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Shok Buff Question


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I'm new to the entire buff world. Could someone tell me how to use a shok buff effectively for a competitive advantage? I have a single stack 1911 if it matters.

I know they somehow correlate to the spring weight/slide weight/load, but what do you try to get the slide to do? What do you look for when you are trying to find the right combination?

I know this is a rookie question, but I'm a rookie.

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Shok-buffs do two things: shorten the slide travel and cushion the impact of the slide against the frame at the end of its travel.

Both of those will change the percieved muzzle flip and recoil characteristics. If you run a very light spring, it's possible (though tough) to do damage to the frame without one.

If you're just getting started, put one in and see if it works 100% like that. If not, take it back out. In a few thousand rounds of watching the sights, you can experiment more because you'll know what you're seeing and feeling.

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I am a novice at the whole "gun tuning to go faster" thing too, but it seems people are tuning with lighter (generally) springs and adding shok buffs to shorten the slide travel and get the gun to track flatter. Theory being that the recoil spring pressure, cocking the hammer and the slide slamming to a stop at the end of it's travel add up to most of the muzzle flip. You'll hear lots of theories on here, I am not qualified to judge which are right.

Anyway, along the same lines some folks have shot a Springco. I shot them, for over two years, blindly following advice without correlating it. :rolleyes: Once I finally gave up on them (long story, don't ask <_< ) I went back to a regular rod and 12# spring. The short version is that I find, in comparison the Springco makes recoil mushy and I have less consistent site movement with them.

Fast forward after almost two years of regular rod, no buffs and a 12# spring.

Lately I have been playing around with the two different set ups, one on rumor & one from advice I am evaluating. Actually I started playing around with buffs to keep my gun from locking open. Provided the gun would run I was just looking to keep it from slide locking early. I have since noticed a slight difference in the way and height the sites move.

Right now I have an STI Recoil Master in the gun, like a lot of folks. I have also played around with an 11# spring and two shok buffs. I find that either of these set ups gives me a pretty flat gun, and repeatable site tracking. I'm not any kind of world beater, but I like the feel these set ups give me.

The advantage to the Recoil Master, seems to be not having to worry about monitoring or changing springs or buffs, but the feel with either is about the same.

A lighter (within reason) mainspring seems to help a little as well. It's also a help with all the goofy condition 2 & 3 starts we see in international IPSC.

Jerry "Barnhart and Todd Jarret have the flattest Limited guns I have ever seen. Rumor has it that Todd has a Recoil Master in his guns. When I took a course from Jerry Barnhart this past June he spoke of gun tuning; nothing specific, but that he spent time getting it just right. I know most of a "flat gun" is technique, but seeing as both of them put some stock in this "tuning" process I figure there must be something to it.

Just one guys opinion.

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Thanks for the opinions, guys.

What would be a good spring weight to try first? What buffers should I go with first? I'm just looking for somewhere to start.

Are most of these techniques used with 170ish power factors, or would this help a pin gun also?

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That's a bunch of info, thanks.

If you run a little recoild spring, is the buff a must?? I think my spring in my S&W 1911 is a 16 pounder, but I may be mistaken. Does anyone know what it is for sure? I'm just going on what I read saying that most factory springs are 16's.


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They used to always say that 16 pounds was a factory spring, but I now here some people claiming that they can vary a pound or so. Most shooters seem to be using less than 15lbs., so a 15 should be the heaviest that you'll need.

There is also nothing wrong with going ahead and burning 3000rds. on that factory spring ;) .

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