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Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol

Confirmed cynic on long barrelled handguns and 12/24” pistols, Pete Moore is near converted when he tests a Colt 1911A1 version in 22 rimfire

I’ll lay my cards on the table now; I have never cared for what might be called the bastard offspring of the handgun ban! By this I mean the fact that to be a Sect 1 (large firearm) the smallest a gun can be is 24” butt to muzzle with a 12” minimum barrel. This over the years has spawned some truly horrendous equipment from the long barrelled revolvers with tubes near 19” long, to the revolving carbines that were neither fish nor fowl.

This last group grew into a design that paid strict, but anorexic attention to the law and offered a simple rod out of the rear of the grip frame and a 12” barrel. In this way you complied to the 12/24” law but in a minimalist manner. Probably the best compromise, but still just that. For me as an ex-handgunner I could not get my head around these hybrid pistols and chose not to bother; that is not to say I have not tested a few over the years.

That’s more like it

I know people own and use these things and more power to them; as if you’re enjoying yourself then it’s fine by me! But like I said - not for me! However, I could just be tempted by the new offering from Peter Hathaway Jones, owner of Low Mill Ranges. Pete is now offering a Colt 1911A1, 22 rimfire semi-auto copy from Ivor Johnson in 12/24” format. Already I can here credit cards coming out of wallets!

The gun is made as a Sect 1 with a 12 ¼” barrel and with the extension rod/counter weight making the overall length to 25 ¼”, so well within requirements. This is not a converted Centrefire handgun as the slide is the dedicated rimfire unit as offered by Ivor Johnson in the USA. The grip frame remains the same 1911A1-style though as we shall see shows a few go faster bits.

My initial reaction was, “Oh yes, very nice, but look at that extra length front and back.” Though I was intrigued, as I had not fired any form of 1911A1 since the ban and despite the extra it did feel pleasantly familiar and I was a bit excited. But first…

The layout was as expected. On the left of the frame is the safety catch, which flips up when the hammer is cocked. In front of this is the slide release catch; both of these controls are extended for easier manipulation. The rear of the frame shows a straight (1911-style) back strap. Above this is a an upswept grip safety, more on that later and the hammer is skeletonised.

At the base of the grip is a big magazine chute, with the extension rod fitted to it. The magazine catch is at the rear left of the trigger guard and is a simple, press-in button. The grips are the old-style chequered wood, with the Ivor Johnson Owl head logo cut in. The slide is longitudinally grooved along the top with front and rear gripping cuts.

The front sight is a medium height/width blade set in a dovetail and the rear a Bomar-style unit, which is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. This is very much an example of a modified Colt 1911A1 from the middle/late 1980s before Practical Pistol lost its way with red dots, race guns and all the daft rules and calibres.

Oh yeah!

Most pleasing was the fact the pistol offers, as standard, a 15-shot magazine capacity. I was expecting an 8-round design, but this is 100% better. There are however a few anomalies on this 22 model when compared to say a centrefire 45 ACP.

Loading is simple, press the mag button and pull the mag out of the grip. Filling is easy and it doesn’t stack up that much towards maximum capacity. Slide the mag back in until it locks in place, here the mag chute does not do any favours as the magazine base plate does not have an extension/bumper on it so you need to get your finger up there to make sure it’s fully home.

Now pull the slide back all the way to the rear and let it go, which will chamber the first round. Before going any further flip up the safety catch and you’re cocked & locked, in Condition 1!

By this time I was quite excited and flipping off the safety with my firing hand thumb I squeezed the trigger. The break was around 3-4 lbs and very easy, and the 1911 popped most pleasingly. The first mag full was just plain fun and the pistol ran as sweet as a nut. The major difference here is that after the last round there is no automatic holding open of the slide as you get on the centrefire, but hey who cares?

This means you have to retract the slide by hand, hold it rearwards and flip up the hold open to lock the action back. Also different was the fact that the mag does not drop free when you press the button, this could be down to a new gun that is not run in, again no big deal. After a few more mags full I was hooked and started getting some of my old handgunning skills back.

Reliable

To its credit the 1911 was pretty reliable over a good range of ammo from sub-sonics, standards and hi-velocity fodder. At about 300-rounds it started to show a hesitancy in chambering the first round from a full mag, but this was sorted by stripping it and cleaning the slide etc. I reckon I must have put around 500-rounds through it in all! Accuracy was good and with SK High Velocity hollow points off the bench at 25-yards it was holding an inch, which is good for a handgun. Likewise, free standing you could put the rounds where they needed to go inside a two inch area.

Equally pleasing was the balance and weight, though considerably heavier than a standard 1911A1 the pistol sits solid and stable even with a one-handed hold. But for me it was the good old Weaver-style and I had a lot of fun on the more frangible targets at my disposal.

To be honest, and though I hate the long barrelled look with its counterweight, after a few mags I tended to forget this was not a normal handgun. It would be possible however to fit optics, as there are a number of scope mounts that simply replace one of the grip plates to offer a Weaver-type rail over the slide, so red dots or extended eye relief scopes would not be a problem. Likewise, if you don’t like the wood there are any number of replacement grip options. Truth is with 1911s the world is your oyster much like Ruger 10/22s and AR15s.

Springs and washers

Action-wise this 1911 rimfire is a straight, blow-back system as opposed to firing from a locked breech like the centrefire version, which makes disassembly slightly different. You start by removing the mag and pulling back the slide so the lug of the hold open catch is positioned in the small, semi circular cut out behind the locking slot in the slide.

With a plastic hammer or similar tap out the end of its axis pin from right to left and pull the catch out of the frame. Now pull the slide/barrel assembly forward and off. It’s here you notice that the slide is aluminium alloy and not steel. Barrel removal is a bit fiddly as you have to push the recoil spring and rod all the way forward and hold them out of the way against the spring. Next remove the rubber washer from the end of the rod then drop the barrel down at the breech end and pull it rearwards out of the bottom of the slide.

If you try to do this with the rubber washer in place it’s very tight and awkward, as I discovered… Reassembly is just the reverse of the job; rod and spring in place held back, slide in the barrel and allow it to engage in the slide. Pull back the recoil rod/spring again and insert the rubber washer and you’re done.

Over the time I had the 1911 I let a few other shooters try it out, and seeing the smile spread on their faces as they capped off mag after mag said it all. At £1200 + this pistol is far from cheap. However, consider how much you would be paying for a customised Ruger 10/22 and that is not going to give you much change from a grand. But to be able to get what is near enough a 1911, albeit in 22 LR is for many a far more attractive proposition!

We Reckon:

• A bit of what you fancy does you good
• Fun and very functional
• Best 12/24” gun yet

Technical Specifications
Name Low Mill 1911 LBP
Calibre 22 LR
Capacity 15 (DM)
Action blow back semi-auto
Barrel 12 ¼”
Length 25 ¼”
Sights adjustable
Price £1250
Spare magazine £39.95

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • They should have made it a long slide, would have looked better.

    Comment by: Pete Williams     Posted on: 29 Jul 2009 at 11:34 PM

  • They should never have banned handguns... but hey the world is not perfect!

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 30 Jul 2009 at 09:52 AM

  • The World did not ban handguns ,the British Goverment did .

    Comment by: Robin L Cooke     Posted on: 30 Aug 2009 at 11:46 PM

  • I really want one, I can imagine exactly how it feels in your hand, but that is an awful lot of money for an LBP. I could kit myself out with a Buckmark LBP, a Marlin lever-action and a hi-cap Remington 1100 for that kind of money. It's a definite 'I want' but much too expensive.

    Comment by: Robin Lee     Posted on: 10 Oct 2009 at 01:43 AM

  • Such is life and the exchange rate... But these days all the FUN TOYS seem to be well over priced.
    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 11 Oct 2009 at 08:54 AM

  • It looks odd but I will get one, after all it,s a 1911. I have owned the long barrel revolvers in 357 and 44 magnum. I look at it like this, if we dont use it, we lose it. I will be putting plenty of overtime...

    Comment by: william davies     Posted on: 12 Oct 2009 at 09:14 PM

  • I got one in 45 ACP a few years ago, Very nice from Armalon
    I got the BuckMark LBP just put a scope on it to stay up with the 1500 comps
    Will try the 1911 out above soon when a freind gets it. will see about getting one as well.

    Still use my 45 ACP in Practical over seas.

    Comment by: Dave     Posted on: 28 Nov 2009 at 07:15 PM

  • Why don't they make.semi auto centre fire one......as these are classed as hand guns and not semi auto rifles

    Comment by: mr griffin     Posted on: 05 Mar 2011 at 08:07 PM

  • Have you been away from the UK for a few years?

    dateline:

    1988 - self loading centrefire rifles banned in the UK, though .22 rimfires were not included

    1997 - all handguns banned in the UK apart from muzzleloaders

    To be a legal Section 1 firearm the smallest a gun can be is 24" overall with a minimum of a 12" barrel. If you made such an item as centrefire it would be classed as a self-loading rifle...

    Comment by: peter moore     Posted on: 07 Mar 2011 at 09:22 AM

  • Have purchased LMR 1911 LBP. Excellent . Just like it used to be. (or near enough). Unfortunately it has a fixed rear sight. Can any body tell me where I can get a adjustable rear sight to fit without any milling/gun smithing etc.
    Is the slide Bomar or Kimber cut .???
    The info would be much appreciated.(LMR.Cannot supply one at the moment)
    Best Regards. Semauto.

    Comment by: Semauto.     Posted on: 03 Sep 2011 at 11:53 PM

  • Yeah near enough to make you grin and remember how it was... I think the dovertail is Bomar-cut, but I reckon you'll have to access an adjustable rear unit from the USA, as I'm unsure if anyone is bothereing bringing in adjustable irons for handguns anymore in the UK. You could try South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies or North West Custom Parts. Another source might be IPA of Italy as they make a wide rnage of irons for handguns and long guns too.

    Good luck
    PM

    Comment by: peter moore     Posted on: 05 Sep 2011 at 09:22 AM

  • Thanks PM. For the info. will check them out.

    Regards. Semauto.

    Comment by: Semauto.     Posted on: 05 Sep 2011 at 07:28 PM

  • No problems...
    PM

    Comment by: peter moore     Posted on: 06 Sep 2011 at 09:09 AM

  • Hello Graham.
    Interesting to hear a comment from another owner of the LMR 1911 LB Pistol.
    Regarding the ammo used. I have found that #American Eagle & #CCI Mini Mag perform well.
    I am still looking to acquire a rear adjustable sight for the pistol, If you know of any supplier please let me know.

    Regards. Willie.

    Comment by: Semauto.     Posted on: 16 Oct 2011 at 11:26 AM

  • Hi Pete - I've just bought a Low Mill 1911 and would really, really appreciate your advice - here goes:

    1. Do you think my 1911 would also like the SK ammo you got such excellent results with - or do even guns of the same make have different preferences?

    2. If you reckon SK would be a goer, do you know of any stockists in the North West & if not, who the importer is, so I can ask them

    3. As a Plan B, which other ammo brands showed promise?

    Many, many thanks
    Cheers
    Graham

    Comment by: Graham     Posted on: 18 Oct 2011 at 07:58 PM

  • Hi Willie

    Many thanks for this - what size groups are you getting?

    You could try The Tunnel 01297 560049 for the rear sight.

    http://www.pro1911.co.uk/1911/Welcome.html

    They do the TSC 1911 and I believe they were offering accessories which MIGHT fit in the Low Mill 1911 (or might not so be careful!)

    Cheers

    Graham

    Comment by: Graham     Posted on: 18 Oct 2011 at 08:07 PM

  • Hi, Are you going to do a review on the gsg protsc 1911, thisone is selling for 650.00 with out shroud, I have heard they are selling like xmas trees in december.

    Will.

    Comment by: will     Posted on: 17 Nov 2011 at 03:55 PM

  • I'd like to and asked for one some time ago but as of yet no joy. I'll see what's happening.

    Cheers
    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 17 Nov 2011 at 05:41 PM

  • Hi,

    I bought a LMR 1911 last year and can say it is an excellent pistol, really enjoy it and feels and shoots like the original. Only problem I had one magazine I had got damaged lips and have been waiting ages for new ones to come into the country. Once I received them I had to do a little rubbing down with fine sand paper to make a better fit. I did purchase a plastic 10 round kimber magazine from the US. After a little surgury to the magazine I did get it to fit and works as a spare. I beleive the LMR 1911 in better and better quality than the TSG and not really alot of difference in prie once you put all the addons on the TSG. I find the CCI mini mag ammo the best but did try CCI stingers!! A little too powerful! I think they might damage the gun with regular use! Hope others get on well and and like to see some competitions being run with these guns.

    Matt

    Comment by: Matt     Posted on: 09 Dec 2011 at 12:17 PM

  • Magazines are always this issue with semis, so a few spares are never a bad thing, good tip on the Kimber mags too.

    I have been sent the latest Low Mill gun, which is all Bianchied up with baracade wings and a C-More sight, it looks good, especially with the dummy moddy. I have been shooting standard velocity SK through it with no problems. Look out for a full test in the near future...

    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 14 Dec 2011 at 10:14 AM

  • Pete
    northwest customs are not importing anything at the moment I would go to Mcavoy guns in Standish or lantac in harrogate as they have great contact's for spare mags etc.

    Comment by: paul w     Posted on: 22 Jan 2012 at 06:39 PM

  • Hi guys

    Check this site out - I guess they supplied the slides

    http://www.iverjohnsonarms.com/3073.html

    Cheere

    Comment by: Graham     Posted on: 22 Jan 2012 at 08:42 PM

  • Hi, I am interested in buying a lbp 1911 but I have never seen either the lmr or the gsg, I know pete moore has done a second review on the lmr and I have read it in shooting sports magazine but I can not understand why it does not have the last shot hold open but the gsg does. what I do like about the lmr are the mags and they hold 15 rounds plus the latest lmr has the steel slide also. If the gsg is so good, why do they not send one to pete to test review. there is a big price difference between the two, the gsg being £300 cheaper and that does include shroud, gunbag and spare mag. I will add that I have only ever seen one second hand gsg for sale and that was 2 weeks ago on guntrader.

    Comment by: valencia192     Posted on: 18 Apr 2012 at 02:33 PM

  • I too have never seen the GSG 1911, but a freind of mine bought one as it was cheaper than the Low Mill gun. His reasoning was that yes it might wear out faster but the money saved was more attractive.

    No idea why the Low Mill gun, which is made by Ivor Johnson does not hold open. But untill I see the GSG I can not see how they are built by comparison.

    PM

    Comment by: pete moore     Posted on: 18 Apr 2012 at 03:34 PM

  • Just got one of the new Low Mills guns - picked it up at the Gun show. Really enjoying this. Low Mills advised using Mini-mags for the first 500 or so rounds, just to bed everything in, it is now firing on standard .22LR practice ammo with very few 'stalls'. The paperwork with it identifies it as a kit offered in the US, fitted to a standard 1911 base, (it IS steel, not monkey-metal), just a longer barrel and the extension rod to the base of the grip. As the man said, after a few rounds you forget all that and just enjoy shooting a pistol again, something I have only been able to do on visits to friends in the US. I didn't order the u-type sight fitting and bits, as I wanted to try as a simple open-sights system, and Low Mills advise me that the fitting is effectively permanent, due to the use of thread-lock on the very fine threaded screws used to attach this to the body of the gun. However, I am struggling, as I wear vari-focal glasses, and I think the red-dot sight will solve the problems. Not cheap, at £900 +VAT, but having handled both, I don't regret paying the extra, a huge grin every time I use it!

    Comment by: IanG     Posted on: 04 Jun 2013 at 05:18 PM

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Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
Low Mill 1911 Long Barrelled Pistol
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