Building a 45 Super/SMC conversion

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  • Magnumite

    Active Member
    Dec 17, 2007
    6,104
    Harford County, Maryland
    I have been sitting the idea of a 45 Super/SMC pistol for awhile. This cartridge is externally a 45 ACP but operates at higher pressures. Ballistics with some commercial specialty ammo companies are in the vicinity of:
    > 185 grain @ 1425 fps for 835 ft-pounds of energy;
    > and 230 grain @ 1225 fps for 750 ft-pounds of energy.
    This is young 44 Magnum territory. With a 6” barrel it is deer legal in Maryland. Which is how I am building this one.

    It is a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec which I an redoing, kerping the Mil-Spec retro flavor and fitting a 6” 45 Super/SMC top end. The pistol will be a 45 ACP/45 Super convertible.

    Well, here’s a start. There will be complete slide and recoil assemblies for each top, slide stop, and a mainspring specific to each caliber. This being a keeper is why I used a Springer Mil-Spec as the base pistol. Keeping with the contemporary features while maintaining a retro flavor of 6” long slide, chambering, and Derr grip safety I chose to use an Extreme Engineering Wide (semi wide) bobbed, serrated hammer. Most, if not all, of the internals will be upgraded as shown. Parts displayed will be used in completion of this build.

    The ballistics and lot tag in the upper left corner is from Federal rimfire ammo photo bombing my pic.

    Slide-frame fit clearances (on upper left slip of paper) obtained were largely dictated by the dimensions of the base frame. I’ll use a BoMar pattern Colt take-off rear sight and a Novak front post or semi post front sight. The present reverse plug is a top hat type supported part from TMC…for 6” long slide. This is a part I am not too fond out of all their other very nice products. The spring bore in the plug only accepts smaller diameter springs or small gauge spring wire. I now have it where it just accepts the long slide specific Wolf recoil spring but if the plug fails I have lots to do on a new plug. Same thing occured on the 5” 9mm I built. So I’ll be ordering and EGW cutter and reverse plug. Their plug, however, is compatible with the much more common 5” slide recoil springs.
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    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,018
    Very nice! My biggest issue has been sourcing cases as no one has 45 super or 45 SMC cases right now.

    My Glock 21L I am planning to setup for 45 super/SMC at some point, I grabbed 4 boxes of Underwood, 2 of hardcast 250gr and 2 of JHP 230gr that I can use for reloading once I've shot it. I still need a higher spring rate guide rod for it to safely shoot 45s/smc. But like you said, 44 Magnum territory for power. Especially out of the 6.61" threaded barrel in my 21L.

    It makes a NICE bear gun.
     

    John from MD

    American Patriot
    MDS Supporter
    May 12, 2005
    17,150
    Socialist State of Maryland
    Very nice! My biggest issue has been sourcing cases as no one has 45 super or 45 SMC cases right now.

    My Glock 21L I am planning to setup for 45 super/SMC at some point, I grabbed 4 boxes of Underwood, 2 of hardcast 250gr and 2 of JHP 230gr that I can use for reloading once I've shot it. I still need a higher spring rate guide rod for it to safely shoot 45s/smc. But like you said, 44 Magnum territory for power. Especially out of the 6.61" threaded barrel in my 21L.

    It makes a NICE bear gun.
    This will fix your case supply problem.

     

    lazarus

    Active Member
    Jun 23, 2015
    10,018
    This will fix your case supply problem.

    I appreciate passing it along. I'd seen you can make 45 super from .308 brass. I haven't wanted to go to that if I didn't absolutely have to. I probably won't be trying to shoot any for a few more months, but if none is available by then, I might convert some brass.
     

    Magnumite

    Active Member
    Dec 17, 2007
    6,104
    Harford County, Maryland
    More of the project…

    Trigger is a Remington R1 part. I drilled and tapped for over travel screw. It was too short for the trigger shoe cut out and trigger track, even with a dimpled bow, so I drilled the top of the shoe and tapped in a short steel rod. Filed it for reduced vertical play. Then I dimpled the left and right sides, top and bottom, to reduce lateral play.

    The Derr grip safety is intended for a bobbed hanmer. And I do mean a BOBBED hammer. The bobbed EE wide spur hammer was way too long. So not wanting to alter the EE hammer I resorted to the parts box. I found an old GI hammer I bobbed way back. I bobbed it more…bobbed it some more. More. Nicely done. I also retrieved a tool steel sear and a take off long disconnector. Did the trigger work. Dry I have a crisp 3 pound 10 ounce pull.

    Mainspring housing for the heavier 45S conversion is a checkered Remington R1 part. Great fit…even as a drop in part. Will do the tightening, blending, etc. later. The stippled original housing will retain the mainspring for the 45 ACP application.

    The thumb safety is the stock Springer Mil-Spec tear drop part reconfigured to USGI.

    Anyway, pics attached. Getting close to range shakedown. And loaded 45 Super power ammo.
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    Last edited:

    alucard0822

    For great Justice
    Oct 29, 2007
    16,377
    PA
    Nice, I do love the caliber. I built a 460 Rowland several years ago, but shot 45 super through my USP and a G30 with barrel/spring for it. I do like the SMC brass/small primer, but load it to slightly softer 45 super specs, if I need more than that I have the 460 Rowland. Also, the comp in my 460 Rowland is kind of what makes it awesome as it self-adjusts to a degree, the more gas, the more recoil is reduced and the more force holding the slide in battery, I can use the same 20# spring with 45ACP, super and 460 loads from a 230gr@750FPS up to 1400fps, and it functions fine.
     

    Magnumite

    Active Member
    Dec 17, 2007
    6,104
    Harford County, Maryland
    Nice, I do love the caliber. I built a 460 Rowland several years ago, but shot 45 super through my USP and a G30 with barrel/spring for it. I do like the SMC brass/small primer, but load it to slightly softer 45 super specs, if I need more than that I have the 460 Rowland. Also, the comp in my 460 Rowland is kind of what makes it awesome, the more gas, the more recoil is reduced and the more force holding the slide in battery, I can use the same 20# spring with 45ACP, super and 460 loads from a 230gr@750FPS up to 1400fps, and it functions fine.
    Thank you. Nice setup you had going there.

    I understand the comp is what keeps the pistol alive as well.

    I do have a comped barrel, 5 port IIRC. I used it for some upper end loads back when I was playing with an open gun. The comp works. I’ve been tempted to get it rewelded and I’d chamber it for 460 Rowland. My only hang up on the project is if I need that much power I have 3 revolvers that fill the bill.

    Did you use the same bullets in the whole series of chamberings?
     

    alucard0822

    For great Justice
    Oct 29, 2007
    16,377
    PA
    Thank you. Nice setup you had going there.

    I understand the comp is what keeps the pistol alive as well.

    I do have a comped barrel, 5 port IIRC. I used it for some upper end loads back when I was playing with an open gun. The comp works. I’ve been tempted to get it rewelded and I’d chamber it for 460 Rowland. My only hang up on the project is if I need that much power I have 3 revolvers that fill the bill.

    Did you use the same bullets in the whole series of chamberings?
    The comp isn't a necessity in 45 super, the USP especially handles it well, pretty much the same power as 10mm, so it's got plenty but still useable. The 460 is a beast, a big jump in power, not sure it would function without the comp, being that was designed for the caliber. I do have magnum revolvers too, but getting the same power out of a mag fed 1911 as my 44 wheelgun is cool, although the 1911 is much easier to shoot at that power level. I do load with the same bullets, but some loads are more fun than others. Probably my favorite 460 load is a 185gr XTP/HAP with 13.5gr of power pistol, it's 1500+ FPS and the fireball is stupid huge, but super accurate out at 100 yards or further. I use the same bullet for both this load AND my 45ACP match loads for 3 gun heavy, probably the lightest 45 load I do. Of course I use 230gr RN plated, but load them only up to 45 super velocities, and keep my 460 brass for hot loads. 450gr RN usually used for my 45 colt loads work in 45 super brass@900FPS, and out of my Rowland have been epic for bowling pin shoots. I don't shoot a ton of FMJ 45 bullets, usually like HAP/XTPs better for accuracy, but have loaded them to 45 super and 460 velocities, they are fine in the super, but not as accurate as I would like in the 460, although I tend to prefer 185-200gr bullets in that caliber to keep velocities up, recoil lighter, and brass lasting longer.
     

    Magnumite

    Active Member
    Dec 17, 2007
    6,104
    Harford County, Maryland
    Got ya there. No comp for the Super. I have the 10 I built so the Super and 10 is close in power. I was pondering the comped barrel for a Rowland caliber.
     

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