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1911 spring longevity

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by chriske, Dec 4, 2012.

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  1. chriske

    chriske Member

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    Champion .45 ACP 1911-pistol shooters insist on replacing their recoil springs every....(what is it nowadays) 1000 rounds ?

    Now, I wouldn't dream of questioning the opinion of people who weekly shoot more than I do in a year, but I'm just curious :

    What about all the other springs in 1911 pîstols ?
    (main hammerspring, firing pin spring, trigger/sear/grip safety spring..... even magazine spring)
    They get compressed/released with every single shot as well don't they ?
    Why is it nobody ever mentions replacing them every (....what is it nowadays...) 500 rounds ?

    Are they much better constructed or made of much better material than recoils springs ?

    Why not make recoil springs the same way then ?


    P.S. : I know it's not every 500 rounds : 500 rounds is what it takes to "break in" a .45 ACP 1911 pistol, in order to make it function, after which you should replace the recoil spring (which will require some breaking in as well)
     
  2. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    The recoil spring is under the greatest stress when the gun fires and cycles and would wear out sooner. But just because these shooters may be replacing them every 1000 rounds, doesn't mean they only last 1000 rounds. The other springs are under comparatively little stress compared to the recoil spring as they do not have to propel the mass of the slide forward. The sear spring, for example, only has to lift (or pull down) a little sear or disconnector, with its "legs" moving just a fraction of an inch, while the mainspring (hammer spring) only propels the hammer forward.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  3. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Rule of thumb is firing pin spring every other recoil spring change. If that is 3,000 rounds on a Govt. then every 6,000 for firing pin. 2,000 on a Commander, every 3rd change or also 6,000 rounds. Mag. catch spring and plunger spring annually. Adjust sear spring as needed and main (hammer) spring with rebuild.

    The new flat wire spring kits may prove to be a game changer as they claim up to 10X the longevity. What is this break in period you speak of? Either it works or it doesn't and as long as the recoil spring is matched to the intended load it should work fine when new as well.
     
  4. CPshooter

    CPshooter Member

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    I thought "matching the recoil spring to the load" on a 1911 is completely pointless because the hammer spring is actually what resists the rearward movement of the slide, not the recoil spring. Supposedly, the recoil spring only needs to be strong enough to close the slide and chamber a new round. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.
     
  5. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    From the Kimber owners manual.

    SPRING REPLACEMENT CHART

    Compact & Pro Models:
    Recoil Spring: .45 ACP & 40 S&W/22 lbs., .38 Super/18 lbs.
    CHANGE EVERY 800 rounds.
    Firing Pin Spring: HD, CHANGE EVERY 5000 rounds.
    Mainspring: 23 lbs., CHANGE EVERY 5000 rounds.
    Ultra Carry Models:
    Recoil Spring: 18 lbs., CHANGE EVERY 1800 rounds.
    Firing Pin Spring: HD, CHANGE EVERY 5000 rounds.
    Mainspring: 23 lbs., CHANGE EVERY 5000 rounds.
     
  6. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Ok. The recoil spring resists rearward movement of the slide. If strong enough to limit slide travel you get no case ejection. If too light, the slide can overrun the magazine spring resulting in bolt over base.

    Ideally, when spring and ammo are matched brass will eject 3-5 feet, enough to smartly clear the pistol without fear of jamming.
     
  7. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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    Springs are cheap ....

    so I replace my recoil springs at about every 3,000 rds / Firing pin spring in the same gun - every other time. I keep a log on every gun - so its easy to keep track of.

    Mainspring - hammer strut spring...about every 20,000 rds is all that most companies will tell you is recommended....

    but like others mentioned these new flat wre springs are supposed to run a lot longer...but I'm going to hold off on them for awhile.
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Yes, springs are inexpensive. If the hand gun is used a lot, swapping the springs out periodically is just safe insurance.
     
  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    A local IDPA/USPSA addict runs a 12-pound spring with Major PF loads, and he burns up tens of thousands of rounds a year in practice and competition. He changes his springs when he notices that his return to battery is sluggish. Not long ago, he told me that his current spring was gettin' a little tired after nearly 50,000 rounds, and that he intended to change it soon.

    I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
     
  10. HDCamel

    HDCamel Member

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    Seeing as the original 1911 pistol trial was 6,000 rounds with no malfunctions or replacement parts, you can trust the springs at least that far.

    Unless, you know, it's out of spec or something.
     
  11. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    :)......
     
  12. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I'm more of a Hi-Power man. Haven't changed a spring on two with over 50,000 rounds each. no problems
     
  13. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Unfortunately not every question asked is in reference to a well tuned competition pistol. For the guy with an Auto Ordnance pressed into carry service that lives its life on the ragged edge of function a new spring every once in a while can't be a bad idea...barring fixing it.
     
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The spring doesn't know what type of pistol it's in...and the pistol that I mentioned above isn't a racegun. Aside from a good barrel fit and some trigger work, it's pretty much a stocker. I did work a little magic on his extractor once, but that's about it.

    The "recoil" spring's primary function is returning the slide to battery. Whatever else it does is incidental.
     
  15. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Understood. What I wrote was directed to the folks who haven't gotten the message. The ones with a bit too much extractor tension because it's never been addressed, whose barrels overhang the frame just a weeee bit, whose $600 copy features a poorly fit "match" barrel with a truly dimensioned match chamber. To those masses, whatever else the recoil spring does may not be inconsequential. They proudly boast about the hundred "flawless" rounds they've put through it, needing only a little bulk lithium grease and "bullets" to make his 3" function.

    Change your spring is indeed a blanket statement but also as mentioned cheap insurance. Not a comprehensive policy to be sure.
     
  16. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    :scrutiny:

    They must really want to sell you some springs. :p But then, these are compact models, and you probably shouldn't expect the same spring life as a full-sized model.
     
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    During the final testing for the US Army, the pistol was fired 6,000 times. It was overheated on a number of occasions and dunked into a bucket of water...shaken off a couple times...and firing was resumed.

    No malfunctions or parts failures were observed.
     
  18. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    But those pistols tested were not 3" barrel models with reverse plugs made in the PI. The unfortunate lack of adherence to spec. and in some cases to quality means many a mousetrap will never snare any save its buyer.

    I would wish everyone a safe, reliable and optimized 1911 in place of spiffy but iffy. For those who will trust but not verify, I wish for spring changes.
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    True. Also true that shorter/high rate springs tend to get tired earlier. Replace the spring when the return to battery gets sluggish. If the gun is shot often...just keep one spring fresh for carry and shoot with the spares. You may be surprised to find that even the shorties usually last longer than is often claimed in the literature.
     
  20. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

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    Any thoughts on flat wire recoil springs versus standard recoil springs?
     
  21. cuba

    cuba Member

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    Funny thing is that the Army's 6000 round test was performed with the original action springs that by todays standards would have a rating of approximately 14.5 pounds, I to only change out my spring when it becomes sluggish, I just don't understand how any one can put a round count on an action spring when some are feeding their 1911's a steady variable diet of +P 45 acp, if you change out your spring when the slide becomes sluggish you cover all the bases.

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
     
  22. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    It's not meant to be set in stone, it's a guideline. If I told the OP to put 50,000 miles on his car before changing the oil would you have a quantifiably better number for him? Would you tell him to drive till things felt sluggish?

    The suggestion, barring freak breakage, simply takes that spring's liability down to minimal. If there were a universal conspiracy I'd sell my own line of springs for $2 more and advertise them as 30,000 round springs.
     
  23. cuba

    cuba Member

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    I think that there most be a lot of folks that are interested in the longevity of their action spring seeing as this thread has been viewed over 24,000 times in less then 4 days, must be a record.

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
     
  24. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Mandated spring replacement intervals may simply be CYA by the firearm manufacture. On the other hand preventative maintenance based on testing and long term experience. Being a little cynical it could be what the spring manufacture told them.
     
  25. cuba

    cuba Member

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    I bet there are tons of action springs with plenty of life left in them in parts bin through out the country, because people have bought into the snake oil and always love to make their pistols "mo better", its just par for the course with this addiction.(tinkering fever)

    shoot safe, shoot straight, and have fun
     
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