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Mags & Ammo

I wasn't sure where this should go - its related to ammo storage

I am curious whether it is better to keep magazines (5.56s) loaded or unloaded if they are gonna be stored for any period of time.
Does it damage the springs in the mags if they are have ammo in them for months at a time?

Thanks
Herb
 

Water Monkey

The man, the myth, the monkey
Moderator
Supporter
Springs deteriorate with use... as in compression and decompression. Leaving it in a compressed or non compressed state over time does not harm the spring.
 

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
I don't tend to store mags loaded at all times.

I do have a few firearms that I keep mags loaded and at the ready, but usually, I just keep ammo in a dry and climate controlled area in an ammo can.

Some mags are better than others. Obviously, polymer and zytel (plastic) mags may weaken over time if kept fully loaded which causes swelling of the body, and feed lips widening and opening up. I have seen that happen numerous times.

Stainless steel mag bodies (and I suppose) aluminum and other grade steel bodies do not exhibit those weaknesses the same as plastic mags.
 

oli700

12g
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
if you have ammo to fill mags there is no good reason not to have them full and ready to go, in fact its my opinion it is negligent to have to load mags in a desperate situation.
Springs of these days and the last 50 years for that matter have enough modern metallurgy in them to not be effected by staying compressed .
Like Water Monkey says it is the use or compression and decompression repeatedly that wears a spring and that would be more shooting than most any civilian could accomplish , unless cheesy overseas springs then maybe sooner....ask the military if they keep unloaded mags laying around.
 
[quote="oli700, post: 149348, member: 428"ask the military if they keep unloaded mags laying around.[/quote]

We kept a tough box of magazines empty in Afghanistan.

We also kept ammo crates full of loaded mags in all the vehicles.

Stateside always empty. That's the infantry.

Not helping, I know.
 

oli700

12g
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
always helpful, might be things are done different ways be different branches or units. Stateside I can see but solders I work with or my family (95% Marines, 5% Navy) say never an empty mag unless it was shot out or waiting to be inspected
 

MikeD

I'm Your Huckleberry
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
"Philanthropist"
Springs deteriorate with use... as in compression and decompression. Leaving it in a compressed or non compressed state over time does not harm the spring.
^^^ This.
 

nitesite

Average Guy
Moderator
"Philanthropist"
Meh...

Maybe five or six of my AR mags are loaded and I have about the same amount that are not. If they were all loaded (with what I consider "good stuff") then I just have to empty a few of them when I want to just shoot blasting ammo or range/practice stuff. So 5-6 mags have "the good stuff" loaded up, and the others are wide open to whatever my mood decides I want to fill a few of 'em with.

I'm attending the weeklong NRA Police Patrol Rifle Instructors Course the end of this month, I'll see if I can get some consensus on what they do from the other attendees.
 

oli700

12g
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
Meh...

Maybe five or six of my AR mags are loaded and I have about the same amount that are not. If they were all loaded (with what I consider "good stuff") then I just have to empty a few of them when I want to just shoot blasting ammo or range/practice stuff. So 5-6 mags have "the good stuff" loaded up, and the others are wide open to whatever my mood decides I want to fill a few of 'em with.

I'm attending the weeklong NRA Police Patrol Rifle Instructors Course the end of this month, I'll see if I can get some consensus on what they do from the other attendees.

all my good stuff mags are loaded and forgot about , all my plinking mags are loaded and waiting for the next session or an emergency.....all my ammo is good stuff and ready to serve, I dont shoot a bullet that isn't ready for a fight . An empty mag is a liability, as is an empty chamber. Maybe I take the whole "true intended roll" of a firearm too serious but to me firearms have never been a hobby but a way of life, a tool, a means of defense. Its only my opinion of its meaning and use , no need to confirm it with others because you could find 1000 professional leos that like to have empty mags laying about and I would still keep all mine loaded and ready.
 

nitesite

Average Guy
Moderator
"Philanthropist"
Good post, oli... you make perfect sense.

I feel that all my ammo is "Good stuff" but I just keep a half dozen stuffed. There is no right or wrong..... I wasn't implying that a consensus of guys would contradict you or support you, or anyone elses preferred way. It's just conversation my good friend.
 

carbinemike

Global Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
"Philanthropist"
Springs deteriorate with use... as in compression and decompression. Leaving it in a compressed or non compressed state over time does not harm the spring.
WM is correct. When I studied engineering at Penn State I had a course on mechanical properties and failure estimating for things like bolts and springs. For springs you can estimate the expected life and with a safety factor make a design where the spring will outlast the other parts of the design. It includes the spring material, diameter, the pitch etc. The equation does not include any expected static loading. It's 100% based on the expected number of cycles compressing and releasing.

A friend has an old WWII 30 round 9mm magazine that was packed in cosmoline for 50 years. The springs work great yet.

It just dawned on me that was 30 years ago. In my work I haven't had the need to use that equation but I still have my book if anyone wants the geeky details or equation.
 

carbinemike

Global Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator
"Philanthropist"
Springs deteriorate with use... as in compression and decompression. Leaving it in a compressed or non compressed state over time does not harm the spring.

WM is correct. When I studied engineering at Penn State I had a course in the mechanical properties and failure estimating for things like hardware and springs. Spring life is an estimate only but with a safety factor they can usually be made to outlast the other mechanical parts of a design. For springs the equation uses the spring material, wire diameter, number of windings etc. It also uses the amount it is compressed and the number of compression cycles. Static loading is not part of the estimating.

I just realized that was 30 years ago (making me feel old on a Friday). Today I'm sure you can just plug the numbers into a computer program to spit out the answer. I haven't had the need for those equations since school but I still have my book if anyone wants the geeky equation or other information.

For the record I keep ammo in about half of my magazines but based on my post I should go home and load em' up.
 
Last edited:

dieselmudder

.30-06
Elite Member
"Philanthropist"
apps are all fine an dandy, but knowing how to crunch the numbers is priceless. or at the least knowing where to find the hard information when you need it.
 
Thanks for the great info.
I will keep everything loaded and ready to go.

Besides, it nice to start a range day by unpacking my AR, dropping in a mag and start putting holes in things, then refill mags after 50 rounds
(I live in the 10 round wonderland of California)

Thanks again.
 

mingaa

Raconteur
I keep about half of my mags full for HD/SD. Many shoot match ammo and get loaded the night before the event. I could keep all full but want to avoid the unloading/reloading discussed as well as time magement.

Another example - the go to bedroom guns = 2 full size Glocks as first in line. The 40 is for me, the 9 is for my wife. I use Pearce extensions on those mags but only keep extras in the under bed safe for the 40 to avoid any possible confusion if mag swaps do happen. The 9 is 20+1...
 

SWIGIN

.410
I am starting to lean toward Stripper clips and have been working on storing a decent supply. They are very handy when you get used to using them and cut down on time needed to reload a magazine.
 
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