Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

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    Tennessee Jed
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    Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:15 pm

    After shooting a 9mm Glock side by side with my 40 S&W Glock a couple of weeks ago, I've decided it's time to join the 21st century and at least experiment with a 9mm Glock. Compared to a 40 S&W, shooting the 9mm was effortless. Additionally, I'm starting to buy into the theory that there may not be much of a difference in terminal effectiveness between well-chosen 9mm ammo and 40 S&W. Additionally, as a handloader, I can get 9mm components whenever I want them.

    I've taken the plunge in converting my Glock 23 (Dev, that's the midsize version in 40 S&W) into a 9mm. I got a Lone Wolf 9mm conversion barrel, a couple of Glock 19 mags (Dev, that's the midsize version in 9mm), and Glock 19 extractor, ejector and spring loaded bearing. From what I've read, other than the slide, those are all the parts that are different between the Glock 19 and the Glock 23.

    At the suggestion of Lone Wolf, I first fired a box of 9mm +P+ rounds to effectively break in any sharp edges on the barrel hood. Fired 50 rounds of Federal 124 grain +P+ with no problems.

    Then I fired 100 handloaded rounds of 115 fmj. Not a single issue with feeding or firing.

    Here's what I've noticed so far. Accuracy is at least as good with the 9mm. The G23 wears adjustable Dillon Precision sights, and with a little adjustment for height, it was easy to put everything into a 3 inch circle at 12 yards. However, it's MUCH easier to shoot more quickly with the 9mm than the 40.

    Recoil is negligible. Maybe that's because I'm used to magnum revolvers and 10mm Glocks. Regardless, I didn't even notice the recoil.

    So, I guess the experiment is so far, so good. The next step, since the LW barrel has conventional rifling, is to see if I can come up with a good cast bullet handload that comes at least close to the carry ammo I've chosen (Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +p). If I can do so, that will reduce my per-bullet cost from around $0.11 per bullet to $0.065 per bullet.

    I'll let you all know how it goes.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:32 pm

    Probably not close to your defense ammo, but I am using a 124 gr cast bullet with around 4.4-4.5 gr of Unique as a plinking load in my 9mm's. I have not chrono'd it, but it shoots fine in my g19 with a stormlake barrel. It also works pretty well in my other 9mm handguns. I shoot them powder coated with no leading whatsoever.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:54 pm

    I was thinking about using Titegroup (just because I have a lot of it, and a little goes a long way), but I think I need to also try Unique. I've heard way too many people say Unique is great with 9mm cast bullets not to try it.

    Do you recall the OAL on your 9mm cast loads? I've seen everything from 1.125" to 1.050".
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:23 pm

    TJ - thanks for the notes about what the Glock models are.

    It seems you did it the right way. The bolt face of the .40 is not the same as a 9mm, so changing the extractor was the way to make it work right. It sort of works when you go .40 to 9mm without modifications to the extractor, but it is unreliable.

    You may recall that I got a Sig 228 kit on GunBroker, based on the recommendations here. That makes my .357 Sig/.40 S&W Sig 229 into a 9mm with a dedicated slide, etc. Now for me it's basically like putting on the .22 kit - swap out the "upper" and you're good.

    A couple years ago I would not have considered a 9 to be a reasonable fighting calibre. But with the advent of new ammo, I believe all the 9's (9x17 & 9x19) are now viable defensive rounds - as far as any handgun goes. I STILL like the .357 Sig though.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:20 am

    1.120 with the lee tumble lube bullet fed and cycled well in all of my guns. You might have to play around a bit with seating depth depending on the bullet shape and what not.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:55 pm

    Quick update. I felt compelled to try a newer loaded-chamber-indicator Glock 19 extractor (with a corresponding spring loaded bearing). Enormous mistake. I experienced jams like I've never witnessed before. Double feeds, failure to extract, stovepipes, the works. Yowza! Clearly, I needed to go back to the older style extractor.

    Also, the Titegroup handload was frigging awful. I can normally place all my shots in a 3 inch circle, but it was all I could to to keep the shots on an 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

    So, first lesson, stick with the older model extractor. Second lesson, try out a handload with Unique based on the advice of my friend Corn.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:48 pm

    Success! A medium sized load of Unique, and extending the OAL with Corn's suggested length (previously I was at a way too short 1.07), both have me back on target. Shooting 9mm was cheap before, now it will be REALLY cheap with cast bullets.

    No malfunctions of any sort, accurate load, with low recoil and report, and velocity only about 100 fps slower than Speer Gold Got +p. So now the experiment can continue.

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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:12 pm

    Question.

    I understand a 19 is midsize 9mm, and a 23 is midsize .40. ?Can your 23 slide fit on a 19
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:17 pm

    I think it could. I have a 19 that's totally stock, I'll try to see if it fits.

    I'm not using that 19, however. I bought that about a year ago for my daughter (who's still too young to have it) to make sure that one day when she's out on her own, she will have an effective defense handgun, regardless of whatever unconstitutional shenanigans our current president tries to pull. Did the same thing for my son with a Glock 17 (their full sized model).
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Cornmastah on Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:04 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:Success!  A medium sized load of Unique, and extending the OAL with Corn's suggested length (previously I was at a way too short 1.07), both have me back on target.  Shooting 9mm was cheap before, now it will be REALLY cheap with cast bullets.

    No malfunctions of any sort, accurate load, with low recoil and report, and velocity only about 100 fps slower than Speer Gold Got +p.  So now the experiment can continue.  


    Glad it worked out for you. Cheap is the main reason I am casting my own bullets, fun would be the next reason (I actually really enjoy doing it), independence would be the last reason. I've been collecting lead from some cheap/free sources and am building up a decent reserve--if bullets get hard to find again, I will not be affected much.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:54 pm

    Someday soon I will get into casting. I'd love to have more control over the hardness of the bullets I shoot. Alas, too many interests, too little time.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:35 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:Someday soon I will get into casting.  I'd love to have more control over the hardness of the bullets I shoot.  Alas, too many interests, too little time.

    THERE'S the truth!
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:18 pm

    My experimentation continues.

    One of the issues I've always had with the mid-size Glocks is, when I dry fire and get to the "sproing" part of the trigger compression, the front sight almost always wobbles a little bit. I can't tell if that's happening when I'm firing live ammo, because the slide is reciprocating and going into recoil at that point. I don't have this issue with bigger Glocks like the G20 10mm with the really big grips.

    I recently ran across this product, the "grip force adapter". Here's a picture from their website:



    It fits very tightly on the grip, held in place by the pin that holds the trigger control group. The key for me is that it extends the grip a little more, which must have been what I needed for better control because I'm not getting that front sight wobble anymore with my converted Glock. I'm gonna try it out at the range tomorrow with my newly discovered 9mm cast bullet handloads and let you all know how it works.

    Still just experimenting, though. As Doc mentioned on the Episode 134 podcast when he read my e-mail (thanks Doc!!!), it's an age old story, wheelgunners love their wheelguns.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:44 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:My experimentation continues.  

    One of the issues I've always had with the mid-size Glocks is, when I dry fire and get to the "sproing" part of the trigger compression, the front sight almost always wobbles a little bit.  I can't tell if that's happening when I'm firing live ammo, because the slide is reciprocating and going into recoil at that point.  I don't have this issue with bigger Glocks like the G20 10mm with the really big grips.

    I recently ran across this product, the "grip force adapter".  Here's a picture from their website:



    It fits very tightly on the grip, held in place by the pin that holds the trigger control group.  The key for me is that it extends the grip a little more, which must have been what I needed for better control because I'm not getting that front sight wobble anymore with my converted Glock.  I'm gonna try it out at the range tomorrow with my newly discovered 9mm cast bullet handloads and let you all know how it works.

    Still just experimenting, though.  As Doc mentioned on the Episode 134 podcast when he read my e-mail (thanks Doc!!!), it's an age old story, wheelgunners love their wheelguns.

    And Glock makes such good wheelguns, don't ya know! Very Happy
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:45 pm

    BTW, nice look pistol, TJ.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:55 pm

    Thanks, but that's a picture from the grip maker's website. Mine is uglier than that.

    I prefer my Glocks like I prefer my barmaids: a little ugly and worn, but very consistent, accurate and reliable.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:05 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:Thanks, but that's a picture from the grip maker's website.  Mine is uglier than that.  

    I prefer my Glocks like I prefer my barmaids: a little ugly and worn, but very consistent, accurate and reliable.

    ?What exactly is an "accurate" barmaid - one who remembers where you are sitting.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:13 pm

    Sure, why not? My initial thought was successfully getting the entire beverage into the glass without spilling.
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    Re: Glock 23 - 9mm Conversion Experiment

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:57 pm

    Well, the experiment continues to be a success. At 10 yards, dropping most every round into a 3 inch circle was pretty darn easy. I think that grip force adapter helps me quite a bit with the trigger pull, due mostly to the fact that it adds some distance between the back of the grip and the trigger. I've got long fingers and I think the previous grip was too short for me.

    So it looks like I've gotten what I wanted. At this point I've got about 500 rounds through the converted G23, and except for the time when I tried a different extractor, I have yet to incur a malfunction. So I have a very reliable, accurate, easy to shoot, concealable pistol in a good defense caliber that's cheap to shoot with cast bullets and empty cases are so cheap they're almost free.

    Not bad at all. However, while watching another guy next to me shooting a Colt Anaconda in 44 mag, I found myself wondering if I'll ever feel as strongly about the G23 as I do about my magnum revolvers.

    Of course, the answer is heck no. But that doesn't mean that the experiment wasn't a success. This will likely be my handgun for those times where I wouldn't want to jeopardize a potential loss of one of my beloved revolvers (e.g., checking a handgun on a flight).

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