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Thread: Sear Spring Adjustment

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  1. #1

    Question Sear Spring Adjustment

    I guess a little hello is in order. I've read the forums for a couple months and decided to create an account today. It's a pleasure to have this resource. I own a couple 1911's but wish I knew more about them. I hope that the elite among you will go easy on a relative newbie like myself.

    I have read several threads about sear spring adjustment being used to lighten trigger pull but I've noticed they all have one thing in common: warnings. I would like to understand the dynamics between the three leaves on the spring. From what I've read so far there are two options posed by the knowledgable, and they are drop in a wolff spring or similar replacement, or take it to a gunsmith.

    Why would I want to know about such a thing? Well I seem to have tweaked my sear spring during a newbieish mistake made on reassembly. Far from my first time assembling I felt pretty stupid. After reassembling the gun the trigger was _very_ light. I knew what the problem was,so I decided to try to eyeball the spring positions to what I could "remember" (read: i have no clue). Now the trigger pull is back up around 3 lbs, but I know that the spring tensions effect other things and I want to make sure I'm not going to die before I try to put any rounds through the gun again.

    The right leaf i'm pretty sure only tensions the grip safety. The middle one is the one i tweaked to stiffen the trigger (pushed that leaf forward). But I know there is a dynamic between the sear tension and the trigger tension, and that the middle leaf performs more than one function (?). Also the whole leaf itself can be tensioned before the leaves start? I was hoping to know more about it.

    Am I in over my head? Go buy a new spring? Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Scheschy; 26th May 2005 at 11:17.


  2. #2
    The middle arm also pushes the disconnector back up, the left arm is the one on the sear giving it tension.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    1st June 2004
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    7,963
    Welcome to the forum!

    I use factory Colt sear springs, they make them just like Wolff, Nowlin, Brown and the like, and are a bit less money, and are very well made.

    The first thing that will affect your trigger pull is engagement of the sear into the hammer hooks. After that, you fine tune the pull using the sear springs middle and left leaves.

    As perry1963 pointed out above, the middle leaf has 2 functions, it resets the trigger, or forces it forward after each shot, and it functions the disconnector. The disconnector is what keeps your 1911 from going full auto on you, so if the spring is not tensioned properly, or is bent out of shape enough it can make the disconnector sticky........which is not good.

    The left leaf bears down on the sear itself, forcing it to engage into the hammer hooks. The adjustment on this one is important too, as too little tension can cause the same problems as well as having the hammer follow the slide forward coming to rest on the 1/2 cock notch.

    If you re-adjusted your sear spring back and now have 3lbs on the trigger, what was it before? I ask as for most situations like concealed carry I would advise a trigger above 4lbs and closer to 5. Just a margin of safety, should your trigger finger get excited.

    Be careful not re-adjust the sear spring too many times..........that will weaken it and it won't hold its proper tension for very long. Always bend it just above where the leaves separate from the main base of the spring. Especially the center leaf that rides on the disconnector. The bottom of the disconnector has an angle on it, if the spring leaf doesn't match that angle, you've got trouble.
    I have on occasion re-arced the sear leaf to get better contact and pressure on the sear, but that's in rare cases.
    If it isn't durable, it isn't reliable.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by wichaka
    If you re-adjusted your sear spring back and now have 3lbs on the trigger, what was it before? I ask as for most situations like concealed carry I would advise a trigger above 4lbs and closer to 5. Just a margin of safety, should your trigger finger get excited.
    First of all thanks for the response and explanation. It's great to know there are knowledgable people willing to give advice. I read your desciption and looked at the workings of my gun behind the grip safety and I think I understand what's going on a bit better.

    The gun is for range shooting only and came with about a 4lb+ trigger initially (it is a Kimber ss gold match 2). Also I am only going by feel as to what weight the trigger is now. It is still lighter than it was, that I can tell. Honestly if that were the only result of this incident I would be happy with a /slightly/ lighter trigger. Currently the cycling works normally - the hammer locks back solid and the break is still clean. I've cycled it over and over to find if the hammer would fail to lock and follow the slide back, and it does not. I had a thought - if I did try to fire it as is, then perhaps only putting two bullets in the mag at a time would be smart. In case it tried to go nuts I would only get a double, and lesson possible damage.

    On the one hand, it sounds smart to put a few little dollars into a thousand dollar gun rather than risk damage due to my ineptness. On the other hand, I want to know as much about the operation as possible so I can make smart decisions. So that's where I'm coming from with all this.

    If I did buy a new spring, how will they compare in out-of-the-box trigger weight compared to the factory one i horked?

    Thanks for all advice.

  5. #5

    Wink

    I just learned a valuable lesson.

    For six dollars and a trip to the local gun shop, you not only get a new colt sear spring but also about twenty bucks worth of explanation, advice and good conversation.

    It dropped in and all I had to change was the spring for the grip safety which was too loose. The trigger is a little heavier than factory but I think I'll be taking baby steps (if any) in further messing with this component. I can live with a little more trigger pull since the action is so smooth anyway.
    Last edited by Scheschy; 26th May 2005 at 16:43.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    1st June 2004
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    7,963
    Pick up Jerry Kuhhausens shop manual on the Colt .45 automatic, it's worth every penny and will help you out with all the explanations of the inner workings.
    If it isn't durable, it isn't reliable.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wichaka
    Pick up Jerry Kuhhausens shop manual on the Colt .45 automatic, it's worth every penny and will help you out with all the explanations of the inner workings.
    I have to agree with Wichaka. Even if you do not plan on working on any 1911 pistol, but own one, at least after reading this book you'll have a good understanding of how one works. I would lean towards Vol II, if you are only going to buy one of the books.
    Jack Weigand has an article on Brownells concerning adjusting a trigger for a 2.5# pull. While that is too light for most applications, the article does have an explanation of how to get a heavier trigger.
    What you need to do a sear spring adjustment is a trigger pull gauge and a vise to hold the pistol while making the adjustments.
    The whole enchilada for final trigger pull weight is determine by the sear/hammer fitting, mainspring weight, and the final tweaking is done on the sear spring.
    To get a good pull, the disconnector spring (middle) and sear spring (left from back of pistol) should be equal in weight.
    Once you have that set, you need to do a function check on the pistol, without any ammo loaded in the pistol. Hold the trigger back and rack the slide. When you release the trigger, you will hear the disconnector click as it resets. Rack the slide again and check the safeties. You also need to check that the hammer doesn't follow when the slide is released.
    At the range, you should only load 1 round and again check for hammer follow. I usually do that with at least 2 mags and then load 2 rounds and check to make sure the disconnector is functioning correctly, etc. until I end up with both mags fully loaded and have no problems.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    1st June 2004
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    7,963
    Well said.......
    If it isn't durable, it isn't reliable.

  9. #9
    Thanks, I will look for this title. You guys are great.

    Shot a couple hundred rounds with my father in law today and I didn't notice any additional trigger weight over the factory setup. Everything works great, well - the gun works fine anyway ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    21st August 2004
    Location
    upsate NY
    Posts
    54
    Can you purchase a reduced trigger pull sear spring? I have seen some advertised that will reduce the trigger pull by 1 1/2 Lbs. I am also trying to reduce my Springfield 1911-A-1 which is around 5-6lbs from the factory. Any help will be appreciated.

    thanks in advance.

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