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Practically Shooting

School me on recoil springs.....


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Let's say both my 1911's came factory with 16 or 16.5 # recoil springs. Yet the springs seem different between the two guns. Let's say I'm eye balling some Wolff springs. Say I try springs, or even variable power springs in -1, -2 and +1, +2 pounds.....

What can I expect with the exact same loads, but only messing with springs? I'm not trying "achieve" anything at this point, just trying to learn.

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Colt and others buy springs from outside vendors. I think most manufacturers get springs and screws from outside sources and multiple ones at that. If your springs came from two different places, they could look or feel different.

I think they measure a spring's weight on a scale when the spring is compressed to a certain length. What they weigh at different points along the way may be different and account for them feeling different.

I'm not too keen on variable power recoil springs. I think some of that came from IPSC Open Class guns where they want them sprung as light as possible to keep the bounce down when the slide returns. If the spring is light at the beginning, it will be light at the closing end to keep the bounce down, but still be heavy at the other end of travel to buffer the force.

Another trick they use, btw, is using a heavy hammer spring to absorb the initial force but allow a lighter recoil spring.

I like standard weight, standard force (non-variable), 16 lb, recoil springs myself. I think they are plenty for ball-equivalent loads and even some trial shots of heavier stuff.

A heavier spring is less forgiving of a rare underload or limp wrist. We all know we should hold the gun firmly, but there are times when it can't be done. An injury or need to fire from an odd angle will give a poor hold. I try my guns with standard 16-lb springs and they will operate as light as I can still hang onto the gun.

They work fine with 16 lb standard springs unless the gun is screwed up. I don't like to mess with Mother Nature or John Browning.

I also change recoil springs fairly regularly, which helps me feel OK with std weight springs. I keep track of rounds fired and usually change them out at 2,000 rounds. A lot of people think that's overkill, but come on. It's a $7 item. That's only one magazineful of some ammo.

I have some chrome silicon springs from IMSI that I have used longer. I went 5,000 rounds, but admit I was nervous and would probably change them at 4,000 next time.

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From what I can decipher, you would adjust your recoil spring to match a particular load. For instance if a competitive shooter was loading .40 S&W "lite" it would not cycle the action with a standard spring.

Conversely if you load really hot loads you need a much stiffer spring.

I'm not sure there is anything to gain by tinkering for no reason.

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