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Old 09-10-2005, 18:32   #1
jonathon
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Leaving Magazines Loaded...

Original Question:
Is it okay to leave them loaded for say, a month or so? I have 2 31 round mags with +2's on them.... so 33 rounds total.

The answer:

Quote:
Originally posted by SlammedDime
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...27/ai_99130369
American Handgunner: Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
Quote:
The shooting sports are full of some of the most knowledgeable and capable people you'll meet anywhere. I've been impressed consistently with the abilities of those I meet at the range to diagnose and fix a gun problem with as little as some spray lube and a cotton swab. However, sometimes a myth will creep into the folklore.

The magazine spring myth has been around for many years and is growing in popularity. It goes something like this: "You should unload your magazines when they're not in use or the spring will weaken causing failures to feed." This has gone as far as shooting competitors actually unloading their magazines between stages to extend the life of their springs. A variant of this myth is: "You should never load a magazine to capacity and should always leave it one round short." What if you need that round some day?

Recently, I read an article in a gun magazine suggesting you rotate your magazines so the ones not in use can "recover and rest." The same author uses the phrase "spring-set" to describe weakness of a spring because it was compressed for a long time. Hogwash. There's nothing further from the truth. Springs don't care how long they're compressed and don't require rest, recreation or even a vacation from time to time.

Shameful Spring Benders

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.

Now that the light of truth is leaking out, lets talk about what is causing failures to feed. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.

Carlton Nether, Customer Service for Beretta USA, tells us keeping a pistol magazine loaded for an extended period doesn't cause magazine spring failure, however, failures to feed can result. He says, "The ammo will 'roll' in the magazine. If the mags are kept loaded and moved around a lot -- say on a cop's belt -- the rolling action can, over time, cause creases in the cases. These creases can cause malfunctions. Also the top bullet will roll against the magazine lips and creasing can occur there as well. Just check old ammo that's been bouncing around in a magazine for a long time.

We tell police officers if they keep loaded magazines, take a few seconds to "cycle" the ammo. Periodically unload the mag and reload it in a different sequence. This movement will allow the bullets to be in different parts of the magazine and help eliminate creasing.

At STI, Dave Skinner, President and CEO says, "Personally, I rotate my 'under the bed' and 'under the seat' mags about every six months. I always empty them the 'fun' way and have never had a failure." Given what we learned above, this sounds like a good idea. Smith and Wesson customer service also says magazines can stay loaded indefinitely without hurting the spring.

As we add force onto a spring, it will displace the same amount for each amount of force we add. This is true until the spring passes a certain point called the elastic limit. Robert Hooke discovered this theory back in 1660. Hooke's Law states: "If the applied forces on a body are not too large, the deformations resulting are directly proportional to the forces producing them." Which means, in actual human being language, if we load a spring past its elastic limit, it permanently deforms. It still provides a force against the load but the force is no longer proportional. If this happens, when we unload the spring (such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded) the spring never returns to a state where it can provide the same load for the same amount of displacement.

Trust Us

When a magazine manufacturer designs a spring, they plan for a preload. The spring is already compressed some in the magazine. On the curve below, this would be Point A. The spring compression would be designed to be below the Elastic Limit. When fully compressed, the spring would be at Point B. If the spring is ever compressed past the elastic limit, say to Point C, it won't ever behave the same. Like a recalcitrant lazy Uncle, it will have a lower spring force for each amount of displacement. On the drawing, the spring would now cycle between points D and E. This means that -- particularly with the last bullet or two -- the force pushing the bullet up would be less and lo-and-behold, a mis-feed might occur.

When somebody stretches your spring to "fix" your magazine, they are trying to get you back on the original curve. They may get pretty close, however, it's unlikely the spring will ever perform to its original design. The elastic limit is now shifted lower and your magazine spring may fail to perform fairly quickly.

Having said all this, if you have a magazine that isn't feeding right, what should you do? First, disassemble the magazine and clean it thoroughly. Then try it with new, factory ammunition in a freshly cleaned gun. This takes away some of the possible causes. If you are still having feed problems, send it back. Even the low cost, after-market magazine manufacturers will fix the problem at no cost to you other than shipping. If it's a magazine from the gun's manufacturer, let them troubleshoot and repair the problem. Otherwise, toss the mag. It's not worth risking your life to save a few bucks. And that's the truth.

RELATED ARTICLE: Definitions

Creep: The flow or plastic deformation of metals held for long periods of time at stresses lower than the normal yield strength.

Elastic Limit: The maximum stress that material will stand before permanent deformation occurs.

Yield Strength: The stress at which the metal changes from elastic to plastic in behavior, i.e., takes a permanent set.

Permanent Set: Non-elastic or plastic, deformation of metal under stress, after passing the elastic limit.

Magazine Recommendations

* Clean your magazines when they get gritty. Apply oil then remove all excess. Oil attracts dirt that may cause malfunction.

* If you find rust on the spring, this is culprit. Rust changes the thickness of the metal and reduces the force applied to the follower. Cleaning off the rust may help. For a gun you depend on, replace the spring. All the major brands and most of the smaller ones have replacement mag springs available or try Wolff Springs.

* If you keep a magazine loaded for long periods, rotate the rounds every few months. If you carry a pistol on the job or in your car, cycle the ammo frequently. These actions prevent creases from forming which may cause a misfeed.

* If you experience feed problems, first clean your magazines and weapon. Fire a couple magazines of new factory ammo to see if this resolves the problem. If not send the magazine back to the manufacturer -- or toss it.
Basically, from what I gather.. its harder on the bullets in the mag than it is on the mag to keep it loaded. Thanks guys!

;f
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Old 09-10-2005, 19:05   #2
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Loaded mine aver 3 years ago and they still feed fine.
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Old 09-10-2005, 19:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by glockin101
Loaded mine aver 3 years ago and they still feed fine.
+1
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Old 09-10-2005, 19:31   #4
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not a 33 rounder but I kept a couple G17 mags loaded for four years and just shot them a week ago without a hiccup...
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Old 09-10-2005, 20:40   #5
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All of my mags are fully loaded all of the time and I have never had a problem.

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Old 09-10-2005, 23:07   #6
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http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...27/ai_99130369
American Handgunner: Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
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Old 09-10-2005, 23:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by SlammedDime
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...27/ai_99130369
American Handgunner: Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
Good article!
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Old 09-11-2005, 00:44   #8
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I was just worried 'cause of how long the spring is, and the fact I'm using the +2's for +2.
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Old 09-11-2005, 00:48   #9
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That article makes sense.

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by G17raider
Good article!
.
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Old 09-11-2005, 08:00   #11
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The mags I keep full/ready are never rotated (Glk & AR). The only time they would require attention is if; the mag/ammo became contaminated and/or damaged, or if they needed to be refilled.

what wears out a spring is flexing, not setting static
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Old 09-11-2005, 15:47   #12
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How'd this get stickied?! ;P
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Old 09-11-2005, 15:59   #13
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Stickied because the question comes up here all the time, and the answers, even from otherwise knowledgable people, are often wrong.

Magazines may be kept loaded to their full capacity without any harm being done.

There is no need to take the last round out when storing them!
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Old 09-12-2005, 10:56   #14
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Since this is stickied then I'll copy + paste the article here for future reference should the aformentioned site remove it. Good read, I was always curious as well.

Quote:
http://www.findarticles.com/p/artic..._27/ai_99130369

Magazine spring madness: 'creep' to your 'elastic limit' to un-earth the urban legend of 'spring-set'
American Handgunner, May-June, 2003 by John S. Layman

Save a personal copy of this article and quickly find it again with Furl.net. It's free! Save it.
The shooting sports are full of some of the most knowledgeable and capable people you'll meet anywhere. I've been impressed consistently with the abilities of those I meet at the range to diagnose and fix a gun problem with as little as some spray lube and a cotton swab. However, sometimes a myth will creep into the folklore.

The magazine spring myth has been around for many years and is growing in popularity. It goes something like this: "You should unload your magazines when they're not in use or the spring will weaken causing failures to feed." This has gone as far as shooting competitors actually unloading their magazines between stages to extend the life of their springs. A variant of this myth is: "You should never load a magazine to capacity and should always leave it one round short." What if you need that round some day?

Recently, I read an article in a gun magazine suggesting you rotate your magazines so the ones not in use can "recover and rest." The same author uses the phrase "spring-set" to describe weakness of a spring because it was compressed for a long time. Hogwash. There's nothing further from the truth. Springs don't care how long they're compressed and don't require rest, recreation or even a vacation from time to time.

Shameful Spring Benders

Continue article
Advertisement


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.

Now that the light of truth is leaking out, lets talk about what is causing failures to feed. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.

Carlton Nether, Customer Service for Beretta USA, tells us keeping a pistol magazine loaded for an extended period doesn't cause magazine spring failure, however, failures to feed can result. He says, "The ammo will 'roll' in the magazine. If the mags are kept loaded and moved around a lot -- say on a cop's belt -- the rolling action can, over time, cause creases in the cases. These creases can cause malfunctions. Also the top bullet will roll against the magazine lips and creasing can occur there as well. Just check old ammo that's been bouncing around in a magazine for a long time.

We tell police officers if they keep loaded magazines, take a few seconds to "cycle" the ammo. Periodically unload the mag and reload it in a different sequence. This movement will allow the bullets to be in different parts of the magazine and help eliminate creasing.

At STI, Dave Skinner, President and CEO says, "Personally, I rotate my 'under the bed' and 'under the seat' mags about every six months. I always empty them the 'fun' way and have never had a failure." Given what we learned above, this sounds like a good idea. Smith and Wesson customer service also says magazines can stay loaded indefinitely without hurting the spring.

As we add force onto a spring, it will displace the same amount for each amount of force we add. This is true until the spring passes a certain point called the elastic limit. Robert Hooke discovered this theory back in 1660. Hooke's Law states: "If the applied forces on a body are not too large, the deformations resulting are directly proportional to the forces producing them." Which means, in actual human being language, if we load a spring past its elastic limit, it permanently deforms. It still provides a force against the load but the force is no longer proportional. If this happens, when we unload the spring (such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded) the spring never returns to a state where it can provide the same load for the same amount of displacement.

Trust Us

When a magazine manufacturer designs a spring, they plan for a preload. The spring is already compressed some in the magazine. On the curve below, this would be Point A. The spring compression would be designed to be below the Elastic Limit. When fully compressed, the spring would be at Point B. If the spring is ever compressed past the elastic limit, say to Point C, it won't ever behave the same. Like a recalcitrant lazy Uncle, it will have a lower spring force for each amount of displacement. On the drawing, the spring would now cycle between points D and E. This means that -- particularly with the last bullet or two -- the force pushing the bullet up would be less and lo-and-behold, a mis-feed might occur.

When somebody stretches your spring to "fix" your magazine, they are trying to get you back on the original curve. They may get pretty close, however, it's unlikely the spring will ever perform to its original design. The elastic limit is now shifted lower and your magazine spring may fail to perform fairly quickly.

Having said all this, if you have a magazine that isn't feeding right, what should you do? First, disassemble the magazine and clean it thoroughly. Then try it with new, factory ammunition in a freshly cleaned gun. This takes away some of the possible causes. If you are still having feed problems, send it back. Even the low cost, after-market magazine manufacturers will fix the problem at no cost to you other than shipping. If it's a magazine from the gun's manufacturer, let them troubleshoot and repair the problem. Otherwise, toss the mag. It's not worth risking your life to save a few bucks. And that's the truth.

RELATED ARTICLE: Definitions

Creep: The flow or plastic deformation of metals held for long periods of time at stresses lower than the normal yield strength.

Elastic Limit: The maximum stress that material will stand before permanent deformation occurs.

Yield Strength: The stress at which the metal changes from elastic to plastic in behavior, i.e., takes a permanent set.

Permanent Set: Non-elastic or plastic, deformation of metal under stress, after passing the elastic limit.

Magazine Recommendations

* Clean your magazines when they get gritty. Apply oil then remove all excess. Oil attracts dirt that may cause malfunction.

* If you find rust on the spring, this is culprit. Rust changes the thickness of the metal and reduces the force applied to the follower. Cleaning off the rust may help. For a gun you depend on, replace the spring. All the major brands and most of the smaller ones have replacement mag springs available or try Wolff Springs.

* If you keep a magazine loaded for long periods, rotate the rounds every few months. If you carry a pistol on the job or in your car, cycle the ammo frequently. These actions prevent creases from forming which may cause a misfeed.

* If you experience feed problems, first clean your magazines and weapon. Fire a couple magazines of new factory ammo to see if this resolves the problem. If not send the magazine back to the manufacturer -- or toss it.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group
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Old 09-12-2005, 19:36   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by jonathon
How'd this get stickied?! ;P
Agreed. How many people have a G18?

Maybe the title should be changed to "Leaving 33 round magazines Loaded"


No telling how many folks that would benefit from this thread that skip over it (like I did) just because it says "G18".


Just a thought...
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Old 09-12-2005, 20:24   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by thooks
Maybe the title should be changed to "Leaving magazines Loaded"
Fixed it for ya...
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:44   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by thooks
Agreed. How many people have a G18?

Maybe the title should be changed to "Leaving 33 round magazines Loaded"


No telling how many folks that would benefit from this thread that skip over it (like I did) just because it says "G18".


Just a thought...
FYI No such thing as a 33rd G17/G19 mag. There is, however, factory made 31rd +2 (7151) G18 mags.
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Old 09-13-2005, 09:32   #18
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I'm going to fix up the first post.. and PM eric about a title change then
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Old 09-13-2005, 13:55   #19
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I quoted it first!! ;f
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Old 09-13-2005, 16:13   #20
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^<wg
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Old 09-13-2005, 19:34   #21
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Said about loading a spring past it's elastic limit: quote "(such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded)" end quote. How's that done? Unless you modify the magazine yourself ?? Or - The company does it for you - such as 8rds in a magazine designed for 7 rds! ???


Magazine springs don't wear out from being loaded to capacity - true, if you only load them once (or a very few times) and leave them like that...

Every spring wears out (looses energy) with use. Thus, the more it's used the sooner it will wear out and cause malfunctions. Springs can't rest and recover their expended energy and stretching them is even worse. A field expedient method of temporarily reviving the spring in some magazines is to get some pliers and bend the bottom leg of the spring down a tad. The manufacturer may replace your springs for free or they may not. I've been told by some that it's normal wear and they charge you for them and some will smile and give you new springs or even new magazines.

Keeping a new mag fully loaded and only using it for defense and changing the rds out twice a year should let it last a very, very long time but a prudent person would still replace them with some regularity.

Keeping a magazine fully loaded and using it for practice two to four times a month (or more) with several loading/firing cycles will wear it out sooner and problems will arise - but at what moment? During practice or when it's a life threatening situation?

Springs are manufactured items and every spring will not have the same stored energy or longevity, they'll be close if manufacturing processes were kept proper but therein lies the "murphy" factor - and therefore if we treat every spring as if it may be the one that come out of a batch that didn't quite get the proper process, then maybe we'll not have to find out at a critical moment that it's just to weak to feed our defense ammo.

So, for me, never loading a defensive magazine to capacity gives me an edge in reliable feeding...by less stress on the spring and also by less pressure on the slide the bullets are pushing against during the firing cycle - every little bit helps.

I have magazines for defensive use and magazines for practice for each pistol. The defensive magazines are never fully loaded and are only used when replacing the defensive ammo, inspected, cleaned, and reloaded. The practice mags are used just for practice and are usually never fully loaded at that time.

Remember the article from Chuck Taylor that described his experience with his Glock 17? In it he tells of how the first two sets of magazines would stop locking the slide back on empty (sign of a weak spring) after so much use (around 33,000 rds I think) and then he started downloading the new magazines by two rds and the problem went away...hmmmmm.


edited to say that I looked it up and the 33,000 rds were the total thru the pistol where he had the first ftf. The mag failures came with the first set around 5,000 rds and on the second set with an additional 6,000 rds = 11,000 total....then he started downloading them.
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Old 09-15-2005, 19:22   #22
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My impression is that Glock really "pushed the envelope" when they designed the mags and springs. With less than a thousand rounds through the gun and very little loading/unloading of the mags, I had 2 out of 3 mags springs go bad in a second gen G19. One would produce occasional failures to feed (usually not on the last round), the other would fail to lock the slide back when empty. New springs fixed 'em both.

Conversely, I had 12 mags for a Browning Hi Power that lasted over 10 years of use with no problems. Some of them were kept fully loaded, some of them were loaded/unloaded every month or two, and the practice mags were often kept fully loaded AND used a lot. After ten years I compared the springs- all the same length. BTW, I would top off the mag after loading one round into the chamber; the springs were as fully comprssed as you could get.

Now that I carry a new G19, I load the mags to 15 but don't top off after chambering a round. The slide pushes the top cartridge down enough that 15 rds in a mag that is seated in the gun, is about like loading 15 3/4 rounds.

Of course some guys load their glock mags to capacity and then top after chambering a round, and they have no problems. I think that will work if your springs are perfect, anything slightly off-spec will produce problems sooner than in some other guns.
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Old 09-16-2005, 14:40   #23
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Remember the article from Chuck Taylor that described his experience with his Glock 17? In it he tells of how the first two sets of magazines would stop locking the slide back on empty (sign of a weak spring) after so much use (around 33,000 rds I think) and then he started downloading the new magazines by two rds and the problem went away...hmmmmm.

An other part that wears is the Slide lock lever! Slide release on any other pistol! It is only a wee piece of steel, and they do wear, the locking corner gets a little rounded.

All things mechanical wear, Glock keeps improving the magazines! I keep replacing them! Donít think I will ever have any wear factors on my magazines.
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Old 09-16-2005, 18:25   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim
My impression is that Glock really "pushed the envelope" when they designed the mags and springs. With less than a thousand rounds through the gun and very little loading/unloading of the mags, I had 2 out of 3 mags springs go bad in a second gen G19. One would produce occasional failures to feed (usually not on the last round), the other would fail to lock the slide back when empty. New springs fixed 'em both.

Conversely, I had 12 mags for a Browning Hi Power that lasted over 10 years of use with no problems. Some of them were kept fully loaded, some of them were loaded/unloaded every month or two, and the practice mags were often kept fully loaded AND used a lot. After ten years I compared the springs- all the same length. BTW, I would top off the mag after loading one round into the chamber; the springs were as fully comprssed as you could get.

Now that I carry a new G19, I load the mags to 15 but don't top off after chambering a round. The slide pushes the top cartridge down enough that 15 rds in a mag that is seated in the gun, is about like loading 15 3/4 rounds.

Of course some guys load their glock mags to capacity and then top after chambering a round, and they have no problems. I think that will work if your springs are perfect, anything slightly off-spec will produce problems sooner than in some other guns.
I always download by one round on my Glocks.
Call me silly!;f
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Old 09-17-2005, 08:29   #25
SIGShooter
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extremely interesting read!!! I quess I was one of those guys who would try to reform the springs by stretching them a little. I now know why they were being worn before their time. I'll stop doing that and replace the springs with new ones and start from a clean slate. Thanks for that info guys!!!
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