Colt Forum banner

New springs for older LW Commander

1122 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Alaskan
Hello. I am new tonight to this forum and am seeking direction from those more knowledgeable. I have a LW Commander purchased NIB in 1967. After years of hardball, handloads, and some hot Super Vel ammo the aluminum frame developed the usual crack. Colt eventually replaced the frame but the LW went into semi-retirement about 20 years ago. It is time to get it back to active duty and even though it functions well I have been considering replacing the recoil spring and maybe others. Any suggestions/recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
From looking at Wolff springs it appears that a standard load (hardball) recoil spring would be in the 16 to 20 lbs. range. Is this correct? Would a 18 lb. spring equate to "factory spec."?
The factory stock Commander spring is 20 pounds.

The recommended spring for hardball and velocities over 860 fps is 22 pounds.

If you're going to shoot modern defense ammo or hardball, I'd go with the 22 pound spring unless you have problems with it.
I'd replace the recoil spring.
The other springs usually don't deteriorate, and there's no reason to replace them.

I'd use factory-spec springs.

NO ONE knows more about a gun than the company that made it, and people who insist on playing around with springs often compromise reliability or durability when they use non-spec springs.

To add a layer of protection, use a GOOD synthetic shock-buff on the recoil spring guide for practice shooting.
These are cheap, and do pad the impact of the slide hitting the frame.

DO NOT use a recoil buffer if you carry the gun for defense.
These buffers have a tendency to come apart and can cause jams.

Next, stick to standard loads of 230 grain ammo.
Hot ammo, or lighter bullet ammo can be harder on the frame.
See less See more
According to my Wolff Precision Gunsprings catalog, and Brownells, the standard spring for the Commander is 18 lbs. However Bill Wilson and many others recommend a 20 lb. spring for Commanders shooting hardball.

[This message has been edited by texagun (edited 02-23-2005).]
I go by Jerry Kuhnhausen, who listed Colt factory recommendations.

In his book "The .45 Automatics: A Shop Manual" page 90 he gives the factory spring specs as follows.

The Government Model: 16 pounds: His recommendation is to use 17-18 pounds, and possibly 20-22 pounds for heavy loads.

The Officer's Model ACP: A double spring with a total of 22 pounds. 24 pound total for heavy hardball.

Commander: 20 pounds. 22 pounds for hardball.

Frankly, I always went by what the Colt factory said, not by what a spring maker SAYS Colt says.
See less See more
"Frankly, I always went by what the Colt factory said, not by what a spring maker SAYS Colt says."

If you call Colt Customer Service, they will tell you the recommended spring for the Commander series pistols is 18#. Most of the "experts" recommend 20# for hardball. I have always used 20# springs in my 3 commanders with excellent reliability.
Where do LW Commanders usually crack? My .38 Super LW is 40 years old and seems O.K.
My LW Commander developed a crack on the left side of the frame at the slide stop hole. I have read that this is not uncommon. The majority of ammo used was hardball and standard velocity handloads (lots & lots of both) but also a little of the early 1960's high-performance Super Vel ammo developed by Lee Jurras. The only modifications to the pistol had been a trigger job and better sights. I suppose that if over the years the recoil spring had weakened it could have caused increased battering to the frame and hence the crack. For a long, long time this was my only firearm so it did get used a whole bunch.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.