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Old 08-27-2011, 04:09 PM   #1
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MGMike .38
Comparing PP Recoil Springs in .32 and .380

The following measurements are from recoil springs found in two examples of the Walther PP pistol, one in .32 and the other in .380. The .32 is a police surplus gun, s/n 357861, dated 1966, in near-new and believed original condition. The other is an NIB engraved .380 s/n 68977, coded 1984. In both cases the springs were closed and ground on both ends (but not around the circumference, as PP barrel bosses were not counterbored as in most PPK and PPK/s pistols)

The springs look VERY similar, but there ARE important differences, the most important being that the .32 spring is turned from wire .045" (1.15mm) diameter, while the .380 is from heavier wire .051" (1.3mm) diameter.

Both springs have the same 15 active coils, plus the closed one on each end, and are about the same length, 4-5/8" (a brand-new spring that has not yet taken a "set" will be a bit longer until it has been compressed a bit).

The coil diameters (outside) at each end are also different, reflecting the difference in the diameters of the barrels: a .32 cal. barrel is about 11.5mm in diameter at the muzzle, while the .380 barrel is about 12.2mm (too big to fit through the front hole of a .32 slide). The front coil of the .32 spring is about .625" (15.9mm) outside diameter, while the rear coil is about .535" (13.6mm), which is too small to fit over a .380 barrel without forcing it to expand. The rear coil of the .380 spring is about .569" (14.5mm) in OD, but --in this example at least-- the front coil OD is actually smaller than the .32's, measuring about .615" (15.6mm), though this difference is of no practical consequence.

The bottom line is that a .380 spring can be easily installed in a .32 pistol, though the rear end is quite loose on the barrel. Trying to install a .32 spring in a .380 probably would be difficult enough to warn that something was wrong. The .380 spring is obviously stronger and could give functioning problems if installed in a .32 pistol.

A caveat: these two springs are just random examples and Walther might well have used springs with other specifications at other times in PP production. Different springs were definitely used in some German PPK/s production.

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Last edited by MGMike; 08-27-2011 at 04:13 PM.
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