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Old January 13, 2013, 10:04 AM   #1
Bernie Link
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Loading magazines to the max???

Question. I've heard for a home defense gun (mostly lays by your bed and not shot very often) that you shouldn't load the magazine to it's max. They say it might weaken the spring in the magazine. Does anyone have a thought or experience with this? Thanks, Bernie
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Old January 13, 2013, 11:38 AM   #2
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Over the years, I have heard the same thing, many times. Never paid any attention to it. I empty and change mags on the 15th of every month, when I pay my bills. Never had a problem.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:02 PM   #3
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I usually leave my mags 1 or 2 shy of being full, and rotate them also.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:18 PM   #4
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its the loading and unloading of a mag that causes the spring to wear out. leaving it loaded shouldn't cause any ill effects.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:19 PM   #5
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Not going to hurt anything. Use wears springs out, sitting compressed doesn't.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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Simple solution, load your mags to the max and keep extra mag springs around for peace of mind.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:45 PM   #7
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Load mags all the way up. Then leave them alone.
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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It seems to me that magazine springs are cheap and easy insurance. Why not simply load your magazines to full capacity and swap out the springs once a year or so?
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Old January 13, 2013, 02:53 PM   #9
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Hey Yankee, I suspect the bill collectors have learned to stop coming to see you. LOL
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Old January 13, 2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
its the loading and unloading of a mag that causes the spring to wear out. leaving it loaded shouldn't cause any ill effects.
+1. You won't hurt a mag by loading it to capacity.
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:08 PM   #11
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lamrw
Didn't take you too long to figure that out, did it?
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:20 PM   #12
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Heres what I do... and you should do the same. I load 15 rounds into my 15 round magazine. I then rack the slide to chamber a round. I then drop the mag, and top it off with one round. My carry gun, and bedside gun are loaded to capacity ALL the time. I have never had or seen an actual problem from doing so
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:43 PM   #13
KenW.
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I leave ALL my mags loaded to the top ALL time. Never a problem at all.

I got a Nazi BHP (P-35) willed to me from Grandpa. I have little doubt the ammo was loaded in the mag near the end of WWII. Works just great. Modern mags on the other hand, will not work in that pistol reliably.

He got home to New York state and put it in a footlocker with his other gear, and there it stayed.

Last edited by KenW.; January 13, 2013 at 06:21 PM.
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:51 PM   #14
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Thanks guys that good info.
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Old January 13, 2013, 07:57 PM   #15
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I only load my 30 round mags with 28. Probably does not matter, but i'm paranoid that way!
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Old January 13, 2013, 09:23 PM   #16
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Replacement mag springs run less than $10. I think I'll just replace them if they wear out.
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Old January 13, 2013, 09:49 PM   #17
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There's 2 primary schools of thoughts on this. Some will swap their mags religiously, whereas, others will leave the same mag fully loaded in their HD gun for a year or more.

I personally down-load the mag by two for the nightstand gun and leave it in there for a year at a time.

The primary cause of magazine spring fatigue is the compression and decompression cycle. HOWEVER, leaving a loaded mag in a fully compressed state for months/years at a time DOES weaken the spring. If anyone doesn't believe me, load a mag and leave it the fully loaded state for a couple of months, then compare it to one that you'd fully loaded last week. There is a measurable difference in pressure. Is that pressure enough to make your pistol malfunction?
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Old January 13, 2013, 11:27 PM   #18
Bill DeShivs
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I just tried one that's been constantly loaded for over 30 years. It's fine.
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Old January 14, 2013, 04:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
If anyone doesn't believe me, load a mag and leave it the fully loaded state for a couple of months, then compare it to one that you'd fully loaded last week. There is a measurable difference in pressure. Is that pressure enough to make your pistol malfunction?
I have a Colt Delta Elite, first run as opposed to the more recent second run, with original Colt mags and some Wilson Combat mags. I have had to replace the mag springs more than once over the years.

Running 10mm auto in a 1911 is pushing it a bit more than .45 auto. Pressure and slide velocity increases with the 10mm. When the mags have been left loaded for long periods of time, and/or used quite a bit I start experiencing failure to feed/FTFs. Immediately after replacing the mag springs, FTFs are gone. (It is also interesting to note that the WC mags allow for one additional round over the Colt mags.)

I am currently waiting for some new ISMI springs to try out in my Wilson Combat mags. The original Colt mags are running Wolff +10% and at the moment are running fine.

So, yes leaving mags loaded to capacity for long periods of time can adversely effect the mag springs; at least in this particular instance. I have left a couple of original spring WC mags loaded for a couple of years since about new and they were problematic/FTFs after sitting for that long. (I was curious to see what would happen and had the extra mags.)

I do think that application is important in this issue. Springs can be pushed to the edge, or over it, of the physical limits of the materials/manufacturing process and the design of the magazine and the gun.

My Delta Elite seems to be very sensitive to the relative magazine spring strength. Also to the addition of an extra round; in the case of the WC mags. Seems that I have heard similar comments made about 8 round versus 7 round 1911 mags in the past, in the traditionally chambered 1911.
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Old January 14, 2013, 06:34 AM   #20
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Some magazines make it hard to chamber the first round manually when they're completely full--something to consider if you don't keep one in the chamber.
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Old January 14, 2013, 06:39 AM   #21
Moby
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Thanks for the info folks.
I have empty .308 mags and an ammo can full of .308 rounds.

After reading this post I think I'll make some room in the ammo can by loading the mags and save some space.
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:17 AM   #22
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Hackathorn and Vickers both recommend downloading one, or loading to max and cycling one into the pistol (without subsequent "topping off"). I think those two may know a thing or two. (this came up in a discussion about Glocks)
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:33 AM   #23
jmr40
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It depends on the mag and the gun they will be used in. It won't hurt the mag spring, but I have some guns that will choke and jam at times on the 1st round if the mag is loaded to full capacity. I load down 1 or 2 on these guns. Full up on the others.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:13 AM   #24
vito
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In some things "common sense" tells us to do something that turns out not to be valid. It appears that many seem to believe that compressing a spring weakens it, which is not true. And we all know that quality factory ammunition can last almost indefinitely (at least from a human life span perspective). This thread reminds me of the "common sense" idea that premium gas is somehow better for an engine that only requires the lower octane regular gas. No matter the science, there are endless number of folks who put premium in their cars on the basis of this "common sense" idea that "Premium" has to be better than "Regular". I never understood the sense behind "rotating" the ammo in a magazine, unless you keep an expensive self defense round in the mag when it sits in the nightstand, but want to use the cheap stuff or reloads when at the range. Ammo is not milk or bread which will go bad if you let it sit around for too long.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:19 AM   #25
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Quote:
If anyone doesn't believe me, load a mag and leave it the fully loaded state for a couple of months, then compare it to one that you'd fully loaded last week.
I just checked my mags. And it took me a while to accomplish because I had over forty magazines to download and take apart.

All, as in every single one, of my long term 'compressed' magazine springs are just as strong as the brand new springs that I have in my gear locker. These spring haven't been compressed for just weeks or months...every spring came out of mags that I had loaded and stored in an ammo can while I lived in San Diego...which was over twelve years ago.
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