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Question For 1911tuner- Recoil spring

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by prezzz, May 13, 2004.

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  1. prezzz

    prezzz Member

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    I appreciate your expertise and have read many of your posts especially on recoil spring rates.

    My question is this:

    I ordered a Wolff 18.5 conventional recoil spring for my brand new Colt NRM 1991. I have yet to shoot it but was a little afraid that shooing Corbon +P 165 gr. ammo at 1250 ft. per sec. would damage the frame. Not that I would shoot a ton of that be enough to get used to it because that's what my defense rounds is. Your formula comes out to be about a 19.5 lb. spring. Then I got worried that 18.5 would be to heavy for the rest of the ammo I shoot which is Winchester white box or other plinking rounds. So, I clipped a full coil off and smoothed the edge up.


    Did I mess it up? Now the spring is about a coil or a little more shorter than the stock spring. Is that a problem?

    Logic would dictate that each coil is worth the number of coils divided by the spring weight? 32 coils / 18 lbs. = .56 or about a half lb. So I cut off 1 pound and now have a 17.5 lb. spring?

    Thanks for your time and knowledge.
     
  2. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Member

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    Free bump up,

    Some question I would like to know.....
     
  3. gyp_c2

    gyp_c2 Member

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    Why would you cut a coil off of a new spring from Wolff? I know they make springs in a zillion weights...What was the thinking there?
     
  4. duckfoot

    duckfoot member

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    The Colts that I have handled that still had the stock spring in them seem a little weak and not a full 16lb recoil spring that I think is spec spring. You have to remember that if you put a heavier recoil spring in your pistol, it will reduce the amount of impact on your slide and frame with heavy loads, but will also speed up your slide going back into battery. As Tune will tell you, there is no free lunch. Higher the slide speed the stronger your mag springs have to be to keep up to feed right. I'd say as long as you got good mag springs, a slightly heavier recoil spring should not be a problem with target loads or WWB, but those Corbons, will give that gun a beating no matter what spring you put in it. I ran a few Triton Quickshock 165gr heart stoppers through a Springfield Champion, and looked like I had a flame thrower, poppin those off. GI mil surplus 230 fmj's is what I carry, and I don't feel under gunned.
     
  5. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Recoil Spring Question

    Howdy prezzz,

    Recoil springs were a subject that kept me awake nights for a time. The
    formula works well for most applications, but every gun...and load...is a law unto itself.

    I've clipped a half-coil to a full coil off a spring in a fine-tune exercise...but
    it's generally not necessary, and I only used it in stubborn cases when I couldn't find the sweet spot with a standard spring. I have strong evidence
    that Colt has done so...and now it looks like Springfield has followed suit.

    You're pretty close in your assumption that each turn of the spring contains
    an equal amount of tension, and that clipping a coil reduces that tension
    by a given amount...with a standard rate spring. With a variable, all bets are off. I've never used a variable, and can't comment on how they perform in a given situation or in a given pistol. Rule of thumb is :
    Use all the coils on a given spring that will let the gun shoot a full magazine to slidelock with the loosest grip that you can manage, regardless of the spring's load and rate.

    The problem with shooting such a light, fast bullet in a 1911 is that the
    dwell time in the barrel is so far removed from design parameters, that you can't bet on how the gun will respond. The timing gets all fugazi, and some
    guns will do okay, while others won't.

    The other part of the puzzle is: Are you sure of the velocity, or are you
    going by what's written on the box? Until you chronograph the load in
    question with a calibrated chronograph...you never know.

    If I was a bettin' man, I'd lay odds that you'll find function with a stock
    spring with a 16-18 pound rating. If it turns out to be the lighter one, install a 25 pound mainspring in the gun to help slow the slide a little.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  6. prezzz

    prezzz Member

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    The 18.5 felt so much stiffer than the stock spring. So I compromised and I did care to spend another $12.00 on a spring.
     
  7. prezzz

    prezzz Member

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    Thanks Tuner,

    Sounds like it's far from cut and dry and from an exact science. I'll try this Wolff spring and see what happens. I can always go back to the stock spring.
     
  8. gyp_c2

    gyp_c2 Member

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    ...I gotcha', so did you shoot the thing yet?

    I don't think I've tried anything that flavor before...I'd be interested to hear the outcome too...

    Have fun,

    I really like that advice![​IMG]
     
  9. prezzz

    prezzz Member

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    Not yet. Gonna try to get to the range tomorrow. Sick 11 month old twins and selling my house could get in the way though.


    I have a real tendency to over-analyze these kind of things. I think I will resist the evil spirit and just shoot the snot out of the gun with the stock spring and solve any problems as they come.

    Thanks for bringing me back to reality. I don't know what it was specifically, but something you said somewhere, or posted brought me back to earth on this issue.

    There's a reason the phrase "let's cross that bridge when we get to it" has stood the test of time. I should abide by it more often.


    :D
     
  10. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Double Trouble

    prezzz said:

    Not yet. Gonna try to get to the range tomorrow. Sick 11 month old twins and selling my house could get in the way though.
    ___________________

    Awwwww...I hate it when little bitty ones are sick or hurtin'. Makes ya wanna take it and do the hurtin' for'em.
    :(

    Well...Like I always say: You don't have kids...The kids have YOU!:cool:

    Take care of those two little critters...You'll learn a lot from'em in years to
    come.

    Tuner
     
  11. prezzz

    prezzz Member

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    Words of wisdom!

    Thanks again for all you guys do for the forum. I know I speak for everyone when I say that. You guys do a great job. I've actually met Preacherman (bought guns from him) a couple of times and he truly a gentleman and a scholar.

    Take care
     
  12. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    We use a Wolff 16 1/2 VP (Varible Power) in our PATRIOTS. I feel this is about right for a variety of loads. I do not care about experimenting with springs, but I can understand the desire to experiment. I had pals who gave me a lot of work by using 22lb recoil springs and beating their 1911's to death. I prayed for these folks to keep up the good work! I have Wollf make me a special spring kit for these guns. So far, so good.
     
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Variable Rate Springs

    I've never used variable rate recoil springs, but it seems to me that they'd be a good way to control the slide to frame impact and minimize impact
    shock on the lower barrel lug and slidestop pin....just never got around to
    givin'em a try.

    Got a couple questions for Dave on variables...

    When hand-cycling the slide, does a 16-pound variable feel lighter than a standard 16 pound spring just as the slide starts back? AND...at what point in the travel do you feel the tension start to increase? Mid-point?
    2/3rds of the way? Near the end?

    Might be time for this old dawg to learn a new trick. Now...what'd I do
    with that Brownells catalog?:scrutiny:
     
  14. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    To me, they feel like they are heavier than they are at the start with the slide forward and in battery. They also feel heavier at the end of the slide travel, too. They are easier in the middle, as near as I can tell. I think that the idea of them is to give you extra spring power where you need it and makes the stock spring weight more effective. They do not look any different than the stock 16 1/2 lb to me they they do feel different. Let me know if you want to try one of our custom spring kits and I will mail you one to try. I keep a few of these kits around here just in case. I am going to use one today in a 1927 Systima today for a reliablity tune up and then off to shoot the Wild Bunch "Pike" Stages at a Cowboy match. You would love this one, Tuner. It has just come back with the Gray Parkerizing Finish and looks real WWI! I can't convince some of these guys that I am retired! Oh Well.
     
  15. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Variables

    Ahhhh...I see the concept now. Slow the slide just as it starts back to
    give the barrel time to drop....faster in the mid-range, and puts on the brakes near the end. Makes sense. I had it in my mind that they were
    lighter until the end of compression...and also had a vision of progressively
    wider distances between coils near the back. Since this isn't the case...
    does the wire diameter change at different points on the spring?

    I would like to see how the cycle speed and feel compares in a back to back
    test with a standard spring...Probably wouldn't take more than a magazine
    full per spring, and I'd get it back to ya in 7-10 days, dependin' on when I
    could arrange a range trip.

    Hell...my coil cuttin' days may be over!

    Later on! Gotta go work the Collies. They know it's Sunday, and they're
    chompin' at the bit. "Lemme AT them cows!" It's a sight to watch'em work.

    Tuner
     
  16. MAXM

    MAXM Member

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    1911Tuner...

    any news? have you got and tested the variable recoil spring?
    Very best regards,
    MAXM
     
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    re: Variable Springs

    Howdy MAXM,

    I've got 16.5 and 18.5 variables here, but haven't had a chance to do anything except hand-cycle with'em. They do indeed seem to vary, with
    a lighter than standard (for the rating) pre-load, and get stiffer as the
    slide moves. I'll probaby get a chance to see how they do next week.
    Been busier'n a cross-eyed cat at a rat killin' here gettin' the place ready for out of town visitors...A forum member and long-time E-mail bud and
    his wife are comin' all the way from Mississippi just to get a cuppa my
    world-famous Turbocoffee. :D They should be afraid...VERY afraid.

    Report comin' soon to a forum near you!

    Cheers!

    Tuner
     
  18. DBR

    DBR Member

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    Try the ISMI 16# or 18# springs-you won't be sorry. Because they are made from "real" silicon chrome spring material and properly heatreated, not music wire, they have a longer length and they keep it so the in battery force is higher but the final force is lower. The energy absorption is the same and they stay that way for thousands of rounds. Also, if you really like replacing recoil springs frequently, the Wolff 17# conventional spring is I believe the closest to the original Browning spec.
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    ISMI Springs

    Howdy DBR, and welcome to The High Road.

    A word of warning on ISMI springs...They're longer because they have about 3 more turns than Wolff, and they often need to be trimmed to length in some pistols to prevent coil bind...Coils stacking up into a solid
    before the slide is stopped by the frame and guide rod head...which will
    destroy the bushing and can damage the slide beyond repair.

    Cardinal rule is to always check for coil bind whenever the recoil spring
    is changed in any gun...ANY recoil spring.

    Another thing that I've noticed about ISMI springs is that they vary as much as +/- 2 pounds in their compressed loading, whereas Wolff springs
    hold the tolerance much closer...about a half-pound in either direction.
    ISMI springs are very good, and last for a long time...but if you're tuning to a specified preload and compressed loading, sometimes you have to try
    several before you hit the right one.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  20. DBR

    DBR Member

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    Hi 1911Tuner - love your highly informative posts:

    Marc at ISMI told me that the "16#" spring is 32 1/2 turns of .044 wire and the "18#" spring is 30 1/2 turns of .0445 wire. I measured mine and they agree with what Marc told me. It is my understanding that the original Browning spring was 32 1/2 turns of either 044 or 045 wire. In either case, if the gun will take a "stock spring" it should take an ISMI spring that is to spec. ISMI makes several other 1911 springs. I don't know anything about them.

    Since a music wire spring is usually assumed to have a useful life of 2000-3000 rounds and since during that lifetime it continually grows shorter, I fail to see how minute tuning of the spring would last long enough in service to be useful (except for adjusting for coil bind).
     
  21. Old&Slow

    Old&Slow Member

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    There is a useful explaination of variable power VS conventional power recoil springs in the last page ( FAQ section ) of the Wolff catalog.

    The Catalog is usually free if you ask with a decent order and has a wealth of good info IMHO.
     
  22. DBR

    DBR Member

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    Old&Slow:

    I believe the discusion of variable vs regular springs is also on the Wolff website. One of the original reasons for variable rate springs was for compensated guns that had trouble unlocking properly with standard springs.
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    ISMI

    DBR said:

    Marc at ISMI told me that the "16#" spring is 32 1/2 turns of .044 wire and the "18#" spring is 30 1/2 turns of .0445 wire.

    Ah! They've changed a little. The last ISMI 16-pound spring that I bought had 34.5 turns and the wire diameter was .043 inch...An 18 pound spring had 34 turns and was .045...Interesting. Wonder why they changed recipes...

    Thanks for the update...I haven't used ISMI springs in about 3 years or so.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
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