Can I make an Officer's Recoil Spring from a Gov't?


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marklbucla
May 28, 2008, 02:48 PM
The lightest Recoil Spring for my 9mm Ultra Compact I could find is at 15#. Neither Springfield nor Wolff would make me a lighter one. Can I make a lighter recoil spring out of a government model by clipping coils off or is that not going to work? Will a shortened 12 lb. spring still be 12 lb. if it's shorter?

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rcmodel
May 28, 2008, 03:15 PM
NO.

If you shorten a coil spring it gets proportionately heavier as you shorten it.

Think of it as a rubber garden hose, only wound into a coil.

If you have a 1' long hose, it will twist much easier then if you cut it in half and then try to twist one of the pieces.

Why do you need such a light spring?

rcmodel

marklbucla
May 28, 2008, 07:06 PM
Why do you need such a light spring?

Because rounds are ejecting very weakly onto my shoulder and the slide doesn't lock back sometimes. Using the same slide stop and magazines in other guns works 100%.

MICHAEL T
May 29, 2008, 02:36 AM
Are these reloads or good factory ammo My officer ejects fine with stock springs and good ammo.
I always figured the company knew pretty much what they we doing when they selected springs for average person.
Might look at ejector and extractor for a problem

MICHAEL T
May 29, 2008, 02:36 AM
double post

WinchesterAA
May 29, 2008, 02:55 AM
just as a reference, what is the factory weight of the officer's recoil spring?

marklbucla
May 29, 2008, 04:06 AM
Are these reloads or good factory ammo My officer ejects fine with stock springs and good ammo.

CCI Blazer

Might look at ejector and extractor for a problem

SA replaced the extended ejector and tuned the extractor already. Those are supposedly fine.

just as a reference, what is the factory weight of the officer's recoil spring?

I've been told that it's 16 lbs.

gb6491
May 29, 2008, 11:14 AM
The Colt Officer's ACP recoil spring is 22lbs.
Regards,
Greg

WinchesterAA
May 29, 2008, 11:15 AM
Thank you =)

1911Tuner
May 29, 2008, 12:14 PM
Just a word on substututing.

The larger spring in the old dual-spring setup in the Colt Officer's Models are proprietary and you can't cut a standard spring to work.

Colt Commanders and their true clones...with the standard recoil systems...yes. You can cut the spring and use them. This does NOT apply to any pistol with a reverse-plug recoil system. Those springs are also proprietary.

For most Commanders and true clones, cutting a 16-pound spring labeled for a 5-inch pistol to 24.5 coils works nicely. Some will accept 25 coils. Check for coil bind after trimming the spring to make sure it's not going into a solid stack...which will ruin the bushing in short order, and possibly the slide.

Please be aware that the Springfield Champion Model is NOT a true Commander clone. If it has a standard recoil system, you can cut a standard spring and install it...but it will necessarily have to be shorter due to the Champ being a 1/4th inch shorter than the

RogersPrecision
May 29, 2008, 02:02 PM
Is not the spacing between coils (the pitch) different with true gov't vs comm springs?

1911Tuner
May 29, 2008, 02:31 PM
Is not the spacing between coils (the pitch) different with true gov't vs comm springs?

Not that I can see...

RogersPrecision
May 29, 2008, 10:53 PM
I have both Government and Commander Wolff springs here.
Shall I do a comparison?
Or will I be told that Wolff has proprietary dimensions.

1911Tuner
May 30, 2008, 12:04 AM
Sure. Go for it.

But...Why don't ya give it a try before ya jump in? Cut a GM spring to 24 turns or so and stick it in a Commander. Works good. Been doin' it for about 25 years.

Oh...and by the way. Yes. Wolff does have their own ideas as to specs.

While you're in the comparison mood...do a couple more.

Get an ISMI GM spring. 18 pound rating...and compare it to a Wolff 16 pounder. You'll notice three things right off the bat.

The ISMI has two fewer turns. The wire diameter is the same. The ISMI has greater spacing between coils. (Pitch)

Now...Compare the ISMI to a new Colt OEM Commander spring.

The Colt spring has the same pitch as the ISMI...but the wire diameter is larger than the Colt spring.

Cut the ISMI spring to24.5 coils and stick it in a Commander.

Stick a new Wolff spring in a GM.

Lock both slides back and leave'em overnight so they can take a set. Next day...the pitch will be about the same.

So...Like all the manufacturers that make the pistols...the spring manufacturers also have their own ideas. ISMI is closer to Colt's specs. A friend ordered a Wolff 20-pound spring for his XSE Commander without telling me. He slapped it in...trusting soul that he is...and promptly destroyed the slide and bushing with less than 2 magazines. I use Wolff springs because they're cheap and they work...not because they're true to spec.

And the original OM does have a proprietary spring. The pitch is much different. The standard GM spring can't be cut down and made to work. So do the reverse plug systems. Whole different animal.

marklbucla
May 30, 2008, 12:13 AM
So how many turns to make an Ultra Compact spring from a Government?

SA UC is 3.5" long.

Also, how do I calculate the weight of the spring if I'm going to be shortening it?

1911Tuner
May 30, 2008, 12:33 AM
Mark...I dunno if you can. Not familiar with the Springfield ultra Compact.

RogersPrecision
May 30, 2008, 02:47 AM
Tuner,
Most of your 1911 advice seems based on 'field expedient' vs optimum.
There are right ways and less than right ways to get from point 'a' to point 'b'.
Shortening a spring is 'field expedient'. Checking for coil bind using a 'mark' is field expedient.
I've got no problem with this as it stands. But one needs to realize that there are 'correct' procedures and springs and things that can and will enhance the function of the 1911.
You tend to favor certain mags with certain ammo in certain circumstance.
Well that's just fine for the casual range user, but it don't cut the mustard in a real world.
All I'm asking is for you to keep an 'ear' open to what is working. And to not denigrate those that do not subscribe to your rather narrow field of correctness.
:)

ugaarguy
May 30, 2008, 03:19 AM
You tend to favor certain mags with certain ammo in certain circumstance.
Well that's just fine for the casual range user, but it don't cut the mustard in a real world.
All I'm asking is for you to keep an 'ear' open to what is working. And to not denigrate those that do not subscribe to your rather narrow field of correctness.
Having read many of tuner's posts with great interest in the short time I've been here I have to disagree with you. He has continuously challenged those who claim that the M1911 will only feed ball.

I also recently got my hands on some real deal USGI 1911 mags. As Tuner has claimed, I easily noticed that rounds would feed smoother than with what he calls "wadcutter mags".

I'll also note a few things I recently observed on my newly acquired Kimber Desert Warrior. Bear in mind that the Desert Warrior is a COTS replacement built to MEU specs. As it ships from the factory this pistol does not have a firing pin block, does use a GI style short spring guide and spring cap, and is supplied with a 7 round magazine which has very similar feed lip contours to Tuner's next best preference after GI mags, Colt Metalform "hybrid" feed lips.

I'm certainly no expert, but I do find it very interesting that the MEU specs on the guts of the pistol are very similar to what Tuner says will make a 1911 run best. I'm fairly certain that if those Kimbers weren't cutting the mustard in the real world they'd be pulled from MEU use.

Again, I'm nowhere close to being an expert, but I think those observations are notable.

RogersPrecision
May 30, 2008, 04:01 AM
uhhhhhh...
You really believe that your Kimber is optimized for use by those in the real world?
I'd suggest a bit more research.
Recent Kimbers exhibit a very poor reliability index.
And they certainly do not conform to Tuner's ideal matrix.

1911Tuner
May 30, 2008, 08:37 AM
Chuck...I know that we've butted heads a few times, and most of the time, it's over trivial things.

I'll restate my position on magazines one more time...just in case you missed it the first 10 or 12 times.

I agree with your position that the gun should function with any quality magazine. No argument there at all.
Idealism is a fine thing.

BUT...

Sometimes they just don't. For the ones that don't...a skilled specialist like you or George Smith, et al can make it so. I know that.

BUT...

Not everybody can afford your services...and not everybody can justify throwing another 200 bucks at a pistol that only cost 400-450 dollars...just to get it to run with Brand X, Y, Or Z magazine.

And...

Not everybody can afford to go buy another pistol...or do without the one they just bought while they wait to get on your growing list...and then wait for the 4-6 week turnaround. See...Some people buy pistols because they have a real or perceived need...not to go play games with. And...I know this one will come as a shock...not all of these people can afford or justify one of your hand-built heirlooms, even though they would very much like to have one. If every buyer decided to send his/her pistol to one of you guys for the full treatment...the whole buch of ya would be neck-deep in work until you're 125 years old.

AND...In a large percentages of these pistols, a change in magazine designs turns a pukin' buzzard into a happy songbird. I've seen it happen too many times to ignore it.

So...For the ones that choke on Magazine X-Y-Z, but run fine with Magazine W...and there are many...What is the logical, practical, cost expedient path for our workin' stiff to take? It would be a little like rebuilding an engine just for the sake of usin' a particular brand of spark plug...No?

As for the springs...I haven't bought a "Commander" recoil spring in somethin' over 25 years. There's no need. Go cut one down and see for yourself.

1911Tuner
May 30, 2008, 08:54 AM
Oh, yeah! Almost forgot.

If ya ever get a Springfield Micro Compact in...compare the pitch on the large spring with a Wolff GM spring. Guess what! Same spring.

RogersPrecision
May 30, 2008, 11:09 AM
I know...I know....I'm a contentious old smiff!
:cool:
But....here are some facts.

Pic 1 and 2 shows the proper method of measuring the available spring space.
The depth rod of the caliper is positioned internally on the outer perimeter of the spring plug, not in the center depression.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z228/pistolwrench19/1-17.jpg

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z228/pistolwrench19/2-13.jpg

A 5" government slide has room for 1.636" of spring.
A 4 1/4" commander slide has room for 1.170" of spring.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z228/pistolwrench19/3-18.jpg

A Wolff 16lb government spring has 32.5 coils of .045" wire. It will go solid at 1.462".
A Wolff 18lb commander spring has 22.5 coils of .045" wire. It will go solid at 1.012".
In both cases there is a generous safety margin avoiding spring stack.

Here is a pic showing the free length of 22.5 coils of a government spring compared to the 22.5 coils of a commander spring. The shortened government spring would measure 4.8" versus 5.4" for the commander spring.
The difference in pitch equates to .600" in free length. That .600" difference is going to have a significant effect on the pre-load rating of the spring.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z228/pistolwrench19/5-13.jpg

A shortened government spring is not the same as a true commander spring.
It may be adequate, it may even be ideal, but it is not the same.

ugaarguy
May 30, 2008, 11:14 AM
uhhhhhh...
You really believe that your Kimber is optimized for use by those in the real world?
I'd suggest a bit more research.
Recent Kimbers exhibit a very poor reliability index.
Strangely I've seen very few reports of Desert Warriors having the reliability problems of other Kimbers.
And they certainly do not conform to Tuner's ideal matrix.
I didn't say they fully conformed to his ideal matrix. I simply noted that the Warrior line incorporates many features Tuner recommends.

However, since we're on the subject, what would you recommend doing to the gun for absolute reliability? Like I said, I'm not an expert, so let me know what you think.

JDGray
May 31, 2008, 10:45 AM
Very good entertainment, guys:) I'm learning lots about recoil springs, and its like watching a soap(not that I do):D

1911Tuner
May 31, 2008, 12:22 PM
Here we go... :D
One...

I don't pay much attention to what's available on the aftermarket as far as springs go. Colt's OEM Commander springs are 23.5 coils...not 22.5 and they're .043 wire diameter. I've seen 18 and 20-pound Wolff spring produce coil bind as they come out of the package. One 20-pounder destroyed an expensive slide.

Two...

Going with a Wolff 16-pound spring and 24.5 coils will more than make up the discrepancy on the preload, and will provide about 17 pounds...on average...in a given Commander. That's more than Colt's OEM spring, which comes in at about 16 pounds give or take.

Three...

I like to fit the spring to the gun on an individual basis. I lop off a Wolff or ISMI spring...at 27 full coils, and start checking for coil bind...taking a half-coil at a time until the bind is gone. This normally puts it at 24.5 to 25 coils...which provides all the free length that the spring is capable of in THAT gun with THAT spring...and still avoiding destructive coil bind. These springs function perfectly in Commanders and LW Commanders...and true clones of the same...and they last a bit longer than 22.5 coil springs to boot.

Incidentally, you can determine what the space available is in a particular gun by simply multiplying the coils by the wire diameter.
You may find that it's different than what you get with a dial caliper.
Then, all ya gotta do is note the dimension and use it for the next spring. Things tend to stay a little more consistent that way.

I go through a helluva lotta springs here, keepin' the pistols in good tune for all my rowdy friends. With my discount at Brownells, I order Wolff 10-packs and wind up with a little less than 3 bucks per spring. It adds up, and I've had no complaints to date...and like I said...it's been somethin' over 25 years.

Again...Before ya jump in too deep...you should try it, Chuck. You may find that you like it better than blindly trusting someone else to determine how you set up the gun. Of course...I've always been somethin' of a maverick in these matters. ;)

1911Tuner
May 31, 2008, 12:42 PM
Just a quick note for the ones choosin' up sides here... :D

Let's understand up front that Chuck is a talented smith and not only at the top of his game...is probably one of the top 5 or 6 pistolsmiths in the country. He's expensive, but he's worth it.

He's very good at what he does...and is entitled to all due respect. He just doesn't understand what I do...and that I don't do things in the accepted way much of the time.

I don't do custom work in the normally accepted sense. I've seen the job, and I don't want it.

I do reliability work first and foremost...and whatever I have to do in order to reach that goal is fair game...within the physical and mechanical limitations of the gun. Well...Mostly, anyway. I occasionally travel outside of the window, but not very far.

I don't automatically begin surgery until I've exhausted all other options...and I usually find that it's not required. If I can make the gun function without it...I go with that. Most of the time it's somethin' simple, anyway. No sense in rebuilding an engine to stop spark knock when you can just go up to the next fuel octane level. No?

Neither do I build tight, match-grade pistols...and 99.5% of the "building" that I do is rebuilding...and usually old or badly worn pistols. I rarely build anything from scratch with all new parts...and even on the ones that I have done that with...I don't "overtighten" anything. I don't like excessive slop, either...before that comes into question. My pistols don't rattle like a "bucket of bolts." There are a few members here who have handled my pistols, and maybe they'll see this and chime in. I won't call on'em to provide backup, though. It's their decision.

I especially don't jam the barrel vertically into the slide for a "Lockup like a Vault." I like .003 inch of vertical play, and if I fit the barrel and lose that...I loosen it up at the top until I get the clearance that I want. Odd? By custom/bullseye standards...you bet. Why would anybody do that?

I have my own reasons. I'll leave it to Chuck to figure out.

ugaarguy
June 2, 2008, 12:30 AM
Tuner, do the cut down GM springs, with their lighter compression weight, wear out more quickly than the heavier weight Commander springs?

Also, why do you recommend cutting down GM springs when Commander springs are readily available from Brownell's, direct from several manufacturers, and from other gun parts & accessory businesses?

1911Tuner
June 2, 2008, 07:27 AM
Tuner, do the cut down GM springs, with their lighter compression weight, wear out more quickly than the heavier weight Commander springs?

No. If anything, they seem to last a little longer...probably because I wind up with an extra coil or so more than most of the packaged Commander springs. Colt's OEM springs have 23.5 turns. Wolff's run to about 22.5 turns.

Also, why do you recommend cutting down GM springs when Commander springs are readily available

They work, and they're a lot cheaper than springs that are Commander specific, and there's very little...if any...practical difference.

But, again...If the pistol has a reverse-plug system...you'll have to go for a spring that is specific to that particular design and/or model...just like the larger spring in the old Colt OM system.

1911Tuner
June 2, 2008, 08:15 AM
Since it's come up...Let's touch on the question of "Optimum" for a minute, and how it relates to what the pistol's role is.

With anything, there's is presumably a purpose. "What's it FOR?"

Optimum means different things to different people. Optimum for me may not not meet Chuck's standards. His optimum may not be the same optimum for the smith who builds Bullseye pistols. None of the above will be optimum for the racegunner trying to shave another hundredth of a second off his split times.

I take a very utiltarian/spartan view of the 1911 pistol. The custom builders may aspire to higher levels, as is their right and privelege. I don't doubt that they have higher standards than I do. They have their own ideas as to what they want to achieve, and apply them.

To me, optimum is that the gun will function...period. Dirty...Clean...dry or oiled. Function and durability is the bottom line. Accuracy is a secondary concern. 3 inches at 25 yards is plenty good enough to save ol' skinny at 10 feet. "Pretty" is trailing in a far distant 3rd place, and "Unique"or "One of a Kind" is bringing up the rear...way back near the horizon. If I can make one meet my idea of optimum, I don't go any further. There's no need and I generally don't have time to mess with it anyway.

I do like a clean trigger, but it's not necessary for it to break like a glass rod. I'm good with 5 pounds...or 5.5 or even 6 pounds...as long as it's clean. If I can't shoot well enough to stop an attack at 10 or 15 feet with a 6 pound trigger and 3-inch/25-yard accuracy...I can't do it with a 3.5-pound trigger and match-class accuracy.

The pursuit of awe-inspiring accuracy is a worthy goal. No argument there...but it's almost gotten to the point of absurdity in some circles. The mechanical ability of a pistol to eat the X-ring out of a target without enlarging the ring is interesting, but only relevant to those who shoot that particular discipline...like the racegun that's a fraction of a second faster in its cycle. It's only important to the practitioner of that discipline looking to make .09 instead of .1 splits. I can't figure out why that's important...but to each his own. Mine is not to judge.
It's important to him, and he is welcome to it. It's just not necessary in a general purpose or street gun...and that's the class of pistols that I work with. If that makes me the odd man out...I'm okay with that, and actually a bit proud of it. Never been one to follow the crowd anyway.

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