Recoil Spring wgt. and ammo for Witness steel .45


February 16, 2013, 07:08 AM
I'd like to shoot +P loads and would like to know members recommendations
on spring wgts. to ensure proper functioning and safety of my gun. Specifically,I want to use the Hornady Critical Duty +P Ammo but Tanfoglio says not to use +P loads in this gun. Any experiences/advice or comment will be welcome ! Thanks !!

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Walt Sherrill
February 16, 2013, 08:15 AM
If the gun maker says don't use +P loads in the gun, and you use +P loads, forget ever getting warranty work done. That particular issue is one that EAA is particularly unforgiving about... People have had problems with slides and frame while shooting factory (non-+P) loads have had their warranty claims denied by EAA even though they never examined the guns. The nature of the problem allowed EAA to claim the gun had been using HOT loads, and they wouldn't discuss it further.

More importantly, if "protection" could be offered by simply changing out a recoil spring, I doubt that Tanfoglio would say, "don't shoot +P." Guns designed to handle +P rounds are generally beefed up throughout the guns's structure -- the gun maker doesn't just add a heavier recoil spring and says it's now a +P-rated gun..

About recoil springs:

The primary function of the recoil spring is to close the slide after loading a round, not managing recoil or protecting the slide or frame. The Tanfoglio/Witness factory spring weight recommendation is 14lbs for all calibers in that frame size -- it's the same whether you're shooting 9mm, .40, 38 super, and 10mm. A factory 10mm load operates as a noticeably higher pressure than .45 +P, so there has to be some flexibility in the design.

A heavier recoil spring will, if you reload, keep spent brass from traveling so far it can't be found -- and that seems to be the practical reason for going to a heavier spring. But, as noted above, changing out the recoil spring to "protect" you or the gun from recoil force may be a wasted effort. Going to a heavier recoil spring won't necessarily do much to reduce accelerated wear or protect the gun from the extra force in a hotter load. That's because a heavier recoil spring stores more of the round's force than a lighter spring, and then slams that extra force back into the gun when the slide slams forward -- primarily through the slide stop pin. If the gun hasn't been designed to handle that extra force, the heavier recoil spring hasn't really dealt with the problem.

SOME of the damage to Witness guns seems to be due to slide or frame flexing -- and a heavier recoil spring isn't likely to CHANGE that.

If you're unconvinced and still want to shoot +P in that non-+P rated gun, consider a different option, in addition to (or in place of) a heavier recoil spring: use a heavier hammer spring. I suspect it will distribute the force being stored differently, and that may change what happens...

Using a heavier hammer spring also stores some of the force from the fired round (as the slide goes back), but reapplies it to the frame when the hammer drops, which is a bit later in the firing cycle than when the slide closes. The heavier hammer spring, in effect, helps to distribute the total stored force over a slightly longer period of time, and that can be easier on the gun. A heavier hammer spring, because it slows the slide a bit, will also help with shortening the distance brass is thrown, and the only place you'll really notice its presence is in the DA trigger pull. In SA mode, it won't be noticed all that much. If your DA trigger is already smooth, the heavier hammer spring may be a good option: it gives you the benefits of a heavier recoil spring without increasing the force the slide stop must handle at the instant the slide slams forward.

Personally, I've owned a number of Tanfoglio/Witness guns (including several .45s and one 10mm top end mounted on a Sport Long Slide .45), and I liked them a lot,. I don't have any at the moment, but I have become VERY WARY of EAA's Customer Service. If you've got to shoot +P loads, I'd look for another gun, and stick to factory loads or their equivalent in a Witness.

Unless you've got money to burn.

Re springs:

Check out this site: (http://WWW.GUNSPRINGS.COM)


February 16, 2013, 08:59 AM
If you use +P for defense only, the few you might have to use are unlikely to damage the gun. Even a few in practice will likely be unremarkable as to damage and excessive wear ... but what's "a few"? However, over time, a steady diet of +P will likely hasten wear and loosening and might even cause failures.

Generally it's best to err on the side of caution when it comes to guns and ammunition and the manufacturer most likely has multiple reasons for printing the warning. Political, legal, safety ... who knows? But you can bet there are reasons.

February 16, 2013, 09:15 AM
Practice with standard pressure stuff and carry whatever you want.

February 16, 2013, 09:30 AM
Most gun makers also say that using handloaded ammo will void the warranty. But those of us who handload don't seem to pay much attention to that.

February 16, 2013, 10:14 AM
A lot of manufacturers just like to issue a blanket statement that they don't support handloading or +p loads. This kind of fits in with EAAs historically poor customer service.

For me, it's more about the gun than the company. I know my Elite Match in 10mm (new production) is built to handle the loads. I know this from close examination of the gun, firing a variety of loads through it, as well as interaction with other Elite Match owners.

EAA couldn't prove you were shooting +p ammo anyways if you submitted a warranty claim anyways.

Now if you are talking about firing .45 super out of a .45, that's another conversation entirely. There are quite a few people doing that these days, and that's where you really start getting into high pressures.

Walt Sherrill
February 16, 2013, 11:25 AM
EAA couldn't prove you were shooting +p ammo anyways if you submitted a warranty claim anyways.

In a number of the cases discussed on the 'net, EAA didn't have to prove anything -- they just flatly denied claims that COULD have been caused by hot loads.

Some of the owners involved said they didn't handload and shot only factory ammo. -- but the discussion never got to that point. EAA just said, in effect: "Cracked slide or cracked frame -- you're using hot loads. Our warranty has been voided."

February 16, 2013, 11:56 AM
Witness stock spring of 14lb for there 9mm ,45, 38 sup and 10mm. You can buy a wolff kit that has a 16, 18, 20 and 22lb spring .Trial and error but the 16 or 18 lb should be heavest you need. remeber than even a 45+P has lower pressure levels than a 10mm and several others. I used a 18lb in my 40sw witness.

February 16, 2013, 03:25 PM
I went with a 20lb spring in my 10mm Elite Match. It certainly helped tame the recoil for me.

February 16, 2013, 04:07 PM
Thanks guys---you've given me alot of food for thought. I will continue to pick up tidbits
of data and opinion from this and other related forums. The .45 Witness is a great pistol
and I want it to serve my needs well----Charles

February 17, 2013, 08:12 AM
I figure if I ever get a witness (it will be a 10mm) I would try everything to help cut down on gun battering with heavier springs and recoil buffers or anything else I could think of minus soft shooting ammo. Will any of this really help, who knows but from what I hear the guns are pretty good and EAA is pretty bad so I'd like to keep them away for each other.

February 17, 2013, 04:28 PM
If the gun can handle full power 10mm ammo, then +p .45 ACP ammo is not going to hurt it.

To be honest, though, +p ammo isn't necessary in .45 ACP.

February 17, 2013, 06:20 PM
To be honest, though, +p ammo isn't necessary in .45 ACP.

Agreed but .45 super is.....:evil:

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