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Old March 18, 1999, 02:24 PM   #13
Walt Welch
Senior Member
Join Date: November 3, 1998
Location: Alamo, CA
Posts: 424
tputto; I suggest that you go to the Wolff Gunspring site:

Go to the FAQ's section, and you will find the following FAQ:
3. How heavy should my recoil spring be? What weight recoil spring should I use with a particular load?

These are two very hard questions to answer in exact terms and in most cases an exact answer is not possible. There are many factors which influence the correct weight recoil spring to use. These factors include the particular ammunition brand and load, individual pistol characteristics, individual shooting styles and your individual, subjective feeling of how the gun shoots and should feel. In general terms, the heaviest recoil spring that will allow the pistol to function reliably is the best choice - tempered by the above factors. If your casings are hitting the ground in the 3 to 6 foot range, then the recoil spring is approximately correct. If you are ejecting beyond the 6-8 foot range, then a heavier recoil spring is generally required. If your casings are ejecting less than 3 feet a lighter recoil spring may be needed to assure proper functioning. Taking these factors into consideration, it then comes down to how the gun feels and performs when shooting - in your judgment. Using too light a recoil spring can result in damage to the pistol and possible injury to you.

There should be no noise from the recoil spring when the slide is moving. You have 3,000 rounds on your gun; what are you waiting for? Get a new recoil spring from Wolff. Install the extra strength firing pin spring that comes with it. That will prevent the gun from discharging if it falls on the muzzle (a very unlikely event even with a regular power firing pin spring). Further, this will prevent the firing pin from dragging on the primer, another cause of erratic ejection.

I use Wolff 20 and 22 lb. variable power recoil springs in my full size 1911's, with max and +P loads. The advantage of a variable power spring is that it makes the slide easier to rack (the first compression of the recoil spring takes less force), and the force pushing the slide forward is greatest when the slide first starts forward, then decreases as the slide gains velocity. This minimizes the impact of the slide when it goes into battery. Of course, never let a slide go forward on an empty chamber; ease it forward gently.

I do a few other things to my 1911's that I use for full loads. I install a recoil buffer; a plastic washer that goes between the recoil spring guide and the recoil spring (remember the open end of the recoil spring goes towards the muzzle). This cushions the slide's impact against the receiver in full recoil.

Further, I install an extra power magazine spring; this helps to preserve the power of the spring in 8 round mags, which have much less room for the spring, and also pushes the cartridge stack up against the underside of the slide with more force; some people feel this aids in reducing slide velocity; most people agree that it helps reliability. Don't use oil or grease to lube the inside of your mags; you can contaminate the ammo. Use a spray teflon such as Remington Dry Lube, or a powder such as Sentry BP-2000.

I think that your ejector is probably faulty; if changing the springs magically changes things to perfect function, then I am wrong. If not, get a new one, and have a smith install it, checking the ejector at the same time.

You are right, BTW; as recoil springs age, they tend to take on a spiral shape on the outside of the spring. Change your recoil spring every 1000 rounds or so. At about $7, it is darn cheap insurance for your pistol.

Hope this helps. Walt Welch, NRA Life Member, 1911 owner and shooter since 1967, reloader since 1957.
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