The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > The Smithy

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 9, 2006, 12:38 PM   #1
HiPowering Along
Senior Member
Join Date: January 1, 2006
Location: PA - Land of taxes, potholes and unfortunately Ed "Gun Grabbin' Fast Eddie" Rendell
Posts: 254
Explain the difference in springs...

I've never replaced the springs in any of the semi-autos that I own; I've seen references to changing out springs, putting different strength (stiffer) springs in the pistol, etc.

Can someone who has a good working knowledge of this give a semi-detailed explanation of what, when and why to change out springs with aftermarket (Wollf?) or others?

I've never had a problem with my Hi-Powers and Sig, hence never having to have dealt with it. I'd like some info to work with for when the time comes, especially since I'm running 200+ rounds a week through them now.

Thanks, guys!

HP'ing Along
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." - One of the greatest sentences ever written into an instrument of democracy.
HiPowering Along is offline  
Old April 9, 2006, 08:45 PM   #2
Harry Bonar
Senior Member
Join Date: December 5, 2004
Location: In the Vincent, Ohio general area.
Posts: 1,804

Dear Shooter:
Yes, if I ever replaced the recoil spring in a 1911 I'd use Wolfe springs (Brownells has them by gun model number).

We, my late son and I, built combat pistols and instead of the 16# spring we'd usually go to an !8 1/2# spring, and the firing pin spring that comes in the Wolfe pac.
However, we had one experienced combat shooter that immediately remove the stronger spring and go back to the 16#.
I generally frown on spring replacements, especially the "light" pacs for handguns. They can make a safe gun unsafe.
I must admit, however, that I'm certainly no expert on springs (except to make the ones for my muzzle-loaders.
Harry B.
P.S. A semi-auto should throw an empty casing about 3 to 5 feet.
Harry Bonar is offline  
Old April 9, 2006, 09:07 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: January 29, 2006
Posts: 179
Know a lot of people that never change springs. Can't say they are wrong as they seem to get away with it without any serious problmes, but suspect they don't shoot a whole bunch.

I will change springs occsionally, esp. on alloy framed guns. IF the spring a coil srping is showing an unusual wear pattern...heavy rub marks, uneven coil spacing, or bent into a corkscrew get tossed. Does it make a difference?...maybe...does give a little more peace of mind.

Coil springs generally take a set early on, then seldom loose tension if the spring was made correctly. Long term stroage under cmpression can weaken them. You'd think coil springs would be "forever" but most spring-air pellet gun shooters end up replacing a spring now and again.
ribbonstone is offline  
Old April 9, 2006, 10:20 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: March 27, 2006
Posts: 1,554
One of the reasons to change the recoil spring is to help protect the frame.
Most manufacturers recommend changing the recoil spring every 5000 rounds. If the recoil spring gets weaker, the slide comes backward at a greater velocity and bangs the frame harder. With a stronger recoil spring, the slide's velocity is better controled and the frame takes a softer punch.

Just be careful and use a replacement spring that is too heavy. On lighter loads the slide might not go all the way back causing ejection or feeding jams.
hoghunting is offline  
Old April 11, 2006, 12:08 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 21, 2004
Posts: 315
I look at it like a motorcycle chain. A new chain will stretch out a bit when it is new (a recoil spring will shorten). Then it will stay the same for quite a while. When it begins to stretch out again, it's time for replacement. Check the spring free length when new and periodically when cleaning. If you are using a shock buffer, the imprint on the buffer will be a clue.

Recoil springs are dependent on the load usually used. If you are firing light target loads, a lighter spring is in order. If you are using heavy loads, a heavier spring is best. I like to use the heaviest spring that is consistent and reliable with the loads usually used in the firearm at hand.

As mentioned above, A spring that is too light will batter the frame. A spring that is too heavy will make the gun unreliable. Most of the springs I have changed have been mostly been more from guilt than necessity.
scottys1 is offline  
Old April 11, 2006, 06:36 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 26, 2000
Location: Hastings, Nebrasksa - the Hear
Posts: 2,131
In addition to the above...

Recoil springs in autos can be tailored to the shooter. The two extremes are a death grip holder shooting full charge 'earthquake' ammo compared to a rather soft holding shooter using powder puff loads.

Obviously, the full charge ammo requires heavier springs. Not just for the ammo, but the deathgrip shooter will brace the frame of the gun against the recoil more effectively.

The condition known as 'weak-wristing' can be cured by a lighter spring. However, that gun in someone else's hands might be subject to frame beating.

Back in my misspent youth, I had a Government Model and a LW Commander, both in 45 ACP. I used full load ammo and they functioned well with 22# springs. My current wadcutter target pistol runs a 14#.

Essentially, you make the spring fit your shooting style.
There ain't no free lunch, except Jesus.

Check out updated journal at
Archie is offline  
Old April 12, 2006, 11:21 AM   #7
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,720
A smaller spring outfit that makes an excellent product is Sprinco. They use high quality silicone steel, and apply a permenant lube to the finished springs to cut surface wear.

Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old April 15, 2006, 08:43 PM   #8
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,246

If you are asking why someone would replace servicable springs, then the answer is to obtain a different level of performance from the guns. Once upon a time, Colt Gold Cup models (target guns) were fitted with lighter than standard springs. This promoted reliability with the light target loads. Unfortunately if a shooter used a lot of ball ammo in one of these guns, they could wind up getting somewhat "battered".

When replacing recoil springs in autoloaders, keep in mind that this will affect the slide velocity, and if (like the 1911) there is a firing pin spring, it should also be replaced to match the altered slide velocity. This is why the spring makers sell them in sets.

Replacing trigger springs is one way of changing the trigger pull, without doing any (permanent) "work" on the gun. Often this can achieve the desired result, depending on the particular design of gun.

Some people also replace the magazine springs with "extra power" springs to promote reliable feeding. I have never found this to be needed, but to each his own.

As far as modern (20th century) springs taking a set, this is more myth than fact. While it is possible (particularly with poorly heat treated springs), it never seems to happen to anyone, except a "friend of a friend", or some such.

There have been verified cases of springs left fully or partially compressed for DECADES, and suffering no loss of function.
44 AMP is offline  
Old April 18, 2006, 10:00 PM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: April 17, 2006
Location: Titusville, Florida
Posts: 4
Hey HI Power. I have a Mauser 32Hsc that is 38 yrs old and it started to have feed problems. I took it to the gun smith with a complete bag of new Wolf springs. He put in a new slide spring (it had a kink) and a new magizine sping. That was it. He said everthing else was OK. $30.00 for springs, $35.00 for smitty work and she is shooting like new. He said there is no reason to replace springs if there is nothing wrong or showing any wear. I had a problem for sure but I didn't need the whole kit.

Shoot Fast MAKE ONE HOLE.....
Baldy60 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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 10:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.07697 seconds with 9 queries