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Discussion Starter #1
I need a new donor for my older Colt Conversion Unit. I had it on a Springfield Mil Spec for a short while, but I sold the Springfield. I'm looking for something a little nicer or more interesting. My question is: what 1911's will work for this and which will not? Should I be concerned about reliability in any case? The Springfield worked just fine and that's the first one I tried it on. I'm hoping I didn't just get lucky there.

A friend suggested a Series 80 might be a problem because Colt made a Series 80 Conversion Unit. I guess that's a second question. Is the Series 80 Conversion Unit backwards and forwards compatible?
 

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Models of 1911 are World war I era pistols, and a Non-Series 80 Conversion Unit will work on any Model of 1911. I suspect you really mean on what Model O (which includes all military Models of 1911 and 1911A1 and commercial Government Model and similar pistols of the same pattern) will your Conversion Unit work.

A Non-Series 80 Conversion Unit will work on any full-size Model O, but there will be a gap at the dust cover if used on a Commander-length frame. A Series 80 Conversion Unit will not work on a Non-Series 80 pistol unless the firing pin lock parts are removed. I think a Non-Series 80 Conversion Unit will work on a Series 80 pistol, but have not tried it. The only issue might be if the pistol's firing pin lock levers somehow interfere with the operation of the slide on a Non-Series 80 Conversion Unit. If so, removing the firing pin lock parts from a Series 80 pistol would eliminate that problem. (Series 80 Conversion Units are so rare that these issues will rarely arise.)

What does "forward compatible" mean in regard to a Series 80 Conversion Unit? What is "forward" of a Series 80 pistol design?

As a final point, the Gun God does not like cross-breeding of a Colt Conversion Unit with Non-Colt pistols. Get rid of that Springfield ASAP!
 

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Because of the "lightening cuts" on the Colt Conversion Unit slide I believe a non-Series 80 Unit might work on a Series 80 pistol.

I noticed this a few years back when I was playing with different slide assemblies on a Colt Delta Elite, one of which was from a Service Model ACE. I did not shoot it that way as I had removed the Series 80 parts out of the Delta for my conversion experiment because the .38 Super slide assembly was a Series 70.

What you need is a post WWII pre Series 70 Government Model for that Colt Conversion Unit, anything else is blasphemy; although a Series 70 would be acceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I never should have put the Conversion Unit on a Brazilian-made frame. I am ashamed today. I will atone for this and buy more Colts than I can afford.

I guess by 'forward compatible' I was thinking of all the 1911 variants that have proliferated in recent years--the Kimbers, Smith and Wessons, Rugers, Remingtons and the like.

I'm just going with Colt, period.
 

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Oh, so you mean the counterfeit replicas of THE Colt that one sees from time to time. When encountered, they should be destroyed so as not to contaminate the true Colt Model of 1911 and Government Model lines.
 

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My question is: what 1911's will work for this and which will not?
I have an early 1950s vintage Colt .22LR conversion kit. It worked well on my USGI Colt 1911 frame but it didn't fit well on my Remington 1911R1 frame. The slide was tight on the Remington frame. So I got an early 1950's Colt Government Model and it works perfectly on that frame.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, I was thinking this 1911 donor frame could be kind of a wide-open thing for me because I'd probably prefer to just keep the Conversion Unit on more or less permanently. My best friend and I were discussing this and he saw things the same way I do. Even though I know I can switch slides fairly easily, part of me just doesn't want to do it, especially in the field. So the donor frame might be semi-permanent.

It looked like I could have many choices and a wide price-range as well. So, for example, a 1911 pistol with drop-damage on the slide for the right price.

Things are narrowing down quite a bit now. Colt it is. But, that won't quite solve my little conundrum about occasional switching-out. It so happens I already have a beautiful Series 70 Government that's been tricked out a bit somewhere along the line. Shoots like William Tell and I'm hesitant to switch.

I could see popping for a fairly expensive Commercial Colt, but I'm maybe a little concerned that I wouldn't want to switch that one out either! This probably makes little sense, but as I said, my friend has the same conundrum to the point where he stays away from any type of "convertible". And, I'm the same way it seems. I was kind of surprised that he was like that.
 

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I bought one in the around 1974. It worked great on any Series 70 I tried it on, but it would not function at all on my 1913 manufactured 1911 Colt. I don't remember exactly what it did/didn't do, but I could never get through an entire magazine without a jam.
 

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I have a pair of those pesky conversion units...paid a total of $850 for both of them; one, complete with green box and papers, was $500. I forgot to say, the fit very nicely on my Series 70 MkIV Govt .38 Super and .45 acp.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I bought one in the around 1974. It worked great on any Series 70 I tried it on, but it would not function at all on my 1913 manufactured 1911 Colt. I don't remember exactly what it did/didn't do, but I could never get through an entire magazine without a jam.
Aha. I wondered when the reliability issue would surface. My friend was also concerned about that. Maybe no guarantees from one frame to the other, even if it is a Colt. Seems like kind of an expensive thing to gamble on.
 

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I don't see it as a gamble; they are well worth the cost and mated to the right frame, excellent shooters.

The main area of function that needs attention is the barrel/breech assembly; it gets very dirty, very fast and needs to be kept clean...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't see it as a gamble; they are well worth the cost and mated to the right frame, excellent shooters.

The main area of function that needs attention is the barrel/breech assembly; it gets very dirty, very fast and needs to be kept clean...
Are you saying that the Conversion Unit mated with a Colt frame should give no reliability problems. In other words, it's not like you need a little luck? The cleaning part just seems normal to me. My concern is that frame to slide part.
 

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If the Conversion Unit fits the frame correctly, and the magazine is correct, then it will be only the floating chamber that determines reliability. Some are troublesome, but most are not.
 

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If the Conversion Unit fits the frame correctly, and the magazine is correct, then it will be only the floating chamber that determines reliability. Some are troublesome, but most are not.
Iwanna - what the good Judge said. Cleanliness is paramount to performance with regards to the floating chamber...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I've already tested the Conversion Unit. I put about 110 CCI Mini Mags through it with only one glitch. A riot to shoot! Going Colt shopping!
 
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