Variable rate recoil spring experiment results

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by DrDenby, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. DrDenby

    DrDenby New Member

    Thought this may be of interest to some of you.

    Couldn't help it. I am a curious guy so I spent $6 on variable rate spring and with the help of a buddy, gave it a blind testing at the range.

    Ok, let's see if I can make sense here.

    Got a Govt 1911 45acp that I wanted to test the variable rate recoil spring with.

    I have factory standard in it .. 16#

    I got a variable rate factory weight 16.5#

    I brought the 1911, the 2 springs and I brought 16 rounds of light load 45, 16 medium load, and 16 hot load

    (I have 8 round magazines) to the range.

    I had my buddy put in one of the springs and one of the loads into the gun while I was not looking and keep track of what he was giving me, so that at the end of the experiment, I will have used all combinations of them in the gun.

    FS (factory standard) light, FS med, FS hot
    FV (factory variable) light, FV med, FV hot

    I did not know what spring he was giving me at any given time

    After I fired 8 light rounds, he switched the spring (again without me watching) and gave me the other 8 light. He did this for each load with each spring.

    The results were, I felt no difference at all between the springs at the light and medium loads. I could not tell which spring I was using. There was no difference in performance at all.

    With the hot load, (top end of powder measure) something felt off in the performance.

    I could tell right off that the slide was not acting "right" I wish I could describe it better, it seemed "sluggish" and on the 5th and 6th round I had to bop the back of the slide to get the round into battery.

    It was the variable spring.

    So that was my experience with the variable rate spring.

    To wrap up, it made no positive difference at all, and in one case a negative difference

    So, I will be just using standard springs.

  2. phideaux

    phideaux Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Thanks for the report, I was wondering about those variable springs ever since you mentioned them.

    Good test.


  3. Tommycourt

    Tommycourt Tommycourt

    This is MHO only but I really don't see a need to change springs unless you go to a lighter load so it will enable you to double tap or rapid fire by reducing recoil. Brian Enos lives about 18 miles from me and he states that when he was shooting competition he would use the light springs and the light loads. He must know something as he was national champ for a few years and now has his own shop in Chandler. A good spring should last the average shooter 15K rounds or even more unless you are really shooting hot loads. And hot loads are not necessarily an accurate load. Unless the action fails to eject and rechamber the round, I see no reason to change it. Doc, I ain't knocking you at all and understand your reasoning for doing it. However on a 1911 platform, if you are shooting medium loads and a few hotties, I wouldn't change a thing. I know I am going to get my leg yanked on this deal so I will sit here and bide my time. Surely Buster or Bob or Mag will be ragging me. +If I were to change springs though, I would recommend using Wolfe springs. They are cheap but good and Brownells handles them.

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  4. VThillman

    VThillman Active Member

    Tommy, what you say makes sense to me in general. I no longer own a 1911, and didn't play around much with the one I had.
  5. buster40c

    buster40c Well-Known Member

    Oh Tommy I ain't about to yank your leg on this. You know more about 1911 guns than I do that's for sure. I seldom shoot my Kimber 1911 but I sure do like it.
    Doc I thought that was a good test. I think that's what is called a blind test isn't it? No guessing if our thoughts effected the results that way.
  6. DrDenby

    DrDenby New Member

    Exactly Buster.

    By not having any idea which spring I was using at any given time, it took away any bias even if it would have been only subconscious.

    Yeah Tommy. This was purely a function test of the Variable Rate spring. I have no desire to replace any.

    I think for the first time in years maybe even decades, I am happy with the springs, all of the triggers, and all of the magazines/cylinders in all of my guns :cool:

    Might be time to hit the pawn shops for another beater to sink my teeth into.:D