Hello all, I have a question about AR mags being loaded for long term storage.
At present I keep a few dozen loaded at a time and rotate once a year. I read others (mostly blogs and such) who load every mag they have and keep it like that. They get ten more mags, and load them up.
I have no problem rotating my loaded mags (rifle/pistol) once a year but you have to have empty mags to rotate into.
Oh, and I only use steel/aluminum mags to keep loaded.
I have ammo not loaded into mags not loaded. Am I missing something?
Thanks in advance.
I don't get loading every mag you have, but for me it's a question of "how much can you /really/ carry at once for me" instead of a question of spring fatigue or worrying about feed lips spreading.
Mine are majority OKAY Surefeed (original), and a few Center, Brownells, and D&H here and there so I doubt leaving them loaded up for years would harm them.
Same with PMAGS. I have a big box of PMAGS, just don't use them often since I like the USGI style with paracord ranger pulls, but wouldn't have any issue keeping them loaded for bear with the storage cap/dust cover on it.
I haven't been on the job for a while, but I still stick to the habit of eight mags of duty ammo (4x in Helikon mini rig, 3x on my plate carrier, 1x on the gun) and five mags of FMJ (MOLLE GP/Canteen pouch).
Before ammo prices got stupid, I would shoot my ammo every time I change smoke detector batteries, throw the once fired mags in a bucket, and load up some fresh ones.
Maybe not a great plan, but it worked well for me. YMMV.
leaving GI mags loaded is simply not an issue.
leaving PMAG's loaded without covers is an issue.
leaving other polymer mags loaded is a potential issue.
how many to have loaded is a personal decision.
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
I suppose if one wanted a stretch they could argue it saves space, but I can't see a good reason for leaving tons of mags loaded full time. Kind of like my feelings on people leaving a red dot on in a safe 24/7/365. MAYBE it isn't hurting anything? Maybe? But it sure isn't helping anything.
From what I remember reading on the Forum its the repetition of the spring compressing/decompressing that wears them out.
There is no cure for stupidity, you either die from it or with it.
I'm sure its been brought up many times since, but way back when user 'the Sarge' mentioned the same thing for pistol mags that he and a friend checked on. Mag left loaded vs. another loaded and un-loaded multiple times - both over a few years. The mag that was loaded and un-loaded had spring issues, other (loaded) mag was fine.
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That is correct. Cycles of compression and expansion cause micro cracks in the spring material. Those micro cracks are what causes “wear” and weakens springs.
Stretching springs also causes damage / accelerated wear.
The other potential issue is the spring and the weight of the ammo putting pressure on the feed lips causing spread.
In Pmags this will cause visible cracks. In GI aluminum or steel mags this takes the form of slightly bending the feed lips out away from each other.
This is why worn GI mags will start inducing double feeds and eventually start “puking rounds.”
Brownells sells a mag feed lip spread go/no go gauge but a good field test is to fill a mag and smack the base with the heel of your hand or bump the base on a table. If rounds pop out, the feed lips are spreading and that mag is likely to start inducing malfunctions.
You can’t really tell just by looking at GI mags. Unscrupulous armory /supply people will try to re-issue worn out mags with feed lip spread because they “look fine.” This is why any good NCO smashes defective M4 mags before turning them in. Not all heroes wear capes.
Don’t fall in love with your mags. AR mags are disposable / wear items. Stack em deep and don’t hesitate to ditch them when issues arise.
Thanks for the replies.
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and enjoying life
FWIW department, I had an opportunity to try out some USGI mags loaded over thirty years ago and misplaced by me until I bought a new AR so I took them to range and all worked flawlessly. All have been reloaded and reused countless times without a problem. From my small sample I do not hesitate to load and store USGI mags.
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