Storing magazines and the effect on the springs. 20 years later…

    Ever since I picked up shooting I’ve listened to the debate about the dos and dont’s when it comes to storing magazines loaded or unloaded.

    I am going to throw some fuel to the fire to this ever-lasting debate. A person I know, let’s say he used to work in the business but now retired, messaged this story a while back and I think it’s interesting to share and get some feedback.

    Translated from the original text:

    “I wanted to check the truth about the springs in the magazines. Can you really store the magazines fully loaded?

    Said and done, I measured the free length of the magazine springs marked “Colt” (they don’t make them themselves) and put the magazine back together.

    I topped the magazines with 30 rounds of military 5,56 in January 1987.

    Then I got married. Then we moved and had children. The magazines were the least of my worries and I forgot about them.

    In the spring of 2007 I found the magazines again.

    WOW! 20 years had passed!

    I emptied the magazines and measured the free length of the magazine springs again.

    I call Bulls*it that you should only use a maximum of 28 rounds if you’re using a high quality magazine”

    Measurements made:

    Free Length of magazine springs – 20 years storage 30 rounds – Colt magazine

    Jan -87 April -07 May -07
    1 269 mm 264 mm 265 mm
    2 268 mm 265 mm 265 mm
    3 269 mm 265 mm 265 mm

    I realize this “test” is probably not to be considered conclusive at all, but it’s not everyday you get twenty years of data like this.

    Heckler & Koch metal magazine


    I guess the most interesting part would be to know if the magazines actually worked in a rifle? Unfortunately the story doesn’t tell.

    What’s your take and experience? Do we have any more people here with long-term stored magazines who can share their experience? Steel magazines? What about Magpul PMAGS?

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. TCCC Certified medic.