Colt 1911: .38 Super to .45ACP conversion help


April 24, 2008, 11:47 AM
I have a Colt 1911. Manufacture date 1946 I believe. It's .38 super. I'd really like to shoot .45ACP out of it.

Other than replacing the barrel, and the ejector that's connected to the frame, would I have to do anything else to get this going? I'm considering this just because I love 1911 .45s and don't have the money right now to buy a new .45. Thanks

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April 24, 2008, 11:50 AM
Don't do it! Trade with me for a .45. :uhoh:

Really, why mess up a classic Colt in .38 Super?

April 24, 2008, 11:53 AM
Guess I'm just not as familiar with the .38 super cartridge. Plus I have to order the ammo as I can't seem to find it in stores around here. Was just a thought.

April 24, 2008, 11:59 AM
I reload for it, so after the initial cost of brass, it is cheap to shoot. I am new to the caliber after years of .45 shooting, but I just love the .38 Super now. :D

I have no idea if the conversion is doable. :)

April 24, 2008, 12:05 PM
Cowboy , It would take an entire new top end ( everything above the frame ) as well as a new ejector ( which is not real handy to change ) to do the conversion . In all honesty you could likely sell that old 1911 for enough to pick up about any factory 1911 made today . I would say either sell it for what you want , or just appreciate it for what it is ( if it has sentimental value ) . Please whatever you do dont start making irreversable changes to it from factory original . Granted its your pistol and you can do what you want with it , ill just encorage you to sell it and make changes to a modern one rather than " screw up " an older pistol by any customization at all other than a set of grips .
Also fyi the .38 super was the original answer to the bullet proof vests back in the bonnie and clyde days . It was real popular in tx and mexico , less so across the enitire south and for a time like the 10mm was about as good as it got for horsepower in an auto . It was somewhat popular in the 30s , and again in the 80s for ipsc but like lots of good ideas in the gun world never really gained mainstream approval . If you have a chance to visit the TX ranger museum down in waco tx you will find a lot of " dress " or " bbq " 1911s that old time rangers and other lawmen lavished lots of big $$ on to show off . A surprising number of them are in .38 super . Possibly them old gunfighers saw something that we overlook nowadays . For the record i dont currently and only seldom have owned a super and i would give the same advise on the 1911 no matter the caliber . Keep it as is , sell it as needed to get what you think you want , however dont modify it .

April 24, 2008, 12:42 PM
^ As stated above, way too much trouble to convert it.

You could make a change to 9MM much easier, though it won't help you with the goal to shoot .45 ACP. But at least it would be cheaper to shoot!

Jim Watson
April 24, 2008, 03:49 PM
If in good condition and unaltered, an early post-WW II .38 Super is worth enough to buy two or three current model .45s. Convert it to a cheaper caliber and the collectors will cry.

April 24, 2008, 04:28 PM
You could make a change to 9MM much easierHow so would that be "much easier"?

It's just 6 of one and a half dozen of the other.
You would still need a top end, ejector & magazines for 9mm too.


April 24, 2008, 04:51 PM
No a barrel change as the 38 super just a longer 9mm So really shouldn't be that much of a problem

April 24, 2008, 05:03 PM

I had brain a farq.

I was thinking .45 to .38 Super or 9mm as being ---- --



Jim Watson
April 24, 2008, 05:15 PM
I have a 1954 Super with a 9mm barrel fitted; required nothing else but adjustment of the extractor. And new magazines, but the original one will not feed Supers, either.
In failing nickel plate and even the Super barrel not original, it looks like a project gun to me. I would like to make it look like an early IPSC gun, after the Super was "discovered" but before they started hanging compensators and illuminated sights on them.

April 24, 2008, 06:27 PM
A 1946 Super?

Please for the love of God, don't mess it up by trying to turn it into something else. Those can be gems (and if you look at the auction sites they go for mega $)

Sniper X
April 24, 2008, 06:39 PM
Sell it and buy 5 or six nice 1911s in .45acp....

April 24, 2008, 07:37 PM

The only straight up Super .38 to .45 ACP conversion involves putting a Colt Commander slide on the Super .38 frame. Jan Libourel wrote about a 5 in 1 conversion he did with a Colt Government Super .38, back in 1982. Besides the 9mm., and a .22 conversion kit, Libourel found that a .45 Commander slide would work with a stock Super .38 frame.

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