9mm 1911 caliber swaps?


June 7, 2012, 01:34 PM
So, earlier this year I bought my first 1911, an STI Spartan IV. It's been my carry gun since I bought it, and I love it. I ordered it in 9mm because I would not be able to shoot nearly as much as I do if I shot .45. I do not reload yet, and the range fees really get ya.

I had an idea to swap it to .45 when shooting funds are greater, but after research it looks like that isn't possible.

What other calibers can I switch to, with minimal 'smithing (aside from the normal barrel fitting, etc)? This is just an idea, and If I choose to do so won't be for a while, but it's becoming a very interesting idea.

So far I know of .38 Super, and 9x23.

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highlander 5
June 7, 2012, 01:40 PM
9x21 mm.

June 7, 2012, 01:42 PM
All except 9mm cost more then .45 ACP, or have to be reloaded though.


June 7, 2012, 01:44 PM
Right, but once shooting funds are greater, I'll be able to shoot them, and since I've already got the gun, a swap would be cheaper than a new gun.

And, I'm eventually going to get into reloading.

June 7, 2012, 01:54 PM
BullfrogKen is quite fond of his swap-top 9mm/.38 Super/9x23mm.

9x23mm will put a smile on the face of 'most anybody!

June 7, 2012, 02:02 PM
From everything I've been reading, 9x23 sounds like one hell of a round, and may be what I'm looking for. Do you know where he got his barrel?

June 7, 2012, 02:50 PM
I know the gun was built by Jim Garthwaite (or, actually by Ken, under Jim's tutleage) but I'm not sure about the barrel. For some reason I'm thinking it was a Clark barrel, but I could be wrong.

Jim K
June 7, 2012, 02:54 PM
Swapping between/among the 9mm/.38 calibers does not require a lot of work. But swapping to .45 will not be possible at all without a new slide and not really feasible even then since the ejector will have to be changed, not to mention that the feed ramp probably won't work right.


June 7, 2012, 03:01 PM
Jim, all the research I've read says the feed ramp is cut at a different angle, so I can't use the 9mm frame.

But, I think the ejector does need to be changed between .38, and 9 mm. The 9mm ejector is longer, and may cause a .38 super round to fire if you try to eject a live round.

Or it might have been vise versa, I was skimming through a little bit.

Thanks, Sam.

Is the 9x23 any different than fitting any other barrel? By that I mean any competent gunsmith should be able to fit it? I haven't really looked into barrels, or what is needed to fit one, yet.

June 7, 2012, 03:16 PM
The swap-top 9mm/.38 Super/9x23mm I'm most familiar with is a simple barrel & spring swap from one to the next. Quite easy, really. It functions perfectly well with either, though Ken tends to use .38 Super-Comp brass more than true .38 Super (rim is more like a 9mm than a .38 Super).

June 7, 2012, 04:35 PM
Now, can you shoot .38 Super out of a 9x23 barrel, or is it vice versa?

June 7, 2012, 06:26 PM
That's right. 9x23 is longer. But you need to make sure it is set up for that. I don't know all the specifics.

June 7, 2012, 06:54 PM

The .38 Super ejector will work fine with 9mm. brass but not the other way around. The 9mm. ejector is too long for the .38 Super brass to eject properly.

June 7, 2012, 07:39 PM
Ok, so it is how I thought it was.

I'm going to have to do some more research on the 9x23, because if I can shoot both 9x23 AND .38 Super through it, I think we have a winner.

Jed Carter
June 8, 2012, 05:12 AM
There are several good new 1911s that would cost little more than a 1000 round case of ammo. I would not hesitate to reccomend you get another 1911 pistol. American Classic makes some nice pistols at a very affordable price. or a good used Colt, SIG or S&W 1911. Price of a new barrel $150 to $200 new magazines $30, recoil spring $15, getting barrel to fit, function properly may require gunsmithing services $200+. The parts usually do not just drop in, a 1911 is not a Glock, be a fun project though, or could turn a functional firearm into a long wait without any pistol while it is being repaired.

June 8, 2012, 11:16 AM
That's true, I could buy a new 1911 in .45.

The more I read about the 9x23, though, the more it sounds better than a .45.

I also have another gun I could carry while waiting for this to be done.

And, although RIA, Metro Arms, etc make fine 1911's, I feel the STI Spartan was the best budget 1911 available. All future 1911's I buy will be nicer than this one. I really don't want to sound like a "snob", because all those 1911's aren't crap, and will do a fine job, but I want my future purchases to be of even better quality, and prettier.

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