Loaded magazine storage

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Loaded magazine storage

Postby donut » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 13:36:50

Anyone have an opinion or rule of thumb on storing loaded magazines? I was curious if there was a general opinion how long to keep the magazine loaded for before the magazine springs start to show wear and tear or constant compression?


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby jdonovan » Wed, 25 Jul 2012 14:05:21

a spring looses its 'spring' for 2 reasons.
#1 being over stretched (in compression or expansion)
#2 being cycled (from relaxed to compressed/expanded)

A properly designed magazine can stay loaded almost indefinitely.

I've got one range mag that has been loaded, continuously, for 20 years. Zero failures to feed from that mag. I can tell its got a bit less spring force than a new mag, but not enough that it causes reliability problems.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby Jakeiscrazy » Thu, 26 Jul 2012 01:23:07

jdonovan wrote:a spring looses its 'spring' for 2 reasons.
#1 being over stretched (in compression or expansion)
#2 being cycled (from relaxed to compressed/expanded)

A properly designed magazine can stay loaded almost indefinitely.

I've got one range mag that has been loaded, continuously, for 20 years. Zero failures to feed from that mag. I can tell its got a bit less spring force than a new mag, but not enough that it causes reliability problems.

:thumbsup: Right on the money, I keep my mags loaded and never have an issue. Bullet setback with rounds that are chambered and unloaded again on a regular basis is something to watch out for.
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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby Diomed » Thu, 26 Jul 2012 01:51:49

Unless the spring is poorly made, it'll outlive you, as long as you don't abuse it. Don't stretch it, don't smoosh it, don't hit it with a hammer or a blowtorch, and it'll be fine.

I'd be more worried about the feedlips spreading, especially on a plastic magazine or a really thin sheet metal one. I've had a bunch of Ruger Mk II mags go bad that way.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby M1A4ME » Thu, 26 Jul 2012 05:51:32

My M1A magazines (the 5 with the rifle) have been loaded for over 30 years (except for now and then when it gets shot and then they are reloaded). I have 1911 magazines that have been loaded for 7 or 8 years now (the new stainles shooting stars). The old GI magazines were loaded for just over 20 years (again, unloaded at the range and then reloaded). My AR magazines (the ones wih the house rifle) have been loaded now for about 5 years.

My 12 ga. riot gun has been loaded for about 5 years now. One of these days my old Auto 5 will get up there as well.

I've only had one well used magazine fail, a 1911 magazine popped the floor plate off one day in the back yard and dumped the spring, follower and remaining rounds on the ground at my feet.

Running into a bad magazine or bad spring or bad follower is always possible. Better to find it out failed at the range than when your really need it.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby debonaire0518 » Thu, 26 Jul 2012 17:22:39

Bi-monthly, the magazines dedicated to home protection (with prefragmented rounds) are alternated and ammo removed to give the spring in the first one a rest.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby Diomed » Fri, 27 Jul 2012 00:40:41

debonaire0518 wrote:Bi-monthly, the magazines dedicated to home protection (with prefragmented rounds) are alternated and ammo removed to give the spring in the first one a rest.

And that's how springs wear out.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby jdonovan » Fri, 27 Jul 2012 06:51:07

Diomed wrote:
debonaire0518 wrote:

And that's how springs wear out.


Eh' at one cycle per month he is likely to not wear anything out in anything the next 2 decades.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby Tazguy04 » Fri, 27 Jul 2012 11:20:07

I keep my carry and range mags loaded at all time, what good is a empty mag? I do have some new magazines that are new in the package those are the spares.


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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby zerodown1 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 20:44:42

I personally have never had a problem leaving the magazines loaded for a long time.There are some who believe in this spring set theory. They say when you leave your shotgun loaded to load it one round under capasity to avoid this mysterious spring set. Same with the magazines. I don't think theres much to it ,but this school of thought is not uncommon. :dunno:
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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby gunderwood » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 07:57:11

jdonovan wrote:a spring looses its 'spring' for 2 reasons.
#1 being over stretched (in compression or expansion)
#2 being cycled (from relaxed to compressed/expanded)

A properly designed magazine can stay loaded almost indefinitely.

I've got one range mag that has been loaded, continuously, for 20 years. Zero failures to feed from that mag. I can tell its got a bit less spring force than a new mag, but not enough that it causes reliability problems.

+1

There are a lot of myths concerning mag storage, so I spent some time talking to engineers at a several custom/high-performance spring (i.e. non-firearm) companies. The consensus was that as long as the spring is operated within its elastic range (i.e. not deformed due to elongation or compression), springs wear out only because of cycles. E.g. your cars springs don't wear from sitting in the driveway. There is some discussion over if certain manufacturers purposefully deform the mag spring when loaded to capacity. Think of it as breaking in. In any case, if the spring is going to be deformed by design or otherwise, loading it to capacity or letting it sit should both cause the same outcome. Thus, there is no issue realated to storing the magazine full.

However, there are certain mags that should not be stored loaded or at least should have a cover on them. For example, the MagPul P-Mags are excellent mags for any AR15, but their plastic feed lips can deform if stored full for long periods. MagPul provides a cover that removes the stress on the feed lips with every mag and then it is safe to store them full for practically forever. General rule of thumb is, if there is metal in the feed lips (e.g. Glock mags) storing them full without a cover is fine, if there isn't (MagPul P-Mags) a cover of some sort is required.
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Re: Loaded magazine storage

Postby kanata67 » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 20:59:57

gunderwood has obviously never owned a project car that sat till the springs shot through the trunk LOL. In his favor however are numerous clocks with very intricate springs hundreds of years old. My elgin pocket watch is well over 100 years old and still works fine for example. God forbid I ever over tighten the spring however.
As such I try to err on the side of caution and try to keep long term "ready" magazines only half loaded. My wife can be loading the spent as I go through the halfsies:). Plus it's an excuse for getting more mags. I also wouldn't consider long term anything less than a year and as quicky marts do with milk... use old stock first.
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