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Springfield 1911 recoil spring

This is a discussion on Springfield 1911 recoil spring within the M1911 forums, part of the Other Handgun Talk category; Hey all, I am a proud new owner of a A-1 Mil spec 1911. I was talking with a gentelman at my local shooting range ...


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Old 02-08-2012, 07:01 PM   #1
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Springfield 1911 recoil spring

Hey all,

I am a proud new owner of a A-1 Mil spec 1911. I was talking with a gentelman at my local shooting range the other day and he mentioned replacing my stock recoil spring. If i am not mistaken the stock spring is a 16#, he suggested to upgrade to a 18#.
My question is, is this something that i should consider and if so which brand of spring should i research? Wolff...wilson.. etc.?

I have put about 200 rounds through this so far. Im not quite sure what the break in period of these 1911's is as well.

thanks for the help guys!
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:46 PM   #2
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Your gun will work fine with a 16 lbs spring. A stronger spring will give you a different recoil pulse so you can try it and see which you like better but there is nothing wrong with the factory spring weight if your shooting standard pressure ammo. Break-in for a 1911 is generally 500 rounds but some guns need more and some less. I've had one need as much as 1k and another that went over 6k rounds before it failed to feed a round. Once it goes a couple hundred and you are comfortable that it's working well with all your mags and ammo types then I'd say the break-in is complete.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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The best way i have found to figure out what # spring YOUR gun need (not anyone else's) is to get a spring pack form the likes of Wolff and a pack of nylon buffers.
You install the weakest spring with a fresh buffer and then shoot it for a hundred rounds or so. Then you strip it and look at the buffer, if it is chewed up, go to the next stronger spring and a new buffer, repeat until you find the spring that both doesn't destroy the buffer, and allows your gun to function properly.
Then just stop using the buffers and be happy in the knowledge that you are using the best spring weight for your particular gun. And the nice thing about this method is that the buffer will prevent damage to the frame if you use too light of a spring to start out with.

Also for reference, the original spec for the 1911 that JMB had was somewhere in the order of 14.25-14.5 lbs. So anything between 14.5 and 18 at the top end should be good for .45ACP
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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A 16lb spring should be fine for a 5" 1911 running factory ammo.

Yes, you CAN get a softer recoil pulse from increasing the spring poundage....but (here is where it gets sticky) you do risk the chance of losing some reliability. The 5" 1911 was not designed to run a higher poundage spring, so your results might vary.

You might swap it out and it runs fine...you might not. You will have to test all ammo you plan on running to be sure. Plan on the pistol being harder to rack the slide, too.

On a 5' 1911, you should not have to increase the recoil spring poundage to ensure reliable feeding. Some will say that if you are getting failures to go into battery, you need a stiffer spring. Well...maybe...but chances are there is something out of spec on your 1911 besides the spring.

Recoil springs do get lazy...but its usually after a very long life and tons of shooting. This is NOT something you should have to race out and replace on a fairly new 1911.

Yes, many smiths will advocate increasing the recoil spring weight on the shorter 1911s like Commander and Officers Model length guns. This is done mostly to help feeding due to these model's shorter and faster slide cycle. Usually, you only need to go up 2-4 pounds and you have to be careful or you'll turn those guns into jam-o-matics if you put too strong of a spring inside. I have had to go up in spring strength in my old Colt Combat Commander, due to its failures to go into battery at time and it DID help things.

But on a 5" 1911? Never. Unless you are using it for competition with specially made loads (usually downloaded) then you really do not need a stronger recoil spring than a 16 pounder.

None of my 3 5" 1911s have a stronger recoil spring than a 16 pounder.

One thing you will find about 1911s is that yes, many makers make tons of accessories for these guns. Not all work as stated, many are unnecessary and some will turn your reliable gun into a nightmare. Be careful before you start replacing thing randomly.

Another thing you will find about the 1911 is that there are no shortages of "gunstore/range experts" that will be glad to tell you all sorts of stuff you NEED to do to your gun. Some give good advice...others...well...

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Old 02-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #5
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Lots of 1911 shooters upgrade to a 18 lb spring ,16 lb springs are what John Browning designed the pistol to work with. Most hard core shooters run a shock buffer when they target practice to help prolong the pistols life while removing them for serious work. there is also a firing pin spring to match the recoil springs weight. THE SPRING RATE IS USED TO ADJUST THE PISTOLS ACTION TO LIGHTER OR HEAVIER THAN STANDARD 45 ACP POWDER CHARGE LOADS. I have to agree with Brickboy240post. 18 lb springs work well in a 5 inch and Bill Wilson in his 1911 book recommends them. for heavy duty use.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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But the key is to test it....and test it well.

Make sure it works with all loads you normally shoot.

Don't go over 2 pounds plus on a 5" 1911 or you stand the risk of turning your 100% reliable 1911 into an iffy feeder.

I have never felt the need for ANY of those buffer things. Those just look like an answer in search of a question.

Some people swap springs to try to "tame the recoil" of the 45 caliber 1911. Well...if the 45's recoil bothers you...you might want to go back to a 9mm or hit the gym! LOL

Seriously, the full size steel 1911 shooting factory 45ACP ammo is a pretty gentile giant if you ask me. I have shot many smaller 9s and 40s that are MUCH more punishing than the 1911.

If you really want a soft recoiling 45, the HK USP full size 45 and the full size M&P45 are very soft recoiling 45s.

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Old 02-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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if it aint broke don't fix it, i have the identical 1911 and it functions beautifully as is, im not typically the type to say that but in this case it holds true(at least for me)
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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I know....I am a strong member of that school as well.

If a 1911 is feeding, firing and cycling fine and placing everything in the center of the target....leave it alone. it is doing exactly what it should do.

Start yanking things out, tweaking springs and messing with it and you'll keep many gunsmiths and Wilson's parts counter very happy.

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Old 02-12-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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IMHO if the 1911 is fresh, shoot 250 to 500...If there is not one issue, there is no reason to replace it, unless this 1911 is a range gun or and traget shooter.

Stock spring are ok, But if your planning on shoot alot then yes get a 18lb spring . I have 18lb spring in my GIss and its a butter smooth shooter.

On my loaded Springer it just broke 500+ rd ct. and it's shooting bulleye's at 7yrs. (i gen dont shoot over that as i can see where i'm hitting at 60 feet)

Give your 1911 some range time...it will get better.
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