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SR22 Magazine Spring Fatigue

This is a discussion on SR22 Magazine Spring Fatigue within the Ruger Rimfires forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; I am new to pistol shooting. I recently purchased an SR22, which I love to shoot. I get to the range about twice a month. ...


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Old November 13th, 2019, 12:51 PM   #1
 
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SR22 Magazine Spring Fatigue

I am new to pistol shooting. I recently purchased an SR22, which I love to shoot. I get to the range about twice a month. When I get home, I clean the firearm and reload the magazines. I began to think about the magazines being loaded all the time and I wondered if that would weaken the magazine spring?

Comments?

Mark



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Old November 13th, 2019, 03:49 PM   #2
 
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No it won't
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Old November 13th, 2019, 04:31 PM   #3
 
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Hi Mark, congrats on the SR22 acquisition. Welcome to the forum, it's a fun and informative place with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Your SR22 a fine pistol and will provide hours and hours of fun. I wouldn't worry about the springs.
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Old November 13th, 2019, 05:22 PM   #4
 
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I have had mine for a year and all 4 mags have remained loaded (when my grandsons haven't emptied them) for the whole time,no problems.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 04:47 AM   #5
 
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Mark- Gave it some thought and wanted to give you more info; went back in my archive and found info saved from Wolff gun springs web-site. Here is an excerpt regarding your question:

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

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've seen a variety opinions over the years regarding springs, so don't be surprised at getting different outlooks/answers.
What do I do? Regarding my self defense pistols, I have four magazines each. Two are full, one for the gun, one spare to carry. The other two are unloaded. When I go to the range I rotate them. My SR22 and other range/ target pistols are unloaded when not in use.

BTW: We have a retired gunsmith here named Iowegan. He has a lot of helpful info archived in the e-library section and also contributes a lot to the Gunsmithing section and elsewhere that will answer many questions as you move along.

Kinda felt bad giving you a simplistic statement in my first reply- hope this helps.

Last edited by mark40; November 14th, 2019 at 05:56 AM.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 06:24 AM   #6
 
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There have been first hand accounts of stories where a mag was left loaded for an extended period of time and it ruined the springs. There are many more stories of mags left loaded for extended periods of time (years not days or weeks) and the mags worked fine. This begs the question, were the mags that failed after being loaded ALREADY bad? Science tells us that metal fatigue comes from the metal moving, not from being under stress. This is why buildings last decades with the metal in them "under stress" while metal in airplanes need to replaced despite being under relatively low stress. The flex is what does it.

Having said that, the consensus is that it is fine to leave a mag loaded for a short time (less than a year) as long as you occasionally unload, use and then reload each magazine once in a while. As far as the mag wearing out from use? You will spend many more times the price of a mag in ammo before you have a mag spring wear out. Shoot you gun and enjoy.

Edited to add, the biggest enemy to mag life is "topping off" a firearm or inserting a full mag in a gun with the action closed

Last edited by Nomadic Paladin; November 14th, 2019 at 06:26 AM.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 06:41 AM   #7
 
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My practice is similar to mark40's. I leave my mags unloaded except in my defense guns, in which I actually do exactly what he does. I have at least 4 (probably many more) and have two loaded and two resting and rotate.

So, I guess my question is this. Are you using your SR22 for defense? If not, why bother keeping it loaded? Load them up when you are packing your range bag and you will be good to go.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 07:32 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomadic Paladin View Post

Edited to add, the biggest enemy to mag life is "topping off" a firearm or inserting a full mag in a gun with the action closed
How so? The mag spring would still just be under steady pressure, and not moving, so it's not flexing/wearing out.
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Old November 30th, 2019, 03:55 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark40 View Post
Hi Mark, congrats on the SR22 acquisition. Welcome to the forum, it's a fun and informative place with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Your SR22 a fine pistol and will provide hours and hours of fun. I wouldn't worry about the springs.
I dont worry about em. Sometime when ordering from Ruger might want to
get a few spare mag springs, couple bucks each. Then in 25 yrs the only problem you will have is trying to locate the extra springs.

A keep a few spare parts, firing pin, and the very small parts under the FP.
Seems like a couple others that escape me for now. I could probably find em in a few days should I need em.
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Old December 2nd, 2019, 09:30 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbswelder
I began to think about the magazines being loaded all the time and I wondered if that would weaken the magazine spring?

Comments?

Mark
If you look at the spring manufacturer web sites, there are 3 things besides the material a spring is made of that determine how strong it is.

1) wire diameter. Thicker wire = stronger; Thinner wire = weaker.
2) coil diameter. Larger diameter = weaker; Smaller diameter = stronger.
3) #coils/inch. More coils = weaker; Less coils = stronger.

The strength is determined at the spring's resting (unstretched, uncompressed) position.

Now springs have "memory". That's what makes them valuable. But leaving them in a unresting position will make them "learn" a new resting position over a long period of time. Or stretching/compressing them beyond their designed working range will make them learn a new resting position more quickly.

So if you really want to keep a mag spring at it's original factory strength, you'd always take it out of the mag when not being used and let it "rest". But nobody ever does this. We leave it under preload, and it does weaken a little over a long period of time. The preload makes it learn more coils/inch, and larger coil diameter. When a weakened mag spring then has it's preload removed, it will be slightly shorter than a new one.

As others have noted, the weaker spring is NOT worn out. It has just changed a couple parameters of it's memory.

So the question is not "will the mag springs become weaker if left loaded?" (they will). The real question is "will the mags become unreliable if left loaded?". The answer to that is NO.

I have some old MKII mags that have much weaker springs than my newer MKIII mags. But the older mags continue to work just fine.

Don't worry about unloading your mags. They will continue to work fine for many years to come.
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Old December 2nd, 2019, 09:35 AM   #11
 
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Thanks to everyone that provided an answer to my question. I guess that I will have to find something else to worry about!
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Old Yesterday, 10:49 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbswelder View Post
I am new to pistol shooting. I recently purchased an SR22, which I love to shoot. I get to the range about twice a month. When I get home, I clean the firearm and reload the magazines. I began to think about the magazines being loaded all the time and I wondered if that would weaken the magazine spring?

Comments?

Mark
It won't, but I do have to ask as to why you keep your SR22 mags loaded all the time? Are you using the SR22 as a home defense gun?
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Old Yesterday, 12:38 PM   #13
 
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It is just easier for me to reload them after I clean the gun. They when a buddy calls to go shooting, I am ready!
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Old Yesterday, 04:36 PM   #14
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Here's some "Magazine Springs 101" … first, some magazines develop weak springs ….. some don't. Why? Spring steel wire requires softening (heat treatment) to shape them in a zig-zag or coil, then tempering the spring in its final shape. Herein lies the problem …. it is very difficult to remove any spring from a heat source then quench it in oil while maintaining the proper temperature. That's because the spring wire doesn't have enough mass to retain heat. In other words, the ends or coils tend to cool off before they get quenched, thus they don't always spring back like they are supposed to. In another magazine …. same brand and model, the spring may have a good heat treatment and will maintain tension for decades of use. I guess the word I'm looking for is "quality", or a lack thereof.

Only a few types of magazines use coil springs …. mostly because their compression ratio (length of compressed spring versus length of uncompressed spring) is not as favorable as a zig-zag spring. A MK Series pistol magazine is a good example. It uses a coil spring that makes a 10 round magazine longer than a single stack magazine with a zig-zag spring. If it weren't for the compressed coil spring, a 10 round MK Series magazine would easily hold 13 rounds.

The following applies to all magazines and everything else that has a spring …. when springs are over compressed (or stretched), they will "take a set" which simply means they were bent too much and can't recover full tension. This can happen in some magazines if they are stored fully loaded. By removing just 10% of the cartridges, magazine springs will not take a set … assuming the springs were tempered properly. Unlike many of the "old wives tales", springs flexing from use rarely has any impact on how long they last ….. flexing is what springs are designed to do. Typical springs will maintain tension with 1 million full flexes or about 10 million rounds. My suggestion, if you really feel you need to store your pistol magazines loaded, remove a round from full capacity and they will likely last forever.
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Old Today, 08:42 AM   #15
 
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Taking out 10%! (1 Round)
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