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Leaving Magazines Loaded

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

  1. chulo_glock


    Nov 3, 2005
    what wears a spring down is constantly loading it and unloading it(basic physics of a spring...go figure) so it doesnt matter if the spring is stored loaded or unloaded, either will not wear down the spring

  2. omnivore75


    Nov 8, 2005
    Jeff Cooper (who may be unstable at this point hehe) reported in his back page Guns N Ammo article a few months back about sub gun I believe it was that had been stored since WW2 with the mags fully loaded and it fired just fine. I read that myself. He went on to say something about the extent to which our world relies on springs and how far they had come.
  3. Moodle


    Apr 11, 2003
    Ozark, Alabama
    When our LE people transitioned over to Glock, they were told that they should remove their ammunition every month and rteload it. Not because of magazine problems but becaiuse the spring pressure would deform the ammunition causinfg failure to feed.

  4. omnivore75


    Nov 8, 2005
    I'm not sure if I buy that one. I have no doubt thats what you were told but it is hard to believe. The pressure of the spring is fine for a while but over time it will slowly deform the ammo?? Hard to swallow, but then again anything is possible. Myself, I prefer to always keep my mags loaded and ready and keep a couple of new mags laid back in case there is a problem but in all my years of shooting/collecting firearms I have never had a problem with keeping my mags loaded.
  5. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    If the ammo is "deforming" in the mag, it is time to stop buying the "cheap" ammo!! LOL

  6. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My question now is then why do factory ParaOrdnance 45, factory HK USP 45, Glock 22 mag springs shorten when kept loaded for 6 months or more? Most of my CCW mags are usually the pick of the litter, fired a few times to test their reliability with factory ball and defense ammo, cleaned then relegated to CCW or home defense duty. But I've noticed that in the process of bi-annually cycling them into an IDPA/USPSA match I invariably end up with cycling problems, specifically stove pipes or FTF the last 1 or 2 rounds. Examining the mags yields springs a full inch shorter than new factory or wolff springs. You will notice that these are all double stack mags in question. On the other hand I never saw these with my single stack mags whatsoever?! I saved these deformed and shortened springs for a few years until I decided I really had no use for them save being a reminder. So now I read your post and references to the Am.HG mag and now I'm perplexed. I happen upon a posting from an engineer on the 1911 forums who comments;

    "...My other post follows:

    I am a Mechanical Engineer. I cringe every time Am Handgunner treads into the field of engineering. Journalists who don't know what they are talking about should consult someone who has actual technical training.

    Creep does happen in ferritic materials.

    Plastic deformation does happen in over compressed or over extended springs. The question is one of proper spring design and choice of the correct metallurgy. All of the generalizations in the Am Handgunner article have extremely common exceptions. All of those generalizations reflect "invincible ignorance" on the part of the writer.

    Whenever I read this nonsense in Am Handgunner I think I should write a letter. Then I think why waste my time?

    Ever wonder why your recoil spring gets shorter with use? It is because the spring design is such that whatever steel Wolff uses creeps or even yields under the cyclic compression loading. The metal MUST move for the spring to become shorter at rest. There's no other way it can happen. BTW that's ferritic material.

    Ever wonder why this happens faster with a Wolff spring than it does with an IMSI spring? Because IMSI (or Nowlin) uses Cr-Si alloyed steel, which (as heat treated) has a higher yield strength than the Wolff metallurgy, so the Yield Strength of the material is much higher, and the creep process is much slower.

    This is not a subject for simpletons looking for a one size fits all answer. In some mags the spring may be very lightly loaded, or overengineered. In others, the opposite may be the case. The ultimate answer is tied up in the interplay of spring loading and design criteria, combined with choice of metallurgy.

    You would have to understand the design criteria for the mag (some are really hard on the spring because of how many rounds they're trying to jam in there with a really short follower). You will have to understand the metallurgy of the string. Was it heat treated right? How do you know? If strain hardened, did the spring maker draw the material right? How do you know? Do you even know that the material is certified at the claimed composition?

    Notice how one poster said some springs have done fine, and others failed quickly? Probably a QC problem with spring metallurgy or heat treat. Inconsistent from batch to batch.

    This is why aerospace and military manufacturers require "certifications" for metallurgy and heat treat. The answer changes completely based on little details.

    That AH blurb was typical of the type of uninformed drivel that they've been printing lately. Ever since they went to the format that has several blurbs on a page, their reporting has gotten less and less in-depth, and more and more generalized. And in technical subjects, generalizations are for fools. It is a technical subject BECAUSE THE LITTLE THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE. But these guys are too ignorant to even know what the little things are. That stupid writer may get someone killed.

    In the meantime I'll be sure there are fresh springs in my carry mags.

    BTW the ultimate strength of metal in a spring is irrelevant. Ultimate strength is the loading where the metal comes apart. In a spring design you don't want to go over the yield strength (another concept that Am Handgunner got garbled up). The definition of yield strength is a bit complicated, but suffice it to say that it is the point where the metal begins to plastically deform. "Plastically deform" is engineer-talk for "bend"

    For those interested in actual knowledge on the subject, find a copy of "Mechanical Engineering Design" by Shigley and Mitchell. In my 4th ed (1983), Chapter 10 is devoted to spring design. Chapter 4 includes a section on Creep, and section 4-5 details creep effects of time and temperature on ferritic materials.

    Here's an idea. How about we take all of our questionable springs and send them to that writer so he can install them in his carry gun's mags? Maybe we should make the offer!.."

    Though I profess NOT to be an engineer, I do come from a scientific background and I am more inclined to depend on quantitative data and experience together rather than unsubstantiated claims, assumptions and experience alone.
  7. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    I thought I'd add a comment from Marc Cosat at ISMI on gun springs.

    "...ISMI premium springs are manufactured exclusively with certified aerospace specification alloys; stainless or chrome silicon. Then our springs are heat treated, shot peened and stress relieved after winding to enhance performance and durability. Our springs utilize the same design and manufacturing technology as used in IndyCar and Formula One racing. In a typical 500 mile race, a valve spring in an IndyCar will go through more than 2,500,000 compression cycles. Consideration of factors such as modulus, wire diameter, mean diameter, active coils, total deflection, spring relaxation, maximum service temperature, and operating environment; results in you having modern spring technology available for your pistol.

    Because of the properties of music wire; it cannot be heat treated, shot peened and stress relieved after the spring is wound. Additionally, music wire lacks consistency from bulk lot to bulk lot. This results in inconsistent performance from spring to spring. This is the same technology that was in use 90 years ago when John Browning designed the 1911 style pistol.

    We believe that springs shouldn’t be an ongoing worry or concern for the shooter. Springs should be an annual routine maintenance item. Change them once a year; go shoot and have fun..."
  8. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    This from Wolff's website. Seems to contradict some observations some "experts" assert...

    "...4. How often should I change my springs?

    Wolff Gunsprings are made with the highest grade materials and workmanship. Most Wolff [recoil] springs will remain stable for many thousands of rounds. The performance of your gun is the best indicator of when a spring needs to be replaced. Factors such as increasing ejection distance, improper ejection and/or breaching, lighter hammer indents on primers, misfires, poor cartridge feeding from magazines, frequent jams, stove pipes and other malfunctions are all possible indications of fatigued springs or improper springs. Springs that are subject to higher stress applications such as magazine springs, striker springs and recoil springs will require more frequent replacement than other less stressed springs. Most Wolff recoil springs should be capable of 3000-5000 rounds minimum before changing is required. Some recoil springs in compact pistols, especially where dual springs are replaced by a single spring may require changing after 750 - 1500 rounds. Changes in your firearm's performance are one of the best indicators that a change is needed.

    5. Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds? How often should I change magazine springs?

    Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and the subject of much debate and concern. Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as law enforcement applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs which are loaded up only when shooting. Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. Older designs where maximum capacity was not the goal such as the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was a lot of room for a lot of spring which reduced the overall stress on the spring. In recent hi-capacity magazines, the magazines were designed to hold more rounds with less spring material. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause 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 is not always practical. In applications where the magazine must be kept loaded, a high quality magazine spring such as Wolff extra power magazine springs, will provide maximum life. Regular shooting will verify reliability and regular replacement of magazine springs will provide the best defense against failure from weak magazine springs..."

    I personally have had to replace several Wolff springs. I admit most of my guns are hicap double stacks from 10-20 rounds in 40-45.
  9. Scouse


    Jul 7, 2002
    Once at the Glock factory (1985) in Austria, I was told that Glock did not manufacture their springs, but purchased from a sub contractor? Now make their own?

    For years on the wall of my reloading cubby hole I kept a new G17 mag; spring that was next to one that was an inch shorter, an old one, I routinely changed springs when they lost that inch, but never remember a problem with this inch down. Did the same with firing pin springs.
  10. jobob


    Apr 1, 2005
    Lewiston, Idaho
    I like to carry my reload magazines one round down, not to relieve pressure on the spring, but to make reloading easier. More than once I've failed to fully seat the magazine on a reload. That one round makes quite a distance in the force needed to seat the mag.
  11. a1911owner


    Nov 11, 2001
    He is selling a product, and wants to make money. You can't make money if people don't buy your product.

    Spring set under load is a myth. If it were true, you would have to replace the springs in your car every few thousand miles, but you don't.

    The reason that mag springs wear out is the same reason that firing pin springs, and recoil springs have to be replaced. from compression and decompression. But the recoil spring and firing pin springs are under a whole different set of stresses than a mag spring.

    If this guy believes this, I guess that he changes his car's springs ever time he rotates his tires.
  12. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    "...He is selling a product, and wants to make money. You can't make money if people don't buy your product.

    Spring set under load is a myth. If it were true, you would have to replace the springs in your car every few thousand miles, but you don't..."

    Your point is well taken. But you still have to consider the concept of quality control. If I don't have to replace my ISMI springs but every 2-3 yrs vs every year with the Wolff then I have saved some money and myself frustration. I would not knock it unless you've tried it. To suggest generalities about spring performance without taking into consideration ALL THE MANY variables involved is reckless and foolhardy. I don't think you can reasonably compare gun springs to automobile (let alone performance cars)springs. Just a different animal altogether.
  13. a1911owner


    Nov 11, 2001
    I have used ISMI springs, and found no difference in them than in wolff springs. I will even go so far as to say that the Wolff springs are better because they are the CORRECT LENGTH when you buy them, and you don't have to guess what length to trim them to.

    A spring is a spring is a spring, just as a nail is a nail is a nail, so the analogy is very reasonable. THe concept is the same.
  14. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    Your analogy is flawed based on basic metallurgy alone. If a "...spring is a spring..." then why have all manner of industries come up with validity testing, Quality Controls, Random Sampling to maintain a higher standard of product and improve on what we once had. If I were to follow your analogy then I'd still be driving a model T, using iron nails on my roof, drinking water from the river... Sorry, that kind of thinking did not get us to the moon...
  15. a1911owner


    Nov 11, 2001

    Of course this guy says his springs are better. He wants to sell them and make money.

    But are they REALLY any better? Not really, and I have used ISMI before.

    If you want to get into theory and all the rest of it, it would be better for them to sell springs PRECUT, instead of having you do it at home with who knows what kind of tool. THat way they can regulate the cut, the direction of the grain (yes, metal has a 'grain') and temper the cut.

    But they don't.

    Like I said, if he REALLY thinks that spring set is a REAL problem, then he must get his springs changed every rotation, because spring set would affect ALL springs, not just mag springs.
  16. racine

    racine Millennium Member

    "...If you want to get into theory and all the rest of it, it would be better for them to sell springs PRECUT, instead of having you do it at home with who knows what kind of tool. THat way they can regulate the cut, the direction of the grain (yes, metal has a 'grain') and temper the cut. But they don't.
    Like I said, if he REALLY thinks that spring set is a REAL problem, then he must get his springs changed every rotation, because spring set would affect ALL springs, not just mag springs..."

    I get it, you're joking right? How does PRECUTing "regulate the direction of the grain or the temper of the cut??? I think your grasping at staws here. Seriously though, ISMI sells their springs long to accomodate the hundreds of different "OEM" magazine lengths, styles, and capacities so you yourself can determine what length works best for your needs. I'm sorry those springs don't work for you but for my SA45 7/8/10 rounder, HK USP45 12/17 rounder, G35 15/20 rounder magazines are all ISMI. Given them a call, I'm sure he would be glad to refund your money. I don't work for them nor do I purposely advertise for them, I just know their springs work. Funny, for the longest time I thought BMW too was just a whole lot of hype- till I drove one.
  17. a1911owner


    Nov 11, 2001
    Have you ever bought a recoil spring from them? I have and it had to be cut to the proper length.
    It's not grasping at straws when you read what the guy from ISMI wrote about their desire to control quality to the nth degree, so why leave a variable, and go on about qc this and qc that?
    Sorry, but I have used OEM and aftermarket springs, and the best ones I've found so far are Wilson springs for 1911s and Wolff for everything else.

    I don't dispute the fact that they may shotpeen their springs, or do what they claim to do, but when they go into a sales pitch in a spring discussion, you really have to wonder.....

    I never said that their springs were crap, but when he statrted to prattle about how much they go into QC, why leave a variable like cutting the spring? The ycan figure out the best tension for a certain mag size, and sell them precut, and shot peened, and relieved at the cut if it REALLY makes as much difference as THEY claim.
  18. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

    May 24, 2000
    So far in the years I have been into weapons, I have only had to change 1 mag spring. It was for a factory 15rd beretta mag I picked up at a gun show for $5. Why $5? Because it was a VERY USED MILITARY MAG. The spring was very weak from god only knows how many rds. I had the mag refinished, along with a new spring. I kept the original follower in it. Works great.

  19. R3508

    R3508 Curmudgeon

    Dec 9, 2005
    State of Jefferson USA
    I shoot often enough and rotate my mags (always fresh ammo) never had a problem, I am on Glock #8.


    R3508 G17 1st gen
    NRA Member
    Super Genius of the Universe