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Time for a New Recoil Spring?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by NeverAgain26, Apr 6, 2003.

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  1. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    In my last 2 trips to the range, my CE II has had a few failures to feed. I have approximately 3500 rounds through the gun now.

    At about 1700 rounds, I had the ramp polished, the chamber throated and the extractor replaced as I had some issues back then. The gun has functioned flawlessly since then.

    In the last 2 days, I have had 5-6 failures to feed in 130 rounds. I have taken the mags apart and cleaned them about 1000 rounds ago. The gun was cleaned right before these failures.

    All 3500 rounds have been factory ammo (S & B, Federal, or CCI Blazer) with most being ball ammo and some being JHP. The recent failures were all ball ammo.

    Is it time for a new recoil spring? I have read these springs have an approximate life of 3000 rounds before needing replacement.

    If so, how many pounds should I go with (16lb or 18lb)?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    NA26
     
  2. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    Describe the FTFs in more detail. Exactly what happens?
     
  3. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    Blackhawk: 2 kinds of FTF's I can recall:
    - 2 or times the slide locked back and didn't peel the last round from the mag.
    - 2 or 3 times, the nose of the bullet hung up on the feed ramp.

    I might suspect the magazine springs, but I cleaned and lubed the mags at about the 2,XXX range mark.

    Thanks.

    NA26
     
  4. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    Do you mean that the slide lock was engaged just as if the magazine was empty?

    Or do you mean that the slide engaged the round next to be stripped and stopped traveling forward?

    Also were these jams always on the last round of the mag?
    Was the slide still engaged on the back of the round on these jams?
     
  5. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    When the slide locked back, it seemed to do so always on the last round in the magazine. The slide lock seemed to be engaged as if there were no more rounds in the magazine. The round was still fully seated in the magazine and not partially stripped by the slide out of the magazine.

    When the nose of the bullet hung up on the feed ramp, the slide went forward and did not go into full battery. I have to assume the slide was engaged on the back of the round.

    NA26
     
  6. blades67

    blades67 Member

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    When you replace the recoil spring I recommend you stay with the stock 18 pound recoil spring.
     
  7. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    Your first jam situation doesn't involve your recoil spring, IMO. The first mystery I'd solve is why the gun thinks the mag is empty with one round in it and engages the slide lock. No how, no way should that happen.

    I'd strip the gun completely and clean all the parts thoroughly. They I'd examine every part under magnification and strong light. Suspect parts would be the slide lock, slide lock spring, rails, and slide. I've heard of slide locks engaging from weak spring problems, but I've never experienced one.

    The second jam problem may involve a weak recoil spring, but I'd be surprised if that's the case. Stripping rounds from a used mag should be slick and easy plus the slide has inertia that should help a weakened spring.

    About all I'd expect from a weak recoil spring is failure to go into battery, and that would be consistent.

    Since both your problems are inconsistent, I think you've got some broken parts, a strange lubrication failure, or a strange wear problem.
     
  8. Kruzr

    Kruzr Member

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    At 3500 rounds, its past the time to change the recoil spring. If its a Kimber Gov't size, the factory spring is 16#. Kimber manual recommends changing every 1500-1800 round so I'd say you got your money's worth. :D
     
  9. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    It's always time for a new recoil spring. Cheap insurance though I usually only change mine about every 5,000 or so rounds. I would suggest staying with the stock spring weight if it's a defensive pistol and uses defensive ammo.

    I have never seen a failure where the slide stays locked back, completely rearward, with one round left in the magazine.

    What magazine(s) are you using? If you have multiple magazines, I'd suggest you mark them in some way so you can isolate which magazine or magazines is/are giving you problems.

    Sounds magazine related to me. If you carry this gun, I'd also suggest a couple known good quality magazines such as Wilsons, PowerMags or MetalForms directly from MetalForm. By the way, we are organizing a MetalForm group buy over on 1911forum. You will have to sign up to be a part of it, if you so desire. They are great magazines for the price, esp with the rounded followers. They hold the rounds up slightly higher than flat followers and allow the last round to slide off more easily. Sounds like it might be just what you need.

    MetalForm Group Guy
     
  10. 45auto

    45auto Member

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    If it were me, I would change my magazine springs first and see what happens. Or, as mentioned, buy high quality mags.
    Perhaps the ball ammo is nudging the slide stop before the mag is empty?

    I'd stick with the 16lb for hardball loads. I change the springs between 5-7,000 rounds using shock buffs in a 5 " model.
    Read Wolf's or ISMI's website on springs and it may change your opinion on when to replace them.
     
  11. 444

    444 Member

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    I am not even going to read the thread. If the thought even enters your mind, no matter how briefly that you might need a new recoil spring, just buy a new recoil spring. They are very inexpensive. In fact, why not be proactive and just periodically replace your $8 recoil spring before the gun starts to malfuction or the frame gets battered ?
     
  12. Country Boy

    Country Boy Member

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    Compare your used recoil spring to a new spring. If the used one is 1/4" shorter or more, replace it. By using this method, you aren't just picking an arbitrary number of rounds to indicate when replacement is needed. It prevents you from replacing a spring that is working fine, and keeps you from continuing to use a battered and weakened spring.
     
  13. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Better yet, buy two and keep one as a spare.
     
  14. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    The good news is, it's my target gun, so an occassional jam is not life-threatening. I keep an H&K USP45C for when I need the thing to go bang every time I pull the trigger.

    444: You are right. I was only trying to determine whether it was the recoil spring that was causing the problem, but after reading everything here, it's time for a new recoil spring in any case. Maybe even 2 of them.

    I will mark the mags and see if one particular one cause the problem.

    Blackhawk: I will have my smith look over the gun and examine the parts you mentioned. I love shooting and I am meticulous about cleaning but I am not expert enough to know what wear looks like on the innards.

    Thanks to all of you.

    NA26
     
  15. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    How about posting the solution here after you find out what it is? I'm curious...! :D
     
  16. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    Blackhawk: Will do.

    NA26
     
  17. Redfern

    Redfern Member

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    When my slide locks back before the magazine is empty, I KNOW it is time to clean the magazines. This happeened after 400 rounds, using Bullseye powder. With other cleaner powders, I usually get 700-800 rounds. Clean your mags, use a light teflon lube inside, and see if the problem persists.
    Also, the mags lipss should be measured with calipers, and compared to a known good mag. I recyled a Wilson mag that I dropped on concrete. The feed lips needed a little persuasion. :cool:
     
  18. NeverAgain26

    NeverAgain26 Member

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    Results so far:
    - Called Kimber and was told to go with a 16# spring. Ordered 2 sets from Wolff.
    - Got them in and stripped and cleaned the gun as far as I am capable of. That goes as far as the slide, firing pin, extractor. I took off the grips and cleaned what I could of the action.
    - I did not take out the magazine catch as I need to take some time to play with this to get it back in right. I did check it out under magnification and strong light and it's edge seems fine. Perhaps the spring could be the culprit.
    - I did all this under 6x magnification and strong light (it's actually incredible how much crud you can see under magnification when you clean). I even saw small bits of brass in the crud. Maybe from the cases?
    - I looked at the slide stop and I did not see any wear I could notice.
    - The old recoil spring was 3 coils shorter than the new one I replaced it with! I got a new firing pin spring as well in the package from Wolff and replaced the old one.
    - I cleaned the mags and lubed them, lubed the whole gun and am taking it to the range Sunday to see if it FTF's again. I will be marking mags as well to see if any particular mag is the cause.
    - If the gun does jam, I will see if the cause is mag related or not. If not, I guess I go to the mag catch to see if it is the cause of the problem.

    I got a neat video on 1911's from Bob Dunlap (who I met at the SHOT Show) and it is fairly clear on stripping and light maintenance/troubleshooting 1911's. Using it, I am fairly sure I can totally strip my gun and reassemble it.

    Will keep you posted.

    NA26
     
  19. Tacblack

    Tacblack Member

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    I have had good luck changing my recoil spring every 2000 rounds or so, will run longer but this way it never lets me down at a match. For the amount of money some of us have in a pistol $8 for a wolf spring is cheap.
     
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