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Discussion Starter #1
OK...Bear with on this because you all know that I've been around Semi~autos for a long time & I know my gun springs.
I was on the Wolff Finest Gun Springs Site...
Ha Ha Doing some Spring Shopping - Get it...Spring Shopping ?? :biggrin2:
Really...I was shopping for some AK47 30 round Magazine Springs.

Normally, & with near bout any other company I would say..."Oh Sure...They are in the business of selling springs so...OF COURSE...they are going to tell you to replace them often."
But, NOT with Wolff...they are a super honest company with very high integrity & have been making ultra high quality gun springs for what only must be 100 years now.

Anyway...I never noticed this (below) on their site before (in the FAQ section)

Especially...this:
"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 is not always practical."


And: (example of QKShooter Logic) IF they just wanted gun springs to wear out SOONER...so that they could just sell people more springs...then they would not bother mentioning that above...would they? They would just keep quiet & let people keep their magazines fully loaded all the time so that they would fatigue QUICKER...right?


Anyway...Here is the full text:



5. QUESTION: Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds?
How often should I change magazine springs?

Wolff Springs Official ~ ANSWER:
Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and the subject of much debate and concern.
Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as law enforcement applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs which are loaded up only when shooting.
Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring.

Older designs where maximum capacity was not the goal such as the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded.
There was a lot of room for a lot of spring which reduced the overall stress on the spring.

In recent hi-capacity magazines, the magazines were designed to hold more rounds with less spring material.
This puts more stress on the spring and will cause 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 is not always practical.

In applications where the magazine must be kept loaded, a high quality magazine spring such as Wolff extra power magazine springs, will provide maximum life.

Regular shooting will verify reliability and regular replacement of magazine springs will provide the best defense against failure from weak magazine springs.

So...this DOES directly contradict the modern common belief that modern magazine springs will last longer if the mags are just kept fully loaded all the time.
And the belief that unloading them & reloading them will stress the springs MORE than keeping all mags fully loaded to capacity all the time.
 

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Bottom line QK - however much folks consider modern springs good etc - it can do NO harm, to ease mag capacity at times or even rotate.

May not seem necessary to some but - cannot be deleterious either :smilez:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mostly these days I've been using the Falcon Arms Chrome Silicon springs.
They don't have a great selection for all sorts of diverse firearms but their SIG & Colt recoil springs are pretty doggone amazing.
 

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I dunno - do we have any mechanical engineers or metallurgists onboard? I've read a lot about both, and being a "newbie", have no personal experience. I'd love to hear a good technical explanation (written for a layman) from somebody before I worried about it, but that's not to say, as did P95Carry, what's it hurt?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Check Out ~ Falcon Arms...Click The SIG To Go There

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rock & Glock

Yep, You & me both because I've been hearing it all endlessly tossed around for about 15 or 20 years now. :argue: :biggrin2:

The more I try to find out...the LESS I know.

Personally, I know for a fact that magazine springs WILL take an initial "set" (AKA get a tiny bit shorter in length) & that IS normal & that does agree with Wolff & I've tested it myself.

I also know that my magazines will work (in my guns) with the mags kept fully loaded...but, Have They Lost Spring Power?
I don't know.
I have no way to test that.

I don't think that quality magazine springs will GET WEAKER by Loading & Unloading the magazines or be more prone to wear or breakage due to loading & unloading the magazines.
 

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R&G - aging engineer here and pretty rusty on some of my metallurgy!

I would draw a comparison with auto valve springs, tho they are coil of course - but when an engine is left a long time, some springs will be under increased compression and yet seemingly recover happily.

The WWWW type mag spring is maybe a little different because the spring steel is relatively thin and the action is one of very long spring compression - in a multiple ''Z'' collapse.

I do think that a spring like this will always be able to take a ''set'' after very long compression but - noting Wolff's mention of removing top round or two - does mean that if the compression is taken away from its max then longevity probably improved. No spring likes going beyond its design limit and hi-caps probably do take the springs real close to a max. As important will be total freedom of carrier movement within housing.

Other factor with springs is cycling - once more auto valve springs are remarkable for the millions of cycles they manage but we do see over time in semi's that recoil springs do seem to weaken a bit over time.

Springs have length but also, as a function of their material gauge and treatment, a ''rate'' - the poundage force exerted. Over time I can see that rate decreasing even if marginally and as mag's are such critical parts of the semi make-up, I'll say again, it can do no harm to let springs ''relax'' a bit from time to time. Here thinking time spans like several months - not short spells like days!!

This is tho I am sure much more likely to help mag springs compared with coil - consider mainsprings - under compression all the time and often more compressed in cocked and locked mode. Mind you - I'd almost lay bets that an old mainspring will probably not have its rate as when new but the loss of a pound or so of rate will be immaterial for most part.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Additional Gun Spring Information

From ISMI Springs

How often should the recoil spring be changed? The recoil spring should be changed, at the latest, when it has lost 0.500” of free length from new. At this point, the spring has suffered a considerable reduction in load exerted at installed (when the gun is in battery).

How long will an ISMI recoil spring last? In independent testing, ISMI spring have endured in excess of 100,000 compression cycles. We don’t recommend going that long between changes however. With an ISMI spring, practice routine maintenance and change it once a year. See our warranty information on page 5.

Should I use a spring buffer? We do not recommend the use of a spring buffer in the 1911 pistol. Buffers tend to be a bandage for a recoil spring that no longer performs adequately. Put a fresh spring in instead. Buffers reduce slide travel which can have an adverse effect of feeding reliability. In addition, buffers can break apart during firing and make the gun inoperable.

STI & SVI magazines and springs - how can I get them to function reliably? There are a number of things that are involved in attaining reliable magazine function. Proper magazine dimensions are critical. ISMI includes the factory specifications on each package of STI/SVI magazine springs. If your magazine is out of spec, you can return it to the factory or have an experienced pistolsmith tune it. Make sure that the interior surface of the feed lips are smooth and free from burrs. Virgil Tripp at Tripp Research has conducted independent spring testing (see www.trippresearch.com) and covers his results in the tech talk section of his web page. They also provide a number of tips and recommendations for STI/SVI mag bodies.

ISMI standard capacity mag springs have 11 coils instead of the standard 10 coils. We did this to maximize spring loading with the belief that it is easier for the shooter to remove a coil if necessary rather than try to add another coil to the spring. In some cases this will cause the solid height of the spring to be too long thus causing the top 3 transition coils to be compressed inside the spring, leading to premature failure. If in doubt as to whether you should remove a coil, give us a call.

The amount of space that the spring works in when fully compressed is directly dependent on the internal dimensions of the magazine. We have customers that can use our 170mm spring in their 140mm mags with no loss of capacity; conversely we have had customers tell us that in what should be the same magazines, that they have lost a round of capacity with our 140mm length springs. This is the cause and effect of differences in the internal side to side dimensions of each magazine body.
 

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I have kept my HK USP mags loaded since I got the gun. Yes I unloaded and loade, but have never had any problems. i store em loaded. I would imagine a lot would depend on the type of metal and compression of the spring.
While I have heard stories of USP mag. springs being weak, I have yet to experience this problem.
Just my 2 cents.
 

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I've always "heard" that the cycling is harder on the springs than continually compressed, but that's never made any sense to me.

As Chris mentioned, valve springs in cars get far more rest and cycling than mag or recoil springs and don't seem to fatigue. But they are a different type of spring and really don't have anywhere near the ratio of compression/release that a mag spring does.

I've got some pretty old mags that are really easy to load and they just keep on working. OTOH, seems like when a semi doesn't work right, the mag spring (or recoil spring) often fixes the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Spring Steel

I have a family pendulum clock that has been running almost continuously since 1920....the swinging pendulum hangs from a thin strip of blued spring steel.
So how many times has that pendulum been swinging back & forth (once every second) flexing that piece of spring steel from the year 1920 till 2006?
Where is Euclidean when ya need him & that math brain of his?:biggrin2:
So...(using that as an example) ~ I don't think that flexing a piece of properly hardened & tempered steel within its stress limits affects a properly made spring too negatively.
Just a thought.
 

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QKShooter said:
I have a family pendulum clock that has been running almost continuously since 1920....the swinging pendulum hangs from a thin strip of blued spring steel.
So how many times has that pendulum been swinging back & forth (once every second) flexing that piece of spring steel from the year 1920 till 2006?
Where is Euclidean when ya need him & that math brain of his?:biggrin2:
So...(using that as an example) ~ I don't think that flexing a piece of properly hardened & tempered steel within its stress limits affects a properly made spring too negatively.
Just a thought.
I THINK that there are two modes to consider, failure, which is rare, and fatigue, which is probably what we commonly see in mag and recoil springs.

Failure is essentially a one-time thing relatively instantaneous event. The spring either breaks, or is damaged to the point that it cannot recover to its original position/shape. Fatigue occurs over longer periods of time, probably depending on stress, etc.

Again, I THINK, the more stress a spring undergoes, the faster it fatigues. Plus there are design considerations. Chris mentioned this also. A valve spring for example has a low compressed/released ratio, has a rather large wire size and is a simple helix design in which stress is fairly evenly distributed throughout the length of the spring wire. So it can be a very robust, yet economical design with a very long lifetime.

OTOH, a mag spring is a much more complex spring with relatively thin wire, some have rather sharp bends, tighter radii, even straight portions. They have extreme compression ratios. I believe all of this contributes to increased stress on the spring and leading to gradual degradation of the spring.

Plus, due to the shape a mag spring must have to fit the mag and allow a huge amount of compression, mag springs have focused stress points that will fatigue faster than at other points.
 

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Further good points Ron - I had forgotten to point out the compression aspect with valve springs. Indeed they cycle over a limited range and so are massively within their own design maxima - result - hardly any change over time and millions of cycles. They run maybe 20% of their max on compression excursion.

Yes, the recoil spring suffers thru cycling - a near max compression with coils near closing up - and this does fatigue that sort of spring over time.

True too when we think of mag springs, whether strip or wire - the max stresses are at the acute angle changes and so unlike the pure helical spring - forces are not evenly distributed - ergo (IMO) more chance of some set and weakening over time. In fact the areas of angular change get some quite strong torsional loadings focussed.
 

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Just a couple of thoughts here using the 1911 as an example - you hi-cap guys are on your own. :wink: :

As far as downloading the mags: It seems like using quality 8 round mags and springs from whomever is your preferred company (Wilson, CMC, Mecgar, etc.) and loading only 7 rounds would meet that need while, at the same time, be a functional bonus for the purists who demand 7 round mags for their 1911s.

Also, to quote Qk: "I don't think that flexing a piece of properly hardened & tempered steel within its stress limits affects a properly made spring too negatively." (emphasis mine)

I think that's ultimately more important than how many rounds you choose to load up. There's plenty of knock-off mags on the market using God only knows whose springs - IMHO, those are the ones that just might get you killed. I buy and use CMC or Wilson mags and Wolff springs (throughout the gun) without exception - they've proven themselves reliable to me so, with normal maintanence, I know it's one less factor I have to worry about.

I've only recently heard of ISMI springs so I have no firsthand experience with them, though what I HAVE heard has been good - but I wholeheartedly believe is Wolff's quality and it's all I'll use in my guns.
Jack
 

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You know it's kinda funny about 1911 7-8 round mags. Some swear by the 8 rounders, some swear at 'em. I took Wilson Combat 8 rounders to Gunsite and never had a problem through the week long, 1000 round course.

I might add that when I took my Glock 19 I had several mag problems with perfectly good Glock mags. The instructor explained that when you drop partially loaded mags (we were doing speed load drills) the force of the drop can compress the mag spring and literally jumble the rounds. I had that happen in two consecutive drills. The instructor had been watching for that very problem and explained to us what was going on. I got the impression single stack mags were not quite as likely to have the problem.
 

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Makes sense to me Tangle, hi-caps have that staggered configuration so the outer portion of the case is resting unsupported in the mag. I never would've thought they be any more prone to "jumbling" than single stack mags but I guess seeing it firsthand would prove it.
Jack
 

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Well my reaction to the "first-hand" experience was to come home and switch to a single stack 1911. I guess I never learn - now I'm carrying a glock 17 again. I think I must be related to a washing machine; I seem to operate in cycles. I just finished a Sig cycle and now I'm in my Glock cycle. I'm sure I'll be rotating through my XD, H&K, Sig and 1911 cycles before long.

BTW, a fellow student had a .45 ACP case eject, spin around and "re-chamber" backwards in a 1911. The immediate action drill requires a "time-out", a lot of time, and some tools to fix.
 

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I think I must be related to a washing machine; I seem to operate in cycles.
Let me know Ron when you get to the spin cycle - I wanna watch :18:

.45 ACP case eject, spin around and "re-chamber" backwards
Wow - wonder what the odds are on that happening - huge I would think - nasty!
 
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