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  #1  
Old 11-14-2008, 04:28 PM
Tulsajim Tulsajim is offline
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Hammer Spring Damage if Locked & Cocked?




I have been a shotgun shooter all of my life. My experience with handguns has been only recent, and I am trying to do things right. Shotgun shooters who own fine double-barrelled guns are taught to use snap caps to release the hammer springs because leaving the guns cocked will wear-out the springs. I have not heard of any similar concern with 1911 pistols. I do not carry a 1911, but keep one in my desk at home for home defense. I keep it cocked and locked with safety on to be ready for immediate action if need be. Does leaving the gun cocked and locked for long periods of time wear out the hammer springs or any other parts? Please don't flame me for my ignorance, as I said above, I am a beginner with handguns.

Tulsajim
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2008, 05:10 PM
oldandslower oldandslower is offline
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jim, 11/15/08

It is usually the repeated compressions and decompressions of spring use which cause spring fatigue, not so much keeping the spring compressed for long periods of time. Thus it is OK to keep your 1911 cocked and locked for long periods of time. The same goes for mag springs- it is OK to keep them fully loaded for a long time without a decrease in function. Hope this helps.

best wishes- oldandslower
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2008, 05:26 PM
primersinmyshoe primersinmyshoe is offline
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Same here. Keep it cocked and locked.
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2008, 05:28 PM
Badlander Badlander is offline
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I have one that has been cocked and locked for the better part of 16 years with no problems.
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2008, 05:51 PM
Tulsajim Tulsajim is offline
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Thanks guys. You have been very helpful, and I am glad that is one thing I don't have to worry about. I probably will have more newbie questions in the future. So, please bear with me. I have shot shotguns for 45 years and am a NSCA A class sporting clays shooter, but I have only been shooting pistols for about 3 months. So, I have a lot more to learn from you guys.

Tulsajim
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2008, 07:30 PM
Flamz Flamz is offline
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Doesn't the 1911 hammer/spring go "over center" to releave some spring tension? Kind of like a compound bow camming over. I just checked my WWI Colt and when the hammer is cocked it feels like it's under less tension then when cocking it. ??????
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2008, 07:47 PM
Badlander Badlander is offline
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The hammer spring is A straight coil spring. You are probably getting better leverage as the hammer reaches full cock.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2008, 07:48 PM
Randall M Randall M is offline
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The Main Spring that resides in a vertical channel in the Main
Spring Housing(MSH), which is located in the lower rear half of the
frame behind the magazine well is a Coil spring. WHen installing
or removing an MSH the spring is under some tension. Wear safety
Glasses, ANyway.... like magazine springs it's not having the spring
depressed or not depressed, it's the working of hte spring that causes
more metal fatigue than leaving it in one state or the other. Cocked
& Locked is fine.

THat said, springs in a 1911 should be replaced periodically depending
on useage - number of rounds and loads, warmer or colder vary things,
but a rule of thumb would be a new recoil spring at 2,000 rounds. I suppose a Main Spring could be replaced at 10K intervals.

Randall
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2008, 08:12 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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The mainspring (aka "hammer spring") in a factory 1911 is rated at 23 lbs., and is gross overkill. It was one of the military's requirements that the hammer strike be strong enough to set off a round regardless of conditions (ammo quality, mud inside the gun, etc.). These days a part of most trigger jobs is to replace the spring with a 19# unit. What this means is that even if the mainspring were to lose a bit of strength over time you can be assured it'll still have more than enough oomph to fire.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2008, 08:20 PM
MSgt Dotson MSgt Dotson is offline
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After 90 years of repeated use and live fire cycling, a quality original mainspring may be replaced by the 2nd or 3rd generation of owners , but, likely for preventive maintenance desires...
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2008, 01:46 AM
Chieftain Chieftain is offline
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Quote:
The mainspring (aka "hammer spring") in a factory 1911 is rated at 23 lbs., and is gross overkill. It was one of the military's requirements that the hammer strike be strong enough to set off a round regardless of conditions (ammo quality, mud inside the gun, etc.). These days a part of most trigger jobs is to replace the spring with a 19# unit. What this means is that even if the mainspring were to lose a bit of strength over time you can be assured it'll still have more than enough oomph to fire.
All very true,

BUT

The mainspring is also functional in the recoil phase of the weapons firing cycle. If you lighten the main spring you may need to increase the recoil spring one increment higher. Although that may change the 'Recoil pulse' of any given 1911.

You will note that many well known 1911 tuners, go to an 18 1/2 lb recoil spring after a 'trigger' job. Often where they have replaced the main spring with a reduced power model/version. As you stated most often of the 19lb variety.

Just beware of "unintended" consequences of changing parts that effect the function of your pistol. There are many related and inter acting functions that are not immediately obvious to the tyro tuner.

This isn't about do and don'ts. This is about you being fully aware of what you are changing, so as to prevent those "so often" disappointing "unintended Consequences".

Personally, I like a "combat" or "Carry" trigger on most of my 1911's. That is about 4.5 lbs in my book. I use a 23 lbs main spring in all my "fighting" 1911's. I do prefer the 18 1/2 lb recoil spring and run an EGW "square" bottom over sized firing pin stop that I fit to each of my fighting guns. Many smarter guys than me, stick with the 16 lb recoil spring with the above set up. Just my way.

Change your springs regularly. Per calender and or round count.

So often when a reliable weapon begins to do bad things, new springs will inexpensively and "magically" fix it.

When I acquire a pistol any brand, and style or design, new or used, the first thing I do Is tear it ALL the way down (before firing the first shot). Clean it, Inspect it, tweak and fix as needed, and lubricate it appropriately. And if used at all, change out ALL of the springs. I don't care what it looks like or what the seller says the round count "could be". I have changed out springs with some New pistols too.

I have been shooting for over 52 years, 10 years in the Corps, a couple years in Vietnam and competing for 50 of those years. My guns work. My way certainly isn't the only way, may not be the best way, but it is a way that works.

Remember I am NOT a Gunsmith, I do not play one on television and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night. Simply my way with a lot of years of experience with guns, combat, and competition. As a former DI, I am a bit of a clean freak where my guns are concerned. My guns ARE clean, and WILL be cleaned, inspected, maintained and lubricated with every use.

Oh yea, per the OP's question. I Keep the fighting weapons Locked and cocked all the time.

Thanks for letting me ramble. Good luck.

Fred
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  #12  
Old 11-15-2008, 11:04 AM
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dsk dsk is offline
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While technically that is true, I've been swapping 23# mainsprings for 19# ones for years w/o replacing the factory 16# recoil springs, and I haven't blown myself up yet.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #13  
Old 11-15-2008, 01:21 PM
Chieftain Chieftain is offline
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Quote:
While technically that is true, I've been swapping 23# mainsprings for 19# ones for years w/o replacing the factory 16# recoil springs, and I haven't blown myself up yet.
You did something that could get you blown up too??

I try to avoid such things, myself.

Go figure.

Fred
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Mindset-Skillset-Toolset -- Col. John Boyd (of OODA fame)
"Training errors are recorded on paper. Tactical errors are recorded on stone." - Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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  #14  
Old 11-16-2008, 01:41 PM
Randall M Randall M is offline
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For the O.,P.

COndition One = Cocked and Locked not the other way
around since if it isn't cocked you can't 'Lock" i.e. operate
the thumb safety.

Thanks for the #23 Lb MS rating - wondered what it was.

Randall
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