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Frequent replacement of springs in guns

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Holypatterns, Sep 17, 2007.

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  1. Holypatterns

    Holypatterns TS Member

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    Just had a discussion with my well-respected gunsmith. He had given me a mild chewing out for letting my Ithaca 51 go for 30 years without having changed the action spring, and 32 years without having changed the magazine spring. My rebuttal was that nowhere in the box when the gun was new was there any cautions about changing springs on any kind of schedule. My gunsmith tells me it is imperative that all the springs in the gun should be changed every two years or so, due to their relaxation. My hammer firing pin still smacks that primer deep, and it hasn't relaxed that I can tell. I appeal to a better metallurgist than I am, should a really top grade spring relax when under stress, over a period of months and years?
     
  2. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    Don't know but I'm stll using the original coil springs in my 37yo Browning Broadway without problems. I subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school.


    Eric
     
  3. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    Your question about "top grade springs" often does not apply. OEM springs are OK, but are seldom top drawer.

    Most auto shotgun action springs should be replaced regularly to prevent problems. Mainsprings such as those on the Browning Citori often fatigue and cause failures to fire.

    A simple question is, do you wait until something breaks to fix it, or do you subscribe to periodic maintenence to prevent problems? I do not wait until the oil light comes on in my car to change the oil, or wait for a flat to add air to a tire.

    I never give folks grief for neglecting their firearm. I wait for them to PAY me to fix it. ;^)
     
  4. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    Jerry,

    You're correct. The Broadway does use coil hammer springs. So far so good. If there has been any change in the lock time over the past 37 years due to the springs weakening I can't tell.


    Eric
     
  5. melie

    melie Guest

    Sounds like a "job security" issue for gunsmiths.
     
  6. Gargoyle!

    Gargoyle! TS Member

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    I will say that when I open a bolt action I will when pull the trigger and keep it down till the bolt is closed. The reason is to keep the the firing spring relaxed. If you do not it will loose its strength. If a spring is in a press position in time will become weak. with my shotgun I will put empty shells in the gun then drop the hammers. Now the springs are in the relaxed position and then I take the forearm off and then the barrel. I feel your gunsmith is wrong and trying to get more work out of you.
     
  7. timb99

    timb99 Well-Known Member

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    Gargoyle!

    "...keep the the firing spring relaxed. If you do not it will lose its strength..."

    Not sure where this originated, but it is somewhat of a myth.

    Springs weaken due to repetitive use, a.k.a. "cycles."

    Yes, eventually they'll take a permanent set if left in one position for a long time, but that long time is measured in centuries, not years.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with doing what you're doing, but don't make the mistake of believing it will prolong the effective life of your hammer springs.
     
  8. Hipshot 3

    Hipshot 3 TS Member

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    I have to respectfully disagree with your gunsmith for the same reasons stated by others above. Forget it and keep shooting. If it breaks...fix it!
     
  9. smokerz

    smokerz TS Member

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    Springs is springs. What about the springs on your car? They're under load all the time, they go through thousands of cycles every time you drive. What would you say to a mechanic who recommended changing them every two years?
     
  10. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    OTOH, shoot it until it quits then call me! LOL

    Car springs are different, and during engine overhauls,(not that many folks do that anymore), valve springs and such are replaced. If a valve spring breaks, it can cost you an engine.

    BTW, for some reason, the Superposed does not seem to require mainspring replacement like the Citori models.

    As a gunsmith who once performed warranty service and repair for about 25 brands, I have seen many more dead guns as a result of fatigued and broken springs than the average shooter.

    Many of these springs, especially in autos, can be easily replaced by the owner. I will say that I perform no service to my K-80 other than cleaning and lubrication. ALL service and the annuals are handled by Krieghoff Intl'.

    When I service a tournament gun, I generally charge $50 including parts. For that I will use about $10 in shop supplies, up to four hours on the gun, or what is needed, wax and seal the stock, degrease, detail strip and clean, properly lube and install needed parts. Sometimes I make $20, sometimes I go in the hole. I no longer have a shop, or I simply could not afford to do this.

    Cultivate a relationship with a retired gunsmith in your area. A tournament gun that gives no problems is a wonderful thing. ;^)
     
  11. smokerz

    smokerz TS Member

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    That's a good point about valve springs. They operate under hotter and colder temperatures than any gun spring, some of them are left under tension any time the engine is stopped, and they operate millions and millions of times without breakage, and without weakening significantly.

    By comparison, gun springs are lightly used indeed.
     
  12. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Well-Known Member

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    A good point about gunsprings. Although aftermarket replacements are generally well made, and cost more, factory springs are NOT the best. When a mainspring for a Browning RETAILS for under $5, how good can it be? If I could buy $20 mainsprings that NEVER fatigued or broke, it would be a great deal for the owner of that brand! A service would simply be a detail strip, inspection, cleaning, lubing and re assembly.

    If your tired hammer spring is costing you birds and raising your stress level, then the spring is cheap indeed. If your tired action spring in your 1100 causes the magazine tube to separate from the receiver, that is not good.

    I bought a Crown Grade M-32 from a fellow that had not shot it in over ten years. It was in its case, under his bed. He had stored it cocked. When I took it to the range, it would not fire either barrel! No big deal, it was simply time for a long neglected annual, which the seller paid for.

    Even Krieghoff springs fatigue.
     
  13. oz

    oz Active Member

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    just like the oil companies/car dealers telling you you have to change your oil every 3,000 miles. you are wasting money and oil and they are thieves. oz
     
  14. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    I agree with timb99, springs weaken or fail based on the number of cycles, not remaining compressed or relaxed. Extreme heat, well over 1000 degrees F, may cause a spring to loose its temper and strength.

    Changing springs does not hurt but may not help.
     
  15. Beancounter

    Beancounter TS Member

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    A fun thread but impossible to capture all of the issues surrounding "springs". If you looked at a top lever spring from an O/U, you will see a coil spring that does not have many coils and the diameter of the metal is much smaller than say a hammer mainspring. A top lever spring is also seriously stretched out when the gun is broken open. I change the top lever spring on my doubles gun every two years. When this spring goes, the gun will open after firing. As it is a doubles gun, you will have trouble with the second target when this spring goes south.

    Coil hammer or mainsprings are a different story. The coils are very close together and quite thick. They are under compression even when the hammers are down. But it does not matter because a coil spring gets its strength from each turn. It will take thousands and thousands of rounds per year to weaken this spring enough to have them replaced every two years.

    In the end, if you do your own work, these springs are all very inexpensive and replacing them over the winter ever couple of years will not hurt.
     
  16. Beancounter

    Beancounter TS Member

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    Good one Sarge - just put the new ones in. Won't hurt anything including budget.
     
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