1911 9mm same as 1911 .45 frame


August 14, 2006, 04:32 PM
My wife wants me to assemble a 1911 in 9mm for her for Christmas. We have 2 1911s in .45 acp now. I've assemble a mil-spec on an Essex frame years ago and it still performs great to this day. Anyway, I called an advertiser in the Shotgun News and asked if the frame he was advertising was available in 9mm or only .45. He said a frame was a frame! I'm no master gunsmith, BUT I always thought there was a difference. Why else would Essex and Caspian make you specify caliber when ordering a frame. Any thoughts?

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Jim Watson
August 14, 2006, 04:54 PM
Some makes, the frame ramp for smallbores is shallower and narrower than for .45. The difference is visible on my Colts. Sometimes a 9mm or .38 will work ok on a .45 frame, sometimes it won't.

I'd get my wife a name brand from somebody who knows what he is talking about. The difference in price between an Essex or even Caspian receiver and a no-name frame is not great compared to the cost of the whole gun and your wife's safety and satisfaction.

August 14, 2006, 05:01 PM
You are absolutely right. I think i needed a litttle prodding. It struck me odd that someone from a respectable business would answer the way he did.

August 14, 2006, 07:35 PM
I would ask Caspian. Their contact people are quite receptive.


August 14, 2006, 07:46 PM
Without doing a scientific study, I'd estimate that most 9mm and similar sizes (38 super, 9*21) use ramped barrels and therefore their frames have been cut for either Clark-Para or Wilson-Nowlin. So, you may want to decide upon a barrel brand before going in search of the frame.

Jim Watson
August 14, 2006, 07:49 PM
Owning both, Colt conventional and Springfield ramp mutant, I do not consider the integral ramp barrel an advantage.

How many 9x21s you seen the past 10 years?

August 14, 2006, 10:41 PM
3 to be precise but I've only been noticing for 3 years, at the most...so, have you encountered as many non-ramped 9s as ramped?

Do you think the relative (to 45) prevalence of the ramp in 9mm is due to case support among those who assume the 9s will be driven to make major?


Jim Watson
August 14, 2006, 11:01 PM
There are probably more integral ramp 9mm 1911 knockoffs being made than conventional guns. I think almost everybody but Colt has given in to the fad and Colt isn't making ANY 9mms right now.

I don't know why, there is no reason to load 9mm P to Major except for IPSC Open and that will be in a high capacity compensated scoped gun. And a lot of those have the integral ramp cut away to where it offers no more case web support than a normal barrel.

If I were DIYing a gun for standard ammo for my wife, I'd stick to the standard barrel. My FLG says the integral ramp jobs are more work to fit, for one thing.

Probably been 15 years since I saw the last 9x21 in action.

August 14, 2006, 11:36 PM
Surprised me but, following the threads on the BENOS forum, 9mm major is driven by the price of brass...I'd have thought that the price of a competitive open gun would pretty much render the brass an afterthought, but apparently not.

I've not seen that many open 9s 'up close and personal' but that's interesting about them being cut away and losing case support. For what reason would the ramp be cut down...I can't see it improving feeding?


Jim Watson
August 15, 2006, 12:07 AM
For what reason would the ramp be cut down...I can't see it improving feeding?

Well, that's what it is for.
I have a Springfield 9mm that took considerable recontouring of its integral ramp to make it into a feed ramp. Ex factory it would only feed hardball reliably and that with a disconcerting bumpity-bump upon loading or hand cycling. Now it runs ball or ogival hollowpoint smoothly and well. But it has no more "case support" than my Colt, which required no such surgery on its plain barrel.

Old Fuff
August 15, 2006, 01:09 AM
Colt built their 9mm pistols on the same frame as the .38 Super. not the .45 ACP. There are minor differences between the .38/9mm and .45 frames, but they are relatively minor. That said if I was going to build a 9mm I would do it on a .38 Super frame, and it would likely be a Commander size.

So long as one isn't hot rodding either cartridge a ramped barrel isn't necessary. One does however, give better support to the case head, which is the main reason the combat-game folks prefer them.

Caspian frames, slides and other parts are expensive - but the quality matches the price.

August 15, 2006, 10:14 PM
I agree with your observations about the price of Caspian products.

I have had an extremely good experience with one of the lower price frames. I am thoroughly delighted with my Doublestar, and would love to hear other's experiences there.

I have always used unramped barrels. Most of the 9's and .38 Supers I see are unramped. I have had one .45 with a ramped barrel, and it certainly did not convert me to that format.

As far as the reliability of building 9's and .38 Supers on a .45 frame, and vice versa, my experience has been that full metal jacket can work reasonably well, but that other bullet styles may prove to be troublesome.

If I were to assemble a 9 tomorrow, I would want a Caspian frame.:)

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