So the frame of a Service Ace can withstand the strain of firing .45 ACP or 9mm.
I am in the process of getting the paperwork done for a Service Ace. This knowledge is very tempting.
At first I had planned to buy a Colt 1911 in 9 mm or .45 ACP and get a conversionkit in .22 LR at a later date. However the opportunity came along so now I'm going to think about doing it the other wayaround.
All Model O frames are forged so the "strain" of firing a .45 is not an issue. However, installing and removing the ejector frequently seems to me to be a bad idea, since pins have to be driven out and installed each time.
It is the Conversion Units (Colt called them "Units" and not "Kits") to convert the Service Ace to .45 ACP that are rare, with only 112 having been made. Units to convert a centerfire Model O to .22LR have been made from 1937 to 1999, probably in numbers of tens of thousands over that period, and many are up for sale at any one time on the various auction sites.
By "real" Ace, do you mean Ace or Service Ace? A Service Ace magazine, or a Conversion Unit magazine, will not work properly in an Ace. The Service Ace and Conversion Unit both have the floating chamber and use the same magazine. The Ace does not use the floating chamber and uses a different magazine.
Sorry I meant the service ace with the floating chamber system. In this case I did well! Bought a magazine from a conversion unit for 60 Euros at the Oostende gunshow in Flanders, Belgium. A magazine (prewar-production) had a price tag of 150 Euros on it so I passed on that one and took a gamble by buying the cheaper conversion magazine. Looks I was lucky!
I'm going to pick up the Service Ace on wednesday. Will report back with a range report!
Ace performed well. As expected it would not take standard long rifle ammo -jamming and not chambering the next round-, but I quickly discovered that almost anything else is to her liking! Mini Mag, Stinger and even Winchester extra high velocity were consumed without any problems. All in all I shot about 250 rounds without any problems! Took it apart to clean out, but it wasn't as bad as I've read here and there. It showed approx. the same level of dirt as in my target. Although it's definatly not a match weapon, it's a lot of fun to shoot!
My first 1911 brought a very big smile on my face! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Gunsmoke, You can mount a 45, 38 super, or 9mm upper on a Service Ace frame without any problem at all. The .38 super may need to have the top edge of the ejector on the frame beveled slightly on the inside. Unfortunately the 9mm will not work properly on that frame until an extended ejector is installed. It simply won't eject reliably with the standard Government type ejector. When Colt made 9mm parabellum pistols on the Commanders in 1949 they used a slightly longer extended ejector than the .45 or Super had at that time. In the series 70 pistols when they began to manufacture 9mm in a Government for the first time Colt used the same 9mm ejector that they had previously lengthened in the commanders. It is recognizable because of it's added length. The added length is not really necessary over a standard extended ejector but an extended ejector is required. In .45ACP and .38 super that is not required on a service ace and you can make the change using the ejector that came on the frame. If you need the part numbers for the original, email me or PM and I will look them up for you. Any standard extended ejector i.e. Wilson, Brown, King etc will make a 9mm work on the Government or Service Ace frame and won't hamper the Service Ace at all or the other calibers - but it will take away from the originality of your service ace. Your service ace slide stop is the same as the .38 super (Colt #2). If you want it to reliably operate on last round hold open with a 9mm you need a Colt #3 and they are not real easy to find anymore since Colt hasn't made 9mm's for quite some time. Wilson makes a replacement but it is designed for Super and will only work "most of the time" with 9mm. But that may not be important to you as long as the gun works reliably. I've been through this a multitude of times with customers when I was building Colts for a living back in the late 70's and 80's. Also with regards to ammo, the floating chamber will get jammed up and hard to clean if you use plain lead ammo regardless of velocity. If you use copper washed ammo, it will work all day - the hotter the better - CCI mini mags are a favorite of mine in my service ace. Hope this helps.