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Thread: Caspian Long Slide .45 ACP

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    31st May 2004
    Posts liked by others

    Caspian Long Slide .45 ACP

    Several weeks ago, I opted to build a long slide .45 ACP under the watchful eye of a close friend who had made a very fine 1911 via Dave Sample's On-Line 1911 class. I'd been most impressed with his pistol and that of his son, who'd also taken the course. I had seen and shot both of these pistols and had to have something similar.

    I have fallen in "love" with long slide 1911 pistols since I tried an STI Trojan 9mm with a 6" barrel.

    The Gun:

    The frame and slide are from Caspian. I chose the cast frame as it cost less and I've had stellar results with a Colt/Caspian 5" gun that my gunsmith, Lou Williamson, did for me in the '80's.

    I used Kart's EZ-Fit barrel. "EZ" is a relative term, but I can darned sure see how it would be easier than a "regular" oversized match barrel.

    For my purposes, the range and for some hunting, I opted for the Bomar rear cut and the Novak front sight cut. Purely for looks, I went with the serrated flat on top of the slide. The frame was supplied with 20 LPI checkering per my request.

    The flat mainspring housing from Ed Brown was also checkered 20 LPI. The hammer and sear are from Ed Brown as well. I flat don't remember who made the safety I wound up using as I'd owned it for quite a while. The trigger and disconnector are from McCormick. The 2-piece guide rod is from Brown and the stainless pins were from Caspian. The gun has a standard power mainspring and the recoil spring is 17-lb. The grip safety is an Ed Brown with hump and "memory grooves." The pins, hammer, slide stop, and thumb safety are stainless that I polished (for hours).

    From the initial file stroke, through fitting the slide to the frame, and on to the finish was around 70+ hours. (I would starve to death as a gunsmith.)

    Before the gun had a blue finish or even the sights applied, I test fired it. There were no stutters in firing or any malfunctions of any kind. However, it would not feed a Corbon 200-gr. JHP +P from a full 8-round magazine by hand. Downloaded by one, it would, but not off a full magazine. I experienced precisely the same thing today when trying to chamber a Speer 230-gr. Gold Dot from a full 8-rnd magazine. The same load fed fine from both a Novak and Colt 7-rnd magazine.

    Here's a view of the gun after it was blued. It has polished slide flats as well as on the top of the grip safety (on the "hammer side") and the area inside and outside the triggerguard. This took several hours by hand. The only place a dremel was used was to clean up the inside of the dust cover. The bushing was bright polished by hand as well.

    This is the polished area around and on the trigger guard.

    The complete gun...


    "Sweet Pea" has been used with several types of ammunition:

    Handloads: 200-gr. Precision CSWC over 5.0-gr. Bullseye

    200-gr. Hornady XTP over 7.2-gr. Unique

    Factory Loads:

    Sellier & Bellot 230-gr. FMJ
    Winchester USA 230-gr. FMJ
    Remington 185-gr. MC Flat Point
    Corbon 200-gr. JHP +P
    Winchester 230-gr. "Subsonic Deep Penetrator" JHP
    Winchester 230-gr. Black Talon 230-gr. JHP
    Winchester 230-gr. Ranger SXT JHP
    Remington 230-gr. Golden Saber
    Speer 230-gr. Gold Dot
    Glaser 135-gr. Silver +P
    Federal 230-gr. Hydrashok
    Federal 230-gr. Classic JHP
    Federal 185-gr. JHP

    All total, approximately 600 rounds have now been fired through the gun.
    There have been no failures to feed, extract, or eject. Cases are not dented during the ejection process.

    I also used several different magazines today:

    Colt 7-rnd
    Novak 7-rnd
    MecGar 7-rnd
    Wilson 8-rnd
    McCormick Powermag

    All locked the slide open on the last shot. With all but the Gold Dot and the Corbon (using the old Speer "flying ashtray" JHP), they fed fine by hand when fully loaded.

    It seemed that the Colt 7-rnd ran the smoothest followed by the McCormick. With ball, Golden Sabers, Federal 230's, and the SWC's I couldn't tell any difference in smooth operation.


    This pistol is intended for accurate shooting. Therefore, it was fired in slow-fire only. Distances were 15, 25, and 50 yards. All groups were fired from a rest and in a seated position. The reason for this is to try and wring out all the pistol has to offer. I am sure that I didn't do that, but it was the best effort I could perform.

    15 Yards:

    Each group consists of 5-shots and was fired from a rest.

    25 Yards:

    The magazines used along with the handloaded 200-gr. Precision CSWC in firing this group. The flyers are my fault.

    50 Yards:

    This was done with Winchester USA 230-gr. FMJ.


    Once again I have not seen evidence of the slide functioning slowly. Some have reported this when firing such versions of the 1911. This one operates fast as a 5" as far as my eye can tell and so does the STI 9mm.

    Felt recoil is the same for me as with a 5" gun. I'd expected this to be a bit less due to the extra weight out at the end of the gun. Chronograph results show that the extra inch of barrel give roughly 50 ft/sec extra. Felt recoil is subjective to be sure but to me, I note no difference in recoil. There may be slightly less muzzle flip. In any event, it's not a problem.

    This one's a keeper. Not only because of sentimental reasons and simply being proud of my first effort, but because it works; at least so far it does.

    I intend to use it for the range and for hunting as mentioned above. Right now, I'll sight it in for the 200-gr. CSWC. For hunting, the rear sight will need to get about 2 clicks to the left. On this pistol I'm glad to have adjustable sights which have held true zero when set.

    It is said that there can be but small difference between a hobby and an obsession. I now understand.

    While I'm very pleased with this pistol and the way it performs, it is not perfect.

    Maybe I can make the "perfect gun" next time....NOT! I don't think it exists.

    This achievement most certainly does NOT make me a gunsmith in any sense of the word. It DOES make me appreciate and "see" more when I look at a 1911 that's been worked over.


    I've also been piddling around with some JHP bullets and wanted a load a tad warmer than the factory standard pressure loads, something in line with the few +P offerings available commercially.

    The reason is that I intend to kill a few Texas whitetails this coming season with the 6" long slide Caspian 1911 I built.

    I finally settled on two bullets to try: Hornady 230-gr. XTP and Remington 230-gr. Golden Saber.

    Cases used were once-fired, cleaned & tumbled, Winchester and primed with Winchester Large Pistol primers. I tried a couple of powders but wound up using Unique (the "old" stuff as I have about 20 lbs of it). So far the most accurate load has been 6.8-grains. According to Lyman this should be in the 17000 PSI range and not too hot. What I'm wanting is a load that smacks at 30 or 40 yards about like a standard velocity 230-gr. at the muzzle.

    From the gun's 6" Kart bbl and based on 10-shots:

    Hornady 230-gr. XTP:
    Average velocity ~ 997 ft/sec
    Extreme Spread ~ 28
    Std. Deviation ~ 12

    Remington 230-gr. Golden Saber:
    Average velocity ~ 995 ft/sec
    Extreme Spread ~ 20
    Std. Deviation ~ 8

    LOA for both is 1.21".

    I was extremely surprised to see average velocities, spreads, etc, as close as these are.

    Now, if they'll just hit the same POA. Sometimes even if the elevation is the same, windage can vary a bit.

    Here are the two handloaded rounds described above.

    Well, I got lucky. These groups were fired using a rest. Since this appears successful, I'm loading more and will try at 50 yards and see if there's any meaningful difference.

    Sizing the fired cases does not seem unduly difficult and no obvious pressures signs are present so I'm pretty sure the load's not too hot at all.

    In the near future, I'll chronograph some from a 5" gun with a Kart bbl and see what the average velocities are and if the std. deviations remain small. I'll also do some expansion testing. I know what the XTP will do, I THINK. Hornady's recently tweaked the original bullet with a bit larger hollow point. I suspect that expansion will not necessarily be increased though penetration might be, depending upon the actual impact velocity. The Golden Saber should fully expand and possibly the jacket petals will fold farther back, allowing for deeper penetration. The lead portion of the bullet generally resembles an XTP in expansion and is never as wide as the expanded jacket. I have not seen a Saber separate in tissue and usually only at higher velocities than what I'm pushing the forty-five .230 grain one at. When I have it has been toward the end of the wound tract.

    I'll let you know how this works out.

    FWIW, felt recoil is a tad more than standard 230-gr, whatever that is. Some 230-gr. FMJ doesn't make 800 ft/sec much of the time while the JHP's are usually at 860 ft/sec and a bit higher.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    29th May 2004
    Athens, Greece, Earth
    Posts liked by others
    Blog Entries

    test response

    I wish I could have one too. Lovely pistol.
    John Caradimas SV1CEC
    The M1911 Pistols Organization
    Last edited by John; 20th April 2005 at 08:12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    31st May 2004
    North Carolina
    Posts liked by others
    Beautiful gun. Well written article.


  4. #4
    You can afford to have a temper or you can afford to carry a gun. You CAN'T afford both.
    Xavier's Guns
    Xavier's Blog

  5. #5
    Join Date
    20th May 2005
    Posts liked by others
    Bravo! very nice gun! makes me to crave for one...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    24th March 2005
    Posts liked by others

    Wow your a gifted writer

    that is one nice pistola, very nice job on your build. Have you consider shooting 45 super? seem like the perfect pistol for the job
    Last edited by 1911snob; 21st May 2005 at 23:43.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    31st May 2004
    Posts liked by others
    Hello. Thank you all. No, I've not tried the Super. If I do, it would most likely be out of the 6" Long Slide.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    2nd May 2005
    Los Alamitos Calif.
    Posts liked by others
    Looks great just to let you know I got a long slide from Caspian back in 1986 and I put it on a Colt frame but I shoot 3.8 gr. Bull with 185 gr. HG SWC shoots great the slide moves a lot slower than a 5 inch gun with that lod but a fun gun to shoot. I did put it on a ransom rest at 50 yards and up the load to 4.2gr of Bull. I saved the targets to this day, they were so good. Well good luck and have fun

  9. #9
    Join Date
    4th February 2005
    Milky Way
    Posts liked by others
    Wow!!! That is a beautiful gun. I was thinking someday I might attempt something like that, but the little bit of sanity I still have tells me to only dream about it.
    Congrats on a great looking and obviously wonderful functioning firearm.
    Lynnie, "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. "
    - Albert Camus

  10. #10
    Join Date
    31st May 2004
    Posts liked by others
    Hello and thanks again so much. This one has a standard power recoil spring in it and is fed loads no lighter than the 200 gr CSWC over 5.0 gr. Bullseye. Slow slide function has never cropped up at all. In some of the faster "fun" range games it is no real problem to have several hulls in the air at the same time.


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