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Old 01-13-2014, 19:04   #1
quake
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Storing magazines

I realize it's typically bad form to ask specific questions about personal things, but a thread in another forum made me curious how folks here address the issue of storing loaded magazines long-term; or for that matter whether it's an issue that people even bother to address. Magazines that are unloaded and new/unused magazines for me personally, just set in a container; which can be an ammo can, a closed plastic tub, or even just a cardboard box in some cases.

For the most part, my magazines are either ones I use on a regular basis, or they're just left empty. I don't have a lot of magazines that are setting around loaded but unused. I keep a few loaded for use (as few as one or two per gun in a lot of cases); not a ton of them in most cases. But for a few guns I do keep a larger number loaded, and that's the thing I'm curious about how people handle.

Personally, I like the smallish, waterproof, structurally-strong pelican cases; the 1150 and 1200 size most often. For that matter, I use them for other things as well; not just magazines by any means. They're not particularly cheap, but I'm confident they'll protect things for a long, long time; and that's key with me on some things.


Pelican 1200 with 10 aluminum AR mags:
Survival/Preparedness Forum


Same 1200 size holds six AK 30's:
Survival/Preparedness Forum


1150 holds six AR 30's, either Pmag or aluminum:
Survival/Preparedness Forum

Survival/Preparedness Forum

The gap in the 1150 holding the aluminum magazines is just large enough to hold a small M193-size box of shells as well. Not quite long enough to hold two.
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Old 01-13-2014, 20:00   #2
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I have a footlocker full...plain ole GI Joe green plywood footlocker
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Old 01-13-2014, 20:23   #3
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I keep three 15 round and three 33 round mags loaded at all times. Several are stored in a moisture resistant ammo box with desiccant packs to keep them dry.
Is it a problem keeping them loaded to capacity? I worry that it will harm the springs inside them long term.
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Old 01-13-2014, 21:12   #4
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I keep the major portion of my mags loaded. I've not had any spring issues over 10 years or so.
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Old 01-13-2014, 22:11   #5
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I keep about 1/3 of my mags loaded and the empties are either in the original baggies stored on a shelf or in a gun case, like how you store yours in the Pelican.
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Old 01-13-2014, 22:30   #6
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I don't keep many loaded. The guns I have a reason to keep loaded have a full mag in 'em, sometimes theres some leftover rounds in a mag after a range I didn't fire. Theres some extra ammo loaded up for the home defense gun. But besides that, they're just unloaded. No real reason I see to keep a bunch loaded - you're not going to need 300 bullets at the drop of a hat and ammo keeps better in its cans.

But my mags just get strewn about. Most are in the safe, a few are elsewhere. I don't pay much attention to care for them, to be honest.

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Old 01-13-2014, 22:39   #7
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I keep some in military ammo cans, usually with a few extra boxes of ammo and a carry pouch. I put a piece of dense closed-cell foam at the feed-lip end to prevent the feed lips from impacting the side of the can if it is forcefully dropped/struck, and a small dessicant pouch to keep things dry inside the can (more for the ammo vs. the mag's sake).

Tip: Always lay 30-round AR/M16 mags down in ammo cans, or the lid can damage the feed lips on closing.
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Old 01-13-2014, 23:39   #8
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We use ammo cans for mags,and fill the empty spaces with parts for the guns the mags fit.'08.

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Old 01-13-2014, 23:42   #9
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If I own a magazine I can assure you that it is loaded to capacity. What good will an empty mag do if I need it?
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Old 01-14-2014, 00:41   #10
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What if folk have 3k+ in mags,some of us do.'08.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:02   #11
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Quake, I use ammo cans but I am going to look into your Pelican 1200, nice.

As far as springs go IIRC the springs only wear during usage and not if the spring is fully compressed. Correct me if I am wrong on this but I remember reading about magazines from WWII that were loaded and for 50 plus years and the springs were still fine.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:05   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvv View Post
If I own a magazine I can assure you that it is loaded to capacity. What good will an empty mag do if I need it?
I can see that, and I know a lot of folks agree. My thought is that there are three categories that any item can fall into. Basically, an item can be for regular use, emergency use, or for backstock. That can be gun stuff or boring stuff. Regular-use and emergency-use stuff need to be ready for use; backstock not so much. IE, we have boxes of pencils put back, but they're not sharpened. It certainly wouldn't hurt to sharpen them, but meh, don't really feel the need... If I knew were going to need them soon, then sure; I'd sharpen them. But I've got plenty of sharp pencils on hand without them.

As long as I have more than enough loaded magazines for normal use as well as sudden, worst-case, emergency-situation use, the state of the rest aren't really critical imo. It almost certainly wouldn't hurt to load them, no question there, but I personally prefer to keep some things (magazines, pencils, socks, whatever) as simple 'backstock'; in their new, unused condition.

Numerous reasons really, and not necessarily 'tactical' reasons. I gave away some Lancer, Pmag, and GI-style AR magazines at Christmas this year, and having them still in the wrapper (ie, unloaded & unused) made that simpler. If another run like last year's were to set in, then having them new in the wrapper also gives the option of selling some of them "new in the wrapper".

All that said, there is at least one definite advantage to having even unnecessary magazines loaded rather than unloaded. Storage space. A loaded magazine takes up no more room than an empty one, so loading them up would reduce the amount of space needed for a given amount of ammunition & magazines. If storage space is at a premium, that could be a factor to consider.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:32   #13
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Originally Posted by UneasyRider View Post
...As far as springs go IIRC the springs only wear during usage and not if the spring is fully compressed. Correct me if I am wrong on this but I remember reading about magazines from WWII that were loaded and for 50 plus years and the springs were still fine.
Agree on the second part (the old, loaded magazines still working fine), and mostly - but not completely - agree on the first part. You could leave a quality magazine loaded for years/decades and it still be fine, no disagreement there at all.

Many mechanical engineers constantly assert that same argument that it's ONLY the number of cycles that affect a spring, and that a single compression is still a single compression and has the same effect regardless of duration. I'm no mechanical engineer, but I can be taught, and experience teaches me without reservation that those mechanical engineers are frankly either ignorantly repeating a dogma, or they're just stupid.

For a simple test of their theory, take two new-in-wrapper high-cap pistol magazines; glock, S&W, whoever's. Load them both to full capacity. Unload one of them right then, but let the other one set, fully loaded, for a week or a month, then unload it.

Now load them both a second time; you can feel a huge difference in the resistance. The magazine that was left loaded has taken a set, and the one that was loaded & immediately unloaded is still almost as tough as it originally was. Yet they've both still only had one compression cycle, and according to the claims of many mechanical engineers, the duration of a compression cycle is irrelevant to the effect of a compression cycle. This simple test clearly and easily shows that dogmatic claim to be incorrect. Now, it could be that their theory is true AFTER a given number of compression cycles, once the spring has taken whatever set it's going to. I can't say with any authority on that - as I already confessed, I'm not a mechanical engineer.

I'm also not saying it'll hurt the magazine at all to leave it loaded long-term. I have mags I've had loaded for years and would trust them completely. But the universal claim that only the number of compressions matters, and that the duration of any given compression cycle is irrelevant on effect, is so easily demonstrated as false, I genuinely don't understand how it continues to make the rounds without getting automatically (and easily) slapped down the instant it comes up.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:59   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quake View Post
Agree on the second part (the old, loaded magazines still working fine), and mostly - but not completely - agree on the first part. You could leave a quality magazine loaded for years/decades and it still be fine, no disagreement there at all.

Many mechanical engineers constantly assert that same argument that it's ONLY the number of cycles that affect a spring, and that a single compression is still a single compression and has the same effect regardless of duration. I'm no mechanical engineer, but I can be taught, and experience teaches me without reservation that those mechanical engineers are frankly either ignorantly repeating a dogma, or they're just stupid.

For a simple test of their theory, take two new-in-wrapper high-cap pistol magazines; glock, S&W, whoever's. Load them both to full capacity. Unload one of them right then, but let the other one set, fully loaded, for a week or a month, then unload it.

Now load them both a second time; you can feel a huge difference in the resistance. The magazine that was left loaded has taken a set, and the one that was loaded & immediately unloaded is still almost as tough as it originally was. Yet they've both still only had one compression cycle, and according to the claims of many mechanical engineers, the duration of a compression cycle is irrelevant to the effect of a compression cycle. This simple test clearly and easily shows that dogmatic claim to be incorrect. Now, it could be that their theory is true AFTER a given number of compression cycles, once the spring has taken whatever set it's going to. I can't say with any authority on that - as I already confessed, I'm not a mechanical engineer.

I'm also not saying it'll hurt the magazine at all to leave it loaded long-term. I have mags I've had loaded for years and would trust them completely. But the universal claim that only the number of compressions matters, and that the duration of any given compression cycle is irrelevant on effect, is so easily demonstrated as false, I genuinely don't understand how it continues to make the rounds without getting automatically (and easily) slapped down the instant it comes up.
Spring steel will return to its original shape however it may not be immediate. This is taken into account when engineering any machinery to include magazines.

It is in fact the cycling of the spring that wears them out. Both of your tested magazines would have cycled just fine.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvv View Post
If I own a magazine I can assure you that it is loaded to capacity. What good will an empty mag do if I need it?
+1
have dedicated range mags and will soon get replacement springs for them
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:29   #16
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Only mags that are loaded are in my carry gun, HD gun and the two in my BOB.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:30   #17
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I keep one battle loadout loaded for each mag fed SHTF weapon. Extra mags/ammo are just stored in the box/container they came in, or in ammo cans, if they didn't come already sealed in one.

Since there is some discussion of spring set..

Minor, personal, empirical evidence/observation..

From '88 to '90 I was stationed in Berlin. Last unit in the regular army to have M60A3 tanks, and associated equipment. Also, a forward trigger point unit. For those of you who don't know about the Iron Curtain, Berlin was 100 miles behind enemy lines, from the start. So we kept EVERYTHING on the tanks ready to go, fully battle loaded. That included crates of .45 ammo loaded in 1911 and M3 magazines.

When we transitioned to the M1A1 All that stuff was instantly obsolete. We drew M9's and AR's. As part of the decommissioning of the last US M60's, we shot up all remaining training stocks of 105 ammo in USAREUR, and all the .50 caliber linked for the M85, and, all that .45.

The .45 in both 1911 and grease gun mags had been crated in '51, opened and checked annually for better than 45 years, loaded and off loaded from the tanks every time they went to the west to train, stood on, sat on, slept on. Cold/hot, whatever the weather was in Berlin. When we loaded up a couple deuces and took it to the range, we fired it over the course of a week, and nearly every soldier stationed there (Berlin) at the time got the chance to qualify with the 1911 and the M3. Regardless of MOS or issued weapon type. I was the range NCOIC for two of those 5 days. Buddy of mine had the other three. Our XO was OIC for the week. We didn't have a single malfunction we could squarely blame on a magazine. Not one. We had sights fall off. We had trigger springs break. We had grips crack/shatter. Slides crack. We had one M3 loose a welded seem and effectively fall in half in a shooter's hands. We had barrels "run out of" rifling.

But we did not have a for sure mag failure.. Thousands of mags. Couple hundred guns. 3/4 of a million rounds or so. At the end of the week, roughly 50% of the small arms were deadlined.

It was good.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:37   #18
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On top of my gun safe and ammo safe I have stacks of those little plastic steri-lite drawers from walmart, labelled for different guns and calibers, that I use to store my magazines. I keep a couple of magazines loaded for carry guns and the rest stay unloaded in the plastic drawers.

However, I am not anticipating a sudden invasion by zombies or the Chinese, or secret government hit squads storming my house, so I may not be your typical Glocktalker.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:53   #19
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Quote:
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...Both of your tested magazines would have cycled just fine.
Agree completely, as I said. I'm just pointing out that a single two-minute compression on a new magazine spring doesn't have the same effect as a single two-week compression on a new magazine spring. It doesn't take special measuring equipment, the effect is easily noticeable. Also agree (again, as I said) that it doesn't hurt anything.

I just have a hard time with blatantly-errant pontifications, whether from an engineer, politician, or preacher.

It's simple to test - by just grabbing a couple unused magazines & doing it. The experiment costs nothing, and demonstrates the effect undeniably. For that matter, some manufacturers put the info in their instructions. Israeli E-Lander AR mags are known for having near-horrifically tough springs, and are very hard to load to a full 30 when new. They specifically instruct users to load the magazine and let it sit for several weeks, after which the spring will be softer and loading will be easier.

Doesn't hurt the spring, but it certainly affects the spring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFCSMITH(RET) View Post
...But we did not have a for sure mag failure.. Thousands of mags. Couple hundred guns. 3/4 of a million rounds or so.
Also agree & don't doubt that at all. I found a loaded magazine from a family member's WW2 1911A1 back in the early 90's, loaded with issue ball (still had the partial box right with it). It had sat loaded to full capacity for at least 45 years, with a max total of maybe 10-15 cycles in that time frame. Popped it in my colt and it worked fine, and still works fine today. The spring doesn't have the strength/resistance as when new, but we can't expect it to. My point is simply that although it still works after long-term compression, it's certainly not unaffected by long-term compression.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:20   #20
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Every magazine I own is loaded. They are actually useful when loaded, and storing mags loaded versus mags plus ammo saves storage space.

Storing mags loaded does not affect them. Loading them and unloading them does.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:52   #21
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Storing mags fully loaded does have an effect. Mags will "take a set" and lose an approximated predetermined compression strength. After that, provided they are good steel, will suffer little additional deterioration in compression strength.
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:37   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quake View Post
Agree on the second part (the old, loaded magazines still working fine), and mostly - but not completely - agree on the first part. You could leave a quality magazine loaded for years/decades and it still be fine, no disagreement there at all.

Many mechanical engineers constantly assert that same argument that it's ONLY the number of cycles that affect a spring, and that a single compression is still a single compression and has the same effect regardless of duration. I'm no mechanical engineer, but I can be taught, and experience teaches me without reservation that those mechanical engineers are frankly either ignorantly repeating a dogma, or they're just stupid.

For a simple test of their theory, take two new-in-wrapper high-cap pistol magazines; glock, S&W, whoever's. Load them both to full capacity. Unload one of them right then, but let the other one set, fully loaded, for a week or a month, then unload it.

Now load them both a second time; you can feel a huge difference in the resistance. The magazine that was left loaded has taken a set, and the one that was loaded & immediately unloaded is still almost as tough as it originally was. Yet they've both still only had one compression cycle, and according to the claims of many mechanical engineers, the duration of a compression cycle is irrelevant to the effect of a compression cycle. This simple test clearly and easily shows that dogmatic claim to be incorrect. Now, it could be that their theory is true AFTER a given number of compression cycles, once the spring has taken whatever set it's going to. I can't say with any authority on that - as I already confessed, I'm not a mechanical engineer.

I'm also not saying it'll hurt the magazine at all to leave it loaded long-term. I have mags I've had loaded for years and would trust them completely. But the universal claim that only the number of compressions matters, and that the duration of any given compression cycle is irrelevant on effect, is so easily demonstrated as false, I genuinely don't understand how it continues to make the rounds without getting automatically (and easily) slapped down the instant it comes up.

+1


I HAVE experienced long term loaded storage issues....for example... with Glock 20 high capacity magazines (many brand new).....the rounds literally fell out of the magazines onto the floor after being stored fully loaded for over a decade. The magazine followers were not binding....simply the springs became fatigued stored fully loaded over time.
Have experienced the same issue with certain other mags also (with resulting failure to feed)....such as FNH 5.7 pistol mags.


On the flipside.... I have not experienced this issue (so far ) with certain other magazines.. Poly Tech AK mags have been solid performers....including the 75 & 100 rd drums.....some stored loaded for a decade, 2 or even longer.


Really does not concern me in the least others here have not experienced this issue with certain magazines...

...only that I have!




And since I have LOTS of ammo & LOTS of magazines....

..I want to safeguard for myself, family, friends..... & posterity.


SO.... about 2 decades ago I developed a system that safeguards against potential fatiguing of magazine springs & feed lips, especially of concern if a future ban or SHTF were to restrict availability of replacement parts and/or if "like new" performance becomes a matter of "life or death".


Also allows dense packed, humidity controlled storage of bulk ammo, ease of transportation, as well as a metered distribution/ease of carry for the end users. And allows for a quick & expeditious replenishment of magazines...also maximizing space & weight for a given amount of ammo toted by an end user. Maximizes range time also.


PSOI = Portability, Storage, Organization & Implementation

Details here...

http://pullig.dyndns.org/practicalpr...hp?f=32&t=2153



YMMV
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Old 01-14-2014, 16:49   #23
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I do not think there is any [realistic] problem associated with storing loaded mags but I simply see no real purpose [ in my life] to store mags loaded. My house gun is always loaded and my CCW is always loaded but as far as storing dozens of loaded mags.... eh, I have ammo and I have mags... I will put those two together when I expect to shoot my rifle.
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Old 01-14-2014, 17:30   #24
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To (re)clarify - I've never had a mag fail due to spring fatigue; but I know folks who have, as LG1 mentions above.

It's simply a risk/reward thing to me personally. On a percentage basis, there's very little risk associated with storing them loaded, but that "very little risk" is easily made into "zero" risk by leaving them non-loaded. That's why I leave most of mine unloaded.

Regardless, apologies for derailing the thread unnecessarily.
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Old 01-14-2014, 18:30   #25
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My general issues are this:

#1 I do not believe there will be any event that occurs that you'll immediately need more than 3 to 6 at this very moment, and you will either
A) Have time to fill a few hundred mags
B) Be toast regardless of how many mags you have filled

#2 I DO rotate mags; Monthly load & unload ready use mags. I do this because it gives A) An opportunity to CHECK the mag to see how it is doing. (if it hasn't been shot empty)
B) An opportunity to check the ammo

#3 If you have a loaded mag that hasn't been used or checked in say 5 years (or even 1) I think that
A) You are not shooting enough
B) You trust your mag too much
C) You have way too many loaded mags (see #1 above)

I store any loaded mags in/near the gun, in mag holders, or any other appropriate container.

Just my opinions. I do not deny that something could happen where I am kicking my self emotionally with my last breath for not having loaded an extra 100 mags to ready to go.

The amount of loading/unloading and rotating I do leaves most mags unloaded, none loaded for very long, and all of them checked occasionally. It's just my little check & balance.

Last edited by Aceman; 01-14-2014 at 18:31..
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