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Old February 16, 2008, 03:28 PM   #1
Creature
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Topping off your mag...good idea or bad?

I remember reading a thread a long time ago on this topic, but a search didnt help me much in finding it.

This question is for those that carry a "limited capacity" semi-auto on a daily basis. By limited, I mean those that carry a gun with a magazine capacity of ten rounds or less.

After you have cocked and locked your weapon...do you then always top off your mag?

Why or why not?
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:20 PM   #2
Glenn E. Meyer
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Yes - more for the zombies or bad guys. If you are going to carry the gun, why not max it?

Someone will talk about the average gun fight only taking X.X rounds but the average DGU takes NO rounds - so why even load it, let alone top it off?

Also, competitions teach you to top off. Unless you have some reliabililty issue, why be lazy?
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:38 PM   #3
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Topping off your mag...good idea or bad?

Is there any reason not to??? I sure can't think of any.
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:43 PM   #4
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Beretta half-heartedly recommends against it in the manual for their 92 series pistols. Half-heartedly because the very next paragraph explains how to do it.
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:50 PM   #5
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Always. I find no reason not to so it just comes natural to do so on all my firearms. Including the 12 gauge pump.
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Old February 16, 2008, 05:17 PM   #6
Creature
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Maybe because some people dont like a "lose" round floating around after they download?
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Old February 16, 2008, 05:47 PM   #7
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i see no reason not to top off
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Old February 16, 2008, 06:28 PM   #8
Creature
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Surely someone out there does not. If you dont, I am interested to know why.

Last edited by Creature; February 16, 2008 at 07:25 PM.
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Old February 16, 2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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Another "there is no reson not to" comment.
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Old February 16, 2008, 07:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
If you dont, I am interested to know why.
Beretta says that loading from the magazine and leaving it a round down from completely full leaves the magazine spring tensioned to about the same amount as a fully loaded magazine would be if it were installed in the gun.

The top round is pushed down a bit by the part of the slide that strips the rounds from the magazine. That means that when a completely loaded magazine is inserted in the gun, the spring is compressed even further. According to Beretta there's an advantage in not subjecting the spring to that additional compression.

I top off in some guns and not in others. The only gun I've ever really noted an issue with was the Glock 20. A fully loaded brand new magazine is pretty hard to lock in place.
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Old February 16, 2008, 11:21 PM   #11
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I just got out my G20 and noticed absolutely no difference between having a bullet down the pipe or not when locking a fully loaded magazine in place.
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Old February 16, 2008, 11:45 PM   #12
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I don't top off my 10 rd mag because it's easy for me to "feel" 10 rds. Not so easy to feel 11.
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Old February 16, 2008, 11:46 PM   #13
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Single stack-----yes

Double stack-----no

To many worries with double stacks to load full. I know many will disagree, but when it comes down to your hide, you want a mag that will cycle.

Why not? Modern springs are great, and won't wear out, but can absolutely intertwine.
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Old February 17, 2008, 12:11 AM   #14
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I do. The manual for my Taurus 24/7 PRO states, "Capacity: 12+1." I see no reason not to take advantage of it.

Although it's true the average DGU takes NO rounds, I'd sooner be prepared for that "non-average DGU". With 13 in the gun and 12 in a spare on left hip, that leaves me with options available.

Stay safe and shoot straight,
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Old February 17, 2008, 12:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
I just got out my G20 and noticed absolutely no difference between having a bullet down the pipe or not when locking a fully loaded magazine in place.
The difference is between locking a fully loaded magazine in place or locking a magazine in place that is one short of full--with the slide forward in either case.

Topping off a magazine refers to the process of inserting a full magazine into a gun, chambering a round and then removing the magazine and adding another round. The difference is that many times the full magazine is inserted with the slide locked back. With the slide forward (as it must be with a round chambered), the portion of the slide that strips the next cartridge out of the magazine compresses the top round of the magazine downward when the mag is locked in place. If the magazine is already full, that extra compression can make locking the magazine in difficult, especially with a brand new magazine.

By the way, I'm not saying it's either good or bad in general. What do I do? I tend to top off single stack magazines, I tend not to top off double-stacks. It's not a religion though--I'm sure there have been times I've topped off double-stacks without thinking about it.
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Old February 17, 2008, 12:40 AM   #16
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Wow. I've NEVER loaded a 30 rd M16 mag to 30 rds. 27 is my max (for a "new" GI mag- older ones get 25 rds), and I don't top it off. I do load three tracers sixth, seventh, and eighth so I'll KNOW when I've only got five rds left in the mag.
As for my pistol(s), since I don't "top off" with a rifle, I don't do it with a pistol. I like using the same rules for both; I'm a KISS kind of guy. I'd rather be 100% reliable than have an extra bullet- I'm not shooting for score... I'm shooting to save my bacon.
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Old February 17, 2008, 02:54 AM   #17
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that 'kiss' principle is my belief. both my carrys are single stacks. my Berreta .32acp I tip up the barrel and put a hot loaded H-P down then load the mag of FMJ's. my Mak I carry a hot H-P chambered from the mag with FMJ's.
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Old February 17, 2008, 03:11 AM   #18
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glockkkkk

i have a glock 19 that gets stuck only when i top off....i chamber one...take out tha mag and pop another in...put it back and fire only to have tha slide not return but get jammed...i take tha clip out...clear and then reload....but when i dont top off it works fine...anyone have this problem?? and please tell me how to fix it... and btw not my ccw but i wish it was
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Old February 17, 2008, 04:18 AM   #19
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My 870 with 6 rd. tube is loaded with 5 rds, chamber empty. It stays loaded in that condition for ever. The spring is compressed enough with 5 rds. If I load six, that compresses about 5" of spring down to about 2.5". How long before the spring weakens if fully loaded? I don't know. Call it piece of mind.

My mags for my P229 are also always downloaded by one. Will keeping them fully loaded weaken the springs? The general concensus is no, but since mine are loaded constantly, I feel a little better about it and aren't too concerned with 11rds. instead of 12.

I have to admitt, that I have some magazines over 10 years old with lots of use and when I measured the length of the springs, there's only about .5" difference from a brand new one. Doesn't seem like lots of spring compression to me.

I keep single stack pistol mags fully loaded, and AR mags downloaded by 1 or 2--but that's for mag. seating and feed reliability. That applies to AR 15, Mini-14, and M1 Carbine.

Where quality is concerned, I think the industry has pretty much mastered springs.
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Old February 17, 2008, 09:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
My 870 with 6 rd. tube is loaded with 5 rds, chamber empty. It stays loaded in that condition for ever. The spring is compressed enough with 5 rds. If I load six, that compresses about 5" of spring down to about 2.5". How long before the spring weakens if fully loaded?
If it was designed for 6, then it shouldn't weaken with constant compression.
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Old February 17, 2008, 03:23 PM   #21
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I'd like to top it off, but I just can't figure out how to get that extra bullet in my revolver?
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Old February 17, 2008, 03:47 PM   #22
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inveterate non-topper-offer

I don't usually top off; at work it's due to the administrative hassle of the extra round, and at home due to reliability concerns and--I'll admit it--laziness.

With my 1911, I carry an eight rounder cocked and locked, with two 10rd CMC spares. As for statistics, it's not a matter of how many fights were stopped with nine rounds; it's how many more fights were stopped at the ninth round than at the eighth.

I do rotate the top round frequently, and check for bullet setback. However, in eleven years of carrying CCW, I only once had a round shortened by frequent cycling, which was a 115 gr 9mm Win Silvertip in my P-11.

Thanks to unit-funded Mag-Pull rebuild kits, I load 30 in my 30 rounders with zero malfunctions to date--except when initially chambering a round without seating the mag hard and when, for grins, I've tried topping off. I think, due to the longer skirt on the Mag-pull follower, there's more pressure when seating a full 30 against a closed bolt. Carrying Army style, chambering a round when leaving the wire, I'm totally comfortable with 30s. If I ever have to carry my M-4 with Air Force rules ("bolt-forward load!"), I'll probably stick with 29 or fewer to be safe.

I NEVER top off my P-3AT; it just won't run with 7.
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Old February 17, 2008, 04:02 PM   #23
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The *only* thing I can think of is what happens to my Sig 220. With one chambered, a full mag is fairly difficult to click in properly. I found this out the hard way first time I carried it. Got home to check things over like I usually do, the mag wasn't fully seated. It would have been a single shot pistol.

Note: Just so everyone knows I've never had a problem firing it with a full mag.
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Old February 17, 2008, 04:29 PM   #24
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From Gordo:
Quote:
Thanks to unit-funded Mag-Pull rebuild kits, I load 30 in my 30 rounders with zero malfunctions to date--except when initially chambering a round without seating the mag hard and when, for grins, I've tried topping off. I think, due to the longer skirt on the Mag-pull follower, there's more pressure when seating a full 30 against a closed bolt.
Wow. When is the USMC going to get funds for stuff like that? Oh yeah, I forgot... we have to beg the Navy for money.
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Old February 17, 2008, 05:00 PM   #25
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+1 Revolver

PHP Code:
I'd like to top it off, but I just can't figure out how to get that extra bullet in my revolver
Sterno, it's easy. Flip,the cylinder open and put one in the pipe. I've carried this way for years and thankfully, have never had to use it. I always remove the +1 round before I practice at the range because they don't allow rapid fire there.
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