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Seeking a 22 caliber 1911.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SaxonPig, Jul 19, 2008.

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  1. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I got my first 1911 Colt in February of 1973 (and I still have it). I’ve had several Government Models in 45 ACP and 38 Super (both Series ’70 models and earlier commercial guns) and a couple of Commanders have also floated in and out of the safe. I never owned a 1911 in 9mm caliber nor do I wish to own such a gun. But I did want a 1911 in 22 Long Rifle and this proved frustrating over the years.

    An original Ace (factory 1911 in 22 LR) is out of the question due to cost. These pistols just bring too much from collectors for a shooter like me to buy one. So in the 1970s I purchased a Colt 22 Conversion Unit for the 1911.

    This unit resembles the upper part of a Gold Cup, the deluxe target version of the Colt 1911. It has the Accro adjustable rear sight, sighting rib and Patridge front sight just like the Gold Cup. The slide serrations are also inclined forward ala Gold Cup. To me, fitting the unit on a standard Gov’t Model just doesn’t look right, so I always installed it on my Gold Cup.

    I never was able to make the unit function with 100% reliability. The biggest chronic problem was the failure of the slide to lock open following the last round. Mine always closed on the empty magazine and although this is a small thing it still irked me.

    I wanted to make a dedicated pistol from the unit and looked in vain for a Gold Cup lower to buy for the project. I only saw one for sale in all the years I looked and it sold for within a few dollars of the cost of a whole gun. Go figure.

    So I eventually “settled” and bought a standard frame in alloy made by an aftermarket firm. I obtained the small parts in a kit from Numrich and assembled the complete gun. I wasn’t happy with it and sold the whole gun in disgust. Maybe a year later I picked up an identical conversion unit and for nearly 30 years I swapped it back and forth on my Gold Cup still wishing that I could find a suitable lower to make a complete gun.

    I continued to have the slide lock issue with the new unit. Then a parts dealer at a gun show with whom I was discussing this problem informed me that there were different slide locks for different applications. He explained that this part is numbered 1 to 4 and the one for the 22 was not the one I had in the gun. I found a lock with the correct number but alas it didn’t solve the problem. Oh well.

    Then about three years ago I became aware of the Charles Daly 1911. What caught my eye was the trigger, which looked very much like the Gold Cup trigger and it occurred to me that a Daly lower might look good with the conversion unit. I started watching the auctions and sure enough a complete Daly lower popped up. The starting bid was $161 (don’t ask me why the odd amount) and my bid was the only one.

    The unit slipped on the Daly lower like it was made specifically for it and to me it looked right with the Gold Cup style trigger. The Daly came with an extended grip safety and a round Commander style hammer which I don’t particularly like, but I am too lazy to change these parts. Anyone who has seen my 1911s knows I like the look of ivory and all my 1911s wear genuine ivory except for this gun which sports some fake ivories I bought about 20 years ago. One side is scrimshawed with my emblem from my membership in a club that recreates Medieval events. Long ago I had a jeweler friend mount a small diamond beneath the crest just to be weird. How many shooters have diamond-studded grips?

    The assembled pistol looked good, and I was very pleased at the range when I found that not only was the gun pretty accurate for a conversion (these aren’t famous for pin-point accuracy) but it also functioned with 100% reliability... including the slide lock! The gun now works as it should. Ironic, but the Colt unit never work perfectly on any Colt lower I tried, but works great on the Daly frame.

    I paid $200 for the unit (I realize they sell for much more now) and $161 for the lower and about $40 for the stocks (not including the value of the diamond that I had laying around anyway) so total investment is a tad over $400.

    For that, it’s a fun shooter.

    Being part Daly and part Colt I call it a Dolt. Sort of looks like a 22 Gold Cup, no?

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