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Discussion Starter #1
Approximately how many rounds should I be able to put through my Kimber .45 before I need to change the recoil spring? I'm shooting primarily 200 or 230 gr. ammo. I'm new to 1911s, so I don't know what the 'warning signs' are when the spring starts to go bad. Also, someone else mentioned that changing to lighter IDPA loads would mean the spring should be changed... but to what?

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Welcome to the forum. Factory spring weight should be 16#. By selecting the correct spring weight you can get teh empties to land in about the same spot. When they stop falling where they were falling, it is time to replace the recoil spring.

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Molon Labe
 

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Welcome to the forum...if I recall correctly...empties should land 4-6 feet away, as a rule of thumb...

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Mike
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I've seen so many different answers to this question that I've decided not to replace any recoil spring until I'm sure it is causing a problem. So far, one of my Springfields is approaching 9000 rounds with no sign of trouble at this point.
 

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Originally posted by Jim V:
When they stop falling where they were falling, it is time to replace the recoil spring.
There are other variables aside from the recoil spring that can be attributed to this symptom.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the welcome, guys!

So aside from the empties ending up in a different spot, what are some of the symptoms of a failing recoil spring?

And, if I shoot 185 gr. should the spring be heavier than 16# or lighter? I'm sort of confused how that works.
 

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If the empty brass is landing more than 3 or 4 feet away from you, install a stiffer spring. If the brass is just "rolling" out and droping at your feet, install a lighter spring. Most people agree that a 16lb spring is a little on the light side for normal factory loads. My light target loads of 3.9 gr of Tite Group cycle just fine with a 16 lb spring. But with factory ammo, the brass gets tossed 7 or 8 feet away so then I use a 17.5 lb spring. I'm sure each pistol is differant, so you're mileage may vary. I think that it's important to NOT use too light of a spring because you will allow the slide to bash into the frame and this will wear things out sooner than normal.
 

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Originally posted by Baer1911:
If the empty brass is landing more than 3 or 4 feet away from you, install a stiffer spring. If the brass is just "rolling" out and droping at your feet, install a lighter spring. Most people agree that a 16lb spring is a little on the light side for normal factory loads. My light target loads of 3.9 gr of Tite Group cycle just fine with a 16 lb spring. But with factory ammo, the brass gets tossed 7 or 8 feet away so then I use a 17.5 lb spring. I'm sure each pistol is differant, so you're mileage may vary. I think that it's important to NOT use too light of a spring because you will allow the slide to bash into the frame and this will wear things out sooner than normal.
I installed a 18.5 lb spring and my brass still falls 12 to 15 feet away. Should I install a heavier spring?
 

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Originally posted by high_caliber:
I installed a 18.5 lb spring and my brass still falls 12 to 15 feet away. Should I install a heavier spring?
By landing, I mean on the first hit to the ground, not including rolling. To be honest with you I've never heard of brass landing that far away with that spring weight. Hope someone else on the forum answers you as I also would be interested in knowning. If it were me, I would try a 20lb if it's first hitting the ground at 15 feet.
 

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Hello, High Caliber!
I'm curious: What ammo are you shooting?
The Wolff web page has some good guidelines on how far away the brass should land with a proper recoil spring; as some of you have pointed out, however, other factors will affect this. I believe the empties should not be deformed by banging around as they pass through the ejection port, for reliability. If that is so, the Wolff guidelines are probably reasonable.
No question, hot loads will land farther away than target loads with the same spring; however, a powerful recoil spring can eventually damage the gun because of the force of chambering the next round. I won't use the word 'heresy' in this post, but you should have a good reason to change from the standard 16 pound spring as originally specified by J. M. Browning.
Rich (in name only)
 

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When you replace your recoil spring, be sure to verify that the slide still stops it's rearward travel at the same place relative to the frame as before. There are some recoil springs on the market that have too many turns of wire in them, causing the coils to stack up against each other when the slide reaches the end of travel. This spring bind can cause the flange of the barrel bushing to shear off because the slide is now being stopped by the plug / spring & guide rod becoming a solid mass. One of my customers brought in his Kimber after shearing off 2 flanges in 5 rounds! I checked the stopping point with & without the spring & found that the slide stopped .150" shorter with the spring than without. The bad spring had 35 1/2 coils of .045" wire and came from a well respected 1911 parts manufacturer. The Wolff spring that I used for replacement had 30 coils of .045" wire. The customer was not using a shock buff.
To make the test, (with an unloaded gun) run the slide to it's rearmost limit of travel and hold it there. Make 2 pencil marks that line up with each other, one on the slide and one on the frame. Replace the recoil spring and verify that the pencil marks line up again. Erase marks, shoot well & prosper

Regards,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again, guys! <p>
I'll keep an eye out for where my brass is landing -- I've never paid much attention to it before -- I didn't know I was supposed to!
<p>
Precision, I'll try your test and keep an eye on my spring length. Do most of your clients install Shok-Buffs? If the Kimber client had a Shok-Buff installed, would it have helped save the flange(s)?

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Originally posted by ambidextrous1:
Hello, High Caliber!.... I won't use the word 'heresy' in this post, but you should have a good reason to change from the standard 16 pound spring as originally specified by J. M. Browning.
Rich (in name only)
Thanks ambidextrous1. That's the answer I was hoping someone would give.
 

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Precision, I'll try your test and keep an eye on my spring length. Do most of your clients install Shok-Buffs? If the Kimber client had a Shok-Buff installed, would it have helped save the flange(s)?

Shock Buffs seem to be a polarizing item. Very few people are ambivalent; either they love buffs and wouldn't shot without them, or they hate them and wouldn't shoot with them. To answer your question, I think the majority of my customers use Buffs. The Kimber in question would not have been helped by one however. It would actually made the situation worse because it would just stop the slide another 1/8" sooner on a solid stack of spring coils, etc.
And to answer your original question, replace your spring when it looses 1/2" of free length when compared to a new same spring. Or buy an SDM Fabricating recoil spring tester from Brownells

Good Shooting
John
 

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Originally posted by high_caliber:
I installed a 18.5 lb spring and my brass still falls 12 to 15 feet away. Should I install a heavier spring?
my new kimber also throws brass 12 feet or so using factory white box win. 230gr. hardball. the brass is not deformed or dented at all. could the 6 feet idea come from pistols whose brass is dented at the case mouth like the older colts used to do?
 

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My year and a half old Kimber S/S Gold Match throws 'em a good 8 or 9 feet in a fair-sized pile with a Wolff 18.5# spring. This is using any kind of 230gr. ball range fodder - the name brand stuff, not reloads. Before I tightened the extractor and put in the first 18.5#er it tossed 'em a loooong way away in random directions.

The record with the 16#er, with 230gr. Lawman and my father spotting, was right at 16-17 feet. The pistol was clean, freshly lubed and I stiff-armed it with locked elbows to minimize gun movement and see how far the empty would go. That was over 6,000 rounds ago and I haven't noticed any unusual wear. I replace the spring every 1500 or so and refuse to go to a 20#er just because.

And it will still shoot 185gr. match SWC with the 18.5 spring.

John
 

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Thought it would be appropriate to throw a plug in for the spring tester from SDM Fabricating. Scott sent me one and I was skeptical about needing it but I tested several factory new springs and was shocked to see the variation in a few. It's probably not a big deal if you think you have an #18.5 and you actually have a #16 but I had one that was marked as #18.5 that was really a #14. I wonder how many malfunctions are caused by incorrect spring tension?
 

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Originally posted by JohnBT:
My year and a half old Kimber S/S Gold Match throws 'em a good 8 or 9 feet in a fair-sized pile with a Wolff 18.5# spring. This is using any kind of 230gr. ball range fodder - the name brand stuff, not reloads. Before I tightened the extractor and put in the first 18.5#er it tossed 'em a loooong way away in random directions.

The record with the 16#er, with 230gr. Lawman and my father spotting, was right at 16-17 feet. The pistol was clean, freshly lubed and I stiff-armed it with locked elbows to minimize gun movement and see how far the empty would go. That was over 6,000 rounds ago and I haven't noticed any unusual wear. I replace the spring every 1500 or so and refuse to go to a 20#er just because.

And it will still shoot 185gr. match SWC with the 18.5 spring.

John

john, did you mean you shot 6000 rds of hardball with the original kimber spring?..if not, how many did you before you replaced it? i thought my custom classic had a weak spring untill i read yours did the same thing, al
 

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I won't be half as long-winded as some of the (valid) commentaries above. The recoil spring cost is so minimal, just change the dang thing every 2000-3000 rds. and don't worry about it.

PS - I use shok-buffs.
 

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al57 -

It wasn't the spring, it was the now-famous Kimber no-tension extractor. Hey, what did I know, revolvers don't have the little buggers.

I pulled the original spring after 1800 rounds when my father pointed out that the ejection pattern was getting really random, although it never bounced one off of my head. Changing to a Wilson 18.5 didn't improve the erratic ejection problem much, but I'm still using that weight. Using the directions at the m1911.org site (IIRC), one good healthy bend on the extractor fixed it nicely.

JT
 
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