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Author Topic: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?  (Read 1025 times))

Offline Bes

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Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« on: May 10, 2021, 02:30:03 PM »
Hi Everyone!

Over the years I've seen it stated numerous times that shooting heavy pellets in "non-magnum" springers can cause spring damage or at least drastically shorten spring life.  I never really thought about it much until a little while ago, but then I got curious...

After thinking about it for a little while I realized that I couldn't really figure out why a heavy pellet would have an adverse effect on the spring.  Not saying it isn't true - just wondering about the mechanics involved...

When the trigger is pulled, the spring pushes the piston forward compressing air.  Once the air pressure is enough to move the pellet (function of bore diameter, pellet weight, and pellet/bore static friction) it is accelerated down the bore.  I can see that lighter pellets and/or pellets that fit looser would move at lower (likely much lower) than average pressure.  On the other hand, heavy pellets and/or ones fitting tightly in the bore would require more than average pressure.

I don't know the relative importance of pellet fit vs weight.  Would a light pellet with a tight fit start moving easier/sooner than a heavy pellet with a normal fit?  Or the opposite?

Assuming a "normal" pellet fit, how much peak pressure difference would there be between, for example, a 7.9 grain and a 10.5 grain .177 pellet"?  This is just me thinking out loud.

Now to my real question...  Let's assume that the answer to the question above is something like 20% more.  How would that cause spring problems?  As I understand it, the piston stops before it contacts the end of the compression cylinder even for a light grain pellet, then bounces back a little - before finally completing it's stroke as or slightly after the pellet departs the barrel.  Would the heavier pellet and higher peak pressure cause the piston to rebound more violently?  Would it dramatically change the rebound distance, velocity, and acceleration?  Would this rebound physics change directly shorten spring life, or could it be due to the change somehow exciting one of the spring resonant frequencies?

Sadly, I have way more stupid questions than answers...

bes

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Offline nced

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2021, 03:22:16 PM »
Hi Everyone!

Over the years I've seen it stated numerous times that shooting heavy pellets in "non-magnum" springers can cause spring damage or at least drastically shorten spring life.  I never really thought about it much until a little while ago, but then I got curious...

After thinking about it for a little while I realized that I couldn't really figure out why a heavy pellet would have an adverse effect on the spring.  Not saying it isn't true - just wondering about the mechanics involved...

When the trigger is pulled, the spring pushes the piston forward compressing air.  Once the air pressure is enough to move the pellet (function of bore diameter, pellet weight, and pellet/bore static friction) it is accelerated down the bore.  I can see that lighter pellets and/or pellets that fit looser would move at lower (likely much lower) than average pressure.  On the other hand, heavy pellets and/or ones fitting tightly in the bore would require more than average pressure.

I don't know the relative importance of pellet fit vs weight.  Would a light pellet with a tight fit start moving easier/sooner than a heavy pellet with a normal fit?  Or the opposite?

Assuming a "normal" pellet fit, how much peak pressure difference would there be between, for example, a 7.9 grain and a 10.5 grain .177 pellet"?  This is just me thinking out loud.

Now to my real question...  Let's assume that the answer to the question above is something like 20% more.  How would that cause spring problems?  As I understand it, the piston stops before it contacts the end of the compression cylinder even for a light grain pellet, then bounces back a little - before finally completing it's stroke as or slightly after the pellet departs the barrel.  Would the heavier pellet and higher peak pressure cause the piston to rebound more violently?  Would it dramatically change the rebound distance, velocity, and acceleration?  Would this rebound physics change directly shorten spring life, or could it be due to the change somehow exciting one of the spring resonant frequencies?

Sadly, I have way more stupid questions than answers...

bes


Years ago Jim Maccari (The Spring Man, currently ARH) claimed that heavy pellets reduce spring life. I simply accepted that this was true but had first hand experience proving that the claim was true after I sold my brother my home tuned .177 R9 with a home rolled spring kit based on the old Maccari Tarantula spring. If memory serves me correctly since that was a couple decades ago that spring consisted of 32 coils of .128 wire wound with a .540 (I think) ID.

My brother preferred shooting the heavy 10.5 grain boxed Crosman Premiers because they were very accurate, resisted "wind drift" better than the lighter CPL. I was helping to clean some squirrels and one hit at the "hip" had a mangled CPH in the back of the neck. Here are a couple groups my brother shot "back to back" at 50 yards with the CPH............


At that time each of use were shooting about 10,000 pellets per year plinking, squirrel hunting, practicing for field target matches, and shooting a FT match about once a month. I would replace a broken Tarantula spring for my brother every other year. After a few years my brother found that the flatter trajectory of the 7.9 grain CP tuned to shoot at 910fps trumped the CPH switching to the "lights". The downside to his switch was that he had to be more careful with shot placement with the 7.9 grainers but guessing the proper holdover past the zero distance was easier. After the switch to the 7.9 grainers I only replaced one Tarantula spring until moving from West Virginia to North Carolina and that spring was used for one season of shooting CP "heavies" before the switch.

Anywhoo.....I'm sure that the tune level of a springer as well as the frequency of shooting affects spring life as well as the pellet weight, however I'm personally convinced that JM was correct.
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Offline A moron

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2021, 03:57:23 PM »
I would thing compressing the spring. Over and over would do the damage over time ( kinda like twisting a wire so to say)
 
The release of the spring just brings it back to natural  .  The compress and the release over time fall under fatigue then the quality of the spring steel to last under that.

Know nda to they say don't leave a springer cocked over a period of time/ storage.

Also I would think the rubber parts like seal would "" blow out"" way before the spring fails over use and pressure of shots

I'm no expert but just my opinion and thinking

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Offline aladdin

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2021, 04:24:41 PM »
I am sure there are some complicated physics going on. Here is a thought to muddy the waters. The same gun in a larger caliber say .22 would the spring have a shorter life because of the heavier pellets.
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Offline clarky

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2021, 04:36:27 PM »
My own experience to add here.
Light weight pellets...lets say Falcon, or identical JSB RS have faster start pressure, moving earlier in the shot cycle.
Heavier pellets shift and complete their barrel run later in the cycle, causing the piston to start to rebound on the cushion of air......In effect causing a secondary compression of the mainspring per shot...which potentially halves its life span.
Ok, its not a full compression and so cannot be anything like a halved lifespan, but thats the gist of it....

However, yet again, I believe this is all linked to this trend of light Top hats. A heavier Top hat can push on through that heavier pellet and prevent the cushion bounce....

My conclusion....we are all too quick to go with light weight Top hats and miss out on better wind bucking, and better energy retention 10 grainers....
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 04:39:15 PM by clarky »
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Offline nced

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2021, 04:43:26 PM »
I would thing compressing the spring. Over and over would do the damage over time ( kinda like twisting a wire so to say)
 
The release of the spring just brings it back to natural  .  The compress and the release over time fall under fatigue then the quality of the spring steel to last under that.

Know nda to they say don't leave a springer cocked over a period of time/ storage.

Also I would think the rubber parts like seal would "" blow out"" way before the spring fails over use and pressure of shots

I'm no expert but just my opinion and thinking


"The release of the spring just brings it back to natural"
Not necessarily, it all depends on "balance of components". If a heavy pellet is shot and there isn't enough "top hat weight" (HW springs have no top hat) the piston bounces back a bit from the compressed air before the pellet "pops the leade". This "piston bounce" causes the front spring coils to reverse direction while the rear coils are still surging foreward, especially with a loose spring guide like a HW factory guide. The "collision" between the rear coils surging forward and the front coils bouncing rearward spikes the coil that "sees" the spike driving the local stress on that coil/coils much above normal stress.

It's all about the shot cycle timing and "balance" as determined by pellet weight, pellet fit and spring strength and if there is dieseling due to improper lubing with petroleum based lubes.
Here are a couple pics of broken springs after a couple years of use. Notice that the break SEEMS to have begun at a surface flaw in the wire.........


P.S. I'm only speculating about WHY heavy pellets can affect spring life based on experience with my brother's .177 R9 and his used of 10.5 & 7.9 crain pellets. I have no "scientific proof" for the real reason.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 04:47:28 PM by nced »
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Offline clarky

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2021, 04:48:22 PM »
What he said.
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Offline RedFeather

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2021, 04:49:58 PM »
My take exactly. I believe it is called wave amplification. Back before WWII the army was testing explosives using blast gauges. They discovered that an equal weight charge suspended above the ground produced much higher pressures than a low positioned charge. The blast wave from the higher mounted charge was reflecting back up and meeting the tail end of the initial wave still coming down. Like when junior starts making waves in the bath tub. Suddenly there's a tsunami. And have you noticed that many springs suffer damage near the back end?

Offline triggerfest

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2021, 04:50:04 PM »
I have been shooting .22 25 grain JSB Exact Monsters with my Diana 34 for a while and I never have been under the impression that my spring suffered from it.

It is an accurate pellet in my D34 up to 25yrds, so it worked. And if my spring suffered or broke... What's the price of a replacing spring again ?
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Offline RedFeather

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2021, 04:51:32 PM »
It might also be that spring thickness plays a role in to, too.

Offline Mark 611

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2021, 04:55:56 PM »
Wire size and bore diameter paly a roll in this theory, but none the less it doesn't matter to me, springs are cheep and easily replaceable, if you buy good springs to begin with you will have way more life over a factory spring, shoot what the barrel likes forget about worrying over how long your spring is going to last, a good spring will last along time! if you plan to shoot heavy pellets you should probably should buy a rifle that has a spring wire that's made to shoot heavy pellets, as a rule from my experience u need a wire size of .128dia to handle a steady diet of heavier pellets if spring life is a concern? most of the Diana rifles from the 34 on up have a standard 128dia wire size! the HW35 has a 142dia and HW80/R1 have a 148dia wire from the factory! but still their factory springs and do not have a long life span to begin with! Springs are consumables just like seals, every once in a while you got to change you oil and tires! ;)
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Offline north country gal

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2021, 06:18:38 PM »
I've heard this claim almost as long as I've been shooting springers. It does make for an interesting discussion and we can theorize this thing to death, BUT has anyone actually done any real world testing with actual numbers and percentages? I mean, hey, I'd love another excuse to add another springer to the collection because I'm shooting those dreaded 10.3 grain pellets instead of the 7.9 grain pellets. Really, though where are the hard numbers and the evidence? Not talking anecdotal evidence, here. Saying my Old Reliable died an early death because I was shooting heavy pellets doesn't count. Just curious, not trying to start an argument.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 06:29:00 PM by North Country Gal »
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Offline Sfttailrdr46

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2021, 06:29:54 PM »
I shoot what leaves the barrel and hits where I aim with the best consistency. When I tune my rifles I am most concerned with having the smoothest shot cycle possible. I also like Mark, feel that springs and seals are consumables to be replaced as needed. I also agree that quality springs and seals are not expansive enough to be concerned if whatever pellet my springer likes shortens the life of the spring.
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Offline Robert 5mm

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2021, 06:40:36 PM »
This is a myth.
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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2021, 06:46:15 PM »
These worries about spring life are nonsense, That just somebody who thinks things last forever, and they don't! a spring costs $20 bucks! + shipping quality springs! and will probably 15 to 20k shots that's a lot of shooting! :o
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Offline Struckat

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2021, 07:35:26 PM »
This is a myth.

If they did, then any springer offered in multiple calibers would have cascading spring life base on caliber.

So a HW95 in 177 would have a longer life than a 20, which in turn would be longer lived than a 22, and a 25 would be shortest of all.

Wouldn’t we see more people complain about broken spring with the larger caliber guns of the same model?
Have I missed those threads?

Sure the load is different, and there may be some small difference, but I doubt it would be noticeable.

I go with old wives tale instead of myth.
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Offline nced

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2021, 07:42:17 PM »
These worries about spring life are nonsense, That just somebody who thinks things last forever, and they don't! a spring costs $20 bucks! + shipping quality springs! and will probably 15 to 20k shots that's a lot of shooting! :o
Well, I only got a couple thousand shots from the factory Beeman R10 spring (perhaps a lemon) so I replaced it with a Maccari "soft spring kit" (decades ago) and it was still going strong after 20,000+ shots.
These worries about spring life are nonsense, That just somebody who thinks things last forever, and they don't! a spring costs $20 bucks! + shipping quality springs! and will probably 15 to 20k shots that's a lot of shooting! :o

"These worries about spring life are nonsense"
I totally agree with this sentiments! I can replace the spring in my HW95, plus do a "dustin' & cleanin," in less that 1/2 hour!
For about $35 I can buy a bare Maccari (ARH) spring plus the Delrin rod necessary, and to cut a fitted guide with top hat in less than than an hour.

The issue is that most folks who are concerned about spring failure really don't want to be bothered with gun disassembly/reassembly. As mentioned in the Beeman owners manuals I received the main spring and piston seal is considered "consummable parts" and it was recommended to have a spare. I've mentioned that I had issues with a certain brand of aftermarket spring sagging and losing a couple fpe in about 3 months (shooting 1000 pellets per month). That wasn't acceptable, not just because of the cost per season but because breaking down the springer a few times "per season" for a re-spring. I wanted and needed a more reliable spring  at that time, however with my current "low shot count" (perhaps a couple hundred per month) "spring life" probably isn't an issue.
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Offline nced

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2021, 07:51:11 PM »
This is a myth.

If they did, then any springer offered in multiple calibers would have cascading spring life base on caliber.

So a HW95 in 177 would have a longer life than a 20, which in turn would be longer lived than a 22, and a 25 would be shortest of all.

Wouldn’t we see more people complain about broken spring with the larger caliber guns of the same model?
Have I missed those threads?

Sure the load is different, and there may be some small difference, but I doubt it would be noticeable.

I go with old wives tale instead of myth.
I've READ that the "heavy pellet weight issue" is more prevalent with the "skinny .177 bore" than the larger bores. LOL....don't know if that is true but it really isn't much of a concern FOR ME. I only shoot mid weight pellets from my .177 springers and main springs are relatively cheap and easily replaced for the HW95 break barrels.
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Offline tjk

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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2021, 08:32:24 PM »
I say shoot whatever you want regardless of pellet weight. Accuracy and consistency reigns supreme to me. How one handles the shot cycle,...good or bad relatively speaking ,... is entirely up to that individual. Re-spring when the need arises.
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Re: Heavy Pellets Shorten Spring Life?
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2021, 08:45:18 PM »
Do heavy pellets shorten spring like?

Not nearly as fast as shooting really light pellets.
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