Not quite a year ago I completed the first of the 1911′s in my Tokarev Project. Here it is with its original barrel as I first completed it.
My early successes and failures are all documented in this thread at AR15.com. The first barrel did not last very long, the stainless barrel I had made it out of was too soft and the locking lugs deformed. My second barrel I made with a GI.45 barrel and this has worked well. I have been shooting it for months now and have about 1000 rounds through it.
The 7.62x25mm is a great cartridge. Add the availability of inexpensive surplus ammunition to the great features of the 1911 platform and you have a real winner. The surplus ammunition is loaded with 85-86gr FMJ projectiles. From my 1911, with its 5″ barrel, I have recorded Yugo surplus at 1457fps and Polish surplus at 1575fps. The weight the 1911 combined with the low recoil make a pistol that is very easy to shoot well. By virtue of its high velocity, the Tokarev has a flat trajectory for a pistol cartridge. Plinking at distant targets is easy.
I have also built a second gun on a Rock Island Armory 38 Super 1911. It is no longer in stock trim. However, initially I simply put a 7.62x25mm barrel in it and went shooting. It worked grate, the slide lightening is not necessary to get the pistols to function. All that is needed is a 9mm Luger or 38 Super 1911, a Tokarev barrel, and a 25-26# mainspring. The surplus ammunition has hard primers, and the stock mainspring does not get the job done.
There is concern about shooting the surplus 7.62x25mm ammunition because it is corrosive. I have left my pistol for weeks at a time without cleaning after shooting. I have not had an issue, until it started raining here a month ago. Arizona is generally very dry and humidity is a huge factor.
I use the Ed’s Red formula for general cleaning purposes and it has worked well on the Tokarev project pistols, as well as AR15 uppers in 7.62×25 and 5.45×39, all of which are shot exclusively with surplus ammunition. In more humid climates greater care must be taken to clean and oil guns after use with corrosively primed ammunition.
Keep an eye on my blog for updates on the availability of Tokarev conversion barrels for 9mm and 38 Super 1911 pistols.