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View Full Version : Wilson SHOK-BUFF Kit, .45 ACP


FPrice
May 18, 2002, 09:16 PM
I recently purchased one of the above-named kits with the 18 1/2 # recoil spring to put in my 1977 Colt MkIV Series 70. This pistol has been lightly modified (High profile sights, ambi safety, but no appreciable interior work). The recoil spring may very well have been the original spring that came with the pistol.

When I installed the recoil spring from your kit (along with a very lightly used Pachmyer (?) shok buffer) I experienced a problem. When I lock the slide back, insert a loaded magazine (dummy rounds), and then release the slide, about 75% of the time the hammer follows to the half cock notch.

Based upon this somewhat limited information, can anyone make a guess as to what may be happening with my pistol?

Steve Smith
May 18, 2002, 10:07 PM
Have you tried it without the buffer? What did it do then?

C.R.Sam
May 18, 2002, 10:30 PM
Anytime something goes south after a change. Undo the change to see if that was the cause of the problem.

Sam

FPrice
May 18, 2002, 10:30 PM
No, I did not try it without the buffer. When I re-installed the original spring it did work properly (with buffer).

I will have to try it tomorrow after I get back home and see. I will let you know.

FPrice
May 18, 2002, 10:36 PM
"Anytime something goes south after a change. Undo the change to see if that was the cause of the problem."

I did and it worked properly again. I am trying to figure out what would have caused this to happen. I seem to recall that having the trigger follow the slide to half-cock was a symptom of a worn sear spring but i am NOT enough of a gunsmith to know if this is true or not.

If i can't figure it out on my own, the nearest good gunsmith I know of is Mike LaRocca in Worcester.

WESHOOT2
May 19, 2002, 05:40 AM
Take to 'smith........... (and throw the shock buffer away, unless your gun is a toy ONLY).

stans
May 19, 2002, 09:32 AM
My guess is that the increased power of the new recoil sping is causing the sear to bounce when the slide slams into battery. There is either a problem with the sear and hammer interface or the sear spring is not placing enough pressure on the sear.

FPrice
May 19, 2002, 10:40 PM
Bingo! That's exactly what my local dealer told me today when I described the problem to him. He is not quite a gunsmith, but he has worked for both S&W and Colt in a developmental capacity and is pretty handy working with firearms, especially handguns.

It looks like I need to invest in a new sear spring. The old one probably has 5,000+ rounds on it.

Master Blaster
May 20, 2002, 09:30 AM
I had the same thing happen to my 70 series colt when I tried a 18.5 lb recoil spring. My gun has the short steel trigger which I was told by an old timer has "a tendancy to stay in place while the gun moves, resulting in the drop to half cock." I only had this happen when dropping the slide. 100 rounds down range and no recurrance while firing, only while dropping the slide on a mag on the 1st round.

I put the 16lb spring back in and 1000 rounds later no problems at all.

The gun does not have a lighttrigger job either. The short steel trigger is now replaced by lighter aluminum or plastic triggers to prevent this problem in tuned guns. My solution is use the 16lb spring it works as intended. I am alos still running the wilson shok buff with no problems.

;)

BigG
May 20, 2002, 11:08 AM
A lot of guys think that a stronger recoil spring will help their .45 but it often introduces new problems as this thread bears out. The manufacturer provided a 16 pound spring for a reason.

If a competition gun uses an 18.5 pound spring it does not mean that a regular old .45 shooting hardball needs one. That would possibly be like running your family sedan on nitromethane. Well, the best funny cars use it so it must be good, right??

FPrice
May 20, 2002, 12:09 PM
"A lot of guys think that a stronger recoil spring will help their .45 but it often introduces new problems as this thread bears out. The manufacturer provided a 16 pound spring for a reason."

When I ordered this kit, I thought that it had a standard weight spring. I saw the 18.5# clear as day, but thought that it was the normal weight. My mistake.

BigG
May 20, 2002, 02:31 PM
Hi Frosty, Re. the wrong spring weight, we all make mistakes. To a shooter, Brownells catalog is like a speed parts catalog to a hotrodder.

The factory Colt .45 recoil spring is 16 pounds, IIRC. There are aftermarket springs available from 11 to 24 or so pounds (check Brownells). Some of my acquaintances seem to think they are mix and match with the heavier weights better.

The downside of using the heavier springs can range from no apparent effects to cracking the frame as the slide leaps forward into battery.

I know there are guys in the shooting sports who absolutely change every component of their pistols - extractor, springs, firing pin, magazines, barrel, spring guide, etc. This has more to do with the tinkerability of the Colt 45 Auto than with any need to fix it.

A well-known spring company advocates changing your handgun springs soon and often... I wonder why?

Other members of this board are quick to remind us of the poor quality of the clones that should be built as well as the old guns of yesteryear like the original Model of 1911A1 built for Uncle Sam. :)

The spring manufacturer tells us to install a magazine spring "reliability" kit or change that factory magazine spring that is "sure to fail." The old hands tell us get a GI or Colt magazine examples of which have been loaded for fifty or so years and have fed and fired without mishap when called on to do so.

The Colt Auto lends itself to doityourselfers, like a Harley or a small block Chevy. All sorts of aftermarket parts just waiting to be bought!

Personally, if I want something with more performance than my Colt, I get out my S&W .44 Magnum. That satisfies my need for speed pretty quickly! ;)

jimsbowies
May 23, 2002, 08:30 AM
The shock buffers....this is truly the only Wilson product I know of that causes real problems....I tried 'em in both of my "built" Colts and had similar difficulties....got rid of them...got rid of problem...

FPrice
May 23, 2002, 10:59 AM
"The shock buffers....this is truly the only Wilson product I know of that causes real problems....I tried 'em in both of my "built" Colts and had similar difficulties....got rid of them...got rid of problem..."

I used Shok-bufs in my IPSC gun under the theory that ANYTHING which helps reduce the battering that the number of rounds I was shooting at that time caused was a good thing. I do not use them in a carry gun. I never had a problem in the few years I shot IPSC, nor has the gun malfunctioned since, other than when I put the new spring in it.

However, I also clean my firearms virtually everytime I fire them and while doing so check them out closely for wear, tear, and any abnormal signs. It is my understanding that the problems from shok-bufs coming apart and jamming guns was generally with people who put them in and never check them. Perhaps I am wrong in this assumption but so far it has worked for me.

I think that my problem here was using a heavier spring than was necessary. So I am trying to decide if I want to go back to a normal 16# spring or have my Colt worked on to accept the heavier 18.5# spring. I do not know if there is an advantage to the latter or if the former is the smarter way to go.

However I am considering your advice so thanks for the comments.

jimsbowies
May 24, 2002, 07:27 AM
Like you, I clean my pistols after every outing....so it wasn't the buffers coming apart and jamming the pistol....don't know the problem...just know I don't have nor use them anymore...:)

FPrice
May 25, 2002, 09:22 PM
"....don't know the problem..."

Are you guns full-size or short versions? I know that you are not 'sposed to use shok-buffs in anything shorter than a Commander-length pistol. Anything smaller and there is not enough room for the spring to compress properly with the shok-buff in.