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Quick Few .45 Super Conversion Questions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Anthony, Jan 9, 2004.

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  1. Anthony

    Anthony Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Hello Everyone,

    Had a quick pair of questions about converting a carbon steel Colt 1911 to fire .45 Super in addition to it's original .45 ACP chambering.

    First, the conversion seems to require only three components: the ammunition, a much heavier recoil, and a guide rod of some sort. It is my understanding that the .45 Super can be fired in the same barrel as .45 ACP. The conversion units I have seen seem overpriced given the only hardware difference seems to be a 30 pound recoil spring.

    Couldn't you accomplish the same thing by using Wolff's 28 pound recoil spring on a high quality guide rod or am I missing something?

    Second, does anyone have any experience with the ammunition manufactured by the various companies that offer .45 Super? If yes, how do you feel their quality stacks up to the bigger companies like Federal, Winchester, etc?

    Third, the .450 SMC from Triton is essentially a copy of the .45 Super that was created due to some issues of royalties on the name...correct?

    Lastly, what other modifications to the gun would help extend its life from a steady diet of .45 Super? Compensator? Shok-buffs?

    Thanks for the input.
  2. Chuck Perry

    Chuck Perry Member

    Dec 27, 2002
  3. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    I find it slightly odd that while .45 Super is only running the same power levels as 10mm Auto, folks like to put HUGE poundage recoil springs in their .45 Super guns (28-32 pounds for .45 Super vs. the 20-22 lbs folks use for most 10mm Auto).

  4. stans

    stans Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    central Virginia
    Some folks like those ultra heavy springs in 10mm's too! I think it is probably best to use a flat firing pin stop and a 23 or 25 pound mainspring and a 20 pound recoil spring in the 10mm. With the 45 Super, you probably need a 22 to 24 pound spring, since the 45 Super can actually exceed 10mm balistics. A recoil buffer (CP Bullets Tuff buff) would be a wise idea as well. Biggest problem with 45 Super is that the Super case has the same external dimensions as the 45 ACP, so if some Super ammo found its way into a box stock 1911 or if a standard 45 ACP case were loaded to Super levels...:what:
  5. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    Jun 13, 2003
    I've never shot 45 super loads from a off the shelf 5" 1911 with anything less than a 26lb recoil spring, so I can't say how well a 22lb spring would work. I can say that 4 of 5 off the shelf 1911's ran fine with a 28 lb recoil spring. The remaining pistol ran better with 26lb recoil springs. Running spring rate this high probably constitutes abuse and I really wouldn't recommend anyone shooting 45 Supers long-term without some further adaptation.

    How to see if the 45 Super is for you:

    If you are serious about building a 45 Super, I suggest you pick out a nice 1911 for starters. Order a 28 lb recoil spring from Wolffe and try to install it (and a heavy duty firing pin return spring). If you can get it in without hurting yourself or teaching the kids a few new words, the 45 Super might be for you. If you get it in without too much trouble, then you can see if you like it or not. I don't mind the extra force required to move the slide, but it is too much for lots of people. Next, go out and shoot some with good ,stout 45 ACP loads. Most 1911's will run hardball or better. You may get a stovepipe or failure to eject. Try anything less powerful and the gun may stop running altogether. This has been my experience on every Super conversion I have had anything to do with. Now break the gun down and clean it. After you are done, ask yourself; "Wouldn't I really rather put the stock recoil spring back in?" If the answer is no, you may be lying to yourself. Go ahead and put that %(*%% spring back in anyway, just to be sure. Then get yourself a few Super cases (there are places that sell them by the hundred) and load 'em up. Don't handload? Forget it then, don't bother. If you do, then load up a few (50 or less) and try them out. You may get a few failure to feed, or not. Then clean your gun again. If you still think the 45 Super is for you after you stick that $#*&$#* spring in again, you still have to figure out what you need to do to help your gun stand up to more of them. The longslide is a very elegant solution, as is an expansion chamber comp. Dual recoil spring setups work well while some people are fitting flat bottom firing pin stops and running single springs much lighter than 28lbs. Of course, there are others that just run the single 28lb springs and don't worry about it.

    I've said before that if I were to build another .45 Super, I'd get a decent quality 1911 with adjustable sights and get a spare compensated, unramped barrel fitted and that a close second would be a 6" longslide with unramped, bushingless bull barrel and reverse plug so it would take standard GM springs.
    Since then, I ran into a gentleman on a trip home to LA with a Kimber custom target. He had installed a 20lb recoil spring, 25 lb mainspring and flat bottom firing pin stop. He claimed to have been using the setup for over a year and 3000 rounds. The range operator confirmed that he was there on a weekly basis. It seems to be a more considered and balanced approach than the monster recoil spring method.
    I'd be willing to give this a try, but I still think the expansion chamber comp is the best way to go, all things considered.

    I have come to terms with my 6" STI. It has promised to feed ammo if I don't attack it with a dremel tool. I am still running a 24lb recoil spring, but could likely go lower. More than ever, I see the 45 Super as the firearm equivalent of a street legal drag car. Great to tinker with on the weekend, not so great for a daily driver, your results may vary.

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