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Old 07-20-2010, 07:36   #1
Lampshade
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Downloading mag tube...

Can anyone set me straight on what the deal is with keeping shotguns loaded?

I keep hearing tidbits about not filling shotgun mags up to full capacity.

Chamber empty and magazine tube downloaded one round?

Full magazine?

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:33   #2
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Correct. If you have a two shot extension for a 6 round capacity and plan to keep it in the closet loaded then keep only four round in the tube or no more then 5. The mag spring will compact over time and plan on changing it about once a year. If you have a Remington with an LE tube extension the spring is only $3.40 retail. Small price for confidence.

Now there are guys that are going to tell you springs don't compact by being loaded and you can max you tube out. This is simply not correct and you are risking a feed issue if the weapon remains like that for to long. I swear I don't know where they get the information they repeat but it is bordering on dangerous when people accept wrong info and act on it.

The subject is well covered on all these web sites so expect some wild answers. One guy even claimed his pump has been keep loaded in his closet for 20 years with the same magazine spring and it works perfect. That must be true because I read it on the internet :-).
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:50   #3
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I see... do you see any difference in pistol vs shotgun mags?

The reasoning I have heard is that is repeated compression/decompression over time that wears the spring.

If I were to use an extra powered spring and change it annually, do you think that makes having a full mag tube a viable option?

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Old 07-20-2010, 13:12   #4
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I don't buy that either and if my primary weapon was a semi-auto hand gun I would down load, rotate mags and change those springs also. An employee of mine bought a Para 13 from a buddy and got three mags with it. All three had been maxed out in the guys safe for about a year. Niether mag would feed properly. New Wolf springs was all it took to get those mags feeding like new.

If others are convinced that they can do this to mags then they can do what they want. My life is to important to me risk over a few dollars in parts. You either need a weapon for defence or not, if you do, then maintain the weapon like you life depends on it, because it does.
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Old 07-20-2010, 21:48   #5
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Load it up to capacity don't worry about it -

A spring the size of the one in a 12 gauge can sit fully loaded for years and it will not be a problem.

The best thing is you can test it for yourself - really easy - when you clean the gun - unload gun (of course) - when you take the mag tube cap off guess what will happen - the spring will come flying out - when you go to put it back together you can see with your own eyes if it is good or not - because it will be a little hard to get the spring in & the cap on

BECAUSE THE SPRING WILL BE STRONG ENOUGH TO NOT WANT TO GO BACK IN THE TUBE WITHOUT A FIGHT.
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Old 07-22-2010, 14:51   #6
David Armstrong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lampshade View Post
Can anyone set me straight on what the deal is with keeping shotguns loaded?
I keep hearing tidbits about not filling shotgun mags up to full capacity.
Chamber empty and magazine tube downloaded one round?
Full magazine?
Thanks!
What I have seen as the standard recommendations in my travels as a student and trainer, and what I teach:
LE uses "Cruiser Ready", which is a full mag, empty chamber, weapon off safe.
For home defense, chamber empty, mag downloaded by one round, safety off.

Aippi has pretty much nailed part of the reason, the spring issue. Despite what some say, the experts in the spring business and the gun business all seem to say that springs do wear out. In addition to helping spring life, the other reason is that having the chamber downloaded by at least one round allows you to easily execute a "select slug" drill.

Last edited by David Armstrong; 07-22-2010 at 14:54..
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Old 07-22-2010, 19:47   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Armstrong View Post
What I have seen as the standard recommendations in my travels as a student and trainer, and what I teach:
LE uses "Cruiser Ready", which is a full mag, empty chamber, weapon off safe.
For home defense, chamber empty, mag downloaded by one round, safety off.

Aippi has pretty much nailed part of the reason, the spring issue. Despite what some say, the experts in the spring business and the gun business all seem to say that springs do wear out. In addition to helping spring life, the other reason is that having the chamber downloaded by at least one round allows you to easily execute a "select slug" drill.
Why the difference between LE & HD?


I expect the spring in my 870 will last for at least 10 years - even if I keep the mag fully loaded and shoot hundreds of rounds (mostly light loads at clay targets) a year.


First thing I did when I bought my 870 was replace the plastic follower with aluminum & put in a Wolff +10% spring.

It has been fully loaded for over 3 years and I have shot hundreds of rounds -

I still need to use a dowel to help guide / hold the spring in place when I put the gun back together after cleaning - I just don't see how anyone could think this spring is worn out.

I will try and not start a spring debate - sure everything wears out at some point - springs mostly wear from use not sitting compressed.

It is - IMHO a good idea to make sure your gun is not set up to over compress the spring.

I have a Winchester Ranger that is set up (from the factory)to be a 4+1 gun - but I can fit 5 in the mag if I want - which leaves zero extra space and the spring 100% compressed. It would not be a good idea to leave this gun loaded with 5 in the tube. But with this much space left over with 4 rounds it will do no damage to the spring & could be kept loaded for 50 years without causing any issue.

But everyone needs to do what they think is best -
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Old 07-22-2010, 19:56   #8
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870 is fully loaded with one in the hole, safety on

g19 is fully loaded with one in the hole

g19 spare mag is fully loaded

I honestly hope I'll never need 7 shells of 00 buck or 31 rounds of gold dot, but if I do, I have it.
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Old 07-22-2010, 20:23   #9
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Springs wear out through compression and decompression. A continued state of either will cause no wear on the spring.
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Old 07-23-2010, 00:06   #10
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Springs wear out through compression and decompression. A continued state of either will cause no wear on the spring.
+1

I have been to 5 armorer's schools and this question ALWAYS comes up. Bottom line the FACTORY instructors relay what the ENGINEERS say to them: it's not the continous compression but the compression and expansion wearing out the springs. I'm sorry but I trust engineers who actually design the guns we shoot over people chest thumping.

I load up my mags to their limits and leave them that way. IF I rotate them out it is after I shoot whatever ammo is in them. The only time I have ever had srings go bad in a gun was when ammo was cheap and I put a couple thousand rounds through my issued Beretta in a year or so. A lot of up ad down for those springs in a short period of time.

Load it up to capacity and shoot it every so often. If it fails, replace it.

Let's be honest okay. Pump shotguns are not going to be as sensitive to bad springs as autoloaders. Even then most failures or due to no cleaning or no lube.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:29   #11
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Why the difference between LE & HD?
LE is generally restricted in what they can use, so the ability to select loads is diminished to some extent. And to a lesser extent the shotgun is becoming a special purpose weapon for much of LE, with the selection decided on well in advance. For the homeowner I see just the opposite, with the shotgun serving best in a general purpose role. Finally, LE SHOULD (emphasis mine) be more likely to have the shotgun on a regular maintenance schedule so the springs and such are being inspected on a regular basis. Yes, the homeowner should do the same, but IME it doesn't work out that way.
Quote:
I will try and not start a spring debate - sure everything wears out at some point - springs mostly wear from use not sitting compressed.
Yes, the debate is already posted elsewhere, but since you brought it up many of the best-known manufacturers and custom gun makers disagree with that, as do the major spring makers.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:28   #12
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LE is generally restricted in what they can use, so the ability to select loads is diminished to some extent. And to a lesser extent the shotgun is becoming a special purpose weapon for much of LE, with the selection decided on well in advance. For the homeowner I see just the opposite, with the shotgun serving best in a general purpose role. Finally, LE SHOULD (emphasis mine) be more likely to have the shotgun on a regular maintenance schedule so the springs and such are being inspected on a regular basis. Yes, the homeowner should do the same, but IME it doesn't work out that way.

Yes, the debate is already posted elsewhere, but since you brought it up many of the best-known manufacturers and custom gun makers disagree with that, as do the major spring makers.
I think the spring debate is most akin to the cello on or off cigar debate...maybe we should send this one to MythBusters?
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Old 07-23-2010, 13:13   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Armstrong View Post
What I have seen as the standard recommendations in my travels as a student and trainer, and what I teach:
LE uses "Cruiser Ready", which is a full mag, empty chamber, weapon off safe.
For home defense, chamber empty, mag downloaded by one round, safety off.

Aippi has pretty much nailed part of the reason, the spring issue. Despite what some say, the experts in the spring business and the gun business all seem to say that springs do wear out. In addition to helping spring life, the other reason is that having the chamber downloaded by at least one round allows you to easily execute a "select slug" drill.
That's the way I was trained with the shotgun also.

Cruiser Ready to give you the option of a slug first. If not rack the first round of buck in and top off the mag if you have time.
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Old 07-23-2010, 15:10   #14
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Originally Posted by David Armstrong View Post
Yes, the debate is already posted elsewhere, but since you brought it up many of the best-known manufacturers and custom gun makers disagree with that, as do the major spring makers.
Maybe they like to sell springs.

I can't see how myth busters could do a test - load up a Remington 870 - wait 50 years - see if it jams.
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Old 07-23-2010, 15:37   #15
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LE is generally restricted in what they can use, so the ability to select loads is diminished to some extent. And to a lesser extent the shotgun is becoming a special purpose weapon for much of LE, with the selection decided on well in advance. For the homeowner I see just the opposite, with the shotgun serving best in a general purpose role. Finally, LE SHOULD (emphasis mine) be more likely to have the shotgun on a regular maintenance schedule so the springs and such are being inspected on a regular basis. Yes, the homeowner should do the same, but IME it doesn't work out that way.

Yes, the debate is already posted elsewhere, but since you brought it up many of the best-known manufacturers and custom gun makers disagree with that, as do the major spring makers.

I would expect Spring makers to disagree......... they want to sell more springs.


From my experience, my stock Remmy spring went fully loaded for about 10 years before it started not pushing out the last 1 or 2 rounds in the tube. A little internet order to Wilson and I had a new follower and spring in a rebuild kit.

I have a spare or 2 around so it's not really something I worry about.
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Old 07-23-2010, 18:29   #16
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Since I have only been shooting pump action shotguns for about 40 years and have never had a spring fail -

I was wondering - when one does fail -

Which round in the tube is most likely to fail?

Is it more likely the first few or the last few will start to cause a problem?

Or is it just random?

On one hand I could see the first round being most likely to fail - the tube is full and the load on the spring to push 6 rounds would be heavier.

On the other hand when you only have one or two rounds left if the spring was weak it seems like this would be when the spring is most likely to not have enough "spring" left to push out the last few rounds.
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Old 07-23-2010, 19:01   #17
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Old 07-23-2010, 19:16   #18
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If compression and decompression (i.e. use) were really the only things that wore springs then the spring from a mag tube that had been left fully loaded for a long period of time would return to its original length when removed from the gun.
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Old 07-23-2010, 22:15   #19
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If compression and decompression (i.e. use) were really the only things that wore springs then the spring from a mag tube that had been left fully loaded for a long period of time would return to its original length when removed from the gun.
This is the reason so many people think mag springs wear out.

When my 870 was new the mag spring was almost 40 inches long -

It has been fully loaded for about 3 years - I cleaned it today - it is about 36 inches long.


A spring does shrink some when compressed - but that is normal - it is expected - it has been taken into account when the gun was designed.

I will guess (wild guess) the first few weeks it shrank a couple inches - then maybe an inch the next 6 months - then an inch in 2 years -

But my mag tube is only 18 inches long - how long of a spring do I need?
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Old 07-23-2010, 23:27   #20
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I owned a M590 before my current 870. I did have feed issues after keeping the mag tube loaded full for several years (with a fair amount of shooting in the mix). It was always the last half of the magazine that had problems.

That said, I do keep my 870's tube fully loaded. I do change the magazine spring annually as insurance.

bc
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