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Old 07-09-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Question Spring measure

Not sure if this is the right category or not but here goes!
What is the best method to determine the strength of a spring?
Mostly aimed at 1911 recoil springs, but other springs as well. I have a used and modified 1911 with a lightened recoil spring and a lightened hammer spring. Out of curiosity I'd like to know what was used.

ProtoType
 
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Brownells used to sell a spring scale. Probably stopped because they are hard to use. The reading is when the spring is just short of touching and it is very easy to go too far. They also used one of the spring trigger gages that are very inaccurate. The only trigger gage worth anything is the Lyman electronic, but that maxes out at 12 lb.



I made my own;
1/2 copper tube
Put cap on end and drill for shaft
Hole in one end for key ring to attach scale
Thread other end of shaft for nut or plug to hold spring and ride inside tube
The fish scale is a 50lb RAPALA (think I got it at WalMart).

To use:
Put the spring on the shaft and put the nut (plug) on. Pull shaft with the fish scale. You will feel it bottom out. This scale is good because it does not hold a max reading and you can go back and forth between bottomed out and just off. Donít be surprised if the reading on the scale and the package are different (though most are pretty good). Especially donít be surprised if the is a brand new spring as all sprigs take and initial set and then should read close to their actual value. Also remember that you are using an inexpensive fishing scale! To be more accurate you could make up a series of weights in one pound increments that you would attempt to lift with the spring scale and the spring value would be the one before the one that bottoms out.
tecrench likes this.
 
Old 08-10-2012, 04:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Tom-C,

I'll be making one this weekend!

Much appreciated
ProtoType
 
 
Old 08-12-2012, 06:43 AM   #4
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prototype,
i have read over the years numerous articles on springs and have always been amazed at the variety of answers. let me shed a little light on the subject for you. a spring has 3 characteristics that control the strength of the spring, wire size,diameter of spring(more specfically, mean coil diameter) and the amount of active material in a spring. next let me tell you this about the strength of a spring. in the engeering world it is commonly refered to as spring constant, on the shop floor where i first experienced making springs it was commonly refered to as spring "rate"... in the US most of the time that means lbs per square foot required to displace the spring one inch, either in extension or compression it is the same. now, when you talk about compressing a spring and taking a reading you are checking the "load" on the spring at a given height not the rate of the spring. is it the same height that the manufactorer used to determine the "strength (load)" of the spring? that is the big question, each gunspring will be different, i was told one time on a government 1911 that height was 1.625 or 1.750 not certain, but somewhere in that range. the point being if you are going to measure the load of a spring you should know what height it was measured at from the factory. if you want to replace one with another and check strengths of various springs you can use your own height and come up with your own "strength" for a group of springs. lastly, remeber this when playing with springs, the more active material (the more coils) the weaker the spring. i know that may seem contradictive to some statements ive read but that is correct. one more thing, measure,wire diameter, length, and count coils and you will quickly discover which springs are stronger and weaker. remember spring design is not something new

if you cut a spring
what you are really asking is "what is the load height of a specfic spring"
 
Old 08-12-2012, 06:45 AM   #5
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whoops disregard last portion

if you cut a spring
what you are really asking is "what is the load height of a specfic spring
 
Old 08-12-2012, 03:35 PM   #6
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Interesting.
Thanks guys.
What started my interest in this, long before my post, was the information out there on spring adjustments. As my post stated, I have a 1911 (Kimber - Classic Stainless) that was modified before I got it. It has a lightened spring (or springs?) and possibly other mods I'm not aware of. I use it for PPC competition.
Since I have put 5000 plus rounds through it myself, I worry about replacing the spring since most companies recommend every 1000 rounds. There is no "peening" on the frame and I can't see any difference in operation, I still have time to address the problem.
In discussion, I have been told variously to:
1)Use the lightest spring that still cycles slide forward
2)Use the heaviest spring that the loads will still cycle the slide back
3)Just use what the factory uses, and adjust loads to that
4)As long as the cases eject, don't worry about it
For the time being, I'm going to mic the existing spring and replace it with the closest match from a Wilson Spring Caddy and check operation, but the fanatic part of me is screaming there MUST be more to it!
For other info, if it should pertain, the trigger pull is 3 lbs. (lighter than I would like) and the trigger and track have been replaced and honed by me. Different grips and sights but that's not relevant to operation. The load used is 185 grain SWC from Missouri Bullet, 4.2 grains of Winchester Super Target, and Winchester WLP primers, at 1.260 OAL.
ProtoType
 
Old 08-13-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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Spring life

Prototype,
Here is something else about springs, just about every spring made goes through a draw furnace for stress relieving at a temperature of at least 350 degrees, hotter than Arizona in August. Some of the aftermarket 1911 springs are made of top grade silicone wire (from same facility as mine different dept.), the same material we used to make Indy race car springs. These springs should last for an eternity (if it is of proper load) unless they receive some sort of abuse outside of the pistol. Since all guns are not equal there is some room there for error. Replacing your recoil spring every thousand rounds or two is a statement made by someone trying to sell springs. Use your own sense of judgment and record the overall length of a given spring, go out and shoot 10,000 rounds through it and see if it is any shorter. If the length doesnít change (significantly) than what else could have changed that would affect the integrity of the spring? Just about all springs will grow during shipment due to vibration and handling, therefore use a spring already installed for an experiment. I have always believed in your choice number two when shooting my competition guns, for a carry gun I stick to factory equivalent springs. Lastly, I have a Baer thunder ranch I shot probably 20k rounds of 4.35 grains of Bullseye with either a 185 or 200 grain cast bullet out of before replacing and still zero peening. If that would have been all hardball loads or bowling pin loads, no way! Your super target load is lighter than mine which should give your spring long life. PS donít fall into the game of clipping springs, buy 8,9,10,12lb springs if you use lighter shells,or whatever, and do it the correct way. We do have to support these guys to keep them in business. Hope this helps..
 
Old 08-14-2012, 02:01 PM   #8
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Thanks DJMJR,
I think that's my best bet, stick with the strongest reliable spring.
In prep for the next season of PPC, I'm going to replace the hammer spring, and firing pin spring with factory rec. weights. Then start at 16# recoil spring (which may work reliably, and I'm set), then work down to reliable operation.
Two more questions, can you tell us the market name of the top grade silicone from your company?
And what's your feelings/opinion on shock buffers?
ProtoType
 
Old 08-14-2012, 09:31 PM   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: indiana
Posts: 5
springs

start with the last website first, then brownells and egw. good luck


1911 AUTO GOVT RECOIL SPRINGS - Brownells

ISMI Recoil Springs for 1911: Evolution Gun Works Inc.

About ISMI
 
Old 08-15-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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Location: AZ
Posts: 45
Check out Dillon Precision. They have a recoil spring tester in their latest catalog.
 
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