New Toy: multi-caliber 1911 kit


March 7, 2004, 02:15 PM
I couldn't resist when Tom Castonguay put his 1911 kit up for sale. It's got a Brazilian frame -- I forget what the manufacturer is, but Tom speaks well of it -- and three slides, five barrels, and a whole selection of springs. With nothing more than a bushing wrench, it can be set up to shoot .22, 38 Super, 9mm, 45, 45 Super and 10mm, depending on which slide, barrel, and springs you use. I set it up for 10mm, bought some practice ammo, and headed down to the range the other day, and found that I could get 4in. groups at 25ft., which probably means that the gun is capable of, at least, 3in. groups, or maybe 2in. ones.

It's not particularly pretty; there's a fair amount of wear on the frame, and one of the slides, but the trigger is spectacularly crisp -- you know: an icicle breaking, and all that -- and the only failure to feed I got was a stovepipe on the last round from one of the fourteen included magazines.

When I get the chance, I'll take and post some pictures of it on my website.

I bought it for use, not for sale, but I'm curious; assuming that it's as I've described -- and it is -- what do you folks think would be a fair price for the whole kit?

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March 7, 2004, 02:26 PM
It depends on fit, finish & function. The HK-4 is a four caliber pistolthat is traded at $1000 to $1500, depending on condition, etc, last I heard. I'd expect the piece you describe to trade in the lower four figures.

I bought an HK-4 some years ago as a SHTF weapon, thinking that the multi-caliber capability would keep it in the game longer that a single caliber. I shoot it only occasionally (No, it's not for sale)

The gun you describe shoots more powerful cartridges, and should be a lot of fun, as well as a sure-fire conversation starter at the range; enjoy!

March 7, 2004, 02:37 PM
Well, it is a conversation starter.

When I checked in at the range, the guy behind the counter asked me what calibers I'd be shooting...

"I dunno. Probably .22, 9mm, .45, 10mm -- unless you happen to have any .38 Super or .45 Super for sale?"

"Nope. Don't have 10mm either."

"Okay; I brought some."

"Fine. Then it's four guns? Or is it six?"

"Nah. Just one."

"Huh?" and then, after an explanation. "I gotta see this."

As to price, sure. If I were going to sell it -- I'm not -- I'd probably have the frame and the slides done up in GunKote to make it look prettier, and I might end up doing that anyway. I haven't actually tried it out with anything but 10mm yet, but I know the gunsmith, and if he says that it's functional for all the calibers -- and he does -- it is.

Sounds to me like a steal at $600 -- but that's what he was asking for, so I don't feel bad about getting it at that.

March 7, 2004, 07:42 PM
Well, for $600 it is kind of hard to argue. You got at least $600 worth of parts! I do have one switch top 1911. It started out as a Colt Delta Elite stainless, but I have built a 45 ACP top end and it works well.

March 7, 2004, 07:53 PM
Yup; and I like it. Works real, real nice in the new Bianchi "Carrylok" holster I got for it. Review on my blog ( , if you're interested. (Actually, the review is still there even if you aren't interested. ::)

March 7, 2004, 11:17 PM
That sounds like my kinda' pistol. As far as value, I have no idea. I'm working on my own multi caliber pistol, less refined but fun none the less. I've got a Glock 20 with a .40 conversion barrel and a 357 SIG barrel coming. It's a lot of fun. The .40 provides cheap low recoil practice. Now that AA makes a large frame .22 conversion, I'm just have to have that too.

March 8, 2004, 06:41 PM
It is a great idea, but my idea it is best to figure what you enjoy shooting and can be good with, and then maybe buy two of the calibers in completed separate guns. I can see having a Ceiner or Marvel conversion 22 that you put on your 45, and then maybe another gun chambered in 10mm. I think it is best to streamline purchases, but hey it would still be cool.
my $.02

March 9, 2004, 01:48 AM
The only fly in this ointment is that one ejector and frame ramp may not reliably function with that variety of calibers.

I have worked with the .400 Cor-bon, in a .45 Gov't Model, and have also done a 9mm LW Commander conversion on a .45 LW Commander frame. It does work, though I need to finish tweaking a couple things. Colt Commanders share the same ejectors between .45 and 9mm/.38 Super frames. Mine seems to like hot loads more than anything.

A 10mm 1911 could theoretically be converted to a .40 S&W, .357 Sig, and 9x25 Dillon with just barrel and mag changes.

One of these days, I think it would be fun to play with a .30 Luger in either a 1911 or or BHP.:D

March 9, 2004, 07:10 AM
Wow, sounds neat! Pics!

March 9, 2004, 09:51 AM
30 Luger in a 9mm Commander is FUN.

So is the .38/45 wildcat in a .45. I think the .38/45 will do anything a .357 Sig can.

March 9, 2004, 10:12 AM
Shooting -- pictures, and all the calibers -- is on the to-do list, although for some reason, my to-do list is pretty long.

And, yup, I'm vaguely concerned about reliability; I won't carry something that I don't know from my personal experience is bog-solid-reliable, and not just the gun: the combination of the gun, the ammo, and the shooter. Particularly with semiautos.

When I was out at the range, I offered the fellow in the next lane a try with the 10mm. He managed to get a failure to feed with every shot; limp-wristing, I suppose.

I did say that it's a "new toy", after all, although I may well end up carrying it in its 10mm configuration. (I've already got Kimbers in both Commander and Officers size, and a Series 80 Colt that Tom converted to .45 Super.)

The other obvious use for it is IPSC; you can "make major" with .38 Super pretty easily, and IPSC is fun, although I'm in no danger of winning anything, given that I only compete with my real carry gear, and point-shoot. (Sure, I should go IDPA, but they don't do IDPA at my gun club, and they do IPSC.)
I'm not knocking people who play the game more seriously, honest; different strokes for different folks, as a dominatrix of my (nonprofessional) acquaintance always says.

Still, working from first principles -- carry a a concealable, utterly reliable gun in the most powerful caliber that you can reliably control -- it's not at all a bad choice for carry, although I still think that there's a lot to be said for a pocket snubby.

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