Magazine Springs and Metal Fatigue

Magazine Springs and Metal Fatigue

This is a discussion on Magazine Springs and Metal Fatigue within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Does anyone know if maintaining full mags over time will cause metal fatigue to the spring?...

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  1. #1
    Member Array jongle's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Northern Michigan

    Magazine Springs and Metal Fatigue

    Does anyone know if maintaining full mags over time will cause metal fatigue to the spring?

  2. #2
    Member Array JJ573's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Only slightly

    If you have new mags that still have stiff springs and you load them up and leave them that way for a coupled days/weeks, you will notice that the spring will lighten up a bit. However, you don't have to worry about it compressing that spring far enough outside of its natural flexible distance to cause any problems.

    Only the action of compressing AND stretching of the spring will actually wear on the spring and cause it to need replacing over time.
    Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

  3. #3
    Member Array Gary Crumrine's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    New York, NY

    I've kept magazines (Colt / Glock) fully charged for - sometimes - 10years or more without difficulties.

    Gary Crumrine

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Definition of metal fatigue

    Metal fatigue is defined as "A weakening and then breakdown of metal parts caused by constant flexing". The number of cycles of back and forth stress to reach fatigue failure can be in the millions, and depends on the part and the material.

    So I don't thing a magazine loaded and left for a long time will fail due to spring fatigue. That is only 1/2 of a cycle.

  5. #5
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Off Of The X


    I opened a thread topic on this a while back.


  6. #6
    Member Array gotammo's Avatar
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    May 2006
    the manfacturer takes this into acount when they design the mag. and spring their made to be loaded, load'm' up and don't worry they will work when needed.

  7. #7
    Member Array sengie's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    drexel hill,pa
    If in doubt, rotate

  8. #8
    Assistant Administrator
    Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    South West PA
    If in doubt, rotate
    I would agree - seeing as there is no harm in it!!

    Metal fatigue is generally a term used to attribute failure to metals - work hardening, chrystalization - failure due to inclusions, voids, poor heat treatment etc.

    A spring works thru torsion - and IMO a spring from brand new when left compressed will almost inevitably take a small (but measurable) ''set''. Once that has occurred the life will these days be long and consistent.

    I have two of three SIG 10 rounders which would barely take #10 round - they now thru use (which includes effects of cycling - compression/release) take that last round a bit more easily - and they were left fully loaded for quite some while.

    I am of the opinion too that the 8 round 1911 mags are a tad more likely to ''tire'' than 7's (when full) - because the spring might be made of slightly thinner material - as well as the follower being perhaps slightly modified. The spring has a limited space to compress in. Might be quite marginal tho.

    OTOH - a large mag like one for an AK - has such a long spring that as I have proved - will function OK after staying fully charged for well over a year. Not so sure with my FAL mag's - and rotate those coupla times a year.

    Mag springs are in a category of their own - as the torsion occurs very locally at each tight bend - the straight sections contribute little at all - and so force is well concentrated at these points - which is why I do think a small ''set'' can and will occur - but for many, barely noticeable.

    I should add that in fact - tho most of our handgun mag springs work in torsion - I have remembered some mags like in SKS and Enfields, where the action is actually flexion - these being more convoluted ''leaf'' in design.

    Can't say so far my SIG 15's have been noticeably altered thru being left full - but as I said - no harm, no foul - if some rotation applied - it can't hurt a bit!!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  9. #9
    Member Array Bando's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Texas somewhere
    Man, I read this great article on this very thing a couple months back. It said not to worry about it, that spring metal is meant to be flexed and is good for quite some time, as long as it isn't pushed out of it's normal range. Like cramming in an extra round, or streching a spring for more tension. Ohh, the thought makes me shudder....
    The Problem: When stupid people do stupid things, smart people end up getting killed.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Arid Zone A
    The springs will weaken due to the loading and unloading, so if you are really worried, don't cycle the magazines. Or better yet, just replace the springs on a regular basis, like all the other springs in your gun.


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