How long to you leave a mag loaded?

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Hawghauler, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Hawghauler

    Hawghauler Active Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    How long do you keep rounds in your mags for your carry guns and do you give it a break and unload. I imagine there is a shelf life on mag springs. A penny for your thoughts.

  2. TSU45

    TSU45 Active Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    San Marcos, Tx
    As long as I want. I buy quality mags with quality springs. They won't wear out from staying loaded, it is the cycling of a spring that wears it out.
  3. kingofwylietx

    kingofwylietx Well-Known

    Feb 29, 2008
    DFW area.....Wylie.
    I keep them loaded until I hit the range. Afterwards, I load them back up and the cycle continues. If you have a mag spring get weak, you will eventually begin to see a malfunction (I believe it's most likely a failure to feed). If that happens, change out the spring or buy a new mag. I have a couple of mags that I've kept in this cycle for many years, they still function flawlessly. I can tell the difference between them and one of my newer mags, but they have not caused any problems.

    I wouldn't expect the springs to last forever, but they last an awefully looong time (unless they were weak from the factory, of poor workmanship, or had a defect).
  4. cuate

    cuate Well-Known

    Jan 27, 2009
    Comanche Co., Texas
    Gynocologist: Spreader of old wive's tales....I have kept magazines fully loaded for long periods of time, never had a spring failure from being compressed, failure comes from fatigue of springs. But somebody previously already said that...
  5. Seabear1500

    Seabear1500 Active Member

    Mar 21, 2009
    Corpus Christi
    I keep them loaded till emptied, and them load them up again.
  6. ZX9RCAM

    ZX9RCAM Over the Rainbow bridge... TGT Supporter

    May 14, 2008
    The Woodlands, Tx.
    So it seems that everybody is of the consensus that even staying FULLY loaded for a year at a time does no damge to a magazine???
  7. Seabear1500

    Seabear1500 Active Member

    Mar 21, 2009
    Corpus Christi
    no damage in any of mine, now cheap mags might differ due to weake lips.
  8. navyguy

    navyguy TGT Addict

    Oct 22, 2008
    DFW Keller
    From what I've read, a year is no big deal. Then again, springs are cheap so changing out the ones that have been loaded a couple of years isn't a big expense, so maybe I should start doing that.

    I rather enjoy working on my guns, but for some reason, disassembling and cleaning mags seems like work.
  9. M. Sage

    M. Sage TGT Addict

    Jan 21, 2009
    San Antonio
    Ask a metallurgist. He'll tell you that there's no way, no how that it will damage the spring.

    Springs wear out by being loaded and unloaded time and again (there are a couple other ways, but fatigue is the main killer of mag springs). A constant load will not wear them out.

    Think of it like this: your car's springs are currently under load. In fact, they're constantly under load! How often do car springs wear out just from sitting around? Never.

    You can leave a mag loaded pretty much forever without any spring issues, so long as it doesn't rust. Ditto with hammer/striker springs in firearms - you don't have to dry-fire your gun before you put it away.

    As someone else eluded to, some mags are prone to feed lip failure if left loaded for long periods of time. STANAG (M16) mags are notorious for their weak feed lips. There is a reason for the cover on P-Mags - it supports the feed lips to keep them from spreading open over time when the mag is left loaded. If you have a good quality steel mag, like most pistol mags or an AK mag there won't be an issue.

    So as long as your mag body can hold up, feel free to load up and leave it that way for a hundred years if you want. If you keep it from rusting and store the ammo properly, your great grandkids will insert the mag and it'll work 100%.
  10. F350-6

    F350-6 TGT Addict

    May 25, 2009
    I bought a Browning Hi Power 15 years ago. I stuck 12 rounds in a 13 round magazine and put the mag in the closet. I pulled that magazine out this year and decided to try it out compared to the other magazines I have for the Hi Power.

    After a couple of hundred rounds through the 15 yr. loaded mag, I have found no difference between it and any of the other mags I left unloaded or rotated. Based on my unscientific testing, I'd recommend emptying the magazine at least once every 15 years.


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