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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure if this is a gunsmithing issue or a maintenance issue, but ...

I got to wondering about keeping a magazine loaded for extended periods of time, and keeping a 1911 cocked for extended periods of time.

Are there any guidelines on giving the springs involved a vacation? I rotate my magazines, but do I do it often enough?

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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Springs taking a set in fully loaded mags is one of the topics
that seems to be discussed often in my shop and anywhere that
people gather and discuss semi-auto style pistols. There seems to
be some confusion on this and I hope I can answer some of the
questions most often ask on this subject.
In the 14th edition of the Machinery's Handbook that I have is a
chapter on manufacturing of springs and it says (this is not a
direct quote from the book) that a spring operating in its normal
load limits will not take a set when left fully loaded. However
when a spring is loaded beyond its normal load limit it will
damage and weaken the spring causing it to take a set.
I was taught that what weakens springs is continuous use and if we
stop and think about this it makes a lot of sense. Springs are
made of wire or flat steel and if we continue to work wire or
steel it will weaken the metal and fatique of the metal will set
in.
I believe at one time the military had in there specs for mags and
springs that they must function properly after being fully loaded
for a time period of seven years. I do not know why seven years
was the cutoff date.
This is what I tell my customers when we discuss leaving mags
fully loaded. I keep my mags fully loaded for any and all my
defense guns. However I make a point of shooting these guns at
least once a month and checking to see if the mags are functioning
properly and it certainly will not hurt to do it more often if
possible.If a mag spring weakens it will fail to feed the last
round. I believe the averaged shots fired in most gun fights are
three or less so most people will never get to the last round in
their mag. I hope this helps and I strongly recommend you do what
makes you the most comfortable when dealing with this subject.
I'm sure there is several good opinions on this subject.
Regards, Bob Hunter www.huntercustoms.com




[This message has been edited by Hunter Customs (edited 08-07-2001).]
 

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On recoil springs, keep a new one and when you field strip it compare the one in the gun to the new one. When you have compressed the old one 3 coils shorter than the new one replace it and buy a new one. An old trick that will keep you from counting rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the replies. It would appear that while springs need to be checked now and then, simply having them compressed normally in a magazine isn't harming them.

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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You guys are right on target. I'm a mechanical engineer and the only way springs take a "set" is when they are overloaded.

Guns springs fail due to use.

I would be more worried about the ammo being good in long stored magazine than the spring. Moisture or lubricants can penetrate ammo over time.

I rotate mags only to rotate the ammo. The ammo goes from being in the box to carry to the range bag for firing.
 
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