1911 22lr conversion or new pistol? opinions


August 3, 2009, 11:18 AM
Hey -
Im torn and looking for some opinions.
I cant afford to shoot much anymore, so im looking for a 22lr pistol.
Here is the issue, should I get a 22lr conversion for my 1911, or a whole new pistol. I am looking to spend around $400. as of now i only own 2 handguns, an RIA 1911, and a baby eagle (jericho) 9.

My prob with the mark's and brownings is that I really dont like to looks of them. I know, call me stupid, but i buy guns for asthetic value as well. should I just suck it up?

I was looking into a revolver, but I havent heard great things around the cheap DA 22lr revolvers (taurus, charter etc.)

I am 6'5" so the mosquito and p22 dont really fit me well.

If possible, I like the gun to be semi compact, 4" barrel and under.

any ideas?

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August 3, 2009, 12:22 PM
how about a Ruger? (or is that what you are calling the marks?) Browning maked the Buckmark so that could be refered as a mark also. There are some companies selling 22lr as first choice than get a bigger caliber next such as Sig Arms

August 3, 2009, 12:24 PM
Ruger Single Six, perhaps? My wife got me a Ruger 22/45; I thought it was missing something as well, so I cut it for 1911 grips. It's my favorite.


August 3, 2009, 12:56 PM
How about a Sig P series .22? I bought a P220R SAO not long ago and I really like it. They also include a coupon where you can buy the centerfire top end for $399...

August 3, 2009, 01:18 PM
I would probably go for a second pistol. For me that would be a Ruger, but you don't fancy them.

However, couple days ago this question came up on a different board. Got me thinking, and I came up with a different option..

Use half the $400 to get yourself set-up to reload and cast. If you can track down a near free source of scrap lead, your cost to reload for those calibers will drop to around the price of 22lr. Even if you have to buy lead, or buy bullets, they remaining $200 will buy a lot of them.

Just a thought.

August 3, 2009, 02:03 PM
It's a toss up, but honestly I'd probably look for a Marvel unit 1 or tac solutions upper.

August 3, 2009, 04:48 PM
i was going through the same thing a few months ago and finally decided to buy a new handgun so i didnt have to swap over the conversion at the range. I got a Beretta U22 Neos for around $250 (new) and its a great shooter. I went with the 6" barrel, but they also offer a 4". If at some point you want the 6" you can easily buy one at Midway for under $100 and switch it over in like 20 seconds. One of the selling points for me was the integrated weaver rail along the top, which i mounted a red dot to.

August 3, 2009, 05:18 PM
I have a Kimber conversion on mine and love it. It is very reliable and accurate, though it does need to be run wet. I really like the Ruger Mark as well; with you only having two handguns I would suggest a dedicated pistol.

August 3, 2009, 05:33 PM
I got a conversion late last year. Now that it's broke in, it cycles smootly with no issues.


Pretty much just use CCI stinger in it.

The other .22 I have is a Beretta Cheetah, it eats anything I put through it. No issues.

Both are reliable, and best of all inexpensive to shoot.

I used to have a Sig Mosquito, probably should have kept it, but moved it on. The only thing I didn't like about it was the sights. They just weren't very snug fitting, and really didn't seem to be well made. Everything else about the gun was OK.

Magazines is where they get ya most of the time, unless you can pick some up used. Don't forget to budget for them.

kansas coyote
August 3, 2009, 05:38 PM
My 1911a1 springfield manual states specificaly not to use 22 conversion kits on it it states you run the risk of damage to the gun or personal injury . Dont know why this statement is made but I will take their word for it .

I am a big fells also 6'3" 245 and I found one that fits me perfect it is the smith and wesson 22a very well made and even comes with a sight rail if you are the scope kind of person personally I only own 1 scoped weapon and that is my deer rifle . I find target shooting more rewarding useing what god gave me. But everyone is differant . These pistol run's in the $289 range I bought mine 3 yrs ago for $159 at bass pros grand opening here in kansas . Hell of a nice weapon .

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 3, 2009, 06:21 PM
Some questions are hard. This one is not. It's a PITA to swap slides out, and you don't save much $$ anyway.

You want a new pistol. Might I recommend a Browning Buckmark?

Vern Humphrey
August 3, 2009, 06:39 PM
My experience with .22 Conversion kits is they are iffy. My Colt Service Ace kit is the best I have, but it won't shoot with my Colt Woodsman. I like the Converson kits to practice with -- and yes, I reload. And yes, I get free wheel weights from my local tire dealer. But you won't get .45 ACP down to .22 prices, try as you will.

One nice thing about .22 Conversion kits is you can practice with the same gun you carry -- only using .22 ammo. Another plus is that shooting .22 makes it easier to practice the tough things -- like keeping your eye on the front sight through the recoil and recovery cycle.

August 3, 2009, 06:45 PM
My 1911a1 springfield manual states specificaly not to use 22 conversion kits on it it states you run the risk of damage to the gun or personal injury . Dont know why this statement is made but I will take their word for it .
Same reason every manufacturer states that you should never shoot reloads ... they really do not need to have customer support clogged with misc issues that are not central to their business (as well as some perceived liability issues w reloads).

My Ad Arms conversion has been on 2 SAs, 1 Colt and a Norinco - trouble-free on all.

David E
August 3, 2009, 07:01 PM
shooting .22 makes it easier to practice the tough things -- like keeping your eye on the front sight through the recoil and recovery cycle.

I've always wondered why one would want to track the front sight thru the recoil cycle. There's nothing over the berm that I want to shoot !

I don't care where it goes, I only care that it comes back to the same spot.

Regarding the OP's question, it depends what his goal is. If it's simply to shoot more, then a new .22 would be a better choice. If, on the other hand, he wants to improve his skills with his 1911, then a conversion kit makes more sense.

August 3, 2009, 07:18 PM
thanks for all the great replies.
first off, i cant carry, because im in NY, and they are quite retarded about gun laws (don't get it twisted though, i love my state!). so practicing to get better for carry purposes is out the window.

leads me to a couple new questions.
what kind of accuracy would I get with a ruger mark III 4" barrel out to 15-25 yards?

does anyone have experience with the charter/taurus 4" 22lr revolvers? I held one at the store and the DA trigger pull was about 2,000 lbs. haha does it smooth/loosen up?

thanks for the help fellas

August 3, 2009, 07:29 PM
what kind of accuracy would I get with a ruger mark III 4" barrel out to 15-25 yards?
I honestly haven't shot more than one or two of the new Mk IIIs, but if my Mk II, and many others I've shot and watched shot are anything to go on, you will run out of accuracy a LONG way before it does! :D

Yeah, they're very accurate.

Having said that, if you shoot a 1911, and want to get good/fast with it, get a conversion kit. Nothing like getting to practice with the same gun you (might someday) carry or rely on. Shooting lots of different guns is fun, but it does mess with the skills you're building in your hands and head when you change to a different grip and manual of arms.


August 3, 2009, 07:41 PM
I like my Ruger Mark II, but my Kimber upper is far more accurate. I do have to clean the Kimber upper more frequently than the Mark II due to the extra tight chamber. So...I have and use both.

August 3, 2009, 08:21 PM
If you are inclined towards a revo, keep your eye open for an S&W M17 (6 inch) or M18 (4 inch). Old-fashoined quality.
Finding one for $400 will be a challenge, but not impossible (I found one, and have seen at least two in the last year or so).
Hint: join the S&W forum and search their "for sale" ads regularly. When one comes up at that price, it probably won't last long.

David E
August 3, 2009, 10:03 PM
Even NY has shooting competitions, like USPSA and IDPA. A 1911 is perfect for either one. A .22 conversion kit would allow more practice with the same gun/holster combo for improved skill.

For a whole gun, either the Ruger or Buckmark are very good choices.

August 3, 2009, 10:08 PM
My advice is forget the conversion and get a 22 pistol unless you plan on 2700 Bullseye match shooting (in which case the Marvel is the one to get).

I've seen a number of 1911 conversion kits at our club and the common thread is they don't work with the cheap bulk pack ammo -- which kinds of defeats the whole purpose if you have to buy .22 ammo that costs almost as much as cheap 9mm to get them to work.


August 3, 2009, 10:19 PM
I had a couple of original Colt 1911 22 units and got tired of swapping back and forth and finally bought a lower and made a complete 22 1911 pistol.

For $400 max I would recommend a Standard Model Ruger. You can find a clean used one for $200 or so and you can't go wrong with one. I bought two of them for $100 each about 9 years ago from a guy walking a gun show. Gave one to a friend for Christmas and kept the other because I learned it was made the year I was born and I keep those for luck.


August 3, 2009, 10:25 PM
I have a Ciener .22 conversion, and I love it, I have three 15 rd mags for it, but at the same time.....if your budget is $400, you can get a LOT of .22. With that budget, you could probably get a .22 kit AND build a dedicated frame for it. I use one specifically because I'm too cheap to buy a high-end .22. For $400 you could buy a conversion and be about halfway towards putting a suppressor on it.

I would go to a rental range and shoot as many different ones as possible. My dad has a Ruger Single-Six, a Woodsman, and a Mk II, I love shooting all of them. Particuylarly one day we have talked about rebuilding the Mk II (It's REALLY beat up) and putting a bull barrel on it. We both think that would be perfect.

August 4, 2009, 09:06 AM
I bought a Marvel unit 2 to ride in my Ed Brown Kobra Carry. I use it, but I also bought a Ruger MKII 22/45. The conversion unit works but it is very ammo sensitive. I think I need to give it more break in. It is nice to use the same gun for trainning as the ammo is much cheaper. I do find I use the Ruger far more than the conversion unit. I will mention that I completely converted the Ruger with Volquartsen parts. That makes the Ruger a very nice gun. Without the Volquartsen parts, my Ed Brown, with the Marvel unit, would shoot rings around the Ruger. Triggers make a big difference for me. All said, I would go for the second gun if I had it to do over.

August 4, 2009, 11:56 AM
I have decided to go with a new pistol.

ive now been eyeing a Ruger 22/45 Mark III 4".

is there a big difference in accuracy of the 4" or 5" model, out to 25 yrds?

Also, how picky are these with ammo?

August 4, 2009, 12:21 PM
The 5" will give you a touch longer sight baseline so the errors in your sight picture will produce less wander but really both are quite capable of making 3 to 4" diameter groups if you're eyes are sharp enough and your hands steady enough. I'd say that for timed "speed shooting" events the extra inch won't make a noticable difference since you won't be taking the time to be fussy enough to where the longer sightline will help. But if you enjoy shooting slow and deliberate to get the best groups you can then for sure go for the 5 inch option.

All .22 semi pistols are fussy about ammo. But it seems like the Rugers are less fussy than most. I've got one that chokes on ANY of the high velocity options but runs like a champ on CCI and AE standard velocity ammo. But my S&W422 sometimes chokes on the standard velocity but LOVES Blazers and Win 333 bulk stuff. But the Ruger owners will be along shortly to tell you what they found works well for them.

August 4, 2009, 05:50 PM
Have you looked at the buckmarks? Just curious. I looked at both and chose the buckmark after handling both. BC nailed it I think. Average shooter probably won't notice much difference (unless of course you are a natural with one or the other).

August 4, 2009, 05:54 PM
Or if you feel like waiting a couple of months you could get one of these.


Jim K
August 4, 2009, 07:18 PM
I have used several conversion units and have not found any that will shoot as well as a good .22 pistol or revolver. They were originally intended for inexpensive military training for those armed with the .45 pistol, so they didn't have to shoot any better than the average GI .45.

If you want to retain some of the feel of the 1911 type, Ruger makes the 22/45 which has the grip angle of the 1911 and will run well under $400. Other alternatives are the S&W .22 autos and revolvers; a used K-22 would be a very nice gun and should run under $400.


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