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Hi from California.

Just got my new 1911 .45acp (bought from Coyote Point Armory -- great folks down there). Very unfortunate that I can't go train at the range, as they're all shut down in the Bay Area... grrr.

With this said, I'd like to get your advice about the following. I'll have the gun in my safe, with the mags. I won't insert the mag in the gun itself, but I'd like to have one of the mags loaded and ready to put in the gun if/when needed.

So the questions are:
  1. Is it safe to leave the mag loaded? I assume there's no risk of discharge, but I'm not sure.
  2. How long can I leave the mag loaded w/o the risk of the magazine faulting at some point. My concern here is if it stays loaded for too long, it might impact the spring mechanism.
Cheers
 

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Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler
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Leaving the magazine loaded is fine, no time limit. One month, one year, many years, all the same. The springs do not "take a set", as some armchair armorers seem to think.
I have the same problem, our shooting ranges are closed.
 

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It is safe leaving the mags loaded in the safe.

I read an article back in the 80's where an individual had a mag for a 1911 that was brought back from WWII and the ammo was dated 1943. According to the article they took that mag and loaded it into the pistol in the 80's and fired all rounds. There were no failures to fire or eject, and no jams
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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One piece of advice: store the pistol with the slide locked open. Then if you have you use it, you slap the magazine home, trip the slide release, and you are ready to go. You may want to practice this from time to time with another magazine you don't keep in the safe loaded with dummy rounds.
 

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Gun Toting Boeing Driver
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lol.

I just spent an hour after my return from TPA testing my new MAGPUL mags for my CZ scorpion at the range (to make sure they worked with the carry ammo). The older CZ mags are prone to cracking which I just recently discovered when one of mine kept in the pistol started developing fatigue cracks and failed (they are plastic and some types suffer fatigue failure to the feed lips when left loaded; no OTHER plastic mag I have has the same issue and this is the first defect of it's type I've seen in many years of shooting).

MAGPUL stuff works fine kept loaded likely for decades. So switching to a magazine that doesn't have a history of doing this (manticore/magpul) will solve my problem.

You'll see the 'spring take a set' debate rekindle here from time to time. It's not a completely black and white issue -- there are all kinds of factors going into spring elasticity -- but for most quality magazines keeping them loaded to capacity does NOT have a significant impact on spring life. It's more the cycling of springs that can induce problems and wearing out.

If you consider the valve springs on a car engine that go for 200,000+ miles in a very difficult hot environment with all kinds of cycles it'll put your mind at rest (these have both compression and cycling loads). The key is having a quality magazine, it's clean, and it's loaded within design specification. There MIGHT be some slight deformation of the cases over a vast expanse of time (like years) and this is solved by simply unloading them, mixing up the ammo, and reloading them.

There is nothing wrong with having the loaded mag in the gun, or even storing the gun cocked and locked and the magazine topped off. Just so long as you practice proper firearm handling, are proficient, and someone else can't screw around with it. This choice depends on your personal circumstance but it won't affect the reliability of the gun.

One thing that CAN potentially affect the ammunition is oils and contaminants from the gun (like if it's grossly over-oiled). Over extended time it's possible for contaminants to seep into the powder or primer but this usually takes a huge amount of over-lubrication of gun or mag to have an effect.
 

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Since 03-15- 2002
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If it’s in a safe, you don’t have little ones or it’s left unattended for thieves.

Point the silly thing in a safe direction

Load the mag with quality ammo you have shot a couple of hundred rounds of (or whatever you can afford)

Insert the mag in the weapon HARD. Like you hate it. Pull the slide back without your booger hooker anywhere near the trigger / trigger guard. Let the slide go. DONT RIDE IT! Put safety on

Remove the mag. Install an additional round in the mag insert mag back into gun, again like you hate it. Tug on the mag to be sure it’s locked in there.

Take the safety off and slightly pull the slide back 1/8-1/4” to verify a round is in the chamber.

Let go of the slide and hit the back of the slide hard. You guessed it, like you hate it.

Re apply safety. Stow weapon.

Take it out now and then and shoot it. Clean and repeat. You should be good for a lifetime.






Sent from my iPhone using Gun and Game
 

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Wonderment :)
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inglockwetrust: Sir; unloaded firearms are the most dangerous!
Empty; they are poor throwing items and as a club; you've allowed the heathen
Into your private space.

As a new owner! Practice-Practice-Practice. Safety
Once you get good
Practice-Practice-Practice Saferty
Your life depends on your "Practiced Muscle Memory" Safety
Your Family's life depends on your Practice Safety
As an "experienced" owner; Practice Safety
When you get "good"
You need to Practice Safety

Spring steel uses cycles to destroy (TXplt) :)
Allowing the "slide" to slam shut (jerry) :)

Congratulations on your "New 1911" :)
Follow up with your experiences and Reviews are nice too :)
 

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If the gun is new, to you or from the factory, please remember to fire it a few mags before you rely on it. When I was a young MP, and had little money, I saved a long time and got a new Satin Nickel Colt Commander. I was not legal to carry it on duty, but I was so excited, dumb and young, I did a few days, mostly just to show the guys. So, weeks later when I got to the range I learned the darn new gun would not even feed ball ammo. I just assumed any Colt would. Just saying. I was carrying a single shot gun. FWIW
 

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Wonderment :)
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information: enjoying reading :)

https://www.brownells.com/aspx/learn/learndetail.aspx?lid=12601

Springmaking Without Tears
By: Steve Ostrem

Everyone who has worked on guns for a long time knows the awful truth. Sooner or later, a customer is going to bring in an unusual firearm for which spare parts, especially springs, are nonexistent. Or, maybe it’s an interesting antique that you got a deal on at the last gun show or at a farm auction and would like to shoot if only the mainspring(s) weren’t broken. Dozens of phone calls get you nowhere. Your usual reliable sources for parts have never heard of the thing and have no idea where to direct you. At this point desperation sets in. Doubling or tripling the price will deter all but the most determined customers. But we all know there is always at least one person out there that wants his one of a kind blunderbuss made to work again no matter what the cost. Their reasons are usually tied to a strong sentimental attachment to the thing. “ My (grandfather, great uncle, wife’s sister’s niece, etc.), carried this in the (Civil War, Mexican Revolution, Bay of Pigs Invasion, etc.) and gave it to my (father, brother, etc.) who in turn lost it in a poker game to me. It’s been in the family 1500 years so I’d like to see it work again.” The guy has his mind made up and a team of Clydesdales could not budge him an inch. That pretty much backs you into a corner. Worse still is when the project is self-inflicted. If you brought the thing home with the lofty goal of bringing it back to life it becomes a point of honor to see the project through to the bitter end…even if it means making a spring. No problem, you’re a gunsmith; right? You’re supposed to know how to do these things. You might as well face up to it. You can run but you can’t hide.

Believe it or not, making a spring is no more difficult than the many other tasks that we gunsmiths do every day. Granted, it requires a little specialized knowledge and attention to detail, but so do many of the jobs we do on a daily basis. Making a good spring is not an exotic specialty involving black magic or sophisticated equipment. The average gunsmith can crank out a typical flat lever action mainspring in an hour or so from start to finish. With a belt sander to do the rough stock removal it goes even faster. A v-type shotgun spring looks much more difficult but only takes about twice as long, once you get the hang of it.
 

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Gun Toting Boeing Driver
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21,493 Posts
A couple short vids on the subject.



Spoiler: springs don't really care to stay compressed for years. They take the set after a few weeks and don't change much after that. It's the action of working the spring, loading and unloading, that wears them out.
information: enjoying reading :)

https://www.brownells.com/aspx/learn/learndetail.aspx?lid=12601

Springmaking Without Tears
By: Steve Ostrem

Everyone who has worked on guns for a long time knows the awful truth. Sooner or later, a customer is going to bring in an unusual firearm for which spare parts, especially springs, are nonexistent. Or, maybe it’s an interesting antique that you got a deal on at the last gun show or at a farm auction and would like to shoot if only the mainspring(s) weren’t broken. Dozens of phone calls get you nowhere. Your usual reliable sources for parts have never heard of the thing and have no idea where to direct you. At this point desperation sets in. Doubling or tripling the price will deter all but the most determined customers. But we all know there is always at least one person out there that wants his one of a kind blunderbuss made to work again no matter what the cost. Their reasons are usually tied to a strong sentimental attachment to the thing. “ My (grandfather, great uncle, wife’s sister’s niece, etc.), carried this in the (Civil War, Mexican Revolution, Bay of Pigs Invasion, etc.) and gave it to my (father, brother, etc.) who in turn lost it in a poker game to me. It’s been in the family 1500 years so I’d like to see it work again.” The guy has his mind made up and a team of Clydesdales could not budge him an inch. That pretty much backs you into a corner. Worse still is when the project is self-inflicted. If you brought the thing home with the lofty goal of bringing it back to life it becomes a point of honor to see the project through to the bitter end…even if it means making a spring. No problem, you’re a gunsmith; right? You’re supposed to know how to do these things. You might as well face up to it. You can run but you can’t hide.

Believe it or not, making a spring is no more difficult than the many other tasks that we gunsmiths do every day. Granted, it requires a little specialized knowledge and attention to detail, but so do many of the jobs we do on a daily basis. Making a good spring is not an exotic specialty involving black magic or sophisticated equipment. The average gunsmith can crank out a typical flat lever action mainspring in an hour or so from start to finish. With a belt sander to do the rough stock removal it goes even faster. A v-type shotgun spring looks much more difficult but only takes about twice as long, once you get the hang of it.
lol....for the spring thing that'll rage on long after I'm no longer on planet Earth.

I had a fairly involved discussion with a friend of my dad's who's background is in metallurgical engineering (turned venture capitalist but is still passionate about his field). Like any expert his answer was 'it depends' and he is more on a PhD level than my basic amateur level. What the spring is made of, how constructed for its role, who made it and how, etc. Compression loading, dynamic cycling, shock loading, etc.

The basic premise is that cycling does more to wear the spring than leaving it with a compression load within its design parameters. It's not a great deal different to have a compressed spring (within its design parameters) over time than leaving it fully extended but there is SOME change to the spring. And a spring's resistance to wear from cycling depends alot on what it's made from and how it's made. There is SOME change when it's compressed but if properly designed and the proper materials, etc. this isn't destructive over time to the spring's 'mission' -- compression loads over time for a properly designed spring don't really cause significant changes or harm.

This makes sense; the springs in my Sig 365 were VERY stiff when initially used and for several weeks thereafter. They are less stiff now and more usable (even ones which 'sat' and weren't cycled all that much). Obviously SOME inelastic deformation occurred (which usually occurs in any magazine). And these changes didn't occur instantly after the mag was loaded but over several weeks or months.

The key here I think is that if properly made from a quality manufacturer springs under load keep their springiness (for lack of a better word) with magazines fully loaded over time and that there are springs in service in MUCH worse conditions and environments than any magazine (although valve springs are properly lubed and corrosion would be a threat to any spring in any gun if that gun is carried in sweaty, difficult environments). So get decent mags from a reputable manufacturer and you'll be fine to leave them fully loaded in the gun. And if the gun is carried in environments conducive to corrosion you might need to inspect, clean and lube the springs more frequently (I discovered this in my marlin magazine tube springs which had some early signs of corrosion when I disassembled a couple of the rifles; not a huge deal and I cleaned and lubed them).
 
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Firearm Affectionado
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If this is your first 1911 make sure you know how they function. They are a little different than most pistols because they are single action. They have to be cocked to fire first shot. At that point the slide will cock it for you unlike a single action revolver for example. I carry mine cocked and locked. Some folks like to leave the chamber empty and safety off so all they have to do is rack the slide before firing. Racking the slide in that case loads the chamber and cocks the gun. To me that method is a accident or failure to load and fire waiting to happen. If the 1911 is in your safe you can leave it fully loaded and cocked and locked. Make sure you practice. Can do dry fire practice at home and become proficient at everything except hitting the target. That you will have to live fire in a safe area. Don't worry about the springs. Keep magazines clean. You can lubricate them but do not leave any excess lubricant. It can leach into the bullet primers causing them not to fire. I found this out when I left cartridges in an over lubricated revolver cylinder.


 
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If you have a quality mag it doesn't hurt it a bit leaving it loaded. The only thing that hurts the springs in your mag is shock AKA rapid compression or rapid decompression. I had a buddy that every time he would clean his gun he would also clean the mag. Not a problem with that but the way he cleaned it was the problem. After taking them apart & cleaning, oiling all the parts he would pit it together & use a pencil to rapidly run the follower up & down. He said it was to be sure it was free. He had more mag problems that you could shake a stick at.
 

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here I will make it simple.

the spring in the magazine is already compressed.
if it wasn't it wouldn't work.
so it doesn't matter if there are bullets on top of it or not it's already under compression.
 

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Yep, I leave my mag loaded and I leave the safety off on the handgun. In a life or death situation, don't want to be fidgeting with a safety in the middle of the night. Especially with having a bunch of different handguns with different safety's.
 

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Hi from California.

Just got my new 1911 .45acp (bought from Coyote Point Armory -- great folks down there). Very unfortunate that I can't go train at the range, as they're all shut down in the Bay Area... grrr.

With this said, I'd like to get your advice about the following. I'll have the gun in my safe, with the mags. I won't insert the mag in the gun itself, but I'd like to have one of the mags loaded and ready to put in the gun if/when needed.

So the questions are:
  1. Is it safe to leave the mag loaded? I assume there's no risk of discharge, but I'm not sure.
  2. How long can I leave the mag loaded w/o the risk of the magazine faulting at some point. My concern here is if it stays loaded for too long, it might impact the spring mechanism.
Cheers
I don’t know California’s storage laws, but I’d leave the magazine in the pistol if you’re comfortable with it. I have no concerns about leaving modern magazines fully loaded and ready to use for long periods of time. Years should not be an issue. Decades is a realistic expectation.

Cartridges in a magazine are just as safe as cartridges in their box.
 

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Not to be too anal, but you don't put boolets in the magazine. Bullets are the metal blobs that firearms propel out the barrel. Putting bullets into a magazine would be about as effective as putting marbles in a magazine.

You put rounds in a magazine. o_O
 
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