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  #1  
Old 12-02-2010, 08:07 PM
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Default 1911 Recoil Spring question

Not for my S&W but for Dan Wesson Pointman.

It is a older model and I think when I first got it used I put a new recoil spring in in. Not sure what weight(think its 18) but compared to my other 45 Autos it is really hard to pull the slide back. It functions fine but if I get a jam or stove pipe it's really hard to pull back and clear it.

I looked at the Wolf Spring selection and they have springs from reduced 7-15 lbs
standard at 16 lbs and
extra power 17-28 lbs.

I gather the wide range is for different loads but that seems like a huge range?? 7 to 28 lbs??? When would a 7 lb spring be used??

Anyway, I load low to mid range ammo, never max so would the standard 16 lb be correct or one of the calibration reduced power packs which has several and I could mess around with them?

Springs for COLT 1911 GOV'T PISTOL Semi-Auto Pistols
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:31 PM
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The standard 16# recoil spring was designed for standard 230 gr hardball loads. It will work fine with medium loads, you might want to consider say a 12-14# spring for light loads or a 16.5# variable, or the next lower weight variable.

If your pistol ejects rounds that land right at your feet the spring is probably a little to heavy. If ejected round land 10-12 feet away the spring is too light. Ideal is ejected round land about 4 to 6-7 feet away.

The really light weight springs are for either very light loads or for compensated pistols. With a compensator you can get by with lighter springs. The heavier weight springs are for really heavy loads or guns with lighter weight slides.

You need to consider changing out your recoil spring when it gets 2-3 coils shorter than a new unused spring.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
The standard 16# recoil spring was designed for standard 230 gr hardball loads. It will work fine with medium loads, you might want to consider say a 12-14# spring for light loads or a 16.5# variable, or the next lower weight variable.

If your pistol ejects rounds that land right at your feet the spring is probably a little to heavy. If ejected round land 10-12 feet away the spring is too light. Ideal is ejected round land about 4 to 6-7 feet away.

The really light weight springs are for either very light loads or for compensated pistols. With a compensator you can get by with lighter springs. The heavier weight springs are for really heavy loads or guns with lighter weight slides.

You need to consider changing out your recoil spring when it gets 2-3 coils shorter than a new unused spring.
Thanks, What weight would be best for lighter bullets such as a 180 gr LSW? Is the spring weight proportional to the bullet weight? Lighter spring for lighter bullets or the other way around?
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:37 PM
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Spring weight is actually proportional to recoil which depends both on bullet weight and loading. If bullets are loaded to the same muzzle velocity, the lighter ones will have less recoil. However, lighter grain bullets "souped up" for defense loads will kick more. If you stick with typical factory hardball load, lighter bullets can go with lighter recoil springs.

I think 180 grain standard load .45 could use a spring around 15#.

In general: too stiff of spring will result in "short cycling" type of feed problems. too light spring will result in excessive slide to frame battering.

Last edited by bountyhunter; 12-02-2010 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:12 PM
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Buy the "master calibration pack", Wilson Combat also sells a nice set of springs in a organized and labeled pouch.

When I "work up" a load for my 1911s I start with a stock spring (16#.45, 14#.38sup) run my loads in the ransom, and when I've decided on my load, if the gun won't cycle, I drop the spring weight one by one till it will. In my .38super 6" I only run a 7 or 10 lb spring,and a very large radius firing pin stop, BUT, I'm throwin a 147gr bullet at only 800fps which is way slow for a Super, let alone a 6".

Its rarely necessary to go over a 18lb spring in full size .45. Plus you can always run a shock-buff if you want.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:37 PM
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In a "standard" 5" 1911 the usual "bullseye load", 700 fps 185 gr bullet, spring is 10 lb.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Since I really only target shoot, I do not see where I would need extra power springs but I do load a lot of 230 FMJ RN (have several thousand of them) I also have a lot of same weight in lead. I can vary my powder weight and brand but usual load somewhere in the middle.

I was thinking of the variable power pack which gives a factory and then some lower weight springs. The Wilson Spring Caddy looks about the same for the same money so that may be a better deal. Wolf probably makes the Wilson Springs. I don't mess with my 1911 enough to justify the "Master" kit, too much money.

Stock No. 13115 - Reduced Power Pak - RP Variable
This pak contains 1 each of 16.5 Lb factory standard spring, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, & 15 Lb. reduced power variable recoil springs. 3 extra power firing pin springs also included.


WILSON
Spring Caddy. Fits: A, F, H, K, N, O & P Pkg. Includes: Bushing Wrench, 4 Shok-Buff* Buffers,Firing Pin Spring, 6 Recoil Springs (9#, 10#, 12#, 15#, 17# & 18#) and Nylon Pouch Have you ever needed a spring for your 1911 Auto and didn't have it? Do you have the right recoil spring for that new practice round? Don't get caught short. The Spring Caddy™ is a handy roll-up organizer containing the most commonly needed 1911 Auto spring and accessories. For the serious shooter, this compact accessory kit is worth its weight in gold. Throw one in your range bag, you'll be glad you did.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:56 PM
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Lots of folks don't really get the issue of spring balance in 1911-types. Slide velocity is primarily controlled by the mainspring, not the recoil spring. If you use a full-strength mainspring (23 lbs.) you can get by with a lighter recoil spring than if you use a lighter mainspring. Basic, John Browning/Milspec setup is a 23 lb. mainspring and a 16 lb. recoil spring, though lots of commercial Colts have had 17lb. recoil springs. One pound doesn't matter very much.

Lots of gunsmiths install a 17-19 lb. mainpsring, mostly to make it easier to obtain a light trigger. The 18-18.5 lb. recoil springs that are so often recommended for "hardball equivalent" loads presume a light mainspring.

One can install an EGW flat-bottom firing pin stop and get by with both a light mainspring and a lighter recoil spring, since the EGW stop delays unlocking a bit and thereby retards slide velocity some. I've learned much about spring balance converting 9x19 1911-types to 9x23. In my 3" Ultra Aegis conversions, I use a 25 lb. mainspring, an EGW firing pin stop, and the standard Kimber .45 recoil spring assembly (about 21 lbs.). In the 5" Aegis guns, I use the EGW stop, a 19-21 lb. mainspring and an 18 lb. recoil spring.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38-44HD45 View Post
Lots of folks don't really get the issue of spring balance in 1911-types. Slide velocity is primarily controlled by the mainspring, not the recoil spring. If you use a full-strength mainspring (23 lbs.) you can get by with a lighter recoil spring than if you use a lighter mainspring. Basic, John Browning/Milspec setup is a 23 lb. mainspring and a 16 lb. recoil spring, though lots of commercial Colts have had 17lb. recoil springs. One pound doesn't matter very much.

Lots of gunsmiths install a 17-19 lb. mainpsring, mostly to make it easier to obtain a light trigger. The 18-18.5 lb. recoil springs that are so often recommended for "hardball equivalent" loads presume a light mainspring.

One can install an EGW flat-bottom firing pin stop and get by with both a light mainspring and a lighter recoil spring, since the EGW stop delays unlocking a bit and thereby retards slide velocity some. I've learned much about spring balance converting 9x19 1911-types to 9x23. In my 3" Ultra Aegis conversions, I use a 25 lb. mainspring, an EGW firing pin stop, and the standard Kimber .45 recoil spring assembly (about 21 lbs.). In the 5" Aegis guns, I use the EGW stop, a 19-21 lb. mainspring and an 18 lb. recoil spring.
Did not know any of that. Kinda brings me to my other question I had. How can I go about increasing (yes increasing) my trigger pull on this gun. I shoot a lot of other guns, revolvers and striker fire weapons. This trigger on the DW Pointman is too light for me. Most I guess would strive for this trigger but it is too hairy for me. I prefer the trigger on my S&W 1911 which is just a bit heavier.

Do I need to replace the sear, hammer(both as a set), mainspring or what?
I have the ability to do it, just not sure which approach to take.
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:14 PM
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There are three simple ways to increase your trigger pull. The simplest is to tweak the sear leaf of the sear spring forward a bit. Your sear spring has three leaves; left to right, they are the sear leaf, the disconnector leaf and the grip safety leaf. If you take out the spring and bend the sear leaf forward a little, it will increase the trigger pull. I'd do this before even considering any other action. One can often make a difference of one to one-and-one half pounds just with adjustment of the sear leaf.

The second simple way is to install a heavier mainspring. I don't know what weight mainspring DW puts in at the factory, but hardly anyone still installs a full-weight 23 lb. mainspring anymore, except Colt (on some models) and Springfield (some models), based on what I've witnessed over the past few years. Most seem to be in the 19 pound range, which is what I usually install when doing a competition trigger job on a 5" .45, or I sometimes go all the way down to a 17.

Third, one can alter the angle of the hammer hooks, but that is a job for someone with some experience. There would be no need to replace the hammer or sear unless one or both were defective or had been screwed up by someone.
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:53 PM
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Excellent!. Thank you very much. That's probably all it needs. I will give the sear leaf spring a bend. That's forward as it sits in the back of the gun, yes? I gather that gives it more tension.

No, the gun has not been messed with and with the hammer cocked it can not be wiggled or pushed off. It's just a good or light trigger, but too touchy for me.

Back to my original question, should I just get the Wilson Spring Caddy with assorted recoil spring weights?
The Wolf kit includes firing pin springs but I do not see where I need those.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:11 PM
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Get the Wilson kit and follow my directions.

Also, I would'nt go bending the sear spring without having a trigger pull gauge also. 38-44HD45 has the leafs right, but if you make it TOO heavy, there is no way to go back.
The rule of thumb for as light as you should go is 1lb on the sear leaf, 1lb on the disconnect leaf. once you go below that your risking doubling or full auto.

If you want to play with a 1911 trigger weight you have got to have a pull gauge.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelwrench View Post
Get the Wilson kit and follow my directions.

Also, I would'nt go bending the sear spring without having a trigger pull gauge also. 38-44HD45 has the leafs right, but if you make it TOO heavy, there is no way to go back.
The rule of thumb for as light as you should go is 1lb on the sear leaf, 1lb on the disconnect leaf. once you go below that your risking doubling or full auto.

If you want to play with a 1911 trigger weight you have got to have a pull gauge.
Actually, you can go back if you go too heavy, but if you bend, rebend, and rebend some more, at some point the spring leaf may cry "Uncle!" and not hold its tension. I appreciate Shovel's mentioning tweaking the disconnector leaf, although I rarely bend a disconnect leaf unless it appears to be screwed up from the factory.

I ABSOLUTELY agree that you need a trigger pull scale when adjusting trigger pulls, and not just with 1911s. I love my Lyman electronic scale.

Yes, left-to-right means the gun's left to right, pointed away from you. I used to teach Human Anatomy and Physiology and Comparative Anatomy, and I never could figure out why some students continued to ask, "the pig's left, or mine?" or "the cat's right, or mine?" Sorry if I was not clear.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38-44HD45 View Post
Actually, you can go back if you go too heavy, but if you bend, rebend, and rebend some more, at some point the spring leaf may cry "Uncle!" and not hold its tension. I appreciate Shovel's mentioning tweaking the disconnector leaf, although I rarely bend a disconnect leaf unless it appears to be screwed up from the factory.

I ABSOLUTELY agree that you need a trigger pull scale when adjusting trigger pulls, and not just with 1911s. I love my Lyman electronic scale.

Yes, left-to-right means the gun's left to right, pointed away from you. I used to teach Human Anatomy and Physiology and Comparative Anatomy, and I never could figure out why some students continued to ask, "the pig's left, or mine?" or "the cat's right, or mine?" Sorry if I was not clear.

I studied a lot of A &P also and yes you were clear.Just confirming. Left or right side of the car has a flat?. Driver or passenger unless in Europe.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:48 PM
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The thing here is while you play do it with a recoil (nylon,plastic rubber) buffer on the spring guide, a battered frame is an expensive way to learn.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
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The thing here is while you play do it with a recoil (nylon,plastic rubber) buffer on the spring guide, a battered frame is an expensive way to learn.
I ordered the Wilson Combat spring kit and it comes with those buffers so I will slide one one. Thanks

Also, I called Dan Wesson and they told me to ("mess") bend the center or disconnector Spring first.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:30 PM
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Your hold on the pistol also effects cycling. I typically use 18 lb. springs in my 1911 because I almost never shoot reduced loads and I hold very tight. If you have a looser hold heavier springs could lead to a problem. With a tight hold there is very little of the recoil energy impulse moving the gun or your arm it all goes to cycling, so the springs can be a little heavier.

The hammer spring also plays a part. Lots of guys reduce the power of the hammer spring to lighten the trigger pull. But this gives the slide less to work against and increases the slide velocity.

As you can see you can play around with these things 'till the cows come home but you're increasing the variables and likelihood of malfunction.

So for me, I use a slightly heavier spring because I shoot full house loads and hold the gun tight, this gives me a little less battering of the gun and keeps my brass from landing in the next county while not compromising function.

/c
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:50 PM
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Prior to buying my Smith and Wesson E Series, I was renting a Nighthawk Custom GRP to shoot. The slide on the Nighthawk can be pulled back easily with 2 fingers. My Smith requires a huge amount of effort to pull it back and with a touch of arthritis in my fingers, I have to use my other hand to rack the slide back. Why so different??
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