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How do I tune a 1911 to run with light loads?

MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
edited August 2014 in Ask the Experts
I loaded a bunch of cast 200 grain SWC's. .45, of course. If they don't function the gun, and I want to install a lighter spring, how light (what weight) should I order??

Is the recoil spring the only item requiring adjustment for light loads??

Also, I just bought a Springfield Armory 1911. Has a "Black chrome"? finish with polished slide sides. Anyone familiar with this variation?

OK: 1st, I'm not worried about the finish wearing; just wondering if anybody recognized this variation and could enlighten me with the internal details.

Perry, I'm using 5 grains of International Clays in an ironsighted gun (or, more correctly, will be later this week). I haven't shot it yet. This load will not reliably feed in my Combat Commander, but the recoil feels about on par with hardball.

Comments

  • yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 19,002 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Wolff light spring pack set. I recall they come in like 6 or 8 pack and they come in two different spring tention styles.

    How to find the right spring? Keep swapping out the springs until you get 100% funtion. No cutting just lighter and lighter until you get it.

    "Black Chrome" is just a finish to me. And to me it's just a 1911. What are you worried that you'll rub the finish off?
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,351 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Usually the spring, but some times the magazine lips. Just order a factory weight spring and grind it off 1/4 coil at a time until the pistol functions. I would actually increase the load until the pistol functioned properly. I really like Lyman 452374 230 gr cast on the hard side, have not seen many pistols that don't feed this bullet well. I like full charges of W231 or Bullseye.
  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,240 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Depending on the bullet weight, and brinell hardness of the cast lead bullet. Very light loads won't always be stabilized.

    Just loaded up a bunch of 45's myself. Using fast burning shotgun powder. 3 1/2 grains functioned the pistol OK, but accuracy was lacking at longer ranges, (over 10 yards). Went to 4 grains, for better long range accuracy.
  • tsr1965tsr1965 Member Posts: 8,682
    edited November -1
    A lot of the multi purpose 1911's, like the Colt Trophy Gold Cup, come with two recoil springs. One for lighter target loads, and one for full power loads.

    I would call Brownell's tech support line, and ask them. They are great with things like this. You will be able to order the one you need, while you are on the phone with them.

    Best
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Hello What load are you using [?]with the 200 grain bullet.Does the pistol have Iron sights or are you using a red Dot scope sight[?] . Is the red dot mounted on slide or Frame. [?] . I have loaded and shot over 350,000 45 ACP loads in over 40 years of NRA BULLS-EYE shooting.
    To get 100 % function you need two things .#1 the slide MUST cycle FULLY to prevent Jams. #2 the recoil spring Must be strong enough to Fully chamber the round Closing Force .Feel free to click on my user name and send me a personal email. Also look at my STICKY post on the Competitive /Reloading forum. "Thoughts on loading semi auto ammo."


    PRAISE THE HARD-BALL GUN Perry Shooter
  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 13,137
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by MG1890
    I loaded a bunch of cast 200 grain SWC's. .45, of course. If they don't function the gun, and I want to install a lighter spring, how light (what weight) should I order??

    Depends on the velocity of your loads and (to a far lesser extent) the gun itself. As mentioned, the easiest thing to do is to get a spring kit with multiple springs, and then try different ones, swapping downwards in weight to the highest weight one that still gives you 100% reliability with your chosen load.

    You can pick the kit depending on how light your loads are (ie if you're trying for "lightest possible" loads, you will want the "ultra light reduced power" spring kit). See here (scroll down):

    http://www.gunsprings.com/cID1/mID1/dID1#3

    quote:Is the recoil spring the only item requiring adjustment for light loads??In general, yes.

    But as mentioned some bullet designs won't work well in some guns because of feed geometry and bullet shape. Swapping springs is only going to get you so far here. . .other solutions may be necessary.

    Accuracy with low velocity loads is a different issue as well.

    quote:
    Also, I just bought a Springfield Armory 1911. Has a "Black chrome"? finish with polished slide sides. Anyone familiar with this variation?

    OK: 1st, I'm not worried about the finish wearing; just wondering if anybody recognized this variation and could enlighten me with the internal details. Don't think the gun is functionally or mechanically any different than any other Springfield 1911, it just has the black chrome finish.

    I don't think Springfield offers this variant anymore, but at least at one point they offered their "Loaded" model (which is made from stainless steel) with a black chrome finish. If you want the gun specs, just figure out which model you have and look on Springfields website.
  • steve45steve45 Member Posts: 2,838 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    When I was shooting informal practical pistol other shooters modified their pistols. This was at great expense and always making that pistol longer and heavier. I reloaded my stock .45 with 5.0 grains of 231 powder and 160 gr lead bullets. They were very reliable with a 12 lb spring in the gun. I believe (my poor memory here) that the stock spring is a 16 pound
  • TRAP55TRAP55 Member Posts: 7,882 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I believe Wolff still makes a square wire variable power recoil spring. I used one (in combo with a Wilson mag)for everything from light 185grn loads to heavy 230grn loads, all bullet configurations, and never had a hiccup, or any signs of recoil damage to the gun.
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    To tune a pistol and load to the recoil spring take a recoil spring Pack these are sold with every thing fro 22 pound to 8 pound. start with say a standard 16 pound spring . Load one round of the load you want to use in the magazine. DO NOT USE A BUFFER fire that one round and see if the slide locks back. If it does then you do not need a lighter spring. If it does not lock back then put in one pound lighter spring. repeat test. keep putting in a lighter spring one pound lighter at a time until your ammo locks back the slide every time after loading only one round at a time in the magazine.It has to work at least 5 times in a row. Now once that is done You need to test with a full magazine If it works fine but if it does not Fully chamber a round
    most likely then the spring is too weak to have closing force to chamber a round. The only way to fix this problem is go back wit a slightly HOTTER load and Heavier spring Or do rework on hammer /Firing pin retainer /Hammer spring. Feel free to email me
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,289 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I am shooting 200 grain .45 ACP bullets at 650 fps with 12 lb recoil springs and 19 lb mainsprings.
    The old guns are really pretty flexible and you don't need to do a lot of refining to get them to work.

    I don't have any loads for International Clays so I don't know where you are with that.
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