Replacing Recoil Springs

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by JUNKKING, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    The perfect recoil spring is one that just operates the gun and loads the next round. The slide has to recoil far enough to allow the slide to be caught by the slide stop on the last round out of the magazine.

    The way to find the perfect spring is to start with a set of springs like sold by Wolfe or others. Stick in the heaviest spring. Load up the magazine with one round of your favorite power level ammo. Drop the gun's slide and fire the gun. If the slide fails to lock open then go to the next lighter spring and do the test again. Keep changing springs to the next lightest one until you find the spring that reliably locks the slide back EVERY time on the last round. Then test with several full magazines. The gun should feed every time and lock back with every last round. Failure to do that? Then go to the next lighter spring. The gun MUST be reliable but only needs a spring that allows it to cycle perfectly every time, not some huge spring that makes the gun unreliable in feeding ammo or resistant to locking back on the last round.

    You can talk numbers until you are blue in the face but it is the gun operating correctly and fully that counts, not some mystical spring with a number on it that everyone else uses.


    JUNKKING Well-Known Member

    After a very good PM conversation with Shooter, I had my question answered and fully understand WHY a spring SHOULD be changed in a 1911. It's kind of a pay now or pay later situation. Paying now is minimal to the pay later consequence of what it will cost you. Thanks shooter, JUNK

  3. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    Quite a few competition shooters will use 230 gr bullets and load them to max creating excessive recoil. In the early days, we called them hardball rounds. Maybe I had better stop using that term. :eek: But when using full or max power ammo, I'd recommend a Wolf 18.5 lb varible power spring. I hope this clears up any confusion.
  4. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Yes it did. Thank you

    By theory, it does seem that a heavier spring would last longer, however, the post above makes sense that too heavy a spring might not cycle correctly. Plus putting extra stress on the slide as it returns may also create eventual premature wear.

    I like LD's explanation. That makes sense. Enough spring pressure to optimumize cylce effeciency means enough to do the job without extra stress to the components. Find the right spring rate, and change it out when it starts to loose it's effeceincy. Either by testing with a scale, or just do the easy thing, every 1500-2000 rounds.

    I think you can buy a set of good springs in a three pack for about $20
  5. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    John, using an incorrect weight spring will cause timing issues. Ex. slide closing too fast or too slow.
  6. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    I would really like the answer to this question:
    It is a fact that properly made springs don't get weak-if anything, they get harder and break. If a spring is worked past it's elastic limit, the spring can fail, but usually they break in this instance, too.
    Now, let me quantify my statements-I make a lot of springs. A metallurgist I am not, but nevertheless-I make a lot of springs. The 1911 recoil spring can only be compressed so far, and I don't believe the 1911 design over-compresses it. The only way to "weaken" a spring except overcompression/extension is to overheat it. I doubt this is the case. Machinegun springs don't readily wear out, that I am aware of.
    Perhaps modern 1911 springs are made of stock that is too thick-allowing it to bind and batter the frame?
    Looking for intelligent answers....
  7. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    Bill, I'm afraid I can't give you the answer you are looking for. Only my experiences working on and shooting these guns for 50 years. These springs do wear out as in getting weak. So to avoid reliability issues and correct problems, we change springs. I hope this makes sense. :)
  8. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    No. The Commander uses a 20 lb spring.
  9. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    It's a misprint. Use the 20 lb spring in a Commander.
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