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Old December 15, 2012, 03:31 PM   #78
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,256
Revolvers run better dirty and you can stick one in a drawer and neglect it for 20 years and it will still work as designed whereas autos magazine springs under pressure may not work if neglected long enough.
A popular misconception these days. We have learned a great deal about making springs (and springs that last) in the past century. These days, if you come across a gun stored in a drawer for the last 20 years, odds are it won't be the springs that cause it to malfunction. It will be the oil!!!

I have personal experience with this. Everybody knows that you should oil your guns for long term storage, right? Just like you do for short term storage, right? Wrong! At least it is wrong if you expect to pick up a gun from long term storage and expect it to work, particularly an autopistol.

What happens is, over time, the volitile components of the oil evaporate. This leaves behind a sticky, gummy sludge. Almost like a varnish. With a revolver, the minimal amount of oil in the mechanism is usually easily overridden by the force exerted on the moving parts. A slightly heavier DA trigger pull, or a little more force to cock the hammer is the only effect, and often is not even noticable.

With an autopistol the large contact areas (slide rails, etc) can be gummed up, to the point of not being able to me overcome by the recoil spring. And this can happen to any auto, even the vaunted GLock.

Ok, it's not common. After all, how often do people leave a pistol in their sock drawer, untouched for 20 years, and then pick it up and try to use it, without doing anything else? Not often. But it has happened. I've found one myself.

On going through my father's things after his passing, He hadn't touched any of his guns in years, a decade, at least, and likely twice that. I found his Colt Govt Model in a drawer. Mag fully loaded with ball ammo. When I cycled the slide to clear the chamber, the slide only closed halfway, (slowly) and them stopped. It was the oil he had left in the gun, turned to sludge that stopped it. And any auto in that condition would have been the same thing. His S&W Highway Patrolman, on the other hand, in identical conditions functioned flawlessly, without any cleaning needed.

The Colt, once the old oil sludge had been removed, did cycle fine. And the ammo loaded in the mag fed and fired perfectly, without being touched (did not unload/reload the loaded mag). ITs not the springs, these days that won't run after a decade of neglect, its the oil.

Now, I'm sure my father never intended to let them sit neglected, his guns were stored well enough for casual storage (weeks/months) but when those turned into years, and years passed, time took its toll.

If you are storing a handgun, and you think there is even the slightest possiblity that it might sit for years, and then be instantly needed, store it DRY!!!! If you need some preservative on the outside, use a good paste WAX. An unlubed gun will work, and will work a lot longer than you would think. True, its rougher on the mechanism, but service life vs emergency use should be a no brainer.

Modern science has shown us, time after time that when springs are made properly, it is not the amount of time they spend compressed that kills them. It is the amount (number) of compression/relaxation cycles they go through that wears them out. OR it is overcompressing them that causes them to weaken.

Vintage arms must be treated properly, as they have vintage springs. Modern arms are much, much more durable, especially the springs.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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