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9/16/2019 10:09:13 PM
Posted: 3/28/2009 10:12:23 AM EDT
I am fairly new to the AR-15 world, and I have been thinking about this for a whie. As far as I know, you cannot engage the safety on an AR-15 if the weapon is not charged. I was just running a test (no magazine or ammunition) after I installed a new pistol grip to make sure that the safety would still work and keep the hammer from falling. The test turned out fine. However, I tried engaging the safety after pulling the trigger and having the hammer fall (before "resetting"), but it would not work. Once I pulled the charging handle back and "reset" everything (not sure about correct terminology), only then could I engage the safety.

My question: Is it normal that the safety cannot be on while the hammer is down? I am not talking about storing it for use of HD just yet. I am just curious as to if storing the gun with the hammer cocked and safety on is somehow bad for the gun. Could it somehow wear out any spring or item in the components of the trigger? If so, should I store the gun with the hammer down and safety off?

Remember, I am not storing the gun with a full mag inserted or any bullet in the chamber. I am NOT talking about HD purposes. Thanks.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:17:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 10:18:56 AM EDT by ChromeLined]
Yes its normal the safety will not engage unless the hammer is cocked.I leave mine hammer cocked.Springs only where when they are untensioned through use.If you leave it cocked and never use it for 20 years its still gonna have the same tension from when you cocked it.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:17:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 10:17:50 AM EDT by AzNooB]
Your AR is normal. Store in condition 4 (No magazine inserted, no round in chamber, bolt forward, ejection port cover closed, weapon on safe). You won't wear anything out.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:20:37 AM EDT
I leave my hammer down. I dont really see a point to store it cocked because when you chamber a round it will cock the hammer anyways.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:21:41 AM EDT
When in the safe, all mine have a full magazine inserted, no round in the chamber, safety on.It is assumed that any fire arm is in condition one, chambered and erady to fire, on removal from the safe, until they are checked twice to ensure there's not a round in the chamber. They get checked twice before they go in the safe too.

If I was going to store it for longer, I'd pull and unload the magazine, and release the trigger, I don't like to keep springs under tension long term.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:22:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By socommatthews:
I leave my hammer down. I dont really see a point to store it cocked because when you chamber a round it will cock the hammer anyways.

I like to have the safety on when I chamber a round.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 10:28:55 AM EDT
No need to keep tension on those springs. Drop the hammer
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 11:08:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 11:10:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 11:42:20 AM EDT by GearHead_1]
Originally Posted By ChromeLined:
Springs only where when they are untensioned through use.If you leave it cocked and never use it for 20 years its still gonna have the same tension from when you cocked it.


This is not entirely accurate. I'll use an example that is far removed from firearms but the properties of springs still apply. If you were to leave a car sitting on it's springs for 20 years and compared the ride height to that of the vehicle when it was new it will be lower. If you were to take a new set of springs and leave them sitting in a box for 20 years and installed them on this car the car would be at the correct height. Hence the reason for storing a car on blocks. A spring that is cycled repeatedly will wear more rapidly but it will still wear out faster when stored compressed vs. relaxed none the less.

Originally Posted By proguide:
No need to keep tension on those springs. Drop the hammer

I agree completely. Springs develop a memory.

The post above this one hit the thread while I was typing this. Couldn't have said it any better and is good advice for any weapon.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 11:41:38 AM EDT


I was just going to quote this article in this months PM magazine. lol I tell armorers this all the time. I am a small arms repair man for the army. My only thing is I wonder while we are deployed if having the hammer cocked and on safefor 15 months hurts anything but so far I havent heard of anyone not beaing able to fire rounds at the range becasue of loss of spring tension. still its better to leave your weapon at home or in the arms room with the hammer down since then it is unneccisary to have it cocked any way. its really a bigger issue with open bolt machineguns since your are talking about the main spring having all the tension then.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 11:43:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 11:49:51 AM EDT by ridewaves]
Is it time for the spring discussion again already?

An AR should be stored with the hammer down. You clear the weapon... safe direction, rack, observe, close the ejection port and drop the hammer. Weapon remains on fire. When you pull it out again, clear/load then it goes on safe.

Unless of course you store your guns loaded.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 12:14:47 PM EDT
Alright. It didn't make sense to me to keep it cocked and store it away. It's common sense that eventually you could wear the spring out as with anything else. Exactly the answers I was looking for. Thanks again.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 12:54:11 PM EDT
Somebody better get over to the magazine forum and give all those guys with the stored loaded mags the bad news.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 1:33:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:03:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 3:07:32 PM EDT by Charliebee]
I'll go unload all my mags now....
Why is this just now coming to light? I've been involved in discussions where I've given advice to leave (keep) mags loaded, now this. sheesh! can't anybody make up their minds?
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:10:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 3:11:50 PM EDT by ridewaves]
Your mags will be fine. Your hammer spring will be fine as well.... whether it's stored cocked or not.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:14:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ridewaves:
Is it time for the spring discussion again already?
It's been Spring since the 20th, so of course it's time for this discussion.

I should note that short-term storage of a weapon with springs compressed won't do any damage. The PM article is specific to the Army, where they may store a weapon for a LONG time, and this could be a major problem. There are two mechanisms that damage springs: excessive cycling and long term tension under adverse (especially very hot) conditions. BOTH can damage the temper of a spring.

Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:25:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GearHead_1:
Originally Posted By ChromeLined:
Springs only where when they are untensioned through use.If you leave it cocked and never use it for 20 years its still gonna have the same tension from when you cocked it.


This is not entirely accurate. I'll use an example that is far removed from firearms but the properties of springs still apply. If you were to leave a car sitting on it's springs for 20 years and compared the ride height to that of the vehicle when it was new it will be lower. If you were to take a new set of springs and leave them sitting in a box for 20 years and installed them on this car the car would be at the correct height. Hence the reason for storing a car on blocks. A spring that is cycled repeatedly will wear more rapidly but it will still wear out faster when stored compressed vs. relaxed none the less.

Originally Posted By proguide:
No need to keep tension on those springs. Drop the hammer

I agree completely. Springs develop a memory.

The post above this one hit the thread while I was typing this. Couldn't have said it any better and is good advice for any weapon.


Explain to me then how a motor still runs after being left in storage for 30+ years and the valve springs are compressed and held open?
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:50:16 PM EDT
I store mine bolt forward, hammer down, safety off.
As soon as I pick up the rifle and try to put it on safe, if it wont go on safe I know its unloaded.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 3:53:03 PM EDT


Explain to me then how a motor still runs after being left in storage for 30+ years and the valve springs are compressed and held open?


It will run (assuming the rings, valves and bearings aren't seized with rust), but not worth a damn. And watch out, or you'll break a valve spring!

.
.

Link Posted: 3/28/2009 4:09:30 PM EDT


God I really REALLY hate those damn cartoons. The Navy enlists smarter people who can read a weapons manual.......LOL
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 4:12:05 PM EDT
So, it's okay to leave springs under load, but if I do, it may weaken them. Great, it's all clear now.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 4:27:17 PM EDT


This.

Thanks Quib.

Link Posted: 3/28/2009 4:27:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 4:37:56 PM EDT by ChromeLined]
Well I guess im in trouble cause one of my 16 year old preban Bushmasters lower still has the same hammer spring..gets stored cocked and theres more than 80K rounds on that lower I shoot about 5k a year on just that rifle I own 4,no oval pin holes,spring still nice and strong.Through the years ive changed barrels a few times and upgraded,its my go to carbine and it sees the 3 to 5 classes I take a year for the last 7 years.Also if the carrier is locked back maybe thats a factor cause the carrier pushes the hammer back a bit further down.I dont leave my rifles with the bolts locked back just the hammer cocked bolt forward.

Also when my father gave me his 1911 15 years ago that he purchased back in the 50s that he carried during Korea there was still steel cased PMC ammo that was still loaded in those mags...still functioned..springs still real strong and they still cycled after 40+ years with no fatigue.When my cousin was in the Marine corp he was stationed in Panama and they had Mossberg 590s that were more than 10 years old loaded and cycled to unload them every day twice a day sometimes more and the only parts that showed wear were the shell stops...I dont know go figure.I also remeber some manuals saying lube light in the desert and we know M16s work better when generously lubed so the manuals aerent always right and some times experience is the best teacher.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 4:49:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 4:52:57 PM EDT by jdraizor]
The spring is still under tension when the hammer is down. If the spring is of spec. quality, I would not be concerned about leaving it cocked in storage indefinitely. The repeated firing of the weapon would cause much more wear than the possible creep that will come from leaving the hammer cocked vs. de-cocked. Cocked or not, the spring remains under tension. Store it how you want. If in 30 years you have to pick up your rifle again for the first time and your biggest problem is a weak hammer spring and not your ability to hit your target or remember how to operate the weapon, I will retract my statements.

ETA: If you are actually storing your rifle for that long, please send it to me and I will make sure that the springs never have time to "take a set" or "fatigue" under storage conditions and will return it to you with a full mag of ammo when you ask for it back.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 5:27:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 5:32:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By QUIB:
Originally Posted By Muttt:


God I really REALLY hate those damn cartoons. The Navy enlists smarter people who can read a weapons manual.......LOL


Is that so.......








Dont ever stop Quib, I love the toons


.

Link Posted: 3/28/2009 5:36:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 5:52:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Muttt:


God I really REALLY hate those damn cartoons. The Navy enlists smarter people who can read a weapons manual.......LOL


Being the lead agency for small arms, Army manuals (with multi-service numbers) and Army maintenance "tips" are appropriate-and mandatory-for all services. Being an Air Force puke, I wondered at the need for copious illustration in such publications. Then I took an Air Force technical writing course. Pictures are worth WAY more than a thousand words each. Do you know how many things could be called an "escutcheon plate?" If a picture shows what you're talking about without any ambiguity AND helps cement nomenclature, it does several jobs. This is a Very Good Thing. Having taught Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, and yes, Sailors, I can confidently tell you that in technical subjects it was impossible to tell the intellectual difference between people from different services. Jargon and "war stories" was another thing, but every one of my students was sharp and motivated to get smarter, no matter what service he or she was from.

And for what it's worth, the art style in "PM Magazine" is directly based on Wil Eisner's art, basically because he drew the famous/infamous "comic book" M16 manual way back when...
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 6:50:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 6:59:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 7:01:59 PM EDT by GearHead_1]
Originally Posted By GSAR426:
Originally Posted By GearHead_1:
Originally Posted By ChromeLined:
Springs only where when they are untensioned through use.If you leave it cocked and never use it for 20 years its still gonna have the same tension from when you cocked it.


This is not entirely accurate. I'll use an example that is far removed from firearms but the properties of springs still apply. If you were to leave a car sitting on it's springs for 20 years and compared the ride height to that of the vehicle when it was new it will be lower. If you were to take a new set of springs and leave them sitting in a box for 20 years and installed them on this car the car would be at the correct height. Hence the reason for storing a car on blocks. A spring that is cycled repeatedly will wear more rapidly but it will still wear out faster when stored compressed vs. relaxed none the less.

Originally Posted By proguide:
No need to keep tension on those springs. Drop the hammer

I agree completely. Springs develop a memory.

The post above this one hit the thread while I was typing this. Couldn't have said it any better and is good advice for any weapon.


Explain to me then how a motor still runs after being left in storage for 30+ years and the valve springs are compressed and held open?


Why? My point is that the spring will wear more rapidly than if not compressed. The spring might have a 100 year life if stored compressed, then again it might only be 2 years. No one can tell you when fatigue will set in. Springs generally sag or lose their resiliency not break outright. You lose 20% of the spring pressure the gun may fire but just maybe the magic number for it to fail is 21%. Just something to think about and certainly only my opinion.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 7:09:14 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 8:44:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 9:08:38 PM EDT
Can't imagine why all those 1911's that start FTFeed are all the sudden fine when they get a new recoil spring, and mags come back to life with new springs. I can tell you the difference
in the tension in the 2 10 year old glock mags for my carry that are kept loaded have about 40% of the spring tension of the two new ones. The car example was perfect. Springs sag over time.
The more pressure that is on them, the worse they will sag. Just sent a scope off for repair that the erector springs took a set and would not push the erector past where the scope had been left
for 10 years. The maker stated the springs were bad.
Link Posted: 3/28/2009 9:14:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 9:19:50 PM EDT by USMC-Helo]
Magazine also have been know to suffer from the feed lips deforming slightly when under constant pressure from being kept fully loaded with the pressure of a fully compressed spring forcing the rounds against the feed lips. The reason why Magpul has snap on cap for their polymer mags, not only to keep dirt out of the mag/rounds, but it also pushes the rounds down a fraction of an inch to take the pressure off the feed lips. Yes, its polymer and softer than steel, but steel can also suffer from the problem. The feed lips deforming can cause feed problems.

Most cars the springs are NOT fully relaxed when you put them up on blocks, look close many vehicles have 2 sets bump stops, one is a set for when the suspension if fully extended (rebound bumpers). Still, putting a vehicle up on blocks for long term storage has proven to help preserve the springs and suspension. A spring under 10% tension for a long time is better than a spring under 60% for the same amount of time.

BTW, old valve springs on engines are known to be more likely to break or perform poorly, even if the motor is low mileage. Its the age, i.e. time they have been compressed as well as the use, that wears them. That why its better to at least turn the motor over time to time to alternate the valve springs that are compressed while it sits static.

There are so many factors affecting the metallurgy of a spring, a spring with a scratch on it, can snap half way through its life. One spring out of a lot of springs can maintain its force gradient twice as long, or twice as many cycles as the rest of the lot.

Storing springs compressed isn't a guarantee they will fail, at the same time how many people can notice their springs have degraded slightly. How many threads are there about 15 minute trigger jobs where folks cut and bend their springs, then swear they never have a problem with the weapon.

The basic common sense philosphy for storing anything mechanical, is to configure the device with the least amount of pressure/tension on it as much as practical, as well, as taking measures to prevent corrosion.
I don't see why an AR-15 would be any different. It may or may NOT work, failing to do this before storage may or may NOT hurt, but the odds are it will help to preserve the mechanism a little longer than if you had NOT done it.

How many people would insist that any kind of corrosion prevention is unnecessary before storing a weapon, yet I'm sure you'll find people that did nothing before storing a weapon and didn't suffer any corrosion. What odds do you guys want to play?
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