Quantcast

Recoil spring weight for 1911s

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by American_Fusilier, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    Free America
    I've been seeing a lot of recoil spring sets on eBay for 1911s. It looks like 16 pounds is the standard weight, but you can get them as low as 7 pounds to as high as 20 pounds.

    My question is, what is the reason to use different weight recoil springs? What benefits would that bring? Would different weighted springs solve, or help feeding issues?

    I'm talking just about 45acp here.

    What are your guys' thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    Viper1357 likes this.
  2. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,472
    more weight for +P, less weight for 185gr. The 20lb are usually for 10mm or 45 super. For standard ball, 16lb. I sometimes shoot 200gr at 700, and thats largely where the 7# are used. I use a worn out 16, and it works fine.
     
    American_Fusilier likes this.
  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    7,866
    Location:
    NW Florida
    One reason there are 7 lb recoil springs is because the same gun shoots 9mm. A Glock G21 and G17 are completely different guns, with different size frames and slides to shoot different calibers. A 1911 (other than Springfield's EMP) uses the same frame and slide to shoot 9mm, .38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm, 45 Auto, .45 Super, and a bunch of other calibers. You need to tweak the performance with different recoil springs and mainsprings.
     
    mjsdwash and American_Fusilier like this.
  4. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,594
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Many competitive shooter tune their recoil spring to help them with faster follow up shots. You only need enough recoil spring to reliable strip a round from the magazine and chamber it so once that threshold is met you can increase or decrease spring stiffness to get your sights to return to the same place as they were before the shot. If your sights return too high you need to increase spring stiffness to close the slide fast driving the muzzle of the gun down more. If your sights are lower after the shot you decrease spring stiffness so the slide closes slower so it does not drive the muzzle of the gun as far down. This tuning is very shooter specific since your body plays a huge role in the recoil motion of the handgun.

    You can then use main spring (hammer spring) and the geometry of the firing pin stop to help control the rearward speed of the slide to compensate for a lower or higher than normal recoil spring. Obviously there is also the tuning for different cartridges and different slides that also necessitate the need for different recoil springs. A traditional 45 ACP gun is going to be different than a 40S&W with lots of slide lightening cuts or a 9mm Major Open gun with a compensatory and short slide etc.
     
  5. JR24

    JR24 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    3,325
    Location:
    The center of the mitt
  6. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Messages:
    3,768
    Location:
    Texas
    I used to have a 45 Springfield with a carry comp. It used 13lb springs from the factory (because of the comp).

    All sorts of reasons. Many listed above
     
    a2x4bbl likes this.
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    27,242
    The 16 pound recoil spring is a creature of Wolff advertising.
    The USGI recoil spring is specified by wire diameter, number of coils, and free length, not force. Somebody did the engineering mechanics on it and found it to be about 13 3/4 lbs.
    Somebody put fresh Colt factory springs on a tester and found them 15 lbs or a bit less.

    On the other hand, several "semi custom" manufacturers use 18 lb springs to ram their tight fitting slides home and cram cartridges into their undersize chambers.
     
    mjsdwash and Steve in Allentown like this.
  8. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    5,540
    Location:
    Southern CA
    Normal for 9mm in a full size 1911 is 14#.
    Must be a rush on springs went to order a couple more spares the other day and no 14#s around (at least at the couple places I looked at the time)
     
    a2x4bbl likes this.
  9. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    23,647
    Location:
    Northwest Coast
    People use heavier spring rate recoil springs to better manage felt recoil/muzzle climb and lighter spring rate, like bullseye match shooters shooting below published start charge loads, to reliably cycle the slide when using lighter powder charge loads.

    When people complained about feeding/cycling/recoil issues, one of the things I checked was recoil spring rate. One test I used was pointing a cleared pistol at the ceiling and pulling the slide back and returning slowly to about 1/2" before full return to battery. Then I would release the slide to see if the slide would return to full battery quickly/positively or hesitated. If the slide would hesitate, I would suspect the recoil spring to be worn/test the recoil spring further.

    Pushing the muzzle of cleared pistol inside a plastic medicine bottle on top of a bathroom scale allows you to measure the spring rate (At least to the accuracy of the scale resolution).

    Recoil springs are consumable item that need regular replacement after several thousand rounds. I was surprised to find people complaining about recoil snap/muzzle climb only to learn that they never replaced the recoil spring after buying the pistol. I carry spare Glock recoil spring assembly and 1911 recoil springs in my range bag and when new recoil spring is inserted, magically recoil snap and muzzle climb are reduced. :D

    I found some 16 lb 1911 recoil springs can quickly become 15 lb springs and use 16 lb springs for lighter target loads. When buying replacement, keep in mind 17 lb spring can become 16 lb spring over time ;) - https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1005767031

    I like Wolff variable power recoil springs - https://www.gunsprings.com/index.php?page=FAQ#question1

    For shooting full power loads, I like Wilson Combat 18.5 lb springs - https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1005762016
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    a2x4bbl and American_Fusilier like this.
  10. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,472
    As JTQ mentioned, 1911's in 9mm often share the same slide mass as the .45 cal. I should mention, I have a 9mm 1911, full mass slide (38 super slide), and it runs a 13lb spring. It also requires full power ammo to cycle. Common 9mm will run 115grains at 1150 FPS from a 5" barrel, but my 1911 needs about 1200 to get the slide to lock back. A lower spring, like a 7lb would probably work, and thats one of its markets. .
     
    a2x4bbl likes this.
  11. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    Free America
    Thanks for the responses guys. I am very new in the 1911 game.

    Does this mean that caliber conversions are just a matter of a new barrel, right recoil spring, magazine, and maybe extractor and hand hammer spring?

    Like if I wanted my 1911 to shoot 10mm, how much would be involved in that?

    Also, I did have many feeding issues, though it was my first time out with the gun.

    I don't have super high quality mags, and that is probably why I'm having feeding issues.

    Look at the difference of all my 1911 mags, the followers, feed lips, and the rear of the mag.

    20200630_175601.jpg

    20200630_175537.jpg


    The far right mag on both pictures is the only one that worked flawlessly. It's a Mec-gar.

    Why do many of them have different feed lips and followers? Also, look at how low the far right one is cut on the rear of the mag under the follower.
     
    a2x4bbl likes this.
  12. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    7,866
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Followers -

    Initially, it was probably to squeeze an 8th round into a tube designed for 7 rounds. Now, it's probably mostly marketing. " Here is our new and improved follower...", though I suspect some of it may be ease of manufacture for a follower design.

    This thread has some follower discussion ( https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/1911-mag-follower.868578/#post-11504836 ), and at post #23 SSN Vet has picture of some common followers. The Metalform follower, second from the bottom on the right is commonly called the "GI" follower. It is the original John Browning design, but you can't use that follower and get 8 in a tube designed for 7.


    Feed Lips -

    The original Browning design had tapered feed lips, now commonly called GI feed lips. They work great will ball ammo, especially 230 gr ball. Outside of China and third world production, there aren't many companies still making this design. I know CheckMate does, and probably Metalform.

    Nearly all current manufacture 1911 mags have wadcutter feed lips. They showed up in probably the 1970's as a way to get short rounds like those with semi-wadcutter bullets to feed better. Since most hollow point ammo is also relatively short, they also work well with self defense ammo. They also work with ball ammo, though not as smoothly as GI feed lips, so they became the manufacturer default design. I suspect their simple shape also makes manufacturing easier.

    Hybrid feed lips are a Colt design from probably the 1980's. They are a compromise between GI and wadcutter feed lips. They feed relatively smoothly with ball ammo like GI feed lipped mags, and they also feed short rounds like wadcutter's and hollow points. I believe they are currently only offered by CheckMate, though Metalform did make them in the past.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
    a2x4bbl and American_Fusilier like this.
  13. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    7,866
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Let me clarify my above statement about the same slide - that means it weighs the same (sure there must be a maker that tweaks their slide, but commonly not) whether it is a 9mm slide or .45 Auto slide. Because recoil impulse is different between 9mm, .45 Auto, and all the other rounds used in the 1911, the recoil spring must be adjusted to allow whatever recoil impulse the round is producing to drive the slide and return it to battery.

    Generally, within caliber families, you could do that. A 9mm 1911, could share stuff with a .38 Super, 9x23 Win, etc.

    On the other hand, you really can't swap between 9mm and .45 Auto, because the frame feed ramp and breach face is different.

    The other key 1911 point to learn - There are no drop in parts on a 1911. It is not a Glock and it is not an AR. The gun has been in production for over 100 years, and there are so many different 1911 manufacturers, and parts makers, and while all their specifications are close, almost none of them are exactly the same. You may be able to snap some part right in, but it's not something I'd ever count on happening.

    Can a professional gunsmith turn your .45 Auto 1911 into a 10mm 1911. Sure. Can I? No.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  14. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,854
    Location:
    Lee of Death Valley, ...where Tigers feed.
    OEM on a 1911-A1 is 16#.

    As I shoot exclusively 230 gr. ball and HP, with the occasional +P load in the woods... I run an OEM hammer spring and a Conventional Wolff 18.5# recoil spring.

    Shoots great and every time.




    GR
     
    American_Fusilier and a2x4bbl like this.
  15. a2x4bbl

    a2x4bbl Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Spring Hill FL
    Changing recoil springs as stated already are a tuning tool . From the factory most guns are considered “ Oversprung “ but , from the factory most pistols do the best with a wide variety of loads . If you settle on one load you can tailor the pistol to that load and get that perfect ejection about 6 feet away in a nice neat little pile and the pistol will feel smoother and much easier to re-aquire the sight picture. But it’s a balancing act . Too light and not enough force to feed reliably although not usually a problem on non compensated guns . Also the slide may bottom out on the frame causing bad muzzle rise . Too heavy and the slide might not come back far enough to strip a cartridge out of the mag . Springs are relatively cheap , buy a range of them an find what works best for that gun . When you get the right recoil spring for that pistol and load it makes a big difference and you will be spoiled forever .
     
  16. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,492
    From Wolff Gun Springs the factory ratings from Colt for a GM 5" barrel.

    "COLT 1911 FACTORY RECOIL SPRING NOTES
    1. Factory rating for super .38 & 9mm is 14 Lbs.
    2. Factory rating in .40 S&W is 19 Lbs.
    3. Factory rating for the Colt .38 Spl. Midrange is 14 Lbs.
    4. Factory rating for the Colt Ace .22 conversion is 14 Lbs.

    When ordering recoil springs for above caliber's, please take these differences into account.


    CONVENTIONAL RECOIL SPRINGS - .45 ACP

    • Reduced Power...: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 Lb.
    • Factory Standard.: 16 Lb.
    • Extra Power........: 17, 18.5, 20, 22, 23, 24, 26, & 28 Lb"
    https://www.gunsprings.com/COLT/1911 GOV'T PISTOL/cID1/mID1/dID1#3


    Other manufacturers may recommend different weight springs. Les Baer for example told me 18.5 pds. Their slides are heavier than Colt's.
     
    a2x4bbl likes this.
  17. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    7,866
    Location:
    NW Florida
    Perhaps not heavier, but certainly tighter.
     
  18. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,492
    Tighter yeah and just a touch heavier.
     
  19. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    Free America
    Thanks for the info guys!
     
  20. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,854
    Location:
    Lee of Death Valley, ...where Tigers feed.
    Get a couple...





    GR
     
  21. American_Fusilier

    American_Fusilier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    Free America
    I ended up getting a Wilson Combat flat coil recoil spring at 17.5 lbs. I had to buy a new guide rod as well, but I only had to spend about $17 for both.

    We'll see how it works.
     
    LiveLife likes this.
  22. JDR

    JDR Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Messages:
    1,475
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice