J&G’s barrel kits for the 1911 have been available for a few weeks now, and I am often asked about making the Tokarev a better fit in the 1911. The difference in overall length is often misunderstood to be less that it actually is. This not surprising since the specifications for the cartridge are inaccurately portrayed on Wikipedia and other sources. The Tokarev cartridge is considerably longer as a factory offering than those cartridges for which the 1911 frame is designed. As such, it is understandable that six cartridges is the maximum which can be loaded into what are nominally nine or ten round .38 Super magazines.
Here is a sampling of overall lengths for various 7.62x25mm cartridges available today. The lengths listed are an average of five cartridges measured for each load listed.
Wolf Gold 85gr JHP: 1.346 inches
Prvi Partizan 85gr FMJ: 1.369 inches
Sellier&Bellot 85gr FMJ : 1.370 inches
Yugo surplus: 1.369 inches
Polish surplus: 1.366 inches
Across these five loads that is a average overall length of 1.364 inches. This is notably longer then the 1.3 inches often attributed to the 7.62x25mm.
For comparison here are some .38 Super loads:
American Eagle 130gr FMJ: 1.269 inches
Aguila 130gr FMJ: 1.261 inches
This represents an average of 1.265 inches overall length for the .38 Super. A 1/10th of an inch difference is considerable in the application of pistol designs. Particularly when it is a 1/10th too much. There is no easy solution. Adding length to the magazine requires adding length to the magazine well. This means a modified frames in addition to modified or custom magazines.