I was playing around with a 2x chain of bucky balls and winding it around itself. Suddenly several of the little balls went shooting like bullets across the room in 3 directions and now all of the balls seem substantially less magnetized. What happened?
It's exceedingly unlikely that "all of the balls seem substantially less magnetized". While it is possible to reduce magnetism by shock it's not possible to be lucky enough to do this to all of the balls.
So I think that your observation of reduced magnetism is in error.