.45 Super modification - Pistolsmith

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Old 09-02-2003, 09:27 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 49
.45 Super modification

In reading about .45acp-to-.45Super conversions on the Ace Custom website, I happened across the fact that, in their initial tests, they simply replaced the recoil spring on a standard Govt. Model Colt with a 22-24lb one. This is because the Colts, as most any other 1911 pattern pistol, have a chamber that is easily strong enough to contain the pressures generated by the .45 Super, with no modification at all, and the fact that .45 Super loads are dimensionally identical to .45acp, the only difference being the thickness of the webbing at the base of the case.

Is there anything to prevent one from using .45 Super in a standard .45acp 1911, such as a 1991A1 (which is what I shoot, if you couldn't already tell) by simply replacing the recoil spring & possibly main spring? I might hesitate to do this with an alloy-framed pistol, but I can't really see any other reason this wouldn't be safe.
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Old 09-02-2003, 09:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 23
Some light reading..



You might want to upgrade the firing pin spring, with a 28lb recoild it could cause the FP to follow.
Old 09-03-2003, 06:26 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 49
Good point

So any conversion should probably include detail-stripping so that the firing pin spring can be replaced with a stiffer one, to prevent it from following when the slide slams back into battery. I'm also thinking that it might be wise to replace an MIM extractor with a barstock one.
Old 09-03-2003, 04:48 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 23
Well first i would ask what is this gun going to be used for? If its a range gun i would just shoot it with the new springs, let the extractor break, it may go thousands of rounds, who knows. I've never done this conversion but i have looked at doing it, nor am i a pistolsmith but i did stay at a holiday inn express!! I say try it out and share you results with the rest of us.
Old 09-03-2003, 08:04 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 49
Well, I don't really have a specific use for .45 Super except simply putting together a 1911 with MORE POWER. I was actually thinking of just having a higher tension recoil spring and switching it out to shoot the big thumpers, but I think that I might have a timing problem unless I also changed the main & firing pin spring each time, plus the risk of the firing pin following, it seems as though I'd have to detail strip the gun each time I changed ammo. I think I might be better advised to get an inexpensive steel-framed milspec .45acp, like an Auto Ordnance, RIA or Systema and just modify it to shoot .45 Super and nothing else.
Old 09-06-2003, 03:06 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 440
I would surely check with one of the 'smiths here on the site before using a Systema for the .45 Super. While I enjoy my Systema, I am under the impression that the slides on the Systemas are NOT HARDENED. I am NOT a gunsmith, but I have a sneaky hunch you might be able to dig one up here on the site :lol: !!
I would think that the non hardened slide would possibly be a substantial issue when firing the "high-powered" stuff in the old 1911. I am quite sure that any of the great gunsmiths that frequent this sacred retreat of friendship, virture, and knowledge would have a definitive answer for you.
Best of luck and safe shootin',
Jeffro (Jeff)
Old 09-07-2003, 12:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 964
I think I would stay away from converting a Systema to 45 Super, since the steel used in these guns is good, just not quite as good as modern production guns. I know I would stay away from Auto Ordnance, they use cast slides and frames. The frame might hold up to the pounding, but I would expect a cast slide to crack pretty quickly. For 45 Super, I would use Colt (modern production, nothing before Series 70), Kimber, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory Inc., or Dan Wesson's with forged slides. The Smith & Wesson 5606 might be the absolute best candidate for such a conversion.
Old 09-07-2003, 07:53 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 49

I was unaware that the hardening of the Systema was either different or even non-existent...good thing to know.

I'm not too sure that the fact of an AO being cast rather than forged is as much of an issue, since part of the job of the heavier recoil spring will be to absorb most of the extra slamming of the slide. In fact, I was under the impression, from what I've read about this, that the critical issue is the frame cracking, which is why alloy frames are not recommended. Still, given your concerns, the best inexpensive way to go might be a Rock Island, or maybe I'll just get a new Colt and convert my old stainless 1991A1.

In any case, I better hurry, since there's a bill coming up in California to force all pistols sold here to have a loaded chamber indicator or a magazine safety (will not fire without the mag inserted)...pretty much eliminates classic 1911s. FEH! :x

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