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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been awhile since I posted on here...but thought you guys would appreciate a pair of different Commanders....a Colt, and (yeah I know it's not a Commander unless the "Colt" name is on the slide), a Ruger.

I've had a soft spot for the short barreled 1911 for many years. Needed one during my 1st tour in Vietnam, and wanting one on the 2nd. I looked over the years, and as my job salary improved, I eventually found one. A Combat Commander in .45 ACP. It'd been touched up, as it were by a friend, but had a 'to die for' trigger, and a Wilson Match Grade bbl. and bushing. That gun was scary me believing I was the Almighty with a death ray in my hands....sub 2" gps at 25 were no problem at all, and some went half that if I was really trying and the light was from over my shoulder...It would feed anything in .45 ACP I could find to shoot through it.

And then I got to figuring...what if...I'd been busily reading the parts columns in Gun List for several years, always on the lookout for slides and barrels...and eventually I found them...$189 for a Combat Commander slide, bbl. and bushing and in 9mm too. That was a no brainer, I sent in my check and had the unit back in my hands in a cpl weeks. It slid on the rails like it had come from Hartford thataway, but ejection was problematic...I changed out the ejector, (as I recall, and this was 16+ years ago) and all went well. No slide lock back after the last round, but I count 'em anyway and found no foul there. Accuracy was sub-3" at 25 yds with any load and sub-2" if I matched up all the brass, sorted by length and tweaked the load. Voila, a 9mm Commander that shot .45's too.

That did so well that...I sent off another check for $189 and bought the .38 Super Upper as well. No sweat fitting and tweaking that one either. And accuracy improved by a bit...2.5" gps at 25, with good solid ejection and the slide would lock back. But even with .38 Super mags, I'd get a FTFeed when that semi-rimmed round would tip downward in the mag. I don't carry it in that caliber so that's not really an issue either...I had my self a 3-caliber Commander now!

Finally, I found a Ciener .22 lr upper with two mags, direct from Mr. Ciener when he first got started and before things went south on him. That short bbl'd .22 was as accurate as the .45! The sights were good, albeit non-adjustable, but right on at 25 yds. Were I in the squirrel shootin' business, this would be a fine choice. With Remington Bulk Golden Bullet 22 lr HP's, it will do an honest 1-1/4" at 25 yds. Wow, what a shooter. Kept clean, (the chamber tends to soot and **** up), it's as reliable as dawn.

Now page fwd almost 20 years, and that aging steel frame Commander is tiring, an old friend still but with a whole bunch of rounds down range...I'd conservatively estimate, >25,000 of it's original chambering and half that number with the other three.

Ruger, finally came out with their SR1911 CMD in that most usable of bbl. lengths, 4.25". I found one and began the same process all over again. And Yep, all three slides and bbl's fit and fire with no issues. I can thank Ruger that they duplicated the Series 70 parts sizes to a tee. Every part I've tried to date has fit and functioned superbly.

So here are the two pics; the first of the original Colt Combat Commander with the slides; the 2nd of Ruger's rendition. The .22 lr slides in both pics are of Marvel's 5" bbl'd model, not the Ciener referred to above. The longer Marvel, which works as well as the Ciener and is every bit as accurate, makes it sort of a long barreled Commander! Also if you look closely, I've misplaced the 9mm and .38 Super cartridges, the 9 on the .38 slide and visa versa.

Best Regards, and hope you enjoyed this sojourn into caliber conversions over the years.... Rod

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