Colt 1911 45 to 9mm Conversion - Pistolsmith
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
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Colt 1911 45 to 9mm Conversion

Im sure this has been talked about before, but here is my situation.

I have both a Colt 1991 (yes, it says Colt 1991 on the slide) that has the short barrel, AND I also have a 70's model Colt Commander 9mm.

My 9mm has a broken frame and cannot be fired in its current condition. It is not a Colt frame that was on it, but was a different one from a company that went out of business back in the late 70's. From my research, I found that those frames were junk, hence why its broken.
However, the slide, barrel, springs, etc. are all Colt.

Now, the slide, barrel, and mags from the 9mm slide right onto and fit perfectly onto my .45 frame. everything locks into place like it should, and even the 9mm mags fit into the mag well.

The problem I ran into, was that after I placed all of the 9mm stuff onto the .45 frame, the trigger would not pull and release the hammer. Upon further investigation, I noticed that ejector area on the .45 frame was slightly different than that of the 9mm frame.

I know this has to be able to be done since everything from both guns seems to be interchangeable. I just want to know how to make it work.

Any help on this would be great, and if you can, email me at [email protected].

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
the slide, barrel, and mags from the 9mm slide right onto and fit perfectly onto my .45 frame
it shouldn't have...if the 45 acp ejector is properly in place, it would've prevented the slide from going back all the way. Replacing it with the correct 9mm ejector would let the slide go the full range of motion.

I'm not sure whether the 1991 series has the firing pin safety mechanism which would not have the proper mating parts in your 70's slide, thus blocking the action and making it impossible to pull the trigger.
 
Old 12-14-2012, 11:22 AM   #3
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Ok, but since the 9mm slide did work and cycle, what part would need to be added or removed for it to function? I can take some pics and post them if this would help.
 
 
Old 12-14-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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The Colt 1991 series used the Series 80 firing pin lock system.
This system consists of two levers in the frame, one on the sear pin and one on the hammer pin.
In the slide is a special firing pin, a firing pin lock plunger, a plunger spring, and a special extractor.

When the trigger is pulled the trigger pushes lever 51, which pushes lever 31 upward. That lever pushes upward on the firing pin lock plunger in the slide, unlocking the firing pin.

NOTE: The two levers in the frame MUST be properly positioned with each other or the firing pin lock in the frame won't release, and the firing pin and lock plunger will be damaged.

Here's a schematic of a Series 80 model:

1911 Government Models | World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools - BROWNELLS

The levers in the frame are parts number 31 and 52.

The parts in the slide are parts 8, 9, 10, and 32.

If you have a Series 80 frame and can't or don't want the firing pin locking device, you can remove parts number 31 and 52 and REPLACE THEM with a special spacer from Brownell's:

TJ'S 1911 SERIES '80 TO SERIES '70 CONVERSION SHIMS | Brownells

To do away with the firing pin locking device in the slide, all you have to do is remove the firing pin lock plunger and spring, parts 10 and 32.
This will leave a hole in the bottom of the slide.

You have to approach this as either keeping the entire system in the slide and frame, or doing away with all of it.
If you have the frame without the levers, the firing pin cannot move when hit by the hammer because the plunger locks it.
If you remove the slide plunger but not the frame levers, the levers can catch in the hole in the slide and damage the slide and frame.

WARNING: If you've attempted to fire the gun with the firing pin lock in place, and a frame without the Seris 80 levers you most likely have damaged the firing pin and the firing pin lock plunger.
YOU MUST REPLACE AT LEAST THE FIRING PIN since the firing pin and plunger will have been damaged.

To remove the Series 80 firing pin lock assembly from the slide:

Push in on the firing pin lock on the under side of the slide and push the firing pin forward into the slide. Release the locking plunger.
The firing pin should stay retracted into the slide.

Pull the firing pin retainer plate, part 12 out of it's slot.

Holding your hand over the rear of the slide, push in on the firing pin lock plunger and the firing pin and spring will pop out with some force.
Remove both.

With your finger over the firing pin lock plunger, use a small screwdriver to pull the extractor to the rear JUST A SLIGHT AMOUNT.
This will release the firing pin plunger and spring to be removed.

Pull the extractor out of the slide.

To be clear, the extractor and firing pin lock plunger retain each other in the slide and the extractor must be moved just a tiny bit to the rear to release the lock plunger.

Check the firing pin. Most likely the groove in the rear of the firing pin and the lock plunger will both be dented by attempting to fire the gun without the levers in the frame.
 
Old 12-20-2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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Ok, here are my pics of what I have going on.

Here are both guns.


9mm broken down


.45 broken down


Tops of the frames. See how the .45 is different from the 9mm.


.45 frame with all the upper 9mm parts on it. Can rack slide in this position and insert 9mm mags into mag well.


The underside of each slide. .45 slide is a little different from the 9mm.


This little lever here is on the .45 frame. It pushes that small button under the .45 slide. It pushes up when the trigger is pulled. However, since the 9mm slide is a bit different and essentially has no where for this little lever to go, it wont allow the trigger to be pulled with the 9mm slide on it. IS THIS PART NEEDED FOR THE .45???


So there is my situation. Any help anyone can give me on this would be great!!
 
Old 12-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
Here's a schematic of a Series 80 model:

1911 Government Models | World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools - BROWNELLS

The levers in the frame are parts number 31 and 52.

The parts in the slide are parts 8, 9, 10, and 32.

If you have a Series 80 frame and can't or don't want the firing pin locking device, you can remove parts number 31 and 52 and REPLACE THEM with a special spacer from Brownell's:TJ'S 1911 SERIES '80 TO SERIES '70 CONVERSION SHIMS | Brownells

To do away with the firing pin locking device in the slide, all you have to do is remove the firing pin lock plunger and spring, parts 10 and 32.
This will leave a hole in the bottom of the slide.

.
I am not being arrogant or mean spirited, but all you need to know has already been given to you. If the instructions are not clear, I would recommend you take it to a qualified gun smith.
 
Old 12-20-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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You must use the frame with the lever with the slide that has the plunger.

Again. INSPECT THE .45'S FIRING PIN AND FIRING PIN LOCK PLUNGER FOR DAMAGE.
 
Old 12-21-2012, 01:57 AM   #8
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Alex, Trust dfariswheel and the others.
If you would be closer, I would invite you over for a cuppa joe and discuss things with ya.

You would be much better off leaving the Colt alone and purchasing a 9mm 1911.

What looks to work does not mean it is safe or recommended.
 
Old 12-28-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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Alex,

I am only a novice compared to some of the guys on here but I think I can restate what they have said so that it is clear.

Normally a 9mm slide has a a wider ejector (and matching slot cut for the ejector in the slide) that is wider than a 45 slide. A standard 9mm slide will not fit a standard 45 frame. BUT your 45 is a Commander Model, which has the same wide ejector and matching slide cut as a 9mm. So you do not need to worry about changing the ejector to mount the 9mm slide on your frame. (Or milling the 45 slide to get it to work with a 9mm ejector!)

Since your 9mm is a series 70 and the frame is a series 80, you must remove the two levers and install the spacer as dfariswheel explained.

At this point the 9mm slide will mount on the 45 frame but there is one other potential problem: The feed ramp in the frame may or may not match the 9mm barrel, my only caliber conversion was when I conevrted an old AMT frame to 9x23 and the existing ramp worked fine but YMMV.

IF you want to use the 45 slide on the frame after you have removed the series 80 levers from the frame, you must modify the 45 slide firing pin again as dfariswheel explained. If not, the 45 slide firing pin lock will not allow the firing pin to reach the primer.

Good luck with the project. Everything will fit, if you remove the series 80 firing pin levers and you are lucky on the feed ramp, you will have a 9mm Commander that works.

Practise with the 9mm but carry the 45. God may not really carry a 45, but back in the late sixties, I used his name a lot when I did.

email me @[email protected] c o m if I can help.
 
Old 01-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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Dfariswheel said it all, follow his directions and you can't go wrong, you are converting a Series 80 frame to handle a Series 70 slide.
 
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