Leaving Magazines Loaded

Discussion in 'Valuable Info' started by jonathon, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. Ken Rainey

    Ken Rainey 1 WILD PIG

    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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  2. 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.

  3. 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! Don’t think I will ever have any wear factors on my magazines.
  4. allglock

    allglock Guest

    I always download by one round on my Glocks.
    Call me silly!;f
  5. SIGShooter

    SIGShooter Hucklebucks

    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!!!
  6. dapolice1

    dapolice1 LEO Member

    Logic would say your problem was springs, but I had a fellow officer with same issues in a G22. It was also FTF. He tried everything and finaly sent it to glock. They replaced his followers with the new design, and viola. Problem fixed. Would leave me to believe that SOME of the earlier mag issues were actually follower problems. Springs do wear out like everthing else.

    I choose to rotate them on my duty weapon every month or so, just for peace of mind. I also use range mags for the range and duty mags for duty. The range mags are dropped onto the concrete during relods and thus MIGHT effect the mag bodies and spring. I do not take a chance. My duty mags will only hit the ground once!!!
  7. George in TX

    Millennium Member

    FWIW, I have always kept all my Glock magazines fully loaded without any problems whatsoever! That includes all sizes of magazines of genuine Glock manufacture. :soap:
  8. bluemeanie

    bluemeanie Lospeedhidrag

    Hmmm. How will I allocate that extra time I gain from not rotating mags? If I'd paid attention to anything other than "conventional wisdom" I'd have noted a long time ago that it was my IDPA mags that weakened. The ones that were constantly loaded and then unloaded. The fun way.
  9. Hehe- first post, may as well jump in....

    I recall reading one or other of the gun magazines years ago where they had found some 1911 magazines that had been left loaded since WWII... Worked perfectly.
  10. IndyTx

    Reminds me of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. You just know the government has a giant building filled with WWII 1911's loaded and ready to go :)
  11. When I lived in the UK, in the early sixties, I got a call from the local Police Station, "Mike can you come and look at this gun this Lady handed in" off I went, big grease proof brown paper bag, in it a WW11 Sten Gun, bolt forward, magazine snapped in.
    (English Police and guns!!!?)

    An other mag; in the bag also, loaded, took mag; off the gun, loaded! Cycled the bolt, perfect, unscrewed the barrel, pulled it through with a piece of string, and a bit of cloth, like new.

    Off to the local tip, ear plugs in, a few bursts later, locked back, every round fired, picked up 60 shell caseings.The magazines would have been loaded 20 or so years then.

    When the old guy passed away, the Sten was under the bed, ready to go! Make my day would have taken on a whole new meaning to a burglar!
  12. First, it's funny about the old guy and the Sten.

    Second, it's funny how the "download your magazine, rotate your ammo" myth lives on, even in this post! Reasons:
    * One guy had malfunctions after 33,000 rounds
    * Glock magazines are (supposedly) poorly designed
    * Springs "lose energy" (whatever that means)
    * It makes me feel better
    * It's what I've always done, and I don't want to change

    Let's set the record straight, once and for all. The only valid reasons to download/rotate your magazine/ammo:
    * Poorly designed magazines
    * Creasing of ammo carried on active duty
    * It makes you feel better
    * You don't want to change your stubborn ways

    The shooting community was bamboozled by a bunch of writers into thinking a spring could "take set," whatever that means. Let's allow this myth to die in peace.
  13. I remember about seven years ago some big importer/exporter outfit had WWII G.I. 1911 mags that were fully loaded and had been sitting in crates since the war. They were selling cheap but I know two people that bought some and they ran fine even after that many years. Basically they were selling surplus ball but the magazines were just thrown in to boot.
  14. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member

    There is nothing wrong with leaving mags fully loaded. Springs only develop problems by "cycling", (lots of use) someone trying to cram 17rds in a 15rd mag for example. If leaving mas loaded was a real problem, it would be widespread thru every L/E agency and in every part of the military. This is not the case.

  15. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member

    Borrowed from the Wolf Web site:

    "Wolff Gun Springs (www.gunsprings.com) advises that so long as the spring is not compressed more than it's designed for, being compressed to that degree does not weaken it. He goes on to say that what "wears them out" is being used, i.e., compressed and then not compressed as would be the case in a pistol's mainspring when the gun is being fired and in a magazine as it's loaded and then emptied. In over 30 years of shooting Hi Powers, I have not had to replace the original mainspring in any of my Hi Powers."


  16. Methinks the gun writers are merely the tip of the conspiracy iceberg here. They are merely shills for the evil corporate magazine-industrial complex. Yeah, that's the ticket. Follow the moolah - who benefits most from scaring us all into tossing our mags and buying new ones?

    Huh? Anybody?

    "The opinions expressed are my own, and do not reflect the views of any rational human being" ;b
  17. I took my old second generation Glock 19 (And original magazines), with 30K plus rounds through it/them, to a local Glock Gunsmith Guru and told him to inspect and replace as necessary. When I went back he had inspected, there was nothing to replace. When I asked about springs he told me some just seem to go on forever while others require replacement from time to time, go figure?

  18. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member

    If anyone is "tossing out" old mags, I will pick them up!!!

  19. Back in my Mil-Spec of the mid 80's, we came across some 1911 mags that were loaded and sealed in a tin. The date on the tin was 1965 (the year the ship I served on was officially released to duty). We opened the tin and took the mags out to the flightdeck with a couple of our .45's. Not a single jam in over 500 rounds. Those magazines are probably still feeding reliably today.

    In 20 years of loaded condition there was no discernable problem with any of the magazines that were in that case. "Spring Set" is a myth best left in the dust.

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