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Hey,

I just got the new Dillon catalog and I read the article inside about upgrading your 1911 on a budget. It was pretty good, but the guy said something that intrigued me. He talked about replacing the factory 16lb recoil spring with a Wolff 14lb variable power spring and replacing the 24lb mainspring with a 22lb version from Wolff. The gun was a new S&W 1911, not that it matters though.
He goes on to say that the difference in felt recoil has to be felt to be believed. He also said that the change in mainsprings lessened the trigger pull by about a pound. The way he talked it felt like a totally different pistol that handled like a dream with low felt recoil using full house loads.
Now I know that authors embellish a bit in their stories, but would the changes I mention have that kind of impact on performance? Would the recoil be that much less that before with the factory springs in it?
If changing the springs makes that much difference then why does everyone not do it to their 1911's? Would it have any kind of effect on reliability? I would think it would be the opposite, a higher poundage spring would reduce felt recoil because the spring would take up more of the shock. He is saying the direct opposite.
What is your opinion of the example I lay out? Any opinions on the matter? Have you re-sprung your 1911?

Nala
 

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I have no experience with Wolff Springs, but I re-sprung 3 1911s with the Wilson spring kits. Didn't make a whole lot of difference on the trigger pull, but switching the factory recoil spring for the Wilson 18.5 pound spring did. Used to be I could feel the slide cycling on these 3 pistols (kind of a ka-chunk feeling). Switching recoil springs made a world of difference in that aspect. Hell, for all I know, the Wilson springs may be Wolff springs.
 

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I agree with you on the springs I put 20 lb springs in all my 1911's, so I can leave the shock buffs out. I once sent a pistol to COlt, and they said that the timing is effected by having a shock buff in place. Also, I couldn't pull the slide all the way back to sling-shot it off of the slide stop. So I went with a heavier recoil spring.

I can't tell the difference in felt recoil. I even tried to limp wrist it with the 20 lb springs, and all functioned ok, even if I just held the gun loosely with one or two fingers. I have to think they help to absorb battering from recoil to some degree.

I have noticed that with the hammer down, some folks can hardly get the slide back with a 20 lb spring in place. A heavy hammer spring (main spring) keeps the hammer down firmer, so the slide works harder to unlock at ignition. I'm sure this tames the slide velocity a little too. Of course light loads won't cycle with heavier springs.
 

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Greco, are you using standard loads with the 20# spring, or are you shooting a lot of +P? Just curious. I would probably go with a 20# spring, but I'm afraid the slide might fail to lock back after the last round. I shoot standard velocity 230 gr. hardball, and 230 gr. JHPs.
 

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I think others will say this, so I'll just be the first..

There is no free lunch with recoil springs..

A 20# spring will reduce battering on your frame, but will increase it on the bottom lugs of your barrel..

If shooting standard loads, stick with the stock 16# spring.. (for the 5" that is)

Just my opinion..

R
 

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No one really answered your question. What the guy says is correct despite the responses to your question so far.

It is true that spring changes will change the way recoil feels and heavier springs do soften the "kerchunk" of slide movement. The result when going to a 14lb spring is the ability to shoot faster double taps that stay in the 10-ring. The pistol shoots with less muzzle rise and/or gets back to target faster if you hold it correctly. Some describe it as a flatter recoil. Many competitors use this combo, some with a shock buff, some with Sprinco guide rod, some with just the lighter recoil spring.

There is also a very strong contingent of shooters who are certain that by increasing recoil spring weight to dampen the rearward travel of the slide just batters the gun when the slide goes forward into battery.

The lighter mainspring also works. 19lbs is the usual springweight that allows for complete reliability plus a lighter trigger pull.

All of the above is based upon my experience, including shooting in 5 IPSC Nationals in the 1980's. Some will disagree, but it's what I have experienced and been told by some pretty sharp competitors.
 

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Dont forget some extra power Wolff springs for your mags, too. This will keep them reliable with the increased slide velocity.
 

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Count me firmly in the "lighter is better" camp. It's barely worth shooting a new .45 before putting in a 17lb mainspring and 14lb recoil spring. Try it, you'll like it. Springs are cheap and easy to swap.
 

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My Kimber 5" has a 19lb hammer/mainspring with an 11lb recoil spring. Feeding is 100% for the past four thousand........on the same springs. The gun is much easier to shoot fast.

I run a very think hiett shock buff to prevent any battering.
 

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Lycanthrope said:
My Kimber 5" has a 19lb hammer/mainspring with an 11lb recoil spring. Feeding is 100% for the past four thousand........on the same springs. The gun is much easier to shoot fast.

I run a very think hiett shock buff to prevent any battering.
What load are you shooting with this set up?
 

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Dayum! I've always wondered what that would be like, right now I have one 1911 set up with a 14lb recoil and 19lb mainspring, I'll have to try a lighter spring and see how that feels.
 

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Dayamn.

Well, it feels like it hits a wall and then stri-ps another round.

ha.....The front sight stays down. Down be mis-enchanted by light springs. Whatever brings the front sight back to zero for you is what works. 11lb is a bit light for me (meaning I force the front sight, but it works for faster times). If you can recognize that at this level then BELIEVEVE it.
TRUST YOURSELF, YOUNG JEDI.
 

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Lycanthrope said:
Dayamn.

Well, it feels like it hits a wall and then stri-ps another round.

ha.....The front sight stays down. Down be mis-enchanted by light springs. Whatever brings the front sight back to zero for you is what works. 11lb is a bit light for me (meaning I force the front sight, but it works for faster times). If you can recognize that at this level then BELIEVEVE it.
TRUST YOURSELF, YOUNG JEDI.
:D Thanks for the info Lycanthrope, I think I'll give it a try :) .

I'd like to create a setup that shoots flat....
 

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I am gonna try your suggestions and go with some light springs. The reason I went to the 20# spring is to reduce battering/peening of the slide and frame. I'll just keep an eye out for signs of that, and see how she shoots
 

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Lycanthrope said:
My Kimber 5" has a 19lb hammer/mainspring with an 11lb recoil spring. Feeding is 100% for the past four thousand........on the same springs. The gun is much easier to shoot fast.

I run a very think hiett shock buff to prevent any battering.
How do you like the Heitt buffers? I use them in my Berettas but I use CP buffs in 1911s. Are they better than CP tuffbuffs?


greco said:
I am gonna try your suggestions and go with some light springs. The reason I went to the 20# spring is to reduce battering/peening of the slide and frame. I'll just keep an eye out for signs of that, and see how she shoots
Don't go to a light spring without using a buffer! I'd hate for you to drop a 12lb or lighter in there and start beating your gun up....
 

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I put a 20# recoil spring in my SF full size and use a shock buff. It will slingshot OK. Also changed the main spring to a Wilson reduced power. It's supposed to cut the trigger pull 25%. I went from 5 1/2 lbs to about 4 lbs. I carry Golden Sabre plus P ammo and regularly shoot reloads of 230 MC with 5 grs of Bullseye. The gun seems to be holding up rather well at about 16k rounds, but I'm no gunsmith, just my 2 cents.
 
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