Letting magazine springs rest


tutter ball

New member
How often and for how long would you suggest emptying a magazine of ammo & letting the spring rest in it empty?

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dad45acp

New member
With a quality firearm and mags, no need to unload. I currently have 5 pistol mags loaded and a couple 30 rnd 5.56 mags loaded and will stay that way until I hit the range. Could be weeks...could be months. No biggie.

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HD-kutz

New member
No reason to go to the trouble. It's the tension then release that causes spring steel to fail. A mag that is loaded then used or emptied constantly by a super active shooter will fail before a loaded mag left in a safe for the same amount of time.
 

GlassWolf

New member
How often and for how long would you suggest emptying a magazine of ammo & letting the spring rest in it empty?

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I'll make this really simple. Spring steel isn't fatigued by being left in a compressed (or relaxed) state. It gets fatigue from the act of being compressed and decompressed repeatedly.
Leave the mags loaded. Otherwise, what's the point of having the magazines if they aren't ready to deploy? All springs, magazine, guide rod, trigger, etc need to be replaced at regular intervals. That's part of routine maintenance of a firearm, just like flushing and replacing all of the fuids in a motor vehicle is part of it's routine maintenance.
 

Johnny Dollar

New member
Springs can wear out from compression/relaxation cycles, but they also relax from static (stationary) loads. Also, the higher the storage temperature the more the springs will relax. However, most of the relaxation occurs early on in the storage condition and then the amount of further relaxation due to static compression load is less as time goes on.

The degradation of the magazine spring being stored loaded is dependent on the design of the magazine as a whole system, how close is it to full capacity, and the yield stress of the metal used. The closer you approach yield stress, the sooner that "creep" strain will occur.

When a material reaches yield stress, it deforms permanently. The degree of permament deformation determines the condition of the spring.

That being said, the majority of magazine springs used today are designed to handle the static compression relaxation and retain enough life such that firearm functioning is not impaired.

There is FEM software that can calculate the stress on the coils of the spring regardless of the complexity of design. Until we do that, we don't know what stresses are on the spring. We have to remember that another engineer came up with the design, probably has all this data, and has determined it to be of sufficient design for whatever reason. The threshold for sufficient is what is up to debate. My speculation is that a fully loaded magazine is NOT past yield stress. How close is it? I'll guess 75-80% for an error margin.

On the less technical side of things, I've left magazines loaded for months at a time. nothing happened. The perceptible stiffness of the loaded magazines was the same as the ones that were not.
 

GlassWolf

New member
ehhh, yield stress tends to play more of a factor in springs that are stretched, as opposed to compressed. I mean, in a magazine, you're only going to compress the spring so much anyway before you tag the bottom plate of the mag with the follower. A lot of mag springs are progressive springs, too, so their spring rate varies.
 

Jay

New member
American Handgunner
May-June, 2003
by John S. Layman

(C/O American Handgunner Magazine)
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.
 

maine04619

New member
This subject has been beat to death. Simple metallurgy will show that springs are work by over/ under extension and/ or by the action of compressing and releasing them leaving them sprung or compressed are the two points where there is almost ZERO effect on the condition of them.

The "theory" about loaded mags is from long ago when many mags use very cheap spring steel ( IE not really spring steel at all ) and leaving them loaded woudl deform them. Also they did not last long anyway due to the compression and extension that took place under normal use.
 

tutter ball

New member
OK thank you all. I've seen varying info online so figured I'd ask here where there would be a higher chance of really informed folks. Again, I thank you all.

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wolf_fire

New member
Ironically he spelled "knowledgeable" incorrectly.

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That's why I hit "like" on his post. I figured it was either a hilarious play on words, or it was so ironic it was truly funny as well. Either way, I liked it.
 

mappow

New member
Ya buy cheap mag's, expect sub-standard material. Metal, good high grade metal, retains it's tensile strength. They say "it has memory". MIL-SPEC being above average. Use good quality mag's or don't. Could be your life if that first round doesn't hit CM.
-
Choices, we all have choices.
 

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