View Full Version : Leaving your shotgun loaded

March 18, 2006, 03:42 PM
Ive just purchased my first two firearms. A hi-point comp 9mm and a escort pump 12GA 18.5 shotgun i was wondering if leaving your shot gun loaded not on in the chamber but just five in the forearm is it bad for the gun? What do you recommend? Thanks Matt

March 18, 2006, 03:45 PM
I've done that a few time for months at a time. I don't see a problem with it. I am by no means an expert.

March 18, 2006, 03:47 PM
If you have no little ones in the house, then thats the way to keep it. Have you hit the range with them yet?

March 18, 2006, 07:12 PM
The only real "watch-out" is to check the shells periodically.

The real danger with leaving the magazine loaded is shotshell compression.
Over time, (especially with cheap or foreign ammo) the shells may compress and develop bulges in the shell between the case head and the shot column.

These bulged shells may cause failures to feed or extract.

Some people also report that their magazine spring lost tension over time.

Best option is to check the shells and spring tension periodically, and shoot up the shells as soon as you notice any bulging.

Blackwater OPS
March 18, 2006, 08:12 PM
Some people also report that their magazine spring lost tension over time.
That's a myth, springs only lose tension from repeated compression and decompression.

March 18, 2006, 08:36 PM
My 870 has been loaded 24/7 for the last 10+ years. No problem with the spring. I cycle the shells (ie shoot them) every 6 months and replace them with new ones.

March 19, 2006, 01:08 AM
MY Mossberg 500a always has the tube full to capacity (7, 2 3/4", 00 Buck)
I also cycle through mine every few months.

Never had a problem.

March 19, 2006, 01:16 AM
The compression may eventually wear the spring, and I was always taught to treat my guns as if they were being handed down so it was never an issue for me...but store it like that? If it's home defense it's easy just to have a few shells within easy access and shove a couple in the tube if and when, God forbid, you need... :confused:

March 19, 2006, 01:19 AM
"Hang on home intruder guy, i'm loading"

March 19, 2006, 01:58 AM
chemist, from what I've been reading here for ages, compression will NOT wear out a magazine spring - compressed or uncompressed, it makes no difference. It's only the progression from one to the other that wears it down, the change in states.

Theoretically, you can leave a magazine loaded for years and years without the spring suffering whatsoever. And I've encountered WWII sidearms whose magazines were loaded for literally decades with no ill effects. I think Art posted something similar to this also recently...

I think this particular myth occurs from our daily encounters with poor quality springs of other types...? I'm not sure.

March 19, 2006, 03:12 AM
When I had a pump shotgun, I kept three ready to rack with an empty chamber. You always hear the sound of a shell being racked is a deterrent. Perhaps that is an urban legend, but I suppose I'd take notice if I heard a shell being racked and someone yelling from a bedroom , " Rack! I'm armed! I've called 911, leave now!"

I wouldn't use anything but #6 shot for home defense. Slugs and buckshot might go through walls and hit someone you don't want to hit. #6 doesn't do that.

March 19, 2006, 01:23 PM
Don't worry too much about magazine spring compression / set. Think through the accessability of your shotgun and it's load configuration. By load configuration, I mean load status (magazine, chamber), safety status, hammer cocked or down, etc. There are many configurations but you must set yours up the same way everytime. You have to know what to do when you pick it up. You have to know even when you are sleepy (http://www.bestsyndication.com/Articles/2006/dan_wilson/health/01/011006_sleep.htm).

Here's mine: safety on fire, chamber empty, hammer down.

I don't have to fumble for the saftey, it's always on fire. With the hammer down, I can instantly view the load status by gently pulling back the forend before it cocks the hammer and check for an empty chamber. To fire: rack, aim, access.

To set this up, I do have to pull the trigger with the magazine loaded. You do need to hit the action bar lock to check for an empty chamber before you release the hammer / pull the trigger.

The four rules always apply.

1. Handle all firearms as if they were loaded.

2. Never point the gun at anything you're not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until sights are on target.

4. Know your target, what is around it and behind it.

March 19, 2006, 02:52 PM

I wouldn't use anything but #6 shot for home defense. Slugs and buckshot might go through walls and hit someone you don't want to hit. #6 doesn't do that.

So you do not own a shotgun anymore..I'm guess you're either using a handgun, or rifle for home defense, if it's a rifle I wont even comment on the over penetration comment.

But a handgun...A 9mm out of my p99 penetrated more layers of drywall than my Mossberg 500a shooting federal 2 3/4" slugs... and this is from my own personal testing...also theres a website (i forget the URL) that shows a man shooting several layers of drywall, with the same results as me.

The slug is heavier, bigger, slower, and usually softer.

Meaning when it hits a surface at it's low speed, it will change shape, and loose a crap load of energy.

When I shot the layers of drywall, I recovered the 9mm bullet, and it looked perfect... the slug looked like a quarter.

March 19, 2006, 06:31 PM
Never a problem in 20 years of the practice.


Death from Afar
March 19, 2006, 10:38 PM
I dont think it is bad for the gun, but I dislike leaving any weapon loaded. I understand why you would, but I have a young son, so with kids around one has to very very very careful...

March 20, 2006, 04:48 AM
walt65 i think it goes "rack" do you want to leave on foot or in a hurse:D