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Old February 16, 2013, 03:21 PM   #1
MB21
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Two Questions on a 1911 .22

Okay so my first question is this: what are the advantages of having an actual 1911 .22 vs a .22 conversion kit for my 1911 and vice versa?

I already have a 1911 in .45 but I want to be able to shoot that platform with a .22LR.

My second question is this: what is the cheapest priced quality conversion kit? I am well aware of the Advantage Arms and the Marvel kits. Marvel kit is out of the question because for the price I can just get a new pistol.

The features I consider "quality" are a slide that locks back on the last shot, and reliable. I would prefer it to actually look like a 1911.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:26 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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The advantage to a dedicated pistol is not having to swap the uppers on your receiver. It's not a major operation, but I just couldn't wrap my head around a perfectly good upper slide/barrel assembly with no pistol under it, so I built a budget receiver and made a dedicated .22 caliber 1911.

As far as I know there is only one .22 conversion for the 1911 that locks the slide open on empty: the Advantage Arms. I think the lowest cost conversion is still the Ciener, but only a dedicated masochist would buy from that guy today. Mine is a Ciener, but I bought mine from Brownells, before they stopped carrying his products. The Ciener and the Kimber conversions do NOT lock the slide.
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:01 AM   #3
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I have no history on this gun. It came into the gun shop I used to work in on trade and the owner let me buy it for what he had invested. It’s a Colt lower with a “22 Colt conversion unit”.
The weight, heft and balance are exactly the same as my Gold cup. This conversion works exactly like a normal 1911 in that the slide does lock back. It became my own personal training tool and I have let others use it for the basic 1911 platform. What I found surprising was that with the two piece barrel, the chamber portion slides back out of the barrel as the slide moves. The recoil is low but the feel of the guns function is very much like a 45.
With this gun and 100 rounds of 22LR, I had a young woman who had never shot a gun in her life to shooting a full sized 45ACP in one afternoon, and doing it well.
Price is a problem with a Colt, I haven’t seen a nice conversion upper go for less than 500$ in years. I have shot a Kimber but wasn’t impressed with the plastic magazine. But at 300+ it worked well.
For me the only one to go with is the Colt. You end up with a Gold cup upper (sights and top rail) and a package that I have never seen beat.
Spend the extra and find a nice used upper. Or buy an original Ace, $1500+, I saw one for sale online that was SN 34 built in the first year of production, 15,000$.
Or to save money, get a Ruger 22/45. For 350$ you get the grip angle and most of the controls are similar to the 1911 and it’s a nice 22. That way you’re never changing your Colt.
http://www.ruger.com/products/2245/index.html
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 22 conversion.jpg (136.0 KB, 22 views)
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:35 AM   #4
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It came down to this for me, do I want 2 guns or 1 1/2 guns.
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Old February 17, 2013, 01:10 PM   #5
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwiksdraw
It came down to this for me, do I want 2 guns or 1 1/2 guns.
That's a very good way of expressing the way I felt about it.
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Old February 17, 2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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I have an older Colt conversion, and also built a frame for it. Agree with the "1.5 gun" theory. That said, if I were shopping for rimfire 1911 goodness today, I doubt that I'd buy a $500 Colt conversion and then spend another $500 on a frame for it. I'd probably go for the GSG 1911 pistol, which is reasonably priced, and is enough of a "real 1911" that a lot of parts and accessories will fit.
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Old February 18, 2013, 11:44 AM   #7
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I would buy a separate gun. You aren't causing excess wear or issues to your .45, and you wont be stuck with a expensive accessory when you go to resell your 1911 if you choose to.

.22 rimfire ammo is filthy, I wouldn't subject my beautiful 1911's to it.
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Old February 18, 2013, 01:37 PM   #8
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I'm with Ozzieman.

The Colt unit I purchased about 12 years ago is superb, and probably has 10,000 rounds through it. The fact that it locks open on the last round and actually does generate some recoil are its best features. Other units do not lock open on the last round because they are aluminum and the slide stop notch would get battered by the steel slide stop.

When I shoot my SIG P229 with its conversion unit in place, its quite light in the hand and there is almost no recoil to train with. To my hand, the Colt unit's recoil is only a little bit less than a 9mm Government model in the same frame.

Think about shooting 3,000 - 5,000 rounds of .22LR in a pistol of the same weight as a fully loaded .45 ACP, with the same grips and trigger and what that will do for your shooting. That's why the one-and-a half pistol argument is not relevant, given that to switch slides takes well under a minute even if you are missing a couple of fingers. How many pistols can you really shoot at once, anyway?

You will never lose money on the Colt unit. Try for one starting at about $400 and go up incrementally until you get one.
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Old February 18, 2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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Just for kicks I will throw in my $0.02.

I just purchased my 2nd Sig 1911 22. Yep. I have two of them. I fell for the new style with the deep dark OD Green and the U.S. on the grips.

A little over $400 for a dedicated 1911 in 22 cal was worth it to me. No I don't shoot more than one at a time but I was able to shoot the 22 then the Sig SS1911 in 45 and then the 22 again without having to stop and waste time and money (range fees of $8 per half hour) to swap parts around.

I look at it the same way I do with having a 1911 in 9mm as well as a number in .45.

The Sig is the same size and darn near the same weight as the 45s so I don't feel like I am missing anything.
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Old February 18, 2013, 05:58 PM   #10
BoogieMan
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I considered getting a conversion also. Thing is why put the extra wear on you frame. Also witching at the range is a hassle. Ever see how far that main spring will actually fly? I looked at many 1911-22's including the Colt. Nicest one I found IMO was the Browning but its 3/4 size. So I ended up buying a Ruger 22/45. Once I put replacement grips on it, it feels almost identical to my Kimber. Granted controls are slightly different but still located in the same spot. And its a tack driver. You can also get a McCormick clip loader (thats what its called, I know its a mag) that lets you load a mag in about 3 sec. Plus you have 2 guns.
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Old February 18, 2013, 08:09 PM   #11
Aguila Blanca
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I bought a Ruger 22/45, too.

I hate it. I never use it. I built my dedicated .22 1911 after I had tried the 22/45 and realized it was nothing at all like shooting a "real" 1911.
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Old February 20, 2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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I’m with boggieman. The 22/45 might not be a perfect copy of the 1911 but its close enough to be a very good training tool and cheaper than any decent 1911 in 22. Go look and feel one and see if it fits your hand. I think you’ll like it.
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Old February 21, 2013, 01:21 AM   #13
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I'd go with the Ruger .22 also.

I had a Colt Conversion unit that just acted...strangely. It was VERY finicky about ammo. With most ammo it was a jam-o-matic. It would shoot standard velocity lead .22 just fine although the documentation that came with it recommended against std vel. With the cheap Thunderbolt lead nose bargain ammo the floating chamber would lead up so badly tools were required to get it to come apart. Again strangely enough when the floating chamber was jammed tight and couldn't float the gun still functioned.

An article in the American Rifleman described my problem with the floating chamber saying a little metal could be polished off and the leading problem would go away. I let a gun smith take a try at it but I couldn't tell any difference after the work. Shrug. I think he was very leery of taking too much metal off the gun (an attitude which I respect) but I got a Ruger Mark II and never looked back.
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Old February 21, 2013, 08:40 PM   #14
Ozzieman
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That’s strange DaleA. Mine liked hotter 22’s. It would shoot the cheep stuff but at times wouldn’t eject cleanly and the empties would get caught in the port.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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I have a Ruger 22/45 and SP101 in .22lr.

I also have a conversion kit for my Hi Power, and my conversion kit for my 1911 is arriving Saturday.


Realistically, my 22/45 sees more use than any other single handgun, and probably as much use as almost all of my other ones combined.

That may change with my Nighthawk Custom .22lr conversion kit [which also locks open].

I like the 1911 feel in my hand a LOT. I looked at .22lr 1911s at my LGS, who let me dry fire [as long as my finger was under the hammer so no firing pin damage] them. NONE of their triggers was acceptable to me.

My thoughts were that I'd rather take the time to have one REALLY GOOD trigger job done, and then have consistant trigger pull, than have to do it twice for a 1911 shooting .22lr.

Lately I've been looking at firearm legislation and considering downsizing my safe's contents. I'm leaning toward only keeping firearms that are 'double-threats': iow, ones that I can use for 2 or more calibers. You know, like sell the .38special and keep the .357mag, as it shoots both?

Or a 1911 with a .22lr conversion on top: Honestly honey, it is only ONE gun, not two! I sold the other one!

I've even debated one more conversion kit: for a Glock 22. That would make my Glock 22 a quadruple-threat: .40S&W, .357sig, 40-9 conversion barrel and .22lr conversion top.


Taking this concept of one firearm registered [I'm in california] with multiple calibers, I've been wondering if a .22lr conversion kit works on a para-ordinance. With built in ramps, it crossed my mind that a 1911 could have a para-ord barrel frame cut, and then completely new top ends. This would allow the 1911 to shoot 9mm, .38super, .357sig, .40S&W, 10mm, .45acp and .45super, plus possibly .22lr. Of course this would require at least 4 complete top ends for breech face/ejectors/extractors/etc.

But Honey. It is only ONE gun! I don't have 8 guns, I just have one gun I can configure in 8 calibers.

Seriously though, the best financial investment seems to be the dedicated .22lr pistol. Swapping at the range isn't fun but can be done. I do it with my Hi Power. But it is sure nice to just grab a different pistol and be ready, without field-stripping and relubing it at the range every time you switch calibers.

IF you are willing to go through that hastle though, you get better muscle memory on THAT trigger. This may not be significant to you. It is nice to have though. And more toys is always more fun, whatever you decide.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:42 PM   #16
Valerko
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I'm pretty sure it's Kimberly magazine not conversion that doesn't lock the slide back. At least that's the way it looks on my conversion.
I'll get some tactical solution magazines and double check.
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:01 PM   #17
TwentyToo
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Two Questions on a 1911 .22

Huge Ruger fan here - vast majority of my collection are Rugers.

That said - and I own an SR22 as well as both the target and Lite 22/45 - I like my Browning 1911-22 A1 best as far as a 1911-22 type gun goes.

Sweet gun. Serves pride well.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:32 PM   #18
Ozzieman
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If you get the NRA rifleman magazine this month has a very nice article on the Ruger 22/45
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