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Old October 16, 2012, 01:02 PM   #1
Armorer2B
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Browning HP Recoil Spring Question

I shoot a Browning Hi Power chambered in 40. It has a very heavy action and my wife is not able to work it. I am even not able to work it easily. Being the 40 was a derivative of the 9 mm I investigated and found a factory 9 mm recoil spring is on 17 lbs while the 40 spring is 20. I have read lots of posts about changing hammer springs but nothing so far about a lighter recoil spring. The 17 lb spring fits but I have not tried it out yet. I was going to start with downloaded target ammo and work up to my carry ammo and see what happens. Before I did that I it might be wise to enlist any comments here.

Thanks
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:19 PM   #2
g.willikers
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When you say that it's hard to work, do you mean retracting the slide to chamber a round?
If so, there's an easy to learn trick that enables a 98 lb weakling to operate any slide action.
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Old October 16, 2012, 01:53 PM   #3
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Yes, that's what I mean. What trick?
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Old October 16, 2012, 02:09 PM   #4
g.willikers
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This explanation is kind of long winded, but gets the job done.
There's other examples on youtube, too.
http://www.corneredcat.com/article/r...ack-the-slide/
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Old October 16, 2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thanks, I clearly have some bad habits and that's obviously not helping her. I'll have her read this and we will both practice some better techniques.
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Old October 16, 2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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The Hi-Power was extensively reengineered for the .40 cartridge, unlike some guns that were converted from 9 to .40 via a barrel and spring change. For full-power factory ammo, I'd expect the gun to need the factory spring, but if you are down-loading .40 to 9mm power levels, then you should be able to get away with the 9mm spring.
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Old October 16, 2012, 05:39 PM   #7
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If you are having issues with racking the slide on a .40 Browning High Power try thumb cocking the hammer first.
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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Yup, racking a slide on a HiPo with the hammer down requires absolute will. The hammer spring in those things are HEAVY. Just installing a new hammer spring is a job. Do not use a lighter recoil or mainspring. The mainspring is purposely heavy to control the velocity of the relatively light slide used on the gun. If you can't figure out some way to manhandle it, then maybe consider a different gun.
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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I shoot downloads for target but I want the gun to function and fire safely with full power factory carry loads too.

Thumb cocking does help but it's an extra step I wanted to avoid.

Would changing to a lighter hammer spring be a better choice? I had it apart to the bare frame cleaning it last night so I'm sure I can do a hammer spring change.

It really isn't so much about the arm strength to rack the slide, it's more grip strength to hold it solid especially with sweaty or oily hands. I have a little arthritis in my thumbs that makes the slingshot grip not as solid as I'd like and my hands so large I can't find a way to overhand grip with my strong fingers without covering the ejection port.

Except for racking the slide I love this gun. It's probably not going to be my primary carry much longer but I'm not ready to be beaten by it.
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Old October 17, 2012, 04:05 PM   #10
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I cock the hammer on my MK III 9MM Hi Power before racking the slide. Why kill myself? That hammer spring (main spring) at 32 lbs is really strong. I've been thinking of installing a 26 lb spring, but as it shoots great as is, I haven't.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:43 AM   #11
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I encourage you to drop by Stephen Camps's excellent site on the Hi-Power...

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/index.html

You will also want to drop by here...

http://forums.1911forum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15

It was said earlier...

Quote:
Being the 40 was a derivative of the 9 mm I investigated and found a factory 9 mm recoil spring is on 17 lbs while the 40 spring is 20.
The 40 S&W derived from the 10mm not the 9mm. It is a more powerful cartridge overall than the 9mm. When FN decided to house the 40 S&W in the Hi-Power they found they had to build a stronger and heavier frame and slide to house it and added a stronger recoil spring to prevent the gun from being battered out of spec by the more powerful round.

In the links above there are discussions of replacing the factory recommended springs lighter weight springs for the gun in 9mm and 40 calibers.

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Old October 18, 2012, 01:51 PM   #12
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TIPOC, I think what was meant was that the .40 Hi Power was derived from the 9mm Hi Power.

I could be wrong, and frequently am.


Amrorer2B, I'll be honest. Unless you decide to do reloads and downgrade the power of the .40 cartridge for your hi power I wouldn't change to a weaker recoil spring. The reason? You are going to increase the amount of force that the barrel imparts to the locking lug, and you run the risk of breaking the frame lug or damaging the frame itself.

There is a reason the .40 Hi Power has a stiffer recoil spring: Browning determined that the spring weights they include will slow the slide sufficiently to reduce the risk of damage to the handgun and allow for proper ejection/feed cycles to take place.

I've put a lighter hammer spring in my 9mm Hi Powers, but I also put a stiffer recoil spring into it to compensate for that change.

I have a .40 Hi Power [or I will once Browning is finished working on it. Grrr] and I admit the recoil spring is a pain in the posterior. However, it is no where near as bad as a Kahr K9 or Kahr K40.

Why does your wife like the .40 Hi Power so much? Is it the .40 caliber or the Hi Power? Because, if it is the Hi Power, then you can switch to a 9mm Hi Power and not have that problem [and sell me your .40?].

However, if it is the .40 round that she likes, then you 'can' try changing hammer and recoil springs, but you may run into timing/cycling issues and may speed up the failure of the frame/barrel/slide parts due to overstressing them by not reducing the recoil impulse sufficiently.
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Old October 18, 2012, 05:28 PM   #13
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Arthritis and Carpal glitches makes slide manipulation difficult.

Clearing a jam or double feed is even more fun. A striker fired platform like a Kahr makes the process a tad easier.

As to the BHP, it takes an audible grunt, and two hands, one pushing one way and the other pushing in the opposite direction for me to overcome the heavy mainspring on the BHP.

If we're lucky, age happens.

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Old October 18, 2012, 07:41 PM   #14
tipoc
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Quote:
TIPOC, I think what was meant was that the .40 Hi Power was derived from the 9mm Hi Power.
It could be that he did mean that.

Anyway the method for racking the slide that was mentioned above works very well and is a better methods overall for racking the slide on any auto.

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Old October 18, 2012, 08:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
As to the BHP, it takes an audible grunt, and two hands, one pushing one way and the other pushing in the opposite direction for me to overcome the heavy mainspring on the BHP.

If we're lucky, age happens.
I own several BHPs in 9mm and I simply have never found this to be true. It is not harder to rack than my Sigs or CZs. Overhand or slingshot works for me.

I do change the mainspring to a 26lb but even before the change out I do not find them hard to rack. What am I missing?
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Old October 19, 2012, 08:39 AM   #16
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Maybe the arthritis and the carpal tunnel is a player. It isn't impossible for me, it does take effort with both hands 'tho.

salty
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Old October 19, 2012, 10:06 AM   #17
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For a good many people racking the slide on some guns can be troublesome. This can be due to hand strength, injury or disease. I have known, and know several men and women whose hands are not strong enough to retract the slide on a number of guns reliably.

Salty is right that some types of guns can be easier to rack the slide on. Striker fired guns don't have the resistance of a mainspring to overcome. A full size Government Model is easier to rack than a subcompact 1911. etc.

Technique can help. The older method of racking the slide involved holding the frame steady with the strong hand while the weak hand retracts the slide. This requires enough hand and finger strength to do so reliably. Some folks do not have that.

The newer, and I think better and more reliable, method of racking the slide involves holding the slide steady with the weak hand and pushing the frame forward to retract the slide all while the gun is held close to the body. It requires less finger strength than the older method. It should be practiced with dummy rounds to make sure the weak hand does not inhibit the election of spent cases or rounds.

If the gun has a hammer cocking the hammer before racking the slide also helps as others have said.

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Old October 20, 2012, 07:14 PM   #18
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I kind of like the fact that the HP is tough to rack. It might prevent someone (possibly an angry woman!) from taking me out some day with my own gun....
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:18 AM   #19
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You'd be safer securing the frying pans.
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Old October 21, 2012, 10:53 AM   #20
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LOL!! What he said! ^^^ +1
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Old October 21, 2012, 01:15 PM   #21
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Post # 18 by Fair Warning. I woundn't bet on it.

A few decades back, my Uncle was changing a rear tire flat on the family ride. It was in a sloped driveway. The family ride had a bumper jack. Em brake on, no chocks on the off side wheel. Car moved back, fell off the slotted bumper jack and rear quarter panel pinned most of Uncle. Yells brought Aunt and two cousins out of the house. Aunt backed up to the wheel well, grabbed hold and lifted the car high enough off the springs for cousins to drag Uncle out from under car. He wore the cast for a few months.

Family tale repeated at most family gatherings for lots of years. Not directly gun related, but, for me, multiple lessons learned and worth consideration.

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