How long to keep mags filled?

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    1. #1
      Junior Member numbertwo's Avatar
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      How long to keep mags filled?

      We're only allowed to own 10rd mags, I've filled 2 mags half way (5rds) with JHP ammo for HD. How long can/should I keep them before the springs in the mags start to go bad?

    2. #2
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      This has been covered before, somewhere here.

      Springs "go bad" only from being flexed, not from staying in one condition or the other.
      So you can leave a magazine fully (or partly) loaded from now until the end of the world, with no bad effects to the spring.

      However, every time you unload a magazine, and every time you reload a magazine, you are flexing its spring.
      Repeated flexing fatigues the spring's metal, and someday it will fail.

      Rotate your magazines, giving all of them equal use.
      (But it's OK to leave a couple of them fully loaded, forever.)

    3. #3
      Member skullfr's Avatar
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      Like Steve said,I rotate mine.

    4. #4
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      Rotating them is the way to go. But honestly - you will always have a debate on this issue.

      At one time, Wolf Gun Springs stated in a FAQ on their website that leaving mags loaded for long periods of time could weaken the springs. That may still be up on their website. But, they claimed that it WASN'T just the compressing and uncompressing of the springs that could weaken the springs.

      This gets talked about on gun forums all the time, and there really is no way to "prove" it - not on the part of any poster on a forum, really.

      However, I have had some mags that I DID keep loaded - and the springs did weaken enough to stop locking the slide back on an empty mag. I eventually changed all the springs to +10% magazine springs on all my carry mags. This issue has never come up again. These were not mags I used at the range a lot, as I tended to just take them out and leave them at home, since they were loaded with JHP.

      I had this issue with 4 or 5 mags.

      Now, I just do what most people did in the 1990s... They underloaded the magazine by 1, so as not to compress the mag so much. This has worked for me ever since I started this again. However, I will admittedly not generally do this with a magazine that holds 10 rounds or less. You already have less rounds in such a mag.

    5. #5
      TOF
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      Senior Member TOF's Avatar
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      Do you shoot 1,000 rounds a month or 20 or to 30?

      If 1000, buy spare springs. If 20 to 30 or less you will probably not have a problem.

      With either use pattern clean and inspect the mag's from time to time. Replace any springs that appear to be defective. They don't cost much. One of the problems with mag's is lint/crud buildup inside especialy if you carry a backup in your pocket.

    6. #6
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      Actually, I typically only shoot 200 rounds a month. But, as stated above, I've had issues in the past.

      But, the +10% wolf springs do seem to be better than many factory mag springs...

      At the HKL Pro forum, it is widely known by many that HK mag springs suck. Many people there just automatically change out the mag springs with Wolf Springs when they buy the gun new.

      I have owned a USPc45 and a USPc9mm, and a P2000 (uses the same mags as the 9mm USPc), among other HKs. On each and EVERY one of those mags... They would stop locking the slide back on the THIRD range trip. I typically shoot 200 rounds thru a gun per trip, so that's not a lot of rounds. In this case, I think it WAS the compression that killed these - but to do so as quickly as these did was just ridiculous. I ended up having to get +10% springs for each and every mag. That can get expensive after a while.

    7. #7
      Senior Member recoilguy's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      This has been covered before, somewhere here.

      Springs "go bad" only from being flexed, not from staying in one condition or the other.
      So you can leave a magazine fully (or partly) loaded from now until the end of the world, with no bad effects to the spring.

      However, every time you unload a magazine, and every time you reload a magazine, you are flexing its spring.
      Repeated flexing fatigues the spring's metal, and someday it will fail.

      Rotate your magazines, giving all of them equal use.
      (But it's OK to leave a couple of them fully loaded, forever.)
      This is exactly correct!!!!

    8. #8
      Senior Member zhurdan's Avatar
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      I still laugh every time this question comes up. Mainly because it reinforces my belief that most "gun owners" are just that... owners, not "shooters".

      I never ask how long I can keep them loaded, I ask how soon until I can unload them...the loud way.

      Besides that, I wish people would realize that magazines are a consumable part. Kinda like underwear. They aren't meant to last forever. When they wear out, BUY NEW ONES!

    9. #9
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      Seems to be some grumpy people in this thread.

      I studied this concept along time ago, and remember having the same question. Some people say that a magazine spring only wears out from flexing and others say they wear out from being compressed. Probably, they wear out from being flexed and they can also wear from being compressed. This is why it is good to rotate magazine once a month to once over other month. It addition, its a good idea to have several magazines. Hopefully, you go and practice often and that will let you know when a spring needs replaced. If the gun shoots flawlessy on your last practice session, chances are it will do fine when you need it. If the gun has trouble, try another magazine. If it does well with a different magazine, then you know you have one to fix. A quality magazine will last a good long time. I have replaced the springs on some of my Beretta magazines just because they were 8-10 years old, but they actually still worked. I just thought why not, and took them apart, cleaned them up and gave them new springs. Now they are like new and I know they are trustworthy. In addition, I usually load up 12 in a 15 round magazine if storing for home defense and load completely for carry. To only load 5 in a 10 round magazine seems extreme. Hope this helps.

    10. #10
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      OK, folks, here's how it works:

      1. Coil springs "take a set" when they're first used. The first few compressions do make the spring somewhat shorter. For instance, a 1911 recoil spring will normally shorten at least 1/4", and sometimes more.
      2. Once the "set" has been established, a modern, well-made spring should shorten no further...until it fails.
      3. Leaving a modern, properly made spring compressed for any length of time will not cause it to fail, any more than leaving it uncompressed would cause it to fail.
      4. Repeatedly flexing a coil spring, by compressing and relaxing it over and over again, will cause the metal from which the spring was made to fail due to "metal fatigue." At that point, the spring will no longer function reliably, and may actually break.

      "Metal fatigue" is, I believe, a disruption in the crystalline structure of the metal. If you repeatedly flex a fairly rigid lattice—which is the crystalline interior structure of a metal—it will eventually break lattice bonds here and there. That is "metal fatigue."

      By the way, leaf springs also fall victim to metal fatigue.



      We'll be away until July 7th, visiting our brand-new granddaughter.
      See you then.

    11. #11
      rex
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      I would like to modify Steve's statement #2,using the 1911 as an example.As he said,most springs take a set and are a touch shorter.In a fullsize 1911,the easiest way to tell when it's time to replace it is when it's about 1/2" shorter than a new one.Some of that is set,the remainder happens from cycle fatigueing the coils over time.If you shoot often you'll notice a higher slide speed and a sharper recoil impulse,or malfunctions start popping up on feeding.

      A little kink in this whole thing is what the spring is made with.Wolff has been known for quality springs,but they've added chrome sillicone because it became the new gimmic.Unfortunately it isn't as good as the others,and Wolff states they won't last as long.

      I think one of the things that got the compressed deal going is overcompressing,or being on the line of compressed length for extended times.Early 8rd in 7rd tube conversions for 1911s didn't always work well,the springs were at the point of full bind,which over stresses them.Coil stacking is fine because that's the way progressive springs are designed,but when they all stack you are at bind and overstress it.The her you stay from bind,the better your spring will survive,and conversely the closer you get to it,the more you're working it.The added round kits are a great example of deviating from stock and creating a tradeoff,similar to an often reference to an engine's valvetrain.Stock valve springs last a long time.Add a little more lift on the cam and the spring's extra compression will wear it quicker and can make it float at a higher cycling rate.Throw a big cam in and you have to go to a heavier spring to compensate,but that causes a tradeoff too.

      There's alot of good spring info out there that says the same as this post,but there are quirks that fall back on the material and process used to make a spring and it's application.

    12. #12
      Senior Member dondavis3's Avatar
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      @ Steve M1911A1

      "We'll be away until July 7th, visiting our brand-new granddaughter"

      Congratulations -- they are fun


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