convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

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convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by SW-52 on 6/20/2017, 8:13 am

hi, i want to know is possible convert a 9mm range officer to .38 special wadcutter changing 9mm barrel and bushing to a barsto or other brand in .38 special wadcutter barrel. i have a 52-2 and my question is only for experimentation,thanks!
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by mpolans on 6/20/2017, 9:06 am

You'd have to open up the breechface, mess with the extractor, then go through the pain/expense of finding mags and getting it to run right. Unless you've got lots of spare time and/or money, I'd hardly think it would be worth it.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by Wobbley on 6/20/2017, 9:58 am

Possible, but better to start with a 40S&W or 10mm slide.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by mpolans on 6/20/2017, 10:15 am

Wobbley wrote:Possible, but better to start with a 40S&W or 10mm slide.
Good point, but another complication, depending on the specs of the barrel, would be width of the barrel's hood vs the slide cut out.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by james r chapman on 6/20/2017, 11:22 am

Why not .38 AMU.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by rich.tullo on 6/20/2017, 3:18 pm

Why not 38 super?
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by jglenn21 on 6/20/2017, 3:27 pm

No question the super is the easiest of the conversions and shoots very well.. I assume your RO has a ramped barrel which may well limit the 38 spl barrels you can find..

38 AMU brass would be tough to find
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by rich.tullo on 6/20/2017, 3:42 pm

I heard 147gn over 3.0 BE is as accurate as anything.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by LenV on 6/20/2017, 7:35 pm

rich.tullo wrote:I heard 147gn over 3.0 BE is as accurate as anything.
Is that in the Super? I am going to the range in the next couple of days and have a new load for the Super to test. I know the 9mm takes some power to make accurate. What happens if I crank up the Super? Since recoil is not a factor in SF why not. I loaded up some 125gr Zero .356 with 6.9gr of Power Pistol. Back to the OP. Wouldn't the .45 be the easiest to convert to the 38 special?

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by rich.tullo on 6/20/2017, 8:28 pm

Yes I do not now the what barrel but Magnus made the bullet, maybe it was a 1:10 groups 1.375 I was told.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by jglenn21 on 6/20/2017, 8:30 pm

no need to crank up the super at all.. the 147 load is plenty accurate and mild..Also our 126 gr loads are mild and very accurate..
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by rich.tullo on 6/20/2017, 9:00 pm

Had had an STI trojan and it needed to 124gn over 4.0 BE to hold the x ring. It was only reliable with STI magazines although now I could tune it better. 

It held the 10 ring at 25 yards with that load but that is no advantage over a 45acp (too snappy). My Kart 45acps will hold the ten ring or better at 25 yards with 3.5 BE. 

Bruce Piatt told me the KKM 9mm barrels will hold 1 inch at 50 yards but If I were re-barreling 38 super is the way to go because the Karts and Clark Barrels are very good.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by jglenn21 on 6/20/2017, 10:03 pm

one of my supers is a 1-16 twist KKM.. Very nice and accurate barrel. They will shoot lead not just jacketed.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by Wobbley on 6/20/2017, 10:47 pm

G
LenV wrote:

Len
Way back.in the Jim Clark Sr days, he started with a 38 Super for his 38 wad conversions.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by LenV on 6/21/2017, 12:46 am

I accepted the challenge. I opened the safe and started measuring and recording everything. I have a list here with numbers all over it. But to simplify things (too lazy to type it all) this is what it boils down to. Unless your a gunsmith or a machinist or both. Here is what you can do with 1911 slides.

 1. 9mm slide can make into a 38 super can not make into a 40 cal
 
 2. 38 Super slide can be converted to a 9mm and possibly a 40 cal (tight)

 3. 40 s&w slide can be converted to a 38 Super but not a 38 special

 4. 45 slide could be converted to 38 special. I played with slide and extractor would work also.

*As far as increasing the 38 super I would quote "Top Gun"

Len
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by SW-52 on 6/21/2017, 7:42 am

jglenn21 wrote:one of my supers is a 1-16 twist KKM.. Very nice and accurate barrel. They will shoot lead not just jacketed.
i read about kkm barrels,they shoot better jacketed than lead,kart shoot lead better than kkm,i think the best is one barrel for both options.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by mpolans on 6/21/2017, 7:49 am

LenV wrote:I accepted the challenge. I opened the safe and started measuring and recording everything. I have a list here with numbers all over it. But to simplify things (too lazy to type it all) this is what it boils down to. Unless your a gunsmith or a machinist or both. Here is what you can do with 1911 slides.

 1. 9mm slide can make into a 38 super can not make into a 40 cal
 
 2. 38 Super slide can be converted to a 9mm and possibly a 40 cal (tight)

 3. 40 s&w slide can be converted to a 38 Super but not a 38 special

 4. 45 slide could be converted to 38 special. I played with slide and extractor would work also.

*As far as increasing the 38 super I would quote "Top Gun"

Len
Probably a lot easier to team a new chamber in a .38 super barrel and hood, and open up the breechface on a .38 super slide than to weld up the hood on a barrel to make it fit a .45 slide. Unless you can order a .38 special barrel with a hood that will fit a .45 slide. In any case, I still think it would be expensive and pointless.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by jglenn21 on 6/21/2017, 9:14 am

All I'll say is my KKM super barrel will shoot all day with my Kart running 126 Dardus LSWC..

My current primary 45 has a KKM with a long 1.5 degree throat. All it shoots is lead

Doing my own guns I prefer the very short chambered KKM as they allow you more flexibility in chambering.  Karts are excellent barrels and have a proven record.. I use both
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by troystaten on 6/22/2017, 12:17 pm

Yesterday I talked to a pistol smith who used to work for and was trained by the late Bob Chow and he has made a few 1911's that shoot 38 special's, he told me that the biggest issue is the barrel and magazines, and that the barrel he uses is a 38 special barrel that Colt used to make and sell as a "kit" barrel.  Also he liked to use a frame and slide for a 38 super but it had to be a frame for an un-ramped barrel. For magazines he had some aftermarket mags, (don't remember the brand) and some 38 super mags that he modified.  I handled one of his and a friend of mine has shot one and they are really nice pistols.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by SW-52 on 6/22/2017, 12:36 pm

troystaten wrote:Yesterday I talked to a pistol smith who used to work for and was trained by the late Bob Chow and he has made a few 1911's that shoot 38 special's, he told me that the biggest issue is the barrel and magazines, and that the barrel he uses is a 38 special barrel that Colt used to make and sell as a "kit" barrel.  Also he liked to use a frame and slide for a 38 super but it had to be a frame for an un-ramped barrel. For magazines he had some aftermarket mags, (don't remember the brand) and some 38 super mags that he modified.  I handled one of his and a friend of mine has shot one and they are really nice pistols.
barsto was makes unramped 38 wadcutter barrels and the colt 38 special kits with one slug. the mags are triple k,are aftermarket of original colts.
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by troystaten on 6/22/2017, 12:53 pm

I seem to remember the pistol smith I talked to said something about the barrel having only one lug and that a 2 lug barrel would not function reliably with a lighter load.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by Jon Eulette on 6/22/2017, 1:08 pm

.38 super is really easy to build using ramped or unramped barrels. 2nd lug (forward) 99% of the time never makes contact except for some slight dragging on slide at its full radius. Magazines are easily bought and need no tuning. It is a straight forward build just like a 45. Nothing complicated or difficult about it. 
The .38 special on the other hand requires twice the labor time but will run perfectly when done right. Two lug barrels run fine. Ramped or unramped run fine. Magazine tuning is a time sucker but once done will run perfectly. Kart is 1:16 twist and Clark's can be purchased in 1:10. Clark exterior barrel dimensions are all over the place; just more work for smith to fit correctly. The old saying; "speed cost money how fast do you want to go?" .38 specials fall into that category Smile
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by troystaten on 6/22/2017, 1:11 pm

Ditto on Jon's comment about "speed costs money" I know the pistol smith I talked to did not do these 38 special conversions at a low price.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by troystaten on 6/22/2017, 1:17 pm

Jon I was wondering if for the 38 special conversion one would use a .355 diameter barrel, I was looking at the Clark website and they did not have a 38 special barrel that you could order.  Not really serious about doing this now but if finances change and I get a bee in my bonnet I might have to pursue this.

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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 6/22/2017, 1:34 pm

It could just be my imagination...but I thought I read that S&W 52 bores were .355.

Not my word just flaky memory
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Re: convert a 9mm RO 1911 to .38 special wadcutter

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