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lucas

Is it ok to shorten recoil springs

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My old spring is 9 pounds which is what the person who built the upper said it was. I purchased two new wolf 9 # springs and both are the same length but longer than the original. All springs tested around 9#. None of the new or old springs will allow the spring plug to bottom out. Both new springs have 37 coils and the old spring has 31 coils but visually only looks like it is 3 coils shorter. 

 

 

 While running bill drills, the front sight seemed to not want to get down in the back sight notch fast enough like before so I assumed spring was used up. Now with the new spring it comes down in the notch but likes to wobble around more in the notch than before. I wonder if that is because the new springs being longer are not allowing the spring plug to bottom out?

 

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According to the owner of Sprinco, it is not.  I was on the hunt for commander length recoil springs for for my CKARMS duty pistol.  Thankfully Wolff had a few to choose from. 

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New springs are usually slightly longer than used are. They take a "set" after being used the first time. They will shorten maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch. I take it this is a 1911 you have. By not allowing the spring plug to bottom out, do you mean, not coil bound? You can compare the stacked length of the springs, by measuring the wire diameter and multiplying it by the number of coils.

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9 hours ago, GBertolet said:

New springs are usually slightly longer than used are. They take a "set" after being used the first time. They will shorten maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch. I take it this is a 1911 you have. By not allowing the spring plug to bottom out, do you mean, not coil bound? You can compare the stacked length of the springs, by measuring the wire diameter and multiplying it by the number of coils.

The spring will not allow the plug to compress down the guide rod until it contacts the guide rod head. The recoil spring binds up and stops short. Is that coil bound?

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3 hours ago, lucas said:

The spring will not allow the plug to compress down the guide rod until it contacts the guide rod head. The recoil spring binds up and stops short. Is that coil bound?

 

Yes. you will have to trim it if it coil binds. Did the builder use a shock buff? A lot of guys cut a coil or two for the buff. also different brands of springs may have different coil diameters and free length.

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Thanks for the help everyone, got it now.

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Don't fire your gun anymore until you get this issue resolved. If your recoil spring is coil bound, you can break your barrel bushing, as it will be stopping the rearward movement of the slide, instead of the slide's dust cover.

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1 hour ago, GBertolet said:

Don't fire your gun anymore until you get this issue resolved. If your recoil spring is coil bound, you can break your barrel bushing, as it will be stopping the rearward movement of the slide, instead of the slide's dust cover.

 The two best ways I know to test spring binding is pushing the spring plug all the way down to see if it contacts the guide rod head and with guide rod in gun with out spring pulling slide all the back , marking on the dust cover ,then with spring seeing if it ends up to the mark.      It fails the first test but not the second test. I'm guessing but I think it might have something to do with the Dawson guide rod. My limited division 2011's in 40 and 45 all have longer spring plugs than the 9mm. I don't know if that's normal for 9 mm 2011's .

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Ive noticed that if i cut a spring because the load is too soft to cycle, i get to a point it becomes too short and it never cycles. Dont cut it.

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Cutting a spring does not make it lighter, only shorter. The only real reason to cut a spring is if you are having coil bind because it is too long. Buy the correct weight spring.

 

In fact, there is a theory that cutting coils off of a spring actually increases the weight (relative to the amount the spring is compressed)

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Adding or removing shok buff's does not change the available space for the recoil spring to compress. No need to cut a recoil spring if shok buff's are used. 

Cutting coils does not change the over all rating of any spring. For example, a 16 lb spring remains a 16 lb spring after cutting coils.

Cutting coils does increase the spring rate per inch. The overall rate such as 16 lbs is different than the spring rate per inch.

The overall rate of a compression spring is a function of each individual coil. For example a 16lb spring can be a few coils, as each coil needs 16lb to fully compress that coil. 

Since a spring that has had coils cut is now shorter, there is less dimension for the spring to go from zero to 16lbs. Thus the rate per inch increases. 

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