.22 LR Conversion Kit Question - Pistolsmith

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Old 01-02-2007, 12:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 15
.22 LR Conversion Kit Question

I played with a Kimber Conversion Kit at the range and decided to buy one to sit atop my Kimber CE II 45 frame. The friend who let me play with it told me that he had his smith put in a lighter Hammer Spring in his frame in order for it to cycle .22s and 45s with the same spring. I was wondering whether I might have to do the same thing with mine.

I did a search on other boards and came away confused. One member in several posts posted that he changed his main spring. Several members opined that the recoil spring might be what everyone was talking about, but the poster seems to know the difference between a recoil spring and a main spring and he was certain that it was the main spring that was adjusted. This fits with what my friend told me.

My questions (to anyone who has a similar set up and/or to anyone who is knowledgeable on the subject) are as follows:
- MUST I change the main spring on the frame of my gun or can I avoid that by shooting High Velocity Ammo?
- As I have a big box of Federal Match Ammo, could I use that without changing the springs? My friend told me that the match Ammo is not High Velocity.

Additional information:
- I shot it on both my frame and his frame the other day and had no problems cycling the slide using his Remington Ammo.
- Today, on both his frame (with the adjusted spring) and my frame (with a stock .45 main spring using the Kit) I had problems cycling the slide after firing (this using both my Federal High Velocity Ammo and his Remington).

I already bought it and it should be on the way. I am not about to change it for a Marvel or a Ceiner and I want to make what I bought work.

Anything anyone can do to clear up the subject for me would be most welcome. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 571
A year or two ago my son and I both bought the Kimber .22 uppers. Mine has a failure to feed or eject occasionally; the one my son has is 100% and is more accurate, too. We have done nothing to them or the frames. As a matter of fact I have put mine on 5 or 6 1911 frames trying to get some accuracy. There seems to be very little difference between any of them.

My pistol seem to like CCI Stingers better for accuracy and reliability.

I really don't know why you would have to change the main spring. Maybe some of the gunsmiths could answer that for all of us. I just can't see how that would effect it. There is a skinny recoil spring that comes with the unit, could that be the spring they are talking about?

Old 01-02-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 15
Thanks, Buddy. I have heard the same from a few people as what you report.

From what I understand, when the slide recoils, it cocks the hammer and compresses the main or hammer spring. If there is not enough force driving the slide, or if the hammer spring is too stout for the light recoil, it will not cock the hammer. With this light slide being driven by the recoil force of a .22, a stout main spring which is normally powered by the heavier slide being driven back by the recoil force of a .45, might not compress and the hammer might not cock.

What's funny is I have heard from both sides of the fence, one side saying that theirs work fine with no modifications and one side saying that they had problems until they modified the spring to accomodate both this slide and the factory .45 slide.

What is consistent in all this is that the manufacturer says to use high velocity ammo as this should drive the slide with the right amount of force.

In any case, if anyone else has more to add to solving this puzzle, I would appreciate hearing from them. Thanks.
Old 01-03-2007, 11:23 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 876
I fear I do not have an Internet Answer that will satisfy you but it is the only way to Know For Sure.
Shoot the gun.
It is a matter of balancing out two requirements.
The recoiling slide must overcome the mainspring as well as the recoil spring.
The mainspring must be strong enough to fire the .22. Rimfires require a harder hit than a centerfire primer so you cannot just go to a softie mainspring to reduce the resistance to recoil. I once had a Gold Cup with Colt factory softer-than-GI mainspring which would not reliably fire a .22 in Colt Conversion Kit. I put in a GI surplus mainspring and ignition was reliable... until I wore the hammer hooks right off the shallow engagement of the Gold Cup hammer.
On the other hand, my CZ Kadet Conversion gives reliable ignition with a reduced mainspring in the CZ 75 action.

You may have to do some trial and error.
Old 01-03-2007, 11:32 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 15
Thanks, Jim. I should get the unit tomorrow and will go to the range Friday. I am hoping for the best as some people have been lucky and not needed any modifications.

Regardless of what answers I receive here, I intended to shoot the gun and see how it works unmodified. It's hard to believe Kimber would make a unit that is not a drop in part, especially the way they bill it when selling it. That said, people have had issues with the unit and no gun maker is infallible. It's possible the earlier units did not work without spring modifications and Kimber tweaked something to get it right on the later units.

Range time on Friday will tell.

I like your Sig Line
Old 01-24-2007, 02:05 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 61
Hello Neveragain:
I just purchased a Kimber .22 kit from MidwayUSA for a takehome price of $259; it was on sale and I had a $20 coupon.
I tried it on my TLE but it felt too tight and would not cycle by hand empty without a lot of resistance so I put it on my Mil-Spec SA and tried it with CCI Mini Mags[1260fps]. At first it would not go into battery after each shot. It was like shooting a single shot pistol. I would have to nudge the slide forward afer each shot to chamber the next round. I also got a lot of stovepipes and FTE. After 200 rounds the kit started to feed and cycle without malfunctions. I then put it on a pistol rest to adjust the sights and fired 50 more rounds without problems.
When I brought it home, I checked the conversion slide and found about three rough spots on the inside of the slide. I carefully smoothed them out with a fine diamond file and a hard Arkansas stone. Next day I fired the rest of my Mini Mags[about 200] and fired another 100 rounds of Fed. value pack 36gr plated HP. They claim 1280fps. I had two misfires that shot on the second try and one stovepipe with the Feds.
It is my understanding that these kits need "high velocity" ammo to work properly. Most balistics given for a particular brand of ammo givrs us the velocity from a rifle rather that a 5" barrel so I would subtract at least 200 fps from the balistics given unless it specifies it is for pistols. I guess anything over 1200fps would be good enough.
By the way, this was great fun shooting a 1911 with .22's once I got the kit going.
Old 01-29-2007, 12:16 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 15
Hi, Beachjumper.

I have run more than a few hundred rounds (some high velo ammo and also some match just to experiment and see how it ran). I can't say that the high velo ammo was significantly better than the match ammo as far as results in consistency in feeding/cycling.

I bought some CCI mini mags as well but have not had the time to try them out. But those seem to defeat the purpose of plinking with .22's because they are $5.00 for a box of 100 rounds. I ran some CCI Stingers through the gun and it ran well, but those are too expensive for plinking, too.

I guess I will check out my slide when I get home, but it seems to cycle reliably by hand.

Old 01-29-2007, 05:31 AM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 61
Good morning NeverAgain:
I agree with you about the cost of ammo . But I wanted the kit so I could plink with a full sized 1911. So I wanted high velocity copper plated ammo; I have had problems in the past when using unplated ammo with my MKIII Ruger and Walter P22.
I went out last Friday and tried 8 differant types of HV CP .22's; 50 rounds each. The CCI Stinger and Velocitor ammo seem to work the best but are too expensive; about $5 per 50.
It took a while for me to get use to the plain black iron sights but I did appriciate the positive clicks you get to adjust windage and elevation. They remind me of BO-MAR sights.
As of now I'll probably stick with the Federal Valuepack which goes for about $15 per 550 rounds. It has a stated 1280 fps and is copper plated.
Old 03-06-2007, 07:08 PM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 61
Well I finally got this kit going. I'm using CCI Mini Maggs 40 gr. cprn. It's more expensive than some .22 rimfires but a lot cheaper than .45's. It is an absolute joy to shooot a .22 rimfire from a 1911a1 platform. I can also practice point shooting because the BOMAR iron type sights without those three dot white marks do not distracting me from the target. All in all it was worth the instment for me to get this kit.
Old 04-28-2010, 06:36 AM   #10
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Safety Harbor, Florida since 2006 Waterloo, New York before 2006.
Posts: 5
I have the Kimber 22 conversion and had some problems with it going into battery. I found that the lube I was using was to heavy. After a good cleaning I started using weapon Shield and have never had a problem since. I find it very accurate and fun to shoot. Hope this helps. I now use Weapon Shield on all my Kimbers and other weapons.

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