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#5527801 - 08/16/11 01:08 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: JamesDunn]
GunGeek Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 16652
Loc: NW Nevada
Originally Posted By: JamesDunn
as to what Colt said...WOW....In thier "World" I guess the number of coils dictates the compression weight of the spring...

Jay,

I can think of why this makes sense at Colt抯. Assembly line of people who are not gunsmiths that do a specific job. In such a place, they probably have only a few springs that are every in house. So when in doubt, they just count the coils, and then they know which gun it goes into. They know which spring they should put in. They don抰 necessarily know anything about the proper spring weight for a 1911. In the assembly line world, that answer makes sense. In our more practical world of what the hell works in my gun, it抯 no help at all.
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#5528409 - 08/16/11 04:00 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: GunGeek]
JamesDunn Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 469
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinGibson
Originally Posted By: JamesDunn
as to what Colt said...WOW....In thier "World" I guess the number of coils dictates the compression weight of the spring...

Jay,

I can think of why this makes sense at Colt抯. Assembly line of people who are not gunsmiths that do a specific job. In such a place, they probably have only a few springs that are every in house. So when in doubt, they just count the coils, and then they know which gun it goes into. They know which spring they should put in. They don抰 necessarily know anything about the proper spring weight for a 1911. In the assembly line world, that answer makes sense. In our more practical world of what the hell works in my gun, it抯 no help at all.


That makes sense..........I do by color coding my springs
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1911PartsDepot@gmail.com

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#5528551 - 08/16/11 04:44 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: JamesDunn]
tex_n_cal Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 14477
Loc: Back in Texas, for good!
Originally Posted By: JamesDunn
...Just what constitutes a recoil spring?s weight? The amount of energy stored by a conventionally-wound spring as it is compressed changes value in a straight line. For example, if you compress a conventional spring an inch, it may store a pound of energy. Compressing it another inch will store an additional pound of energy. At three inches we would have 3 pounds of energy stored.

.


I'm surprised at that terminology from Wolff. If you compress a spring with a rate of 1.0 lbs/inch it will give you one pound of force not energy. Three inches compression = 3 lbs of force. You can think of it like a weight. Energy storage is not the same thing.

If one had a precise fixture to compress the spring to that length, a force gauge would provide a direct reading of the spring force. Measurement fixtures and methods, however, will have a significant effect on the readings.
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#5528567 - 08/16/11 04:51 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: GunGeek]
tex_n_cal Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 14477
Loc: Back in Texas, for good!
Originally Posted By: KevinGibson
Well I don抰 know who at Colt answered that, but that抯 weak. So here抯 a way to do it that will give you best performance, and least wear to your gun. Choose your preferred load, whatever that may be. Shoot a couple rounds and watch where the empties land. You want them to land no less than 4 feet away, but no more than about 10 feet away. Any less and you could have a case of failure to eject if you have a soft load or manage to limp wrist say during a fast draw. Any more and you抮e just beating the crap out of your slide. For most loads, that sweet spot seems to be around 16.5-20lbs for government models and Commanders.

And no, you don't have to change out your recoil spring every X amount of rounds. If the rounds start flying past that 10 foot mark, then it's time to change. Otherwise, it's good forever. Right off the bat a recoil spring will take a set and lose about 5% of it's weight. After a year or two it may lose another % or two, but after that, they tend to just settle into a consistent resistance and stay that way forever. If you choose your spring a touch on the heavy side to begin with, chances are you'll never have to change a recoil spring for the life of the gun.

Recoil springs are much tougher than magazine springs, yet it's been proven time and time again that most magazine springs will be good for life. There are some exceptions to that such as the Luger, which is HEAVILY dependent on magazine spring weight. But for most mere mortal guns, that's the case.



That's a good rule of thumb on spring ratings, as far as ejected distance. My brother, however, has yet to find a case ejected from his .40 Kahr. They just sorta vanish grin

Spring "setting", by the way is dependent on several factors. Wire quality is one, but processing methods can have a significant effect on settling behavior.

And yes, I make springs for a living. None for firearms - at least not yet. smile
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#5528614 - 08/16/11 05:04 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: tjm10025]
MontanaMan Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 9180
Originally Posted By: tjm10025


From the forward locking groove, the thickness of the steel is uniform all the way to the muzzle.

I'll try taking a photo when I get back from Texas this weekend, but I'm not sure my little P&S is up to it.

- Tom


Weigh the slide & compare to standard Gov't slidehen you'll know for sure.

MM

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#5528638 - 08/16/11 05:09 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: JamesDunn]
MontanaMan Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 9180
Originally Posted By: JamesDunn
Originally Posted By: tjm10025

Last month, I asked a question in another thread about the recoil spring in my Colt Series '80 Gold Cup National Match. Responses included a mention that the GCNM slides have been lightened at the factory.

Well, I field stripped my GCNM, and darned if I could see any sign of steel being milled away from the slide inside or out. So, I wrote a letter to Colt. Asked them about that, and about what poundage of springs should be used.

(Yeah, pretty quaint, I know. But you can't send an email to the tech dept., nobody answers the phone there, and there's no option for press (#) for the tech guys.)

Here is the response I got today, from a lady in Colt's Customer Service Dept. I have no idea if she's a tech, or if she simply slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Quote:
Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the poundage of our recoil springs. This is not information that we have. Colt goes by the coil count, not the poundage, in recoil springs. The slide was not "lightened" compared to the Government Models of that time period. For factory ammo you should use a 32 coil spring and for target ammo a 28 coil spring.


Well... okay, then. That makes it official.


LOL....did you lay your GCNM slide next to a Std GVT Slide? If you look inside forward of the locking lug....NOTE: you wont see milling marks here......on a std GVT the metal on the inside forward of the last locking (fwd not rear) groove will be the same "Thickness" all the way to the muzzle....you GC should be "Thinner" ie: lightened going forward on the inside of the slide.......as to what Colt said...WOW....In thier "World" I guess the number of coils dictates the compression weight of the spring...that is not always the case as you can get 2 springs with the same relaxed length and coil count to have different Compression weights...its all in the tension applied during the spring making process or the material used below is a "Technical" Sheet from Wolff Springs....they are the absolute experts in this field....I have this on my ebay store listings....hope it helps with some clarity....



1911 Auto Recoil Spring Compression Weights
By Dave Koebensky of W.C. Wolff Co. & Brownells GunTechs

A certain amount of confusion exists when it comes to the subject of recoil springs for the 1911 Auto. Alterations to the gun which involve changing the weight of its recoiling mass will often require a change in the recoil spring weight, as will major changes in the ammunition being fired.

Just what constitutes a recoil spring?s weight? The amount of energy stored by a conventionally-wound spring as it is compressed changes value in a straight line. For example, if you compress a conventional spring an inch, it may store a pound of energy. Compressing it another inch will store an additional pound of energy. At three inches we would have 3 pounds of energy stored.

A variable-weight spring works differently. The amount of energy stored for each increment of compression changes on a curve. As an example, compressing a variable weight spring one inch may store 4 ounces of energy, another one inch will store an additional 8 ounces of energy, the third inch will add another 12 ounces, and so on. A conventional 16 pound recoil spring and a variable 16 pound recoil spring will both store 16 pounds of energy but they get to that point at different rates.

While 1911 Auto recoil springs are available in a variety of weights, 16 pounds is considered the standard for full-size guns with 5" barrels. Just how is this figure of 16 pounds determined? In full recoil, the space available for the recoil spring to occupy is 1.625". At this point in its compression, its stored energy is 16 pounds. A 15 pound spring would store 15 pounds of energy when compressed to 1.625", etc.

Similar pistols but with shorter slides, such as Commander or Officer?s ACP-length models, require springs that are not only shorter, but have different compression weights. A standard Commander spring is 18 pounds when compressed to 1.125", while the Officers ACP spring system must store 22 pounds of energy when compressed to .700". The free length prior to compression is not all that important, as long as it fits within the available space.

These figures should explain why the shooter cannot take an 18 pound full-size Government model recoil spring and shorten it and expect it to function the same as a standard 18 pound spring in his Commander-length pistol.

Just what weight of spring should be used? As mentioned at the beginning, changes in the weight of the slide and barrel combination, addition of barrel weights or compensators, optical sights attached directly to the slide, or changes to the ballistics of your ammunition may require a change in spring weight. The rule of thumb is to use the heaviest spring available while maintaining reliable function. A fair indicator is how far from the shooter the ejected cases land. Less than three feet may indicate the need for a lighter spring, while more than six feet may indicate the need for a heavier spring. Keep in mind that too light a spring may result in damage to your pistol.


While all that is certainly correct & valid, as far as it goes, there are other inferences that affect the performance of the gun & impact the perceived performance of the recoil spring.

The configuration of the FP stop chamfer/bevel & the weight of the mainsrping both have a significant effect on how a given recoil spring does it's job.

MM

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#5529695 - 08/16/11 10:17 PM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: tex_n_cal]
GunGeek Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 16652
Loc: NW Nevada
Originally Posted By: tex_n_cal
Spring "setting", by the way is dependent on several factors. Wire quality is one, but processing methods can have a significant effect on settling behavior.

And yes, I make springs for a living. None for firearms - at least not yet. smile

Yep, you can certainly run into some springs that are better than others. That's why it's a good idea to spot check where your brass is landing from time to time. My S&W Commander came with (I think) a 20lb spring, stiff as all get out. Still, brass ejects a 4-6 feet away even after 7 years with that gun and a few thousand rounds.
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#5530056 - 08/17/11 05:34 AM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: GunGeek]
tex_n_cal Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 14477
Loc: Back in Texas, for good!
I think Sig has redesigned the recoil spring for the P238 a couple of times. I have the latest version with rectangular wire, but it still doesn't seem strong enough. This may become a interesting project. grin Maybe profitable, too. smile
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#5530386 - 08/17/11 07:39 AM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: tex_n_cal]
JamesDunn Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 469
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Originally Posted By: tex_n_cal
Originally Posted By: JamesDunn
...Just what constitutes a recoil spring?s weight? The amount of energy stored by a conventionally-wound spring as it is compressed changes value in a straight line. For example, if you compress a conventional spring an inch, it may store a pound of energy. Compressing it another inch will store an additional pound of energy. At three inches we would have 3 pounds of energy stored.

.


I'm surprised at that terminology from Wolff. If you compress a spring with a rate of 1.0 lbs/inch it will give you one pound of force not energy. Three inches compression = 3 lbs of force. You can think of it like a weight. Energy storage is not the same thing.

If one had a precise fixture to compress the spring to that length, a force gauge would provide a direct reading of the spring force. Measurement fixtures and methods, however, will have a significant effect on the readings.


There is a guage made..used to be availble on brownells......I have one....costs about 150.00 for one....does nothing but measure 1911 recoil springs.....
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James Dunn

1911PartsDepot@gmail.com

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#5530415 - 08/17/11 07:49 AM Re: 1911 recoil springs: the official story [Re: GunGeek]
JamesDunn Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/19/11
Posts: 469
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinGibson
Originally Posted By: tex_n_cal
Spring "setting", by the way is dependent on several factors. Wire quality is one, but processing methods can have a significant effect on settling behavior.

And yes, I make springs for a living. None for firearms - at least not yet. smile

Yep, you can certainly run into some springs that are better than others. That's why it's a good idea to spot check where your brass is landing from time to time. My S&W Commander came with (I think) a 20lb spring, stiff as all get out. Still, brass ejects a 4-6 feet away even after 7 years with that gun and a few thousand rounds.


Wire quality and its Metallurgic compound are everything.....cheap wire=bad springs......I used to have made a 18.5lb square wire spring for the 1911. It was a high silcone content wire that comes from England and its mainly used in aerospace applications that are subject to huge tempature changes. The spring (I still have about 50 of them) nevers seems to quit...I have one in a gun that took over 20K before I replaced it. I figured that by using square wire you get appox 24% more metal in the spring and at 50% or more life out of it...it also stacked flat not wanting to roll off itself.....but the wire cost was 3.5 to 4 times that of our other springs....People just wound not buy them due to the price...too bad as I only sold it for 10.00 and my normal springs then were 4.00 each....So Tex....how about making some springs for me???
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James Dunn

1911PartsDepot@gmail.com

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