How long can you keep mags loaded?

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by Crispy129, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Crispy129

    Crispy129 New Member

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    I know keeping mags loaded for long periods of time can wear out the springs. But with a CCW weapon that I will have loaded most of the time, how often should I pop all of the bullets out to give the springs a break? I'd like to keep my high capacity mags intact in case I can't buy them in the near future.
     
  2. matt g

    matt g New Member Supporter

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    I had 2 Kimber mags that I kept loaded for close to 10 years. The springs never suffered a bit. A lot of people will bad mouth Kimber magazines too.

    Just short them a couple of rounds and you'll be fine. Try to stick with high quality magazines though, as cheaper magazines will have carbon steel springs, rather than silicon bronze or high silicon steel springs.
     

  3. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    While I agree that any quality mag can be loaded at 90% and left that way for a good long time, I personally rotate my carry mags every month.

    I load my carry mags at full load ( 8 rounds for my full size and 7 rounds for my compact ) and keep them in my shoulder rig, ready to go. I have done this for close to 20 years and have never had a magazine that previously worked perfectly fail to perform because it had been loaded for "X" amount of time.

    A good quality spring and follower can be "abused" without failure with utmost certainty...

    JD
     
  4. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    Good springs last a lifetime... I had a fully loaded magazine for my Tokarev that laid around for 20 years. I figured that either the ammo wouldn't fire OR the mag wouldn't feed. WRONG! It fired and fed ammo like it was just loaded.
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    somewhere between 50 and 100 years
     
  6. eapking

    eapking New Member

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    Good to know. Have had the same concern.
     
  7. Crispy129

    Crispy129 New Member

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    Good to know. When I went to training events, a lot of times the M16's jammed constantly because the mags were ratty. I just wanted to make sure the same thing didn't happen to my handgun.
     
  8. SGT-MILLER

    SGT-MILLER New Member

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    You should be good to go. The mil-spec M16 mags are built by the lowest bidder, and the followers are usually crap (most other mags out there are better). Your pistol magazines should be just fine.
     
  9. Bighead

    Bighead New Member

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    I have always been curious about this, because I wonder if maintaining constant sprung weight wears out a spring slower or faster than regularly releasing tension and then later reloading the magazine.

    I know people who cycle mags every 3 or 6 months, and I know people who never cycle mags. Neither seem to indicate experiencing problems.

    I can tell you I know a lot of police officers who never cycle mags, and only unload them by firing semi-annual qualifications. They reload them right after qualifying, and year after year the guns function properly.

    I wish I could find the magazine article I read a few years ago where they found a WWII 1911 in a gunwriters grandfathers footlocker when they went through it after he passed away. The gun had gone in the box in something like 1945 with a loaded magazine, and hadn't come back out. They decided to check the magazine & ammo to see if it would still function and sure enough, bang-bang-bang without any problems.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009
  10. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    See post #4...
     
  11. JiroZero713

    JiroZero713 Active Member

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    The tension in the spring should be the same loaded or unloaded...it's just the complete opposite when you think about it.

    Should be fine fully loaded for years.
     
  12. herp_man2003

    herp_man2003 New Member

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    Its my understanding that its not the mag being loaded that will wear a spring out it the constant loading and unloding of them that will wear them out the fastest. Thanks Anthony
     
  13. dnthmn2004

    dnthmn2004 New Member

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    I was worried about cycling my mags before I read this. (I cycle them every month or two) But now I'm worried that cycling them is doing more harm than good. Thanks man.:confused:
     
  14. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    I'm no expert on anything, but as a toolmaker for 20 years, it's my opinion, and experience that assuming no rust, or physical damage, a decent quality magazine spring will not be adversely affected by remaining loaded for many years. I won't bore you with personal instances, but I have a couple.

    Springs are weakened by loading, and unloading, not static compression.
     
  15. warrioroftheland

    warrioroftheland New Member

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    amazing info. i was wondering the same thing. i was once told to cycle mags and ammo every month becuz sweat could cause primer problems. since i have never owned a firearm i wouldnt know any better lol
     
  16. truevil1313

    truevil1313 New Member

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    This is just my experiance, so take it for what you will. I had an H&K USP that I kept loaded to 100% for 100% of the time. I sold it to a buddy of mine that keeps it the same way now. It has been 16 years, but the springs were starting to get a little week and would not lock the slide open anymore. We simply opened up the mags, streched the springs and put them back together, and now they are functioning perfect again. When I was in Iraq, we had all of our mags loaded 100% for 100% of the time. My detachment Sergeant would make us all sit down and empty our mags and strech the springs, every 3 months. I have had my Kimber for 5 years now and use Wilson Combat mags. I have had them loaded 100% for 100% of the time, and have had no problems. It is just my opinion that if it is a firearm you are going to use for home/self defense, you should have it ready to go at all times. If it is just a safe quean, leave the mags unloaded until needed.
     
  17. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    All springs take a set if left compressed over time. The question is how much of a "set" can a spring take and still function as designed. The other variable is the quality of the spring. Wolf springs are the best made, and the fact that there are companies that only make springs should tell you something about spring life. I had a .22 rifle fail because it was left cocked for several years, unbeknownst to me until I took it out to shoot. The bolt spring was a coil spring, like in your car suspension, and we all know these become weak after years of sitting around with the weight of the car compressing them, not from use, since a car spends most of it's life just sitting around. The same thing happens to magazine springs left compressed. This is an age old discussion where many people, by virtue of the fact that their mag springs still work after being left loaded for years, will CLAIM that compression doesn't hurt. This is complete BS and runs counter to not only common sense, but metallurgy. Also, stretching a spring in the opposite direction from compression actually weakens it further - it will strengthen the compressive strength temporarily for a very short period of time, and this may be a good thing for a battle scenario, but ultimately a spring which has lost it's tension will need to be replaced. It always amazes me that any kid with a wind-up toy knows this, yet adults who spend hundreds of dollars on their "toys" just don't get it...
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  18. David26

    David26 New Member

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    This is a question I was just about to ask. Good to know the anwser but to go along with it and I am sure this has been asked before two. How long can good self defense ammo be kept in a mag. or even just stored in the closet before u just need to pop it off and get some new ammo?
     
  19. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

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    Probably not before your life has ended. Remember, much of the surplus ammo being sold today is 20-50 yrs. old and works just fine. Keep it out of rapid temp. changes (Ie. extreme hot to extreme cold), Condensation will ruin ammo, age won't have much of an effect. What can also affect ammo is motion. Powder granules can break down and deterrent coatings can wear off of individual granuals causing pressure increases. This is why it is unwise to tumble loaded ammo to make it nice and shiny.
     
  20. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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    I dont keep very many magazines for my firearms that require them. I've had some but not all of my magazines loaded 100% for 100% of time since I've had them. Back in the late '90's a few magazines that were kept this way since the mid and late '70's would fail when used. This would even happen in 5 round magazines. I tried taking the magazines apart and stretching the springs and they would work for awhile. I then ordred replacement springs from Wolf Springs and replaced the weakened springs and the mags were O.K. Also, some of the magazines that were regularly used, eventually would fail due to lost spring tension. I now keep a good number of replacement Wolf Springs that I bought in the late '90's for when I need to "tune up" any magazines I have. I keep a couple of magazines loaded all the time and try to cycle them as much as posible. The rest I leave unloaded. And, when required, changing out springs from time to time is just a fact of life for me. This is the only thing that I know to do that works for me.