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Thread: does keeping gun in half-cocked position accelerate wear??

  1. #1
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    Default does keeping gun in half-cocked position accelerate wear??

    My apologies if this is an extremely silly question. I am curious if keeping my USP in the half-cocked position will accelerate wear on the hammer spring?? I am kinda figuring it won't accelerate wear considering the fact that the gun always returns to half-cock when using the decocker. I just thought I would ask you guys to make sure?

    When I am out and about I usually keep the gun cocked and locked with a round in the chamber. But when I am at home I keep it unloaded and since I have had the gun I have been lowering the hammer by hand, but if keeping the gun at half-cock does not accelerate wear on the hammer spring then I will just use the decocker from now on.

  2. #2
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    Shouldnt affect anything. I carry one in the hole and decocked, never unload it unless I am cleaning it.

  3. #3
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    No, movement wears springs.
    vita brevis est; memoriam mortis!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcDW View Post
    No, movement wears springs.
    Constantly staying compressed will also weaken a spring.

    In this case of keeping it half cocked, nothing to worry about. The hammer spring is barely compressed at all when in the partial cocked position. It is always smart to decock the gun with the decocker lever. Hammer springs are only about $5 from HK. I always keep a bunch of extra ones and replace them once a year on the guns that get carried or used as home defense. Same with the mag springs. Very small monetary and time investment to satisfy my OCD when it comes to reliable ignition on a defensive gun.
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  5. #5
    LEO
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    Agreed.

    Compressing the spring over a long period of time will decrease the tension strength.


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    While it's true that springs take a set if kept in a compressed state, it won't be enough to cause them to be unreliable if it was designed correctly. For example, with completely made up numbers, let's say it takes a 5 lb spring to reliably fire a primer, and it comes with a 15lb spring. If keeping it cocked for 20 years reduces the pressure to 12 lb, it won't matter. A new spring will take a set from either cycles or constant loading, then it will stay right at that spring constant until it fatigues and breaks due to many cycles. It won't continue to weaken under a static load once it takes that initial set.

    I've got magazines I've kept fully loaded for over 20 years. They are emptied at the range, and I usually leave when I still have enough rounds left to refill all my magazines.


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  7. #7
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    Dave,

    If keeping a spring compressed for long periods of time doesn't weaken the spring then why does HK themselves tell you that if a LEM pistol is to be stored for a prolonged time (over a year) that you should ensure that it is unloaded and pull the trigger to release tension on the hammer spring. I know the LEM is pretty much like having a DA/SA hammer in the cocked position, with regard to the hammer spring compression, and is much different than what the OP asked about the half cock position, but I wanted to try and clear up these spring questions.

    Even on Wolff Gunsprings website they state that a mag kept loaded will fatigue the spring over time and should be rotated with other mags or the mag spring should be replaced on a regular basis to ensure proper function. I know they are in the business to sell gunsprings but with the dealings that I've had with them they are not in the business of trying to over sell springs to rip people off.

    I'm just too anal retentive to risk a malfunction with my home defense or CCW pistol because of a $7 spring. On a yearly basis I replace my hammer spring and magazine spring on my home defense USP 45 LEM.
    Just my 2cents.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptechjpjr View Post
    Dave,

    If keeping a spring compressed for long periods of time doesn't weaken the spring then why does HK themselves tell you that if a LEM pistol is to be stored for a prolonged time (over a year) that you should ensure that it is unloaded and pull the trigger to release tension on the hammer spring. I know the LEM is pretty much like having a DA/SA hammer in the cocked position, with regard to the hammer spring compression, and is much different than what the OP asked about the half cock position, but I wanted to try and clear up these spring questions.

    Even on Wolff Gunsprings website they state that a mag kept loaded will fatigue the spring over time and should be rotated with other mags or the mag spring should be replaced on a regular basis to ensure proper function. I know they are in the business to sell gunsprings but with the dealings that I've had with them they are not in the business of trying to over sell springs to rip people off.

    I'm just too anal retentive to risk a malfunction with my home defense or CCW pistol because of a $7 spring. On a yearly basis I replace my hammer spring and magazine spring on my home defense USP 45 LEM.
    Just my 2cents.

    If you read it again, they actually state that 1911 magazines can be loaded for years at a time fully loaded. Then they state that downloading mags by 1 or 2 rounds will increase spring life. That's just 1 or 2 rounds, much less of a reduction than half-cocked. And that's what the OP asked - if the half cocked position will wear out the spring. And I think that it will not.

    And I just looked over the manual for the LEM - much of the section on long term storage are for safety reasons, not spring life. They say to store it without a cartridge in the chamber, magazine, or storage container. It also says to store the ammo separately under lock and key.

    And for the LEM specific portion, there's this caution:

    "CAUTION: In the USP pistol fitted with LEM parts, clear the pistol and release pressure on the cocking piece and hammer spring by dry firing the pistol one time. Only then can the HK Lock-Out device be placed in the locked position on pistols fitted with the Lock-Out device (See page 28)."

    That's not to increase spring life, it's a liability/safety issue.

    So feel free to replace them if it makes you feel more confident, but all I know is that I have several guns that were my grandfather's, a few are approaching 90 years old, and several that are 50 years old. They all have original springs, and some have stayed loaded nearly the entire time except for the summer time when we would shoot them day after day.


  9. #9
    LEO
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    90 years ago they made things better. ;o) It was quality.. not quantity back then.

  10. #10
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    There is plenty of research saying that movement wears springs a LOT more than keeping them compressed will. Don't worry about it.

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