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A 1911 question, when is it set up correctly?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FullEffect1911, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    This is a question that I tend to think about now and again. I've read a lot on this forum about 1911 pattern pistols and I feel I have a pretty good understanding of them, at least well enough to be able to troubleshoot most problems I have run into. In fact my current 1911 runs great, and except for my thumb pushing up the slidestop on me once, it hasn't skipped a beat. Course I have good colt hybrid mags and a properly fitted extractor in there so that helps.

    But in all the things that I have read, timing is super important and "this and that" should be working with each other etc. etc.

    So when is the 1911 good enough for one not to worry about if you have the proper spring weights? Or if the parts are fitted together right? Or if one part is not getting along with another part and you are battering your pistol to death? Is the answer if gun is functioning correctly then it's fine? Of could a perfectly functioning pistol still be beating itself to death or otherwise running itself into a problem down the line?

    I guess the basic question is, if a reliably functioning pistol all that matters?
  2. jwr747

    jwr747 Well-Known Member

    depends on what the pistol does for a living. Target pistol,function is secondary to being accurate. Self defense,all that maters is function,100% goes bang when trigger is pulled. jwr
  3. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I agree entirely. However this particular question has more to do with durability then reliability. Reliability is #1 in importance, but having the pistol break on you in a serious situation is just as bad. So my goal is to get the pistol set up so everything is in harmony with each other. But how does one know when it is or isn't, aside from reliability issues?
  4. richyoung

    richyoung Well-Known Member

    IF you are firing standard pressure (or more, not less, like +P...) you should have...

    1... a 14 to 21 pound recoil spring with less than 5000 rounds on it. The army "stock" spring is around 16.5 pounds. Its important to remember that the hammer spring is also part of absorbing the slide recoil - if you lighten the trigger pull by installing a lighter-than-stock spring, you may need to go to a slightly heavier recoil spring...


    ...too HEAVY a recoil spring batters the gun during the slide-recoil stroke, puting wear on the barrel feet, barrel link, slide stop, and the reciever where the slide stop hole is, (ever notice they machine away that part of the reciever rail on Delta 10MM's? What had the 22 pound recoil springs?). It also changes the amount of time the next round has to rise up from the mag and get chambered.

    2. ...a 17 to 23 pound main (hammer) spring. I don't think they need replacement quite as often, as they are pretty heavy-built - still, springs are cheap. Stock on a >45 is 21 pounds, on a Gold Cup National Match its 19, I think.

    Between the two, if you stick with these pairs, you should be OK.. 16 pound recoil, 21 to 19 main, 18 pound recoil, 17 - 18 main, 14 pound recoil 22 -23 pound main.

    Replace firing pin spring with an extra-power spring every time you change the recoil spring - Wolf gives you one free.
  5. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Well-Known Member

    It does to me...Every handgun I own is also used for CC, so having it go "Kaboom" each & every time is paramount. If it fails on the range, and I conclude it's an inherent problem in the pistol: it find its way in the aisles of the next Gun Show.:eek:
  6. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info richyoung.

    Do you happen to know what the spring weight is for a full size Springfield Armory loaded 1911? They seem to use a proprietary spring in there because of their ILS, but i would like to know how it compares to a standard spring.
  7. HollyCypress

    HollyCypress New Member

    >depends on what the pistol does for a living. Target pistol,function is secondary to being accurate. Self defense,all that maters is function,100% goes bang when trigger is pulled.
    Scuse me. International rapid fire is 5 shots at 5 separate targets in 4 seconds. A target pistol, then, must be accurate and it must funtion properly. Been there done that.
  8. richyoung

    richyoung Well-Known Member

    Sorry, FullEffect, I've no clue - anyone else know? Is the spring a different length?
  9. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    Yes, the spring is shorter by a good 5 coils. This is because they have a proprietary and longer "mainspring plunger*" so that their ILS will lock up the mainspring.
    [*the part that the hammer strut pushes on, I'm not sure if it's called a plunger]

    The only reason I still have the ILS is because it will only lock with the hammer down, and I carry cocked and locked, so it doesn't exactly have a lot of opportunity to lock itself up. It's a case of if it ain't broke....

    Regardless it would be nice to find out what the spring weight is.
  10. Cloudpeak

    Cloudpeak Well-Known Member

    The mainspring (hammer spring) with the ILS on the 5" Springfield 45 ACP is 28 lbs.

  11. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Cloudpeak
  12. richyoung

    richyoung Well-Known Member

    All things being equal, shortening a spring increases its "weight".

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