Wednesday, April 12, 2006

10,000 Round Springer

I bought my Springfield Champion in October of 2003, for $800 out the door, tax included.

I put 500 rounds through it the next day. I believe in shooting my guns.

The Champion is a commander length 1911, with a bull barrel, and a double captured recoil spring setup; no bushing and no recoil buffer. From the factory it ships with a tight ramped chamber, and with a spring change it's safe for .45 super (though that voids your Springfield warranty).

After I broke the pistol in, I ordered up some new springs from Wolff. The factory stock recoil setup has about an 8# pound captured secondary spring, and about a 14lb main spring; giving an effective spring rate of a bit less than 22lbs (vs the 1911 Gov't standard of 16 or 18lbs), with some progressive tension built in. I'm guessing on the stock numbers, because Springfield only says the whole system is 22lbs tension not what the individual springs are, and because the secondary spring jsut maxes out my trigger pull scale.

Well, that's fine and dandy, but it's a bit too light if you want to eat a steady diet of .45 +p+, and the occaisonal .45 super which I do; so I ordered some new 22lb main springs. Wolff sells them for people who want to remove the double captured setup and go to a single spring with a guide rod, so they are at full tension without a secondary spring, and of coruse higher tension with it. This gave me an effective spring rate of something like 30lbs.

I also ordered a full Wolff spring set; and a 24lb recoil spring and a 10lb secondary spring for gits and shiggles. Oh and I picked up a spare recoil spring assembly from Springfield Armory, after accidentally launching the spring bushing into the wilderness one day.

Then I shipped the pistol off to Yost for him to do his magic; and I've been shooting it with the 22lb springs ever since.

Funny enough, lots of people have commented about how much tension there is in my recoil spring, but I never really notice. I DO notice the nice groups and snappy slide motion though.

Well as of this morning (well, two weeks ago but I only noticed it last night) I've worn out both of the 22lb springs, and both of the original secondary springs.

I'd noticed there was a little wear for the last few months, then noticed it more when I put a new extractor in and sometimes had a failure to go completley into battery on the first round; but I figured that was just the extractor breaking itself in. Well I was doing a chamber check on the gun last night, and I noticed the lockup was a bit loose, so I cleared it and did some hammer drops and slide drops; and sure enough my springs were worn out.

Of course that's somewhat unsurprising, since I've put well over 10,000 rounds through the gun in the last 2 and a half years; at least half that very hot and heavy loads. Hell, I'm actually even starting to see some barrel wear.

Anyway, I decided to replace them with the 10lb secondary and 24lb primary spring.

When I first assembled it the main spring was compressing the secondary spring too much while in battery, and it caused the guide rod to bind. I compared the new 24lb spring to the old 22lb and noticed it was 4 coils longer; so I snipped two coils, rechecked it, and the gun hand cycles like a top now. More importantly lockup is once again rock solid.

Of course the springs are now so strong that Mel can barely cycle the gun; but I expect to see more than 5000 rounds out of this spring; and Mel doesnt shoot my 1911 without me, so I think it's a valid tradeoff. I'd love to actually get a tension scale to see how much pressure is required to cycle the gun; but as long as it functions and I can cycle it without a problem, I'm not too concerned.

Now I just need to take it to the range and see how it functions there. I'll load up some just barely major power ammo and make sure it's 100% with it; if so, I'm golden.

Of course that means I need to finally unpack and reset all my reloading gear. Lord I hate moving. My gun room is now piled floor to cieling with random crap.

Oh well, it's a good excuse to clean it.