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Time for a .32acp 1911 conversion?

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fc60
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Time for a .32acp 1911 conversion? Empty Time for a .32acp 1911 conversion?

Post by mpolans Sun Feb 13, 2022 9:05 pm

Nighthawk Custom is producing two 1911s in the new .30 Super Carry caliber, which means there are going to be commercially available .32acp/.32wc sized magazines available (*might* need a spacer). This will remove one obstacle for making .32acp/.32wc 1911 conversion kits. 

What do y'all think? Will Nelson or Marvel finally make one?

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Post by hengehold Sun Feb 13, 2022 10:24 pm

Sounds awesome to me!

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Post by 10sandxs Mon Feb 14, 2022 1:17 am

As I watched several high end 32 acps have issues at a match today, I can't help but ask, "why would they"? From a strictly business perspective, i wouldn't want to be producing a high cost, low volume product for a very small niche market consisting of very particular people.

Sounds like a recipie for a stressful life to me...

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Post by TonyH Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:44 am

Reduce stress! Shoot a 45! Viva la cuarenta y cinco! Twisted Evil
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Post by chiz1180 Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:49 am

10sandxs wrote:As I watched several high end 32 acps have issues at a match today, I can't help but ask, "why would they"? From a strictly business perspective, i wouldn't want to be producing a high cost, low volume product for a very small niche market consisting of very particular people.

Sounds like a recipie for a stressful life to me...
I think this is a fair assement. Especially if one was made the "I would have done this differently" comments from people who wouldn't have made one at all. 

Ammo would be the biggest issue. Commercially available 32 target ammo is not readily available. So function and accuracy would be at the mercy of the end users ability to make good ammo.
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Post by RoyDean Mon Feb 14, 2022 9:48 am

Chiz1180 wrote "commercial 32ACP target ammo is not currently available" - yes, he is correct. And who knows when that situation might change?

From my experience, with a Pardini 32ACP, the biggest issues are gun cleanliness, magazine imperfections and inconsistent reloaded ammo. I just returned to shooting 32ACP and, despite meticulous attention when reloading a small batch of XTP60 ammo (which produces nice groups when I point it in the right direction!), I did encounter a couple of FTE's. I put them down to slightly dirty magazines (in a Pardini, the magazine helps to eject the spent brass). These guns are really picky!

So, for Nighthawk to potentially develop a 32ACP 1911 capable of reliably functioning with commercial ammo (intended primarily for the personal defense market) and yet be accurate and reliable enough for Bullseye competition would be a huge achievement. A nightmare! Not gonna happen - IMHO.

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Post by hengehold Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:54 am



So, for Nighthawk to potentially develop a 32ACP 1911 capable of reliably functioning with commercial ammo (intended primarily for the personal defense market) and yet be accurate and reliable enough for Bullseye competition would be a huge achievement. A nightmare! Not gonna happen - IMHO.

Just a couple points as a rebuttal:
1. Making an accurate 1911 will probably not change based on the caliber. Some things just need to be done such as fit lugs to frame, fit barrel bushing to frame and barrel, etc, etc. Making an accurate .32acp should not necessarily require anyone to re-invent the wheel. 

2. Nighthawk has already gotten a .32 cartridge to work reliably so maybe some adjustments may be needed to the feedramp geometry to accommodate the slightly shorter 32acp? Seems like this would not be a colossal undertaking. 

I concur with the points made about accommodating a small market. If every BE shooter bought one they might sell about 50 of them. :-)

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Post by RoyDean Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:14 am

For TonyH

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Post by Dcforman Mon Feb 14, 2022 12:30 pm

As I've followed the 32 acp conversion threads for a few years now...

One big impediment to a conversion has been developing and purchasing the tooling to make the magazines. If this is no longer an issue, and the Nighthawk magazines are easily converted, then the cost of producing said conversions may be justifiable now. 

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Post by 10sandxs Mon Feb 14, 2022 1:04 pm

hengehold wrote:


So, for Nighthawk to potentially develop a 32ACP 1911 capable of reliably functioning with commercial ammo (intended primarily for the personal defense market) and yet be accurate and reliable enough for Bullseye competition would be a huge achievement. A nightmare! Not gonna happen - IMHO.

Just a couple points as a rebuttal:
1. Making an accurate 1911 will probably not change based on the caliber. Some things just need to be done such as fit lugs to frame, fit barrel bushing to frame and barrel, etc, etc. Making an accurate .32acp should not necessarily require anyone to re-invent the wheel. 

2. Nighthawk has already gotten a .32 cartridge to work reliably so maybe some adjustments may be needed to the feedramp geometry to accommodate the slightly shorter 32acp? Seems like this would not be a colossal undertaking. 

I concur with the points made about accommodating a small market. If every BE shooter bought one they might sell about 50 of them. :-)
You gonna do a locked breech and figure out optic mount, or blowback and figure out slide velocity controll?

I don't think locked breech is the way to go, but having never played with them I could be wrong... dont think so, but could be...

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Post by chiz1180 Mon Feb 14, 2022 2:30 pm

 Dcforman wrote:As I've followed the 32 acp conversion threads for a few years now...

One big impediment to a conversion has been developing and purchasing the tooling to make the magazines. If this is no longer an issue, and the Nighthawk magazines are easily converted, then the cost of producing said conversions may be justifiable now. 

Dave
Magazines are probably one of the simpler road blocks. 
What about extractor, ejector, firing pin, and breach block (if you follow 22LR conversion model)? Also need to make sure it is compatible with a variety of frames if you go the conversion route. 

Then consider the demands for the end user, 100% reliability with whatever bullet/powder load combination. It also needs to be at an acceptable price point. 

The more realistic approach would be a full dedicated build for 32s&w long or 32acp. However then you loose the economic benefit of a conversion unit.
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Post by Dcforman Mon Feb 14, 2022 2:45 pm

I agree, obviously the magazine is only 1 piece of an (expensive) puzzle. But theoretically, Nelson has a working prototype in 32 acp, so i would assume most of the issues with design have been worked out. So maybe removing one issue (magazines) makes the cost of the rest of the tooling acceptable. Truly, I have no idea how much it would cost to get it from prototype to production, but the Nighthawk mags at least have the potential to decrease that cost.

Of course, that said, it's also possible that a blowback 32 ended up with not much less perceived recoil than a 45, maybe even more than a 38 special. So maybe Larry figured out it just wasn't going to do what people wanted it to do.

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Post by Wobbley Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:36 pm

Magazines are fussy to design but not impossible.  I’d be way tempted to just put a Walther PPK mag (or?) in an adapter and call it a day.

But the real issue is operating energy.  The 32ACP doesn’t have enough oomph to unlock a Browning tilting barrel.  So you’re stuck with blowback.  The 1911 slide is heavy for absorbing energy and momentum needed to chamber and lock up a 45 ACP.  The 45 bullet alone weighs as much as a whole 32 ACP round.  So a mass-for-mass weight reduction in the slide would make for a pretty skeletonized slide.  To fix the barrel you’d have to double pin the barrel with interference pins.  New recoil springs, new sear geometry, new hammer springs, new hammers(?)….etc…

And then all this for what?  To develop a “lighter recoiling” 1911 pistol in a caliber that isn’t yet proven to have a significant advantage over 38 Super, 9mm, or even 45? If it had been an advantage it would have been done 50 years ago.
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Post by spursnguns Mon Feb 14, 2022 5:54 pm

Hello,

Wobbley is one hundred percent correct.

Converting (or should I say "attempting to convert") M1911s to .380ACP was a thing for a minute until everyone figured out that it couldn't be done.  If you can't make a M1911 run in .380ACP, how can you think about .32ACP?

Jim
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Post by fc60 Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:33 pm

Greetings,

Colt figured out a locked breech version...

Time for a .32acp 1911 conversion? Colt_Mustang_Pocket_Lite_dismounted
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Post by spursnguns Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:37 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

Colt figured out a locked breech version...

Hello,

But it is not a M1911; just a M1911 "wannabe".

 Time for a .32acp 1911 conversion? 1f609 

Jim
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Post by Wobbley Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:45 pm

Wasn’t that really a Star pistol?
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Post by TonyH Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:53 pm

RoyDean wrote:For TonyH

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……and I thought you saw the light! NeutralcyclopsVery Happy
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Post by Jwhelan939 Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:36 pm

I have been shooting my hp for about 5 years.  Absolutely love it. Knock on wood, I have not had any of the issues people are mentioning here. I'm by no means a hm, but my reloads shoot point for point with my sp. I shot an 847 with the HP in my last 2700 with zero alibi. I would be the first person in line for a 32 acp nelson!

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Post by mpolans Tue Feb 15, 2022 12:08 am

A few points:
1. It might be a "low volume product for a very small niche market," but Pardini has judged it profitable enough to fill, with a product that's a lot more expensive to make, and sold at a higher price than a 1911 conversion would run.

2. Regarding "commercially available 32 target ammo is not readily available":
No ammo is readily available these days. However, pre-COVID, Hornady made a very accurate .32acp load, and there were some accurate .32wc loads from Fiocchi and Federal. I think part of this characterization of" "accurate load" is based on how these loads performed in only one gun, the Perazzi HP. First, the Perazzi HP in .32wc was never designed to be accurate at any distance beyond 25 meters. Second, I'm open to anyone can who can prove me wrong, but I bet the HP in .32acp is simply a .32wc barrel chambered in .32acp, with no additional thought given to optimizing bore diameter or twist rate for .32acp as changing such would increase manufacturing costs. Besides, most serious bullseye shooters competing in 2700s are going to reload anyway, so factory ammo isn't a huge consideration.

3. Regarding, "for Nighthawk to potentially develop a 32ACP 1911 capable of reliably functioning with commercial ammo (intended primarily for the personal defense market) and yet be accurate and reliable enough for Bullseye competition would be a huge achievement": 
I wasn't suggesting Nighthawk would build such a gun. Rather, I'm suggesting if they're investing the cash to build compatible magazines (and I think .30 Super Carry mags should work), someone else could build a conversion kit in .32acp.

4. Regarding "You gonna do a locked breech and figure out optic mount, or blowback and figure out slide velocity controll?": 
I think locked breech would be foolish for several reasons, including the increased complexity and cost to machine. I'd think a fixed barrel, blowback design with a fixed top rib, similar to an existing Nelson/Marvel design would work. You'd need increased slide mass, which could be accomplished by either using a steel slide instead of aluminum, or by using an aluminum slide with with a steel breech block fixed in it, similar to old Sig P228 slides that had stamped sheet steel slides with machined steel breech blocks pinned in them.

5."What about extractor, ejector, firing pin, and breach block":
The firing pin part would probably be easier than .22s, since you could probably just use a regular 9mm firing pin. Ejector and extractor could probably be of similar design to existing Nelson/Marvel designs. I don't see how the breech block/breech face would be a challenge.

6. "The 1911 slide is heavy for absorbing energy and momentum needed to chamber and lock up a 45 ACP.  The 45 bullet alone weighs as much as a whole 32 ACP round.  So a mass-for-mass weight reduction in the slide would make for a pretty skeletonized slide.  To fix the barrel you’d have to double pin the barrel with interference pins.  New recoil springs, new sear geometry, new hammer springs, new hammers(?)":
Nelson/Marvel .22 conversion don't use the stock .45acp slides in their conversions...why would you think a .32acp conversion would use one? I think it's obvious that conversion would have to use it's own slide. Fixing the barrel might be interesting; I wonder if the Nelson/Marvel method would work...if not, I have an idea for another method, but regardless, I don't think it's be a huge problem. I think a conversion would clearly require its own recoil spring, but why would you think it would require new sear geometry, hammer springs, or hammers? None of these are required with the Nelson/Marvel .22 conversions.

7. “If it had been an advantage it would have been done 50 years ago.”:
I know that sort of reasoning is common in the bullseye world, but if we always stuck to that reasoning, we’d still be traveling to matches via horse and buggy and shooting flintlocks with iron sights. 

Nelson is able to sell their standard kit with scope rail for $525.  Assuming the Nighthawk mags are reasonably priced, I would think it'd be doable to make and sell a .32acp conversion kit for about $700, maybe less. I guess the big question is, how many folks would be willing to buy a .32acp kit if it cost about $700? Would it make a difference if it was easier to load accurate ammo for it than for a Pardini HP? (no custom expander or sizing dies, etc)


Last edited by mpolans on Tue Feb 15, 2022 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by james r chapman Tue Feb 15, 2022 5:55 am

Jwhelan939 wrote:I have been shooting my hp for about 5 years.  Absolutely love it. Knock on wood, I have not had any of the issues people are mentioning here. I'm by no means a hm, but my reloads shoot point for point with my sp. I shot an 847 with the HP in my last 2700 with zero alibi. I would be the first person in line for a 32 acp nelson!
That’s already taken by Steve Ritter!
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Post by 10sandxs Tue Feb 15, 2022 9:34 am

Mpolans, 

I think there is a difference between "old buklseye thinking" and what we're talking about here I shoot a relatively unconventional 45 so I hear what your saying.  However, there are a number of technical challenges related to a conversion style 32. 

1) boldface thrust. The operating pressure of the 22lr and 32 are both arround 20k psi, so the "thrust" on the 22 is 750 lbs while on the 32 is 1600 lbs. For reference, 4.4 wst with a 200 gr bullet produces about 2200 lbs of thrust.

2) with increased thrust load, you get increased metal fatigue. I had an early marvel that cracked the slide (which marvel was kind enough to charge me full price to replace btw, but that is a different story).  Now double the thrust load and you need to make the slide much more robust to extend your fatigue life. 

Now, let's say you can do it (and I'm sure someone could) you still have a 1911 pattern pistol with a relatively high bore axis and a slide moving under 1600 lbs of thrust not attenuated by a locking mechanism. Springs can only go so far in attenuating this as the gun must still function.  I'd venture to say the recoil impulse and muzzle flip would not be as modest as we think it would be based on the how the European 32s feel as thier bore axis is much lower than a 1911. 

I don't think it's backwards thinking, I think it's a combination of a difficult technical challenge, coupled with a lower perceived benefit and a high manufacturing cost. 

There is a saying, cheap, fast, good, you can have any two, but not all three.

I see the 32 as being expensive to make, slow to develop and tune, and not very well performing  (recoil) which makes this one "slow, expensive, and bad"

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Post by SteveT Tue Feb 15, 2022 11:08 am

What we really need is a real target 45 with the low bore axis, good sights, adjustable grip and trigger of the Euro-guns (no the GT45 does not count).

Come on... someone out there has a spare million dollars laying around to invest in developing such a gun. There is an un-tapped market worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
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Post by Dr.Don Tue Feb 15, 2022 4:10 pm

The 30 magazine is a really interesting idea.  I built a 32acp conversion for a 1911 several years ago and gave up because I could not get it to feed consistently with the cluged magazines I came up with.  I may have to buy a magazine or two and pull this project out of storage.
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Post by james r chapman Tue Feb 15, 2022 8:08 pm

SteveT wrote:What we really need is a real target 45 with the low bore axis, good sights, adjustable grip and trigger of the Euro-guns (no the GT45 does not count).

Come on... someone out there has a spare million dollars laying around to invest in developing such a gun. There is an un-tapped market worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Mattress Mack did!!
Unfortunately, He blew 9 million on the Bengals!!
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