If a spring is left alone, loaded, there is no wear. I have Glock mags stored like this for 10+ years.
I’ll agree you should be fine staging them. Out of the utmost caution, I would suggest keeping them somewhere that is somewhat temperature/humidity controlled if you’re going to stage them for an extended period of time.
I’m no gun expert but I stayed at a holiday inn express so I should be able to provide all the facts for you.
People used to advise that you not keep mags loaded for too long because the springs used in many of the older firearm’s mags were not the same as they are today. Most of the springs you find manufactured today don’t suffer spring fatigue for several years of regular use (google it). Sooooo, if you have an older firearm with older mags, you might consider changing them out after every 6 months to be safe but if you have a newer manufacturer firearm, you should be good for a year at least. One way to put it to the test is to test it for yourself. Keep a mag loaded and don’t unload or fire it for a year and see if it still feeds properly. I’d bet you if will feed fine. I tried it on several magazines and all fire perfectly without issues.
Now to those nay sayers who firmly believe mags need to be unloaded earlier than 6 months so the spring doesn’t get fatigued…well…they’re either using old mags with old springs and their springs are already fatigued or they’re also flat earthers and wear aluminum foil for hats.
Load’em all, stage’em all, keep your weapons locked and loaded! Stage’em safely. This is war time, fascism is at your doorstep, DO NOT BE FOOLED!
Your springs will not wear out unless you’ve used them like I have. Three days a week, 198 rounds each day for 12 years, you do the math. Just replaced all my springs for all handgun Bill Wilson magazines (47D). They were not worn out, just maintenance. I don’t like surprises in the field!
There’s not a single magazine in my library that is not fully loaded, especially in today’s world!
After 12 years have never had to swap out any rifle magazine springs (PMAGS, 1st, 2nd & 3rd generations), they are kept loaded, every now and then they are cleaned. Same numbers ++ apply to the rifles!
You can never have too many loaded magazines! Buy quality and they should last a lifetime if maintained!
I have posted this elsewhere on this forum. Had several Glock 19 and KCI cheap knock off mags loaded with self defense and practice ammo stored and unused for over 10 years to see the effects of long term storage. Took them all to the range a year or two ago and they all worked fine. Have reused them multiple times since without issue.
I would not worry about long term storage with most modern mags. But if you are carrying a lot in climates with a lot of heat and humidity or where you regularly move between cold to warm places you might want to swap ammo out every few months and should inspect the mags at least every few weeks to make sure they aren’t getting plugged up with lint and debris.
Your springs will be fine, your ammo will be fine…for YEARS. That said, it would be wise to thoroughly clean the mags and springs first if you intend to store them for an extended period of time.
I personally don’t have the luxury to keep a lot of unused mags around, but I do have some rifle mags that may go six months between use and a couple backup pistol mags loaded with SD ammo in a small ammo box in my trunk.
Springs are cheap. Get some spares anyway.
Springs wear and tear happens as a result of usage (Meaning load and unload constantly), if you don’t unload them, then your mags are fine.
I’ll second what Erik10 has posted above. I recently took a class locally and the question of magazine spring wear came up. For what it’s worth the instructor of the class had also said that only the loading and unloading of the magazines would cause spring wear and that if they are left fully loaded or unloaded wouldn’t make a difference in the deterioration of the magazine spring itself. On the other hand, looking online you can order replacement magazine springs (even high quality Wolff) replacements for very few dollars if you needed peace of mind? Hope this helps.
I was cleaning out my truck about 15 years ago ( hum , note to self , time to clean it out again ) when I found a fully loaded HK-91 magazine in a pocket behind the seat . It was my spare mag that I carried when I had H&Ks back in the '80s . About 25 years loaded and stored under the Yuma heat . Gave it to a friend who had a '91 and we ran a limited test . The mag fed fine and still works till this day . The ammo all went bang and we could not see any difference in group size or sound when compared with new ammo .
Incredible… Thank you for sharing this story here @Chris67 !
First hand experience is always appreciated. Thank you for the excellent contribution!
Hopefully we can find more examples like this one.
TB09 I’ve had some magazines loaded for many years, and never had a feeding problem with any of them . After some ten years I shoot them up then I reload the empty brass and than reload my magazines, don’t get me wrong I do go shooting once every two weeks usually out in the desert.
Everyone above pretty well covered the bases.
What wears out springs is repeated extension and contraction. So just leaving the mags empty or unloaded won’t wear them out.
As others mentioned though, if your going to leave them in adverse conditions (humid) best to check on them periodically.
Some other threads with similar topics, if you want to read a bit more
Pistol and rifle mags should be fine. If you have a loaded shotgun for home defense store it Cruiser ready because the tube spring in most shotguns will fatigue.
This is correct.
THINK ABOUT THIS… I pondered this question for years. First keep in mind the age of the magazines. Todays magazines are made using CONSTANT TENSION SPRINGS. This is what finally lit my eyes up. Constant tension. It dosent matter if the magazine is loaded or not… the springs experience the same amount of tension either way. I would rather have mine loaded.
It is the USE of the magazine that causes wear. I have used magazines I loaded up 20 years ago without a single failure. I will also say I had a brand new Wilson Combat magazine that I had only loaded up ad cycled perhaps 5 times that when I ‘reloaded’ it the 6th time the spring literally exploded and disintegrated in my hands.
I guess what I got out of the experience is use your magazines at least a few times before loading up and storing. There are always those outliers that will surprise you.
@Anthony107 I took your post to heart, I have an older “old” shotgun as a closet gun fully loaded. I checked the spring and cleaned and oiled the tube and the follower, now only keep 2 in the tube and 2 close by with a stock shell holder with 5, 2 slugs and 3. OO. Buck.
P.S. I use Steel “T” shot for in house use. 2 3/4 in. 54 pellets of .20 cal.
This guy addresses this topic in a rational manner:
Wow! Thank you!!
My exact thoughts while reading