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Old January 5, 2019, 04:57 PM   #1
cw308
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Weak 8 round magazine spring.

Using this magazine for practice only , I only load 5 in the magazine anyway so I was thinking if I dropped a block 1/2" high at the base of the mag wouldn't that tighten the spring to fire the fifth round 100% until new springs arrixe ?
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Old January 5, 2019, 05:38 PM   #2
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Some people put empty cases under the spring.
You could also load eight and shoot five.
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Old January 5, 2019, 06:31 PM   #3
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Which mag spring? 1911? FYI, its about $7-$8 for a single 1911 mag spring. No need to jerry rig a fix if the spring is that cheap.
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Old January 5, 2019, 07:31 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for answering so fast springs are on order but just in a pinch by blocking up the mag bottom to increase tension for the 5th round not for a permanent fix. Will give it a try if new springs don't arrive in time. Thanks Again.

Chris
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Old January 6, 2019, 02:41 PM   #5
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Just pull the spring out and stretch it and put it back in.Repeat as nessasary.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:05 PM   #6
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When wire springs get weak, they are developing micro cracks along their length. They will break soon after.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:29 PM   #7
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If it is a 1911 .45, I use Chip McCormick, and it takes a lot to weaken those springs. I have had one loaded for 5 years, and I don't think it has affected the spring.

And I think Mec-Gar is about the same. I would buy an extra mag myself.
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Old January 6, 2019, 03:53 PM   #8
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Leaving them loaded doesn't wear them, using them does.
I left a Wilson 8-rounder loaded for 20 years, and it worked.

I wore-out a Shooting Star 8-rounder, two of them, in a year of weekly use.
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Old January 7, 2019, 12:51 AM   #9
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I have pistols that have been loaded for 40+ years that work just fine.
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Old January 7, 2019, 09:30 AM   #10
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Use for sure weakens mag. springs , carry mags will work forever it seems just remove the lint.
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Old January 7, 2019, 11:35 AM   #11
Walt Sherrill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BILLG
Just pull the spring out and stretch it and put it back in.Repeat as nessasary.
As Bill DeShivs noted in a later response, coil springs weaken due to micro-fractures in the steel. They'll eventually break, although with the coil springs in magazines, the springs will generally quit working well-enough to be used BEFORE they degrade enough to break.

Stretching the spring, as suggested, just speeds up the micro-fracturing process. Metal doesn't heal or get stronger with rest, and stretching the spring just adds additional stress to the metal that is already weakening.
When you stretch a coil spring, you notice an improvement the first time you use it, than you'll see an even faster decline in the spring's functional abilities.
Magazine springs can be replaced. You should see if sources like Wolff carry a spring for your magazine. (If they don't have one, you might be able to find an 8-round magazine that is dimensionally similar, and it's possible that spring -- which they might carry -- will work in your mag.

Anything else you do will work only temporarily -- and the springs will continue to degrade, and in some cases do it more rapidly.

.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; January 7, 2019 at 11:59 AM.
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Old January 7, 2019, 12:38 PM   #12
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I have used these Tripp springs to replace Checkmate OEM springs without having to also replace the follower http://www.trippresearchinc.com/ms-14c-042/. They are the strongest springs I've come across and have run flawlessly.

I have used Tripp's Super 7 upgrade hits to replace the guts (spring and follower) of CMC and Checkmate magazines http://www.trippresearchinc.com/super-7-upgrade-kit/. These have also run 100%.
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Old January 7, 2019, 01:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Leaving them loaded doesn't wear them, using them does.
Leaving a magazine with a good spring does not wear them down. However, a well worn spring, or poor spring will be affected by keeping it compressed over time. I have had several magazines loose tension from being stored over a long time fully compressed with ammo. As I recall, in each case it involved a well used magazine or a cheap magazine.
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Old January 7, 2019, 02:19 PM   #14
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Use for sure weakens mag. springs , carry mags will work forever it seems just remove the lint.
It depends on the magazine design. Some carry mags (17-19 rounders) may not last all that long, even if you do remove the lint.

Working (cycling) isn't the only thing that can weaken a coil spring. Hi-cap mag springs, depending on their design and how they're used, can also weaken from being left loaded for long periods.

Note: rotating carry mags doesn't prolong magazine spring life -- it just shifts the work to a different set of magazines. And if the unused mags are stored loaded, it possible that you've done NOTHING to delay wear. (It depends on the mag design and how the springs are used.)
While working a spring can cause wear, the only part of the work cycle that causes significant wear is when the spring is fully compressed the the spring is ALSO near its design limit (also called it's elastic limit). That isn't the case with many magazine designs. But it does happen with many hi-cap mags.
That's why Wolff Springs (in the FAQ section of their site) generally recommends downloading high-cap mags a round or two for long-term storage. (They don't suggest that for the mags IN a carry gun.) The same kind of spring degradation can occur with recoil springs, if a slide is left locked back for extended periods.

When a coil spring is bent too far for too long (at or near it's "design limits", the metal can begin to fracture when held in that position, and continued use at that compression level will cause the damage to slowly cascade, as more and more metal slowly breaks (and the remaining metal must do the same work).

It's bending (compressing) the coil spring's metal that damages the metal, not bending and releasing it. (The releasing part is good and NOT work.) The farther the metal is bent the more likely it is to be damaged. Metal fatigue is one way of describing it, but that's an oversimplification.

When coil springs in guns fail they will generally degrade (SOFTEN) and quit working properly before they break; they're replaced before they can break. Coil springs in car suspensions, on the other hand, don't keep a car from being driven, so they might eventually continue to be used until they break (from fatigue);l then they're replaced.

On the other hand, if, when a mag is fully loaded, the spring isn't near or at its "design" limit, that spring may outlive the gun in which it's used. 7-round 1911 magazines are like that -- they seems to almost never wear out. And many standard (non high-cap) mag springs in full-size guns also tend to have long service lives.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; January 7, 2019 at 03:04 PM.
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Old January 7, 2019, 02:31 PM   #15
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As Bill DeShivs noted in a later response, coil springs weaken due to micro-fractures in the steel.
That interests me...but, I am skeptical of such pronouncements in that I have been drawn into false statements over the years. Do either of you guys have a link to where that is a scientific observation? I would sure appreciate it.
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Old January 7, 2019, 02:46 PM   #16
Bill DeShivs
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I have no link.
I can tell you that I have replaced thousands of springs with springs that I hand make. Most are leaf springs, some are coils.
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Old January 7, 2019, 03:46 PM   #17
Walt Sherrill
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Originally Posted by dahermit
That interests me...but, I am skeptical of such pronouncements in that I have been drawn into false statements over the years. Do either of you guys have a link to where that is a scientific observation? I would sure appreciate it.
When I was looking through some of the links I have stored, I've seen you participating in earlier versions of this discussion.

Here's a good place to start.
https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...ne+spring+life

There have been MANY such discussions on this forum, including input from aeronautical engineers, technicians who work with spring specifications, and metallurgists. One of the more interesting discussions starts in the link above, provided by one of the staffers here on TFL JohnKsa. John is also an engineer, and a long-time air gun (spring powered) enthusiast, as well as someone familiar with handguns. Another member who has provided great technical citations is Danez71, who worked with springs at different times on the job.

Do a search on "magazine springs", "spring life" for a number of discussions. Most of them have links to technical or scientific sites, but the older ones have "cold" links. Wikipedia is cited with good technical explanations of the concepts and terms being discussed.

Here are some of the definitions, and I may be able to find others:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasticity_(physics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasticity_(physics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viscoelasticity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creep_(deformation)
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Old January 7, 2019, 10:14 PM   #18
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My question is about micro-cracks causing magazine spring weakening...not about metallurgical definitions. I would have thought it would have been something more exotic, like some of the Martensitic space lattice reverting back to a Ferritic space lattice due to the physical working of the steel during cycling.
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Old January 8, 2019, 03:17 PM   #19
Walt Sherrill
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This is a topic that has been discussed by various folks, over the years.

Here's a link to a simple explanation of the various ways that metal responds to stress -- from shattering, to deforming, to bending; but the metal will inevitably break if the source of the stress is not removed. The last part of the linked article below is the appropriate part, but I'll post that section, below. Reading the whole article, which isn't a lot, is worth the effort. (Note: in the first paragraph cited below, their use of "yield point" is the same as "elastic limit."

Rather than call the part of the metal structure affected by stress a micro-fracture this article calls it a FAULT, but it's phenomenon. i.e., a change in how the material holds itself together at the molecular level. Keep in mind that springs are considered a DUCTILE metal.

https://www.thebalance.com/metal-str...lained-2340022 From the link:
Metal Fatigue Resulting from Metal Strain

When ductile metals are stressed, they deform. If the stress is removed before the metal reaches its yield point, the metal returns to its former shape. While the metal appears to have returned to its original state, however, tiny faults have appeared at the molecular level.

Each time the metal deforms and then returns to its original shape, more molecular faults occur. After many deformations, there are so many molecular faults that the metal cracks. When this occurs, it is described as "metal fatigue." Metal fatigue is irreversible.

Metal fatigue is particularly problematic in situations where metal is stressed over and over again. For example, it was a major cause of aircraft failure before it was fully understood. To avoid metal fatigue, it is important to examine samples of metal under stress using a microscope regularly.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; January 8, 2019 at 10:25 PM.
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Old January 9, 2019, 09:19 AM   #20
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Keep in mind that springs are considered a DUCTILE metal.
According to the source you sited, springs, being "high carbon steel", are BRITTLE metal, not DUCTILE metal.
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Old January 9, 2019, 07:08 PM   #21
Walt Sherrill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
According to the source you sited, springs, being "high carbon steel", are BRITTLE metal, not DUCTILE metal.
Where did YOU read that springs are HIGH carbon steel? If you read other sources, you'll find that high carbon steels are relatively brittle and break rather than bend. Springs are generally made using alloys and stainless steel (which is an alloy) -- which is often used in gun springs -- while it can have a relatively high carbon content, is also an alloy with surprising characteristics that offset the brittleness seen in most high-carbon steels. The source I cited said the following information, and I've underlined the important parts:
Some metals (such as stainless steel and many other alloys) yield under stress. It allows them to bend, or deform, without breaking. Other metals, such as cast iron, fracture and break quickly under stress. Even stainless steel, however, finally weakens and breaks under enough stress.

Metals such as low carbon steel bend rather than breaking under stress. At a certain level of stress, however, they reach a well-understood "yield point." Once they reach the yield point, the metal becomes "strain hardened." It means that more stress is required to deform the metal any further. The metal becomes less ductile, or bendable. In one sense, this makes the metal harder. But while strain hardening makes it harder for the metal to deform, it also makes the metal more brittle. Brittle metal can break, or fail, quite easily.
That same article, when addressing BRITTLE STEELS, says:
Some metals are intrinsically brittle, which means they are particularly liable to fracture. Brittle metals include medium and high carbon steels. Unlike ductile materials, these metals do not have a well-defined yield point. Instead, when they reach a certain stress level, they break.
Wikipedia says the following with regard to spring steel:
These steels are generally low-alloy manganese, medium-carbon steel or high-carbon steel with a very high yield strength. This allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape despite significant deflection or twisting.
Coil spring do a lot of bending and twisting, so while some springs might have a relatively high carbon steel content, stainless steel is an alloy mixed with other metals that offset the high carbon . Stainless steel is apparently used in gun springs because of its greater rust/corrosion resistance -- as a rusting spring loses it physical integrity more quickly than one that doesn't rust.

Stainless Steel seems to include a number of components, tweaked to address the specific needs of the task at hand:
  • Iron - Very strong, very corrosive. ...
  • Chromium - Highly non-corrosive. ...
  • Nickel - Soft, some corrosion resistance. ...
  • Manganese - Binds steel alloys together, reducing brittleness and cracking.
  • Copper - Soft, conducts heat and electricity. ...
  • Carbon - Strong, corrosive.
Another interesting source addressing springs in guns can be found here:

http://www.whitesounddefense.com/pag...Materials.html
In general, the greatest danger to guns springs is corrosion. Springs are typically the thinnest metal in the firearm and as such they are extremely vulnerable to catastrophic failure from corrosion. This is why when design parameters allow for it, the best choice for firearm springs that are expected to function in the field is a stainless steel.

The US military has been using stainless magazine springs for quite a while because they get the job done and survive being in the field better than any other material. When possible we select high grade stainless for our weapon springs for the same reasons. We are designing parts to survive a field environment.
If you have other sources, particularly ones that suggest a different interpretation, please share them with us.

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; January 9, 2019 at 07:57 PM.
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Old January 9, 2019, 07:59 PM   #22
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Where did YOU read that springs are HIGH carbon steel?
I read it in the instructions for W-1 and O-1 drill rod (both high carbon)for a "spring temper" (it gives specific instructions on hardening and tempering to make springs). While in college studying metals, I mad a couple of flat springs using drill rod and the instructions for making springs that came with it. Also I am reading it in your reference: "Wikipedia says the following with regard to spring steel:
These steels are generally low-alloy manganese, medium-carbon steel or high-carbon steel..."

As for making springs out of Stainless Steels, that may be the practice now, but when John Browning invented his 1911 (and its spring-loaded magazine), it was still two years before the first stainless steel was invented (1913).

Alloy steels do date back somewhat earlier.

Last edited by dahermit; January 9, 2019 at 08:18 PM.
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Old January 9, 2019, 08:20 PM   #23
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as cheap as magazine springs are I'd just buy new ones before I tried to monkey around with a gimmick.
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Old January 9, 2019, 11:35 PM   #24
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as cheap as magazine springs are I'd just buy new ones before I tried to monkey around with a gimmick.
That is probably why he said, "...until the new ones arrive."
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Old January 10, 2019, 02:47 AM   #25
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I use mostly 1095 high carbon steel for springs.
Occasionally, I use O-1, or 1084 high carbon.
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