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  #1  
Old 03-25-2011, 12:46 PM
Lead Head Lead Head is offline
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Shock Buffer or Not in a 1911 Style Auto




Do shock buffers really work as intended? MAYBE, SOMETIMES AND MAYBE NOT. I do believe shock buffers can help protect a 1911 against battering and or a cracked frame or slide, but only if all is fitted perfect.

What follows is my observations about the use of shock buffers and the factors I consider necessary to a properly fitted 1911 with a shock buffer. I hope I am able to show how it is nearly impossible to get the fit right in most cases. I am not pro buffer and I am not against buffer use either. I just consider the use of a buffer too much trouble to get the fit right for proper protection.

I have read many posts and threads on this and other forums about the use of shock buffers. Many say they are worthless and shouldn’t be used and many others say the buffers are a valuable protection against battering that can damage the gun.

I have studied the 1911 design in an attempt to understand just how a shock buffer fits into the function of the gun so it can provide the intended protection. The only way the shock buffer can perform properly is when it is combined with a recoil spring that is fully compressed when the slide is all the way to the rear, putting some pressure on the shock buffer. If the recoil spring is not fully compressed, the shock buffer does nothing and if the recoil spring when fully compressed applies too much pressure on the shock buffer, the shock buffer gets excessive battering and doesn’t last very long. Also, the pressure applied to the shock buffer by the fully compressed recoil spring is also applied equally to the plug and barrel bushing, parts not intended for pressures that would be battering a shock buffer excessively.

Therefore, the recoil spring length when fully compressed is a critical factor to any benefit a shock buffer can provide. For those of us that change recoil springs to match a given load, the problem becomes nearly impossible to get right. I prefer to match the recoil spring to the load. I look for the spring that is strong enough to provide a slightly short cycle, not locking the slide open when the last round is fired, then go one pound lighter. This in most cases provides good full cycle function with minimal slide to frame contact.

Recoil springs of the different manufacturers vary like crazy in the length, number of coils, diameter of the wire and the strength of the wire. This again makes it nearly impossible to get the combination right so we can benefit from the use of a shock buffer. I think most of those that prefer to use shock buffers use the trial and error method to determine when the shock buffer is working properly. If the buffer is getting beat up, they try the changing the recoil spring to a stronger one when the problem is the compressed length of the spring and not the strength in all cases.

I am one of those that doesn’t believe in beating a gun to death. My 1911’s get 97% of the loads fired that are mid-range to low end fifty to seventy foot target work. The remainder are factory or loaded to factory levels. If I feel a need for more power, I go to a larger or more powerful gun designed for the ammo. That is me and I am not a competition shooter forced by power levels and caliber to be equal to the task.

Have I missed something? Please feel free to comment and share your opinion as to the use of shock buffers and if there is an easier way to get the fit right.
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2011, 12:56 PM
Ronbo256 Ronbo256 is offline
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I don't run shock buffers, even in competition, others use them in competition and remove them for carry, and some use them full time and change them every 500 or 1000 rounds fired. There are pluses and minuses to shock buffers, but I think a properly matched recoil spring will do everything a shock buffer is designed to do. I'm sure someone with an opposite opinion will chime in soon! Oh and for the record, I run a 16Lb recoil spring, and I don't shoot +P loads. 830 to 850 fps ball is usually my max, and most is 750-800 FPS 230 gr LRN I cast myself.

Last edited by Ronbo256; 03-25-2011 at 01:00 PM.
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  #3  
Old 03-25-2011, 01:44 PM
Hammerdown77 Hammerdown77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Head View Post
The only way the shock buffer can perform properly is when it is combined with a recoil spring that is fully compressed when the slide is all the way to the rear, putting some pressure on the shock buffer. If the recoil spring is not fully compressed, the shock buffer does nothing and if the recoil spring when fully compressed applies too much pressure on the shock buffer, the shock buffer gets excessive battering and doesn’t last very long.
I don't think this is right, unless I'm misunderstanding what you are saying. The back edge of the slide's recoil spring plug tunnel is what hits the shock buffer, right?

Try this, take the recoil spring out completely and rack the slide. Something hits the buffer, right? What is it?
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2011, 02:46 PM
Black wallnut Black wallnut is offline
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I'm inclined to agree with Hammerdown. I'm starting to think that in some cases I'm the luckiest guy around. At one time I had a SA 1911A1 that had a FLGR and Wilson Shok buffs. I'd go thousands of rounds between buffs. My load was a 200gr. H&G #68 style lswc over 5.2 gr. WW231. I also have brass and nickel plated brass that lasts and lasts. An occasional split case mouth. All my other 1911s have been just fine with out Shok buffs, some with normal short guide rods. Tune the spring to your loads and shok buffs last a long time. A too light spring and you'll have problems no matter what if you shoot it enough.
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2011, 02:50 PM
idpaman idpaman is offline
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You will hear many opinions on here. Try is for yourself and see how you like it. That is the only sure way to tell.
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  #6  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:23 PM
HungrySeagull HungrySeagull is offline
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I stuck a shock buff on top of a Fire Dragon and shoved a heavy spring into it.

We will see how it goes. I usually am game to try anything once, within reason.
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  #7  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:25 PM
CQBCarry CQBCarry is offline
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Got one in my CQB and it's the smoothest shooting, softest recoiling 1911 I've ever shot; and I've shot a bunch.
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  #8  
Old 03-25-2011, 03:49 PM
BHP9 BHP9 is offline
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I'm not going to use them.

I put one in my Trojan 45ACP and fired about 100rds or so. If I had shot a competition later (without checking it) I would have had it disintegrate locking up the gun, maybe.

The ammo was a combination of reloads and factory 230gr, FMJ and lead.
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  #9  
Old 03-25-2011, 04:45 PM
log man log man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Head View Post

I have studied the 1911 design in an attempt to understand just how a shock buffer fits into the function of the gun so it can provide the intended protection. The only way the shock buffer can perform properly is when it is combined with a recoil spring that is fully compressed when the slide is all the way to the rear, putting some pressure on the shock buffer. If the recoil spring is not fully compressed, the shock buffer does nothing and if the recoil spring when fully compressed applies too much pressure on the shock buffer, the shock buffer gets excessive battering and doesn’t last very long. Also, the pressure applied to the shock buffer by the fully compressed recoil spring is also applied equally to the plug and barrel bushing, parts not intended for pressures that would be battering a shock buffer excessively

Have I missed something? Please feel free to comment and share your opinion as to the use of shock buffers and if there is an easier way to get the fit right.
Have you missed something? Yes.

The slide is not stopped by the recoil spring in full compression. The back of the slide spring tunnel contacting the face of the guide rod head registering against the frame abutment does that. So if a buffer is used in a 1911 it only shortens the recoil stroke by it's thickness and increases the in battery spring tension. And the back of the slide spring tunnel now strikes the buffer face.

LOG
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2011, 04:34 AM
mer mer is offline
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Might not a "recoil spring that is fully compressed when the slide is all the way to the rear" be a problem waiting to happen (recoil spring stacking or darn close to it?)
For the record, I have no opinion on the use of shock buffers.
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  #11  
Old 03-26-2011, 04:56 AM
SgtKilroy SgtKilroy is offline
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I know I'm a newb, but what about these?

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=2..._SPRING_SYSTEM
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1...AGEMENT_SYSTEM
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1..._RECOIL_MASTER

Wouldn't those be more effective without changing the geometry of the weapon?
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  #12  
Old 03-26-2011, 06:52 AM
broadus123 broadus123 is offline
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I use shok buffers only in my wilson since they reccommend them but my kimbers, if the gun is at slide stop there isn't enough play left to rack the slide I would have to hit the slide release. They don't seem to make much of a difference in felt recoil
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  #13  
Old 03-26-2011, 10:06 AM
Lead Head Lead Head is offline
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Hammerdown77,

You are absolutely correct. I have to admit my analysis was wrong. I guess what I couldn’t see caused me to make an assumption and we all know what that means.

Thanks for setting me straight. I went looking for the shock buffers I thought I had and couldn’t find them. I must have decided they were no longer need and threw them out.

I will be looking at my four 1911’s to see if any or all will accept a buffer without causing problems. Just curious.
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  #14  
Old 03-26-2011, 10:24 AM
guysmith guysmith is offline
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Tried them once on my 5" Mitchell Gold Series, caused slide lock failures. They were filed in file 13. Never used or tried them since. Good recoil springs maintained and replaced on a regular basis is a better way to go to prevent frame battering IMHO. YMMV
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