View Full Version : Converting a Colt 1911 in .40 S&W to 10mm?
March 30, 2001, 05:22 PM
I am thinking this looks like fun. I just saw a used .40 colt 1911 in a guns store and I thought to myself "self, all you would have to do to make that .40 a real 10mm is swap out the barells and beef up the recoil spring" Now the question is was "self" correct or just clueless as usual. I considered it because, while finding 1911's rather quaint and old fashoned, I love the way they look and I'd love one with Ivory grips, which are hard to find for anything but a 1911 auto. I am also wanting to buy a 10mm and this would shoot two birds with one .40 projectile.
So. What do you think? Is it that easy to switch and how cheap can you get a 10mm replacement barell, mags (if the .40's don't work)and springs if it is that easy.
I'm appalled at how much people hereabouts want for a 10mm colt.
shiro in AK
March 30, 2001, 06:46 PM
Six months ago I bought stainless Delta Elite. It's marked "FIRST EDITION". Turns out it's one of the first 1000 stainless Deltas. I wanted to go the other way and ordered a "drop in" .40 , I should say sold as semi drop in barrel from Ed BROWN. I recieved a nice lookin barrel from ED, but far from drop in. I think you can expect the same if you go from .40 to 10mm. Ed wanted another $75 to fit it. I returned the barrel. Buy the .40, then look for a Delta to keep it company.
March 30, 2001, 07:10 PM
I bought a Delta a couple a couple of years ago, and the tag read, "convert to .40 IPSC gun!" HA! Why you want with a .40 when you gotta 10? Mec-Gar mags are available from CDNN, and McCormick is supposedly selling their 9-shot 10mm mags again. If the .40 slide is the same internally as the Delta, you should be able to just buy a Delta barrel, or one of the "pre-fit" variety, swap in a 24# recoil spring, and be good to go. I read somewhere that the Delta slide is different internally than a .45 slide (other than just the breechface), and that a .45 barrel won't fit in a Delta slide; is the .40 slide based on the Delta slide, or on the .45 slide?
March 31, 2001, 12:17 AM
McCormick is selling 10mm 9-round mags, I just got some. If you order a drop-in barrel from Bar Sto they will fit it for you without charging you $75 if it doesn't drop in. Wierdly enough, you can put 9 rounds of 10mm into Wilson Combat #47 8-round .45 ACP magazines and they seem to feed fine... I only know this because I had some of them lying around and tried it. I'm sure WC doesn't recommend it. :D
The calibers *should* be interchangeable with a barrel swap (Colt sold Delta Elites that came with both barrels). You should probably just e-mail Bar-Sto and ask which caliber combinations your Colt will accept. If you go to 10mm, do what everyone with a Delta Elite should do: add a full-length guide rod (a standard one fits fine), Shock Buffer (Wilson Combat sells them, they are quite cheap) and a 24lb Wolff spring. The near-universal consensus is that the weak link with the Delta Elite is the recoil setup. It's what I have in mine.
March 31, 2001, 01:57 AM
I am a fan of the full power 10mm myself, but here are a few things to consider.
1.) If I remember correctly, the Colt Delta Elites had frame cracking trouble with the 10 mm round. This would happen around the 10,000 round area. Not the durability I want. On the other hand, Ed Brown has a 10mm version of the 1911, and I don't think he sells garbage. Make sure you have the right recoil spring. It will save some battering on the frame.
2.) Most self defense loads at the store are just long .40 rounds. They do not deliver the true power the 10mm round. If you hand load your self defence loads, there might be trouble with some DA's if you ever have to use it. The reasoning has been printed elsewhere.
3.) You pay a price for all that power. Recoil. At least in the full power loads. A S&W 610 revolver (if you can/will buy from them) easily handles the power. Recoil in that heavy gun is easy enough to handle. And the star clips will also hold .40 caliber. Sort of like .44 Special and .44 magnums. I have heard that the Glock 20 wears much better. I can tell you that the polymer frame helps tame the recoil. If you can stomach Glocks that is.
April 9, 2001, 03:15 PM
I would say the recoil/blast situation has much to do with what you want from your 10. If you want 200gr bullets at 1200+fps for hunting or other, then you will have to get used to a lot of recoil; proportional to the power of course, but a lot stiffer than .45 hardball. On the other hand, if you want to better the highly-touted .357 and 9x23 loads, try a 135JHP at 1400fps. It's softer-shooting than .45 hardball. I like a 155 or 180 in the 1000-1200fps range for most of my shooting, and the gun appears capable of digesting plenty of that. The frame-cracking stories are now almost fifteen years old, and I haven't heard a new one in almost that long. Ditto on the FLGR & 24# spring.
April 9, 2001, 03:40 PM
Here we go with the 10mm recoils too hard thread! Come on! It is a -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- cat as compared to a .357 Magnum. I have run thousands of rounds through my G20, G29, & S&W 1076 at full throttle without any true notice of recoil.
We are firing defensive caliber handguns here, not the MOA Maximum chambered in .375H&H! :D I have hear that rattles the wrist a shade! ;)
April 9, 2001, 04:45 PM
Bear in mind that the Delta Elites had reinforced frames compared to standard Government Models to begin with. The DE doesn't have a weak frame, if anything it has an inadequate stock recoil system. Although the claimed total spring weight in the stock setup was 23lbs, compared to a 24lb Wolff spring it sure feels alot weaker to me. For a small amount of money you don't need to worry about the frame holding up.
Oh yeah, I agree that 10mm recoil is way over-hyped.
April 9, 2001, 07:17 PM
No. A gun made for 40SW does not have the pressure tolerances or the physical room for a 10mm barrel.
BUT you can buy a 10mm and get a conversion barrel for 40SW.
April 9, 2001, 07:20 PM
Of all of the guns chambered for 10mm, the Glock 20 and G29 suck up recoil better than any other guns made.
Revolvers tend to tranmit more recoil back to the shooter.
But shooting 10mm out of a 10mm Glock feels like shooting 40SW.
April 10, 2001, 01:47 PM
"No. A gun made for 40SW does not have the pressure tolerances or the physical room for a 10mm barrel."
Gee, you'd better tell those people that have converted Para-Ordinance P16-40s to 10mm that it was impossible... :D :D :D
April 10, 2001, 08:26 PM
I love the 10mm. I have a Glock 20 and a 4" S&W 610. Until I fired the S&W revolver I had no idea what the fuss regarding the 10mm was all about. The 610 kicks more than my 4" 686 plus. Until I picked up the S&W I was sold on the idea of a 1911 in 10mm. Now I wonder if the managability of my G20 isn't due to it's polymer frame.
I plan on picking up a Dealt Elite one day. Or a Baer, Springfield or STI .40 with an after market barrel. I plan on doing this one day. After I settle on a 1911 in .45 ACP. As the DE is curretnly not available, I have no disire to waste valuable time and money trying to create a 10mm 1911 when so many fine .45s are around.
April 10, 2001, 08:29 PM
FYI, you can get a Les Baer Premier-series pistol made in 10mm (I asked them about it & they charge a small premium over .45 ACP).
April 10, 2001, 11:34 PM
I put together a custom 10mm/40 top end for my series 70 Colt 1911 45. I ordered a Caspian 40/10mm slide (there is no difference, at least from this vendor) all the top end components, wilson combat adjustables, a Kings 10mm recoil rod system, Metaform 40 and 10mm mags etc. I contacted Bar-sto for a 10mm and 40 cal barrels which were fitted by a talented gunsmith. Needless to say this setup shoots lights out in both calibers!! One and one quarter inch groups with each barrel. (You get what you pay for, and this project was quite expensive!) As long as you have the appropriate weight recoil springs 40/10mms should have fine durability. As a note, I have found the 40 S&W cartridge to be less reliable in the 1911 vehicle simply because of its O.A.L. However once the gun broke in and I found a recoil spring weight it liked it has performed awesome in 40 S&W. As RickB stated, the frame horror stories are 15 years old!! Us 10mm freaks smartened up and put REAL recoil springs and guides into our 1911 10mm street cannons!
It was mentioned previously that a 10mm Delta barrel will not fit in a 45 slide. This is true. Different hood dimensions. My question is: Why would you want to? :)
I understand the versatility and having the simple option of the two calibers (in my case three). My agency supplies me with an abundant supply of 40 S&W. so it is very economical for me to shoot. The 10mm gives a slight edge in power for hunting. My goal for this year is to take a deer with this 10mm setup. And of course the classic 45 ACP.
I aquired a Colt DE upper with barrel for a song a few months ago. I took the upper and converted my wife's series 80 .45 to 10mm with new DE slide, barrel, slide stop, recoil system, barrel bushing and magazines. I didnt have to modify/replace ejectors! They use the same ejectors! The gun is ultra reliable in 10mm & 45. I plan to replace the stock DE recoil system (plastic junk) with a full length recoil rod and a 24# wolff recoil spring ASAP!
My point is that I have done a few 10mm conversions and have talked to a great many gunsmiths concerning the projects. I first would check to see if indeed the DE 10mm barrel will fit in a Colt 40 slide. It should, and if I recall, Colt made a "Conversion Gun" which was a DE that came with an extra 40 S&W barrel. However this was a 10mm DE with an extra 40 barrel, not the other way around,
Some "experts" are stating that your 1911 wont hold up to the recoil of the 10mm. jtduncan stated " No. A gun made for 40SW does not have the pressure tolerances or the physical room for a 10mm" He is only half right IF he is right at all. I havent examined a Factory 40 1911 from Colt so I cannot state absolutely 100% that a 10mm barrel will fit. I believe a 10mm barrel should fit your 40s&w Colt. (If I am wrong, I stand corrected!):D
However if you or jtduncan think your 40 cal wont hold up to the "punishment" of the Mighty 10mm, lets take a look at the psi the 38 Super generates! I know a few hardcore IPSC nuts who have put TENS of thousands of IPSC Major 38 super rounds through their 1911 with NO frame failure. The Major 38 Super operates at a higher pressure than factory 10mm ammo. I dont have the stats but Im sure someone can jump in here and back me up!:) A gunsmith by the name of Burns makes a living converting 45s to 9x23mm. If you think the 10mm or 38 super operates at a high pressure look up the 9x23!! Hold on to your pacemakers!! By the way, this was a Colt 1911 factory caliber!! 9x23 fans where are you??!! Jump in any time!!
Make sure you can get an appropriate barrel, whether aftermarket (Bar-sto, Jarvis, Etc) or factory. Buy a few 10mm mags, a heavy recoil spring (24#+), perferrably a full length recoil guide and you are dialed! My opinion, you should have NO problem shooting 10mm out of that 40S&W.
Peter M. Eick
April 11, 2001, 06:01 AM
I second the comment about Baer making a 10mm for you custom. I am now 7 (seven), weeks or 49 days to mine!
April 11, 2001, 07:23 AM
I purchased a Kimber in .40 with the sole purpose of converting it to 10mm. I then obtained a Schuemann barrel ($200), Wolff springs ($6ea.), and Metalform 9 rnd mags for the job. The Schuemann was a fit barrel but I already had the chamber reamer and other files needed for that job. The Metalform mags led to mucho feed probelms so I tried some Chip McCormicks ($25 from CDNN) and the problems vanished. I also relplaced the factory adjustables with Ashley Express sights.
I did all this work myself because I could not find an entheusiastic gunsmith to do the work. To a man they all tried to talk me out of it and tell me just to reload my 40s hotter and not set the bullet so far into the case.
The conversion works great and I have yet to put the .40 barrel back in the gun. It was suggested to me that I tighten up the frame to slide fitting to help the pistol handle the recoil but if that Kimber had been any tighter out of the box it would not have functioned at all. If the Colt you are considering is not fitted very tight (and I have yet to see one that is) you might consider that mod as well.
April 11, 2001, 09:13 AM
Lucky for me, the gunsmith I took my Delta Elite to was thrilled to work on my 10mm and asked to buy it on the spot!
He also echoed what has been said about replacing the goofy stock recoil setup with a 24lb Wolff spring and a full-length steel guide rod. "No buffer necessary, it holds up perfectly without it."
And ditto on the Chip McCormick 9-round magazines... they work like a champ in my DE.
Telling you to load your .40S&W hotter was dumb advice... factory loads are close to max pressure as it is. There is a name for .40S&W +P/+P+... 10mm Auto!
April 11, 2001, 09:26 AM
Forgot to mention I also put in a Harrts Recoil Reducer in place of the stock guide rod. It does seems to help.
July 13, 2001, 05:21 PM
Well it's I ended up picking up a Colt Delta Elite Goverment for $440. I doubt it had more than 200 rounds through it as the barell and inside of the slide are still very blue with little visible wear. It's got a plastic trigger and mainspring housing. I found the trigger pull really stiff but that seems to be getting better.
The 10mm is a blast! I love this round. I managed to blow off two of the white dots on the sights putting 45 rounds of PMC ammo through it. They just disapeared sometime while I was shooting. The sights are there just two of the white dots paint disappeared. I need to reload as the cost of even the cheapest 10mm I found ($18.50) almost made me cough up a lung.
I picked up a Colt Gold Cup National Match .45 at the same time about the same price. It was fun too but I'm going to resell it tommorow I hope.
Thanks for the advice. I'm still not a 1911 fan but I told myself If I ever got one it would have to be a 10mm.
July 14, 2001, 11:34 AM
You have got to tell me where you shop... you paid around $900 for a Delta Elite and a Gold Cup?!?!
July 14, 2001, 11:05 PM
I'M NEW TO THIS BOARD THEREFORE I'M A LITTLE LATE POSYING A REPLY TO THIS POST.
HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT THE SPRINGFIELD OMEGA. I HAVE ONE IN A 10MM THAT IS ON A SPRINGFIELD FRAME IT IS 5 INCHES LONG AND PORTED. IT WILL SHOOT ONE INCH GROUPS ALL DAY LONG PROVIDED THAT I DO MY PART AND THE RECOIL IS LESS THAN A NORMAL COLT 45 THANKS TO THE FACTORY PORTING JOB.
THE GUN WAS DESIGNED BY PETERS/STAHLS IN GERMANY AND HAS THE SAME RIFLING SYSTEM IN THE BARREL AS THE H&K GUNS. IF YOU SEARCH I THINK YOU CAN FIND ONE I DID AT THE LAST GUN SHOW. THE AVERAGE COST SHOULD BE AROUND 500.00. I PAID 450 FOR MINE.
P.S THE GUN WILL SHOOT 38 SUPER,9MM, 10MM AND 45 JUST BY BUYING THE CORRECT BARREL.
PS. IF ANYONE HAS A 9MM OR 38 SUPER OMEGA BARREL FOR SALE PLEASE EMAIL ME.
July 15, 2001, 01:10 AM
Norel X.... LOL That's my secret.. :)
I've yet to see an Omega in the flesh so to speak. I hear they are large for a 1911 but probably the best 10mm 1911.
July 15, 2001, 02:55 PM
Colt made a 1911 some years ago that fired both .40 S&W and 10 mm. It came in the form of a kit and was named "Elite Ten-Forty". They are very expensive though, the price of two modern guns and not very pretty either.
September 10, 2001, 09:16 PM
I will leave the Manufacturer annonymous, but I went straight to the horse's mouth to settle this 40 S&W to 10mm conversion myth. My answer from this company's head of "the Custom Shop" was to ream out the 40S&W barrel to 10mm case length, change the recoil springs, and you have a 10mm pistol to shoot. Looking through one of my reloading guides, I noticed the max cpu difference between 40 and 10 was about 2000cpu....do the math and you come up with about a 5% increase in pressure. If any manufacturer is selling guns with less than a 5% safety margin, we're all going to be one-handed and rich! I will agree that a ramped barrel is a good safety feature for the high pressure 10mm. I will definitely be making the conversion when the right 40 S&W becomes available.
September 11, 2001, 11:52 AM
LET ME TOSS THIS INTO THE MIX:
I'VE SHOT THOUSANDS OF 40'S THROUGH MY 10MM PISTOLS, A G20, A SMITH M1006, A COLT DELTA WITHOUT CHANGING A DAMN THING. STUFF THE 10MM'S MAG FULL AND SHOOT AWAY.
I BOUGHT A BARSTO 40 BBL FOR MY G20 AND AFTER SHOOTING IT A WHILE JUST TO LEARN ITS' VIRTUES, I PUT THE G20 10MM TUBE BACK IN THE GUN AND SHOT THE BEJABBERS OUT OF IT WITH OUR 40 SECONDS AND NEVER LOOKED BACK.
I HAVEN'T HAD PROBLEM ONE DOING THIS THOUGH THE GUN COMPANIES THROW A FIT EVERY TIME I MENTION IT TO THEM.
September 11, 2001, 12:02 PM
A ramped barrel for a 10mm 1911 is unnecessary and a waste of time. 10mm brass is EXTREMELY strong... unlike say .38 Super.
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