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Hello, Im interested in buying a Colt conversion .22 kit for my original 1915 Government model in pretty decent condition but still an occcasional shooter. Looking for recommendations on which conversion kit would work/function and which one would be more era correct. Thanks!
 

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I have a Colt 1911 manufactured in 1913. I bought a Colt conversion kit in 1976 or 1977. It worked flawlessly on all my other Colt .45 ACP's, but I could never get it to work on the one made in 1913. I tried different ammo, lubing it more/less, no matter what I did it never functioned for more than 2-3 shots before jamming. Not sure why, so gave up and used it on my Series 70 that I bought in 1978 and never had an issue other than the normal ones you encounter with the floating chamber conversion units.
 

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The Conversion Unit not introduced until 1938. (The term "Conversion Kit" was used only occasionally during the later years of production, with no particular pattern as to when the "Kit" term was used, and when the "Unit" term was used. Someday, I will have to do a catalog analysis to determine when each term was used.)

As stated, there is therefore no "era correct" Conversion for a 1915 Government Model. The "most correct" would be a "U" serial-numbered Conversion from the 1930s. Expect to spend well into four figures for a nice example - if you can find one. (I have a reblued, unboxed, serial-numbered Unit (U1XX - shipped August 23, 1938) with a factory letter for which I would take $925 delivered if that would interest you.)

All genuine Colt Conversions are functionally the same, except for the Series 80 and Ace II units. The latter two will not work "out-of-the-box" on a Non-Series 80 pistol. The firing pin safety mechanism would have to be removed to make them work.
 

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ok thanks. how about from a functional standpoint?
I suppose my first post was a bit abrupt.
As JudgeColt posted any of the non-Series 80 Units should work just fine. But if you are interested in the G.I. type slide appearance, similar to your 1915 era pistol, Colt did offer a Conversion Unit with a plain slide and G.I. type sights. This would give you a correct era looking Unit.
 

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The difference in "Unit" and "Kit" may have been the difference in parts supplied with each. The Conversion Unit had everything you needed to just remove the upper from a Government Model, and install the complete upper unit. The Conversion Kit lacked the barrel bushing, recoil spring plug and the recoil spring guide.
 

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But if you are interested in the G.I. type slide appearance, similar to your 1915 era pistol, Colt did offer a Conversion Unit with a plain slide and G.I. type sights. This would give you a correct era looking Unit.
The OP has a commercial Government Model, not a "G.I." military model, but the point is well taken that the rare O3151 Conversion Unit of the 1980s with the fixed sights would look more "original." Those are scarce and expensive.

JohnnyP, that is the best explanation for the "Unit" versus "Kit" nomenclature I have seen yet. Too bad it is not THE explanation!

I have "Units" from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1970s. The "Units" from the 1950s and 1970s lack the barrel bushing, recoil spring and recoil guide. I have "Kits" from the 1950s and 1990s, likewise "incomplete." (It occurs to me that I do not have any Conversions from the 1960s!)
 

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JudgeColt. If you like my explanation, but know that it is not THE explanation, please explain what it.

Of late, Colt doesn't know that their pistol that fires the .38 Super cartridge is a Super .38, so what is found on late Conversion Kits is meaningless.
 

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I was trying (and apparently failing) to be humorous, but your premise that all "Units" are complete and all "Kits" are not, does not fit with what I see in my own collection and those I have observed. Every "Unit" I have after the serial-numbered examples is not complete in that they do not have the barrel bushing, recoil spring guide and plug. (Those with "Kit" on the end label are likewise "incomplete.") Therefore, the use of the word "Unit" on those examples does not signify a "complete" Unit, so your explanation does not square with the facts and cannot be THE explanation.
 

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If you are going to interject humor into your posts, you also need to recognize humor other than your own. Don't be so serious.

My initial post said the difference MAY be; not that it was totally correct. Also, to add to your knowledge of the conversion units, the serial numbered units sold after WWII were not complete like the pre war units. The boxes used were pre-WWII, but colt simply taped over the contents no longer included. Under the list of parts number 5 was the barrel bushing, and number 6 also had the recoil spring plug and guide, which have been taped over. Colt never threw anything away, and the boxes worked just fine with the parts no longer included covered over.

 

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JohnnyP, perhaps our attempts at humor are to subtle for the other!

I am aware of the altered boxes used for serial-numbered Units shipped Post-War. They further prove my point! (humor attempt!)

OP, yes, a complete Service Model Ace slide assembly will work as a "Conversion Unit." They are functionally the same. Be sure to look under the firing pin stop for a serial number, and please post it here in case someone has a frame missing its slide and would be willing to pay you big bucks to put the top half with a matching frame.
 
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