Nelson Custom 22 LR conversion - Pistolsmith

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Old 12-25-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hatfield, PA
Posts: 5
Nelson Custom 22 LR conversion

I recently purchased a .22 LR conversion kit from Nelson Custom Guns for use with my Springfield Armory RANGE OFFICER. Nelson offers kits with adjustable sights or a red-dot mounting rail. You may select a standard or (extra cost)threaded barrel.

I selected the adjustable sight kit with standard barrel. It came packed in foam-lined pistol box and consisted of: an assembled steel-barrel/aluminum slide assembly, polymer 10-round magazine, two-piece slide-lock assembly, a hex socket mounting wrench, a magazine loading tool and instructions.

The Nelson top-end was easily mounted in about a minute. Remove the 1911's slide, slide the Nelson unit on the rails and fit the slide-lock lever aligned with the dismount notch, then push the slide-lock pin through the lever, frame and barrel holes. Finally, pull the slide back enough to expose the hex-shaped end of the recoil spring guide. Use the provided wrench to tighten the guide, securing the conversion to the pistol. Inspect for normal function of all controls.

The heavy steel target barrel gives the conversion "heft" matching that of a .45 caliber 1911 slide. A steel sighting assembly is held rigidly to the barrel by cap screws and a pin. The barrel and sights are rigidly fixed to the host pistol's frame; only the light aluminum slide beneath the barrel moves in recoil. Unlike earlier Bob Marvel designs, this one locks the slide back after the last round is fired and the sighting assembly is of steel rather than aluminum. (Using steel provides a thinner top section, permitting use of standard 1911 holsters.)

The steel sighting assembly includes a grooved sighting-plane rib. The steel front sight is dovetailed to the sighting assembly and the adjustable Ellison rear sight is pinned to it.

The black finish of the Nelson Custom conversion looks quite nice against the parkerized finish of the Range Officer. The sight picture provided by either slide is very similar, although the Nelson's sight radius is about a quarter inch shorter than the RO's slide.

I found Larry Nelson a very pleasant person to deal with - he is knowledgeable and clearly customer focused - we had several conversations during my purchase process. Larry is a retired fireman (explaining the corporate logo) turned pistolsmith and a target shooter. I was particularly impressed with the bold "Made in America by Americans" label that he affixes to every conversion's case. I was yet more favorably impressed to find he also ships a copy of the Constitution of the United States with every unit.

I have about 400 rounds through the conversion now. From its first outing, it was completely reliable using CCI Mini-Mags (from five magazines). However, I wanted to use CCI Standard Velocity rounds (my favorite target shell). These were initially less than 100% reliable, giving me occasional failures to feed the second round (from a fully loaded 10 round magazine). Larry Nelson cured this for me by sending a lighter (8#) recoil spring for the upper, to compensate for the extremely heavy 28# mainspring (hammer spring) used in Springfield Armory pistols having titanium firing pins and stiffer-than-Colt firing pin springs.

With the 8# spring, the Nelson-topped Range Officer runs reliably on CCI Standard Velocity as well as Remington Target SV rounds. The 22 LR pistol exhibits excellent accuracy, on par with my Ruger MkIII Competition Target model (and a lot easier to break down for cleaning!) In short, I really like my new purchase and love Nelson's customer service!
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:07 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 489
Great review. Two questions:

What's the price?

Extra magazines available?
Old 12-26-2013, 08:34 AM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hatfield, PA
Posts: 5
to Brian D.

I paid $385 (current sale price for either conversion kit with standard barrel). Extra magazines are $25 each.
Old 12-30-2013, 10:03 AM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Indiana
Posts: 4
I too purchased one of these units from Larry and I too found Larry to be the consummate gentleman. My unit is the threaded barrel top rail model and it is extremely accurate. No problems thus far with the ammo I have tried in it, which has been CCI SV, Blazer Bulk, Federal Bulk and Federal HV Match. Super accurate. I ordered mine with 2 magazines, but I can confirm that the GSG1911-22 magazine although no less expensive fits and functions perfectly, which is nice because you can replace the follower and get 14 rounds in it.
Old 10-17-2014, 07:46 AM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 49
Nelson is a great company

Bob Marvel himself told me to contact Nelson's for extra STI double stack mags. They are nicely priced and the best quality I've ever seen for a conversion kit

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