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  #1  
Old 06-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Phinpad
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How often - ease springs in magazines



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Can anyone steer me in the right direction?

My situation is this:

I work for a large Firearms unit within a Police Dept where the Officers are not routinely armed. As a whole the country and thus most of the Officers are ignorant as to Firearms due to a number of firearm banns taking its significant toll on the sport in the last 20 years – be warned.
Any way, we have around 300 Glock 17’s and 300 MP5’s; each has two magazines, one in the gun and one on the belt. The firearms and magazines are not personal issue and are constantly being rotated as Officers come and go. Potentially these magazines have been loaded for years!

I recently realised that the magazines are under constant pressure, I asked our armourer if they are ever unloaded and was surprised to find that we only had one spare magazine in the base. When we train and re classify we use other weapons specific to the training wing so they do not even get a check at that time.
When we book the magazines in, we weigh them to prove they are not missing rounds.

The only good practice that I have seen is that we always replace the round that has been in the breach with a new one and the old round is boxed and used for training.

I have started to ease my magazines when on duty and can feel a definite difference between magazine full and empty. I cannot help thinking that as the magazine empties this might cause stoppages. I have no idea though if just emptying a magazine and then refilling it has any beneficial effects, or if the springs would have to be eased for longer.

I would like to approach management and have this situation changed but cannot find any authority which states that magazines need to be unloaded.

Can anyone point me in any direction which might be of some use? I would particularly like to ask the competition circuit guys and Glock or Police specific Forums.

Regards
Dave

Last edited by Phinpad; 06-09-2009 at 12:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2009, 01:56 PM
HR218
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This is familiar argument. Do springs loose their "spring action" over time. Yes they do. Usually most quality firearms makers use heat treated steel (aka tempered steel) springs. The mechanical action of a tempered steel spring usually lasts a long long time.

There was a case where an old lady in Chicago used her husbands gun to kill a perp in a home invasion. Nothing out of the ordinary, until the investigators found out the pistol she used was fully loaded and put in the closet 30 years ago! The spring did work! I dont know the full details but I am assuming multiple shots were fired? Hence the spring story.

On the flip side. My police issue service pistol (which has been reissued multiple times) had worn out springs and failed to load the last round pretty consistently during qualifications. (it would double feed the last 2 rounds if I remember right?) I had the armorer swap out to new springs and it ran like a scalded dog! Those last 2 rounds could be a life saving round? How many months did I carry that gun with weak springs? Scary thought.

We do what you do. When appropriate, we empty our mags and ease off the springs. Its not mandatory but I do it due to my experience with weak springs.

Last edited by HR218; 06-09-2009 at 10:19 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-09-2009, 02:34 PM
Gizzy
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Not centerfire, but I have had 4 factory Anschutz mags all go bad at the same time, because they were left in a hunting vest, all loaded with .2lr's. They would all jam, on a bolt action, on the first round out. I no longer leave my mags full. They get emptied after every use.
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2009, 02:50 PM
VASCAR2
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I currently carry the Glock model 22 on duty and the Glock 27 off duty daily. I have seen Glock magazine springs loose their tension. In the USA replacement mags springs are plentiful and not difficult to obtain. The only issue I've seen with a weak Glock mag spring is a failure to lock the slide back on the last round. What I've been told by armorers here is that the actual loading and unloading cycle is what wears the springs out. I used to carry a Colt Combat Commander satin nickel 45 ACP years ago. We went on vacation to Minnesota to visit family. After returning home from the trip I was unable to find my mag pouch with two loaded Colt nickel magazines. I felt sure I had left this mag case in a motel. I called the motel and they said they never found anything in our room. I ended up giving this car to my brother and about 5 years later the radio quit working. When he tore into the dash to work on the radio he found my mag pouch and loaded mags. There was a cut out in the top of the glove box in the dash and I guess the mags fell down into the dash and couldn't be felt. The car was silver with a black top and black interior. This car was never kept in the garage and the temperatures get very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter in the midwest. My brother returned my mags where I promptly took them to the range and fired the rounds. All 14 rounds fired perfectly and the magazines didn't seem worse for wear and functioned for many more years until I sold the pistol and mags. I have to replace the mag springs on my Glock 27 every couple of years because the slide starts failing to lock back on the last round. My biggest concern about loaded magazines is the dirt and lint. Carrying loaded mags on a duty collects a lot of lint, dust, and grime. I routinely inspect my ammo in the mags and always rotate the top cartridge to avoid chambering the same round. Personally I've left AR 15 magazines loaded for years without issue and I've seem Colt 9 MM sub machine gun mags which our tactical guys use last for decades or more. Inspect your ammo and if the mag fails to lock the slide back on the last round know its time for new mag springs in your Glock. I was on the range one day last month where a fellow officer discovered the metal inside liner in his Glock pistol mag had cracked at the rear and caused a malfunction. Our department keeps spare parts and mags and the range officer replaced the defective mag with a spare. I have yet to see a defective mag spring in any of our duty Glock 22's. My current pistol is about 4 years old and we carried our previous Glocks 3 or 4 years and never encountered any problems also long as there were no tactical lights mounted on the Glock frame.(that is a different issue).
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:34 PM
redlegagent
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"A well designed steel spring will basically last forever. How long a spring lasts is based on how much stress is produced in the wire when it is compressed to it's minimum length AND how many cycles (times) it will experience this load. Engineers have charts to describe how many millions of cycles a given spring material can take at a different levels of stress before they fail. (See chart below) As the stress in the wire increases, the number of cycles until failure decreases. The larger the spring wire diameter is, the less stress the wire will experience for a given spring rate"

A quality magazine spring will last many years or compression cycles. I have personally left magazines loaded several years with no ill effect on functioning. I usually unload my mags and reload them once or twice a year.
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2009, 06:53 PM
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Compression cycling not compression wears out a spring.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:13 PM
Gizzy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunHugger View Post
Compression cycling not compression wears out a spring.
Not in my experience. I had 4 brand new Anschutz mags, I bought to carry in the woods for squirrel hunting. Loaded them all up, and left them in my vest. They were never cycled, but one year later, they all failed.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizzy View Post
Not in my experience. I had 4 brand new Anschutz mags, I bought to carry in the woods for squirrel hunting. Loaded them all up, and left them in my vest. They were never cycled, but one year later, they all failed.
Nothing is 100%...it would depend on the type of spring and how well the metal is made.

I have a 30 round AR mag loaded for 14 years. Every couple of years I shoot that mag and then reload it and put it away. I used it about a month ago and it still works fine.

I usually always have mags loaded for most of my rimfires and never had one go bad.

A question...those four new mags that you loaded and later found and shot. Did you use them and know that they worked fine after you bought them?
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2009, 07:29 AM
Phinpad
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So far it appears 50/50, I think I will continue doing my own little bit untill I get some definite advice, letter to Glock and H&K in the pipeline me thinks,

Dave
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:45 PM
ghgrosh
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I have several .45 mags that were loaded for 25+ years, several months ago took them to the range to check them out. Wasn't sure what to expect, no hiccups,all worked flawlessly.
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  #11  
Old 06-15-2009, 03:32 AM
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I work for a large defense contractor. Several mechanical engineers report to me. I asked them this same question years ago.

Their answer:

"Once the mag springs have taken that initial set, they will not "wear in" to any additional degree simply from being loaded. Although many shooters think you need to "rest" your mag springs by periodically leaving the mags unloaded, that is not the case. Spring wear, once the initial set is accomplished, is actually cause by the compression/release cycle. Simply put, the more times your mags are loaded and unloaded, either by shooting or by hand loading and unloading, the faster they will wear out. "

As a side note....I keep my carry mags and my range mags separate. Once I have a set of mags that I deem reliable....I use them for carry only. I have a separate set of mags that I use at the range....let hit the ground...generally put thru hard use.....these I never carry.

Last edited by BrainOnSigs; 06-15-2009 at 03:35 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2021, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunHugger View Post
Nothing is 100%...it would depend on the type of spring and how well the metal is made.
My advice to Rem 597-22 owners with OEM mags assembled correctly, that are hard to fill to capacity, is to force em full and let em sit for a week or more for the springs to 'break in'. As the 597 was Rem's cheapest mass produced semi the spring steel quality is suspect.
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2021, 02:25 PM
dufferDave

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theory vs. actual practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainOnSigs View Post
I work for a large defense contractor. Several mechanical engineers report to me. I asked them this same question years ago......
According to metallurgical science, a "well-made" spring (proper materials, proper forming process, proper stress-relieving process, proper tempering process, etc) does not fatigue due to prolonged compression, but rather due to cycles of compression-relaxation.

In actual fact, I do not trust the modern cut-the-corners approach to manufacturing to do much of anything properly if it costs time/money, and if bean counters are in high places in management. Quality control seems to be an increasingly rare thing these days. Poorly made springs do indeed take a "set" when compressed for long periods.

My humble advice (as a retired engineer w/ 35 yrs experience) would be; don't be the least bit afraid to leave a mag spring fully or partially compressed for six months or a year, or to run it for a thousand cycles. But I would also keep a close eye on each magazine to watch for any signs of failure to function. You may also be unaware that you should (periodically) completely disassemble those mags, thoroughly clean out the insides from all collected dirt and debris, and re-lubricate the insides before re-assembly. This would be the perfect time to actually measure the strength of each mag spring instead of guessing at it.

And with the size of your armory, I would suggest that you have at least a dozen spare springs for each separate mag type (along with several magazine followers, and spare parts for the firearms themselves.....you don't want to wait six months for parts to ship from the factory, or to pay $20 shipping for a $2 part).

Last edited by dufferDave; 03-02-2021 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:40 PM
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Bored today Al?

Last thread post was 6/15/2009.
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  #15  
Old 03-02-2021, 02:41 PM
dufferDave

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One other thing--

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phinpad View Post
.....When we book the magazines in, we weigh them to prove they are not missing rounds....
Most modern firearms (and I think your G17s and MP-5s certainly qualify here) have a magazine feature that enables you to make a direct visual check of the number of rounds loaded. Mags are perforated down the length of the sides or the back to let you see exactly how many cartridges are still in there.
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