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Leaving Magazines loaded.

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by gallogiro, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. gallogiro

    gallogiro Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Does leaving your magazines loaded when storing them ruin them?

    I wanted to get your take on the subject. I've heard that after a while it causes the spring to weaken and you get a faulty magazine.

    Do you leave your magazines loaded with putting them away?
     
  2. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    I do, and it does not cause any problems. The way springs work, it WOULDN'T damage them.

    There are three methods of failure for a spring:
    1- Overuse: constant extension/contraction will cause the metal to weaken
    2- Hypercontraction: You contract it too far, and some of the curves will develop creases
    3- Hyperextension: you extend the spring too far, and some of the curves will widen.


    So the answer is no, keeping a spring always compressed won't cause it harm.
     
  3. finch6013

    finch6013 Oregon City Active Member

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    I keep mags loaded at times and have never had any issues although I shoot often enough that they are never compressed for more than a few weeks at the most
     
  4. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    I talked with my brother who is in the Army about this, and this is what he told me. Leave one or two bullets shy of fully loaded, and rotate to a fresh mag every week or two.
     
  5. Logical1

    Logical1 southeast portland, OR Member

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    I leave all my mags loaded (you know just in case :) ) I have never had a failure to feed or noticed and fatigue in any the springs and keep in mind some of these or older single stackers that are under some pretty fair pressure. Rotating them out doesnt sound like a bad idea just alot of work...lol
     
  6. wakejoe

    wakejoe Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    +1 on not filling mags all the way. 28 rounds in an AR mag will save problems down the road.

    But in the short term? Doesn't matter.
     
  7. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Yeah, it shouldnt matter if your leaving a fully loaded mag for a short extended amount of time. But if you leave your rifle and pistol mag loaded and ready to rock in your gun safe, all year every year, then you should leave 1 or 2 rounds out, and rotate every couple weeks to a different mag. And yes, it is a pain in the rear to rotate, too bad every mag isnt an Cammenga Easymag!
     
  8. RallySoob

    RallySoob Salem, OR Active Member

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    I keep all my mags loaded at all times. Better be safe than sorry.
     
  9. gallogiro

    gallogiro Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Thanks for your input. I also wanted to keep some mags loaded Just in case. I just wasn't sure if it going to cause any damage. Looks like I'll just leave a few rounds out.
     
  10. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Unless the magazine is poorly designed (in a manner where the spring is over-compressed with a full mag), it will be 100% fine leaving it full.

    The leave one off the top thing is most likely a result of people wanting to avoid damaging the magazine on poorly designed/mfgd magazines.
     
  11. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    The leave off one or two round thing I heard from my brother, who says it isnt good for any mag to stay completely depressed indefinately. But if you leave off a round or two, it will let the spring relax enough to not cause problems. This is really only if your leaving the mag loaded 24/7. It has nothing to do with good or poor quality mags.
     
  12. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Nope, springs don't work that way.

    The 'letting the spring relax' thing is total BS. The only thing that matters to a spring is whether it is over extended or compressed. If the spring is within its normal operating range, it doesn't matter if it spends it's entire time at 100% displacement or 0% displacement, the life of the spring won't change.

    Poor quality mags might be produced in a way where the springs are hyper extended/contracted at either full or empty. GOOD magazines should be entirely within spring-specs through their entire range of motion.
     
  13. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    OK, right on. You do it your way and Ill do it mine, no worries.
     
  14. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    That is fine, however I don't want people to start spreading FUD that is unfounded. If it makes you more comfortable to leave one or two off the top, enjoy, however it is detrimental to tell others that by fully loading theirs, they will be causing harm.
     
  15. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Dont you think that telling everyone that leaving them fully loaded 24/7 365 is not going to do them harm is the same thing? What if you dont know what your talking about, and it's really not a good idea to leave them fully loaded? Do you have a link to some page supporting what your saying?

    Its all advice at this point man, you gave yours and I gave mine. If you have something more to prove here, then provide a link.
     
  16. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    I found this in the firingline forums, link below:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    About 10 years ago, an engineer did a study on this subject and wrote it up in one of the magazines.

    As I recall, he recommended downloading the staggered-column magazines by 10% - 2 rounds in a 15 to 20 round magazine.

    He personally had two Glock 17 magazines fail to function after leaving them fully loaded for 3 months.

    He also observed that the single column magazine springs were less affected....... I remember hearing about a 1911-A1 magazine that was left loaded in an attic right after WWII, and it fired the 7 loaded rounds perfectly after it was found!

    If someone still has this article, please speak-up.

    Thanks,

    Mk.IV
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    link:http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=69357
     
  17. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    I don't have my engineering textbooks in front of me, but:

    Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_(device)

    Notice the Popular mechanics section:
    Contrary to popular belief, springs do not appreciably "creep" or get "tired" with age alone.[citation needed] Spring steel has a very high resistance to creep under normal loads. For instance, in a car engine, valve springs typically undergo about a quarter billion cycles of compression-decompression over the engine's life time and exhibit no noticeable change in length or loss of strength. But for good measure, springs can be replaced when doing a valve job. The sag observed in some older automobiles suspension is usually due to the springs being occasionally compressed beyond their yield point, causing plastic deformation. This can happen when the vehicle hits a large bump or pothole, especially when heavily loaded. Most vehicles will accumulate a number of such impacts over their working life, leading to a lower ride height and eventual bottoming-out of the suspension. In addition, frequent exposure to road salt accelerates corrosion, leading to premature failure of the springs in the car's suspension. Weakening of a spring is usually an indication that it is close to complete failure.


    This section isn't as detailed as an engineering textbook, but allude properly to the main failure mechanisms of springs due to use/storage. The only other method of failure is a spring 'breaking' as a result of metal-failure, such as rust.

    I'm sure one of the mechanical engineers on the forum can confirm this for you if you don't believe me.
     
  18. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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  19. korntera

    korntera Oregon Member

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    I leave mine magazines loaded full and never had a problem.
     
  20. Keane

    Keane Hillsboro, OR Active Member

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    Treemanx: see this post about 1/3 of the way down on that last post:

    This is the point I was making.

    NOW, if you ever find that American Handgunner article mentioned, I'd love to see it, especially the failure analysis that they did. The problem I see with most 'gun rag' 'studies' is that they rarely rely on proper scientific method and do a foolish job with not enough of a sampling or 'studying' of the problem.

    It is scientific fact (ask ANY knowledgeable mechanical engineer) that springs do not wear out from sitting.

    Again, I really want to see the FA of the study mentioned. Otherwise (10% failures in loaded mags, blah blah blah) the study is worthless. FA is extremely useful to determine whether there was an in-grown bias with the study, or even if the control wasn't a true control.

    Off the top of my head: If the magazines that were fully loaded were left on a lower shelf, which was closer to the heater, they could have been subject to higher moisture. Also, if the magazines that failed were all from the same/similar manufacturing batch, there could have been a manufacturing defect that caused it.

    It doesn't say which magazines they were (though they do mention they found an issue with double stacks), perhaps the outward force/increased spring tension caused the frame of the feed lips to deform. Alternatively, perhaps the follower was tweaked in a manner which caused the failure.

    I will repeat: In general, the rules of springs dictate that fully loading a properly manufactured/designed magazine will not wear it any less/more than an empty one, or one with a few missing.