Q. I have a Colt Ace Slide with barrel and other parts. I thought it was a .22 conversion. I tried to install it on my M1911A1, but it did not fit because the rear of the Ace slide was not cut out for the M1911’s ejector. The Ace slide is also approximately 1/4" shorter. Can you tell me what I have?
A. Your First Model Colt Ace .22 Long Rifle slide lacks the necessary cut allowing it to fit over the ejector for assembly on a Model 1911A1 frame. The Colt Ace .22 Long Rifle pistol was introduced in 1931 as a .22 companion pistol to the .45 ACP Model 1911A1. The markings on the right side of the slide, “COLT ACE .22 L.R.” indicate that you have an original .22 Colt Ace slide. It fits on an original Colt Ace frame, but not on a .45 frame.
Approximately 11,000 Ace pistols were produced by 1941 when they were discontinued because they lacked reliability and recoil feel. They were replaced by the Colt Service Ace which was introduced in 1937. The Service Ace had the floating chamber designed by David “Carbine” Williams, which gave the .22 more of the feel and recoil of the .45 Model 1911.
The .22/.45 and .45/.22 Conversion Units were introduced in 1938 so owners of a .45 ACP Model 1911A1 and later owners of a Service Ace .22 could go the other way. These were discontinued in 1942 to speed war production. The .45/.22 was re-introduced in 1947, but the kit for the .22 was not brought back.
This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the January 2005 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.
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