How often do you switch out your carry magazines?

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by foundatown, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. foundatown

    foundatown New Member

    120
    Aug 14, 2009
    Hey guys,

    I hear a lot of different opinions on this, but I'm trying to find a solution that works for me. How often should one switch out their carry magazine with fresh magazines in order to guarantee a long life for their magazine springs?

    At the moment I have three magazines that I carry with me daily (one in the gun, and two elsewhere). My goal is to purchase 3 more magazines and then begin rotating. The question is: how often to rotate?

    Also, is there a place to simply buy extra springs? I'm all about redundancy when it comes to having a gun that works long term, and I'm looking to get my spare parts inventory in order.

    Your comments appreciated.
     
  2. TxCajun

    TxCajun Administrator Staff Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2004
    Texas
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    There is NO need to rotate mags in belief that one has been compressed (loaded) long enough to weaken the spring.  That pretty much NEVER happens.  Contrary to popular belief (myth), what weakens or wears out a mag spring is actually cycling the spring, that is using it, by either shooting or loading and unloading it - not leaving it loaded.  You could leave a mag loaded for decades and the spring should be fine.

    Furthermore, KT uses high quality springs in their guns. They are silicon springs and not the piano wire that some makers use.  It should take many hundreds (if not more) times cycling the spring to wear it out.  Although very unlikely, I suppose it is technically possible to get a bad spring that is not properly tempered or something.  Such a spring could conceivably fail at some point.  Should you ever manage to exceed the life of a mag spring (doubtful), call KT service and they will send you a free replacement.
     

  3. haugrdr

    haugrdr Super Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Jan 4, 2008
    Daytona Beach
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    +1 on TxCajun's reply.

    I have personally witnessed 1911 mags that had been stored for over 10 years, fully loaded. They shot and reloaded and shot again just fine.

    I have a few mags I've kept fully loaded for over 2 years, I have no doubt they'll work fine also.
     
  4. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    +1 on haugrdr's reply ;)
     
  5. Brewster6514

    Brewster6514 Active Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    yup no need to worry about the mag springs. i have a mag for my glenfield .22 that has been loaded for 26 years and it still works fine. now if you are loading the same round into the chamber several times you may start to set back the bullet and that can cause over pressure in the casing when fired, so rotate your ammo, just no need to worry about the mag.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    I wouldn't worry about them taking a set from staying loaded.
    It's actually the compression cycles of loading / unloading or shooting that weakens a mag spring, not leaving it compressed.
    (Exception being some of the the newer hi-cap double column like Glocks and others. They should have taken a lesson from John B. on his Hi-Power mag. They can't be over-compressed, and can be left fully loaded till dooms-day, but then they don't hold 17 rounds like a Glock, only 13!)  
     
    Glock didn't leave enough room for the fully compressed spring when they designed them, and they do weaken from being over-compressed beyond the springs yield point. I have some Glock 23 mags that have been fully loaded 10 - 11 years, and they are about ready for new springs.  
     
    On the other hand, I have two pre-war Colt woodsman that had fully loaded mags in them, full of old copper cased UMC .22's when I bought them from estates. I assume they had been fully loaded sometime in 1936-37 or so, and left that way for 70+ years without weakening the springs.

    Also have bought GI .45 mags in WWII canvas mag pouches with WWII dated ammo in them that are still 100%. That's 60+ years.

    Some of my commercial 1911 mags and my S&W Model 39 mags have been fully loaded for going on 40 years now without a spring problem.

    Same with a bunch of Vietnam era M16/AR15 20 & 30 round mags I keep loaded.

    Same with some Ruger Mini-14 20's & 30's that have been stored loaded 20+ years now.
     
    These guns were all designed from the get-go to not over-compress the springs with a full mag. They just don't ever weaken even from being left loaded for a lifetime, it seems!  
     
    As for P3AT mags, I can't say for sure.
    Mine have only been loaded three years now, and nothings happening yet!  
     

    BTW: It IS important that you change out your carry ammo every so often, like maybe every 6 mo. to a year.
    But thats to keep fresh SD ammo in your mags, not to "Save the Springs".

    rc
     
  7. billjohnso20

    billjohnso20 Active Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    +1 to the above posts. I've kept my P3AT mags loaded for almost a year with no weakening of the springs.

    Although Mec-Gar makes the mags for both the P3AT and the LCP, I've found that loading my LCP mags at the range that the LCP mag springs are weaker than the 3AT springs. A perusal at Wollf Springs shows that although Wollf does not make replacement mag springs for the LCP like they do for the P3AT, Wollf does make recoil springs for both. The listed factory weight recoil springs for the LCP is 9lbs where as the listed weight for the P3AT recoil springs is 11lbs. It appears Ruger also uses weaker mag springs as well. A side by side look at new mag springs reveals that the LCP's mag springs are more compressed than new P3AT mag springs are. Thus, it seems possible that the LCP springs might actually wear out with time. It os possible the P3AT springs could also but I seriously doubt it.

    Although I like my P3AT more than my LCP, I still like the LCP. BUT the longer I own both, the more convinced I am that the P3AT is the superior pistol. I still carry the LCP as the BUG to my P3AT which is usually my BUG to my PF-9 or PPS. But I will carry the P3AT as primary at times depending on where I am and my mode of dress. I do not carry the LCP as a primary every. I might if I ever change out the recoil and mag springs with P3AT springs but not before.
     
  8. RJTravel

    RJTravel New Member

    10
    Dec 4, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    I'll risk offering the dissenting opinion based upon my own experiences. It has happened to me 3 times. On a Stevens dbl bbl 12 ga I bought sometime between 1959 and 1961 (can't determine mfg date from serial # - they didn't have serial #s back then) I would habitually store it with the firing springs released. Problem is, when you release the spring tension, at the same time you place tension on the firing pin return springs. Recently I discovered the pin springs had fatigued and failed to retract the pins. Very dangerous. I have seen this happen 3 times. Not a mag spring, but the concept is the same. I had the same thing happen to the fp spring on an old .25acp, sufficient to cause light strike misfires. Perhaps springs are different today, but I doubt it. I question the common, popular opinion that one cannot tension fatigue a spring, and wouldn't be willing to bet my life on it. Our experiences will differ, therefore I would like to see an engineering report with a definitive conclusion
    Richard
     
  9. foundatown

    foundatown New Member

    120
    Aug 14, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    Thank you, everyone, for sharing your experiences with this. Your comments have been very helpful.
     
  10. c0wboi38

    c0wboi38 New Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin


    Ask, and you shall receive:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_163_27/ai_99130369/

    If 2 pages doesn't convince you, nothing will.

    :)
     
  11. foundatown

    foundatown New Member

    120
    Aug 14, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    Amazing. This has been a mythbusting discussion.
     
  12. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    The relaxation of any spring depends upon the quaility of that spring.

    If the spring maker is trying to achieve performance greater than his competion, allowing the spring to operate in the plastic zone will result in superiour performance for a short time.

    It is not far fetch to believe that there could be a lot of springs where the range of stress was not fully known nor considered, like older firing pin returns.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    You might note that it is not necessary to jack up your car every time you park it overnight to keep the weight off the springs. Even automobile museums do not block up cars to save the springs from collapsing under the weight.
    Because they don't.

    Driving the car is what wears out the springs, not parking it.

    Another example:
    Mattress manufactures test innerspring mattresses with a machine that compresses the springs over & over again until they weaken & fail.

    If compression alone weakened springs, all they would need to do is put a 100 pound bag of sand on a mattress and come back later.
    But they don't, because a bag of sand will not harm the mattress springs in the least if it set on it for a century.

    I agree that springs can fail if over-compressed, and noted such in my comments about Glock magazines.
    However, if there is a failure on a firing pin return spring, it is either from a poor design that allowed over-compressing the spring past it's yield strength, extensive use, or the spring was defective to start with.

    rc
     
  14. onefunzr2

    onefunzr2 New Member

    146
    Aug 8, 2006
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    This quoted directly from the biggest\best gun spring maker in the world:  Wolff

    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 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."

    I take that last sentence to heart.
     
  15. billjohnso20

    billjohnso20 Active Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    I would expect nothing different from a company that makes handgun springs. If they say otherwise, they lose their repeat business. By convincing their customers that springs do wear out faster when kept fully loaded, they guarantee repeat, future sales. Of course they also guarantee repeat business because their advice to repeatedly load and unload mags means the springs WILL wear out early. It would also seem that Wollf may actually make their springs so that they will definitely wear out. So much for the supposed quality of Wolff springs.
     
  16. doubloon

    doubloon New Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    Houston-ish, TX
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    +1 to the posts that say they never rotate.

    Although I probably rotate my mags by accident on trips to the range but I can't tell you how often it happens, if ever.

    All my mags stay 100% full all the time. When I go to the range I usually cycle through all the mags for the particular gun I'm shooting, fill them up again and put one back in the gun. Since I just verified all the mags are still good I don't pay any attention to which one goes back in the gun.
     
  17. Picatinny_Pete

    Picatinny_Pete New Member

    Sep 2, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    Hello,

    I switch out my magazines about once a month or when I get a chance to go to the range. I think using your magazine every so often will let you know when you have a problem with it.

    Best Regards"
     
  18. RJTravel

    RJTravel New Member

    10
    Dec 4, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    I read the gunwriter's opinion report and am unconvinced. Still would like to see a real engineering report. Just saw an American Airgunner show in which they tested airgun springs under full compression. Their findings show approx 6 to 8 percent weakening after a few weeks of full compression. If one has not experienced light strikes due to hammer spring fatigue, then that one does not have long experience with firearms. I would be inclined to believe that mag springs do not ever weaken to any great extent - except it has happened to me. Granted this is over many years (nearly 60 years of firearms handling) but for a carry piece it is a concern. One's life could be in the balance.
    Richard
     
  19. c0wboi38

    c0wboi38 New Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    Richard than we shall simply have to agree to disagree. Your anecdotal evidence doesn't convince me, especially as you are the only person I've ever heard mention any of those issues.

    C'est la vie! :)
     
  20. RJTravel

    RJTravel New Member

    10
    Dec 4, 2009
    Re: How often do you switch out your carry magazin

    Lurker,
    American Airgunner TV program - 3 days ago! Just returned from LGS (Denver - S Wadsworth) at which they have consignments. At least one or more of the old shotguns have fatigued springs and unretracted firing pins which places them subject to slamfire. Very dangerous. Apparently you are new to firearms - this is a very, very common spring defect alongside light pin strikes. Not trying to 'convince' anyone - just stay with new firearms and trouble will probably be a long way off.
    Richard