Changing out magazines

Changing out magazines

This is a discussion on Changing out magazines within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; i have a g-19 3rd gen i have 3 magazines is it good to rotate magazines out or can i just keep them loaded all ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array bigtrucker's Avatar
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    Changing out magazines

    i have a g-19 3rd gen i have 3 magazines is it good to rotate magazines out or can i just keep them loaded all the time?
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    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
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    When I was still a street cop we rotated ours out every 3-4 weeks. We also kept them 2 rounds shy of being fully loaded. It helps prevent spring set.
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    Senior Member Array txron's Avatar
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    My understanding that loading and unloading a magazine is what wears out the spring the fastest. So my recommendation is to keep the mags loaded, but you can rotate them in your carrying.
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    The only thing I ever do with my Glock mags is keep my range mags separate from my carry mags. My range mags get dropped in the dirt and basically abused during practice and classes. My carry mags are all proven reliable and then left alone for that duty only. My carry mags stay loaded, my range mags stay generally empty. I've never seen any failure rate that points to one being better than the other.
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    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostMaker View Post
    When I was still a street cop we rotated ours out every 3-4 weeks. We also kept them 2 rounds shy of being fully loaded. It helps prevent spring set.
    Everything I've read has said to keep a spring fully compressed or fully expanded. Removing 2 rounds would not protect the spring may actually damage it.
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    Member Array Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    You should definitely let them "rest" just like you raise your car on jacks to let its springs rest and take the heads off your car's engine to let the valve springs rest.

    Just doing rough math...
    Given a car that does 15,000 miles annually (DOT)
    Googleing says we spend 540 hrs/year in our cars.
    That's 27mph which is a bit slow unless you count all the time at stop lights and traffic jams. (My GPS says I have a moving average of 37 over the last 7k of operation.)
    That comes out to about 1.5 hrs a day in a car going 27mph, (maybe 2,000 rpm average?)

    (2,000rpm * 60 minutes) * 1.5 hrs = 13,300 spring extensions and compressions each day. every day... all year... for years...




    And we're worried about a few thousand cycles on a pistol magazine? Are our springs made of taffy or sumthin'???
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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    New mags get loaded for carry and unloaded into paper annually. Old mags get plenty of "rest" between range trips.

    I mark range mags since they may see some abuse, and I don't mix them with carry mags. New carry mags do get a break in and function test period. Then they stay loaded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmilchman View Post
    Everything I've read has said to keep a spring fully compressed or fully expanded. Removing 2 rounds would not protect the spring may actually damage it.
    Wolfe Springs would disagree with that. Check their sight.

    The only mags I keep full are the ones on me or stashed around the house. Unused mags are empty. I've never had a bad mag issue. That's what I do, your opinion may vary.
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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    I keep all of my magazines loaded until I either empty them into paper or empty them to take inventory.

    Magazines were designed to be loaded to what their maximum capacity is.

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    Distinguished Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmilchman View Post
    Everything I've read has said to keep a spring fully compressed or fully expanded. Removing 2 rounds would not protect the spring may actually damage it.
    i dunno who comes up with this stuff. But ALL steel has some degree of "memory". adding just the right mix of chemicals(mostly carbon) and an exact tempering process and you get spring steel. keeping ANY spring in it's fully compressed, OR stretching it past it's expanded position, will change it's memory set. manipulating any spring will eventually wear it out(constantly being compressed and relieved). However, that's what springs were made to do, do the psirngs on your car wear out after going over lots of potholes? yes, actually, but the life expectancy of the spring is generally greater than that of the car. same with your mags. the feed lips and follower are likely to fail before the spring from normal contraction/release.

    now, keeping ANY spring fully compressed for extended periods will damage it. this is metallurgical fact. sorry boys. NOW, i think must of this has been aleved by modern manufacturers designing floor plates and followers in such a way as that the spring never actually gets fully compressed(coils touching)so you can keep a mag fully loaded, and the spring is still not 100% compressed. that said a spring at 95% will still lose memory, but that 5% makes for a significant increase in life span.

    that said i still keep my mags shy of a full load. extra load on the spring. extra PSI on the feed lips. extra PSI on the floor plate retaining mechanism. so many extra pounds of pressure are devloped in the last 15% of a springs compression. say your 15 round mag makes 8 pounds of force pushing up ten rounds. that could jump to 20 or 30 pounds of force when loaded to full cap. that's 30 pounds of force on the bottom of the slide when the mag is seated. that's 30 pounds of force again the slide rails. guns may be built to last, and metal is strong. but EVERYTHING fails, and i gaurantee that keeping 30 pounds of speperation force on the frame rails of a pistol for 20 years will help it fail. Entropic Universe, baby!
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    Magazines are expendables. When they wear out replace them. A good quality magazine should last years.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    From a Smith & Wesson Forum:


    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.

    Now that the light of truth is leaking out, lets talk about what is causing failures to feed. The only way to weaken a magazine spring is to flex it past its normal range (elastic limit). If this is happening, somebody is trying to overload a magazine or has "adjusted" it by bending the spring. Both of these could cause feed failures. Shame on you if you're a spring bender.

    Carlton Nether, Customer Service for Beretta USA, tells us keeping a pistol magazine loaded for an extended period doesn't cause magazine spring failure, however, failures to feed can result. He says, "The ammo will 'roll' in the magazine. If the mags are kept loaded and moved around a lot -- say on a cop's belt -- the rolling action can, over time, cause creases in the cases. These creases can cause malfunctions. Also the top bullet will roll against the magazine lips and creasing can occur there as well. Just check old ammo that's been bouncing around in a magazine for a long time.

    We tell police officers if they keep loaded magazines, take a few seconds to "cycle" the ammo. Periodically unload the mag and reload it in a different sequence. This movement will allow the bullets to be in different parts of the magazine and help eliminate creasing.

    At STI, Dave Skinner, President and CEO says, "Personally, I rotate my 'under the bed' and 'under the seat' mags about every six months. I always empty them the 'fun' way and have never had a failure." Given what we learned above, this sounds like a good idea. Smith and Wesson customer service also says magazines can stay loaded indefinitely without hurting the spring.

    As we add force onto a spring, it will displace the same amount for each amount of force we add. This is true until the spring passes a certain point called the elastic limit. Robert Hooke discovered this theory back in 1660. Hooke's Law states: "If the applied forces on a body are not too large, the deformations resulting are directly proportional to the forces producing them." Which means, in actual human being language, if we load a spring past its elastic limit, it permanently deforms. It still provides a force against the load but the force is no longer proportional. If this happens, when we unload the spring (such as when we empty a magazine that has been over-loaded) the spring never returns to a state where it can provide the same load for the same amount of displacement.

    Trust Us

    When a magazine manufacturer designs a spring, they plan for a preload. The spring is already compressed some in the magazine. On the curve below, this would be Point A. The spring compression would be designed to be below the Elastic Limit. When fully compressed, the spring would be at Point B. If the spring is ever compressed past the elastic limit, say to Point C, it won't ever behave the same. Like a recalcitrant lazy Uncle, it will have a lower spring force for each amount of displacement. On the drawing, the spring would now cycle between points D and E. This means that -- particularly with the last bullet or two -- the force pushing the bullet up would be less and lo-and-behold, a mis-feed might occur.

    When somebody stretches your spring to "fix" your magazine, they are trying to get you back on the original curve. They may get pretty close, however, it's unlikely the spring will ever perform to its original design. The elastic limit is now shifted lower and your magazine spring may fail to perform fairly quickly.

    Having said all this, if you have a magazine that isn't feeding right, what should you do? First, disassemble the magazine and clean it thoroughly. Then try it with new, factory ammunition in a freshly cleaned gun. This takes away some of the possible causes. If you are still having feed problems, send it back. Even the low cost, after-market magazine manufacturers will fix the problem at no cost to you other than shipping. If it's a magazine from the gun's manufacturer, let them troubleshoot and repair the problem. Otherwise, toss the mag. It's not worth risking your life to save a few bucks. And that's the truth.

    RELATED ARTICLE: Definitions

    Creep: The flow or plastic deformation of metals held for long periods of time at stresses lower than the normal yield strength.

    Elastic Limit: The maximum stress that material will stand before permanent deformation occurs.

    Yield Strength: The stress at which the metal changes from elastic to plastic in behavior, i.e., takes a permanent set.

    Permanent Set: Non-elastic or plastic, deformation of metal under stress, after passing the elastic limit.

    Magazine Recommendations

    * Clean your magazines when they get gritty. Apply oil then remove all excess. Oil attracts dirt that may cause malfunction.

    * If you find rust on the spring, this is culprit. Rust changes the thickness of the metal and reduces the force applied to the follower. Cleaning off the rust may help. For a gun you depend on, replace the spring. All the major brands and most of the smaller ones have replacement mag springs available or try Wolff Springs.

    * If you keep a magazine loaded for long periods, rotate the rounds every few months. If you carry a pistol on the job or in your car, cycle the ammo frequently. These actions prevent creases from forming which may cause a misfeed.

    * If you experience feed problems, first clean your magazines and weapon. Fire a couple magazines of new factory ammo to see if this resolves the problem. If not send the magazine back to the manufacturer -- or toss it.
    srings, Bad Bob, Fitch and 2 others like this.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DingBat View Post
    i dunno who comes up with this stuff. But ALL steel has some degree of "memory". adding just the right mix of chemicals(mostly carbon) and an exact tempering process and you get spring steel. keeping ANY spring in it's fully compressed, OR stretching it past it's expanded position, will change it's memory set. manipulating any spring will eventually wear it out(constantly being compressed and relieved). However, that's what springs were made to do, do the psirngs on your car wear out after going over lots of potholes? yes, actually, but the life expectancy of the spring is generally greater than that of the car. same with your mags. the feed lips and follower are likely to fail before the spring from normal contraction/release.

    now, keeping ANY spring fully compressed for extended periods will damage it. this is metallurgical fact. sorry boys. NOW, i think must of this has been aleved by modern manufacturers designing floor plates and followers in such a way as that the spring never actually gets fully compressed(coils touching)so you can keep a mag fully loaded, and the spring is still not 100% compressed. that said a spring at 95% will still lose memory, but that 5% makes for a significant increase in life span.

    that said i still keep my mags shy of a full load. extra load on the spring. extra PSI on the feed lips. extra PSI on the floor plate retaining mechanism. so many extra pounds of pressure are devloped in the last 15% of a springs compression. say your 15 round mag makes 8 pounds of force pushing up ten rounds. that could jump to 20 or 30 pounds of force when loaded to full cap. that's 30 pounds of force on the bottom of the slide when the mag is seated. that's 30 pounds of force again the slide rails. guns may be built to last, and metal is strong. but EVERYTHING fails, and i gaurantee that keeping 30 pounds of speperation force on the frame rails of a pistol for 20 years will help it fail. Entropic Universe, baby!
    1. From Wolff's FAQ site: "5. How often should I change magazine spring? Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds?
    Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and are the subject of much debate and concern. Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as in law enforcement and personal/home defense applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs in which the magazines are loaded up only when shooting.

    Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. In many older pistol designs, maximum capacity was not the always the goal such as with the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was room for more spring material in these guns which reduces overall stress and increases the usable life of the spring.

    More recently higher capacity magazine have become popular. These are designed to hold more rounds with less spring material often in the same space. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause it to 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 it is not always practical."

    2. I don't know who would keep a handgun loaded for 20 years but if you do don't buy a Hi Point.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    a Few Years back, I remember Small Arms Review, had an article about a lady who found a 1911 in the attic that had been loaded since her husband had returned from WWII, it was stored in the attic and hadn't been touched in over 60 years. She called one of the writers of the magazine, he said here is an opportunity to test this whole spring wear theory!

    There where 3 magazines fully loaded.

    Gun ran=Zero malfunctions.

    Look manufactures develop their products to hold a certain amount of ammunition in their magazines. Their is NO benefit to downloading a magazine. The only magazines. I have ever had issues with, are ones that I use for regular practice. Your springs on your 1965 Mustang aren't wearing out while it sits in the garage. Its as you drive it and the spring moves that cause the wear.
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  15. #15
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    I rotate my 8 mags for my S&W FS 9 and my 6 mags for my S&W Shield 9 about every month. I rotate when I hit the range. I keep two mags for each pistol loaded at all times: my FS for home defense and my Shield for EDC.
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