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Old 09-29-2012, 22:46   #1
unit1069
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Downloaded Magazines

I've read the pros and cons of leaving fully loaded magazines sit for years. From what I can tell even the experts are divided on this question, with some claiming there should be no problem and others saying it's not a good practice.

I haven't had the opportunity to go to the range in quite a few months and read that downloading the magazine by one round is a good way to "relax" the magazine spring if a loaded pistol is going to sit for sometime without being fired.

What say you, GT members?
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Old 09-29-2012, 22:59   #2
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this has been beat to death on many forums. Steel springs do not need to relax. What fatigues them is a complete cycle. You will probably never wear them out in personal use. Leaving them compressed will not wear them out or weaken them. Check with a Metallurgist if you need to verify this. Unloading them simply cycles them one more time and is needless work.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:12   #3
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you will wear out your mag spring faster by loading and unloading it all the time. if you load it just leave it alone, until your ready to fire.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:58   #4
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The experts are not divided.

The people who know what they're talkin' about say 'load 'em up and relax'. The old geezers who clean their guns every thirty minutes and only use oil designed for guns are the ones who're scared to load their mags.
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Old 10-02-2012, 17:08   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samuse View Post
The experts are not divided.

The people who know what they're talkin' about say 'load 'em up and relax'.
This.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:25   #6
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We were issued our Sig229's 7 years ago. the magazines are fully loaded 24/7 for the entire time. No magazine issue what so ever.

The last department I worked for issued G22's. Mine was fully loaded for the 6 years I was there with no magazine issues what so ever. And this was a 2nd gen G22 that was issued long before I got it so load them up and be ready for when you need them which hopefuly will be never.

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Old 09-30-2012, 08:29   #7
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Food for thought: Service pistols whose primary purpose is military/LE duty have magazines engineered to be fully loaded for extended periods of time with proper functioning. Military and LE personnel may not have the time or opportunity or even think to constantly be up/down loading magazines. Keep your magazines loaded and relax. Bill
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:20   #8
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While anecdotal only, I had a P226 magazine that I loaded with Hydrashocks shortly after Hurricane Andrew. I did not quite make it the twenty years as ran out of patience but a year or two ago I used it. The magazine that stayed loaded for a bit less than two decades along with the ammunition functioned fine.

If you use the magazines regularly they will let you know when the spring is weakening and if you do not use the magazines regularly the spring will not weaken very much.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:22   #9
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My experience matches what is being said here. I have quite a few Glock magazines that are more than a decade old that have been left loaded for several (6-8) months at time over the entireity of their existence. I've not had an issue and would think that if it was going to occur I'd have seen it by now.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:31   #10
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Never had a problem with keeping mags loaded for extended periods of time. I do rotate thru my mags for carry about every six months.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:15   #11
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Originally Posted by DWARREN123 View Post
Never had a problem with keeping mags loaded for extended periods of time. I do rotate thru my mags for carry about every six months.
Me too, it's easy to do when you have lots of spares. Plus you stay sharp with the carry ammo, since I shoot it out.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:36   #12
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Oh, oh! (This could get nasty!)

I've got dozens of magazine spring posts and their answers on my hard drive; but, I'd really rather not get into all of that, again. Agree with me, disagree with me, I really don't care. Here's what I do: I always download my stored or EDC magazines by one round. Why?

Because while remaining fully loaded and stationary will NOT wear out a magazine spring, it WILL cause it to take a permanent set. (You can see this in large capacity AR and AK magazines.) If you download regularly loaded magazines by one round you'll have a stronger magazine spring to work with when you need it.

Don't agree? Fine! Do whatever you like. I'm not the one who's going to be standing behind your gun.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:24   #13
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I don't think this will ever be completely resolved! There are SO MANY good points on both sides. Facts and examples abound, so who can say who's right?

Mags loaded for years fire like new. Others say download by one (or even 2) for spring life. I even posed this question to Mas Ayoob in the GATE forum.

In his book "...Gravest Extreme", he recommends downloading. The book was written in the 90's. I asked if his opinion had evolved. Metallurgists have been cited saying downloading is not necessary.

Mas said his springs didn't go to metallurgy school () and he still recommends downloading. Now, are you even more confused?!?!
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Last edited by robhic; 09-30-2012 at 10:25..
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:15   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robhic View Post
...... I even posed this question to Mas Ayoob in the GATE forum.

In his book "...Gravest Extreme", he recommends downloading. The book was written in the 90's. I asked if his opinion had evolved. Metallurgists have been cited saying downloading is not necessary.

Mas said his springs didn't go to metallurgy school and he still recommends downloading. Now, are you even more confused?!?!
Score one for Mas!



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Old 09-30-2012, 16:14   #15
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Let It Be

I was given a loaded .25 auto magazine that was sitting in someone's house since the 1940s. While I didn't have the gun to shoot the rounds, unloading the magazine indicated that it would probably have been just fine. The spring tension was as strong as current magazines.
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Old 09-30-2012, 16:46   #16
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Saw on Tac-TV a while back where Larry Vickers and another Instructor ( Hacker something) said they always download Glock mags one round.
Not because of springs but because the mags can swell even the metal lined ones.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:24   #17
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I'm not coming down on either side of this issue - both sides make good points. I can only speak from my experience. I have never had a magazine spring fail on any pistol I've ever been issued, owned, used, or seen. Back in the 1980s my uncle produced several 1911 magazines that had been loaded since WW II. We unloaded them and cleaned them up then took them to the range for some 1911 fun. There were a couple of FTEs but no FTFs. These mags had been sitting for ~37 years fully loaded and they still worked. I think today's springs are better than those of WW II and as such I'm sure they will last at least as long if not longer.

That said; repeated compression and decompression (as in a lot of shooting) will wear out a spring. Some magazines are much harder to load the first few times but loosen up over time so springs do take a set or break in. Down loading by one round would seem like a good idea if a spring’s tension could change over time – just sitting or through repeated use.

Bottom line here is do what you want. It may or may not make a difference.
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Old 09-30-2012, 15:10   #18
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One thing I've learned from reading these threads is that a lot depends upon whatever magazine you are using. Different magazines behave in different ways. A 1911 pattern magazine that was manufactured before, say, 1950 has a relatively short heavy spring. A Glock Model 21 magazine manufactured after 1990 has a longer and comparatively lighter spring. I know from frequent use and lots of personal experience that these two different magazine springs are N0T going to function in the same way. I've had spring problems with Glock 45 ACP magazines that I never had with 1911 magazines.

I've, also, had problems with 30 round AR and AK magazine springs that I've never had with, let's say, Sako magazines or even SKS magazines. As far as all magazine springs being vulnerable to taking, 'sets' read the instructions that come with some of these high priced spring-powered air rifles. These manufacturers, all, indicate that their springs WILL hold a certain amount of compression (Think of it as, 'fatigue'.) after they are released.

Some of the best information on spring fatigue and the effects of prolonged compression comes from, 'JohnKSa'. (Who is, in my considered opinion, one of these Internet gun forums' most experienced and best minds.) You can google any number of John's comments, if you like. There are a number of articles; but, here is the one I like best:

Quote:
FROM: JohnKSa,

The idea that springs don't weaken from being left compressed is only true in the ideal case. A well designed spring, properly manufactured from good materials that is not over-compressed will not weaken from being left compressed. When you change any of those factors you end up with a spring that can weaken from being left compressed.

This has been common knowledge in the air gun world for many decades. Spring piston air gun springs are typically over-compressed when the gun is cocked because that offers the best combination of ease of cocking, performance, size and weight. They could make the springs so that they weren't over-compressed when cocked but that would either result in a much larger gun, a much heavier gun, one that's much harder to cock or one that has poor power for its size.

To optimize all those parameters it's usually considered acceptable to sacrifice spring life. Particularly since springs aren't that difficult to replace nor are they terribly expensive. At any rate most any spring piston air gun comes with a caution that the gun should be not be left cocked (spring compressed) for long periods of time because it will weaken the spring. For doubters, tests have been done showing that the longer the gun is left cocked, the weaker the spring becomes, I can dig up a link if anyone cares that much.

The same applies to magazines. Good quality typical single stack magazines don't seem to have this issue, but sometimes when a designer tries for maximum capacity, minimum size without pushing loading effort off the chart, the spring is what must be compromised. I'm sure the designer was telling himself that it was no big deal because mag springs are very inexpensive and simple to replace.

(09/26/08: JohnKSa/TheFiringLine Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semiauto Forum/Does Storing A Magazine Loaded Degrade The Quality?)

Last edited by Arc Angel; 09-30-2012 at 16:04..
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Old 10-02-2012, 21:08   #19
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... I've had spring problems with Glock 45 ACP magazines that I never had with 1911 magazines...
My 1911 style pre-historic Llama in .38super have both mags loaded since 1990 believe it ot not.
Besides the feeding problem with one of them that I dropped once, the other-one is performing perfectly. I know for a fact that this gun was not shot from 1990 till 1997, both mags loaded, it was my father in law's gun, the guy was ill, I never shot the gun for 7 years, it was in my possession.
Never had problems with my Glock mags too but they don't stay loaded longer than month or two...
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Old 09-30-2012, 17:16   #20
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For ten years all my magazines are fully loaded all the time. I just grab a handful and spare ammo and go to the range. I have never had a mag issue of any kind in any of my pistols.

I buy police used trade in mags and never an issue with them. they are the same ones I refer to without issues for ten years. I have some I purchased that show considerable wear, but always function perfectly. I must have a mix of different followers but I never cared.

The advice you are getting from the posters is excellent.

How often do you change front or rear springs in your car?
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