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Vone

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Reply with quote  #1 

Here’s a question for the armorers and the gunsmiths at large. 

Why is everyone worried about damaging magazine springs in a shotgun? I completely understand the logic that a spring might loose some tension over time if were to remain compressed, but isn't that exactly what we do with handgun magazines? Wondering what the difference is in handgun spring sprang logic vs shotguns? I’ve taken a lot of handgun classes over the past couple of years and everyone seems to keep their carry magazines slap full plus one in the chamber at all times. That’s the way my instructor advised I carry my Glock anyway. The spring in those magazines are so compressed that it’s difficult to even get the last round in sometimes. I have 4 handgun mags that I keep full at all times. They are kept in various locations around my place. Over the past 2 years I’ve shot over 3,500 rounds through this little Glock with those same 4 mags that stay loaded to capacity. Never had an issue. Not one problem feeding that thing and I don’t even keep it as clean as I should. You can understand why I am surprised that nobody seems to keep a shotgun magazine full. I’m sure there’s a good reason, I’m just missing it. 

While we’re at this. Do most people keep one in the chamber on a defense pump? As mentioned, I keep one in the chamber on my Glock, but I am not comfortable doing that with a shotgun yet. I also have not had any formal shotgun training yet, which makes me approach these concerns even more cautiously. Actually, that brings up even another question. If a shotgun shell is kept in the chamber wouldn’t the trigger spring be compressed all the time causing tension diminish there as well? 

I grew up working as an aircraft mechanic. Spent two years of my college time learning that trade before becoming a licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic. Then I worked general aviation for a while before moving on to a few different major airlines. I must say, during my 20 years of practice and 30 years of studying this field, I have not once heard anything about degradation of spring tension (when used as properly engineered of course.) Not saying it doesn’t happen or that this logic should apply to guns. It’s just rather confusing to me. 

I’m no gun expert. Just here to learn and protect my home with as much safety and knowledge as possibly. 

Thanks in advance. 

Go Titans.

 
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Azrial

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Reply with quote  #2 
Springs do not fail from being left under compression. They fail from over - compression. But the primary way they fail is from use. They wear out.

Of course, they also fail from corrosion.

Ever see a bent nail stuck in a board? How many years did it sit there, bent, before one day it just broke in half, simply from being compressed?

On the other hand, keep bending it back and forth and it will break quickly.

I recently shot a 1911 that had been stored, loaded, for over 20 years. It did not miss a lick.
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spm1us

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Reply with quote  #3 
Metals fail from many reasons: Incorrect application of an Alloy for use intended,  Impure Alloy,  Improper Hardening/Tempering, Corrosion and Fatigue. Springs will take a "SET" if loaded in a constant position over time. Much like the old rechargable batteries, they will lose their "Memory" and not fully be able to function as originally designed. How long this takes will vary by application. Most folks I know who every day carry will swap their magazines, on a roataion, to allow the spring(s) to relax instead of staying in a constant maxed out compressed position. The  "bent nail"  analogy is apples and oranges - Bend that bent nail back and forth and see how quickly it breaks at the bend line - this is from fatigue. Leave a spring or nail in a fixed position and it will remain that way. Most spring design/ engineering is done on "Cycles"  not based on relaxed, compressed or age. The manufacturer designs it to be "Cycled" X number of times and then selects the alloy, heat treat, tempering, etc to meet the specifications.  We've all talked to the guy who has a million miles on his car and never changed the oil - I personally wouldn't want to risk mine or anyone's safety over something as trivial as a magazine spring but to each their own. You know what Murphy said and it never fails that when you would need it the most Murphy shows up!
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FlyBoyTim

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Reply with quote  #4 

Lucky Gunner has a good article on this:

https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/magazine-springs-and-ammo-cycling/

I think the salient takeaway is that cycles of use, full compression and back to full extension, is what wears a compression spring like a mag spring more than leaving it either fully compressed or fully extended. Although as was mentioned above, they do take a “set” after a long time. Enough to affect function, maybe not. But enough to warrant a replacement.

As to chambering a round in a shotgun compared to a multiple safetied, striker fired pistol like a Glock. The Glock is “drop safe”, the shotgun is not. That’s why accidents have occurred with a loaded shotgun falling over and discharging. Not good. I keep my shotgun chamber empty, hammer down, magazine loaded minus the one round on the carrier. At least my Beretta 1301.... 🤓

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Vone

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks. Great info here!

I really like the 1301. Definitely on my list!
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FlyBoyTim

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Reply with quote  #6 
I really like the 1301. Definitely on my list!”

It’s a great little shotty... Not to disparage all the others... I love them all...
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Azrial

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spm1us
.... Springs will take a "SET" if loaded in a constant position over time....
 The  "bent nail"  analogy is apples and oranges - Bend that bent nail back and forth and see how quickly it breaks at the bend line - this is from fatigue. Leave a spring or nail in a fixed position and it will remain that way. 


Sorry, but you don't know what you are talking about, and you are all over the place on top of it.

A bent nail is a piece of metal that has been forcesed to point of deformation. It will not break from simply being deformed, no matter how long it is left in that position.

I said that repeatedly bending the nail would cause it to break. You just repeated the same thing back in your response.

I could care less how often your friends rotate their magazines, it has nothing to with how long they last. A correctly made Spring fails from repeated compression and decompression Cycles.

It may also fail if over compressed or stretched to the point of deformation.

Being hit by a lightning bolt, corrosion, made from the wrong metal, heated with an acetylene torch yada yada yada, will also make a spring fail. But those are not normal, designed, uses for a spring.

I have nothing else to say about it, let the OP believe whoever he prefers.
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spm1us

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Reply with quote  #8 
You must not have been able to comprehend what I wrote. As I originally stated, "I personally wouldn't want to risk mine or anyone's safety over something as trivial as a magazine spring but to each their own."  Funny how Law Enforcement and Military have a schedule for magazine rotation - guess they don't know what they are talking about either???  I guess JD and all the other companies out there like Wolff, who sell and market replacement springs, don't agree with you either otherwise everyone would keep their "original" springs regardless of functionality, suitability or reduced strength - no one would ever change a spring unless it had already failed and was found in pieces. You are right  about one thing - let the forum members decide for themselves about how they choose to maintain the readiness and capability of their weapons and magazines!!! Just my .02!
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Azrial

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spm1us
You must not have been able to comprehend what I wrote.


No, I'm good, even though you were mostly just trying to repeat back what I said, you are pretty simple.

QUOTE=spm1us]Funny how Law Enforcement and Military have a schedule for magazine rotation - guess they don't know what they are talking about either????...

It would be funny, but as a CLEO for 29 years and a DoD and SoS Contractor for 5, I have never seen an agency have a policy like this. Before this I wasted my youth as a Machinist.

Now I have met INDIVIDUALS who believed this, and, that's cool. I mean do whatever makes you feel good, but Springs do not fail from being kept compressed within design specifications.
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Vone

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Reply with quote  #10 
The LuckyGunner article posted above is very informative. According to their research, most all magazine manufacturers, LE, and military branches recommend a rotation (relaxing) of the mag spring periodically. The most interesting part is that these same organizations DO NOT recommend partially loading the mag in an attempt to prevent the spring from sitting in a fully compressed state.

If this research is accurate why wouldn’t the same “all or nothing” logic apply to shotguns? Fully load but rotate to relax the spring every 90 days or so. I can’t think of any reason a shotgun mag spring would act any differently.
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cjw79

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Reply with quote  #11 
Magazine spring experiences.

I carried the same Remington 870 Magnum for 13 years with the four round magazine loaded unless I was cleaning it. No issues with the magazine spring. I believe this may have been assisted by the fact we carried 2 3/4 inch shells so the spring was not completely compressed.

Personally I believe it depends on the type of magazine. I don't think the 870 or a Mossberg 500 would have the same issue as a 3rd generation S&W semi automatic. While there is normally some room left in a shotgun magazine it always seemed to me the 11th or 15th round (Depending on 40 or 9mm) in the S&W magazines was a real compression of the magazine spring. Perhaps too much.

The only time I have seen a magazine spring failure was when I carried a Para Ordinance P14LDA for about 7 years as a duty weapon. It was agency issued and we were required to carry it. Over time it became clear the magazine springs and followers had issues. Due to these issues I took to downloading my magazines which did help but not eliminate the problems. Fully loaded they felt similar to the S&W magazines I mentioned earlier.

Currently I rotate my duty pistol and rifle magazines every month. While I don't think this is necessary I feel better doing it so I do. Just my opinion.
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Vone

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Reply with quote  #12 
[Currently I rotate my duty pistol and rifle magazines every month. While I don't think this is necessary I feel better doing it so I do. Just my opinion.]

This is exactly what the LG article says to do based on most magazine manufacturers, and LE practices. I feel that I’ve learned something here. Based on the this info I’m gonna start rotating.

Downloading is another subject altogether. Obviously a lot of people comply with this unwritten logic. Because of rumors/hearsay I have only been keeping 4 shells in my 6 place 870 mag.
After reading the article a 2nd time I realize that I was slightly mistaken in summing up that all manufacturers felt downloading was not necessary. After rereading, it appears that one large company believes it actually can help save spring life but only in the newer high capacity magazines. It does go on to say that most manufacturers do not see downloading as being necessary as long as the magazines are rotated. One even said that downloading doesn’t make any appreciable difference regardless.
My jury is still out on this one but at I’m kinda leaning towards changing my practice and filling her up. Shotgun that is. I’ve always kept my Glock mags full.

Another thing: I’m speculating here, but it doesn’t it seem logical that a gun designer would automatically factor in a nominal amount of spring fatigue when specifying initial tension requirements? Assuming spring degradation even exists of course:)
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FlyBoyTim

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Reply with quote  #13 
Another thing: I’m speculating here, but it doesn’t it seem logical that a gun designer would automatically factor in a nominal amount of spring fatigue when specifying initial tension requirements? Assuming spring degradation even exists of course😉”

No, it doesn’t seem logical at all. In doing research to answer this question with a decent link, I ran across a number of spring science articles. There’s a lot of it out there. I’ve seen spring minimum and maximum length numbers in various publications, including gunsmithing books on specific make and models of firearms. So, either knowledge of those numbers, or measuring a new spring as a starting point, can guide spring replacement. 

However, downloading a magazine, regardless the firearm involved, seems like an unnecessary idea, that limits the intended use of the firearm. Load those suckers with reckless abandon... 😜👍 Is what I say...
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combatshotgun

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Reply with quote  #14 
Tim.  You are ignoring the compression of shotgun shells over time.  Take one of your shotguns, I know you have as many as me and I think you passed me, and load the tube up, max it out.  Leave it sit for a few months and then unload it.   Examine your shells and you may find some slightly bulged.  Not all hulls are created equally so mix the brands up.    That is one of the main reasons I do not leave my HD shotguns maxed out, that and of course the Magazine spring.   

While on the subject has anyone been cleaning their HD and find very little bits of plastic or foam?  If so you need to look at the crimps of your shells and see if any of the buffering is coming out the end of shell because maxing out your tube can damage the crimp also.

I down load my HD and I check the spring a couple times a year.   I simply lay it besides a new one and if it is four inches shorter I replace it.  It is a $5.00 and my life is worth at least that.   I will need more then one or two rounds inside my home.   If I have to go out and check out buildings I pull from the shell holder before I step outside and max out my tube.

Tim:  If you experiment with this and find a brand that does deform and others that do not then please report back as it is a topic that comes up often and everyone would benifit from it.


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JD McGuire, Owner
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FlyBoyTim

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Reply with quote  #15 
That’s a great point JD. While i download by the one round that sits on the carrier of my 1301, and shoot it almost every Monday (my range day), it’s a good idea based on what you’re saying, to swap out your defensive loadings on a regular basis...

I’d like to help out, and that’s a good research project, but I doubt I’m the right guy for the aforementioned reasons. Perhaps someone else will volunteer.. That’s interesting. And no, you have way more shotguns than I do... 🤓👍
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