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If I have the basic frame from a 45 1911. can I put a complete 9mm upper on it? I think all the parts differences involve the upper half and just want to make sure I have this correct before I start ordering things as I have a spare rock island lower sitting here.
 

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Ejector location is different on a 9mm. It's a little closer to the center-line of the receiver to account for the smaller diameter of the 9mm round.
 

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The ejector for a 9mm is shaped differently than one for a .45 but the mounting location is the same. The .45 feed ramp is cut differently than the 9mm. Some have had good luck with the conversion you want to do, some haven't. Evolution Gun Works makes a gunsmith installed ramp insert for repairing or changing the frame.
 

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Well, Rod isn't wrong. The ejector mounts in the same holes in the frame
but it is offset to the center because the slot in the slide is closer to centerline.

For those of us who have swapped ejector and top end, it works 50/50.

Sometimes it feeds everything you put into the magazine,
sometimes it feeds virtually nothing, and sometimes
it only feeds round nose ammo loaded longer than factory.

It's hit-n-miss. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.


Also, the ejector is extended for 9mm magazines with the filler at the back of the mag.
If you use magazines with filler at the front, sometimes it works best to use
a 38 Super ejector (slightly shorter) so when a round gets stuck on the ramp
or a double-feed occurs, it doesn't bend the ejector nose. That happened to me.

:)
 

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Your biggest problem is likely to be the frame ramp...I have just recently learned on this very same forum that a 9mm frame ramp and a .45 frame ramp are different and you would likely have reliability problems if you tried to use a .45 frame ramp on a 9mm barrel. You could have the frame milled for a ramped barrel, but otherwise the hassle just seems too much to try to gamble on an appropriate ejector and fool around with the ramp rather than just build a .45 upper...unless you have access to a milling machine of course. Then you can do all sorts of funny switch caliber 1911's! You could probably even get an upper for a .40 or 10mm :D
Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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Here is clarification on feed ramps. The frame feed ramp for 9mm and 45 might be the same or they might be different. Contact the manufacturer and ask them about the feed ramp similarity/difference in their guns and let them know exactly what you have in mind.

I mention this because I asked Gary Smith at Caspian arms this question about feed ramps a couple of years back. His reply was, "The [Caspian] 9mm [feed ramp] is different. It has a steeper angle to accommodate the smaller diameter of the bullet. Most companies only offer a 45 ramp but we offer both. The 45 is primarily for the 45 only. Many builders will request the 9mm ramp even if they are building a 45 so they have the extra meat to work with. This allows them to put the ramp in themselves so it matches up with the barrel perfectly.

Gary"

This is why you need to ask the manufacturer.

Also, I just converted a Caspian 45 frame to 9X23 (think stretched out 9mm Luger). The Nowlin 9X23 barrel matched up beautifully with the 45 Caspian frame. No problems there, and it feeds more reliably than it did with 45! As noted, the ejector is different and also required replacement.
 
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