Anyone had a failed magazine spring due to compression?

Anyone had a failed magazine spring due to compression?

This is a discussion on Anyone had a failed magazine spring due to compression? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Has anyone actually had a magazine fail because it was stored loaded for too long? There seems to be a lot of “varying opinions” about ...

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Thread: Anyone had a failed magazine spring due to compression?

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    Member Array baruffic's Avatar
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    Anyone had a failed magazine spring due to compression?

    Has anyone actually had a magazine fail because it was stored loaded for too long? There seems to be a lot of “varying opinions” about magazine springs. A lot of the gun community seems to think if you leave a magazine fully loaded for too long you break the string. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but I haven’t been able to find anyone that has actually had it happen. Also, reading some of the physics/engineering material they indicate that it is the repeated compress and uncompressed of the spring that causes it to break, leaving it compressed is totally fine.


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    No, but I've had a magazine spring fail due to being loaded and unloaded a lot. One of my old Wilson 47Ds failed me one night in a club steel match, and it was clearly due to the number of times it had been used (defined as loaded and unloaded, by whatever means). It had lost so much of its force that it couldn't push a fresh round up fast enough for the the slide to pick it up. A fresh spring and follower, and - voila! good as new.

    BTW, springs rarely break these days, but they do lose their spring force as described above.

    I still haven't gotten around to posting this as a 'sticky', but simply leaving your magazines loaded will NOT result in spring deterioration. Repeated compression and relaxation cycles, however, WILL. Just like holster wear, it's one of those inevitables of gun use. (Offered with the education, experience and perspective of a mechanical engineer with a 40-year career in testing materials, nuclear and aerospace equipment.)
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baruffic View Post
    Has anyone actually had a magazine fail because it was stored loaded for too long?
    No, I've not waited that long. Call it "preventive maintenance."

    But I have in several instances noted a mag spring/follower swap eliminate a growing tendency to exhibit FTF. Similar to tires on a car, too, where I also don't wait long enough for that "slippery" traction to translate into a blowout. Never seen a tire fail due to usage, outright, as I change them far too frequently for that.
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    Distinguished Member Array Tundra5.7's Avatar
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    I carried fully loaded Beretta 96 magazines for 10 years and never had a problem.
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    If magazine springs failed from simply setting loaded, I'd have a safe full of broken springs. I keep all my magazines loaded, all the time.
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    +1 for gasmitty, his post is what I've been told. I've had springs go soft prematurely, I think they never were heat treated properly to start with. I'd say the same thing if the spring literally broke, improper heat treatment, and I say that with some knowledge of heat treatment that comes from my knife making hobby.

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    I've never had to replace a mag spring for any reason, but that doesn't mean I won't someday.

    This "storage" question is such a moot point. Compress the spring when storing the spring vs compress the spring when using the mag both equal ONE compression. For me, unless I anticipate needing a loaded mag, I prefer to allow my unused mag springs to extend to its rested state and my ammo stored in a box.

    If you've got 30 mags and feel you have to keep all of them topped off all of the time, go for it--no one need answer for it except you.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    When My grand dad died in 67 he left my dad a 1911 and 10 loaded mags. When my dad passed last year we found a box with the still loaded mags in it. Best I can tell they are Korean war vintage and still work just fine. Even the ammo was fine. That would be at least 46 years they stayed compressed. DR
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    I asked a buddy at VCU, an engineer who knows metallurgy, he said basically what has been said. "The spring, uncompressed vs. compressed is the same, it is the movement, of going from compressed to uncompressed and vice versa that causes the spring to wear out" So, I keep all my mags loaded and don't sweat it.

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    VIP Member Array SatCong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baruffic View Post
    Has anyone actually had a magazine fail because it was stored loaded for too long? There seems to be a lot of “varying opinions” about magazine springs. A lot of the gun community seems to think if you leave a magazine fully loaded for too long you break the string. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence, but I haven’t been able to find anyone that has actually had it happen. Also, reading some of the physics/engineering material they indicate that it is the repeated compress and uncompressed of the spring that causes it to break, leaving it compressed is totally fine.
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    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    My first gun purchased in 2004 still has the original mag that has never been unloaded except while at the range or at home for cleaning. Works just fine.

    I leave all my mags loaded.
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    Not in over 40 years of shooting

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    Nope.

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    I bought my first semi last month (wheelguns before that) and have yet to have one fail.
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    Member Array Drail's Avatar
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    Springs lose their temper from two factors - 1) repeated compression and decompression and 2) compression beyond their rated design limit. A single stack 1911 magazine can be left loaded for many years and will function perfectly (assuming the manufacturer who made the spring used quality steel and temepered and stress relieved it properly, and in the old day, they did) The spring in a single stack magazine is never pushed near or past it's rated design limits. (an exception would be a flush fit 8 rd. .45 ACP mag) When you get into double stack magazine spring there are many designs that will push the spring to or past its limits and break down the temper. Not all, but more than you would suppose. If those magazines are left loaded fully compressed long enough they will fail, at the very least you will have last round feed problems when the spring is almost completely relaxed and can't get the next round up in time to be picked up. So the important factor here is that unless you know that your spring is made of quality spring steel and is NOT being pushed past its limit then downloading by a round or two is cheap insurance. To me knowing that every round in the mag will feed is much more important than having 15 rounds crammed into that mag. My experience has been that tubular magazines in lever guns and shotguns are the biggest problems. Ask any police armorer who has to maintain the shotguns racked in a cruiser left fully loaded for a year or more about magazine springs. Those springs are physically compressed considerably more than a pistol magazine. If the gun is not used for a year or more (common for these guns) the last 1 or 2 rounds will not feed reliably (or not at all). Install a new mag spring and function comes right back to 100% So when someone tells you that storing a mag loaded has no effect they are partly correct - but the truth is a little more complicated than that simple statement. Just ask yourself - do I really need 15 or 16 rounds that "might" all feed or do I need 13 rounds that will absolutely definitely all feed. If you don't know how old your mag springs are or who made them, replace them with extra power springs from Wolff or ISMI. Most manufacturers use the cheapest springs they can buy. Don't stake your life on cheap equipment or parts. All guns rely on quality springs for operation, they are critical, and probably more crucial than the type of ammo you carry.
    baruffic likes this.

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