantownshootah
Advanced Member

USA
13046 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  5:39:43 PM  Show Profile
This does get argued back and forth, but in my opinion assuming they are of quality to begin with, storing magazines loaded for long periods of time should NOT compromise their function or reliability.

Now in practice, I don't do this, because subscribing to the "keep your guns unloaded if you aren't using them" theory of gun safety, I don't like to have loaded magazines around, period.

If I'm shooting the gun or carrying it, the magazines will be loaded. When I'm done, I unload the magazines and put the gun into storage.

As far as I am concerned there is no "in between" state. Either I am using a gun or I am not. Carrying it for defensive use is "using" it.

Magazines to be used for shooting get loaded on the range prior to shooting and not before. Before leaving the range, all magazines are emptied, except any in guns on my person for defensive use. This way there are no problems or misunderstandings in getting to the range or back.

As a matter of pratice, for defensive handguns, I generally choose revolvers for increased reliability, making loaded magazines moot. But when I am not using them, I unload those as well.

In terms of transporting loaded magazines in your vehicle, I can't possibly see how any State could consider a loaded magazine a loaded weapon, unless the ACTUAL WEAPON were also present.

In other words, I can throw ten loaded Glock mags in my back seat. . .if I don't have a Glock in the car, there is no loaded weapon.

If I kept a Glock loose in the trunk, and a loaded mag loose in the trunk, that COULD be considered a loaded weapon, depending on the state. (Note that in some states its OK to transport a loaded weapon in the car with you).

On the other hand, if the Glock were unloaded and in a sealed container in the trunk, and the mag were locked in the glove compartment. . .probably NOT loaded, though that will depend on individual state rules.

If the Glock were unloaded in the trunk in a sealed container, and the magazines were unloaded in the trunk in a SEPARATE sealed container. . .again probably not loaded, depending on state rules.


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein
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Nwcid
Advanced Member

USA
9219 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  11:09:08 PM  Show Profile
Here you go:
Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
American Handgunner, May-June, 2003 by John S. Layman

The shooting sports are full of some of the most knowledgeable and capable people you'll meet anywhere. I've been impressed consistently with the abilities of those I meet at the range to diagnose and fix a gun problem with as little as some spray lube and a cotton swab. However, sometimes a myth will creep into the folklore.

The magazine spring myth has been around for many years and is growing in popularity. It goes something like this: "You should unload your magazines when they're not in use or the spring will weaken causing failures to feed." This has gone as far as shooting competitors actually unloading their magazines between stages to extend the life of their springs. A variant of this myth is: "You should never load a magazine to capacity and should always leave it one round short." What if you need that round some day?

Recently, I read an article in a gun magazine suggesting you rotate your magazines so the ones not in use can "recover and rest." The same author uses the phrase "spring-set" to describe weakness of a spring because it was compressed for a long time. Hogwash. There's nothing further from the truth. Springs don't care how long they're compressed and don't require rest, recreation or even a vacation from time to time.

To put this one to rest, you have to understand creep. Creep is the slow flow of a non-ferric metal like copper, brass and lead under force. At temperatures outside of a furnace, steel doesn't have any appreciable creep. Under most conditions, steel flexes and then returns to its original shape. When pushed past its elastic limit, steel will bend and not return to its original shape. All designers of well-made magazines make sure the spring never approaches the elastic limit when the magazine is fully loaded. Honest. This means the spring will not weaken when the magazine is fully loaded -- not even over an extended time. Like 50 years. American Handgunner recently ran a story about a magazine full of .45 ACP that had been sitting since WWII and it ran just fine on the first try. So there you go.

Now that the light of truth is leaking out, lets talk about what is causing failures to feed. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.

Carlton Nether, Customer Service for Beretta USA, tells us keeping a pistol magazine loaded for an extended period doesn't cause magazine spring failure, however, failures to feed can result. He says, "The ammo will 'roll' in the magazine. If the mags are kept loaded and moved around a lot -- say on a cop's belt -- the rolling action can, over time, cause creases in the cases. These creases can cause malfunctions. Also the top bullet will roll against the magazine lips and creasing can occur there as well. Just check old ammo that's been bouncing around in a magazine for a long time.

We tell police officers if they keep loaded magazines, take a few seconds to "cycle" the ammo. Periodically unload the mag and reload it in a different sequence. This movement will allow the bullets to be in different parts of the magazine and help eliminate creasing.

At STI, Dave Skinner, President and CEO says, "Personally, I rotate my 'under the bed' and 'under the seat' mags about every six months. I always empty them the 'fun' way and have never had a failure." Given what we learned above, this sounds like a good idea. Smith and Wesson customer service also says magazines can stay loaded indefinitely without hurting the spring.

As we add force onto a spring, it will displace the same amount for each amount of force we add. This is true until the spring passes a certain point called the elastic limit. Robert Hooke discovered this theory back in 1660. Hooke's Law states: "If the applied forces on a body are not too large, the deformations resulting are directly proportional to the forces producing them." Which means, in actual human being language, if we load a spring past its elastic limit, it permanently deforms. It still provides a force against the load but the force is no longer proportional. If this happens, when we unload the spring (such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded) the spring never returns to a state where it can provide the same load for the same amount of displacement.

Trust Us

When a magazine manufacturer designs a spring, they plan for a preload. The spring is already compressed some in the magazine. On the curve below, this would be Point A. The spring compression would be designed to be below the Elastic Limit. When fully compressed, the spring would be at Point B. If the spring is ever compressed past the elastic limit, say to Point C, it won't ever behave the same. Like a recalcitrant lazy Uncle, it will have a lower spring force for each amount of displacement. On the drawing, the spring would now cycle between points D and E. This means that -- particularly with the last bullet or two -- the force pushing the bullet up would be less and lo-and-behold, a mis-feed might occur.
When somebody stretches your spring to "fix" your magazine, they are trying to get you back on the original curve. They may get pretty close, however, it's unlikely the spring will ever perform to its original design. The elastic limit is now shifted lower and your magazine spring may fail to perform fairly quickly.

Having said all this, if you have a magazine that isn't feeding right, what should you do? First, disassemble the magazine and clean it thoroughly. Then try it with new, factory ammunition in a freshly cleaned gun. This takes away some of the possible causes. If you are still having feed problems, send it back. Even the low cost, after-market magazine manufacturers will fix the problem at no cost to you other than shipping. If it's a magazine from the gun's manufacturer, let them troubleshoot and repair the problem. Otherwise, toss the mag. It's not worth risking your life to save a few bucks. And that's the truth.
Creep: The flow or plastic deformation of metals held for long periods of time at stresses lower than the normal yield strength.

Elastic Limit: The maximum stress that material will stand before permanent deformation occurs.

Yield Strength: The stress at which the metal changes from elastic to plastic in behavior, i.e., takes a permanent set.

Permanent Set: Non-elastic or plastic, deformation of metal under stress, after passing the elastic limit.

Magazine Recommendations

* Clean your magazines when they get gritty. Apply oil then remove all excess. Oil attracts dirt that may cause malfunction.

* If you find rust on the spring, this is culprit. Rust changes the thickness of the metal and reduces the force applied to the follower. Cleaning off the rust may help. For a gun you depend on, replace the spring. All the major brands and most of the smaller ones have replacement mag springs available or try Wolff Springs.

* If you keep a magazine loaded for long periods, rotate the rounds every few months. If you carry a pistol on the job or in your car, cycle the ammo frequently. These actions prevent creases from forming which may cause a misfeed.

* If you experience feed problems, first clean your magazines and weapon. Fire a couple magazines of new factory ammo to see if this resolves the problem. If not send the magazine back to the manufacturer -- or toss it.


Here is another one, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_163_27/ai_99130369







Just a thought Why would you ask members of a gun forum if you should buy a gun. Kinda like an alcoholic going into a bar to hoping to have someone tell him not to drink.

Anyone who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither!!!

Gun control defined: The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, torture, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law which prohibits them from owning a firearm.

What are MG's for?
Because if you are going to cry out, "Say Hello To My Little Fren" and you are holding a bolt action .22, you have no style.

John
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Mr. Friendly
Advanced Member

USA
6790 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2009 :  11:56:40 PM  Show Profile
Ok, I have to ask, if this is the case why do so many old mags fail, and have to receive spring replacements, or be replaced? I have had several magazines "fail" over time, and a magazine or spring replacement solves the issue.

The so called experts on this can say as they wish, but having had several failed magazine I will err on the side of caution. I am ok with having to wear my tin foil cap while doing so, as I would hate to be proven right at the wrong opportunity
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JohnnyBGood
Member

930 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  12:04:50 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Friendly

Ok, I have to ask, if this is the case why do so many old mags fail, and have to receive spring replacements, or be replaced? I have had several magazines "fail" over time, and a magazine or spring replacement solves the issue.

The so called experts on this can say as they wish, but having had several failed magazine I will err on the side of caution. I am ok with having to wear my tin foil cap while doing so, as I would hate to be proven right at the wrong opportunity



I THINK it has to do with the spring being used vs. simply sitting in a compressed state. In other words, a loaded magazine laying in a drawer for 5 years will not cause wear on the spring. But using that magazine every weekend when you go shooting for 5 years can cause the spring to weaken.

John (mostly a pre-1899 guy)
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Mr. Friendly
Advanced Member

USA
6790 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  12:11:18 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by JohnnyBGood

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Friendly

Ok, I have to ask, if this is the case why do so many old mags fail, and have to receive spring replacements, or be replaced? I have had several magazines "fail" over time, and a magazine or spring replacement solves the issue.

The so called experts on this can say as they wish, but having had several failed magazine I will err on the side of caution. I am ok with having to wear my tin foil cap while doing so, as I would hate to be proven right at the wrong opportunity



I THINK it has to do with the spring being used vs. simply sitting in a compressed state. In other words, a loaded magazine laying in a drawer for 5 years will not cause wear on the spring. But using that magazine every weekend when you go shooting for 5 years can cause the spring to weaken.

John (mostly a pre-1899 guy)

My colt combat commander set with a loaded magazine for three years in a safe , and it wouldn't function corretly until I replaced it.

I understand what you are saying, and I am not saying I am right, but I would rather be wrong and not worry about it

Edited by - Mr. Friendly on 10/19/2009 12:16:30 AM
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quickmajik
Advanced Member

USA
18444 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  02:15:43 AM  Show Profile
I have had the same problems friendly.. I dont care what a gun writer says, I have had mags loaded below capacity fail because they had been loaded to long.. especially double collum mags.

when you buy a mag fed rifle, handgun or shotgun get extra followers, floor plates and springs and "Mag Bodies" to last three lifetimes...

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Bill DeShivs
Senior Member

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  03:29:20 AM  Show Profile
Any mag spring that "fails" would have failed whether it was compressed or not. Properly designed and manufactured springs don't "wear out." If compressed past their elastic limit, heated to the point the hardness is compromised, or rusted, they will "get weak." Springs that have been compressed many, many times can work-harden and break.
Steel has finite properties-it's not alive, springs don't need to "rest," and a metal's properties don't change.

Bill DeShivs
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drobs
Advanced Member

USA
20131 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  05:13:47 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Friendly

quote:
Originally posted by JohnnyBGood

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Friendly

Ok, I have to ask, if this is the case why do so many old mags fail, and have to receive spring replacements, or be replaced? I have had several magazines "fail" over time, and a magazine or spring replacement solves the issue.

The so called experts on this can say as they wish, but having had several failed magazine I will err on the side of caution. I am ok with having to wear my tin foil cap while doing so, as I would hate to be proven right at the wrong opportunity



I THINK it has to do with the spring being used vs. simply sitting in a compressed state. In other words, a loaded magazine laying in a drawer for 5 years will not cause wear on the spring. But using that magazine every weekend when you go shooting for 5 years can cause the spring to weaken.

John (mostly a pre-1899 guy)

My colt combat commander set with a loaded magazine for three years in a safe , and it wouldn't function corretly until I replaced it.

I understand what you are saying, and I am not saying I am right, but I would rather be wrong and not worry about it



I noted that too with 1911 mags. Chip McCormick 8rd 1911 mags are the worst for wearing out springs when left loaded for long periods of time. Wilson's (the old style) in my experience, are just as bad if left loaded. Haven't tried the new style Wilsons.

I've had good luck with Pachmyr 7rd & Novak 8rd magazines. Their springs hold better when left loaded.

The solution with 1911 mags may be to only load 7 in an 8 rd magazine.

Never had a problem with Glock mags or AK/AR mags that were left loaded for long periods of time.



My Auctions: http://www.GunBroker.com/All/BI.aspx?IncludeSellers=818233

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Txs
Advanced Member

15855 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2009 :  06:45:08 AM  Show Profile
The issue is not with magazines remaining loaded to capacity for long periods. It's repeated compression/decompression cycles.

As for 'spring set', it's true that magazine springs will shorten noticeably after a certain amount of use - but then remain this length.
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