9mm 1911 Project, Part 3: Well, this sucks.

Cool idea, but…

My 9mm project was a pretty cool idea, and it sort of works… but it very much doesn’t also. Once I got it working reliably enough to pay attention to accuracy I noticed there was an issue. Bullets are keyholing at seven yards. This is not conducive to accuracy…

This did not happen before the dust cover was extended and the weight added, which narrows down the search for the cause. It turned out that while I had been careful to insure the hole in the weight was well-centered on the barrel I had not accounted for the fact that the barrel points slightly downward when locked up. After exiting the barrel the bullets were coming quite close to the lower edge of the opening in the front of the weight. It seemed likely that the muzzle-blast within the confined interior of the weight was exerting asymmetric force on the bullets, causing them to tumble.

OK, I can fix that. I honed out the inside of the weight so that the bullet will remain centered in the ‘tunnel’ until it exits the weight. Time to test fire…

124gr. JHPs- fully half destabilized and key-holed at seven yards,
124gr. LRN bullets over a moderate load- 4 out of 5 key-holed.

No-go. Bullets are still not flying true. Something is awry, and it’s something to do with the weight. Bugger.

There are several options at this point, and some question about where I go from here. The issue isn’t that I wanted a fast ‘race gun.’ I wanted to see if a specific concept, a short slide and barrel with an extended fixed weight, would work. It looks very much like it doesn’t. From that perspective the gun is a complete success; it answered the question. It wasn’t the answer I wanted, but that’s really not the point, is it?

I invested over $800 in this gun so far (if one includes magazines) and I am not going to let that go to waste. It will become a useful, functional gun. The question is what kind of useful, functional gun? The options for using a fixed weight with a full-length barrel have pretty much been explored and compensators proved to be a better mousetrap, so there’s not really any new ground to break there.

Not sure what’s next for this project, but whatever it is will I’ll have fun doing it.

Stay safe and take care.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 16 December 2021

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