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Old August 21, 2011, 05:47 PM   #26
45Gunner
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I bought two used guns in my lifetime. One I have since traded and the other still sits among my collection of 1911's. The very first thing I do when the used gun gets into my house is a complete detail stripping to inspect all the parts and when it gets re-assembled, I replace both the recoil and firing pin springs.

If you do not believe that springs wear out and cause cycling problems/ammo feed problems, I sure wish you a lot of luck and hope you never, ever have to depend upon a gun that has not been properly cared for. And, for that matter, if you believe that springs do not wear out, please tell me why companies such as Wolff sell so many springs to the general public? I can't remember ever being blasted with subliminal messages to change my springs.

And, if springs do not wear out, it would be fair to say that anyone of us that has ever replaced springs on a motorcycle, car, truck, etc. got taken to the cleaners replacing a part that you say never should be replaced.
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Old August 21, 2011, 08:04 PM   #27
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so how did anyone manage to keep their weapons functioning before about 10 years ago when the hype about replacing springs started gaining traction? How is it that the 1911 has been around for 100 years but replacement springs have only existed recently?
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Old August 21, 2011, 09:09 PM   #28
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Quote:
so how did anyone manage to keep their weapons functioning before about 10 years ago when the hype about replacing springs started gaining traction? How is it that the 1911 has been around for 100 years but replacement springs have only existed recently?
Where did you get that idea? Springs have been a replaceable item for a long time, though we may replace them proactively now, rather than wait for a failure. From the U.S. Army Technical Manual, p. 18:
Quote:
All springs will be replaced if they are broken. bent, cracked or if they fail to function properly.
http://www.m1911.org/MAINT45A.PDF

While the manual does not direct replacement every X number of rounds, it makes sense to do so to prevent failures.
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:10 PM   #29
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Why don't we see these threads in the revolver forum?
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:14 PM   #30
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1. Revolvers don't have recoil springs.
2, Revolvers don't have magazine springs.
3. Unless they are stored cocked, (a truly non-standard practice) none of the springs in a revolver are significantly compressed in the stored state.
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:31 PM   #31
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Quote:
All springs will be replaced if they are broken. bent, cracked or if they fail to function properly.
http://www.m1911.org/MAINT45A.PDF
That's my point exactly. Springs are a repair item, not a maintenance item. I imagine the description of grip screw in the PMCS manual is pretty much the same, but no one would suggest that you replace them on a schedule just in case.

I saw somene compare springs to shocks, the difference is that the seals in shocks wear due to friction. Leaf and coil springs typically last the life of the car under normal use. They only need to be replaced if they are overloaded.

Again, recoil springs do not absorb the recoil of the gun firing except for blowback guns. ejector and extractor springs are subjected to much greater stress than recoil springs. If you're going to replace springs, replace them.

I'd love to know who came up with the bright idea to replace springs as part of preventative maintenance. It is pretty recent idea and doesn't make any sense if the spring was properly designed in the first place.

I've never seen spring replacement recommended in any -10 manual unless they were broken. Hell, the 240 manual says that you only have to replace the spring if the recoil spring is broken in more than strand.
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Old August 21, 2011, 10:40 PM   #32
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Quote:
Leaf and coil springs typically last the life of the car under normal use. They only need to be replaced if they are overloaded.
Read the contents of the third link in post 19. It's about the failure (weakening) of leaf and coil springs on vehicles.
Quote:
I'd love to know who came up with the bright idea to replace springs as part of preventative maintenance.
If we assume that it really is a new development then I would say that it probably became a lot more popular when replacement springs became widely available at very reasonable prices. At some point it doesn't make sense to put off replacing a very cheap part when doing so can improve the life of more expensive components.

In general, I agree that replacing springs should be done based on when the spring fails to function--UNLESS the gun is a self-defense gun and you don't want to wait for a failure or unless there is an established replacement schedule determined by testing or experience that provides insight into the expected failure interval.
Quote:
It ... doesn't make any sense if the spring was properly designed in the first place.
This is, pardon the pun, a loaded statement.

As the article about automotive springs points out, sometimes the design parameters of the system in question call for a spring that may not be as robust as would be ideal in terms of durability alone. In other words, getting back to firearms, a designer might feel that it's not a problem for the user to replace a $5 drop-in part every 5000 rounds and so he might feel free to go with a slightly weaker recoil spring than he would choose if he knew that the part was difficult to replace or expensive to purchase. He might make that choice in order to meet the specification that limits how much force is required to hand-cycle the slide.

It wouldn't be an issue unless people somehow became convinced that they never needed to replace a recoil spring.

So could a spring be designed so that it would never weaken to the point of needing replacement? Certainly it can be if that's the only design parameter that's important. But if the designer has to balance other requirements in his design then he may not be able to achieve that design goal--he may have to compromise in order to achieve another design goal that's more important
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Old August 22, 2011, 01:31 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chack
That's my point exactly. Springs are a repair item, not a maintenance item.
The usual consequence of failure to perform preventive maintenance is failure.

Don't replace recoil springs as a "maintenance" item, and you'll replace them as a "repair" item. The Army manual says replace if the firearm fails to function properly. That could be interpreted to include when the pistol begins tossing ejected cases twice as far as it always used to ... which happens to be one of the classic ways of knowing when your recoil spring needs to be replaced.
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Old August 22, 2011, 05:28 AM   #34
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For those advertising an engineer that states springs don't fail, that boat still does not float.

There are quack licensed doctors that support over-the-counter diet pills and no exercise weight loss programs. There are lawyers who...well, need I go any further on that one? There are engineers (that end up in jail and sued for the shirt off their back) who design buildings that don't hold up to specifications...

In closing, your weapon is your weapon. If you choose, don't clean it, don't oil it, don't replace a single spring; It's your property.
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Old August 22, 2011, 09:15 AM   #35
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Handgun Recoil Spring Recommendations: 07-13-2011

Currently in my handguns:
1) Springfield Armory Trophy Match: S/N XXXX. Wolff V.R. 16.5 #
2) Les Baer Premier II: S/N: XXXX. Wolff V.R. 16.5 #
3) Jim Hoag Long-Slide: S/N: XXXX. Wolff V.R. 16.5 #

4) Ed Brown Executive Target: S/N XXXX: Original Issue non-V.R. 16.5 #.
(1) Recoil spring replacement: Every 1K-2K rounds. (EB # 9165-G). (2) Firing pin spring replacement: Every 3K-5K rounds. (EB # 908). (3) Mainspring replacement: Every 3K-5K rounds. (EB # 919). (4) Correctly match recoil spring to the load being shot. (5) No Shok-buffs. (6) Ejected brass should land 8-12 feet away. (7) If brass is falling within a few feet, the spring is too heavy for that load. (8) If brass is falling beyond the 12 feet, the spring is too light for that load.

W. C. Wolff Gunsprings recommended data:
If cases are landing in the 3 ft-6 ft: recoil spring is approximately correct
If cases are landing less than 3 ft: recoil spring is too heavy for that load
If cases are landing beyond the 6 ft-8 ft: recoil spring is too light for that load

5) Wilson Combat Classic SG: S/N: XXXX. Original Issue non-V.R. 17.0 #.
WC 5” .45 autos are shipped with a 17 lb spring.
All Wilson Combat recoil spring on-line blog recommends a 15 lb.-18.5 lb. spring
Recommended recoil spring replacement: (mechanical failures / issues)
(1) Return to battery failure. (2) Torn Shok-buff within a few hundred rounds of installation. (3) ½” or more shorter than a new one. (4) Purchase of a second-hand gun. (5) Ejection - extraction pattern changes suddenly.

Integrated Spring Management Inc. (ISMI) recommendation for recoil spring replacement: “The recoil spring should be changed, at the latest, when it has lost .500” of free length from new. At this point, the spring has suffered a considerable reduction in load exerted at installed length. (When the gun is in battery).“

FWIW, IMHO, & HTH

Last edited by Gary Wells; August 22, 2011 at 04:47 PM.
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Old August 22, 2011, 01:05 PM   #36
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Putting one's trust exclusively in an Army Manual is an exercise in frivolity. I say that only because I am an Army Veteran and know that they are not the know all in every subject they profess knowledge. I think every veteran with the possible exception of West Point graduates would agree.

Look, the point is plain and simple. A recoil spring can be either a replace when broken item or it can be a scheduled replacement item, depending upon your belief. If you are willing to bet your life that it is a replace when broken item, feel free...it's your life. My point of view is that it is a scheduled replacement item and I will never have to worry about a failure at a critical time.

Try this on for size. Shoot several thousand rounds out of your gun such as a 1911. Remove the recoil spring and place it next to a brand new, in the wrapper spring. Tell me you don't see a difference.

Your gun will tell you when it needs a new spring. The rounds will slowly eject in a different pattern and distance than when the gun was new. You may notice some feed failures.

Over the couple of years I have been a member of this Forum, this discussion always seems to rise up and the results seem always to be the same. There are two schools of thought about springs and spring replacement.

Guys, for the $7.95 it takes to replace a spring to make your $1000 pistol perform properly, I have no problem. If you are too cheap to replace a recoil spring because you think it lasts forever, I bestow my blessings on you and would be interested in knowing how much you spend in repairs when something goes awry. And I will hope for you that your spring decides not to go south when you are fighting for your life, heaven forbid.
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Old August 22, 2011, 03:02 PM   #37
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Springs are cheap insurance. They're only good for so many cycles and as they weaken, you're frame begins to soak up the difference. Just because a recoil spring still has enough "oomph" to chamber rounds and push the slide into battery, doesnt necessarily mean the frame isnt taking a battering. A hammer fired pistol naturally has two springs that must compress, as opposed to striker fired which only have one. Change them out every 5,000 cycles or so, as a part of your normal PM routine.
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Old August 22, 2011, 06:37 PM   #38
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Quote:
Guys, for the $7.95 it takes to replace a spring to make your $1000 pistol perform properly, I have no problem. If you are too cheap to replace a recoil spring because you think it lasts forever, I bestow my blessings on you and would be interested in knowing how much you spend in repairs when something goes awry. And I will hope for you that your spring decides not to go south when you are fighting for your life, heaven forbid.
That pretty much sums it up.
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Old August 22, 2011, 07:26 PM   #39
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Integrated Spring Management Inc. (ISMI) recommendation for recoil spring replacement: “The recoil spring should be changed, at the latest, when it has lost .500” of free length from new. At this point, the spring has suffered a considerable reduction in load exerted at installed length. (When the gun is in battery).“
I'm sure the ISMI "rule of thumb" applies to many guns, especially full-size guns, but for some compact and sub-compact guns, the .5" rule probably isn't good.

And then there are the recoil springs that are captive so that you can't tell their "natural/relaxed" length to compare that to a newer spring.

It is interesting to note the way different firms look at the problem, however.
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Old August 22, 2011, 07:46 PM   #40
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Because it wasn't until 10 or 15 years ago that ammo was so stinking cheap that everybody and his brother could afford to wear out a recoil spring?

I thought most people bought a new spring when the empties landed farther away than they wanted to walk to pick them up. Isn't that how you tell when it's time?

Autoloaders weren't even very popular in the '50s, '60s and '70s. At least among average working folks and the police. Ammo was expensive. There just wasn't much of a market for recoil springs.

I'm still going to replace the one in my Rohrbaugh R9 every 200 rounds. For $6 or whatever they are now, it's cheap insurance.
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Old August 22, 2011, 07:53 PM   #41
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The intent of my post was to show how different Gun manufacturing and recoil spring manufacturing companies look at solutions to different recoil spring queries.
I personally do not believe in the .500" rule of thumb.
I do believe that at some point in time most, maybe even all recoil springs will tire and weaken, and the shooter / owner should be able to pick up on that.
How far a spent case should travel is a pretty weak way to determine whether you have a good choice for spring weight in your gun.
I notice that some gun manufacturers avoid the question entirely.
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Old August 22, 2011, 08:16 PM   #42
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I got my Series 70 Gold Cup in the late 70s, Shot the crap out of it, and most of that was GI issue Hard Ball.

I never changed my recoil sping. Shot it to day in fact. Sucker still shoots and shoots great.

It also doesn't care what you shoot. Now days sinse I'm no longer shooting for the guard, I shoot cast bullets.
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Old August 22, 2011, 08:25 PM   #43
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I had a Honda Accord that went over 325,000 miles without ever needing new struts or shocks. Things like that can happen--doesn't mean you can (or should) count on it.
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Old August 23, 2011, 07:25 AM   #44
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"How far a spent case should travel is a pretty weak way to determine whether you have a good choice for spring weight in your gun."

Not if you know your gun it isn't. Smarter people than me figured this out a long time ago. Do you have a better idea?


Here's one of many write-ups on 1911 ejection distance I found with google.

http://10-8performance.blogspot.com/...-ejection.html

If you don't know who Hilton Yam is... www.10-8performance.com/pages/About-Us.html

Last edited by johnbt; August 23, 2011 at 07:30 AM.
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Old August 23, 2011, 08:10 AM   #45
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I wish you could control ejected brass with springs, my dern S&W Sigma throws my brass over three counties.

My 1911's just seem to roll them out at my feet, my Beretta throws them in a nice little pile about 10 feet away, but that dern Signm, you need a half dozzen grandkids to chase brass.
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Old August 23, 2011, 08:27 AM   #46
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Are you using some of that high-tech, zero-friction, super lube stuff that makes your slide move like it's on ball bearings made with alien technology? Well cut it out.
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Old August 23, 2011, 09:39 AM   #47
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Quote:
I wish you could control ejected brass with springs, my dern S&W Sigma throws my brass over three counties.

My 1911's just seem to roll them out at my feet, my Beretta throws them in a nice little pile about 10 feet away, but that dern Signm, you need a half dozzen grandkids to chase brass.
You CAN control ejected brass with springs...

Sounds like you need to visit Wolff Springs (www.gunsprings.com ) and 1) get a heavier spring for your SIGMA, 2) a lighter spring for your 1911, and you 3) should probably leave the Beretta alone.

The website will tell you the factory recommended weight for each gun/caliber, and then you go from there.
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Old August 23, 2011, 10:10 AM   #48
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1) get a heavier spring for your SIGMA, 2) a lighter spring for your 1911, and you 3) should probably leave the Beretta alone

Nah, I'm more interested in reliablility, if it ain't broke don't fix it. My guns all shoot my cast bullets just fine. I don't mine 45s at my feet, and a pile of 9mm's, as far the Sigma, well, if grandkids want to shoot, they have to pay their way by chasing my brass.

Also my wife likes my Sigma, it means I have to mow the lawn on my shooting range.
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Old August 23, 2011, 10:28 AM   #49
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Previously posted by "johnbt":

"How far a spent case should travel is a pretty weak way to determine whether you have a good choice for spring weight in your gun."

Not if you know your gun it isn't. Smarter people than me figured this out a long time ago. Do you have a better idea?

Not necessarily a better idea, John, but I like Wilson's philosophy regarding recoil spring selection which seems to be that the the distance that spent cases are thrown / discarded is only a part of the picture. Total reliability in regards towards failure to eject, ability to hold the slide open upon last round departure from the magazine, enough room to slingshot, are paramount, how the gun feels under recoil, how the gun feels upon slide opening and return to battery, and how far the empty case travels and in what direction are all a part of proper recoil spring selection. At least, that's the way that it seems to me, John.

Possibly adding the phrase "by itself" between the words "travel" and "is" in my statement would have been a little less confusing.
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Old August 23, 2011, 11:43 AM   #50
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For those of you that replace recoil springs for a preventative measure, do you do the same thing for rifles?

What about striker, extractor, and ejector springs?

Why or why not?
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