The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 20, 2011, 10:04 AM   #1
OcSpeed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: the greater unknown
Posts: 108
Recoil Spring Longevity

I'm decently familiar with polymer and 1911's, what I don't understand is why can the polymer (specifically, glocks) have a recoil spring that pretty much never needs replacing in order to function reliably.

My question is this, why has no one has developed something like that for the 1911 platform? Is it just the give of the polymer guns makes up for the springs possibly needing replacement?
OcSpeed is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 11:28 AM   #2
mete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 5,355
I've never replaced a recoil spring on my pistols. If made properly they should last a very long time . Exceptions are those guns where the manufacturer tells you to replace. Aftermarket spring makers make their living by telling you to replace them ! Keeping reloads within specs helps also.
A polymer frame reduces felt recoil because of some 'give' to it but that shouldn't effect the spring.
__________________
And Watson , bring your revolver !
mete is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 01:22 PM   #3
Jim243
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Location: Just off Route 66
Posts: 4,508
Recoil springs keep the slide from slaming into your face. If you use the frame as a stop it will eventual brake and you will be wearing the slide.

The only time I change out the spring is when I know I will be using Max hot loads and will go from a 12 lbs to 14 lbs wolf spring. As an example my 4 inch Kimber uses 22 lbs springs while the 5 inch uses 18 lbs springs. You have to be careful not to scew up the timing of the pistol by changing springs or you will get FTF and FTEs.

Jim
__________________
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Jim243 is online now  
Old August 20, 2011, 01:27 PM   #4
Steviewonder1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2009
Location: John's Creek, Georgia
Posts: 328
i have not changed any recoil springs in any of my guns, 2x1911, 5xGlock. I do have a spare for each just in case it ever happens to need one.
Steviewonder1 is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 01:34 PM   #5
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,331
Recoil spring longevity is dependent on a number of variables.

Generally speaking, the more recoil the gun generates and the smaller/lighter it is, the fast it will wear out recoil springs. So a full-size 9mm won't generally need recoil springs replaced as often as a full-sized .40S&W or full-sized .45ACP or a compact 9mm.

There are other factors that affect the situation, but that's a good place to start.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 02:02 PM   #6
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,456
I have fired a Norinco over 8500 rounds and did not replace anything. No failures of any kind. I have GI M1911A1s that have fired who knows how many rounds that have never needed springs replaced.

Unless the makers of 1911 clones are cheapening out on springs along with everything else, changing springs has become a game with some shooters, for no other reason that they like to tinker with their guns. A poster on another site said the recoil spring should be changed every 100 rounds - I think he worked for a spring manufacturer.

When is a recoil spring too weak? When it fails to return the slide to battery.

FWIW, the 1911 slide is supposed to hit the frame (actually the recoil spring guide) to stop recoil; the "bounce" it receives returns part of the recoil energy to the slide to help in feeding. If the spring stacks or a buffer absorbs energy before the slide hits its stop, that bounce is lost and the slide will not return to battery properly.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 02:24 PM   #7
chack
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2011
Location: dixie
Posts: 477
replacing springs is a scam. It's akin to changing the air in your tires.
chack is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 02:30 PM   #8
Kreyzhorse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2006
Location: NKY
Posts: 11,481
Quote:
My question is this, why has no one has developed something like that for the 1911 platform?
Because it isn't needed?

You can get a lot of rounds out of a gun before you'll ever need to change a recoil spring. Just because someone sells replacement springs, it doesn't mean you'll actually need too.
__________________
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
Kreyzhorse is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 03:27 PM   #9
PSP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 2, 2006
Location: N. Virginia
Posts: 3,915
Quote:
replacing springs is a scam. It's akin to changing the air in your tires.
No, that's incorrect. It is akin to changing your shock absorbers... and they can and do wear out.

It all depends on the gun. Some very small guns need more frequent spring changes to remain reliable. Other, usually larger duty size pistols may go tens of thousands of rounds before needing a change. People that shoot lots of rounds do indeed change recoil springs when needed.
PSP is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 04:02 PM   #10
45Gunner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2009
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Posts: 1,728
Quote:
Recoil springs keep the slide from slaming into your face. If you use the frame as a stop it will eventual brake and you will be wearing the slide.
What am I missing here? Are you holding the gun backwards? In that case you can expect to get about one round per spring.

I have had Colt 1911's where I have gone thousands of rounds before I changed the recoil spring and the gun still functioned fine. Put a new spring in it and it is like getting a new gun.

Springs do not last forever. If you so desire, you can change them on your range guns whenever it strikes your fancy. However, for those guns that I carry and depend upon to maybe save my life, I make sure the springs get changed on a schedule that I have determined. If I change a spring a few hundred or a thousand rounds early, I feel the $7.95 I have invested is well worth the comfort factor of knowing my gun is not going to fail to feed for the sake of a relatively cheap part.

I shoot several thousand rounds per month so I always keep a supply of springs in my gun tool box and my shooting buddies have followed my lead and do the same. I would also advise keeping an eye on your magazine springs. Sometimes a new spring every once in awhile brings a tired old magazine back to life.
__________________
45Gunner
May the Schwartz Be With You.
NRA Instructor
NRA Life Member
45Gunner is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 04:13 PM   #11
Uncle Malice
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2009
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,614
Per Glock, the recoil springs are recommended to be replaced every 3-4k rounds for the one piece springs(gen2 and gen3). The dual spring assembly found in the gen4 models is recommended to be replaced every 7,500 rounds.

I'm not sure who told you that they never need replacing. It's simply not accurate.

The gun might still function, but it be causing more wear to the gun than necessary.

I can't comment on the 1911 springs because I just don't have the experience with them.
__________________
Glock 17 G4 FDE | Glock 21 G4 FDE | S&W M&P 22 | S&W M&P 45 | S&W M&P 40 | Sig P226 MK25 | Sig P229 Extreme | HK P30 | HK45 | HK USP 9 | USP Compact 9 | USP 45 TACTICAL | Springfield Armory XDM 9 OD
Daniel Defense DDM4 V4 | Arsenal SGL 21 | ASA SBR | Savage Mark II FV-SR | Mossberg 590A1 20" SP | Mossberg 500 Cruiser
My Instagram (mostly gun pics)
Uncle Malice is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 06:30 PM   #12
Carry_24/7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 5, 2011
Posts: 798
I think this thread is way ahead of its time. There are folks who admittedly don't even clean their guns, let alone change springs.

This is a good thread to read before buying your next used gun.
Carry_24/7 is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 07:54 PM   #13
Mike38
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 28, 2009
Location: North Central Illinois
Posts: 1,160
Quote:
This is a good thread to read before buying your next used gun.

Yes it is. Anyone on here that says changing recoil springs is a waste of money, I’d never buy a firearm from.
Mike38 is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 08:51 PM   #14
Rugerismisticness
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 22, 2010
Posts: 909
Has anyone else seen the pics of broken 1911 slide that break right at the end of the ball cuts? That is from, and only from, a recoil spring that is too light for the loads. It is not some snake oil, change the springs. You know it is time to change them when the spring becomes about 1/2-1 1/2" shorter than original (this all depends on the design length of the spring).
Rugerismisticness is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 09:00 PM   #15
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 7,576
Yes, springs have to be changed. Seems silly to me to wait for a malfunction. That's like waiting for a threadbare tire to blowout on the interstate before putting on a new tire. After all, you don't want a failure when you need the gun the most. In addition, a weak recoil spring will beat the frame more. As JohnKSa noted, it depends on the pistol. Those with shorter barrels generally need to be changed more frequently.
__________________
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.
KyJim is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 10:32 PM   #16
chack
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2011
Location: dixie
Posts: 477
I change the springs in my pistols with the same frequency that I change the springs in my rifles, the valve springs in my engines, the tumbler springs in my locks, and the fork and suspension springs in my motor cycles. That is to say never.

IF I ever noticed a symptom of a problem I'd replace them. But I never have.

As unit small arms armorer (not my primary MOS, but a job I enjoy) I've inspected thousands of guns of all kinds. M9s, M4s, M16s, M2s, Mark 19s, M240s, M249s.

There is no schedule to replace the springs on any of those guns beyond "replace when broken or showing signs of wear"

Those are the weapons we took into combat, not grocery shopping in the suburbs.

For most guns, recoil springs don't absorb the shock of firing, the locking mechanism absorbs that force and the recoil spring just returns the slide/bolt to battery after chambering a round. Blowback weapons are the notable exception. If your weapon starts to act sluggish, that's a signal to get a new spring. Your gun will continue to function for hundreds/thousands of rounds after you first notice slow/sluggish rechambering.

The M240 is a fully automatic crew served 7.62 NATO weapon. I've personally shot or been a safety while two were being shot 50,000+ rds in one LOOOOOOOng day at the range. Guess how many recoil springs we used...

two, one in each gun. They were the springs that came with the guns when we got them from the armory and they were the same ones that had been sot unknown tens of thousands of rounds before we qualified a company of soldiers with them. We returned them and the 2 spare barrels that came with each of them to the armory where they sat until the next qualification/familiarization fire evolution was scheduled. Gotta love the use it or loose it mentality the army has about ammo every fiscal year.

I've never replaced a buffer spring in any of our M4s either, and they're fired many thousands of rounds of ball and even more with blanks (which subject the springs to the exact same stresses).

I can't say much about the M9s, because they are rarely issued, and when they are its for qualification by the medics, gunners, and officers and 1SG.


I guess if it makes you feel better, go ahead and do it, but do you replace the extractor spring (which I actually have seen weaken and need to be replaced)?

How about the ejector spring (again, something I have seen cause a malfunction).

Even the feed pawl springs (which fail with alarming frequency) are a PMCS item to inspect and replace only if broken or missing.

I find it humorous that someone makes a schedule to replace the springs on a weapon system that is known to have fired many 10's of thousands of rounds without a problem until it was completely worn out.

Last edited by chack; August 20, 2011 at 10:42 PM.
chack is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 11:41 PM   #17
pilpens
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 24, 2008
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,388
Cycle the slide enough, eventually the springs will wear and weaken.
How many slide cycles to wear out a spring???????????

Last edited by pilpens; August 20, 2011 at 11:51 PM.
pilpens is offline  
Old August 20, 2011, 11:56 PM   #18
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,088
OK, now someone explain to me WHY springs weaken.
I have never seen it happen, except from: overheating (fire,) rust, or over compression/extension. I make springs from high carbon steel, and have for many years. I have never had one "get weak." Why?
I have seen gun and knife springs that are over 150 years old that work fine.
Assuming proper design, heat treat, materials, and use- here is what will happen to a spring after many,many thousands of cycles: the steel will "work harden," or become brittle-and the spring will break. But, it won't "get weak."

So I want someone to, metallurgically speaking, explain to me all this "spring weakening."
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 02:15 AM   #19
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,331
Quote:
Assuming proper design, heat treat, materials, and use- here is what will happen to a spring after many,many thousands of cycles: the steel will "work harden," or become brittle-and the spring will break. But, it won't "get weak."
Yes, springs can get weak.

http://www.mechrel.com/inc/files/edi...%20Springs.pdf
"The spring may relax with time and reduce the applied load."

"If a spring is deflected under full load and the stresses induced exceed the yield strength of the material, the resulting permanent deformation may prevent the spring from providing the required force or to deliver stored energy for subsequent operations. Most springs are subject to some amount of relaxation during their life span even under benign conditions. The amount of spring relaxation is a function of the spring material and the amount of time the spring is exposed to the higher stresses and/or temperatures."

"A spring held at a certain stress will actually relax more in a given time than a spring cycled between that stress and a lower stress because it spends more time at the higher stress."

http://sbeprecision.com/Documents/Gu...ring%20FAQ.pdf
"All loaded springs suffer “load loss” or “stress relaxation” when subjected to stress for any extended period of time. The degree of load loss depends on how heavily loaded the spring is, the type of material, the amount of time the load is applied, and the temperature."


https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/b.../1/MQ45601.pdf
"It is recognized that the effective life of automotive suspension springs could be ended by yielding rather than fracture."
"Nevertheless, with service time, springs progressively deform or sag."
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 07:57 AM   #20
Uncle Malice
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2009
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 3,614
Quote:
I change the springs in my pistols with the same frequency that I change the springs in my rifles, the valve springs in my engines, the tumbler springs in my locks, and the fork and suspension springs in my motor cycles. That is to say never.
This is actually quite terrifying, most notably, that you never rebuild the suspension on your bikes. Maybe I'm just more into performance, but that's actually part of scheduled maintenance on all motorcycles....

It's probably just a myth though, just like changing the oil.
__________________
Glock 17 G4 FDE | Glock 21 G4 FDE | S&W M&P 22 | S&W M&P 45 | S&W M&P 40 | Sig P226 MK25 | Sig P229 Extreme | HK P30 | HK45 | HK USP 9 | USP Compact 9 | USP 45 TACTICAL | Springfield Armory XDM 9 OD
Daniel Defense DDM4 V4 | Arsenal SGL 21 | ASA SBR | Savage Mark II FV-SR | Mossberg 590A1 20" SP | Mossberg 500 Cruiser
My Instagram (mostly gun pics)
Uncle Malice is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 09:23 AM   #21
Carry_24/7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 5, 2011
Posts: 798
People do rebuild their vehicle suspensions.

Some people also do not clean their weapons.

To each his own, this is why I do not buy used guns, ever.
Carry_24/7 is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 09:49 AM   #22
CDW4ME
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2009
Posts: 615
Ed Brown owners manual has info on recoil springs and ejection of brass, too weak of a spring and the brass gets thrown far away, basically.

Springs do get weaker with use or continued compression. Load up a magazine fully for a year then pull the spring and compare it to a new one that's exactly the same, it's an almost certainty that the spring kept under compression will be shorter. I'm not saying it won't work, only that it does not produce the same force that it once did.

I've had magazines that worked fine, but after use and being kept fully loaded the springs weaker and a fail to feed resulted; replacing the spring solved the feeding, so the weak spring was at fault.

Mainsprings: after being kept condition 1 for months the primer strike wasn't as positive as when new, I replaced the mainspring and instantly got the previously obtained hard hit. Note, the pistol was still setting off rounds just fine, but the indention on the primer was reduced over time.

I'm anal / picky / proactive and replace springs before they cause me a problem.

I have never bought a used gun.
__________________
No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!
CDW4ME is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 10:01 AM   #23
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,078
Wilson is now advertising "Never change your recoil spring again."
They are selling a flat wire spring akin to a Glock's, I think they get it from ISMI.

I saw FLG replacing a barrel with broken link lug for a IPSC shooter.
The recoil spring had never been changed and was set to way below the stock length and worn flat in and out where it rubbed the guide rod and spring tunnel. I figure that might have had something to do with the barrel breaking.

You may not have to replace the recoil spring every 2000-3000 shots like the spring salesmen say, but you ought to be prepared to replace it every once in a while if you are a high volume competitor or trainer.
Jim Watson is online now  
Old August 21, 2011, 02:54 PM   #24
KyJim
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
Posts: 7,576
Quote:
Wilson is now advertising "Never change your recoil spring again."
They are selling a flat wire spring akin to a Glock's, I think they get it from ISMI.
I've seen that too. Very intriguing.
__________________
Jim's Rules of Carry: 1. Any gun is better than no gun. 2. A gun that is reliable is better than a gun that is not. 3. A hole in the right place is better than a hole in the wrong place. 4. A bigger hole is a better hole.
KyJim is offline  
Old August 21, 2011, 05:39 PM   #25
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,378
We've had this discussion here on more than one occasion, and with some relatively expert people participating -- including some engineers who are somewhat familiar with steels, and representatives from the gun-steel industry.

Springs that function within their design limits seldom wear out -- if well made and of quality materials. (The key is "design limits.")

With some newer guns, particularly sub-compacts and compacts -- recoil springs have to be replaced with some frequency. This is because, it appears, that the gun designers are now pushing the springs in these smaller guns harder than they did in the past. And to make the smaller guns do more, they've had to push springs farther than they can be pushed while still having a long life. (These new, smaller guns have better function -- doing more with more rounds in less space -- but seemingly do it for shorter periods before spring replacement is needed.)
Think about it: a small gun has to handle the same recoil as a full-size gun in the same caliber, and function in much the same manner, but doesn't have the same space for the full-size gun's springs; something has to give.
The same thing can be true for magazine springs. A spring in a single-stack 7-10 round mag don't have to work as hard a spring in a double-stack mag for the same caliber gun, but with the double-stack mag, the spring may be asked lift or hold ready as many as twice as many rounds.

A spring for a 7-round 1911 (recoil or mag spring) may never have to be replaced. The same springs in a sub-compact 1911, with very short barrel and very short magazine, may have to be replaced far more regularly. The gun makers will often specify a target number of cycles for the change. (The maker of one very compact 1911 I owned, years back, recommended changing recoil springs around 500 rounds.) On the other hand, I've got recoil springs in some of my guns that have never been replaced, even though they've been cycled many thousands of times.

It really depends on the gun (and the gun maker's design and recommendations), and the loads you use. It depends on how much work those springs have to do -- how hard the springs are pushed during their normal work cycle -- and that can vary from gun type to gun type. There's simply no hard-and-fast rule of thumb when it comes to springs in guns.

The link below takes you to just ONE of the manhy discussions we've had here on the forum -- a quick search on springs, gun springs, and stretching springs will find several -- and it covers the issue of springs pretty thoroughly. The topic was MAG SPRINGS, but the discussions covers other springs, too. You'll see some of the same names that you'll see in this message chain, too.

If you want to cut to the chase, jump to a response by Bernieb90, starting around reply 41; that's where it gets pretty interesting. Bernie IS an materials engineer familiar with the topic and who did some research for this discussion. JohnKSa's citations, above, do a pretty good job of addressing the topic, too.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ht=spring+life

Last edited by Walt Sherrill; August 22, 2011 at 06:25 PM.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Reply

Tags
1911 , develop , glock , spring

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.15514 seconds with 7 queries