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2011 Recoil Springs and Ejection Distance


m0dnar
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Trying to figure out what's an appropriate recoil spring to use for my setup. I've heard from various sources that you normally want to tune your cases to land about 6-8' away from you. My stock recoil spring had my cases spit out maybe 6-8" right next to me. I've gone down as low as 7# and even then it throws them anywhere from 3-4'. I don't even think they make lighter springs and I've heard stories about cracked slides/frames from going lighter. I was going to try an 8# variable spring next, but is the ejection distance really that big of a deal for the 2011 platform?

 

I should probably also mention I do run a small comp on my gun and my normal training ammo is 132 PF +- 4. As for dot tracking and overall recoil control, I'm really digging the 7# spring, but just wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything else when I'm choosing how to setup my gun. 

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IMO gun setup, incl. recoil springs, is very individual (also dependent on your build/grip management/etc). The n°1 priority is that the gun operates 100% correctly and doesn't malfunction (ex: stove pipes, double feeds, etc), seconded by a consistent and fast return to zero (regardless of iron sights or red dot), and last but not least that it feels good to you and you get good time/score results! Different shooters will favor different springs, also depending on their loads. I use striped paper and a camera to film me shooting the gun to analyze the gun cycling, muzzle lift, recoil, etc. when I test new springs.

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The slide cracking stories you hear are from guys shooting Major PF ammo, running minor you would have a hard time abusing the slide.

most guys shooting open major guns end up with recoil springs in the 7-10 pound range depending on their build specifics and personal preferences. with a comped pistol shooting minor your likely to end up happiest with the lightest spring that will reliably feed rounds from your tightest full magazine. 

 

There is no simple answer to the question what spring rate do I need because there are so many variables, like 

Main (hammer) spring weight

Firing pin stop geometry 

Slide weight

Barrel and comp assembly weight

Comp effectiveness 

Ammunition

 

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Appreciate the insight guys. Looks like I have been going about it in the right way. I need to drag a tripod/camera out to the range with me next and some striped paper, but I did spend about 300 rounds this weekend playing with reliability and return to zero. I'm really happy with how the gun performs with the 7# spring so I want to re-test with the variable 8# when it comes in, but it's good to know that 7# is within reason and the case ejection distance isn't as important as some people make it out to be. 

 

Thanks!

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Forget about basing spring weight based on where empties land. The tightness, or lack thereof, of the extractor will also affect where empty cases go. Base the spring weight on how quickly the gun's sight returns to zero based on how fast you shoot. And that variable will be different for every person shooting, even shooting the same gun.

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On 8/15/2022 at 9:28 AM, m0dnar said:

Appreciate the insight guys. Looks like I have been going about it in the right way. I need to drag a tripod/camera out to the range with me next and some striped paper, but I did spend about 300 rounds this weekend playing with reliability and return to zero. I'm really happy with how the gun performs with the 7# spring so I want to re-test with the variable 8# when it comes in, but it's good to know that 7# is within reason and the case ejection distance isn't as important as some people make it out to be. 

 

Thanks!

the only thing that really matters is does the gun run 100% 

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When using really light recoil springs (below 9lbs), make sure that it will still cycle reliably when the gun is dirty as well as one handed shooting were the chance of limp wristing it is very likely. The minimum Recoil Spring weight needs to function 100% in worst case scenarios.

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29 minutes ago, CHA-LEE said:

When using really light recoil springs (below 9lbs), make sure that it will still cycle reliably when the gun is dirty as well as one handed shooting were the chance of limp wristing it is very likely. The minimum Recoil Spring weight needs to function 100% in worst case scenarios.

8# variable does that for me. I can shoot half the season without cleaning. I loved the feel of a 7# but had to keep the gun spotless to be 100%

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Posted (edited)

I actually spent the weekend doing a drill at 7yd with the first 5 rounds in the headbox, next 5 rounds strong hand only in a 50% A zone, and final 5 rounds weak hand only in a 50% A zone. With the 7# spring it was cycling every single round and locking back on last round. The only downside I ran into is I like to cant my gun left when shooting strong hand only and definitely had one or two brass casings flop out onto the back of my hand that I had to shake loose. 

Edited by m0dnar
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On 8/16/2022 at 10:58 PM, m0dnar said:

I actually spent the weekend doing a drill at 7yd with the first 5 rounds in the headbox, next 5 rounds strong hand only in a 50% A zone, and final 5 rounds weak hand only in a 50% A zone. With the 7# spring it was cycling every single round and locking back on last round. The only downside I ran into is I like to cant my gun left when shooting strong hand only and definitely had one or two brass casings flop out onto the back of my hand that I had to shake loose. 

 

That is interesting, sounds like maybe your load is barely strong enough to cycle the gun?

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I would also not be surprised if my extractor spring is just super stiff. I tried prying on it gently and there's basically no give to it. With that said I'm training with the absolute cheapest ammo I can find right now so it's also possible it doesn't even meet the stated PF on the box. 

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On 8/15/2022 at 1:43 AM, m0dnar said:

I should probably also mention I do run a small comp on my gun and my normal training ammo is 132 PF +- 4

Compensated guns usually shoot ammo at major PF levels, and springs in the 7-8lb range. That is because the compensator reduces the slides rearward recoil movement, and the high PF creates enough gas pressure to reduce upward recoil. Shooting minor PF ammo in a compensated gun doesn't really reduce upward recoil, but will still slow the slide down. That's why you need such a light recoil spring for the empties to eject a normal distance. That may be why your empties don't eject very far with the stock recoil spring. So using the lighter springs is normal in a compensated gun. But in shooting minor PF ammo, you're not getting the full benefit of a compensator in reducing upward recoil.

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Anything below a 9# without a comp the gun needs to be lubed and cleaned regularly. Also the dirtier the powder and environment are a factor. Atlas Gunworks has a series on checking the extractor tension and ejection diagnosis. 

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Never even pay attention to where the empties land, as long as they clear the gun and don't hit me in the forehead.

I tune recoil springs so that a fast 2 shots land together on a close target.   Second shot high?  More spring. 

Second shot low?  Less spring.    

Edited by open17
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I ended up putting 500 rounds in this past weekend with a 8 pound variable and I love the return to zero. Did 250 rounds with my comp and 250 rounds without and it seems to work well enough for both. Technically without the comp I could use maybe a 9 pound variable, but the 8 pound variable works well enough for both use cases that I'm ok with it. 

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