Kimber .22LR 1911 Conversion – A Review

As much as I love my 1911 and the .45 ACP round, I still maintain that it’s VERY expensive to train with. Quite frankly, my shooting has been limited until I can afford a reloader. I’ve been saving for a progressive, but I just might borrow a single stage to get myself started. I digress. I’ve been sitting on this conversion kit from Kimber that a friend loaned me for awhile. He bought it used for around $260. He shares the same sentiments as I do regarding the cost of .45 ACP, so a kit that allows you to shoot .22LR out of your existing 1911 frame is something we thought that might prove useful to maintain sight alignment and trigger control – while keeping the cost of shooting down.

The kit comes with a plastic case with foam inserts surrounding the slide assembly and magazine. The slide is manufactured out of aluminum and the magazine is molded out of plastic, holding 10 rounds. The great thing about this kit is how simple it is to assemble on to a full-sized, 1911 frame. Typically, all it takes is a field strip down to the frame and then slide the conversion kit on, using your existing slide catch. The slide assembly is one unit that slides on; no barrel wrench, no springs to fly out, etc. This is not to say that its difficult to dissemble the slide. It’s extremely easy to clean and maintain when compared to the Ruger Mark III 22/45.

The kit comes with adjustable rear sights and a fixed front blade sight. Serrations are located on the front and back of the slide. The recoil is very light – just as it would with a .22. The slide doesn’t lock back on the last shot however. I do like having the same crisp trigger pull and reset as I would shooting .45 along. The trigger reset on the Ruger Mark III 22/45 is a bit longer. The magazine is on the light side, so it doesn’t drop out like the Wilson ones I have. Reliability wise, it’s great. I recall only three fail-to-feed malfunctions out of a entire brick of Remington Golden-Bullets. Yes, the dirty, cheap variety. Most of the FTF were the result of a dirty chamber. The barrel does come with a feed ramp to assist each round into the chamber however.

As one might notice, I used my Les Baer TRS frame. Initially, I was hesitant in using this kit on such an expensive pistol. However, I did come to my senses that a .22 aluminum slide is not likely to change anything on the frame. After several hundred rounds, I can’t claim that it’s altered anything.

Other than that, there isn’t much to discuss. The kit works very well, accurate, and is reliable. Would I buy one? Probably not since I could probably use that money towards a reloader – or another gun. Would I recommend it? You bet.

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15 Comments on “Kimber .22LR 1911 Conversion – A Review”

  1. Richard
    February 19, 2008 at 2:30 am #

    I can’t wait to try that sucker out…

  2. February 19, 2008 at 4:39 am #

    LOL. I already gave it back to him =P.

  3. February 20, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Nice write up. I found you off of google blog search. Loading is the only way to make it reasonable, after that you’ll start casting. Thats what I did.

    The big thing is don’t be intimidated by it. Its a simple, pleasurable side hobby to shooting.

    you’ll like shooting your 45 for the cost of a 22lr 🙂

  4. February 21, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    When I bought my wife her Beretta 92 FS EL, I bought a Ciener .22 slide and mags to go with it. Startlingly accurate and one of the best gun accessories I’ve ever bought.

    Mike, we’re in Kalifornia. Lead bullets (you don’t cast any other kind, do you?) recently became problematic here, except for target ranges.

    • Wormy McWormerson
      April 3, 2012 at 2:04 am #

      Where at in /k/alifornia?

      • April 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

        I’m located in Sacramento.

  5. February 21, 2008 at 1:39 am #

    Reloading AND casting would be awesome. I can’t imagine it would be much more. I’m just taking baby steps toward my reloader.

    $8 for 1000 bullets sounds VERY nice. Given how many tire shops are located here, finding lead will hardly be a problem.

    David is absolutely right however. Though I have yet to hunt anything but pheasant (cub scout deal), the recent lead ban to protect the Kommifornia Kondor will seriously hinder the community at large… pray for us Mike.

    By the way, I am absolutely surprised how well these conversion kits are being made. If it weren’t for my reloader fund, I would have bought one of those Spike’s Tactical .22LR uppers for my AR. I’m still waiting for someone to manufacture a .17 HMR upper however…

  6. February 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    Don’t worry, my thoughts are with you guys. I’m a NY resident, and we like to follow your lead for legislation. i’m stock piling lead as best as I can.

    I ran the numbers for arguments sake on reloading my cast lead bullets.

    from a pile of lead and used brass to finished, ready to fire cartridges:

    9mm 120gr TC target loads (per 1000)
    28.64 $
    45acp 200gr SWC target (per 1000)
    30.37$
    45acp 230gr TC ball equivilent (per 1000)
    34.21%

    not too shabby! you’ll shoot a lot of 45acp let me tell you! I have a Springfield armory Mil-Spec that has shot less than a box of FMJ, and zero factory, yet I’m well into my second recoil spring. . .i think i’m just about to 2k through it and I got it in june or july of 07. . .and I still go to school full time so I shoot at best a couple times every 2 months once the academic year hits.

    The heller case looks like it might shake out in our favor. if so maybe we can push to get some of the bassackward legislation in both our states over turned.

    never played with cast in a rifle, but maybe someday I’ll get a mold in 22cal and see if I cant get my AR to run. it can’t be too tough if they shoot lead 22lr fine. . .

    If you decide to take the plunge in either shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to help. I’m no expert, but maybe I can get you going in the right direction.

    castboolits.gunloads.com is the mecca of casting and those guys know their stuff for reloading too. One guy on there had a NM Springfield M1a doing under half an inch at 50 yards with cast. . .

    they know their stuff thats for darn sure.

    The hunting thing is good fun by me. I usually make it out for whitetail for at least 5-6 days a season, but I really haven’t had a chance to do small game since I was a teen. I used to love squirrel hunting! a 22 and a pocket of ammo will keep you in hours of fun and decent meat!

  7. January 4, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    nice grouping

    • January 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. So you’re a coffee fanatic huh? Any reviews on the trash coffee that comes in those MRE packages? haha.

  8. Bub
    April 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I have been thinking of getting a Kimber conversion kit.

    Has any new information on the kits changed your positive opinion of the kits since your article?

    Bub

    • April 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

      I only had the opportunity to borrow it and I returned it shortly after I wrote about it. However, I’ve kept up-to-date on it’s reputation and it appears that it’s still a strong performer. Just keep in mind it’s not the kit for you if a slide lock feature is desirable.

  9. jerry
    March 4, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    My limber conversion eats anything including aguila subsonic junk with the 60gr bullet. Super accurate too.

  10. bruce rolfe
    June 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I purchased a new kit and it functioned flawlessly for the first 20 rounds. Then i started getting misfires, no hammer strike on the 22 cases. I found that the firing pin appears to have sheared off at the back. For that reason the firing pin would not go far enough forward to strile the 22 rim due to the firing pin stop. I will call Kimber in the morning.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Advantage Arms Glock .22LR Conversion « - March 22, 2010

    […] often look for alternatives to maintain our cost low.  As I’ve mentioned previously in my Kimber 1911 conversion kit review, any “kit that allows you to shoot .22LR out of your existing […] frame is something we thought […]

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