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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a full size Springfield 1911 Range Officer in 45cal. It operates fine with plinking ammo, but I recently bought Federal match grade ammo to start practicing for CMP EIC competition. It will not always cycle correctly which I understand is due to the decreased powder in the match cartridges. I also understand that I need to reduce the recoil spring (and also change the hammer spring?) so the gun will cycle properly.

What recoil spring makers are best for a competition 1911 and what resistances should I buy to test out with my Federal match ammo so I don't have to buy one of every spring resistance produced? Additionally, do I need to swap any other parts along with my recoil spring and why? Are there any 2nd/3rd order effects to these changes (ie reduces trigger pull weight, etc). Finally, if I need to swap out my hammer spring, Wolff says post-2001 Range Officers have integral locking system (ILS) on the hammer spring... I bought mine in 2015 so I assume this applies to me. Again, are there any 2nd order effects to swapping this out or special considerations?

Thanks!
 

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If the gun has a ILS it will have a small circle with two small holes and this will be located at the top of the mainspring housing..
The gun should run with a 16 lb. recoil spring. if the load is really light then you could drop down to 14 lb.
Main thing you want to check is the ejection pattern.
Years back I handloaded the Army Marksman load. It was so light that the brass would just dribble out of the ejection port with a 16 lb recoil spring.
But it was reliable and since my guns were also shooting Hardball, I wanted the 16 lb recoil spring.
 

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Don't worry about the main spring. If you lighten it you may get failure to fire issues. Get a Wolff progressive 15# recoil spring and it should work just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are variable springs better? Are there any drawbacks to them? Also, are main springs and recoil springs the same part going by 2 names?
 

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Mainsprings and recoil springs are totally different springs. Mainsprings power the hammer, recoil springs drive the slide.
 

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What Federal Match ammo are you shooting? The 230 g. round nose match ammo from Federal I am familiar with is hotter than most other 230 ammo. If it is 185 g. SWC then you may need to go to a 14 lb. spring. Recoil springs are cheap. I would get a 14 and 12 lb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What Federal Match ammo are you shooting? The 230 g. round nose match ammo from Federal I am familiar with is hotter than most other 230 ammo. If it is 185 g. SWC then you may need to go to a 14 lb. spring. Recoil springs are cheap. I would get a 14 and 12 lb.
Couldn't tell you exactly. I bought it off gunbroker and it didn't show in original packaging. What I can report is that the bullets are flat tipped, not round or hollow.

I ordered a 14 and 12lb variable recoil springs. Should I have got constant?

Can anyone give me a good explanation of the pros and cons of each type?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I tried a Wolff 14 lb variable recoil spring and still got brass failing to completely eject. I then tried a Wolff 12lb variable recoil spring and got feeding issues. Do I need to find a 13lb recoil spring, switch to constant springs, try a new brand of spring or do I need to find a different match grade ammo?
 

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The only match grade Federal ammo with a flat point that I know of is the 185g. SWC. That ammo has a shorter nose than a 200 grain SWC or 230 RN. The shorter nose length causes a different path for the round to enter the chamber. The nose of the bullet will not be as close to the chamber when the lips of the magazine release the rim of the case. If the Federal rounds feed OK and the slide locks back with one round then, I would look at the extractor I am not familiar with variable recoil springs, I just use the standards.
To test which recoil spring you need, put one round in a mag and fire the pistol. Does the slide lock back? If it does that means the spring has allowed the slide to travel its full length to the rear. You want to use the heaviest spring that allows the slide to lock back all the time.
A 14 lb. spring should work from my experience.
Test your extractor tension. Look for the sticky that explains how.
 

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I use a constant rate 14 lb recoil spring and an 18 lb mainspring in my Range Officer; very reliable with Federal GMM 185 gr SWC. This combo was recommended to me by a Bullseye gunsmith based on my intent to switch back and forth between a Marvel 22 conversion and the 45 top end for matches. I usually buy Wolff springs but I'm sure there are others that are good quality.

Other changes I made on my Range Officer:
Replaced titanium firing pin with a steel one on gunsmith recommendation. Reason was that I was getting occasional light strikes. Steel firing pin fixed the problem

Replaced the ILS mainspring housing with a checkered steel MSH. Reason was that an arched MSH just felt better in my hand.

Replaced factory ignition components (sear, disconnector and hammer) with tool steel parts from Cylinder and Slide. Reason was that my gunsmith said he could produce a better, longer lasting trigger job with high quality ignition parts. Highly recommend a quality trigger job by a Bullseye gunsmith!!!

Replaced the factory bushing with one made by EGW to my measurements. Eliminated a little bit of play up front and tightened groups.

Replaced the factory grips with Sharkskin grips to help prevent the gun from shifting in my hand during recoil. Also added some skateboard tape to the frontstrap until I could get it checkered for additional grip.

Replaced the factory front sight with one with a white dot on it to help draw my focus to the front sight blade.

Replaced the trigger with a short-length trigger because I found I shot better with shorter trigger shoes.

Can't think of any 2nd/3rd order effects from those changes but that's based on having a gunsmith do the more difficult tasks.
 
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