1911 Spring Balance

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1911 Spring Balance

Post by Sgt_Gold on Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:39 pm

I'm currently trying to balance my recoil springs and mainsprings for my was guns. I have a 23# mainspring in one gun, and a 17# mainspring in the other. I have 13# recoil springs in both guns. Both guns function 100% with Black Hills and NSK 200gr SWC loads. The question is how do I know if my recoil spring it too light? Do I continue to reduce the recoil spring until I get a failure to go into battery, and then up it until I get reliable operation? What are the steps that other shooters are using to balance out the spring on their wad cuns? Thanks.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Steve B on Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:53 pm

I use the heaviest spring that locks the slide back.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by jakuda on Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:33 pm

i keep the mainspring housing spring at default at 23lb.
Recoil spring is the heaviest that will cycle your slide during rapid fire....
If it's too light, you REALLY feel the slide slamming into your frame. Your perceived recoil is a bit heavier because of that.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Art on Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:22 pm

Here's info on recoil springs from Wolff Gunsprings:

http://www.gunsprings.com/faq#Faq3

"3. What weight recoil spring should I use with a particular load?
This is a very common but hard question to answer in exact terms and in most cases an exact answer is not possible. There are many factors which influence the correct weight recoil spring to use. These factors include the particular ammunition brand and load, individual pistol characteristics, individual shooting styles and your individual, subjective feeling of how the gun shoots and should feel.

The factory spring weight is designed to operate the pistol with what would be considered average loads, plus or minus a little. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to specify what they consider a factory ammunition load.
In general terms, the heaviest recoil spring that will allow the pistol to function reliably is the best choice - tempered by the above factors. As a rule of thumb, if your spent casings are first hitting the ground in the 3 to 6 foot range, then the recoil spring is approximately correct. If you are ejecting beyond the 6-8 foot range, then a heavier recoil spring is generally required. If your casings are ejecting less than 3 feet, a lighter recoil spring may be needed to assure reliable functioning.

Taking these factors into consideration, it then comes down to how the gun feels and performs when shooting - in your judgment. However, using too light a recoil spring can result in damage to the pistol and possible injury to you. "



I tune my mainspring, aka hammer spring with the sear spring to get the trigger pull I want and reliable ignition. 19-20lb in the 45 and 18lb in my Marvel 22.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:41 am

Most of your custom builders reduce the mainspring from 23 to 18 to smooth up the trigger on lightened pulls of 3.5 lb

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by jakuda on Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:07 pm

DavidR wrote:Most of your custom builders reduce the mainspring from 23 to 18 to smooth up the trigger on lightened pulls of 3.5 lb

I don't know if that's really true. "most". Seems to be the easier way, but there are bullseye gunsmiths who just leave the mainspring alone.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:35 pm

jakuda wrote:
DavidR wrote:Most of your custom builders reduce the mainspring from 23 to 18 to smooth up the trigger on lightened pulls of 3.5 lb

I don't know if that's really true. "most". Seems to be the easier way, but there are bullseye gunsmiths who just leave the mainspring alone.

We are talking Wad guns, not hardball and Most or many in this case is some of the best 1911 builders in the country as in RRA, Les Baer , Mike Curtis customs, Hallocks 1911 tips book, and the list goes on that do it or recommend it. There are many gunsmiths that dont do a lot of things, but when the elite do it, there is a reason its done. It allows the slide to cycle more smoothly and the sear to last longer on good trigger jobs and a smoother trigger pull. All of these are considered advantages aiding in the accuracy of a shot.


Last edited by DavidR on Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by jakuda on Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:50 pm

Well...
I don't know who is "elite" and who isn't, but I recall reading Joe Chambers often leaves the 23lb mainspring in there. That's just one example.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:55 pm

jakuda wrote:Well...
I don't know who is "elite" and who isn't, but I recall reading Joe Chambers often leaves the 23lb mainspring in there. That's just one example.

I know gun builders that do too, but if you do a little research you will find many more dont than do. As for Joe, i dont know what he reccomends now that he's a gun builder when he and i use to hang out he was a carpenter lol! As with anything its personal preference when it comes to a lot of things, Ive built guns both ways, and a lighter mainspring always feels better to me on my wad guns.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:08 am

DavidR wrote:
jakuda wrote:Well...
I don't know who is "elite" and who isn't, but I recall reading Joe Chambers often leaves the 23lb mainspring in there. That's just one example.

I know gun builders that do too, but if you do a little research you will find many more dont than do. As for Joe, i dont know what he reccomends now that he's a gun builder when he and i use to hang out he was a carpenter lol! As with anything its personal preference when it comes to a lot of things, Ive built guns both ways, and a lighter mainspring always feels better to me on my wad guns.
There is more than one school of thought on this. Some believe, as I used too, that the heavy mainspring, plus a small radius firing pin stop, delayed the slide somewhat, and enhanced accuracy. But, I have been around this game for a long time, and remember back in the 1960s when guns were built completely opposite, with cut mainsprings, contoured hammers, and very large radius firing pin stops, no optics yet, and Bo Mar ribs for some weight on the slide. Some of these guns shot quite well, and functioned with 3.5gr BE shortline, and 4.gr BE longline. Thinking about this, I came to realize, that even with a light short line charge of 3.5, the chamber pressure is still approaching 10,000psi. The slide/barrel is not going to unlock until its ready, so adhering to the stiff mainspring and square bottom stop concept to delay the slide was a waste, and actually limited function to harder recoil ammo. A couple years ago I began putting together guns similar to those built in the 60s, and have been very pleased with the results. I have also abandoned the Nosler concept for longline, and easily getting less than 2inches at 50 with lead from Penn Bullets. It's easier on the guns, and much easier on the shooter. Just some food for thought..Smile
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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:52 pm

Great info Jerry, if you dont mind what is your favorite load and what type pen bullet are you using, also do you shoot the same for 50 and 25?

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:06 pm

DavidR wrote:Great info Jerry, if you dont mind what is your favorite load and what type pen bullet are you using, also do you shoot the same for 50 and 25?
My favorite load is the one that groups the tightest..SmileSmile The 3.5 bullseye is a great short line load. I work with each gun and try a variety of powder charges to see what it likes at 50. Clays is a very good lead bullet powder. 3.8 is a good starting point, and work up or down a few tenths to find the sweet spot. We use Penn's 180 grn. bullet, long and short line. Bob is working on the design of a 50 yd specific bullet. Hopefully I'll get to test some soon.
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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by jakuda on Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:09 pm

Jerry, I have a bob chow 1911 that has a rounded hammer face and extreme radiused firing pin stop. What are the reasonings for those adjustments? Also there is a shim in one of the slide lugs.


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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:06 pm

jakuda wrote:Jerry, I have a bob chow 1911 that has a rounded hammer face and extreme radiused firing pin stop. What are the reasonings for those adjustments? Also there is a shim in one of the slide lugs.

Bob Chow, Madore, Al Marvel, just a couple I can name, used some or all of these modifications. Sight unseen, I am guessing the shim silver soldered inside the slide is a positioner, that locates and limits upward barrel travel. Very popular with welded up barrels, and contributed to consistent lockup.
Cutting a large radius into the hammer face, moves the fulcrum point closer to the firing pin. It decreases the force required for the slide to cock the hammer and recoil rearward. The large radius firing pin stop assists in the same way. Chuck Warner in Arizona, has begun manufacturing, and marketing the old style hammer with the radius face, and also an excellent, sear which is cut on a radius and contributes to a great trigger job.
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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by jakuda on Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:25 pm

Jerry Keefer wrote:
jakuda wrote:Jerry, I have a bob chow 1911 that has a rounded hammer face and extreme radiused firing pin stop. What are the reasonings for those adjustments? Also there is a shim in one of the slide lugs.

Bob Chow, Madore, Al Marvel, just a couple I can name, used some or all of these modifications. Sight unseen, I am guessing the shim silver soldered inside the slide is a positioner, that locates and limits upward barrel travel. Very popular with welded up barrels, and contributed to consistent lockup.
Cutting a large radius into the hammer face, moves the fulcrum point closer to the firing pin. It decreases the force required for the slide to cock the hammer and recoil rearward. The large radius firing pin stop assists in the same way. Chuck Warner in Arizona, has begun manufacturing, and marketing the old style hammer with the radius face, and also an excellent, sear which is cut on a radius and contributes to a great trigger job.
Jerry

Thanks for your insight!

It looks like you are right about the shim. It's a welded up barrel and has a tight lockup.

Very interesting how the "old" masters did 1911 smithing back in the day when there were almost no 3rd party parts.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:30 pm


Jerry Keefer wrote:. Some believe, as I
used too, that the heavy mainspring, plus a small radius firing pin
stop, delayed the slide somewhat, and enhanced accuracy.
Jerry

Jerry
coming back to the square bottom firing pin stop and the 23lb
mainspring, In what ive been reading this also reduced recoil
and many swear it enhances accuracy because of the lessened recoil, what
are your thoughts

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:26 pm

DavidR wrote:

Jerry Keefer wrote:. Some believe, as I
used too, that the heavy mainspring, plus a small radius firing pin
stop, delayed the slide somewhat, and enhanced accuracy.
Jerry

Jerry
coming back to the square bottom firing pin stop and the 23lb
mainspring, In what ive been reading this also reduced recoil
and many swear it enhances accuracy because of the lessened recoil, what
are your thoughts
Dave;
Disclaimer..Smile
I don't have a doctorate in physics..SmileSmile and these conversations on recoil impulse and equal / opposite reactions can provoke some huge & heated discussions..I don't believe all of it, as "Time" is present in everything....and nothing is instant..
The diminutive .22 target pistol has no locking system what ever.. It depends on chamber pressure to keep things locked up. It has about 20,000 psi. Approx. twice as much as a short line .45 wad cutter. Our .45 wad cutter guns also stay locked up until such time as the pressure drops and the slide and barrel can begin to separate. So, that is really what matters, not the FP stop.. The FP stop does effect "felt" recoil impulse , but the recoil force is still the same. I have not been able to show that the square bottom FP stop has any beneficial effect in Ransom Test Groups..
Jerry
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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:07 pm

I agree in a ransom it probily wouldn't, but if a round that shoots with a snappy recoil at the short line was reduced then i could see how accuracy and getting back on target easier would or could be of great benefit in shooting bullseye.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:39 pm

DavidR wrote:I agree in a ransom it probily wouldn't, but if a round that shoots with a snappy recoil at the short line was reduced then i could see how accuracy and getting back on target easier would or could be of great benefit in shooting bullseye.
OK, score and accuracy, are different.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:37 pm

Ok now that we are clear on that could you tell us how replacing the F-pin stop with the square one and the 23 lb effects the gun as its fired, Does it just add resistance slowing the slide or is it more involved than that?

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by Jerry Keefer on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:14 am

DavidR wrote:Ok now that we are clear on that could you tell us how replacing the F-pin stop with the square one and the 23 lb effects the gun as its fired, Does it just add resistance slowing the slide or is it more involved than that?

Dave,

When I began testing the square bottom FPS, I took it even further, by machining an angle on the face of the firing pin stop. This allowed the hammer to rotate further into the slide, and created an even stronger force against the slide. The felt recoil is different..Group size in the RR, was unchanged..Al Bacon shot one of the first that I modified. Al was a very accomplished HM.. He noted that it did feel different, but not to the point of being advantageous. It can make the slide a bear to actuate/cock. Every shooter is different. Try one..It may or may not be something to your liking.. I have yet to see an advantage in group size, but it {might} increase your score if you like the feel..

Jerry

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:12 pm

Ive set my 45 up with a Square F-pin stop, slight radius edge and a 23 lb m-spring and will do some testing and post back. thanks

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:18 pm

Well i tested my 45 with the square bottom firing pin stop and 23 lb mainspring and i like it, it seems to calm down the recoil somewhat and the gun stays closer to on target. I switched back and forth and im going to keep it that way and see how things go next season. For any interested in less felt recoil, this is a cheap mod, parts ran about 20 bucks, might give it a try and see how you like it.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by JLK on Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:49 pm

David,
Did you cut the firing pin stop of buy it squared off?
Any chance you can post a picture of what one looks like?
I don't think I've ever seen one.
Thanks!
JLK

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

Post by DavidR on Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:53 pm

No cutting one would not work, you can buy new square ones on ebay or from brownells. These are made by Wilson, but EGW and others also make them. Prices run from 15.00 to 20.00, then the 23 lb mainspring was 3.00. Here are the pics, the one in the gun has had the edge rounded slightly off. The square one in the pic is a new one with edge not yet rounded.

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Re: 1911 Spring Balance

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