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Thread: Spring test

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  1. #1
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    Spring test

    So when a guy gets a used gun, he knows not how many rounds been thru it. Is there a test to check recoil springs for life expectancy?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikieG View Post
    So when a guy gets a used gun, he knows not how many rounds been thru it. Is there a test to check recoil springs for life expectancy?
    For a used gun with unknown history, it is probably best to simply replace the spring with a new one.

    Standard 1911 recoil springs are spec'd as having a certain force per a certain compression (spring rate). Other variations of the 1911 will have differing specs. You can actually measure the spring tension, but deciding when a spring has weakened beyond the point of usefulness based on tension will require empirical data as to where the tension becomes insufficient. A more common method of evaluating spring tension is to compare the length of the spring to that of a new spring. Replacement is recommended when the spring is shorter by some certain amount, 3 coils for example. These guidelines are also based on empirical data, but are more practical.

    If you need to replace springs, it is probably best and simpler to just replace them based on number of rounds fired. That all varies with the gun and type of ammo, but I think you will get some recommendations based on that.

    -

  3. #3
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    You can buy or make a device to test the strength of a recoil spring (I made one), but even testing what the strength is today can't tell you anything about the life expectancy. You can't know who made the spring or what the composition or temper is of the wire. As megafiddle commented, it's easier and more certain just to buy a new recoil spring.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  4. #4
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    Very sinple, just check properly your new gun and replace all the springs.
    Originality can't be restored, so put "originality" at the top of a priority list. If JMB didn't put it on the 1911 you don't need it.

  5. #5
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    Used auto gets a New Wolff recoil spring of correct poundage ( it also comes with a new firing pin spring).
    For 7 or 8 bucks just ain't worth it to wonder how many rounds the previous owner put through it.
    Also When I buy a midgrade 1911, such as Colt , Springfield, etc. I do this because it isn't unusual for the brand new factory spring to not measure up.
    Colt full size 5" recoil factory springs are know to only have 14 # of poundage

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-TAC View Post
    Also When I buy a midgrade 1911, such as Colt , Springfield, etc. I do this because it isn't unusual for the brand new factory spring to not measure up.
    Colt full size 5" recoil factory springs are know to only have 14 # of poundage
    Perhaps that's because that's what John M. Browning originally designed the M1911 to use as a recoil spring.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  7. #7
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    Mr Browning also designed a small radius firing pin stop that offers more mainspring resistance to early slide movement than the long radius stop added later for easier slide racking from Condition 3 military carry. That design feature has been sort of rediscovered in recent times and a lot of people are "tuning" their guns around it.

    Competitive shooters tend toward softer recoil springs and their guns hold up well. But their loads are lighter, USPSA Major power factor is only about 90% of .45 Ball.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
    Competitive shooters tend toward softer recoil springs and their guns hold up well. But their loads are lighter, USPSA Major power factor is only about 90% of .45 Ball.
    That's if they shoot .45 Auto. There are A LOT of people out there who make Major with .40S&W in their double-stack 1911/2011 pistols, using loads with a long OAL that are still quite hot... STI's specs for such a gun (in .40S&W) call for a 14lb recoil spring (Colt and Wolff go for 18lbs) and a 17lb mainspring... and these are high round-count guns, not safe queens. And no, they don't have a small-radius firing pin stop.

    And that's only what these guns are shipped with. I have a friend who has a Para doublestack in .40S&W, with a 9lb recoil spring. I'm not sure what his mainspring weight is, but I doubt it's more than #17... this is a gun from the days when Para used cast frames AND slides in their guns. It works just fine.
    Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
    M. Setter
    Last edited by Spyros; 19th September 2017 at 01:26.


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