How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

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How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/24/2015, 5:40 pm

So I've been shooting my Les Baer Concept III for about a year and probably have 4-5000 rounds through it. The entire time I've had it I've had issues with stove pipes where it appears the slide isn't coming back far enough to hit the ejector. I'm currently down to a Wolff 13 pound variable spring, it went in today and I still had some stovepipes. I'm using the stock iron sites, not a red dot. 

My load is a 185 grain SWC bullet that I cast, loaded with 4.0 grains of WST powder, they fit fine into a check gauge. I know Les Baer pistols are tighter than most but how low do you think I should go with the spring poundage before looking at other issues? Seems like if the slide got back far enough hit the ejector then there would be no chance of a stovepipe.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by LenV on 12/24/2015, 7:07 pm

I have springs down to 9#. I am running a 10# spring with a dot and 3.8 BE and a 185. I have a 12# in my ball gun. You could reduce your spring until you start having to chase your brass. I wouldn't hesitate to lower your spring weight a little at a time. There are shooters that can tune their pistols to shoot light loads with heavier springs. The rest of us find the spring that works best.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/24/2015, 7:36 pm

The hard part is most of the guys I shoot with run red dot sights instead of irons so all their springs take that into account. Guess I need to get some springs ordered. I'm not sure what my new Sig 1911 in 38 super comes with as the standard spring but I'll have to reduce that spring as well since i'll be dropping down to a target load on that too.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/24/2015, 7:38 pm

Well according to Wolff's web site Colt puts 14 pound springs in their 38 super chambered pisols, I would assume Sig would copy this but who knows.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by john bickar on 12/24/2015, 10:52 pm

You could also learn to give the gun the proper amount of equal and opposite force to counteract recoil. That will pay itself back in spades.
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/24/2015, 11:15 pm

john bickar wrote:You could also learn to give the gun the proper amount of equal and opposite force to counteract recoil. That will pay itself back in spades.
John, can you elaborate? When I read your comment I think of a properly weighted recoil spring but I'm thinking thats not what you're talking about.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by kc.crawford.7 on 12/25/2015, 5:50 am

If I may speak for John, I believe he's talking about the combination of recoil spring, main spring, powder charge & type along with the bullet.
When I build a gun I need to know what ammo is going to be shot through it so I can try to get the springs as close as possible to start and it will only take minor tuning when you get the gun.
That combination all work together in harmony or against each other and cause all kinds of problems.
John I hope my thoughts were along line with your comment.
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by Wobbley on 12/25/2015, 8:10 am

I think John may be talking about having a good grip on the pistol and a locked wrist behind it.  Sometimes a malfunctioning pistol is doing so because of the mechanics of the shooter not giving a strong enough base for the frame to react the forces during recoil.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by Rob Kovach on 12/25/2015, 8:53 am

Mainspring strength has some effect on this matter. Do you know what mainspring your gun has?
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/25/2015, 9:33 am

No idea on the mainspring, its just the standard one Les Baer uses. 

I would like to think I'm not "limp wristing" the shots but who knows.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by dronning on 12/25/2015, 9:43 am

In my Les Baer wad gun I run a 19lb mainspring (it came with a 23) and the 13lb recoil spring it came with.  Shooting a zero 185gr HPSWC with 3.8 WST and 1.22 OAL, .469 crimp.  OAL/crimp do make a difference in pressure & velocity so I always include it.

When I dropped down to my softball loads I was getting solid lockback but there was a rare FTE on the last round.  Turns out the extractor had virtually no pressure on the case.  I tuned the extractor using the Weigand Extractor Adjustment Tool & gauge set.  I use a bag of 50 230gr bullets as the test weight. No problems since.


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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by john bickar on 12/25/2015, 10:43 am

Wobbley wrote:I think John may be talking about having a good grip on the pistol and a locked wrist behind it.  Sometimes a malfunctioning pistol is doing so because of the mechanics of the shooter not giving a strong enough base for the frame to react the forces during recoil.

This one.
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/25/2015, 12:32 pm

dronning wrote:In my Les Baer wad gun I run a 19lb mainspring (it came with a 23) and the 13lb recoil spring it came with.  Shooting a zero 185gr HPSWC with 3.8 WST and 1.22 OAL, .469 crimp.  OAL/crimp do make a difference in pressure & velocity so I always include it.

When I dropped down to my softball loads I was getting solid lockback but there was a rare FTE on the last round.  Turns out the extractor had virtually no pressure on the case.  I tuned the extractor using the Weigand Extractor Adjustment Tool & gauge set.  I use a bag of 50 230gr bullets as the test weight. No problems since.


- Dave

Dave that's nearly identical to my load, mine is 185 grain SWC, 4.0 WST, 1.250" OAL with a .470" taper crimp. I'll get a 19 pound mainspring before I lower the recoil spring any more. Thanks for the input.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by rreid on 12/25/2015, 3:08 pm

You might get the set of Wolff reduced power recoil springs, standard not variable. It has one each of I think 10 to 15 lbs. I have a couple guns that will run with standard ones but not variable. To answer your original question, I have used an 8# spring in a long slide with frame mount optic.
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by dronning on 12/25/2015, 7:51 pm

zanemoseley,  I just re-read your original post, get rid of the variable recoil spring!  Replace it with a standard 13lb recoil spring.  As rreid stated some guns just won't work with variable springs.  Also as rreid stated buy a "tuner" pack of reduced power springs.

- Dave
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 12/25/2015, 10:57 pm

Honestly the reason I went with variable is a guy I shoot with swears by them but I'm definitely open to trying a standard spring.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by rich.tullo on 8/18/2016, 4:59 pm

Variable Speed is designed to run fast with mid range to high power loads in action shooting. That may be the cause of your FTE.
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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by Olde Pilot on 8/18/2016, 5:38 pm

Rich:

You're right. A HM quality answer to us Marksmen/Sharpshooters who create problems from listening to too many "experts" at the range! Reminds me of one of those "experts" recently who told a shooter experiencing stovepipes that his 1911 was "set up too tight for a wad gun" and that he should "file the lower lugs to loosen the lockup" !!!

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 8/18/2016, 6:59 pm

Just to check in. I found the issue, it was a loose / out of tune extractor. I tighten it up substantially and it fixed 100% of the issues. Kind of frustrating as I think it came to me from Les Baer out of tune. I didn't suspect the extractor as it only happened occasionally, usually it would fail ejecting the next to the last round in the magazine.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by dronning on 8/18/2016, 8:55 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Just to check in. I found the issue, it was a loose / out of tune extractor. I tighten it up substantially and it fixed 100% of the issues. Kind of frustrating as I think it came to me from Les Baer out of tune. I didn't suspect the extractor as it only happened occasionally, usually it would fail ejecting the next to the last round in the magazine.

Yep as per my 1st post above I had the exact issue right from LB.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by Al on 8/19/2016, 11:21 am

Olde Pilot wrote:Rich:

Reminds me of one of those "experts" recently who told a shooter experiencing stovepipes that his 1911 was "set up too tight for a wad gun" and that he should "file the lower lugs to loosen the lockup" !!!

And unfortunately, they breed and create more of the same.

Unbelievable!

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 8/19/2016, 6:19 pm

I guess if someone's stupid enough to just go to town on a $2000 pistol with a file cause a guy at the range told them to then they may deserve it lol. As a general rule I'm not touching anything on my guns with a file unless Its a sub $50 part that's easily swapped out.

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by Sc0 on 8/20/2016, 8:37 am

Had to drop down to a 12 or 13lb wolf spring in my range officer to work properly with 185gr Federal Gold Medal loads.  This is with iron sights, another buddy is running his range officer stock and only has issues with the same 185gr ammo when it gets dirty. (More than 150rds)

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Re: How light of a recoil spring have you had to go down to with target loads?

Post by zanemoseley on 9/27/2016, 11:46 am

I forgot to update this thread. It turns out the extractor simply wasn't tuned properly, way too loose. I think it started off from the factory loose and got looser the more I shot. I tightened it up and I shot 180 rounds without a malfunction. I since found a great deal on a used Les Baer Wad gun and sold the Concept to buy it. The wad gun has been ultra reliable so far, I don't think I've had one malfunction after probably 600 rounds.

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