View Full Version : EAA Witness 9X23 conversion

Jake 98c/11b
October 2, 2004, 02:08 AM
I sit here thinking about converting a steel frame Witness to 9X23. I have done a bit of reading lately about the cartridge and I am thinking of giving it a try. Since it is relatively easy to convert these guns to different calibers I am thinking about one frame with a 9x23 top end and another in 10mm. Could a 9mm barrel be rechambered and used with a heavier spring or would I have to commision a custom barrel?

October 3, 2004, 04:17 PM
They already make this gun in .38 Super - which is 95% of the way there. Contact them and find out what would be necessary to fire 9x23 through one. There may be nothing necessary.

That same from can be used for 9mm, .40, .45 and 10mm. The smaller frames can't go up, though, due to the length of the rounds.

Jake 98c/11b
October 5, 2004, 03:16 AM
I think the 38 Super has a .356 bore rather than the .355. The variety of bullets is better in .355 and I already load 9mm. If I remember correctly (I am about 4500 miles from my reference books) the .38 Super is a straight case and the 9x23 has a slight taper, I don't think it would be practical to use the .38 Super as a parent barrel for the conversion.

October 5, 2004, 04:15 PM
I wouldn't "convert" the barrel - it may digest 9x23 fine. That .001" of bore difference falls well within the range of manufacturer variation. 9X23 very closely resembles hot loaded .38 Super in pressure, velocity and gross dimensions.

If you want to go whole hog, just replace the barrel with a Barsto. The breech face is a tad wide for a 9mm case head, but this won't be a problem. The mags will be 100%.

The only other consideration would be increased recoil over whatever Tangfoglio might have spec'd (given the wide variation in .38 Super load power). The best solution might be to use an increased power mainspring, which helps slow the initial slide movement, rather than screwing with the recoil spring. A buffer might be appropriate as well.

Again, I'd try some hot .38s, then some 9x23 in the factory barrel first, just to see how well it shoots. If the accuracy is good and the cases aren't deformed or showing any signs of high pressure, that could be "good enough". Otherwise, a fitted barrel and maybe a mainspring should make for a complete project.

All that being said, these are inexpensive guns that work well for 9mm through 10mm. But there are reports that indicate that the 10mms, in particular, show wear after not too many rounds. I don't know what hot .38s or 9x23 are going to do wear-wise over the long haul. It would be a shame if you spent much energy on the project and the gun wore out in 20,000 rounds.

October 6, 2004, 10:01 AM
I don't know what hot .38s or 9x23 are going to do wear-wise over the long haul. It would be a shame if you spent much energy on the project and the gun wore out in 20,000 rounds.

I'd personally be ecstatic if my $350 gun held up over $5200 worth of ammunition.

If one percent of the privately-owned handguns in America actually see 5k, much less 20k, I'd be surprised. :o

Anyway, most modern .38 Super guns have chambers cut to headspace on the case mouth rather than the semi-rim (unlike older Colts in the caliber) and can be converted to 9x23 with minimal fuss, like Handy pointed out above.

October 6, 2004, 10:29 AM
But 20,000 is peanuts for a competition shooter.

I just threw that number out - the point is that the gun might not last as long as some other platforms do, which may matter to someone building a custom.

October 6, 2004, 12:12 PM
I'd wager that the Witness platform should hold up tolerably well in competition shooting under the strains of .38 Super +P/9x23 pressures, as witnessed by their brief popularity in that arena in the early '90s, before the STI revolution.

Still and all, though, the idea of having to buy a new gun after every five to ten kilobucks of ammo isn't as distressing as some make it out to be. If one is using a gun as a piece of sporting equipment or a lifesaving tool, one can afford to replace it after twenty, fifty, or one hundred cases of ammo. Guns wear out if you shoot them enough. It happens. Like every other machine, they have finite lifespans, based not on the years, but on the mileage. I have a nice, shootable S&W revolver made in 1899, and plenty of rifles older than that. I'd wager, however, that these guns have not seen a terribly large amount of shooting vis a vis their worn-out agemates that I've also seen. :)

Jake 98c/11b
October 6, 2004, 12:49 PM
I have to agree with you Tamara most guns in the US have closer to 500 rounds through them than 5,000 or more. I only have five that I have personally fired more than 5K through (one at 24K+), not counting the .22s.

I have long been interested in the 9x23 and the 10mm and I figured this is a good way to try these out without throwing cubic feet of cash at the project (I would still love a built up STI). I have some experience with the Witness and I kind of like the system and it would give me a chance to feel out these rounds without having to refinance the house first.

Isn't the 9x23 a longer casing than the .38 Super? Like I said I am not in the same hemisphere as my workbench but I think it is longer than the .38 Super.

I have read about your collection over the years Tamara, personally I sold off all my collectibles during the Clinton years and bought serious social guns with the proceeds (and some training). Some days I regret that but they are tools first, collectibles second, and I figured I would concentrate on the working tools first. When I get a year ahead on the house payments I will begin the collecting again, until then I will admire what I see of others collections.

October 6, 2004, 02:27 PM
Each gun is a rule unto itself ya know?
I was looking at a new Kimber Pr-Carry HD chambered in 38 Super, the chamber was fat enough to drop in a 9x23 no problem..hmmm new project for a dual caliber!
I had to open the chamber on my EAA with a 9x23 reamer tho!
BTW, chamber pressures for the 9x23 run in the 50K area, it's hotter than Super.
My Witness conversion is accurate and reliable (and F/S at GA) and has little of the expected recoil from a cartridge that runs a 125gner @ 1500fps..

October 6, 2004, 04:05 PM
I was looking at a new Kimber Pr-Carry HD chambered in 38 Super, the chamber was fat enough to drop in a 9x23 no problem..hmmm new project for a dual caliber!

My Series 80 "enhanced" Colt will easily chamber and properly headspace 9x23 rounds as well. Hadn't bothered to set it up to shoot them, since we stock plenty of Super at the shop and GA Arms has released that new 147gr Gold Dot load...

October 17, 2004, 07:50 AM
So I bought me a large-frame Witness in 45 ACP, but it was (is) one unreliable extractor, so I bought myself a Witness 38 Super long-slide top end (now sold to finance that 5.5" 357 Redhawk; what else could I do?).

Unbelivable accuracy, perfect (as in 100%) reliability, AND that thing would digest every kinda 38-type cartridge that fit the mags; 38 Super, 38 TJ, 9x23, 38 Super-Comp, etc......

Sorry (saddened, actually) that I was forced to sell it (but I HAD TO get that 5.5").

So, maybe a 38 Super Witness is already the gun you want, ay?