Nelson Conversion Kit

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Post by mikemyers on 7/13/2019, 8:35 pm

Nelson Conversion Kit Img_8610
(Photo updated July 23, 2019 with Baer lower)


After a lot of thought and browsing, I ordered a Nelson Conversion Kit several months ago, not expecting it to arrive until September, but it showed up several weeks ago.  I left it sitting in the box until I had some free time.

I installed it this afternoon on my Salyer Caspian, after watching a few videos of how these kits work.  Everything went so smoothly, I was amazed.  It's now on the gun, but I will wait until Monday to call the people at Nelson, and ask a few questions.

Anyone here have any advice or suggestions to get the most out of these kits?

One of the videos showed a fellow installing a Marvel conversion, and then he squeezed out what looks like Wilson grease all over the kit - it reminded me of dispensing ketchup onto a hamburger.  I'm sure that is wrong, but that leads to a question - is there a guide I haven't found yet that recommends what to do regarding lubrication?

Next, since it's a 22, I assume dry-firing is out unless I find some dummy rounds so the gun won't be damaged.  Is this correct?

Is CCI Standard Velocity ammo best for it?

I bought it with a rail, and I think a light-weight sight would be best for me, but my Aimpoint Micro has a Kodiak mount that won't fit onto the rail.  I think I'll buy the standard Aimpoint mount, which should work fine.  In the meantime, I mounted my Matchdot II (which I bought through this forum). Any recommendations for which sights work best?  I found a discussion about using it with an Aimpoint 9000sc.  I could put that on as well.  Is that overkill?

Not sure what I was expecting, but the Nelson Conversion Kit is just plain beautiful.  It looks well made, it seems to be easy to use, and it was effortless to install.  It's everything I expected, and a lot more.  I was on the phone for well over an hour discussing the kit with the people at Nelson before I bought it, and it seems to me it was worth the long wait.  I had looked at the other sources of conversion kits, and I kept coming back to the Nelson.  I guess my "test" of it, will be how it shoots for me compared to my Model 41.  One nice thing is it "feels" the same as the 45 Springfield I'm now using.  My hands go to the same positions, and the weight feels very similar, maybe a little heavier probably due to the sight (the 45 has an Ultradot L/T which feels like it weighs nothing...)

My next match is in two weeks.  I was planning on using my Model 41, but it had so many "issues" I was thinking of using a revolver.  I think I solved the issues, but if I get used to the Nelson, that's another option.


Last edited by mikemyers on 7/23/2019, 3:54 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Post by james r chapman on 7/13/2019, 8:45 pm

Well Mike, Larry is leaving Camp Perry tomorrow, beginning his 2000 mile journey back to Arizona.
I’d suggest you follow the instructions in the kit and give Larry a little time to relax.
Enjoy your nelson
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Post by dapduh2 on 7/13/2019, 8:46 pm

Don’t overthink it. Load it with whatever .22 rounds you have, with whatever optic you have that fits, and send rounds downrange. You can dryfire the Nelson without a cap, per Larry.
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Post by dronning on 7/13/2019, 9:02 pm

dapduh2 wrote:Don’t overthink it. Load it with whatever .22 rounds you have, with whatever optic you have that fits, and send rounds downrange. You can dryfire the Nelson without a cap, per Larry.
+1
The way the firing pin and firing pin block are made the firing pin cannot strike the breach face, so dry fire away.  CCI SV is the best value out there pretty accurate for a decent price.

Enjoy!
- Dave

Lube see #7 under Cleaning
http://www.nelsoncustomguns.com/instruction-manual/

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Post by mikemyers on 7/13/2019, 9:48 pm

james r chapman wrote:Well Mike, Larry is leaving Camp Perry tomorrow, beginning his 2000 mile journey back to Arizona.
I’d suggest you follow the instructions in the kit and give Larry a little time to relax.
Enjoy your nelson
I won't call him again until the week after this coming week - no rush, and I'm sure Larry has got a lot of catching up to do.

Yep, I missed the items about lubrication - I read all of the Installation instructions several times.  It's much easier than I anticipated.
I don't understand #4 in "Cleaning" yet; I'm sure I will once I get more involved.
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Post by mikemyers on 7/13/2019, 9:51 pm

dapduh2 wrote:Don’t overthink it. Load it with whatever .22 rounds you have, with whatever optic you have that fits, and send rounds downrange. You can dryfire the Nelson without a cap, per Larry.
Sorry, but I always over-think everything.  That's why I'm so slow to get things done.  Optic is mounted, I have lots of CCI, and since dryfire is permitted, I'll start getting used to it.    .......everything is easy, once you know how to do it.   :-)
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Post by Kp321 on 7/13/2019, 10:21 pm

I can't say enough good things about Larry Nelson and his conversion kits. I have been shooting one for three years and have at least 15,000 rounds through it with absolutely no issues. I built a dedicated lower for it starting with a Caspian frame. Using Nelson magazines and Eley CMP special ammo it is totally reliable.

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Post by dronning on 7/13/2019, 10:29 pm

mikemyers wrote:I don't understand #4 in "Cleaning" yet; I'm sure I will once I get more involved.
When you received the conversion the guide rod (recoil rod) was probably already partially screwed into the barrel lug and all you did was insert the slide stop arm and pin then tighten it.  If you unscrew the guide rod completely from the barrel lug for cleaning you need to be aware the spring is enough under pressure to launch itself across the room along with the buffer.  The spring is easy to find but the buffer isn't.

- Dave
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Post by mikemyers on 7/13/2019, 11:08 pm

Thanks, Dave - what you wrote is exactly what I did, screwed in the guide rod, then went 1/4 turn beyond that to lock it in place.

So if I unscrew the guide rod (recoil rod) completely, a spring and buffer are going to come flying out?  I will do this inside a "turkey cooking bag" the first time, so nothing gets lost.  Is there some trick to re-assemble these parts?  I guess that will get done inside the bag as well, until I get used to it.

Thank you for the warning - I read something about that in the instructions.  I don't like it when I don't yet know what's going to happen, and tiny parts vanish into my room, never to be found again.  I learned the big plastic turkey cooking baggie trick when I took my M-52 apart, but it was much more civilized - nothing went flying.  

How often does this need to be done?  Every time I clean the gun, as on a 45?  

I guess I will do some more searching for a YouTube video that shows this.


Added later:


Added even later - looks like re-assembly is going to take more hands than I've got.  
I guess I'll find out.......
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Post by Sc0 on 7/14/2019, 7:18 am

The only problem that I had with my Nelson is light firing pin strikes, my assumption is that it might be related to residue build up on the breech face not allowing the slide to fully go back into battery.  One day I need to clean the firing pin channel to see if that is related or not, other than that it had been flawless on a Taurus PT1911 frame.

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Post by james r chapman on 7/14/2019, 8:11 am

Sc0 wrote:The only problem that I had with my Nelson is light firing pin strikes, my assumption is that it might be related to residue build up on the breech face not allowing the slide to fully go back into battery.  One day I need to clean the firing pin channel to see if that is related or not, other than that it had been flawless on a Taurus PT1911 frame.
.22 caliber brush bent into an L shape to clean the chamber occasionally. The cleaner the chamber the easier the casing seats full depth.
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Post by DA/SA on 7/14/2019, 1:29 pm

Sc0 wrote:The only problem that I had with my Nelson is light firing pin strikes, my assumption is that it might be related to residue build up on the breech face not allowing the slide to fully go back into battery.  One day I need to clean the firing pin channel to see if that is related or not, other than that it had been flawless on a Taurus PT1911 frame.

It may be mainspring related. Did you lighten the spring in the pistol you are using it on now?

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Post by mikemyers on 7/14/2019, 2:52 pm

Another nice feature of the Nelson kit - a Kodiak mount with Aimpoint sight fits the provided rail, no filing required.  I didn't expect that.  

I tried the Matchdot II, but it felt heavier than I liked, so tried the Aimpoint H-1 with Kodiak - perfect.  I'll get to shoot with it this Tuesday.

Nelson Conversion Kit Img_3410
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Post by mikemyers on 7/16/2019, 7:30 pm

Today was a less than ideal introduction to the Nelson at the range.  Most of the time it worked.  At others:

  • two rounds did not fire on the first attempt, but if I pulled back the hammer and fired again, it worked
  • a round never loaded from the magazine into the gun
  • a round got stuck in the chamber, needing me to use a range rod to get it out
  • four or five times the gun didn't fire, so I stopped, removed the magazine, cycled the slide to get out anything still in the gun, and started over again.


Ammunition was SV CCI
During this time I was trying to adjust the sights.  I got them close, until I gave up.  It was typical South Florida July weather, and everyone at the range left long before I did, as we were melting.  When things are working, I don't really notice the heat.

The Nelson is mounted on my Caspian frame, while the slide has been sent off to Dave Salyer for some work.  If I keep using this gun, I need to put a longer travel trigger in it, as the one in it now is uncomfortably short.  It feels even worse when I'm shooting 45.  I also need to keep notes of exactly what it does wrong, and when.  If I get to the range before 10am tomorrow, I should have some nice weather before the thermometer goes wild....

I'm tempted to put the Nelson on my Baer Premiere II, as that gun feels absolutely perfect.  
(I guess I better become real good friends with my gunsmith, or learn more about working on a 1911.....  I know things I want to change, but I don't yet have the experience.)

Last target while sighting it in, 25 yards, one hand.  Until this one, I was just shooting at plain white paper.  When I shot this, I no longer wanted to be at the range, I just wanted to get back to someplace cool....  I tried to shoot properly most of the time, but then I got sloppy.  The two worst shots I knew were bad just as I fired.  I didn't have it in me to shoot another target.  (I should have ignored the previous problems, and just thought about shooting, but I couldn't stop thinking about what I might have been doing wrong, that the gun didn't work as it should.  If I mess up, I can accept it, and try to do better.  If the gun messes up, my concentration goes away....)

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Post by mspingeld on 7/16/2019, 7:55 pm

Love my Nelson. CCI SV works fine for me. Consider the mount below. 2 seconds on or off and holds zero.

https://www.amazon.com/LaRue-Tactical-LT661-Aimpoint-Micro/dp/B01GMWC0PM

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Post by Dcforman on 7/16/2019, 8:06 pm

Hey Mike. Classic spur hammers can sometimes cause issues with feeding with the Nelson's. If you rack the slide slowly, you'll see the slide drags on the hammer after it's fully cocked. Solution is to fire off 1000-1500 rounds to break it in, file down the hammer, or switch to a commander style hammer. I had some of the same issues with my Nelson at first. I filed down the top of the hammer, and played with the hammer spring a bit. Perfect now. I would imagine your light strikes are happening due to the cartridge not being fully seated when the trigger is pulled. The firing pin is pushing the cartridge forward.

Please keep in mind I'm not a gunsmith. There are a couple threads about this if you search, specifically from Jason (I think his username is TimH:11? Something like that...)

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Post by Jon Eulette on 7/16/2019, 8:31 pm

Besides a dirty breech face ne of the biggest culprit for light strikes on the 22 conversions is the extractor spring has too much tension and it's pushing the slide out of battery. The extractor is contacting the extractor notch in the barrel and pushing the slide back. That's been my experience anyhow.
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Post by mikemyers on 7/16/2019, 9:26 pm

Dcforman wrote:Hey Mike. Classic spur hammers can sometimes cause issues with feeding with the Nelson's. If you rack the slide slowly, you'll see the slide drags on the hammer after it's fully cocked. Solution is to fire off 1000-1500 rounds to break it in, file down the hammer, or switch to a commander style hammer. I had some of the same issues with my Nelson at first. I filed down the top of the hammer, and played with the hammer spring a bit. Perfect now. I would imagine your light strikes are happening due to the cartridge not being fully seated when the trigger is pulled. The firing pin is pushing the cartridge forward.

Please keep in mind I'm not a gunsmith. There are a couple threads about this if you search, specifically from Jason (I think his username is TimH:11? Something like that...)

Dave
Dave, you technically may or may not be a "gunsmith", but in this case you are!

The photo below shows the ugly hammer that the previous owner "lightened".  If I knew enough, it would already be replaced.  Anyway, just as you said, as the slide goes back, it "scrapes" over the top of the hammer, and when I close the slide manually, it obviously does it again.  

Jon, the kit is brand new, so it most likely has the right parts in it.  Changing the hammer is way over my skill level.  I think I can handle replacing the trigger, but I don't think I should attempt working on the hammer - you agree?

From what is shown in this photo, is it safe to file away enough material off the top of the hammer so the slide doesn't hit it?

I need to go look at a "commander style" hammer, so I can see the difference.

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Post by Jon Eulette on 7/16/2019, 9:38 pm

That's an impressively ugly Hammer :-)
Mike if you switch to a commander hammer you will need to switch to a beavertail grip safety. The commander hammer will hit your grip safety that is in the pistol now and not allow the hammer to fully cock. Beavertail grip safety require cutting the rear Tang on the frame and putting a radius on it that matches the beavertail. Then you have to do some blending which is grinding and polishing on the grip safety and the frame. So it is quite an undertaking. As far as it being new and having the right parts that is correct but the stock extractor spring sometimes has too much force on the extractor and causes it to push the slide out of battery.
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Post by mikemyers on 7/16/2019, 9:54 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:That's an impressively ugly Hammer :-)
Mike if you switch to a commander hammer you will need to switch to a beavertail grip safety. The commander hammer will hit your grip safety that is in the pistol now and not allow the hammer to fully cock. Beavertail grip safety require cutting the rear Tang on the frame and putting a radius on it that matches the beavertail. Then you have to do some blending which is grinding and polishing on the grip safety and the frame. So it is quite an undertaking.

As far as it being new and having the right parts that is correct but the stock extractor spring sometimes has too much force on the extractor and causes it to push the slide out of battery.
Jon
Jon, yeah, that's more than I want to get involved in.  I'm not going to think about that any more.  Thanks!

This is a gun Dave built for someone a very long time ago, when Dave was just starting out.  His customer removed the grip safety, and if the story is right, put a Wilson drop-in grip safety into the gun, but didn't do all the work to do it correctly.  Dave is checking if the guy still has the original parts.  The guy apparently is no longer shooting, and I bought his gun through Dave.  

I'm not sure what to do at this point, but filing the hammer to eliminate the interference seems like a reasonable option.  (I expected a lot from this gun, but truthfully, I'm enjoying my Springfield much more.  It feels better, and I shoot it better.)


As to the Nelson kit, I'll ask Larry if he can send me a lighter extractor spring.  I also need a parts diagram, so I have some idea of what I'm getting into.  One thing at a time.    :-)
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Post by Jack H on 7/16/2019, 10:26 pm

Mike, ask KC if his CMP hammer kit
http://kcskustomcreations.com/roll-trigger-kit/
would work with your present grip safety. 

The KC kits work real good for me.

And what is that grip with the thumbrest?
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Post by mikemyers on 7/16/2019, 10:54 pm

Sure, will do!  I'll check that out.  From what I see in the link, there's a reasonable chance the CMP will work. Thanks for the suggestion!

Thumbrest - that's what came on the gun.  I'll be replacing the grips with a different pair of wide grips as soon as they get here, probably Wednesday next week.  


Shhhhh.....    The thumb rest is most probably an add-on option, so people stare at the grip and don't notice the hammer......          :-/
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Post by james r chapman on 7/17/2019, 4:56 am

Ugly? 😐 I just can’t get over that hammer! Looks like it’s off a cheap starter pistol!   Mike! You need to look good doing it!
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Post by Dcforman on 7/17/2019, 5:28 am


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Post by jglenn21 on 7/17/2019, 7:16 am

1st thing is using a 17-19 lb mainspring..19 will work in both the 22 and 45.. i run an 8lb recoil spring in ny nelson. 9lb is almost always too strong for std. Velocity ammo
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