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Recoil Springs 16# versus 18.5#

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by Rinspeed, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

    Feb 28, 2001
    I've heard of some people say they like the way a 1911 shoots better with a 16# spring compared to an 18.5. I have never shot similar 1911s side by side with each so I have no idea. I was thinking of ordering a 16# spring for the Baer just to try. What are your thoughts on this.
  2. rvrctyrngr

    rvrctyrngr Senior Moment

    Sep 15, 2004
    Gator Nation
    No expert by any stretch, but I prefer the heavier springs. I run 20lb Wolff springs in my full-size guns.

  3. Quack

    Quack Rent this space

    Jan 7, 2002
    NE Ohio
    i tend to use lighter springs, but it's trial and error to find the right weight.
  4. JBJ16


    May 9, 2007
    I run 18.5# Wolff recoil springs on my full-size 1911s combined with the factory mainspring and "itty-bitty" small radius firing pin stop.:supergrin:

    Mainly for 230 FMJ, 230 Gr. +P carry loads and 200 LSWC full power loads. (ie. 200+ IPSC Power Factor)
  5. paul45


    Jul 18, 2004
    Being that 16lbs is standard, I'm just curious why you use a 20. Seems way high to me.

    I use a 20 in my Delta Elite.....
  6. gconan


    May 1, 2000
    Baer uses an 18# variable spring, not the standard 18.5# wolf spring. I liked the 16# wolf far more than the standard 18.5 wolf spring.

    standard wolf springs are smaller than Baers guide rods and will scratch it without polishing the end of the spring. Also the standard wolf springs are a little longer than Baers/wolf spring, so if you assemble your baer by capturing the spring with your thumb it will be to long until you shoot several hundred rounds through it. Then the Wolf spring will take a set then you can use that method.
  7. ArmoryDoc


    May 14, 2006
    Changing your recoil spring weights can affect timing. Going heavier means less slide dwell time and a faster slide cycle. Depending on the round, it can also mean a short-stroke.

    This translates to the need to get the next round indexed to the top of the mag in ample time to be caught by the the slide rail so it can be fed into the chamber. Be careful changing spring weights on a carry or defense gun. I don't recommend changing spring weights on a standard carry gun with standard rounds.
  8. rvrctyrngr

    rvrctyrngr Senior Moment

    Sep 15, 2004
    Gator Nation
    Just wanted to try something different. I only shoot factory ammo, so it hasn't been an issue...about 500 rounds so far through my Loaded.

    I'll probably swap it for an 18.5...just to be sure about things.
  9. MoNsTeR


    Aug 24, 2003
    Lakewood, CO
    Lighter is better. I wouldn't go heaver than the standard 16# for factory fodder, and 14# is my max for loads that just make major.
  10. SIGShooter

    SIGShooter Hucklebucks

    Jan 25, 2005

    Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special

    Les Baer Premier II

    I was originally using 18.5# recoil springs with reduced power hammer return spring and extra power firing pin spring.

    After a couple hundred rounds I decided to try out the 16# recoil springs with 23# hammer return spring and extra power firing pin springs (Pretty much spec for a Gov Model 1911).

    My observations between the 2 different setups:

    Recoil was more noticeable with the 16# spring. Muzzle flip was a little more compared to the 18.5# spring. I could "Feel" the difference in recoil between the two. To me, it felt like I was getting a sharp knock to the web of my hand. Accuracy was not as tight as the heavier spring weights (In regards to follow up shots).

    My current setup for both guns:

    18.5# Recoil Spring
    23# Hammer Return Spring
    Extra Power Firing Pin Spring
    (All Wolf springs)

    Comparing the two different weights side by side (Pretty much did this) I prefer the 18.5# recoil spring. The biggest areas I noticed the differences in...

    Recoil (Both actual and felt)
    Muzzle flip
    Follow up shots


    I decided to try the lighter setup just because. I wanted to give the original specs a run. But after testing them both out, I found that the heavier recoil spring is where it's at.
  11. 1006


    Aug 12, 2007
    Newnan, Georgia
    My thoughts are:
    If you go up or down from the standard 16 pound spring on a Gov 1911 in 45 ACP, you are simply shrinking the size of the ammo envelope that the gun is designed to operate within. You might improve how it shoots with one type of ammo but it may not run well with varying loads. Lots of guys run a 14 pounder for IPSC major loads. IPSC loads are weaker than factory in the 45. For IPSC Major in my 40 S&W 1911, I run a 13 pound recoil spring, a 25 pound hammer spring and a EGW squared fireing pin retainer.

    The hammer spring and fireing pin retainer make HUGE differnce in recoil control without effecting the mags ability to keep up with the slide. The initial unlocking of the barrel is delayed, allowing the gun to react to a later portion of the ammo's pressure curve.

    Anyhow, I would stick to the 16 pounder in a factory 1911 for everyday use, keep a shock buffer around only for when shooting hot loads, and a 14 pound recoil spring for light loads.

    The heavier springs may slow the slide down as it goes back but it slams the heck out of it when it returns forward.
  12. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I generally run 17# or 18.5# springs in my 5" 1911's. I'd be okay with 16# if I never shot +P ammo, but that's what I often carry for defense. If Wilson and Baer use springs in this range, it should be okay.
  13. John Browning built it 99 years ago with a 16# spring. That's good nuff for me. :supergrin:
  14. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    John Browning didn't have +P ammo. :tongueout:
  15. ronin.45


    Apr 24, 2008
    I like the 18.5# in my 5". I only use factory ammo and it cycles well. I feel it saves the frame from battering a little more too.

    In my commander I use a 22# for the same reasons.
  16. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Watcher. Silver Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Acme proving grounds.
    I run 22lbs in all 1911s',except my systema/16.5 runs well in her.'08.
  17. JBJ16


    May 9, 2007
    Ouch! 22#'s. That slide stop better'd worked on an empty mag. The return cycle on empty would hurt the barrel lugs bearing on the slide-stop cross pin.:wow:
  18. 1006


    Aug 12, 2007
    Newnan, Georgia
    Yep -- those 22 pounders are hard on the gun.
  19. remat


    Mar 19, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I use 18.5 for fullsize. Went heavier for +P loads. Have had no problem with factory ball either.
  20. RetailNinja


    Jan 31, 2007
    My 16# recoil spring in my Baer feels like the 18.5# spring in my old Kimber. Maybe it's the tighter slide-frame fit? Recoil is about the same.