Keeping Magazines Loaded and Spring Life

Every guy and his brother who is a shooter tends to weigh in on this subject and the opinion falls into two general camps.  There are many who will tell you that if a magazine is left loaded for a prolonged period of time then the spring will “take a set” and degrade in performance.  Then, there are those who go with what the engineers say and that is a spring does not wear due to being kept under load, but only wears with repetitions of use.  Which is correct?

I can tell you only what I have gathered from many years of doing this.  First, I think a magazine spring can eventually take a set if kept loaded but for a good quality magazine that is a really long time.  Second, I can say without reservation that a spring does wear out with repetition but a good, modern spring takes a hell of a lot of repetitions to wear out.  Here is what I do and I have had absolute success with this approach.

  1. Have dedicated training mags and dedicated practice mags and never shall the two meet. I only use a carry magazine for shooting when I test it for reliability every so often.  Outside of reliability testing, I shoot only with practice mags.
  2. Download the Carry magazine by 1. I know there are guys who swear that, particularly a pistol mag, can be loaded to full capacity.  Maybe, but my carry mags have remained perfectly reliable for many years and I always download a pistol mag by one, and a rifle magazine by 2.  If I use a gun that takes a 15 round mag there is 15 rounds in the gun, not 15+1.  I will take the enhanced reliability over the extra round.  That one missing round makes all the difference and leaves the spring with a few millimeters of slack rather than leaving it compress to, and beyond, its limits due to the compression of full capacity combined with the under-carry of the breach against it when in the gun.
  3. Don’t load training mags to capacity on a regular basis. I have many thousands of rounds through my current training mags and they are still using the original springs.  I rarely load them to full-capacity.  For example, if training with a 15 round gun, I most often load 12-13 rounds in the mag.  If you load the mag to full capacity each cycle you will drastically reduce the lifespan of the springs.
  4. Rotate your carry magazines every year. However many loaded magazines you keep for a given carry or defensive gun, have twice that many and rotate them every year.  You will have no issues if you do this.
  5. Keep spare magazine springs on hand. If a magazine gets finicky but is still in good shape except for the spring, just replace the spring.  If anything else is compromised on the magazine then discard it and get a new magazine.
  6. Have lots of magazines. Due to the ever volatile political climate magazines can become hard to find and cost-prohibitive every time the leftist traitors start running their mouths about gun control.  Right now they are cheap and plentiful.  Buy them.

 

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