The Tokarev Project(s)

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  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.

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16 Responses to The Tokarev Project(s)

  1. JD Blocke says:

    looks great Kris, photos are a nice touch, well done too. The photo of gun in full recoil with the case in focus is hard to do. I love it all.

  2. Pingback: 7.62x25mm 1911 Pistols « Vuurwapen Blog

  3. robert millsaps says:

    Iam confused about tokarev 1911 project……..never heard of a 1911 in 7.62×25……..i know of the ammo avilable. what frame,slide,barrell,etc did you use. Did you use a stock 1911 frame ,slide,etc.

    • Kristofer_G says:

      From the article above:
      “…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.”

      A complete 1911 9mm or .38 Super, or the parts used to build a 1911 in 9mm or .38 Super, are used for the 7.62x25mm. The unique part is the barrel, otherwise it is all off the shelf parts.

  4. Dave says:

    This is incredible! The 7.62×25 is a great cartridge that still has potential and could fill some modern roles. I can’t wait to see more about your 1911s.

  5. Captain1911 says:

    I’ve been following your work on the thread. I have one of Coastal’s AR uppers plus a Prexis DIY, but would very much like to have something other than a TT33 or CZ52 as a handgun. I will watch for commercial 1911 7.62×25 barrel availability. Great news!

  6. Geoff says:

    On you stated you are a Glock shooter. So you can probably forecast the next question. Have you done a 7.62 x 25 conversion for the G29/30 or 20/21 yet? The one man who had posted his conversion on has taken his movies down. According to one person who had corresponded with him, he was through 4,000 rounds using his G20 with no noticeable problems with the frame. Apparently, this was done by modding the mag follower so the rounds tilted bullet up, using a modified .308 barrel with a double feed ramp, a home made high rate firing pin spring, some modifications to the ejector (so it would throw a smaller case), and some sort of slide catch(?) to keep the rig in battery (note: I did not understand the explanation on his video) – Anyway, that was the first and only such conversion I had seen for a 7.62 Glock. I personally think such a conversion would sell pretty well. What do you think?

    • Kristofer_G says:

      “…and some sort of slide catch(?) to keep the rig in battery (note: I did not understand the explanation on his video)”

      The Glock is simply not compatible with a lot of the Berdan primers used in surplus 7.62x25mm ammunition. It is not close to igniting Polish(3-5 hits) or Yugo(4-8 hits) on one hit. Installing a striker spring heavy enough to ignite surplus creates additional problems. On the Glock, as you pull the trigger you are acting directly on the slide. When you install a striker spring sufficient to reliably ignite the surp’ Tok’ ammo, you will be pulling the slide out of battery while pulling the trigger. A dangerous situation. This is what the gentleman on YouTube was talking about in reference to his slide catch system. Additionally, such a heavy spring has quite the negative effect on the trigger.

      New commercial 7.62x25mm ammunition; S&B, PP, Wold Gold, does not have this issue as the primers are the same as their commercial production 9mm Parabellum, or any other cartridge using small pistol Boxer primers.

      Additionally hand loads will work. If you are hand loading any way, make them short and then 17s and 19s as viable as 20s and 29s.

  7. Merovign says:

    Digging this old one up… interesting conversion, nicely done. Should the barrels show up I may have to try this sometime, unless a cheap CZ52 comes knocking. I do worry about caliber proliferation, though. 🙂

    I would think the mag work would be easier than on the Glock, though the Glock 20 should have zero problems with wear as the 7.62 is well within the normal power ranges for a 10mm (thus also look into EAA Witness and some old Star (Megastar) pistols as a possibility (maybe even S&W autos in 10mm) – or other .38 Super pistols?

    IIRC there were 90gr/1900fps loads in 10mm a while back, and Double Tap has a 135gr/1600fps loading.

    • Kristofer_G says:

      Actually I saw an EAA Witness barrel which had be lined for 7.62×25 Tokarev for sale on one of the auction sites before I ever started my 1911.

      Neither a 1911 nor Glock 20 should have any durability issues shooting 7.62x25mm. The Tokarev’s performance comes from a light bullet and generous case capacity, its operating properties (i.e. maximum pressure) are not as exotic as gun magazines would have you believe. Correctly build 1911’s go 100,000 rounds, even at six cents a round for surplus, that $6000 worth of ammo. Time for a rebuild or new pistol any was at that point.

      There are many cartridges which can meet or exceed Tokarev numbers with hand loads. The lowly 9mm Parabellum will get 90 grainers going 1500fps. I would imagine the .357SIG will get similar bullets well into the 1600’s if not 1700’s. The 10mm and 9x25mm can make some really exciting numbers with light projectiles. However, none of these will does so with off the self surplus ammunition for less than ten cents a round.

  8. Mike says:

    Does the Rock Island Armory 38 Super 1911 have a longer magazine then other 38 super pistols? I could not believe the long 7.62×25 would fit, but I sure am happy it does. Now I want to convert my colt 1991A1 to 7.62×25. I hope the 38 super mags work. Do you know of any place that would make a 7.62×25 barrel for me? Thanks Mike

    • Kristofer_G says:

      No, the .38 Super was designed for the 1911 platform and the Tokarev cartridge is a good deal too long for the magazine. You will only be able to load 4-6 commercial or surplus cartridges in .38 Super 1911 magazine. I hand load Tokarev cartridges to 1.250″ OAL to load .38S magazines to capacity.

  9. CIDE says:

    Hey, I couldn’t tell for sure. How many rounds could you fit in the magazines? Looked to be about 4-5 and based on other threads I read they came up with similar numbers? Is there anyway to fit even more? Because I really wouldn’t feel like having a full sized pistol with only 4-5 rounds.

    On that note do you think the conversion would work well on a smaller 1911 with a cut down Tok barrel?

    • Kristofer_G says:

      Exactly, with surplus and commercial Tokarev cartridges, you will only be able to load 4-6 cartridges. If you load your own to 1.250″ OAL you can load to capacity, 9-10 rounds depending on the .38 Super magazine design used. Wilson 47SX are 9 rounds and CMC Shooting Stars are 10 rounders.

      With an appropriate barrel any 9mm or .38 Super 1911 style can be adapted. Commanders, Officers, Ultras, CCOs, etc. The only draw back I see is a lack of Officers length .38 Super magazines on the market.

  10. Pingback: 7.62×25 | Vuurwapen Blog

  11. Clayton says:

    Hi I’m member at and was reading on about these are they ready yet?
    What do I need to get one I’m a Tok junkie.. I have 3 different guns that fire the 7.62×25 I really want one..

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