Chemrat22 threw down the challenge....! I'm taking it on. - WaltherForums
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:11 PM   #1
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1917-1911M .38
Smile Chemrat22 threw down the challenge....! I'm taking it on.

The only problem is...I don't have any subsonic ammo. But, I can probably find some and there is work to be done beforehand.

Chemrat22 asks why I can't make a P22 reliably fire subsonic ammo. The reason I can't in a stock pistol is the ammo just doesn't produce enough blow back energy. But if I modify the pistol I might be able to make it work. I only have two pistols I can get my hands on at present and that should be enough. A new Q model and an older one with perhaps 20,000 rounds through it. Two parts will be modified.....recoil spring and hammer spring. Nothing else that I can think of.

First I will remove the guts of a pistol...the Q model... hammer, sear, trigger bar and magazine. Then fasten the frame halves together. I will then install the slide with the new and old recoil springs. Tie a loop to the sight and measure the amount of pull required to move the slide to certain points. One, far enough back for the breech face to get behind a rim in the mag and one all the way back but not hitting the take down lever.

I will do this will a well lubricated barrel sleeve, guide rod, frame and slide with CLP and then dry moly powder. Then my idea will be to start removing coils from one of the springs...probably the old one which I assume will be weaker to begin with. This will have to be tested with subsonic or target ammo. Clip by clip of the spring until cycling is adequate. If the spring gets too short....the hammer spring will have to be adjusted. There is no clip by clip of it. I have to over wind it and then measure pull....no scientific method here that I know of. Also need to read up on the manufacture of springs.

Ideas welcome. Too hot outside to do anything, might as well sit in the A/C and play with guns. M1911
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:16 PM   #2
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OK, OK....so this isn't all that easy to do. Shad-up back there MG Mike... I hear you laughing. Old P22 has a 4 1/4" recoil spring...but it is softer just a bit. New Q model has a 4 1/8" recoil spring but is slightly stiffer.

Below is a chart ( if I can figure out how to type one) of attaching my Lyman trigger pull with a loop of tennis shoe string off some old New Balance running shoes. It doesn't stretch. I looped it over the sight and hooked the other end of the loop over the arm of my pull gauge. I marked the slide at a point where the breech face moves appx 1/16" behind a rim (assuming that if the slide can be blown back that far a round will be picked up. Also the spent case will have hit the ejector. This point is where the back edge of the slide catch notch is 1/2 way across the slide stop arm notch. All parts removed from the frame. Frame placed back in the grip...no trigger, no stop arm, no ejector....nothing but the extractor left on the slide and the breech block.

Fully rearward takes the rear of the slide stop notch appx 1/8" to the rear of the slide stop arm cutout so I stopped my fully rearward movement when the slide notch reached the rear of the stop arm cutout. There is but appx 1/4" difference between the two.

I tested pull averaging 10 pulls several times....dry pistol (washed out with Gunscrubber), moly powder, CLP and keep all you old folks happy...some Hoppes.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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I can't believe I did this....Logged all my measurements, timed out and lost them....Bet I will record them on paper next time. Two springs, two sets of measurement averages, 4 lubricants and two pull lengths.....

Oh well, it was fun the first time...wonder if it will be as much the second time. In the meantime perhaps someone can figure out how to convert the energy of the various rounds HV vs Subsonic to pounds so I will have a clue as to how much a recoil spring should be reduced. M1911

One thing I should point out regarding my pistol. The rear of the breech block has been filed down along with the safety drum. The P22 has never really had an issue with the slide being blown back far enough for for cocking and ejection unless the rounds simply weren't powerful enough. Which of course is what this thread is about. That breech block and safety drum mod was to stop the slide from hanging up on the way forward when the recoil spring simply wasn't powerfull enough to drag the breech block forward across the hammer tip, strip a round from the magazine and chamber it. That mod freed up the slide on its way forward. Moving rearward...the slide still had to cock the hammer and while the mod probably reduced drag a little in that direction...a little is all.

Where I'm going with this is that I can clip coils from the recoil spring to reduce the springs compressive strength and not have to worry about needing that strength for shoving the slide forward. On a stock pistol I think you are going to run into problems with the weaker recoil spring closing the slide. Now, if Walther were to redesign the safety drum and breech bottom....things would be different....or, simply build and allow us some aftermarket spring sets. When you change one thing....you might have to change other parts to work in concert with your first change. Ah, the fun of it all.

Last edited by 1917-1911M; 07-02-2013 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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Again. ...I'm dropping some of the measurements, dry gun which was better than some of the lubes and CLP which didn't perform as well as Hoppes.

New spring from 12/2012 Q model 4 1/8" long.

Moly.....pick up round......... 4 lb 4.8 oz---------- Full rearward............ 4 lb 15.2 oz
Hoppes......... " ..................4 lb 6.5 oz --------------- "...................... 4 lb 14.7 oz

Old spring, appx 20,000 rounds 4 1/4" long.

Moly.....pick up round.......... 4 lb 0.3 oz---------- Full rearward ...........4 lb 9.3 oz
Hoppes....... "..................... 4 lb 1.6 oz----------------- "................... 4 lb 8.6 oz

Magazine spring ..............2 lb 12 oz------------------ "................... 3 lb 6 oz

So, there isn't really much difference between moly and hoppes and to be truthfull, I was tired or cleaning so I added the Hoppes over the moly. Earlier results were similar. A dry pistol isn't far off of these and performed better than a CLP lubed pistol. For me, the moly will be the important one since I run these pistols dry and will continue to do so. Keep the pistol cleaner and absolutely stops were to the slide grooves and rails. Now, what to do with this data. I'm thinking leave the hammer spring alone and see if I can't make subsonics run with modifications to the old recoil spring. cut 1 coil, cut 1more, etc. M1911

Last edited by 1917-1911M; 07-04-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:06 AM   #5
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Some ballistics....but for a 10/22, not a P22 which will be slower with less energy. Haven't found a pistol chart yet. Have seen some at suppressor test links. Actual P22 velocity per round, subsonic and HV. Formula is
M x V sq divided by 450400 for foot pound energy. From the 10/22 list:

RGB......36 gr HP...................... 131 ft/lbs
Rem Susonics......................... 93 fl/lbs ( 71% of the energy of a RGB HP out of a 20" barrel.)
Federal 40 gr........................... 140 ft/lb (baloney)
Winchester Super X. 40 gr........ 140 ft/lb (baloney again)
MMags 36 gr HP....................... 135 ft/lb
CCI std 40 gr........................... 100 ft/lb

These were out of 20"/24" barrel

So, I need to find the energy drop for a 3.4" barrel and figure out how to apply ft/lbs of energy to spring strength. Anyone have a clue? If it were straightforward, which I bet it isn't it would seem I would use the old spring weight all the way to the rear....4 lb 9.3 oz or 4.58 lb. I need to remove 30% of that pull weight (????) which would be a new pull weight of 3 lb 3.4 oz. I haven't even considered the hammer in this....not sure I have to. Perhaps the cure for subsonics would be a second, lighter recoil spring. The hammer is still going to have to drive the inertia driven firing pin hard. So....would removing 30% of the spring length get me there or is it a whole lot more complicated? A magazine spring fits in the muzzle cup fine but won't seat in the guide rod hole. Sure lightens up recoil spring pressure. M1911

Last edited by 1917-1911M; 06-30-2013 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:15 AM   #6
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Apply some Lee Alox bullet lube to any subsonic LRs and they shall cycle the P22 reliably every time.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:36 AM   #7
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3.4" barrel...without a suppressor? What are you doing up so early? What am I doing up so late? M1911
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #8
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You guys aren't being much help here. Spring inch pounds is what I need to figure out. RGBs really blow the slide back with more recoil energy than required. So, I probably don't need to reduce spring compressive strength by 30%. There are probably better ways to measure spring strength and I can think of a few contraptions but I don't have anything to accurately measure weight applied to compress the spring. I agree it would be nice to be able to shoot just about all .22 ammo in a P22 these days. From my experience much of the ammo just isn't powerful enough and a few others show the potential for leading the barrel. I did find three target rounds. The question is....how much spring to remove. I can't see that hurting anything except the slide will slam rearward with more force with powerful ammo. Again, we probably need two springs. Guess I will see if I can find some subsonics today and begin cutting a spring. M1911
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Clipping off the coils does one thing.....you don't need a guide rod for reinstalling the slide anymore. Since I needed to start testing the pistol with some target (weak) ammo I had to put the pistol back together. This means I can no longer pull the slide back without stuff dragging.

I did measure a couple of pull averages as I removed links.

Pulling the slide back to the point the breech face is 1/8" behind rim of a round in the chamber was;

4 lb 3 oz. Clipping the end off the spring, (1 coil) reduced the pull to 3 lb 14.9 oz
Clipping off another coil reduced pull to 3 lb 12.9 oz. I reassembled the pistol and test fired some Wolf match target. No go, caught case between slide and chamber, nose still in chamber at an angle.

Clipped off another coil, pull was now 3 lb 9 oz, test fired again...fully loaded mag underneath for these tests. Better, case all the way out of the chamber but caught by the slide lengthwise and not ejected.

Test fired an old Winchester round that normally doesn't do too well....kicked like a Mini Mag or RGB and flew out of there. I expect this will cure softer rounds but is still just a bit too stiff for target ammo. I do not have any Remington Subsonics yet. Clipping the 4th coil appear to have reduced the pull to appx. 3 lb 4 oz but I can't really measure exactly the same as I did before....I can pull to within 1/64" but after that the breech block runs into the cocked hammer. That pull probably is about right. Anyone know how to wind some springs in the 3 lb range, 3 lb 2 oz, 3 lb 4oz, 3 lb 6oz....we'd have a spring for every type of ammo.

With four coils clipped the spring is 3 3/16" long and no accessory guide rod is necessary. I think this recoil spring will handle any of the regular velocity ammo. Target and subsonic....perhaps not yet. It looks like we might need a couple of different weight springs. I think Wolff might be missing a bet here. I contacted them a few years back about all of this......they weren't interested. More work on this when I get some ammo that needs testing.

Oh yeah, the slide has no trouble closing and chambering the first round from a fully loaded magazine. O ring back in and I have the modded breech block on this pistol so that reduces forward drag. This spring might be too light for higher velocity ammo and might put too much stress on the slide hitting the take down lever buffer or not so I will save it for weaker ammo testing. Using old P22 not new Q model. One final note....the spring must be long enough to keep the base of the guide rod in place against the frame. There is still room for clipping coils. Not much point without ammo though. And a 5" barrel and suppressed model will likely behave differently from the short barrel model I am testing. M1911

Last edited by 1917-1911M; 07-01-2013 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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I think I know why...

Hey 1911,
You really are way ahead of the curve on these p22 handguns, and I think that's the reason you are finding you are getting very little help as you gather your data re: spring ft/lb of pull and and the effects of spring length upon it....very few here understand what the heck you are talking about. Me included for the most part.

I do understand that with each clip of a coil, you are changing the spring "constant", as will each time a spring is subjected to any pull, stretch or other manipulation of the spring. Most times, a simple stretch of a spring only affects the spring constant of a given spring very minutely, although over time the cumulative effects of spring usage is what causes us to have the need to replace the spring.

Although I don't understand all the physics behind what you are doing, it is fairly evident that you do, and I find it fascinating to "watch" you work. Hopefully, you will reach a conclusion that will ultimately benefit us, the user of the p22, in that we won't be limited to one, or perhaps two kinds of ammo if we want our gun to function at a level that is enjoyable, rather than the tediousness of having to hand cycle every other round into or out of the chamber and such.

I still don't quite understand why most p22s have such difficulty with many of the HV ammos out there ... I mean, one would think that Federal X would be powerful enough to cycle through the gun without a problem, but mine chokes on it. I can understand the subsonic rounds just don't have the POW to produce the blowback pressure required to make the gun cycle, but surely most HV ammo would ( and no, I'm not calling you Shirley).

Anyway, I appreciate your taking on this challenge, and if nothing else, it provides you with some interesting data and information to ponder, while providing us with some interesting reading. You truly are the single most knowledgable person I have come across with regards to the p22, since I imagine Walther has a team, with individual members responsible for their own unique aspect of the design and related specs of a particular part, ie. a spring man, a hammer person, a sear person, and so on, which they combine into an overall design - the p22. Maybe one day you will be able to tell us exactly what needs to be done to our pistols to make them shoot whatever kind of ammo we are able to get our hands on, or better yet, tell Walther so that the p22 will be very near 100% right out of the box.

Thanks again for the interesting read, and all the best ... Chemrat22
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