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Guest zen811

Storing Loaded Magazines

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Everything I have read so far about loading magazines for long term storage seems to indicate that it is not a problem and the springs wear out more from using the magazine (compression to decompression) than from sitting in a compressed state for long periods of time, however I wonder.... I've never had a problem so far but was thinking I'd stir the pot a little bit and see if anyone had any strong opinions/examples to support or debunk this hypothesis.

 

Thanks!

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This is an issue I have debated with myself for years. After a discussion with the gunsmith that prepped the weapons for the Contra deal, I have now loaded all my AR mags (factory Colt, Brownells, and Reminton) plus my 9mm mags. I think the risk here is lower than not being prepared to lock and load in a reasonable amount of time. By the way working alone and with a mag loader it took me over 2 hours time to load up. Imagine doing that under the pressure of a SHTF moment?

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We unloaded and reloaded our magazines every few weeks for over a year in Afghanistan. Some guys didn't. Everybody went to a range at least once and used up a few magazines. Word was put out that we should relax the spings every now and then, but I never saw anything in print that said why. Don't recall any complaints about magazine performance or failures.

 

My opinion is that any spring on anything will EVENTUALLY wear out. Buy spares and keep them sealed up.

 

By the way, John... TWO hours to load all your magazines?!?! With a speedloader?!?! You're either a slow poke... or my hero!

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I number my mags and keep track of which ones are fired and which ones are kept loaded and stored. Mags that are fired more often use up springs. This seems to be particularly true for USGI AR-15/M16 mags with stainless steel springs, but I also notice it to be true for my Glock mags. I have four 20 round mags with Tubb SpeedLock chrome silicon springs, and they get used pretty often. I have not experienced any failures with them since the springs were installed about five years ago, which is good because they are match mags, and I need that reliability.

 

Here is a comparison of a new spring and a used spring from a USGI AR mag:

2915127773_fea86f6287.jpg

 

You can see the old mag spring has taken almost 1.25 inches of set and has oxidized. The old spring was no longer reliable and was replaced. In the Wolff FAQ they said a certain amount of set was expected, but I believe that a certain amount of set is also unacceptable. In my rifle PM notes I have the following info for buffer springs:

 

Spec lengths for buffer springs for 5.56mm ARs.

 

Carbine 10 1/16" to 11 1/4"

 

Rifle 11 3/4" to 13 1/2"

 

If it's shorter the action has cycled enough to cause the spring to take on too much set, which will lead to failures. I can't remember if I got these numbers from a TM manual or from Pat Rogers. I think he was quoting a TM. Either way, part of my PM is to measure my buffer spring and make sure it's within spec.

 

When I have a failure to feed I note the magazine number and put it aside, and one of the things I check is spring length against a new mag spring. I don't put too much time into AR mags, they are essentially disposable, but if I can save one by putting a $1.25 spring into it, I'll do it. Based on my experience with my match magazines, if you really need lasting spring reliability, chrome silicon springs deliver the performance they promise. They do have one quirk, which is some surface rust, but a quick wipe with oil twice a year takes care of that.

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I have never had any issue with mag springs. But I have seen firing pin springs take a set and cause failure to fire from being stored in the cocked position. Many people frown on this practice, but I always chamber check and dry fire (in a safe direction) any weapon stored unloaded.

 

To keep my mags from taking a set, I keep half loaded and half unloaded, and swap them every couple of months. Which reminds me. Time to swap my mags...

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Prep: HA. Probably slow poke because I think there was either football or Nascar on the TV at the time, plus I was sitting in the floor against my recliner. In this position I get regularly attacked by Molly the Schnoodle who feels like she has to be in the lap to fully relax. Great guard dog though. Also I am not saying how many mags I had to load. It were a whole bunch.

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I have a Pmag from magpul that was stored under my mattress with the feed lip cover on and thirty rounds in it for almost six months. I then took it out, and used it to zero my rifle after getting new sights. Worked flawlessly. Same tension as an unloaded one. I am seriously a convert on the Pmags. I have one I ran over with two fully loaded humvees, and it is still in good shape. I also had mags on deployments that would be loaded full, and they would stay that way for well over a month, and I never had problems. If you take care of them, they take care of you. If you treat them like dirt, well, they get you in the end.

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i have a couple BX-25s, they dont have compressed springs, is there a potential problem in keeping the tension spring (or whatever its technically called) unwound when loaded for storage?

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I have never had any issue with mag springs. But I have seen firing pin springs take a set and cause failure to fire from being stored in the cocked position. Many people frown on this practice, but I always chamber check and dry fire (in a safe direction) any weapon stored unloaded.

 

Ready,

De-cocking a semi-auto that does not have a de-cock lever is potentially dangerous. If you place the thumb of your strong hand on the hammer, pull the trigger and use you thumb to lower the hammer you run the risk of having the hammer slip free and discharging the gun. If you do this, the slide will come back with substantial force. Think 20 to 50 thousand PSI. Your thumb will be bent back against your wrist, great pain will be visited upon your hand and depending on the damage, you'll never use that thumb again.

 

The way I was taught to do this (I've seen a couple of ways, but this is what I use) is to place the thumb of the weak hand between the firing pin and the hammer. If the hammer drops, I get a smashed thumb but no bang and no break. I lower the hammer to the thumb, then, holding the weight of the gun in the weak hand, hammer on thumb of the same hand, I use the thumb and forefinger of the strong hand to grasp the hammer; remove the weak hand thumb and lower it the rest of the way. If the gun should go off at that point, the slide may remove the fingerprints from the thumb and forefinger but break nothing. Since I keep my .45 ACP hammer down, loaded when it is not on me, that is the method I use. Even with an empty I use the same drill - always the same - so I don't get absent minded one day and get a surprise "Bang".

 

The problem with the dry fire, is that things happen. The army used bullet catcher barrels to have you do the dry fire into. I've seen (don't remember where) gun cases designed to catch a bullet the same way. Not liking loud noises, I prefer never to have a negligent discharge. (If you pull the trigger, there is nothing accidental about it!)

 

I hope the explanation is clear enough to follow. It easy to show, a little tougher to write about. Just practice a lot with an empty (verified, checked, verified again) gun until comfortable with the procedure. Then when it slips (and it will) you don't lose a thumb.

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I was talking about dryfiring weapons with empty chambers to store them. Notice, I said "chamber check and dry fire".

You are right about the potential injuries to your thumb with an accidental discharge. Not to mention, where did the bullet go!?!

 

I used to have a 1911 that I carried loaded but hammer down. I used to let the hammer down in exactly the manner that you listed. The hammer hitting your thumb gives you a sore thumb for a second, but better than a slipped hammer... BANG!

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I bought a buttload of Magpul mags for my AR's and keep them loaded. I rotate them whenever I go to the range and have had no hangups or problems. Just keep em' clean and they'll work. My pistol mags for my 1911's and glock and XD40 are the same way. Rotate, maintain, load, rotate....etc.

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Ive heard both sides of the story before and now I fall in the middle. I keep 3 mags for my beretta 96 loaded at 1/2 capacity (6 rounds). IMO thats plenty for HD. If im ever in a situation where I need more than 18 rounds of 40S&W loaded up, Ill look pretty silly standing there holding a handgun.

 

Though I do keep my shotgun tube loaded at full capacity (4 rounds).

 

With the 12ga, 96 and a 38spl loaded up i feel good about my HD capabilty. If I need more than that Ill be in real trouble id guess.

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I have to agree with keeping mags loaded, I have a bunch that have been loaded for months and even years and they have all worked fine.

 

I don't carry any pistol with one in the chamber anymore, I had an AD that scared the hell out of me in the past. So I practice racking the slide for a quick load up and I have gotten pretty good at it.

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I think after all that has been said, it seems to be a personal preference. JMO

Even though Mr. Mashy did have a good point. pics of crushed springs!

I keep a one 30 rd. Magpul with 15 rds. The rest of my AR mags are Cammenga

Mags. and it takes no time to load the Cammengas. In the event of anything happening

I'm trusting my insticnts that there would be time to drop a few hundred rds if need be

into them.

As for my auto loading handguns, as someone mentioned before, a couple of half loaded

mags. for each. Extras are empty. However the revolvers are another story. ;)

Edited by desert rat

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Any new mags should be fine. New metals and alloys allow the spring to be compressed and not have issues. As far as decocking a weapon without a dedicated lever, its dangerous. A 1911 is meant to be carried cocked and locked of you're carrying Condition 1.

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