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Mags: loaded or unloaded?

gravediggergravedigger Member Posts: 945 ✭✭✭✭
edited September 2001 in Ask the Experts
Is it bad for the mag to store it loaded? I assume it would be considering it would place constant tension on the spring. -Marcus

Comments

  • Shootist3006Shootist3006 Member Posts: 4,171
    edited November -1
    People assure me that modern mags with newer steel springs can be left charged indefinetly. That said, since I don't know how old the steel is in a mag, I rotate mags every couple of months, same as I do the ammo.Costs you a few minutes every month or two to be confident - sounds like cheap insurance to me.
    Quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem.Semper Fidelis
  • redcedarsredcedars Member Posts: 919 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I agree with shootist. I have seen magazine springs fail from fatigue, or takin a "set" after being kept loaded for an extended period. The better quality magazine, the less likely there is to be a problem.Overstuffing a mag, that is, putting in more rounds than intended by design, just because a round or two more will fit, is asking for trouble. On the other hand, some folks keep mags loaded, but at less than max capacity, like 20 in a 30 rd mag. This practice reduces the stress on the spring, and significantly reduces the chance that the first round feeding will jam.I like revolvers for guns that must be available for defense at all times for this reason. But I tend to carry autos, and have several good mags for both of the autos I usually carry. These I rotate, one each day, so that no mag is loaded for more than 3 days without one day's "rest". With good mags it is probably not necessary, but it makes me feel more secure.redcedars
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,626
    edited November -1
    For protection, I always fall back to the revolver. This way you can eliminate just about any type of problem by pulling the trigger again and having a fresh round pop up.Conversely, I was going through my grandmother's possessions recently to clear up her estate and found an 98%+ Colt 1908 in a box with a loaded magazine and a note from her then husband. The note said in part: 'the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, keep this and take the kids to safety if they invade California.'No one had ever seen the gun and so I assume it has been kept loaded and in the box since 1941.I cleaned and oiled the gun and magazine and both functioned perfectly.
  • Select FireSelect Fire Member Posts: 99 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you don't keep a magazine fully loaded, you are only shorting yourself.I've been around firearms for over 40 years. I've yet to see or hear of a mag. spring that took a "set" from being loaded to full cpacity.
  • Der GebirgsjagerDer Gebirgsjager Member Posts: 1,685 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    How's about yet another 2 cents worth? (This thread will probably get--and deserve--an early lock-up!) I believe there are several valid perspectives on this subject. The magazine with the reputation for being highly reliable after being left loaded for long periods of time is the 1911 magazine. In fact, there was an article in a gun publication in 1995 (50th year anniversary of the end of W.W.II) where the author fired off the contents of a 1911 magazine that had been loaded since the war, and all rounds fed and fired without a hitch. I myself, even though of advancing age, still work part-time at a job requiring me to be armed--and that arm is (by choice) the 1911. NEVERTHELESS, all of the above having been said, I possess 4 blued magazines and 4 stainless magazines and load, unload, and rotate them monthly. This makes it easy to keep track of if I've done it or not; and when it's your hide you want to reduce the possiblilities of failure to a minimum. I do not believe that the reliability of all other magazines, especially double stack and magazines of foreign manufacture, can be counted upon to deliver the legendary performance of 1911 magazines, and would not leave them loaded for extended periods. There may well be exceptions, but you can be sure that if one fails it will be at the wrong time. Interestingly, I have had both Remington 700 and Winchester 70 rifles brought into my shop by hunters/ranchers who have left the magazines fully loaded in the closet for a couple of years and found that they would not feed after the first round due to the magazine springs having become permanently compressed. Let good judgement prevail.
  • mudgemudge Member Posts: 4,551
    edited November -1
    I keep 5 loaded mags for my Commander loaded at all times. Some have been that way for years. I had occasion to break all of 'em out when I went with my wife to get her CCW cert.All functioned flawlessly.Mudge
    Anyone who CAN carry, SHOULD carry!Let me update that.Anyone who CAN carry, BETTER carry.
  • redcedarsredcedars Member Posts: 919 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The mags I have seen with apparent spring metal fatigue were not mil-spec 1911 mags. The last one I saw was a double stack high-cap mag for a big Llama 45 auto a friend purchased used. (Yeah, I know, I wouldn't buy one of those junk heaps either, but he did get it cheap.) It had feed problems from the get go, and he told me the guy he bought it from had sold it to him with a loaded mag and partial box of ammo, and that he indicated the gun had been sitting around for a while. Replacing the mag spring cured most of the problem, although the gun was never reliable enough to count on.I have seen this problem a couple of times with cheaper guns, a couple of Jennings and Ravens, and some older spanish automatics. As I said above, modern high quality mags are very reliable, and I have great confidence in the Shooting Star mags I use in my 1911 carry gun. I just rotate mags because it is easy to do and cheap insurance, and its hard to quantify the value of having confidence in your weapon.Interesting note about the rifle mags. I haven't seen any rifle mags with bad springs, but it obviously can happen.redcedars
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    Any US service weapon was designed for its' magazine to be kept loaded for extended periods and fire reliably.I would expect the same from German weapons and the Browning Hi Power but not from older Spanish, Belgian, French or Italian commercial autos.I have come across tubular mags on shotguns and lever actions whose springs havetaken a compression set.
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