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AegisDei

Keeping Magazines Loaded...

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So I was hangin' out with a gun club the other day and some of the members informed me that keeping a magazine fully loaded would destroy the spring much more quickly. This does make sense, but does anyone have any first hand stories about their magazine springs dying super quick because they kept it fully compressed? Or is this not something that I really have to worry about?

 

How often would seem reasonable for replacing mag springs? Any suggestions, or is it just something that needs be done when feeding becomes unreliable?

 

Most importantly, can springs be obtained for a decent price for the Saiga 12 8-rnders?

 

Thanks!

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It is really a myth that leaving a spring compressed "wears it out"

 

Magazine springs are designed with a safety margin where they have more "spring" than they need to compensate for wear. Obviously, they have more force when they are new but when they are old, they still tend to work. When they are actually "worn out", it will be fairly obvious but chances are you will never experience this unless you have some WW2 or other very old magazines that have been to hell and back. The only time that I've seen mag springs actually "wear out" is when they have been used over and over again, that is, gone thru the compression/ uncompression cycle many times. An example of this are mags used at a range where they are used all day, every day for years.

 

Compressing a spring and leaving it in a static compressed state doesn't really do much to reduce the spring force.

 

As far as the S12 mags go, the spring is something like 3 times longer than necessary. I can't imagine this thing ever needing to be replaced. You would deserve some kind of reward if you were able to wear it out.

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Springs don't really wear out over time it's more about cycles and I doubt you could wear out a Saiga eight-rounder in your lifetime. However you can cause a spring to yield by compressing or extending it farther than it's designed to be. The legs on the follower are designed to prevent over compression of the spring. A lot of people talk about trimming those legs and loading nine rounds and they don't seem to have any problem but I wouldn't do that for fear of damaging the spring. If you stick to eight rounds you will never have a problem with your spring unless it's defective to start with.

Edited by DaGroaner

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Excellent, thanks. Just for educational purposes...say I wanted an 8rnd spring for a Wakal inspired 10rounder? Are they available anywhere?

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Thats odd, I was always told the same thing. As a matter of fact, my wife only keeps 5 9mm rounds in her Taurus P92 under the pillow because she hardly ever takes it out shooting. I told her it would wear out the spring to keep it compressed for long periods of time. :bag:

 

I keep 5 rounds in my Saiga 7.62 10 round mags, and the same for the 30 rounders because I was always affraid I would wear out the springs if I kept them compressed. Same for my hammer spring over time. When Im done shooting, before I slip my rifle under my pillow:rolleyes:, I always snap the hammer forward, cause Im affraid if I keep it locked back, it might wear it out.

 

I dunno, seems to make sense to me. So you guys are saying that I can keep all of my mags loaded to the brim for long periods of time and the springs wont wear out? I had to replace a mag spring on an aftermarket Beretta 15 rounder, but it was a cheapo mag. Coulda just been a fluke.

 

Maybe we could start a poll on this? I would love to keep one thirty rounder loaded with hollows instead of 3 loaded halfway. But Im still affraid it would weaken under long periods of compression. The weak spring theory still makes sense to me.....I dunno? :bag:

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I kept a 30 round fully loaded in my cab. for a long time and when i finally got out to go shooting i noticed that it was "loose" when i loaded it again. i had some trouble getting the mag to work. i had to replace the spring. i keep 5 shots in my 380 and i had to replace that spring after about a year it went "limp"!!

 

i no longer keep and clips loaded, i switched over to my wheel gun for home defense now.

 

just thought i would throw my opion in there. :angel:

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Springs work as tortionbars, that is when you compress a coil spring, the wire twists tortionally-the same as any tortionbar. The amount of displacement (the movement of the individual grains of the material relative to thier adjacent grains)

increases logrithemitically with the degree of rotation. As the tortional stress increases the ability of the material to resist permanent disturbance of it;s internal structure decreases.

The stress in the spring does not double from 1/2 compression to full compression, it increases like 4 times. That is why it is best to store springs less than fully compressed.

Automotive valve springs are designed to resist millions of cycles, however when an engine sits for long periods (like several years) the springs that were compressed will have a signifigant loss of compressed tension. The higher performance (more stressed) the valve spring, the more noticable the effect.

A good race program will back off the rocker nuts after the race to save the springs.

 

G O B

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Hrm, so getting mixed reviews.

However, I'd rather replace a few springs in my lifetime than not have enough ammo.

Are Saiga 12 8rounder springs available anywhere? I know they're pretty common for AR mags, and probably for my H&K, but Saigas? Let me know (also so I can do some 10rnd frankenmags). Thanks!

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I've always been taught to load just a few short of max cap for extended periods, so I only store 3 rounds in a 5, 25 in a 30, etc. It makes sense to me, spring steel is spring steel, eventually, it will lose it's spring. Example = If you drive your truck with 1.5 tons of bricks in the bed, how long will your shocks last?

 

my .02

 

Shane

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Never really thought about it before but it makes sense. Probably drop 2 out of my five rounder for now. Makes me want those upcoming 10 rounders even more now!

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Thanks for the input y'all, I guess I'll drop some round out of all my mags. However, I still want Saiga 12 8-rnd springs. Does anyone know where I could look? Thanks!

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I've left AK mags fully loaded for years at a stretch before with no problems. (I had stashed some away and forgotten about them!).

I've never had a problem thus far with modern mags.

I've heard the whole "spring fatigue" thing started in WW2 with some of the Stens, Sterlings, and similar cheap, fast-produced subguns, some of which used little more than piano wire for spring material. Of course like so many other gun stories, that may or may not be true.

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SOP when I was in the Navy was leave 2 rounds out of the M-14 mags, and one out of the 45 mags. This was pre 9-11. From what I've heard from friends that are currently still in, everything is maxed out, and the small arm compliment has doubled on most ships.

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All I've got is hearsay ....

 

But here's my take. Often times mags are downloaded by 1 or 2 for 2 reasons. Eases seating the mag on a closed bolt. Helps in reliability. But not because it wears them out. they are good for lots of compressions/decompressions.

 

Loading a stiff mag to the max, then leaving it (i.e. Glock mags) will help later load it to full capacity. This is to help the spring take "set".

 

Older spring/technology did mean that springs could be ruined by leaving mags loaded. But that is long past.

 

Lastly, it is ok to leave them loaded. Maybe even preffered ... because if you unload them you've just gone thru an extra compression/decompression cycle.

 

Used to be some pretty informative discussion on springs over at thehighroad and thefiringline.

 

HTH.

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AAAEEEEGAZziiii,

 

Forgot to mention ... Weren't our two manufacture sources going to have a truckload of springs at some time? You might contact them as a source.

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For what it's worth, my dad has a Beretta 92F that he used when he was with the State Patrol and issued it the day they got them in. He has four 15 rounders that have sat in a box loaded to 15 for about 8 years or so. They only got use after I turned 21 and we took it out to the range. They still cycle perfectly, and one of them was actually overloaded to 16 instead of 15. It still works fine, and I've never had a failure to feed or double feed or anything with any of them, and that's after a thousand rounds or so. Right now they're sitting in his room filled to capacity with Gold Dots.

 

My 1911's magazines are currently sitting filled up to 8 each. One of them is in the gun right now with an extra round in the chamber, and it doesn't seem to mind. Of course those are the Wilson Combat 47DCs, and I've heard the springs on those are next to impossible to screw up. Either way, about a year they've been like that, and aside from range use when I unload the Hydra-Shoks and stick in the Winchester White Box, they never get unloaded from their capacity.

 

My Saiga-12 is sitting right now with 5 Federal 00 Buckshot rounds in the magazine, which is out of the gun, in the box that the Saiga-12 itself is sitting in. Of course I don't much give a crap about that due to two people at "any day now" status for the US made 10 rounders, so that'll stay loaded until the cows come home. Honestly, I'm more afraid of the bottom shell in it losing its form or breaking open than I am the magazine. It's Russian, I couldn't destroy it through normal or heavy use if I tried. I'm fairly sure I could run over it with a bus and it'd still work.

 

Either way, unless it's an old WWII gun with the original WWII magazines, I wouldn't worry in the least.

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Guys, I'm a design engineer for an automotive supplier. We use small coil springs in our transmission clutches. We have a few tests we run for fatigue based on cycling. They typically are submerged in 400 degree oil and run (cycled) for over 1 million cycles. Run dry, they hardly ever fail.

 

Any premature failures we have seen have been from either faulty material or processing (heat treat) or overloading when debris gets hung between coils. A typical failure would be a broken coil or overall length too short for the clutch to not engage.

 

When the clutches are assembled they are cycled a few times. This allows the spring to "set" or settle a little. (When we get them from the supplier they are close to the maximum length immediately after heat treat.) This is probably similiar to when the mags are assembled at the factory.

 

While this isn't the same environment as a magazine, a few things should apply. Stainless steel is the most reliable that I've seen. If the spring is properly designed for it's operating environment, it should last a very long time. Once they are worked in, the overall length shouldn't change much.

 

I don't know what material the mag springs consist of, maybe music wire? We've found music wire to settle a little more than stainless - maybe 5% max after hundreds of cycles.

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I want to thank everyone for thier honest opinions on spring fatigue. This is an issue that interests me a great deal since I have only two 30 rounders and a couple of 10s for my Saiga. dinzag, cool job. how well do thoes springs do under prolonged compression?

 

Ive built very old very heavy cars that have been sitting on the same springs for 60 years. Ive built more engines than most people have owned. And drove some home after years and years of "barn storage". I used to ride a Triumph Trophy that used a pair of Chevy valve springs for rear suspention. I know alot about thoes type of springs. What I really wanted to know was everyones testimonials about magazine springs, since I know very little about them. And they seem to be a whole different animal than the heavier automotive type coil springs. From what I can gather, good quality mag springs can stay compressed for prolonged periods of time without any FTF problems. Has anyone here ever had to replace a good quality mag spring? I think I may just up mine from 10 to 15. Just in case.

 

Thank you all who shared your input on this subject!

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how well do thoes springs do under prolonged compression?

 

Honestly we haven't tested for that...I'd say cycling them beyond their working height will do 'em in, but if they were designed properly they should last ~forever under normal compression.

 

I got an XD-40 over a year ago. I keep 2 mags loaded with 12 at all times. I can fit 13 in there, but keep it at 12. The other 4 mags are left empty but used regularly. There's not much difference in spring force between them...The ones I use regularly are a little softer. I can load 'em by hand where the 2 carry mags can barely be loaded by hand.

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I have a Bakalite AK47 mag which I have had loaded to the max for over 20 years now. I have kept it for more of a display piece on my reddish stocked AK. I haven't tried using it, but I'm heading to the range today. I'll give it a whirl and report back with the results.

 

Jman

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As with most anything it's all about the quality of the product.

 

Ive had a few POS guns with cheap springs in the mags that would have FTF after only 6 months of being loaded. On the other hand I've had good mags loaded for a couple years that work fine.

 

It also has to do with the gun itself and its rate of cycle.

 

My advice, play it safe and leave a little room at the bottom of the mag, just in case.

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lol Dodge, thats the one I had to replace. I think general consensus is that good AK mags will do thier job forever if you leave them a little mercy room in the bottom. Ill go with that.

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I have a Bakalite AK47 mag which I have had loaded to the max for over 20 years now. I have kept it for more of a display piece on my reddish stocked AK. I haven't tried using it, but I'm heading to the range today. I'll give it a whirl and report back with the results.

 

Jman

 

OK,

I went to the range with my mag which I calculated was stored at full capacity for about 22 years.

It worked perfectly......

The only thing I noticed was that it reloaded a little easier than the steel mags.

But then again, it might have been that way when it was new, I just don't seem to remember that far back.

Anyway, I think it does depend on the quality of the mag. Russia tends to design there stuff like tanks. Takes a Likin' and keeps on Tickin'! Unlike other countries (USA) which builds items of higher quality but they are fragile, temperamental, and fail to function if there not treated like a baby. The M16 is a perfect example, I love the gun but I wouldn't put my life on it. Even today there are troops around the world throwing down their M16's and picking up the enemies AK. When it comes down to it, it's AK all the way!

 

my .02¢ :haha:

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Thanks for the report jman. Proof's in the puddin'. Not really surprising for an AK mag. I have heard others give similar reports but I've never heard anyone say their AK mag spring failed.

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reminds me of the gentleman that retrieved his WWII vintage .45 to defend his life. Perp never got a chance to wonder if springs or anything would work. Ammo was vintage too.

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