A question about 1911 recoil springs


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The Real Hawkeye
November 9, 2006, 08:19 PM
I asked my gunsmith for a new recoil spring for my full sized 1911. He said that he needs to see the warn out spring that's in there now so he can cut a new one to match the length. I told him that this is not how it's done. The reason the warn out one is the length that it is is because it's warn out. You don't want to match by length, but by the correct weight. He disagreed. Who is correct?

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robertbank
November 9, 2006, 08:23 PM
You are, switch gunsmiths and order a Wolf 16#+ spring.

Take Care

Bob

The Real Hawkeye
November 9, 2006, 09:14 PM
He's a young guy who specializes in Remington M700s. He also has a rep as a revolver tuner. I wouldn't trust him with too much in the way of 1911s, though, if he thinks that's the way you replace a recoil spring.

dracphelan
November 9, 2006, 09:27 PM
He's incorrect. You just need to buy a 16# or 18# recoil spring for your size of 1911 (Government or commander).

10-Ring
November 9, 2006, 11:15 PM
Time to find a new smith ;) If it's a range gun, just get a 16# spring, if it's a SD gun, get a #17 spring ;)

Sunray
November 10, 2006, 12:30 AM
"...so he can cut..." He's nuts. Recoil springs are just replaced, not cut to size. Go here and buy a spring. http://www.gunsprings.com/1ndex.html

DBR
November 10, 2006, 02:05 AM
The milspec spring is 32 coils of .045-.044 wire. It is the Wolff 17# spring (not the variable one). Side note: variable springs were designed for compensated guns. They reduce the in battery spring force and are not the right choice for noncompensated guns.

All 1911 recoil springs will get shorter with use because the design over stresses the spring causing it to fatigue. The reduction in length is a very good metric for the condition of the spring. If you start with a quality new spring measure its length after about 500rds then check it about every 500 rds. When it is about 1/2" shorter than the "break in" length it is ready to be replaced.

Chuck R.
November 10, 2006, 10:40 AM
Side note: variable springs were designed for compensated guns. They reduce the in battery spring force and are not the right choice for noncompensated guns.

I think Les Baer disagrees with you on this point, his 5” guns come with 18.5 Variable recoil springs.

I use different rates depending on what I’m doing:

5” “range use” 200 LSWCs at 875 FPS 15-16 lbs (I’ve gone as light as 14lbs)
5” “SD” 18.5 Variable as Baer recommends.

I also use the "measurement" technique to check my springs, but go with a "3 coil" shortening. I don't usually get there though because I change out every 3000.


Chuck

1911Tuner
November 10, 2006, 11:36 AM
Quotes:

>I think Les Baer disagrees with you on this point, his 5” guns come with 18.5 Variable recoil springs.<
********************

Put me down as another one for Les to disagree with.

And:

>>I use different rates depending on what I’m doing:<<
***************

You'll probably find that 16 pounds will work fine over a wide range of bullet weights and velocities, assuming that the gun is right. My light load is 200/800-ish, and it'll function the guns with 16 or 18 pound recoil springs.
The only real difference is the distance from the gun that the brass lands and how far below the line of sight that the front sight dips when the slide goes home...if that makes a difference.

Lotta misconceptions floatin' around...

The Real Hawkeye
November 10, 2006, 12:45 PM
Thanks for all the info. Now please answer this Tuner, or anyone else who wants to: What's the correct spring for a self defense designated Commander length slide? Thanks again. Usually use 230 grainers.

Jim Watson
November 10, 2006, 01:51 PM
Standard Colt Commander recoil spring is 18 lbs.
"Commander length slide" makes me a little nervous on the subject, though. There are a lot of guns on the market these days that are kinda sorta Commander size but differ in important details... like recoil springs.

Chuck R.
November 10, 2006, 01:56 PM
The only real difference is the distance from the gun that the brass lands and how far below the line of sight that the front sight dips when the slide goes home...if that makes a difference.

Yup, exactly, 16lb is a good all-around weight.

But, why not “tune” the spring weight to the load being used? For a “game” /”range” gun it makes perfect sense. It does have an impact on follow-up shots. Or is that a “misconception”?


Chuck

mpmarty
November 10, 2006, 02:03 PM
I have mixed emotions on spring weights and my thoughts go like this:

A heavier spring with hi pressure loads will reduce battering in recoil (true)
A heavier spring as in above increases the tendancy to damage slide stops (??)

As I see it, a lighter spring and perhaps a squared off firing pin block to raise the effort necessary to cock the hammer may be better for the firearm.

thoughts please?

1911Tuner
November 10, 2006, 02:09 PM
Quote/Question:

>But, why not “tune” the spring weight to the load being used? For a “game” /”range” gun it makes perfect sense. It does have an impact on follow-up shots. Or is that a “misconception”?<
*************

I've heard that a lotta those guys do that, and they say that it do make a difference...but since I don't indulge in that activity, I really can't say how much difference it makes.

For Commander-length...4.25 inch...I use a standard Wolff 32-coil spring and cut it to 24 coils +/- a half-coil. Check for coil bind before firing the gun to determine the final length. 18 pounds is the accepted standard...but I find that it's a bit heavy for best function. I do use the small radius on the firing pin stop, along with a standard 23# mainspring. That alone buffers the impact as much as an extra 2 pounds of recoil spring without the drawbacks.

wally
November 10, 2006, 10:39 PM
I use 18.5 lb springs from Wolff in my 5" 1911s only because I like being able to find my brass. The 16 lb factory springs have never been an issue in terms of function and probalby are a better choice for defence becasue of better ejection.

I replace the recoil spring only when the brass starts flying into the weeds again.

--wally.

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