SIG Talk banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
676 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I learned years ago from some very knowledgeable forum members that mag springs being stored fully loaded does not diminish the lifespan of the springs. It is cycling that eventually wears them I learned.
But I never read approximately how many cycles a spring typically is viable.
Anyone have real experience with mag spring fails? Are we talking 100s, 1000s?
 

·
Resident Armorer Premium Member
Joined
·
11,618 Posts
Reagan 39, I can not give you # of cycles. While a police armorer, I only had to replace 1 magazine spring on the departments P226 9mm magazines, which were mostly the original dovetail back magazines. These magazines for the most part were 10 years old, but individual officers, shot various amounts of ammunition over the span of a year. If they shot only what was required of them, each magazine was probably loaded, and emptied 4 times a year. The Chief at the time was one of the few firearms instructors in the county, so he fired his more often than most of the others. When the slide doesn't lock back after the last round, and everything is clean, chances are the spring is too weak.
Springs aren't that expensive, but the tendency to cram more ammunition into the same sized magazine, has resulted in smaller diameter spring wire, to allow a lower compression height when fully loaded. Making springs is a science, and so in heat treating and tempering, small variances can make a difference in the springs life.
There are many that say, leaving a magazine loaded doesn't affect the spring. If that's true, why is it, when first loaded, with a new spring, at times you cannot load to listed capacity, but let it set for 24 hours or so, and you can get the last 1 or 2 rounds in?
The latest "fad" is chrome silicon steel springs, which take longer to achieve their "set".
I've seen statements that some are good for hundreds of thousands of cycles. Are they? I don't know, and I'm not about to sit and cycle one manually that many times, and I'm not rich enough to afford the ammunition to test their claims.
Just like recoil springs, and any other spring in a firearm. When it reaches the limit of its usefulness, and it starts to fail, malfunctions occur. When it does, replace it, and move on... don't fret about it. Get a couple of magazine springs, and a parts kit, to have on hand, if and when necessary... otherwise don't worry about it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sigarms228

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,188 Posts
I learned years ago from some very knowledgeable forum members that mag springs being stored fully loaded does not diminish the lifespan of the springs. It is cycling that eventually wears them I learned. ...
That has been the conventional wisdom that I too believed.
However, not long ago, I started a thread where I discovered that this is not universal and that it did in fact occur with some Mec-Gar magazines that were brand new and lost their strength from simply being loaded for months as backup mags. After starting that thread, some other members checked their Mec-Gar mags that they had also simply kept loaded and found they had the same problem. I my case, the springs would feed the rounds but not be able to lock the slide back on empty. That was also the case with the others who checked after I started the thread.

So I was left wondering if Mec-Gar had started using cheaper steel for the springs at some point in the not-too-distant past. I cannot answer that question.

But I can say that the old "conventional wisdom" is not universally true.

ETA: The correct answer to your question is that the magazine springs lifespan has expired when the mags can no longer reliably lock the slide back on empty or start to cause feeding issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sigarms228

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,207 Posts
Wolff has interesting info om magazine springs FWIW.

https://www.gunsprings.com/index.php?page=FAQ#question5

I also read information on HK forum where HK engineers recommended changing double stack magazine springs every 5 years if they are constantly kept fully loaded.

Also read that you can keep 1911 7 round magazines loaded pretty much forever.

Myself I go on the side of caution and will change mine at least every five years for magazines kept fully loaded for SD use. Of course I take my CCW pistols to the range fairly regularly and in part to verify functionality including magazines.

5. How often should I change magazine spring? Should I unload my magazines, rotate magazines, load with fewer than the maximum rounds?

Magazine springs in semi-auto pistols are one of the most critical springs and are the subject of much debate and concern. Magazines which are kept fully loaded for long periods of time, such as in law enforcement and personal/home defense applications, will generally be subject to more fatigue than the weekend shooter's magazine springs in which the magazines are loaded up only when shooting.

Magazine design and capacity also affect the longevity of the spring. In many older pistol designs, maximum capacity was not the always the goal such as with the 7 round 1911 Colt magazines will last for years fully loaded. There was room for more spring material in these guns which reduces overall stress and increases the usable life of the spring.

More recently higher capacity magazine have become popular. These are designed to hold more rounds with less spring material often in the same space. This puts more stress on the spring and will cause it to fatigue at a faster rate. Unloading these magazines a round or two will help the life of the spring. Rotating fully loaded magazines will also help the problem somewhat but it is not always practical.

In applications where the magazine must be kept loaded at all times, a high quality magazine spring such as Wolff extra power magazine springs, will provide maximum life. Regular replacement of magazine springs will provide the best defense against failure from weak magazine springs. Regular shooting of the pistol is the best way to be sure the springs are still functioning reliably.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Willard
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top