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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

i recently got my 1911 to start running real smooth. After some initial problems with the extractor and ejector, i have now gone through a few hundred rounds a standard ammo with no issues whatsoever. now i wanted to start looking into some simple modifications and spare parts just to feel out the firearm. I decided to buy a whole bunch of spare recoil springs and decided to invest in a few extra strength and reduced strength springs. I'm wondering what you all do for you recoil springs and what range typically is safe/reliable. i have a colt commander model (4.25 in). i bought a 12 lb, 17lb, and 20b. obviously the 12 lb spring is a major difference and significantly changes the feel of the gun, although will this light of a recoil spring even work with standard loads, will it short stroke the slide action, can it damage other internal parts for the gun going this light? im just more so wondering what others do and what you've has success with. I also bought a few extra firing pins, a reduced weight mainspring/ hammer spring too but they are pretty close to stock weight. What do you all recommend, should i shoot some rounds with each spring and see how it feels, or is 12 lbs way to light??? Additionally, someone else recommended a reduced weight hammer spring, what are the potential downsides of reduced hammer weight... i am not too familiar with the pros and cons of mainspring weight so if someone could help me with that

FYI:i have not shot anything other than stock yet... all of the extra springs (mainspring, firing pin, and recoil) were all bought from Wilson combat and designed for the commander size 1911. So sizing, and design is meant for the gun, but i was just surprised with the range of weight options and had to try them top to bottom.

With those light springs the slide action feels like butter!!! but is running the action with reduced weight springs dangerous or unreliable, cant wait to see what you all think!



-Crim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lighter springs are going to tend to allow the slide to "slam" the slide stop.
and what is the the result of that... does it effect the recoil mainly ( a lightly spring causes greater recoil) causing a snappier or harsher recoil , or does this 'slamming' cause damage to the slide stop and other internals?
 

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Lighter springs are going to tend to allow the slide to "slam" the slide stop.
Not possible, light spring will hesitate longer when the slide is back under recoil giving the top round a chance to raise up for stripping, it will close softer and not slam the slide stop pin. It will allow the slide to come back with greater velocity and strike the guide rod head with greater momentum during recoil.

LOG
 

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I have a colt commander model (4.25 in).
Is it a .45?

If it is then the standard weight recoil spring for a Commander is 18lbs. Personally, I'd get one 2lbs heavier and one 2lbs lighter than standard. Go to the Wolff Gunsprings website for a quick lesson on springs.

. . . 12 lb spring . . . will this light of a recoil spring even work with standard loads, will it short stroke the slide action, can it damage other internal parts for the gun going this light?
It most definitely will not result in short stroking.

Here's a video that may be enlightening.


. . . reduced weight mainspring . . .
Shorter than 5" 1911s suffer from faster slide velocity than 5" 1911s. This increased slide velocity can affect feeding and can contribute to inertia feeds. Standard mainspring for Commanders is 23lbs. Personally, I would never put a lighter mainspring in a .45 Commander. A lighter mainspring will allow the slide to move rearward even faster and that's usually not a good thing. You might want to have a 25lb mainspring on hand just in case the pistol begins experiencing feeding malfunctions.

. . . is running the action with reduced weight springs dangerous or unreliable . . .
Define dangerous. Your pistol won't blow up, if that's what you're asking. Unreliability is usually the result of too strong springs - especially the recoil spring. If the pistol is built correctly, it should have no trouble feeding and returning to battery with that itty-bitty 12lb recoil spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Standard mainspring for Commanders is 23lbs. Personally, I would never put a lighter mainspring in a .45 Commander. A lighter mainspring will allow the slide to move rearward even faster and that's usually not a good thing. You might want to have a 25lb mainspring on hand just in case the pistol begins experiencing feeding malfunctions.
thanks for all the help Steve! this is some great info. first things first, yes it is a 45 ACP. i totally understand what your saying about maximizing the pros and cons of the recoil and mainspring. i actually did get both +2 /-2 for both the mainspring and the recoil spring ( in addition to the teeny tiny 12 pounder recoil spring) , so i feel pretty confident that experimenting with those slight variant springs and stock springs will come more down to preference and reliability of course. The reason i got the 12# recoil wasn't as much for reliability more so just to feel how a significant weight change would feel for recoil, and i wanted to ask around on the forum to see if this was a BAD idea for a reason i wasn't considering. correct me if im wrong, but it seems like essentially the only major drawback to decreasing the recoil spring weight is that it obviously increases the amount of felt recoil... while increasing recoil spring weight may decrease felt recoil but could result in too fast of slide velocity... and finding that balance is critical.

regarding what i meant by 'danger',i was referring more so to putting excessive stress /wear on internal parts when using too small of a spring weight. Assuming that i am shooting standard 230 grain ball ammo... wouldn't using a much lighter spring put significantly more stress on the frame, since the slide is returning to the rear position much faster? and if so, how much less of a load ( ex: 130 gr, 180 gr) would be better for a spring that small? not sure why they would even produce a spring for a commander size 45 with a 33% reduction in stock weight if it couldn't shoot standard ammo. im not familiar enough with the forces and ballistics of different loads and how that effects necessary spring size. that'll be something i experiment with a bti.

Lets say for example. i was using the reduced mainspring at 21 # and it was resulting in too fast of a slide velocity: could this be solved by decreasing the recoil spring? because that would slow down the slide velocity returning to battery? or am i better of just keeping em closer to stock... i like the idea of increasing the mainspring weight though, i didnt realize it had an impact on the slide velocity, i thought it only influenced weight needed in cocking the hammer and hammer velocity.

thanks for the help!!!


-Crim
 

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Lighter springs can result in slide hammering the frame. I run a 23 lb mainspring in my commanders and a 18 lb recoil spring for guns that are going to fire rounds only as hot as 230 gr hardball. My carry commanders that fire hotter 230 gr hollow point carry ammo I run a 20 lb recoil spring. The mainspring puts resistance against the hammer which slows down the slide so that’s part of the equation. Now if you were going to hand load some power puff ammo that would be a different story
 

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. . . i feel pretty confident that experimenting with those slight variant springs and stock springs will come more down to preference and reliability of course.
Bingo.

. . . it seems like essentially the only major drawback to decreasing the recoil spring weight is that it obviously increases the amount of felt recoil... while increasing recoil spring weight may decrease felt recoil but could result in too fast of slide velocity... and finding that balance is critical.
As you correctly note, setting up a 1911 is a balancing act of competing forces. Not only the springs but also the geometry of the parts and how they are fit together.

Assuming that i am shooting standard 230 grain ball ammo... wouldn't using a much lighter spring put significantly more stress on the frame, since the slide is returning to the rear position much faster?
As therewolf, log man, and TTAC indicated, a lighter recoil spring will allow the slide to impact the frame at the end of its travel with more force. The degree to which that force will cause excessive damage is the subject of much discussion. Logically, it is reasonable to conclude that the lighter the spring the shorter the lifespan of the pistol will be.

However, I'm not aware of any empirical testing that has correlated spring weight to service life span. FWIW, I set up my 1911s using the lightest recoil spring consistent with 100% functioning and the least muzzle dip when going into battery. Generally, what that means for me is a 14lb recoil spring, a 23lb mainspring, and a flat bottom firing pin stop in 5" pistols using standard pressure 230gr factory ammo. Everyone has their own favorite combinations.

For me shorter than 5" pistols are not range toys and so do not have the high round counts that the 5" pistols do. That means I'm less concerned about their service lifespan. That doesn't mean I run them with 9lb recoil springs. My personal preference is to run 16lb recoil springs, 23lb mainsprings, and flat bottom firing pin stops in aluminum frame, Commander length 1911s utilizing standard pressure, factory 230gr or 185gr JHP. My objective is to slow the return velocity of the slide as much as possible to give the magazine spring as much time as possible to move the the stack of rounds up into position to ensure 100% feeding. Since these shorty 1911s are mainly for CCW I want every mechanical advantage possible to make sure they go bang every time in every possible scenario.

Finally, the shooter's grip, stance, body mass, and technique will be factors influencing the functioning of the pistol using varying spring rates. Many folks will look derisively down their noses and proclaim that the reason for a specific malfunction is due to the shooter "limp-wristing" the pistol. They suggest the cure is to go to the gym to build up the obviously weak muscles of the Nancy-boy who experienced the malfunction. I do not agree with these folks. I say the pistol simply hasn't been set up correctly for the shooter and probably has springs that are too strong for him/her.

I function test 1911s using my weak hand only and holding the pistol as loosely as I possibly can with my elbow bent almost 90 degrees vertically. In other words, just about at waist level. This provides the least resistance to the recoil of the pistol and will result in short stroking of the slide if the springs are too heavy and/or if the firing pin stop is too square. The fix is to use a different combination of springs/firing pin stop geometry until the pistol passes this "limp wristing" test.

You're on the right path and asking the right questions.
 

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Realistically, there is no single perfect spring for all ammo and all shooters. Fortunately, spring packs make it easy to test what works for you.

Jeff

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
 
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