The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 13, 2022, 03:01 PM   #1
ChimpMunk20
Member
 
Join Date: April 16, 2020
Location: GA
Posts: 70
loaded without firing?

If you leave your semi loaded with a round in the chamber, is there any limit or guideline regarding how long it can remain in that state and still be ready to go if/when needed? Are the springs involved typically good enough that they'll never fatigue to the point of making them ineffective? Any other considerations to be aware of?
ChimpMunk20 is offline  
Old September 13, 2022, 04:42 PM   #2
Nodak1858
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2009
Location: N. Dakota
Posts: 415
Quality made springs will not wear out from being compressed/stretched within their design limits. Springs are worn by cycles of use or damaged by over extension or over compression depending on tension or compression type spring.
__________________
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Nodak1858 is offline  
Old September 13, 2022, 05:02 PM   #3
jar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2001
Location: Deep South Texas
Posts: 1,490
It's not a good idea though to leave a gun loaded and unattended for extended periods. And if I do put a gun away while still loaded I make sure to also flag it with something large enough to make sure I remember or the next person that takes it out of the safe notes that "It's Loaded!"

But to get a reasonable answer how long a period are you considering and what will the environmental condition be while the gun is stored?
__________________
To be vintage it's gotta be older than me!
jar is offline  
Old September 13, 2022, 06:40 PM   #4
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
you shouldn't worry about the springs, what you should concern yourself with is the OIL!!
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 13, 2022, 06:42 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 17,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChimpMunk20
If you leave your semi loaded with a round in the chamber, is there any limit or guideline regarding how long it can remain in that state and still be ready to go if/when needed? Are the springs involved typically good enough that they'll never fatigue to the point of making them ineffective? Any other considerations to be aware of?
50 years (or so) is as good a starting point as any.
__________________
NRA Life Member / Certified Instructor
NRA Chief RSO / CMP RSO
1911 Certified Armorer
Jeepaholic
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old September 14, 2022, 10:39 AM   #6
jetinteriorguy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2013
Posts: 2,739
Just the question being asked makes me think you need to shoot this gun more to be proficient with it.
jetinteriorguy is offline  
Old September 14, 2022, 02:28 PM   #7
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 8,411
Agree that ammo contamination is more of a concern than spring fatigue.
__________________
Runs off at the mouth about anything 1911 related on this site and half the time is flat out wrong.
RickB is offline  
Old September 14, 2022, 07:21 PM   #8
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
Quote:
Agree that ammo contamination is more of a concern than spring fatigue.
I mention oil being the thing to pay the most attention to, for a couple of reasons, first if its performance over time is not satisfactory, its simple, easy, and cheap to replace. And, oil can fail in a couple different ways. And then there is also user (applier) error, in using the proper amount.

people can, and do use a wide range of "oils' for firearms. Some are outstanding, some adequate. Some (probably most, these days) will not deteriorate during long term storage. Some, will.

IF the carrier component of the lube is too penetrative, it can, over time, penetrate ammo in the gun, with undesirable results up to deactivating them.

If the carrier component is too volitile for LONG term exposure, it can evaporate too much leaving what was oil now a lacquer with very glue like properties.

And, its a very fine line between what's ok and what "goes bad" and that line wavors with both time and environmental conditions.

What works fine for the duck gun or deer gun that sits all year and then gets used, cleaned and reoiled before going back into storage or the handgun that spends all its time "ready" with a check every couple years or more frequently, CAN BE the wrong stuff if the gun is going to sit untouched for 10, 15 or more years.

AND, firearm type and amount of lube in it also matters.
After my father passed, I discovered his personal arms hadn't been touched in at least 10 years, possibly more. In his bedroom top dresser drawer was his Colt Govt model. When I checked the gun, the mag was loaded 7rnds ball, and the chamber empty. When I released the slide, it sloooowly crept forward and stopped about half way shut.

The oil he had used (no idea what it was) had turned to sludge and gummed up the gun. A Savage 99 stored in a closet off the bedroom had the safety frozen in the "on" position from the same cause.

Interestingly his S&W Highway Patrolman, stored on a shelf in the same closet functioned perfectly.

What one should do to properly prep a gun for long term storage is one thing. What you could find when a gun is stored for "ready use" and then not used for a long time is something different.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 03:51 AM   #9
eflyguy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 1, 2021
Posts: 335
There is absolutely no harm in leaving a round chambered. It does not diminish the ability for it to function as designed.
eflyguy is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 09:05 AM   #10
corneileous
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 15, 2019
Location: Nowhere you need to know
Posts: 326
loaded without firing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jar View Post
It's not a good idea though to leave a gun loaded and unattended for extended periods.
Based on what knowledge or fact? Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve unloaded my handguns and taken the time to clean them and re-oil them but there’s no doubt in my mind that any one of those guns that have been sitting there loaded for the last probably year and a half without having nothing done to them will fire when ready so I don’t know where you’re getting this from saying it’s not a good idea to leave a gun loaded and unattended for an extended amount of time.
Quote:
And if I do put a gun away while still loaded I make sure to also flag it with something large enough to make sure I remember or the next person that takes it out of the safe notes that "It's Loaded!"
There’s nothing wrong with being too safe but if that one rule about treating every gun as if it’s loaded was always followed, there would be no need to do that.

All of my guns stay loaded all the time, so it’s really not hard to remember that they are all loaded.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
corneileous is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 09:14 AM   #11
jar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2001
Location: Deep South Texas
Posts: 1,490
Quote:
Originally Posted by corneileous View Post
Based on what knowledge or fact? Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve unloaded my handguns and taken the time to clean them and re-oil them but there’s no doubt in my mind that any one of those guns that have been sitting there loaded for the last probably year and a half without having nothing done to them will fire when ready so I don’t know where you’re getting this from saying it’s not a good idea to leave a gun loaded and unattended for an extended amount of time.


There’s nothing wrong with being too safe but if that one rule about treating every gun as if it’s loaded was always followed, there would be no need to do that.

All of my guns stay loaded all the time, so it’s really not hard to remember that they are all loaded.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's called common sense.

Did you read everything in my post?
__________________
To be vintage it's gotta be older than me!
jar is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 11:58 AM   #12
Ricklin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2008
Location: SW Washington state
Posts: 1,831
Uncommon sense?

Just a reflection on the words, not the poster.

Common sense? It's not so common anymore.

Old dried up oil. I hear ya 44 Amp. A friend needed money and I ended up with a couple of his old guns.
A Remington model 31 shotgun and an old Sauer single action revolver.

When I worked the slide on the 31, hmmm not quite the ball bearing pump gun I had heard about. It was smooth enough, but really stiff.
Much the same with the Sauer, could darn near watch the hammer fall (hyperbole) and the cylinder base pin was really really stuck.

The 31 is now equal to my M12 trap from 1946 for smooth and easy to rack.

The Sauer revolver freed right up except for the base pin. I used a pair of super sharp electronics flush cutters, the sharp edge went under the base of the pin, squeezing the handles slightly lifted out the base pin slick as could be W/O marring anything. Otherwise full takedown to get a drift on the other end of the pin to drive it out.
The Sauer brand new cheap revolver my buddies dad bought in the 70's and stuck in the sock drawer.
The Remington pump is virtually new as well, it appear to have been fired but a very few times.

The magic ingredient? Penetrating oil, and lots of it. I did take out trigger group and bolt on the shotgun.
I think I used Kroil. Worked great.
__________________
ricklin
Freedom is not free
Ricklin is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 12:24 PM   #13
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
Quote:
It's not a good idea though to leave a gun loaded and unattended for extended periods.
I agree, its generally not a good idea. But it ranges from being not being a good idea to being a BAD IDEA depending on if, and how the gun is stored, and the security of that storage.

Quote:
Based on what knowledge or fact?
In my case, it's both knowledge and fact.

Quote:
Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve unloaded my handguns and taken the time to clean them and re-oil them but there’s no doubt in my mind that any one of those guns that have been sitting there loaded for the last probably year and a half without having nothing done to them will fire when ready so I don’t know where you’re getting this from saying it’s not a good idea to leave a gun loaded and unattended for an extended amount of time.
There are many cases where something that is generally not a good idea may work acceptably well in certain specific situations, but that does not change the fact that they are generally not a good idea.

Loaded, and unattended (and unsecured????) for an "extended amount of time"... what is that, to you? The time I mean. A year? 2? 10? 20? 100??

Mechanically speaking, leaving the chamber(s) loaded is of no concern. Leaving the gun COCKED, could be. And this is where the concern about springs comes from. Older firearm designs which use a flat "leaf" spring should NEVER be left cocked. And that belief was carried over to guns with coil springs, and in the early days, was also just as valid.

Today (and for over the past century) properly made coil springs don't take a set or fail if left compressed for long periods of time (provided the compression is within their design limit). Unfortunately, the only way to know the difference between a spring made properly and one that is not is by when it fails. And, then, it too late.

As a side note, the question about how long a gun could be left loaded, creates the question of "why would you need to leave a gun loaded for a long period of time?"

What scenario do you envision that would require you to have a round in the chamber (and UNATTENDED, which is the biggest issue) for an extended time?? I can't think of any. OR, at least none that apply in my life.

So, as I see it, from the mechanical side, its a non-issue.

BUT,
From the practical side (and this included SAFETY) it's a big issue. A loaded, unattended gun is a risk. ALWAYS. Its not the loaded gun alone that is the risk its the loaded and unattended that is the risk. When you aren't there, you do not, cannot, know, with certainty what the condition of the gun actually is, until you personally examine it.

Loaded, unattended AND unsecured is the triple crown of disaster, and unlike horseracing, foolish people win that one many times, every year.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 01:14 PM   #14
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 10,859
Properly designed and made leaf springs work just fine if left compressed.
__________________
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old September 15, 2022, 02:58 PM   #15
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
Quote:
Properly designed and made leaf springs work just fine if left compressed.
Agree, problem was, in the old days many weren't, and so the best thing was not to leave them under a load.

The big problem with springs is that like many other things, the only way to know its "bad" is that it fails, and the failure is a "done deal" too late to avoid or change.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 16, 2022, 02:33 PM   #16
The Happy kaboomer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Posts: 173
119 years, 43 days and 5 hours before the springs/ammo goes bad.........It's a non issue.
The Happy kaboomer is offline  
Old September 16, 2022, 10:15 PM   #17
Gas Bag
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2019
Posts: 69
It shouldn’t be a problem to leave the gun loaded, with one in the chamber.
I have done that with my 1911, without problems.
Gas Bag is offline  
Old September 17, 2022, 10:57 AM   #18
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
Quote:
If you leave your semi loaded with a round in the chamber, is there any limit or guideline regarding how long it can remain in that state and still be ready to go if/when needed?
The only real limit/guideline is going to be entirely situation specific. How long the gun can be left with a round in the chamber and "ready to go" (meaning no maintenance has been done, and none will be needed) depends entirely on WHAT gun, what condition the gun was left in, and what conditions the gun has been through between the time you left it, and the time you pick it up and use it next.

For example, is the chamber loaded gun being left in a tackle box on a fishing boat in Louisana? or in a nightstand drawer in a nice climate controlled house in sunny California???

Is it being left "dripping with oil" that MIGHT creep into and deactivate the ammo over months/years?? Or dry out and turn to sludge over a few decades???

Mechanically, a loaded gun can last for multiple decades, even over a century or longer, PROVIDED that environmental conditions do not cause any harm to the gun. (such as rusting it shut, etc.)

Properly made, modern ammo, again, under good storage conditions, will last until the powder begins to degrade chemically. THis should also be multiple decades, or longer. However, all ammo is not equal, and some has been made that "goes bad" before is should.

SO, to anser the OP's question, there is no general limit or guideline that applies, other than, "a long time".
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 18, 2022, 08:23 AM   #19
gwpercle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 30, 2012
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Posts: 1,587
I can honestly report my Dads WWII era cyq Walther P-38 stayed in his sock drawer from 1962 ... he mail ordered it in 1961 , made one or maybe two range trips then ...
untill 2014 when he gave it to me , still loaded with the Military Surplus ammo he bought with the gun . It stayed in his sock drawer ... I oiled it once and it went back in drawer about 2000 . In 2014 he hands it to me and said "here you take this I don't need it anymore , go see if it still shoots" . Now this pistol was wartime made 1944 I think so it may not have been as good as commerical built pistols ... it is a bit rough .
I did and the loaded magazine and every round fired from that old War Horse like it was 1962 ... 2014 = That's 52 years !!!
So ... based on my experience with a long term loaded pistol ...
I'm going to have to agree with Aguila Blanca in post #5 ...
... 50 years (or so) is a good starting point .

Every round of that WWII military surplus 9mm Luger ammo also fired ...
... So , stored in your sock drawer ... military ammo will last a good 50 years (or so ) maybe more !
Gary

Last edited by gwpercle; September 18, 2022 at 08:30 AM.
gwpercle is online now  
Old September 18, 2022, 12:53 PM   #20
chaim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,092
I agree with what some others have said, the oil and not the springs are the potential issue.

If it is a gun you aren't going to rely on for home defense it may be a non-issue, but then, I would question why you have it stored loaded instead of unloaded.

For a gun I would stake my life on as a home defense or carry gun, I wouldn't want to leave it for an extended amount of time. I want to get to the range with it at least occasionally for one. For a range only gun, I can take a mag or two in order to re-familiarize myself with the gun. For self-defense, I want to be ready to go with the gun when/if I need it. Like everyone, I'm not fully consistent on everything, and I have a gun or two I sometimes have set up for home defense that I don't shoot as regularly as I'd like. If I don't regularly shoot it, since the oil will be the weak point, I want to at least break it down, clean it, and re-oil it at least once every 6 months to a year (admittedly, an arbitrarily determined number, but 6mo to a year will allow me to be comfortable relying on the gun for my life).
chaim is offline  
Old September 18, 2022, 03:23 PM   #21
jar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2001
Location: Deep South Texas
Posts: 1,490
My concern with leaving a gun stored in a loaded condition is not so much a question of "will it fire" but rather "who will take it out of storage and will that person 'assume it is loaded' and treat it as such"?

Stuff happens and unfortunately much of such stuff are issues we could have prevented.
__________________
To be vintage it's gotta be older than me!
jar is offline  
Old September 18, 2022, 03:51 PM   #22
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 26,504
I mention the oil breaking down, but that's really only a long term issue (unless you're using something totally unsuitable) and by long term I mean multiple years, a decade or more. Oil killing your ammo could happen in a little as a few months, I think, but that's a different problem, easily avoided by using the proper kind of lubricant.

What I can't quite wrap my head around is the point of leaving a loaded gun unattended for long periods of time. And along with this is leaving it "unsecured".

I can understand the idea of having a gun "ready to go, at need", but I don't get why such a gun would be left uncared for, or even unwatched for some time. If its locked up, what's the point of needing it loaded?? Seens to me the time needed to get to the gun won't in any way be negated by the few seconds needed to load it, once you get the safe open...

And, if its not in the safe, but loaded for instant use, if you leave it for long periods of time, how do you know nothing has happened to it during your absence??

Also, while you may be in a situation where there is no one else around to be able to access the gun, can you be certain of that if you leave it somewhere, long term?

Also, if its loaded, not locked up, and you're not there, anyone who does get to it, gets their hands on a loaded gun. Not the best of ideas, in my book.


So, yes, you can expect to be able to leave a gun loaded for a long period of time without anything going wrong with the gun, but why would you???
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old September 19, 2022, 01:29 PM   #23
rodfac
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 22, 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 3,583
In our home, the only guns that are left loaded are our carry pieces when actually carried, and the bedside handguns that are stored in finger code actuated locked boxes. We have a half dozen grandchildren that are in the house virtually daily... they're all smart as whips...and we take precautions. They've been taught the rules for gun safety, nevertheless, keeping our guns unloaded unless actually in use is our rule...

As to oil/grease degradation, as AMP44 has rightly pointed out...if you ignore your guns for long periods of time the oil/grease degrades and may gum up the works. My regimen is to clean/lube them all at least once a year and any that are fired for whatever number of shots are cleaned/lubed after firing.

Short term cleaning may be as little as a boresnake pulled through the bbl. and cylinder and a fairly thorough brush out...then a complete exterior and interior oily rag rub down (in areas that are readily accessible). The whole process may take five minutes max as an estimate, and pretty much ensures the gun will operate as advertised the next time I go out to shoot.

The once a year operation is a bit more extensive. Rifles get the barreled actions pulled out of the stocks, the bolts disassembled and all get oiled and cleaned as necessary. Pretty much the same with my shotguns. I do like to hose out the innards of the bolts on both for stray grease or oil and very lightly re-lube with thin oil.

With handguns, I do not generally pull the side plates on Smiths unless I suspect a problem. I shoot cast bullets predominantly and keep an eye on stray bullet lube/lead build up. The bores are thoroughly cleaned and lead build up removed with either a Lewis Lead Remover or more often with a piece of ALL COPPER CHOREBOY wrapped around a well used bore brush.

Overall, I doubt that good quality oil/grease will gum up or revert to varnish in a single year, but I suppose it could be a potential problem in some environments but a once a year spring cleaning has always worked for me.

Best regards, Rod
__________________
Cherish our flag, honor it, defend it in word and deed, or get the hell out. Our Bill of Rights has been paid for by heros in uniform and shall not be diluted by misguided governmental social experiments. We owe this to our children, anything less is cowardice. USAF FAC, 5th Spl Forces, Vietnam Vet '69-'73.

Last edited by rodfac; September 19, 2022 at 01:35 PM.
rodfac is offline  
Old September 19, 2022, 07:34 PM   #24
Prof Young
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 21, 2007
Location: Illinois - down state
Posts: 2,320
Carry guns only all in same safe.

My carry guns stay loaded and all live in the same safe.

If it's in there . . . it's loaded. No need to sort out.

Everything else stays unloaded, and besides being in a different safe, most have a trigger lock.

Life is good.
Prof Young
Prof Young is offline  
Old September 19, 2022, 08:11 PM   #25
FITASC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2014
Posts: 6,257
Springs do not weaken by staying on one condition or another, they weaken by "work" which means cycling of compression/decompression as stated above. That said, i do tend to leave my loaded mags down one - more of a mental thing I guess, but confidence IS a mental thing.

Quote:
Carry guns only all in same safe.
My carry guns stay loaded and all live in the same safe.

If it's in there . . . it's loaded. No need to sort out.

Everything else stays unloaded, and besides being in a different safe, most have a trigger lock.
In my house, if a gun is loaded, it is either out of the safe or in a holster inside the safe. EVERY other gun in the safe is in a silicone sock for rust and ding prevention
__________________
"I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn't own you."- Frank Zappa
FITASC is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2021 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.08346 seconds with 8 queries