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Old 04-01-2003, 02:08 AM
madkiwi madkiwi is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: San Francisco, PRK
Age: 55
Posts: 23
Cocked and Locked- how long before springs are damaged?

Hey, I'm a newbie, so forgive my ignorance.

I have no problem leaving my Sig 229 DA/SA loaded with one in the pipe because I use the decocking lever to lower the hammer, and it can sit for months like that. No strain on the hammer spring.

What about a 1911? If you left it in condition 3 for months or possibly years would it stretch (weaken) the hammer spring? Even if you take it to the range and fire it every month or so, it would still be spending 99.9% of its time sitting in the cocked and locked position.


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Old 04-01-2003, 02:39 AM
Colden Colden is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 167
You can leave a 1911 in Condition 1 (cocked and locked) for years. There are reports of people leaving guns cocked for very long periods of time.

If the thought still bothers you, unload the gun completely every 6 months or every year, make sure there is no magazine inserted, no bullet in the chamber. Then, insert a pen or an unsharpened pencil (edited: rubber eraser may dampen the force) into the barrel and point the gun straight up. Fire. If the pencil flies out with vigour, your mainspring has enough juice in it.

Don't forget to cycle out ammunition and clean the gun at least every 6 months to a year, out of precaution. Search the forum on maintenance articles and how to prevent rust in long-term storage.


Last edited by Colden; 04-01-2003 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 04-01-2003, 06:50 AM
Parson45 Parson45 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Oklahoma
Age: 67
Posts: 49
The Series 70 I'm carrying now, I've been carrying cocked and locked since I traded for it in the early to mid 1980's. It's had over 40,000 rounds fired through it, and it's still as close to perfect as a handgun can get. I rotate my carry magazines after each practice session, one in the pistol and two spares. The same nine magazines set aside for this duty 20 years ago, are still on duty.
Parson Colt, the preacher's kid
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Old 04-01-2003, 07:16 AM
Custom Classic Custom Classic is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Peoples Republic of Illinois
Age: 51
Posts: 229
Until last week I was curious about the wear on my magazine springs as well. Then Handgunner magazine did an article on the subject and confirmed what an old man ( that I should have believed in the first place) had already told me. Springs are not worn out or fatigued by being compressed. It is the compression and release that fatigues springs. You can leave you gun cocked and locked and your magazines fully loaded with no undue wear on the springs.

This is probably one of the most common misbeliefs in the gun world.


Last edited by Custom Classic; 04-01-2003 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 04-01-2003, 07:52 AM
Real Hawkeye Real Hawkeye is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,716
Jeff Cooper reports on a 1911 that was left fully loaded (7 in the mag and one in the chamber), cocked and locked since 1929. The gun was fired (having left everything the way it was), and not only did all the rounds fire, but there was not a single malfunction, and all the springs were fine. So much for the myth.
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Old 04-01-2003, 08:37 AM
Zeke Menuar Zeke Menuar is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Salem Oregon
Posts: 47
My Commander has been cocked and locked for the better part of three years with no problems

"A mind is like a parachute. In order to work, it has to be OPEN".
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:07 PM
M1911 M1911 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 591
My Kimber Compact has been cocked and locked for at least 4 years.
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Old 04-02-2003, 02:57 PM
Sleuth Sleuth is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: AZ
Posts: 513
I'm more concerned about the sky falling than my springs "taking a set".

Oh, wait, I think a piece just fell!
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Old 04-02-2003, 06:48 PM
Northern Extrem Northern Extrem is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Age: 48
Posts: 140
Spring failure

Springs are cheap. I change my magazene springs every year, and my recoil spring every 1000 rounds. I may me wasting money, and I know i don't need to,but it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling all over.

I do the same on my Glock and HP.

Thain hard, Train often, and Be safe.
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:12 PM
GLV GLV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Indiana
Posts: 538
79 years, 7 months, 13 days, 18 hours, 36 minutes and 5 seconds.

Ask any engineer who designs and makes springs. A properly made spring does not know if it is closed or open.
"Kindness to the bad man is cruelty to the good"
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Old 04-04-2003, 12:44 PM
hoser hoser is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 684
Never too long!

IMHO, it should never go that long "cocked" and unfired anyway: Practice with your carry gun at least once a month and it shouldn't be a question to worry about!
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Old 04-04-2003, 02:36 PM
brownie0486 brownie0486 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the Superstitions
Posts: 967
Cocked and Locked- how long before springs are

I leave a 1911 sistema C+Locked/loaded in the safe. The glock 30 remains such as well [not cocked but loaded with rd in chamber and full mag].

Don't have to worry about kids, don't have em. As the safe isn't going anywhere anytime soon I think thats acceptable.

I change guns almost as much as underwear. Loading and unloading makes no sense to me if you are going to keep going for it.

It may be months or days when I take it out again, no matter, they are always ready and perform their function as expected.

Those two and two others are always loaded and ready for immediate action if necessary. Of course some would not want to see this in their homes as their circumstances are different.

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