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I've got a Series 70 Colt GM in .38 Super that I've been thinking of getting converted to .38 Special wadcutter.
My reason for wanting this is I don't want to buy all the brass,dies and related pieces to set up my Dillon 550 to load for this cartridge. I don't want to pay for a new barrel to get decent accuracy.
I have the set-up to load the .38 Spec. wadcutters and this gun could be used to initiate my non-shooter friends to the fun of blasting with a 1911. The light wadcutter loads would give minimal recoil,yet the piece would be accurate enough to be interesting to me.
As far as I can tell Clark is the only outfit doing these conversions but I'm not interested in going with their "package job" with all the stuff they put on 'em.
I'd like it to remain a fairly plain looking 1911 with the barrel and magazine and breechface being the only things modified.
So,I put it to you,my 1911-lovin' buddies,am I off-base thinkin' of doing this?
Would it be a waste of a good .38 Super?
Does anyone besides Clark specialize in these conversions?
Can you get more than 5 rounds of .38 wadcutter in a converted magazine?
I realize that the cost of the conversion will be as much as getting it accurized in .38 Super but I think the wadcutter set-up would give me more fun for the dollar.
Thanks for any help and opinions.

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Dave
 

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Can't do it. Rounds would be too long for the mags. Wouldn't work for a bunch of other reasons either. With a lot of expensive gun smithing: chamber recut, breech face recut, new extractor, new ejector, probably open ejection port in slide - it might work but it would be total R&D. Far cheaper to buy the dies.
 

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kbear38s

Actually, he already said that Clarks does a conversion. So there would be no R&D at all. My Dad has a Colt 1911 in 38 Special from about 25-30 years ago. I remember seeing it with his other pistols but I can never remember him taking it out to shoot. So it's been done before.
 

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I'm sorry but that does sound silly to me.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I can't imagine that the dies and stuff for a 38 Super, including a new barrel, would be more expensive than the conversion. And the cost of reloading 38 Super is very comparable to 38 Special.

Yes, imo, it is a waste of a good 38 Super.
 

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Actually there were a (very) few Colt factory built Gold Cups in 38 Special wadcutter. The Army marksmanship unit at Benning also built some as well as some for their own proprietary round, the 38 AMU. It was basically a 38 Special wadcutter without a rim.
 

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Clark's will of course do a awesome conversion to 38 Special.

Are you nuts? Yes.

There is cheap 38 Super ammo available, a 38 Super BarSto is an easy conversion and the gun will function with available 10 round mags. I bet Clark doesn't charge $300 for a new match barrel which is what A BarSto would cost installed and shooting. What ever Clark's charge is a great deal but for 38 Special?

You REALLY limit yourself with 38 special IMO.

I have several box stock 45 Colts, want to trade


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Dane Burns www.burnscustom.com
 

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Cool thread. Made me remember that I once owned one of those Colt factory Gold Cups in .38 Spl. Sold it too cheap, I'm sure. I think I still have a few factory magazines for it though. Could anyone use them? Contact me off line if interested.
John
 

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Originally posted by Paten:
Actually, he already said that Clarks does a conversion.
Oh yeah, like you expect me to actually *read* the message before I go shooting my mouth off...

In the immortal words of Rosanna Rosanna Danna: "Nevermind"
 

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Your nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Have fun & Shoot Strait
 

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Actually, this isn't too difficult a conversion, and Jim Clark made his reputation doing this very thing in the early fifties. he ran an ad one time in American Rifleman and never looked back. In fact, it was so popular that S&W made barrels for it! These are really a lot of fun to shoot; tack driving accuracy and real soft shooting as you might imagine. Fred Kart still makes barrels for these, as of course, does Clark. The Karts are available with or without integral ramp, so you wouldn;t have to cut the frame, though I don't know about the Clark barrels.
I rebarreled one of these some years back, and then did a conversion for the same guy on another gun. Any good pistolsmith shoulb be able to handle this, but you need to get mags. I think Triple K offers them, though I don't know about quality. Clark converts Delta mags to work.

Have Fun, Donw
 

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Originally posted by Gamblin'Gus:
...yet the piece would be accurate enough to be interesting to me..... but I think the wadcutter set-up would give me more fun for the dollar.

sounds like you really want to do this. So, why not if it makes you happy?

But, don't do it for the dies, brass...etc savings or lighter recoil as the the Super can be downloaded to very pleasant and accurate levels.
 

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I built one many years ago as a project. You see, I had 2 colt 38 spl mags and wanted something to use them in. As some of the others have said before, it is a big project. Mine was a alloy frame commander so the first problem was feeding. I ended up milling out the feed ramp and installing a stainless plug that I then ground into a feed ramp. I made a piloted reamer to open up the breechface and re-chambered the 38 super barrel for 38 spl. The 38 wad cutters loads were so light I didn't have any pressure problems. Then, being the Charley cheap ass that I was, I installed some half assed adjustable sights in the standard dovetail and a REAL tall front sight. But it was for bulleye so I wasn't too concerned about things that we take for granted in todays guns. I ended up selling it to another bullseye shooter and I don't know what ever happend to it. This was back about '80 or '81.
If you have the time and the money to spend on this project, have at it, but if you're looking for something inexpensive and cheap to shoot, listen to the others on this subject.

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KEEP SHOOTIN' PINMAN www.bcarmory.com

[This message has been edited by Pinman (edited 02-17-2001).]
 

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Doh!

I thought my brother was the only person with such crazy ideas! Check the cost of a conversion and compared with the cost of another gun. Newbie's ussually like a 22lr
 

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My Dad has a Clark 38 wadcutter longslide and it works very well but, can only get in 5 rounds into the mags. The gun doesn't recoil at all. One problem is that if you intend to use it for PPC or other matches, it only holds 5 reliably. He has tried everything, even cutting off the rim where it is stacked in the mag. He thought of converting his gun to 9mm just so he could use it more than just bullseye!

Clark is the only shop that does the conversion I know of.

I made a 38 super longslide to be just like his gun but, no mag problems. My reloads should be very close to his 38 wad, when finished.

Best regards.

Paul
 

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What about a 22LR conversion Slide. I saw an ad in the back of American Handgunner Magazine. 22LR is so cheap there really is no point in reloading it. The kick would probably be negligable if at all existant and probably pretty accurate.
 

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I shoot a lot of 9mm in a Colt 1911 with a 147 g lead bullet loaded with the same powder and charge weight that I use in my S&W Model 52, 38 spl wadcutter using a 148 gr wadcutter bullet.

If you compare a 9mm with a 147 g lead bullet seated normally to a 38 spl wadcutter seated flush, they're almost identical in the powder space below the bullet. They're really the same cartridge except you can't see the bullet on the 38 spl. Of course the 38 spl has a rim.

A conversion to a 9mm would be a lot cheaper than converting to a 38 spl.

All that said, I also want a 1911 in 38 spl
 

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NUTS! :p If you want to shoot cheap round get a 9mm 1911 or if you want to shoot 38 spl get a nice S&W model 10 or 66 with a 6" barrel for target purposes. I think the conversion will call for changing or recutting the breach face. If you will do that then you might as well spend the money on a new slide that will take the 38 spl rim, such as the 40 breechface. Then reaming the barrel, tuning the feeding, extractor and ejector will also make the price skyrocket. If you can get a gunsmith to do everything for less than 500, that will be cheap. If more then why not just get a new gun, dies, brass and bullets. just my 2 cents worth. josh
 

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As Donw says, it certainly can be done, and it isn't that hard. It isn't cheap, but I think I would get Clark to do it, just tell them what you want and don't want. I may be wrong (please correct me if I am) but IIRC, the Colt Gold Cup .38 was a blowback, with a spring to hold the barrel forward. It didn't actually lock.

And .38 wadcutters work fine in the .45 magazine.

Jim
 
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