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Thread: semi auto mag springs

  1. #1
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    Default semi auto mag springs

    Does leaving bullets in the mag eventually reduce the functionality of the spring over time?

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Yes it does.
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    ADfields is correct but you will probably die of old age before you notice it.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Not overnight but how long depends on the quality of the spring, doesn’t take all that long if you started the clock with poor quality springs, older springs, or both.
     
    What is the reduced functionality your having happen and to what gun?
    Andy
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    Member Ryan J's Avatar
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    I can't cite any references, but, I had always heard that repetetive loading and unloading was worse for the spring than just keeping it loaded.

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    Metal springs weaken over time due to metal fatigue. Metal fatigue is the name we use to explain the microscopic cracks that develop in the crystalline structure of the metal. Those cracks are created by repeated deformation of the metal. As the metal is deformed the cracks become worse. The more repeated the metal is deformed, the worse the cracks will get. Eventually the metal's ability to return to shape weakens. Unfortunately there is a lot of mythology in the firearms community about how metal fatigue works. Most of the mythology points to leaving metal springs compressed over long periods of time. Except that the function of metal fatigue requires repeated deformation. Once a metal spring is compressed it does not continue to form the minute fractures. The methodology of the fracturing requires compression followed by extension followed by compression etc, etc.

    In other words, compressing a spring for long periods of time will have no affect on the structural integrity of the spring unless you hyper extend the spring past it's rebound point, spring creep. What actually weakens springs is the constant action of compressing and then releasing the spring repetitively. This is called cyclic loading. When you load and unload a magazine you are introducing and exacerbating microscopic fractures. That is the only time when those fractures occur. Leaving a magazine loaded will have far less impact on metal fatigue than to be cycling the spring frequently. Fatigue is irreversible. Once it's started, it will continue and accumulate over time as you compress and relax the spring.

    This might help people interested in understand the mechanism of metal fatigue:

    http://www.epi-eng.com/mechanical_en...htm#cumulative

    http://larrylawson.net/fatigue.htm

    If you're really a glutton for punishment you could read:

    ASM Handbook Volume 19, Fatigue And Fracture

    But generally only structural engineers read that kind of stuff.

  7. #7
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    All springs can lose strength over time.Hammer springs may be the ones left in tension most and all guns have them.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  8. #8
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    Thanks all! Kept a magazine for the sig and the hk loaded in the safe and was wondering if the constant compression would reduce the rebound of the spring. Sounds like it does over the life of the spring but constant loading and unloading is worse for the sping.

  9. #9
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    Of course, it's wise to have spares. The one thing that is likely to wear out faster on your gun is the magazine. People treat mags like they are gold sometimes. They should be treated like a consumable like oil in your car. If you want true reliability, expect to replace them periodically depending on how much you shoot. If you rarely ever shoot the gun, no worries. But if you're shooting it 10,000 rds a year, you'll probably be replacing the mags every year to ensure reliability. I suppose you could even do like some people do with the oil. Replace it every 3 mos regardless of use. That seems excessive to me, but to each his own.

    Biggest problem I think is that people want to nurse a failing magazine. The highest percentage of malfunctions are related to the magazines, not the guns. If it starts acting up, take it out of service. Maybe replace the internals or whatever, but essentially treat it like a consumable. Replace as needed.

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