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  1. #1
    stunter2b is offline Junior Member
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    How bad is it to leave a magazine/clip loaded??

    I've searched this and seen all kinds of answers..

    I have 4 clips for my beretta "home defense" and would like to keep them all loaded just wondering how bad is it for the spring.

    I've also read that some say just keep 1 round less and it will be fine.

  2. #2
    denner's Avatar
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    All magazine springs are subject to fatigue, some magazines can go for years fully loaded and still function. Common sense tells you the less rounds in the magazine the less fatigue on the spring. Go to Wolff springs Q/A and they give a good take on the issue. I've personally have had magazine springs go for a year w/o a problem, but eventually they will fatigue and give you a malfuction. I've had this occur in AK mags and pistol mags.

  3. #3
    MLB's Avatar
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    Common sense is misleading in this case. Metal is fatigued by use, not stress. Storing a magazine loaded does not wear it out.

  4. #4
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MLB View Post
    Common sense is misleading in this case. Metal is fatigued by use, not stress. Storing a magazine loaded does not wear it out.
    Well, if you have more knowledge than Wolff gunsprings than perhaps you're correct, but I'll think I'll stick with their knowledge. Yes leaving a magazine fully compressed will eventually lead to fatigue and malfuntion, i've been there done that. If you believe that to be true than all the power to you.


    Below is a message from Wolff Gunsprings:

    5. How often should I change magazine spring? Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds?
    Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and are the subject of much debate and concern. Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as in law enforcement and personal/home defense applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs in which the magazines are loaded up only when shooting.

    Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. In many older pistol designs, maximum capacity was not the always the goal such as with the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was room for more spring material in these guns which reduces overall stress and increases the usable life of the spring.

    More recently higher capacity magazine have become popular. These are designed to hold more rounds with less spring material often in the same space. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause it to fatigue at a faster rate. Unloading these magazines a round or two will help the life of the spring. Rotating fully loaded magazines will also help the problem somewhat but it is not always practical.

    In applications where the magazine must be kept loaded at all times, a high quality magazine spring such as Wolff extra power magazine springs, will provide maximum life. Regular replacement of magazine springs will provide the best defense against failure from weak magazine springs. Regular shooting of the pistol is the best way to be sure the springs are still functioning reliably.
    Last edited by denner; 02-29-2012 at 06:44 PM.

  5. #5
    stunter2b is offline Junior Member
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    Kinda what I wanted to hear...So if and when they do wear out its not like they wear out within a few months and more like a year or more. I can afford to buy new springs if its every year or so...Something the kids can buy good ol dad..lol

    the price of my family's life vs. the price of a few springs isn't going to put me out I guess I just didn't want to have them wear out every month or so.

    I'm going to preload all my clips but 4 should be enough 3 of them are stocks 11 rounds and the 4th is mec gar 12 rounds. If 45 rounds isn't enough I'm in trouble anyway..lol

  6. #6
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stunter2b View Post
    I've searched this and seen all kinds of answers..

    I have 4 clips for my beretta "home defense" and would like to keep them all loaded just wondering how bad is it for the spring.

    I've also read that some say just keep 1 round less and it will be fine.
    Your Beretta doesn't use clips... it uses a box magazine. You can keep them loaded for a pretty long time. If you are concerned, make sure you have several and rotate them. I also load one less round in my magazines not so much to relieve pressure on the spring, but to reduce any chances of a failure to feed.

  7. #7
    Blade is offline Junior Member HGF Gold Member
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    If Wolff says springs go bad by staying compressed, they better hire a metallurgist. A spring experiences fatigue due to flexing, not simply staying compressed. Unless it has been compressed past it's elastic limit, the point at which the metal actually begins to bend rather than flex. But that happens immediately, not over time. Now, having said that, springs can go bad over time. Environmental factors can cause the metal to gradually lose its tempering. But being compressed has nothing to do with it. This happens even if the spring is relaxed. And the rate at which it happens depends on the quality of the metal and the tempering process used. High quality springs, tempered properly can stay compressed almost indefinitely.

    If Wolff springs go bad that quickly, then it doesn't say much for the quality of their springs. Either that, or they're simply trying to convince you that you need to buy new springs.....from them of course.

  8. #8
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade View Post
    If Wolff says springs go bad by staying compressed, they better hire a metallurgist. A spring experiences fatigue due to flexing, not simply staying compressed. Unless it has been compressed past it's elastic limit, the point at which the metal actually begins to bend rather than flex. But that happens immediately, not over time. Now, having said that, springs can go bad over time. Environmental factors can cause the metal to gradually lose its tempering. But being compressed has nothing to do with it. This happens even if the spring is relaxed. And the rate at which it happens depends on the quality of the metal and the tempering process used. High quality springs, tempered properly can stay compressed almost indefinitely.

    If Wolff springs go bad that quickly, then it doesn't say much for the quality of their springs. Either that, or they're simply trying to convince you that you need to buy new springs.....from them of course.

    Yes I heard the metalurgist theory of compressed springs never fatigue, but in my personnal experience they do. If you believe they don't all the power to you. What type of hi-cap magazine springs do you use that you can fully compress indefinately without them suffering fatigue? Im my personnel experiece I've had fully loaded magazines in both my AK and pistols, having other magazines w/ the same springs not fully compressed and loaded. The ones that were not fully compressed functioned properly, the ones that I left fully loaded and compressed did not. So, whatever the metalugist theory holds I'll be sticking with the advice of Wolff gunsprings until I hear from a manufacturer that contests and guarantee's that you can leave a hi-cap magazine fully loaded and compressed indefinately w/o spring fatigue and or failure of the firearm to function properly.
    Last edited by denner; 02-29-2012 at 08:09 PM.

  9. #9
    Blade is offline Junior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Read my post again. I said that HIGH QUALITY SPRINGS TEMPERED PROPERLY can stay compressed almost indefinitely. A poorly made spring can lose half its strength the first time you compress it. I've seen war time magazines that have been found fully loaded after 40+ years, and they are still perfectly good. Think about it for a minute. If every spring went bad by simply being compressed for a length of time, then every car on the road would be sitting flat on its chassis after a couple of years.

    Yes, I have had cheap magazines go bad in a short time. But I've also replaced the springs in those magazines with GOOD springs and left them loaded for years without any problems.

  10. #10
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade View Post
    Read my post again. I said that HIGH QUALITY SPRINGS TEMPERED PROPERLY can stay compressed almost indefinitely. A poorly made spring can lose half its strength the first time you compress it. I've seen war time magazines that have been found fully loaded after 40+ years, and they are still perfectly good. Think about it for a minute. If every spring went bad by simply being compressed for a length of time, then every car on the road would be sitting flat on its chassis after a couple of years.
    Yes, I have had cheap magazines go bad in a short time. But I've also replaced the springs in those magazines with GOOD springs and left them loaded for years without any problems.

    OK, but who makes them? I'd like to know and give up wolff springs.

  11. #11
    Blade is offline Junior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Look for chrome silicon springs. There are a number of sources. Brownell's offers them for many magazine types.

  12. #12
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade View Post
    Look for chrome silicon springs. There are a number of sources. Brownell's offers them for many magazine types.
    10-4

  13. #13
    FNISHR is offline Member
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    Guys, over on the various motorcycle lists this would be the equivalent of an oil thread.

  14. #14
    SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade View Post
    Read my post again. I said that HIGH QUALITY SPRINGS TEMPERED PROPERLY can stay compressed almost indefinitely. A poorly made spring can lose half its strength the first time you compress it. I've seen war time magazines that have been found fully loaded after 40+ years, and they are still perfectly good. Think about it for a minute. If every spring went bad by simply being compressed for a length of time, then every car on the road would be sitting flat on its chassis after a couple of years.

    Yes, I have had cheap magazines go bad in a short time. But I've also replaced the springs in those magazines with GOOD springs and left them loaded for years without any problems.
    That and a heck of a lot of other items. Excellent analogy.

  15. #15
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Wolff springs... A company in the business of selling you springs tells you that they need to be replaced. Stunner. News at eleven, bridge for sale.

    I use wolff springs and can tell you from FIRST HAND experience that 6 of my 1911 mag have had several hundred cycles, been left compressed for weeks if not months at times and they are still running strong. Imagine that.

  16. #16
    denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhurdan View Post
    Wolff springs... A company in the business of selling you springs tells you that they need to be replaced. Stunner. News at eleven, bridge for sale.

    I use wolff springs and can tell you from FIRST HAND experience that 6 of my 1911 mag have had several hundred cycles, been left compressed for weeks if not months at times and they are still running strong. Imagine that.
    Did you read this part?

    Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. In many older pistol designs, maximum capacity was not the always the goal such as with the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was room for more spring material in these guns which reduces overall stress and increases the usable life of the spring.

    More recently higher capacity magazine have become popular. These are designed to hold more rounds with less spring material often in the same space. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause it to fatigue at a faster rate. Unloading these magazines a round or two will help the life of the spring. Rotating fully loaded magazines will also help the problem somewhat but it is not always practical.

    That said, what Wolff is telling me coincides with my experience, so I believe them, you may not. I have experience w/ high cap magazines only, not 1911's. As Wolff stated, 7 round 1911 magazine springs will last for years fully loaded, a different story with h/cap magazines, but believe what you want to believe. If anyone beleives you can indefinately leave a fully loaded hi-cap magazine for years and have no spring fatigue and malfunctions then it's their belief, but I would not advise it.
    Last edited by denner; 03-01-2012 at 01:03 AM.

  17. #17
    matt_the_millerman is offline Junior Member
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    stunter2b, just some advice but i think you should really just rotate those MAGAZINES into your range trips at least a couple times a year. Then theres nothing to worry about, plus you'll know they are functioning 100%.

  18. #18
    usmcj's Avatar
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    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.

    Rest of the article.... Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set' | American Handgunner | Find Articles

  19. #19
    WI45 is offline Junior Member
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    not to mess with the thread, but, don't forget about the springs in your gun, they are also integral part of it's functioning.

  20. #20
    zhurdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denner View Post
    Did you read this part?

    Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. In many older pistol designs, maximum capacity was not the always the goal such as with the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was room for more spring material in these guns which reduces overall stress and increases the usable life of the spring.

    More recently higher capacity magazine have become popular. These are designed to hold more rounds with less spring material often in the same space. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause it to fatigue at a faster rate. Unloading these magazines a round or two will help the life of the spring. Rotating fully loaded magazines will also help the problem somewhat but it is not always practical.

    That said, what Wolff is telling me coincides with my experience, so I believe them, you may not. I have experience w/ high cap magazines only, not 1911's. As Wolff stated, 7 round 1911 magazine springs will last for years fully loaded, a different story with h/cap magazines, but believe what you want to believe. If anyone beleives you can indefinately leave a fully loaded hi-cap magazine for years and have no spring fatigue and malfunctions then it's their belief, but I would not advise it.
    I understand what you are getting at and I should have added more info. I'm using 10 round Chip McCormick mags. Also, I have 10 HK USP 45 magazines which use Wolff springs. Granted, the USP doesn't get shot quite as often, but the magazines sit fully loaded and have functioned fine for approx 5 years.

    Not only have I seen them work just fine... I'm also of the belief that springs ARE a consumable part. Use them until they no longer are working, then replace them HOPEFULLY with a spring that you have on standby. It just kinda bothers me when people ask the question regarding springs going bad because they are a consumable part, just like magazines. If they won't function anymore, buy a new damn magazine! Springs are not meant to last forever, but to say that leaving them loaded is the reason for their demise actually CAUSES more stress because if those people buy that notion, they continually load and unload their magazines by hand to "avoid it" which is another cycle. Cycling being the thing that causes fatigue.


    To be even more clear, I've got several other magazines for several different guns that stay loaded all the time, and function when used. AR15 magazines, Walther P99, HK USP's, MP5 magazines, 92fs, FAL, and many others. Many have Wolff springs if they are available for those magazines, some don't. Either way, they're all loaded and when they start to show signs of fatigue, they get replaced.

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