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Firearms 101: Is it okay to store loaded magazines?
By Darnel Fernandez // Jan 04, 2020

When worse comes to worst and SHTF, you might find yourself in situations where you need to defend yourself. Some would opt to defend themselves with a classic combat knife or baseball bat while others would go all out with a fully kitted-out survival rifle. If you do happen to own a firearm, you need to make sure you take proper care of your weapon, which means test firing and cleaning it regularly. Another thing you need to take note of is your magazines — and there's a good chance you have at least one fully loaded at all times. But is it really safe to keep your magazines fully loaded when in storage? (H/t to PreppersWill.com)


It's all in the springs

Whether or not to store your magazines loaded is a topic often debated among preppers but the answers tend to vary. Some preppers would tell you it's perfectly fine to keep your magazines loaded when not in use while others would say the springs would suffer some damage over time. There will even be people who say you should rotate your magazines often because keeping them empty for too long might make them more unreliable in the future. The answer to these questions lies in the springs.

While it's true that both magazines and their springs aren't designed to last forever, you can still store a brand-new magazine loaded to full capacity in a drawer and see very little changes in spring tension for quite a while. However, this doesn't mean you can just leave it out without a care in the world. Springs may experience what is known as spring creep, which often occurs when a spring is compressed or expanded beyond its limits. This process is the slow degradation of the metal strength in springs, making it lose its elastic capabilities. Spring creep will cause the spring to deform, which may lead to misfires because it cannot push the next round into the firing chamber.

These magazine springs may also experience spring fatigue, which can happen through normal gun usage. This occurs when you repeatedly compress and release the string. Shifting from an uncompressed state to a compressed state repeatedly could weaken the spring in areas with small imperfections in the metal and how frequent this happens depends on the type of metal used and how often it undergoes this shift.

The common recommendation is to begin rotating your magazines every so often to reduce the wear and tear experienced by the springs — effectively lowering the risk of accelerating both spring fatigue and spring creep. After all, even police departments cycle their magazines every 90 days or so. Below you can find a few reasons why rotating your magazines may be the key for proper ammo storage.  (Related: How to prepare for survival with limited storage space.)

  1. Lets you maintain your magazines. Just like your firearms, magazines also need to be cared for if you want them to be as reliable as they can be when SHTF. Rotating them out every once in a while allows you to inspect each one, oil the springs, and remove any foreign debris inside.
  2. Gets you out in the range. You wouldn't be going out and practicing if all your ammo was collecting dust in your storage compartment. If you want to be a good shooter, you need to practice often and keeping a set of ammo on you can help you get the motivation to do so.
  3. Keeps your ammo safe. Ammo is designed to resist harsh conditions, but a little moisture can ruin them very quickly. Rotating your ammo makes sure that none of them are left sitting around unchecked for too long.

Not all magazines are made equally, but they all need the right care and maintenance to maintain tip-top shape. Learn more about firearm maintenance at SurvivalGear.news.

Sources include:




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