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  #1  
Old 01-11-2020, 05:02 PM
Opie65 Opie65 is offline
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Springfield Compact RO 1911 Firing Pin Question

I am new to the 1911 and trying to learn about function. The Question:
My SA 45 cal Compact RO 1911 uses a .069 Titanium firing pin with an extra heavy return spring. The rationale seems to be it passes the CA drop test without going to the series 80 system. My question is about the speed of the SA setup. Is the extra heavy spring slowing lockup significantly? Would there be anything to gain by using a standard spring and would safety be significantly impacted?

I used this thread as reference: https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=223877
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:11 PM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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The extra heavy mainspring (hammer spring) does not significantly slow the forward movement of the slide and so has no impact on the speed at which the barrel goes into battery. It does slow the rearward movement of the slide which is generally a good thing. It also slightly increases trigger pull.

You cannot use a standard 23lb mainspring without first replacing the titanium firing pin with a steel one without risking misfires. The potential gain would be if you shoot powder puff ammo, the slide would be less likely to short stroke. But there are other, better ways to account for light loads.

Unless you're in the habit of carrying your pistol stuck in your waistband and hanging upside down from fire escapes, I can't see that removing the titanium firing pin would pose a safety risk. The extra power firing pin spring that Wolff ships with all of their recoil springs is more than sufficient to prevent inertia caused accidental discharges except in the most absurd, contrived situations.

It's been a while since I read about these drop tests but I seem to recall that the pistol had to fall precisely on its muzzle, 90 degrees to a concrete surface from a height higher than a man in order to induce enough inertia to get the firing pin to pop a primer. So, drop it on dirt, grass, trash or at something other than 90 degrees or on its side and nothing happens.

Last edited by Steve in Allentown; 01-11-2020 at 07:37 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:32 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie65 View Post
I am new to the 1911 and trying to learn about function. The Question:
My SA 45 cal Compact RO 1911 uses a .069 Titanium firing pin ...
I'm not saying you're wrong, because I don't own a Springfield, but the EGW write-up at Brownell's says this...

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...%7cMake_3=1911
Quote:
Available in three diameters; select the diameter that provides just enough clearance through the hole in the firing pin stop of your gun. .068 normally fits Colt and Caspian 9mm/.38 Super/.40/10mm. .075 fits Springfield Armory 9mm/.38 Super/10mm/current-production .45 ACP. .093 fits most .45 ACP,
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2020, 07:36 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
It's been a while since I read about these drop tests ...
http://dave2.freeshell.org/1911/drop1/drop1.htm
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2020, 08:02 PM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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jtq,

You made me curious.

Found these:
https://oag.ca.gov/search-results/?query=drop+test

https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=116932

In the California test only one round was loaded in the pistol and that was just a primed case in the chamber. Turns out my memory was pretty spotty on the CA test. The drop height was just shy of 40 inches. I did remember the concrete though.

The drop test described in the 10-8 forums specified a fully loaded pistol be used. I wonder if the results of that test would have been different if only a single primed case were loaded in the pistol?
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2020, 10:35 PM
sevenL4 sevenL4 is offline
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Opie65 refers to a 10 year old post. Since then most 1911 owners have rejected the titanium firing pins in favor of steel pins which are now offered in sizes to fit all the different manufacturers guns. The titanium FP resulted from California legislators pretending to know something and passing a law, which is something they do a lot. They still aren't very good at it but they keep on doing it. Try buying ammo there. You have to prove you have a registered firearm but you almost can't buy one. Apologies for the rant.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2020, 12:01 AM
Alland Alland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong, because I don't own a Springfield, but the EGW write-up at Brownell's says this...

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...%7cMake_3=1911
Sprinfield firing pin size is sometimes a mystery. My 9mm Range Officer firing pin is the .068. I have seen other Springfield 9mm 1911s with both. 075 and .068 firing pins. In other words, measure before ordering.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2020, 07:43 AM
Jolly Rogers Jolly Rogers is offline
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My Loaded Target stainless 9 MM had a .071” firing pin. I had to spin the EB Springfield pin to fit. “There are mo drop in parts for 1911s”
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:54 AM
Opie65 Opie65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Rogers View Post
My Loaded Target stainless 9 MM had a .071Ē firing pin. I had to spin the EB Springfield pin to fit. ďThere are mo drop in parts for 1911sĒ
Joe
I am so glad you mentioned the .071 size. I measured mine and kept getting .071. I thought I must be inducing some error in the way I was measuring with an inexpensive digital caliper. Now I think my measurement is right.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:33 AM
Opie65 Opie65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
I'm not saying you're wrong, because I don't own a Springfield, but the EGW write-up at Brownell's says this...

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...%7cMake_3=1911
I saw the EGW listing at Brownells which sort of sent me here to ask about it. There is definitely conflicting info - maybe more accurately - confusing information. I measured my firing pin at around .071 which was a big reason I post the above question.
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2020, 12:28 PM
Opie65 Opie65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
jtq,

You made me curious.

Found these:
https://oag.ca.gov/search-results/?query=drop+test

https://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=116932

In the California test only one round was loaded in the pistol and that was just a primed case in the chamber. Turns out my memory was pretty spotty on the CA test. The drop height was just shy of 40 inches. I did remember the concrete though.

The drop test described in the 10-8 forums specified a fully loaded pistol be used. I wonder if the results of that test would have been different if only a single primed case were loaded in the pistol?
Thanks for pointing me to these test results. They seem to point to the lighter TI pins improving safety. I can say I have run lots of ammo through the gun and never had a light strike (I would guess more than 5000 rounds). I reload my brass so I watch primers. As I said I am new to the 1911 so I have little to compare though. I have a RI 9mm / 22TCM 1911 which I shoot some also.
I think adding a full mag with ammo would significantly increase the weight which seems like it would up the forces involved.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2020, 12:34 PM
Opie65 Opie65 is offline
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Thank you all for the great information. I think I am leaning to leaving well enough alone... the cheaper alternative.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:08 PM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie65 View Post
...
My question is about the speed of the SA setup. Is the extra heavy spring slowing lockup significantly? Would there be anything to gain by using a standard spring and would safety be significantly impacted?
...
Are you referring to "lock time", not "lockup"?

The firing pin spring that Springfield uses with the titanium firing pins is about 3 lb. Modern springs used with steel firing pins are about 2 lb. A good part of this extra firing pin spring power is offset by the extra power mainspring, and further offset by the lower firing pin mass.

-
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:39 PM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
...
The drop test described in the 10-8 forums specified a fully loaded pistol be used. I wonder if the results of that test would have been different if only a single primed case were loaded in the pistol?
Unless the muzzle lands on a resilient or deformable surface, the total weight of the gun makes no difference.

On a concrete surface, the barrel/slide assembly will come to dead stop, or rebound upward slightly, and the firing pin will continue downward under the momentum gained by the fall. None of the momentum gained by the rest of the gun is imparted to the firing pin. Adding more weight only serves to marr up the muzzle more.

The significant factor is the relative velocities of the firing pin and primer upon impact. For a given height, the velocity of the firing pin is the same regardless of the gun weight. And the barrel/slide assembly, and therefore the primer, is also the same (zero, or slightly negative) regardless of gun weight.

-
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:17 PM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megafiddle View Post
None of the momentum gained by the rest of the gun is imparted to the firing pin.
Interesting. You'll have to help me out in understanding this. It seems to me that the greater the weight of an object,the faster it will fall until it reaches its terminal velocity. So a feather weighing 1 oz will not fall as fast as a feather weighing 10 lbs. What am I missing?
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:38 PM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
Interesting. You'll have to help me out in understanding this. It seems to me that the greater the weight of an object,the faster it will fall until it reaches its terminal velocity. So a feather weighing 1 oz will not fall as fast as a feather weighing 10 lbs. What am I missing?
On the moon, the hammer and feather, when dropped, fell at the same rate.

Until air drag becomes a significant factor, all objects fall at a constant rate of about 32 feet per second squared. The drop distance in these tests is too small for air drag to be a factor. A slide dropped by itself would hit the ground at the same time as a fully assembled gun, and with no less velocity.

-

Last edited by megafiddle; 01-12-2020 at 10:40 PM.
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  #17  
Old 01-13-2020, 08:54 AM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Originally Posted by megafiddle View Post
. . . all objects fall at a constant rate of about 32 feet per second squared.
That tickled a long-ago memory. Thanks for the reminder. I get it now.
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  #18  
Old 01-14-2020, 07:49 PM
Peter1911 Peter1911 is offline
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Now Iím really confused. Just this afternoon I installed a Wilson Combat Ti firing pin, and an Extra Power firing pin return spring in my bastardized CMP 1911 - 1945 Colt receiver, undetermined Remington Rand Inc. slide. It shoots good.

The spring was recommended by WCís tech support.

Being in California, it seemed prudent to try to avoid a possible fired round in the unlikely event I dropped the weapon - itís a range gun, not for carry.

Somewhere in this thread talk turned to a heavy Mainspring, or hammer return spring. My confusion stems from what seems like two entirely different subjects.

Thanks for any clarification!
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  #19  
Old 01-14-2020, 07:59 PM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter1911 View Post
Now Iím really confused. Just this afternoon I installed a Wilson Combat Ti firing pin, and an Extra Power firing pin return spring in my bastardized CMP 1911 - 1945 Colt receiver, undetermined Remington Rand Inc. slide. It shoots good.

The spring was recommended by WCís tech support.

Being in California, it seemed prudent to try to avoid a possible fired round in the unlikely event I dropped the weapon - itís a range gun, not for carry.

Somewhere in this thread talk turned to a heavy Mainspring, or hammer return spring. My confusion stems from what seems like two entirely different subjects.

Thanks for any clarification!
The purpose of the titanium firing pin, and extra heavy 3 lb firing pin spring is to prevent inertia firing. If dropped on the muzzle, the light firing pin will not have enough momentum to overcome the extra heavy firing pin spring and contact the primer.

The purpose of the extra heavy mainspring is to compensate for the extra heavy firing pin spring in normal fire operation.

-
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  #20  
Old 01-14-2020, 10:00 PM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter1911 View Post
Being in California, it seemed prudent to try to avoid a possible fired round in the unlikely event I dropped the weapon . . .
It doesn't matter where you live. It's always prudent to avoid an accidental discharge.

Quote:
Somewhere in this thread talk turned to a heavy Mainspring, or hammer return spring. My confusion stems from what seems like two entirely different subjects.
There's no such thing as a hammer return spring. It's a hammer spring a.k.a. mainspring.
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  #21  
Old 01-14-2020, 11:17 PM
Peter1911 Peter1911 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
It doesn't matter where you live. It's always prudent to avoid an accidental discharge.
Thatís what I thought, and why I bought the Ti firing pin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Allentown View Post
There's no such thing as a hammer return spring. It's a hammer spring a.k.a. mainspring.
I understand that. The Main Spring is the spring that powers the hammer, and lives in the Main Spring Housing. I always try to use the correct nomenclature, to avoid confusion.

I got confused when it seemed like the OP was talking about the Main Spring needed to be stronger for that Ti firing pin.

Like I said, I was confused.
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  #22  
Old 01-14-2020, 11:23 PM
Peter1911 Peter1911 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megafiddle View Post
.....

The purpose of the extra heavy mainspring is to compensate for the extra heavy firing pin spring in normal fire operation.

-
Thanks! That makes sense.
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  #23  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:42 AM
megafiddle megafiddle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter1911 View Post
Thanks! That makes sense.
Glad it helped.

The firing pin spring is one of those parts that suppliers like to use vague advertising terms for, like "extra power", rather than actual power.

The original 1911 firing pin spring was 1 lb. Modern springs for use with steel firing pins are 2 lb. The Springfield springs for use with their titanium pins are 3 lb.

No one seems to be offering the original 1 lb springs. What many are offering as "extra power" are now the norm, and likely 2 lb.

If your firing pin spring is an "extra extra power" (3 lb), then you are as safe as the Springfield design. If the spring is only 2 lb, you are still more safe than with a steel firing pin.

Should be no need to increase your mainspring power unless you are experiencing light primer hits.

-

Last edited by megafiddle; 01-15-2020 at 01:44 AM.
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  #24  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:33 AM
Steve in Allentown Steve in Allentown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter1911 View Post
I always try to use the correct nomenclature, to avoid confusion.
I was afraid you were referring to the firing pin return spring so was trying to get everyone on the the same sheet of music. Kuhnhausen, among others, refers to the spring that powers the hammer as both the hammer spring and the mainspring so I tend to also for the sake of clarity.

Quote:
I got confused when it seemed like the OP was talking about the Main Spring needed to be stronger for that Ti firing pin.
As megafiddle points out and not withstanding a few outliers, this is true and it's why Springfield uses a stronger than standard hammer spring (mainspring) to insure ignition.
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