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1911 recoil spring chart


zzt
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There have been enough questions about which recoil spring to use that I thought I'd post this.

 

These spring rates apply to any caliber in an uncompensated gun.  Also note that if you have significantly lightened your slide you may have to up one pound.  It's been so long I can't remember if I got this from Jerry's book or elsewhere.

 

            PF

191   16lb recoil spring (factory 45 load, 230@830)
179   15lb spring    
167   14lb spring    
155   13b spring    

143

  12lb spring    
131   11lb spring    
119  

10lb spring

   
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Hello, I think some of that data is a little out dated now. Most guys running major Limited pistols are using 10-14lb recoil springs. 9mm minor load guys are running 8-11lb springs. Testing what load you are using and what gives you the best hits on paper is what counts for gun games. It also has to be 100% reliable. Thanks, Eric

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I'd say those numbers are probably a good starting point for a non-competition shooter with a factory stock gun.  But for what we do, they're pretty far off the mark.  Most shooting 165+ pf limited gun are running 12 or 13 lb springs.  And most shooting 135+ pf are running 8 or 9 lb springs.

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I don't know about that.  I used a 14 lb. spring for SS major. Same for Limited major.   A buddy was having a problem with his 1911 minor.  We went up the scale with springs and 11 lb. worked the best in his gun with factory ammo.  I'm convinced that a lot of shooters are using too light a recoil spring.  Geez, I'm running an 11 lb. in my tight-as-a-drum 9mm major Open gun.  I think a lot of people listen to BS or group think and don't bother to tune their gun to their load by balancing recoil spring weight, mainspring weight and firing pin stop radius.

 

I'm also convinced that a lot of the cracked slides in Open are due to using too light a recoil spring.

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11 minutes ago, zzt said:

  I think a lot of people listen to BS or group think and don't bother to tune their gun to their load by balancing recoil spring weight, mainspring weight and firing pin stop radius.

 

I'm also convinced that a lot of the cracked slides in Open are due to using too light a recoil spring.

I definitely agree with you on this. 

 

For me I use 9lb recoil spring for 9 minor, 12.5lb for 40 major. 

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1 hour ago, zzt said:

I don't know about that.  I used a 14 lb. spring for SS major. Same for Limited major.   A buddy was having a problem with his 1911 minor.  We went up the scale with springs and 11 lb. worked the best in his gun with factory ammo.  I'm convinced that a lot of shooters are using too light a recoil spring.  Geez, I'm running an 11 lb. in my tight-as-a-drum 9mm major Open gun.  I think a lot of people listen to BS or group think and don't bother to tune their gun to their load by balancing recoil spring weight, mainspring weight and firing pin stop radius.

 

I'm also convinced that a lot of the cracked slides in Open are due to using too light a recoil spring.

 

Yeah, I was thinking strictly limited and production guns.  Not open.  All of my 40s, whether single stack or double, bushing or bull, are running 12 lb springs with no issues  (and lots of rounds).  My single stack/limited 9s, both bushing and bull, are running 9 lb springs with no issues.  But I run 19 lb hammer springs in all my guns bc I don't like light springs and squishy triggers.  So that's a factor.  Like you said, it all works together.  As for open guns, that's really not my cup of tea.  But I do know most are running pretty light springs even with 175 or so pf.  Whether that's a good idea for longevity prob depends on what your expectations are.  

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I run 19 lb. main springs in all of my 1911/2011s, except two.  One has an 18 lb. just because.  My 1911 Open steel gun has a 17 and uses a 7 lb. recoil spring and a FPS radiused all the way up to the firing pin hole.  That is the only way I can get it to cycle with 144 PF steel loads.

 

Other than that, I tune the guns to minimize the secondary recoil impulse and return the sights to target without a dip or having to force it down.  For me, that always seems to require a slightly heavier recoil spring.  Even without having a buddy video the shots it is easy to tell.  If the muzzle dips on return, the spring is too heavy.  If it doesn't return the spring is too light.

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I don't know why 40 minor would need a heavier spring than 9mm. 40 at minor speeds is lower velocity and pressure compared to 9mm and from experience I definitely needed a lighter spring when setting up my 40 minors guns compared to a 9mm.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/29/2021 at 9:15 PM, waktasz said:

I don't know why 40 minor would need a heavier spring than 9mm. 40 at minor speeds is lower velocity and pressure compared to 9mm and from experience I definitely needed a lighter spring when setting up my 40 minors guns compared to a 9mm.

 

I don't know about you, but I don't load slower loads at a lower pressure.  I use a faster burning powder that produces about the same pressure, just lower velocity at the muzzle.

 

I like Dave's chart above, it's pretty close to what I use for springs.  9-10 pounds in a 9mm 1911 without a comp, 12.5 pounds in my .40, and 14 pounds in .45 with a full weight slide are what I use.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I ran 147s with a very fast N310 and 7lbs was the sweet spot; this is admittedly very subjective.  I never felt the slide was too 'slow' or I was outrunning the gun.  It tracked very predictably and was very soft.

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  • 2 months later...

Thought

Recoil springs are there to close the gun.

Obviously it has to strip the round out of the magazine while closing the slide.

The larger the round the more spring is required to strip the round out of the magazine

Main springs do a lot to control slide speed.

 

Like many above I use 19lbs to start on my builds.

Occasionally go up to 20/21 lbs 

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