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firearms storage

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by 22many, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    So I have heard plenty people say to store your fireams empty (no ammo) but nobody can tell me why. I store mine loaded and have never had a problem. Anybody have any thoughts on this?
     
  2. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    What types of firearms are you referring to? I keep my long guns (expect my home defense 12ga) unloaded. My daily carry I keep mag loaded and chamber empty when it goes in the safe at night. My shotgun stays loaded. My wife is a stay at home mom and I want to be relatively quickly accessible to her.
    I know firearm owner manuals tell you to keep them unloaded so the manufacturer can cover their backsides from any liability.
     
  3. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    I store many of my firearms loaded in the electronic safe. Honestly why wouldn't you? A car in a locked garage with out gas is just as useless as an unloaded firearm when you find yourself needing it in a hurry.

    I keep the following loaded at all times:

    Shotgun 00 Buck
    Handguns 45's & a 380
    460 Rowland Carbine

    The others are unloaded because I seriously doubt I'd need my rifles loaded unless the bubblegum really hit the fan which I find seriously unlikely. If things deteriate to that point I'm sure I'll keep the Saiga 308 in condition 1 as well but like I said I don't see any need to right now.

    On a side note... I know people who carry without a round in the chamber because they aren't comfortable with one in the pipe and the gun in condition 1. I think they are MAD personally. I'd much rather flip the safety off with my thumb while drawing then try to quickly rack the slide after drawing. Double action is the quickest and I own one but at least for me accuracy suffers greatly. I am trigger spoiled from years of 1911's and other single action guns I guess.
     
  4. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    I keep all my firearms loaded. AR's, AK's, 22's and my 45's. They are without a round in the chamber for safety reasons. I keep 1 45 out of the safe for protection reasons but they are all still loaded. I was just looking at a cabelas magazine and noticed in their safe section the guns are unloaded with no mags in them also. I understand that a magazine add is not a real life situation but makes me think. How many people store empty and for what reasons?
     
  5. FrontierFritz

    FrontierFritz West foothills of the Cascade Mountains Member

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    After almost 20 years of carry I basically live with my loaded PPK.
    All others are locked, unloaded in my Fort Knox safe.
    On the rare occasions that I lock up my PPK, I do not unload it because this is always a temporary situation.
     
  6. bwells

    bwells Longview Member

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    I keep all of my guns unloaded. The only exception is my 45, I keep a loaded mag and an empty chamber on that. I keep a handful of 12 gauge shells relatively close to my shotgun. I like keeping the majority of my ammo in sealed storage with some sort of desiccant. I don't know how true this is, but I've heard that some magazine springs will compress and will stop working properly if kept loaded all the time. I'm not sure how true this is.
     
  7. powermad

    powermad Portland Active Member

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    False, mag springs don't care if they are loaded or unloaded.
    It is the cycling of the springs that wear them out.
    Here is a good read on it.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/..._27/ai_99130369

    FindArticles > American Handgunner > May-June, 2003 > Article > Print friendly

    Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
    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.

    Shameful Spring Benders

    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.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Definitions

    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.
     
  8. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    I havent experienced any problems with keeping mags loaded. I do keep them a couple rounds from max though. Mainly because it easier to keep track of how much ammo I have in storage. I can see keeping the firearms empty if you have kids and dont have a safe. This is my reason for not keeping a round in the chamber. But, I do have a safe to lock them up. Was just wondering if there was any reason behind storing empty.
     
  9. powermad

    powermad Portland Active Member

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    Myself any gun in the safe that "may" be needed has a full mag inserted and chamber empty. The shotgun is has a full tube and chamber empty.
    My pistol is always loaded with one in the chamber even when it goes in the safe from time to time.
    Although when it comes out of the carry holster it goes right into a cheap nylon holster.
     
  10. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    I do not keep the firearms in my safe loaded. With the heat generated by a fire, it is possible that the ammunition may burst. But I look at it like a firecracker in the hand. If its in an open hand it does a little damage, but if you close your hand around it, it does significantly more damage. I don't want my ammunition to be contained in a gun when it bursts. This may be a false assumption on my part, but the way I figure it, if its in my safe, I don't need immediate access to it and therefor have no need to keep it loaded. Better safe than sorry.

    I keep a loaded gun outside my safe for ease of access. But I don't have any kids or unknown people in my home at any time.
     
  11. Searcher451

    Searcher451 Oregon Member

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    I keep one of my guns, a P99, loaded and in a holster attached to the inside of the door of my gun safe. Most all of the others are unloaded and either in boxes or cases or pouches and stored within the safe. That's not to say that P99 is the only loaded gun in the house, mind you. :)
     
  12. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    My brother-in-law bought a Remington rifle in.270 caliber in 1954. He always kept it loaded with the safety on and the magazine full. When he wanted to use it, he took it off of the rack, pushed the safety off, and was ready to go. I told him that it could be dangerous to have it in his house fully loaded at all times (he had no children) but he said he wanted it to always be "ready to go." When he died in 2006 the rifle was still as good as new.