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Old April 4, 2013, 02:48 PM   #1
Skitter
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Magazine Springs

I was reading through various threads on here that keeping ammo in a Magazine does not usually wear out the springs. What about ammo being in the magazine for 4 years and never having the gun shot?

I always give my wife crap about this, because she bought her gun 4 years ago (ish) and has kept it loaded and ready to go in the safe the entire time. Never taking it out to clean, never taking it out to cycle ammo, etc... She finally shot it for the first time about 2-3 months ago, and I was surprised when we did our pre-range clean that nothing was rusted or stuck.

I noticed when helping her load the 17rd mags, that after you put the 15-17th round in, they start to stay kinda loose in the mag, the spring isn't pushing them back up all the way. Rounds 1-15 are ok, but that last couple rounds seem to weigh down the springs enough to where they aren't pushing as hard, and sometimes I have to wiggle that last round to get the spring to press even a bit. Would this indicate that the springs need to be changed out?
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Last edited by Skitter; April 4, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old April 4, 2013, 02:55 PM   #2
HKGuns
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Magazine Springs

Keeping your magazines full absolutely will wear them out, contrary to some rather loud Internet opinions.

I am sure it will be but a few minutes before the minions start repeating the Internet gun forum lore to the contrary! But fear not, this topic comes up every six months and is usually good for at least three additions to my ignore list. I hear them coming, even now........

Absolutely, change out those springs.

Last edited by HKGuns; April 4, 2013 at 03:03 PM.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:04 PM   #3
RickB
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I've had an 8-round Wilson Combat magazine fully loaded for twenty years, and it still feeds when I've taken it out for a test.
I think 8-round 1911 mags are well known for being a tightrope-walk of spring strength and durability.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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When I lived in Tucson in the early ‘70s, a retired Army Major lived across the street. He owned a 1911 (not A1) that he’d had since before WWI. He had 5 magazines that he kept loaded. They’d always been kept loaded. They all worked perfectly in his 1911 and both my 1911A1s.

My personal opinion: 99% of the stuff you read on the internet about magazine springs wearing out fits the “urban legend” definition.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:32 PM   #5
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Well all of your opinions being what they are, your opinions, I'm not going to be dogging them. I am not trying to start a spitting contest.

I was more asking if what I was seeing was a point of spring wear identifying them as needing to be replaced. I haven't owned Semi's for very long and helping me to identify signs of wear early will keep me gunning safely and will give me information I can pas on to others and my 3 rugrats.

Those of you that are saying you keep yours loaded, great. you never shoot them? at all? They always stay locked away with the spring in the same position for 4 years?

I don't care what you have done or your gun does or does not do. I am looking for insightful thoughts and constructive criticism, not an e-peen war.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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Magazine Springs

Never mind.

Last edited by HKGuns; April 4, 2013 at 03:55 PM.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Keeping your magazines full absolutely will wear them out, contrary to some rather loud Internet opinions.
A friend of mine works as an engineer for a large company that makes springs used in rifles and handguns. He's been there for almost forty years. He states categorically that a spring will not wear out from being compressed even for years at a time. I'd believe him over anyone who's just taking a guess or stating their opinion. However, everyone's free to do what they want and think what they want.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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HK you were the only one who said anything constructive. Everybody else was stating what theirs does and doesn't do when I was asking if I should be changing MY springs. I wasn't asking about 1911's
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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I found a solution to all of this nonsense. Buy a pack of spare mag springs which are dirt cheap, switch them out at the end of the year on mags that stay loaded all the time, and save the replaced mag springs for backups since they are still theoretically good. Costs me about $15 dollars a year, and what I have is peace of mind and a bunch of used serviceable mag springs. I don't get why this is always such an issue on gun forums, especially when magazine springs are dirt cheap.

By the way, I will be the first to admit what I do is excessive and not needed. But it costs me very little, and besides the cost there is no downside.

Quote:
Keeping your magazines full absolutely will wear them out, contrary to some rather loud Internet opinions.
Keeping your magazines loaded all the time wont wear them out, but will compromise spring strength to a degree.

Last edited by Dragline45; April 4, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:56 PM   #10
polyphemus
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"I don't care what you have done or your gun does or does not do"
Of course you don't,you just want to know about spring steel properties and
in particular its application into firearm magazines,right?
OK,here's one for you to think about:I was given a WW2 magazine that had been loaded for about fifty years and stored away.All the rounds detonated and
the magazine runs like a champ.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:00 PM   #11
Skitter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polyphemus
"I don't care what you have done or your gun does or does not do"
Of course you don't,you just want to know about spring steel properties and
in particular its application into firearm magazines,right?
OK,here's one for you to think about:I was given a WW2 magazine that had been loaded for about fifty years and stored away.All the rounds detonated and
the magazine runs like a champ.
And yet nobody is addressing the question at the end of my posting, I'll have to remove the top one so people actually read the whole post.

Yes I realize MOST people in MOST of their guns never have to replace a spring. I am asking if my specific circumstance is worn springs.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:02 PM   #12
Walt Sherrill
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This discussion comes up regularly, but nobody thinks to use the search function to find the answer. (In their defense, the search function works, but it's sometimes a hit-and-miss proposition.)

Here's a summary from an earlier response -- it's been seen before. If you DO search, you'll find a number of technical site links that talks about the nature springs, and how they degrade through use and under continued depression.

OP: if the last two rounds don't seem to want to lift up enough to feed, the springs have gotten soft and lost their ability to do work. You need a new spring for that mag. The problem will eventually start a little sooner -- maybe around the 14th or 13th round.

----------------------

In summary -- it's not as simple or as black/white as many would have you believe. It depends on the mag and the spring design. If a 10-round 9mm mag in a full-sized gun is kept fully compressed, chances are you'll die long before the spring does. The same is true of 7-round 1911 mags. But a hi-cap mag kept fully compressed will be a little different.

Working mags WILL slowly degrade the springs, but if they're designed properly, it'll be a long, slow degradation, and they could outlast the gun or magazine. (That's why tappet springs in cars seem to almost never fail; they never operate outside of their design envelop, and compressions alone don't kill them. They've built in some margin into those springs. Car suspensions springs seem to have almost the same life -- but some do fail, especially coil springs.)

Some of my Hi-caps mags have been used a lot, and the springs have had to be replaced. A year or so ago I had to replace 8 springs for a Kahr P9 (compact) after I sold it -- they all died at about the same time. With new springs, the gun was 100% again. (In fact, I had to buy the gun back and later resold it.) I had tested it right before the sale and it seemed fine, but the buyer had no faith in the gun.

In the FAQ of the Wolff Spring website, a major gun spring maker, they recommend downloading a round or two for long-term storage for hi-caps and compact mags. They acknowledge that springs from WWII when left in 1911 guns may still work like new even though they've been fully loaded for 50+ years.

Wolff talks about problems arising when the mag's design and use keeps the the springs loaded or compressed at or near their "elastic limit." (This seems to be the case with many of the new sub-compact guns, or guns with very high-cap mags.)

With a high-cap or compact mag that is kept fully loaded (the spring is nearly fully compressed), being fully loaded stresses the spring: that spring is trying to push up and lift a lot of weight even when it seems to be doing nothing. If the spring isn't fully compressed, the stress is much less great.

At one time I had a number of CZs. The 10-round mags and the 16 round mags used the same spring. Guess which mag spring would wear out most quickly? Guess which use of the spring puts more stress on the spring when the mag is kept fully loaded? Same number of rounds shot, same springs, different spring life. Why?

Note: rotating mags doesn't let the stressed mags heal. Spring steel doesn't heal. Rotating mags just spreads the wear over a larger number of mags. My suggestion? Keep using the same mags, keep them fully loaded if you need to (at least while carrying), and just shoot the gun and those mags periodically to assure that the springs are still working properly. That's the only REAL test that matters. And at the first sign of mag spring problems (failures to feed are a good sign), replace the mag with a low-mileage backup, and get replacement springs for the one that failed.

You generally don't need to buy new mags -- you'll spend a lot more and the new mags won't work a bit better than the old ones with new springs installed.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:06 PM   #13
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Thank you Walt. I tried looking on Wolff for new springs but they don't have any for the PX4. From your post I'm assuming the reason they crapped out was the fact that the 17rd mags were kept at capacity for 4 years without being shot. From that post as well I'm assuming 13-14rds would be a safe storage capacity on a 17rd mag.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:15 PM   #14
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Just speaking for myself,but it appears that you answered your own question,
if the spring seems to be weak then it is.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:37 PM   #15
Skans
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If springs wore out from having tension on them, my Remington 1858 mainspring would have worn out some 130 years ago.
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Old April 4, 2013, 04:57 PM   #16
Dragline45
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Quote:
If springs wore out from having tension on them, my Remington 1858 mainspring would have worn out some 130 years ago.
I'm pretty sure the mainspring on your Remington 1858 is a leaf spring. They don't get compressed down to their limit like a magazine spring does.
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Old April 4, 2013, 05:10 PM   #17
Skitter
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Quote:
Just speaking for myself,but it appears that you answered your own question,
if the spring seems to be weak then it is.
So it would seem, was hoping a way to revive them, but I just took the top 3 rounds out of her mags so that the springs weren't as pressed, maybe some life will come back to them. I pity the day we need to have 17rds of ammo to deal with 1 defensive situation.
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Old April 4, 2013, 05:29 PM   #18
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So it would seem, was hoping a way to revive them, but I just took the top 3 rounds out of her mags so that the springs weren't as pressed, maybe some life will come back to them.
Buy new mag springs, they usually run about $5.00.-$8.00 each. Leaving them with less tension after they have been weakened will not in any way bring life back to them.
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Old April 4, 2013, 06:10 PM   #19
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I'm a structural engineer. The failure mechanism for springs would be fatigue. Springs are made and designed to be compressed, that's what they're good for. In order to induce fatigue you must compress and decompress springs many times. An example of fatigue failure would be taking a cheapo Bic plastic pen cover and bending the clip piece back and forth repeatedly. Eventually the plastic will start to turn white, it will no longer return to its normal shape and will subsequently snap off. Same concept as a spring. Eventually the metal in the magazine spring will wear out and cause the spring to not function properly anymore. But keeping the spring constantly compressed will not induce fatigue. That's what they're designed for.

At least that is what happens from a purely physics standpoint.
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Old April 4, 2013, 06:16 PM   #20
Skitter
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Sounds like she got 2 bum mags then >< That sucks...
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:29 PM   #21
Dragline45
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Quote:
Sounds like she got 2 bum mags then >< That sucks...
The mags are absolutely fine, as I said before you can buy 2 new mag springs for around $10. Try Wolf's website http://www.gunsprings.com , and if they don't carry them then get them from the manufacturer.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:30 PM   #22
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Oh I intend on doing that Dragline, I was just commenting on how they were already shot to begin with.

I have every intention on replacing just the springs, and not the whole mag, I'm a cheapskate like that.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:32 PM   #23
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Just making sure you caught that, also if Wolf carries springs for the particular pistol they make them in +5% and +10% power. I run the +10% power springs in my Beretta because the factory springs tend to be on the weaker side.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:33 PM   #24
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Unfortunatly as I already said Wolff doesn't make them for a PX4. I have to go with either Beretta or another aftermarket. Would love to put Wolff springs in both hers and my guns, but nothing compatible.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:38 PM   #25
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Midway carries PX4 springs in packs of 3. They don't have them in stock right now but are due in on April 8th which is just a few days away.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/319...ring-3-9mm-px4

Edit: looks like these are for extending the regular mags by +3 and adding a larger base plate. Best bet for standard mag springs is straight from Beretta.
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