necessary to replace mag springs? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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GoBigOrange
03-11-2011, 13:08
I tried posting this in "GATE Glock and pistol forum" over a week ago but it was never approved by a moderator. :dunno:

Anyways, I was thinking about replacing the springs in my G19 mags since I've carried the same magazines for a year now. The springs are relatively cheap so I don't mind.

Does anyone else replace the springs, or do you just adopt the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" method?

skyboss_4evr
03-11-2011, 13:14
Personally, I only replace mag springs when I start to experience last round failures to feed in a particular magazine. I don't see any need to replace them annually. Like you said, if they're feeding your gun properly, no need to replace them.

Gunruner1917
03-11-2011, 13:20
I'm still using AR15 magazines with original springs that were military M16 surplus from the 60's. I have Colt .45 WWII magazines with original springs. I have Glock 19 mags 11 years used ALOT. Etc.Etc.Etc. Never replaced a spring yet. I always leave my mags loaded after I wipe them down after I run them. Like you said "not broke don't fix".........Mike

lucky-gunner
03-11-2011, 13:22
There's no need to replace your magazines after just one year. Unless you are shooting in competitions they should last quite a bit longer than that.

However it isn't a bad idea to pick up some spare springs while your magazines are running fine. That way years from now when they do wear out you have them on hand to replace.

SCC
03-11-2011, 13:50
just mark them what they are for ... I just take mine to the factory and they fix them up for me for free :whistling:

tonyparson
03-11-2011, 13:57
Personally, I only replace mag springs when I start to experience last round failures to feed in a particular magazine. I don't see any need to replace them annually. Like you said, if they're feeding your gun properly, no need to replace them.

This :thumbsup:

fastbolt
03-11-2011, 14:20
Unless you're running it through a lot of training classes or using it for competition, I'd think that a year is a bit soon to consider replacing mag springs, especially in a 9mm model.

The higher slide velocities of the .40 & .357 models might exhibit a mag spring being unable to keep up with the slide's cycling sooner than with the 9 & .45 models, but even then you're talking about more rounds than most average owners can afford to run through their guns. In the Wearable Parts Replacement List first released to armorers back about '08 (which only listed .40's being used by LE, BTW) the recommended replacement interval for mag springs for a G22 was 2,500 - 4,000 rounds, or at least every other time the recoil spring assembly was replaced (which was recommended at 2,500 rounds). The G23, however, was listed for mag spring replacement at 2,000 rounds, or at least every other time the recoil spring was replaced (which was also listed at 2,000 rounds for the compact).

Obviously it was anticipated that there might be some variance in when the springs in various guns ... (especially when being used with different ammunition in the hands of different shooters, which are a couple of important influences and factors in how well a particular pistol may function).

Last round feeding stoppages ... or, for armorers, having the slide fail to lock back on an empty mag when the elide is run rapidly & briskly on an EMPTY gun at the bench ... is a sign the mag springs are ready for replacement.

The current Glock armorer manual, in discussing replacement of wearable parts, includes springs in the parts discussed. It basically states that springs are very important to the operation of the gun and that as they age and "tire" (their word) they can affect the operation, leading to unsatisfactory performance. It goes on to say that any sporing can be damaged, weakened, worn or broken and should be evaluated often. The mag spring is one of the nine springs listed which may require attention at some point. (It's #8 on the list.)

Rather than wait for a spring-related functioning issue to occur on the range, though, in my personal subcompact Glocks (G26's & a G27) I usually prefer to replace the mags springs about every 3,000 rounds, give or take. (The recommended schedule in the previous wearable parts list recommended mag replacement in the G27 either every 5,000 rounds or every other recoil spring replacement (3,000 rounds).

Can mag springs become weak enough to cause feeding problems? Sure. As a firearms instructor I've seen a number of folks who had their Glocks (and other make of pistols) experience feeding & functioning problems related to weakened mag springs. It's not been anything seen occurring on a specific schedule, either. One guy had a 10-year old G22, which he only fired for mandatory qualifications once or twice a year sicne he bought it, have his original mag springs give up and cause repeated feeding issues. It was a personally owned duty weapon being maintained by another agency. The guy sort of shrugged off the feeding problems occurring at a qual session I was running, and he mentioned that weakened springs probably explained why his G22 had failed to feed a few times when he used it to try and shoot an attacking pit bull a few weeks prior. :shocked: (FWIW, after he had the mag springs replaced the gun experienced a broken recoil spring assembly and an extractor at another session 3-4 years later.)

I remember another couple of guys using G27's with G23 mags who had consistent feeding problems during the last part of their mag loads (when the springs were reaching their weakest tension) ... but the guns ran fine when using the stock 9-rd G27 mags. One of the guys said his problematic G23 mag was only 3-4 years old, and he only shot the gun 4-5 times a year.

Another guy had an issue with his G20 and weakened mag springs ... another guy with his G30. LOTS of 1911's using mags of various makes & vintage with weakened mag springs. A Sig P228 & P220 (early model 220 with mag heel/butt release). Some S&W's, Walther's, Beretta's etc. The list goes on ... and that's just from watching folks try to qualify on the range with both agency & personally-owned guns.

Sure, you're always going to find folks who report never having had a feeding problem related to a weakened mag spring. Good for them. Day before yesterday I was parked next to a woman who had a badly worn tire on her minivan with a huge chunk of rubber tread missing, exposing a very worn section of belt. She was still driving the minivan filled with kids. Maybe she felt it hadn't yet been a problem so it was okay, or maybe her family just couldn't afford new rubber. Dunno.

Mag & recoil spring replacement is one of those issues that always stirs up some debate and all manner of personal opinion.

I've attended many armorer classes for various manufacturers over the years, including a few Glock classes, and recommendations not only vary among the manufacturers, but they've also changed over the course of time among the manufacturers.

Then there's the folks who explain that from a metallurgical perspective a well-made spring should last for many, many cycles and withstand years of being left under full compression. Okay, maybe so. But ...

Springs are relatively inexpensive and they aren't all the same. If a gun maker receives a case of 10,000 mag springs, do you really think that each and every one of them will be identical in tension, durability and longevity when compared to all the rest in that shipment ... or from a couple of shipments ago? Or, will they fall within an acceptable "range" according to manufacturing specifications.

Me? I like boring, monotonous feeding with a minimum of surprises (usually limited to those unpredictable and unexpected things related to ammunition), so I tend to lean toward the conservative side of such preventive maintenance practices and probably replace my mag (and recoil) springs sooner than some other folks (including some other armorers).

It's one thing to wait for a weakened spring related issue to eventually occur on a range, but another to wonder if the first indication of a weakened spring will instead occur off the range. ;)

As usual, just my thoughts and some observations from my own experiences. Other folks will have their own.

If in doubt, find a local Glock armorer and ask him/her to check your gun & mags.

Glockist
03-11-2011, 15:22
I change my mag springs for my carry guns EVERY YEAR. Is your life worth $5 (or less) per carry mag? Don't listen to any net ranger who tells you not to worry about it until you start getting failures. If preventive maintenance is good enough for my car, it's good enough for my guns.

tonyparson
03-11-2011, 15:26
I change my mag springs for my carry guns EVERY YEAR. Is your life worth $5 (or less) per carry mag? Don't listen to any net ranger who tells you not to worry about it until you start getting failures. If preventive maintenance is good enough for my car, it's good enough for my guns.

So if someone like my wife that hardly ever shots her G26 maybe 2 times a year, she should change her mag springs out ever year? :dunno:

Glockist
03-11-2011, 15:47
Yes. My 26 which gets shot the same amount as your wife's has its mag springs changed every year. It's called preventive maintenance, not reactive maintenance. I compete twice every week with my 34 or 17 and never have a malfunctions thanks to preventive maintenance. I also change my carry ammo every year or more frequently if it gets left in the car. I see multiple malfunctions every weeks which I attribute to either mag springs or poorly reloaded ammo.

DannyR
03-11-2011, 16:06
I have some 1996 G19 mags that I've been using since 1996 and they all function 100% with the original springs.:whistling:

tonyparson
03-11-2011, 16:11
Hey Glockist how much do you want for all your old worn out mag springs?

pedropcola
03-11-2011, 16:16
Bit of a stretch here. Duty ammo isn't reloads and while replacing it yearly is reasonable at least you shoot it and get use out of it. Replacing year old springs and tossing (how many range mags can you possibly have?) them is overkill. You can't even provide decent anecdotal evidence to back this up. Why not replace the mainspring and recoil spring as well? Hell, I can call anything preventive maintenance. I don't care if you change out everything on your gun weekly but us net rangers apply a little common sense into the mix just for fun!

Glockist
03-11-2011, 16:30
If a mag spring isn't good enough for me then I'm certainly not going to sell it to somebody else. Does you wife practice malfunction drills? I do. Just because something has worked for a decade without fail doesn't mean it won't fail tomorrow. There are few things that I am adament about, but this is one of them. I don't wait for malfunctions, I'm proactive and act before they occur. What's good enough for you and is not for me and mine.

Glockist
03-11-2011, 16:45
[QUOTE=pedropcola;17026621]Replacing year old springs and tossing (how many range mags can you possibly have?) them is overkill. You can't even provide decent anecdotal evidence to back this up. Why not replace the mainspring and recoil spring as well? QUOTE]

I'm not breaking the bank here guys. I only have three carry mags and those springs end up in my range mags. . . . and yes, my guns get dropped off at Glock every year or two for a once over by their amorers and if mainspring and recoil springs are changed by the armorers, then so be it. I carry Glocks because they work and my carry guns go bang every time and intend to keep them running that way.

P.S. I finally cleaned my 34 for the first time since Christmas after several thousand rounds. It took me five minutes at the work bench. Did I carry this 34 for defense? No.

tonyparson
03-11-2011, 17:04
If a mag spring isn't good enough for me then I'm certainly not going to sell it to somebody else. Does you wife practice malfunction drills? I do. Just because something has worked for a decade without fail doesn't mean it won't fail tomorrow. There are few things that I am adament about, but this is one of them. I don't wait for malfunctions, I'm proactive and act before they occur. What's good enough for you and is not for me and mine.

All because you bought a new spring for your mags doesn't mean your mags wont fail tomorrow. I've seen new guns not fire and I've seen new mags not feed right.

bobelk99
03-11-2011, 17:23
I love to chime in with personal comments, but I believe Fastbolt covered the universe = Excellent Input

Glockist
03-11-2011, 17:45
Hey Y'all, Just got done checking the tire pressure and oil levels before I take a drive tomorrow. I've only got half a tank of gas so I'll top that off before I head out of town. I won't be tailgating and at stoplights I'll leave one or two car lengths ahead of me . . . just in case. Have fun with your malfunction drills. You'll never know when you might need the practice!

skyboss_4evr
03-12-2011, 02:32
Hey Y'all, Just got done checking the tire pressure and oil levels before I take a drive tomorrow. I've only got half a tank of gas so I'll top that off before I head out of town. I won't be tailgating and at stoplights I'll leave one or two car lengths ahead of me . . . just in case. Have fun with your malfunction drills. You'll never know when you might need the practice!

Give it a rest. :upeyes:

fastbolt
03-12-2011, 15:16
This doesn't need to be a contentious subject, you know, folks ...

Glock and other major manufacturers who do a lot of LE business tend to usually be pretty careful when making recommendations to their LE users. Guns sold to the commercial public may, or may not, be purchased with the intent of them being used in defensive roles. However, the ones sold to LE are expected to be carried for such on a daily basis, and are probably going to be subjected to more abuse than those bought by non-LE customers for occasional sporting use and leisure range enjoyment.

An armorer instructor for one of the other major European makers of guns used by LE once remarked during a class I attended that they expected the LE guns to probably be fired more than those purchased by commercial customers, too. Before someone takes exception to this comment, you might consider that the owners who frequent firearms forums probably represent a very, very, very small number of the actual number of "regular" owners. One of the other major makers of guns once commented that market survey still indicated that the "average" pistol owner probably fired less than 500 rounds through a particular gun in his/her lifetime. The guns were mostly briefly fired when purchased and then put away for long periods of time.

Now, I've also used some various magazines for 9mm pistols (S&W 3rd gen) which kept the original springs for 10-15 years at a time. Some were used just for range use and some had been kept fully loaded in mag carriers during that time. A number of the mags worked just fine with low velocity 147gr JHP and 115gr FMJ/JHP loads ... as long as they were kept clean and the guns were likewise clean and properly lubricated. The majority of them eventually reached a point (variously) where they started to exhibit feeding problems with even the standard pressure, low-end 9mm loads (and sooner if some faster cycling +P/+P+ loads were used).

S&W used to tell LE armorers that their mag springs were randomly checked by the factory by loading and leaving mags in one of their vaults, taking them out at increasingly longer intervals and test-firing them. I was told that back then S&W 3rd gen 9mm magazines had demonstrated normal & proper feeding and functioning out past 10 years of being left fully loaded. A couple of methods to bench check mag spring strength and condition were discussed.

When I attended my next recert class, though, the recommendation was now that recoil and mag spring should be replaced either every 5 years or every 5,000 rounds, or sooner if a spring exhibited unexpected weakening or suffered damage. We were told that nothing had changed about the springs, but the company felt it was better to give a time-in-use/service criteria for replacement intervals for guns which might be used to protect lives (and one instructor in one of those subsequent classes, acknowledged that the recommendation was probably a little overly conservative ... but it was better to be safe than sorry in guns being used as dedicated defensive weapons.

The moral? Maybe a shooter with an excellent grip, using a properly clean & lubricated gun (including clean & dry mags) might have little or few problems when using light loads in a gun which has as "well worn" set of mag (and recoil ) springs ... but what about an owner/user of "less well developed & consistent" skills & abilities, using a less well maintained gun, perhaps with neglected mags (dirty) and shooting either really under or over powered loads were considered? Maybe the same mag springs which could be effectively used by one shooter, in one set of conditions, might offer different service & performance to another shooter.

What if the guns were suddenly subjected to unexpectedly harsh and abusive conditions? Might the"more used" springs suddenly found themselves overwhelmed by the harsher conditions, perhaps offering less than satisfactory functioning than they might in better or more "normal" conditions?

FWIW, once I experienced a couple of feeding stoppages when using those older mags & springs (which were indicative of weakened springs), I was grateful they had occurred on some training/qual range, and not when being used off the range for an actual defensive application. I decided to start replacing the springs before they exhibited signs of having weakened to the point where stoppages were occurring.

Sure,. I could always wait until a "problem" occurred ... but how could I guess whether that first indication would occur on the range, where it was a minor inconvenience, or "on the street", where the weapon was desperately needed to properly function?

How much is a set of mag springs compared to the cost of a box of practice ammunition, especially when only spent every few thousand rounds?