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1911 22LR Conversion Build Questions

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james r chapman
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1911 22LR Conversion Build Questions Empty 1911 22LR Conversion Build Questions

Post by wjwillia 6/6/2024, 7:12 pm

Hello all,
I am interested in putting together a 1911 with a 22 LR conversion kit for BE competition.  I don't own a 1911 and I know VERY LITTLE about the 1911 platform I am sad to say.  Can I pick your brains on how to assemble a good shooter that isn't going to break the bank?  Budget around $1500 for the pistol minus optic.  I have seen different conversion kits including Kimber, Marvel and Nelson.  I have shot a friend's Marvel and really liked it.  Thanks in advance.

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Post by John Dervis 6/6/2024, 8:04 pm

The quality of the conversion kit will be the most important. Both Marvel and Nelson are highly accurate and good for bullseye. The Kimber unit I think is more useful for training and not really made for bullseye competition. What the 1911 frame needs to be good for is the fire control parts.  Most decent brands of 1911 should work for your purpose. Springfield Armory and Kimber are good brands.  Rock River makes a higher end product and some people have good luck with Rock Island Armory or Tsisas (sp?) on the low end.  The parts in those low end guns are usually poor quality so you’ll want to replace them before you do a trigger job.  What you don’t really need would be good sights or a fitted barrel since that top end will be taken off.  I think you could find a decent donor frame within your budget and be shooting in no time. 

Good luck.
John

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Post by JRV 6/6/2024, 8:23 pm

Marvel and Nelson are the two “serious” conversions on the market in current production. I own both (2 FCW Marvels and a Nelson) and have had flawless reliability with Eley Club across all samples.

The Nelson kits have better iron sights (undercut front sights), and my Nelson is a little more refined and finely finished than my two FCW Marvels. However, my FCW Marvels will install and run on every lower I own—Philippine, Turkish, old American, new American—so long as the lower has a 19lb mainspring and I use the FCW polymer mags. The Nelson upper won’t install in one of my Turkish frames and the Nelson magazines will not lock into a Philippine frame.

Accuracy is the same across all three of my uppers. And, both companies have provided great customer service experiences for me (phone calls and emails returned promptly, happy to answer questions, stand behind their products).

If you go with a decent U.S.-made .45 host lower like a Springfield, then you’re bound to have a good experience with either brand. The only real requirement for .22 conversion function is a reduced-power hammer spring in the frame (19lb is a good starting point).

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Post by hengehold 6/6/2024, 8:45 pm

I use a couple Nelson conversions. They are great. A little work to get them working great at first such as

1. use a standard length ejector instead of an extended ejector that bumps into the top of the 22LR mags,

2. use the correct recoil spring for my CCI SV ammo so it will fully cycle.

3. use a strong enough mainspring so that I would not experience light strikes.

These are minor adjustments and now the conversions are reliable.

As far as what frame to use, I would consider a Caspian frame instead of buying a complete 1911 as a donor. I believe the conversions will fit/function on the slightly oversized rails of the Caspian frame. This will allow you to get all the features you are looking for such as front strap checkering and can be used as a frame for a future centerfire build if decide to at a later date or if you decide to sell it later on. I installed one on a frame with oversized rails and had no problems. You will want to call Nelson to double check that this will work with a Caspian frame and unmodified rails.

I put an EGW trigger kit in my Caspian with very little fitting needed (some sand paper used to reduce diameter of the disconnecter).

-Trevor

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Post by chiz1180 6/6/2024, 9:46 pm

Going off the "very little" knowledge of a 1911, starting from a bare frame may be a bit much. Not impossible but, you need to have an understanding of each piece part and how they need to interact to be a safe functioning gun. 

I would recommend trying to source a Springfield range officer in 45(or equivalent production) that way in the future you also have the option to give 45 a go if you want. (Note a 9mm ejector is not typically compatible with many of the conversions). Another option would be to source one that is already been put together, they come up for sale from time to time.

My first conversion was on a Springfield RO lower, my second on a frame up build that did require some rail dimensioning and some parts fitting and special tool requirements. 

FCW and Rock River make dedicated 22 lowers, but I don't have any personal experience with either, nor do I know the they would fit your budget.
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Post by james r chapman 6/7/2024, 5:11 am

Also Accuracy X makes lowers, and Advantage Arms makes excellent Bob Marvel designed conversions.
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Post by DA/SA 6/7/2024, 10:11 am

chiz1180 wrote:FCW and Rock River make dedicated 22 lowers, but I don't have any personal experience with either, nor do I know the they would fit your budget.
Buying the Marvel conversion and lower from FCW may have an advantage if you encounter issues. 

I shoot with three guys that bought the upper and lower from them and they seem to be doing OK as far as functionality.

Google FCW Guns for info and pricing.

No affiliation, just a happy Marvel owner.
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Post by hengehold 6/7/2024, 12:02 pm

Never heard of FCW but here is the link for a 22 dedicated frame with all internal parts from them for $1,000. That would put the OP at about the $1,500 price point for the full conversion. One thing I noticed in the description is that the FCW frame is Cerakoted and I wonder if a Cerakote finish will interfere with the ability to fit a slide for centerfire if desired in the future?
Maybe this is not a dealbreaker for the OP but would be good to know about ahead of time.

https://www.shopfcwguns.com/fcw-/fcw-handguns-3470/fcw-premier-22-dedicated-lower-1542894

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Post by chiz1180 6/7/2024, 12:17 pm

When done correctly cerecote should not interfere with the function at all. However, if I went the dedicated frame route, I would start from scratch for a CF gun down the line. 
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Post by DA/SA 6/7/2024, 12:20 pm

hengehold wrote:Never heard of FCW 
FCW is the Marvel conversion dealer.

They started making lowers for the Marvel conversion kits a while back. One of which is an aluminum frame for those that have issues holding a heavy pistol up.

When I bought my Marvel, I figured I would just swap it onto my .45 frame when I wanted to shoot .22. I think I may have done that three times before I put the Marvel on a dedicated frame.
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Post by Foundryratjim 6/7/2024, 5:26 pm

I got a my marvel on a dedicated FCW lower at the first of this year. I have run about 2500 rounds through it and I have no complaints!

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1911 22LR Conversion Build Questions Empty Marvel .22 Conversion

Post by mbmshooter 6/7/2024, 7:21 pm

I bought my Marvel in 2001 long before Travis bought the company.  Again, before he actually bought Marvel he had his table set up next to Marvel
at Camp Perry.  He was building dedicated lowers for the Marvel in addition to his other builds.
I shots several hundred thousand rounds through that Marvel with no issues after that SUPER tight chamber wore in.  I had to replace the barrel while
at Perry about 4 years ago and Travis installed one that printed a 0.276" group at 50yds.
I would DEFINITELY recommend FCW and the Marvel conversions!

Mike

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Post by STEVE SAMELAK 6/7/2024, 10:25 pm

all my dealings with Travis have been excellent.
i've messed things up and he's bailed ,me out quickly and fairly priced
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