When To Replace Your Autopistol’s Recoil Spring

Many people recommend replacing the recoil spring in an autopistol after firing a certain, set number of rounds. The problem with that theory is that recoil springs wear at different rates, depending on the sort of gun, the power of the cartridge being fired, even how a particular gun is fitted. Replace a recoil spring after, say, 3,000 rounds, you might be throwing away a spring that still has a lot of good life left in it. Sure, springs don’t cost that much, but why be wasteful? On a different gun, if you waited that long, you might be battering the piece with every shot. I am a huge fan of the procedure to tell when your recoil spring needs replacement put forth by the late George Nonte. For those not familiar with the name, Nonte was an Army Ordnance Corps officer, a Major, actually, who retired from the service in 1964, and a prolific gunwriter who passed away in 1978. Nonte’s advice was to have a spare recoil spring you’ve never even had in the gun. Every time you clean the gun, compare the length of the old spring with the new. When the old spring has become compressed three coils compared to the new spring, toss it and replace it with the new unit. Counting coils ensures you’ll replace the recoil spring when it’s become compressed enough it’s coming up on the end of its useful service life, not before, not after.

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