Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Magazine Storage: Loaded? or Unloaded?

Storing magazines full or empty. My opinion, regarding your question, comes from my direct experience in the military, as a competitive shooter and as an industry professional. When using quality magazines with quality ammunition, stored and maintained properly, you can leave them loaded as long as you want to without any reservation. GEORGE HARRIS, August 12, 2019, “Shooting Illustrated” De-formed followers, bad ammunition, problematic firearms, and user error are more often to blame for frequent malfunctions than worn magazine springs. Chris Baker, editor of Lucky Gunner Lounge, June 02, 2014 I’ve shot guns with magazines for over 4 decades. I have a lot of experience with good and bad magazines. I have considerably less experience with wheel guns. But I actually taught revolver shooting in the military in the days of yore. I have had a few magazine failures but not very many. When I competed I was paranoid about magazines. If a magazine was ever in question, it was replaced. I did not store my competition magazines with ammo in them for fear of that being a factor. I have changed. I store self-defense magazines full of ammo all the time. I’ve talked to manufacturers, I’ve talked to engineers, and I’ve talked to many other instructors, and the conclusion I have come to is, I’ll store ammo in magazines, but I will probably rotate the ammo and the magazines on a fairly regular basis. In his article in Shooting Illustrated, George Harris said: I thought it fitting to contact some of my friends in the industry, both from an engineering and customer-service perspective. As I suspected, the answers I received were as varied as the number of people to whom I talked. “I called four different people in four different departments at one of the major manufacturers with whom I have a close relationship and received four different answers. They ranged from the magazine could remain loaded indefinitely and still function fine when and if the time came to use them, to a long, complicated regimen of exercising the spring by partially downloading the magazine periodically to different levels so the spring wouldn’t take a set to a specific position because of the number of rounds loaded in the magazine.” I’ve heard similar answers to the above so I adopted my own regime of storing magazines loaded, but rotating the ammunition at least annually, but just as often as not, 3 to 6 months. Some magazines are not used very often so that annual thing has not happened. I know I have some .25 caliber magazines that have not been changed out in a while. Probably a few years. I’ve started to put a post-it note with each magazine stored with a date it was put into storage to get a better idea of how long it has been. Some guns are not shot often and this simple note will at least tell me how old the ammo is. I’m not here to answer the question, “Should I store magazines loaded or not?” I’m here to shed light on the reality of storing and keeping guns functioning and keeping sanity. I’m probably the pickiest about my carry guns and other self-defense guns, but in my experience and for me, I store magazines loaded mostly. Depends on the gun. I have many AR15 magazines and all of them are not full all the time. But I have some guns that have only 4 magazines and I store those full. Unless it is an odd caliber that I don’t shoot much. So you see, the answer to this question is not really a definitive “loaded” or “unloaded”. The only time I’ve wanted all magazines always full was in combat. Otherwise, it’s a case by case basis. I’m glad to have cleared that up…. Semper Paratus Check 6 Burn

1 comment:

  1. I concur completely, with one exception. I've never had issues with a loaded magazine long term except for one handgun.

    That'd be the 9x18 Makarov. I like my Maks. I have four of them. But over the last twenty odd years, I have discovered that one does not leave Mak mags loaded for more than a couple of years. I've got about 30 mags, and have replaced mag springs in several of them. It don't matter. They lock up and won't feed after a year or two.

    Take the rounds out, cycle the follower up and down about twice, and reload, and it's good for another two years or so. But if you don't do that? You will have problems.