Tested: Storm Lake 1911 Drop-In Barrel (Suppressor Ready)

As I look forward to getting possession of my SilencerCo Osprey 45- I’m particularly interested in shooting a BUNCH of 45 AP.

45 ACP is subsonic, and is therefore an ideal cartridge to shoot suppressed due to how quiet it can be. I do have a 1911 (Taurus PT-1911), but it came from the factory with an un-threaded barrel. Enter the Storm Lake match-grade drop in suppressor ready barrel. Will it drop right in? Will I see any accuracy advantage? Read on and watch the video to find out!

What’s Included

Storm Lake has a lineup of aftermarket barrels for different handguns that includes Glock, 1911 series, Springfield, and Smith & Wesson. I was looking for a stainless finish barrel to fit my Taurus PT-1911 that would include a precision fit bushing. After looking at a lot of different options (and even trying one that didn’t work well) I ended up deciding on the Storm Lake SKU 34084 drop-in 1911 barrel. This is a 5″ un-ramped, model with threading for a 45 caliber suppressor. I had read good reviews on this barrel, and could not wait to give it a try.

Drop-In Install

The Storm Lake barrels are drop-in, however with a 1911 it’s important to check for proper fit. I used a helpful guide from the Ed Brown website (free PDF HERE) in order to make sure all of the key dimensions were correct, and for proper fit in my 1911.

In my case, this was truly a drop-in barrel: the dimensions were compatible with my Taurus PT-1911, and the fit was great. For more details, watch the video above!

PT-1911 Before and After Accuracy Tests

For this article, I decide to do some accuracy tests that would quantify how the accuracy of my PT-1911 would be affected by the Storm Lake barrel upgrade. I tested two loads:

Defensive Style Load

Low-Cost Semi-Wad Cutter Load

Use load data at your own risk. Ultimate Reloader is not responsible for errors in load data on this website. Always cross-reference load data with manufacturer’s published data.

Test Setup

Testing was conducted using a Ransom Rest master-series rest (with windage base) at 19 yards at the Ultimate Reloader pistol testing range. Strings of “settle in” shots were fired until fired groups were uniform for the same test conditions. I’ve found this rest to produce very good results- removing the “human variables” from pistol accuracy testing. This leaves only the mechanical repeatability of the pistol itself, and the accuracy of the ammunition for testing to demonstrate.

Factory Barrel Results

I fired quite a bit of groups in order to make sure my results were consistent, and started with the Hornady 230 grain XTP load for each barrel test sequence. When this load was shot through the factory barrel, the groups settled in at under 2″ at 19 yards range.

Then I tested the Semi-Wadcutter load, and found an improvement in accuracy. This group was a good representative of the data collected for the Semi-Wadcutter:

Storm Lake Barrel Results

Right from the start, I saw an improvement with the Storm Lake barrel. The 230 grain Hornady XTP load was the test tested:

I keep a lot of these 230 grain XTP bullets on hand, so I was happy to see that this load performed so well with my upgraded PT-1911. I think this will be one of my standard loads. At this point I was really wondering how the SWC load would compare: would it shoot better than the XTP like it did with the factory barrel?

The result was just the opposite. The groups opened up when switching from the XTP load to the XTP load, but not by much!

Accuracy Results Summary

Here are the numbers from this testing all together with 25 yard equivalent group sizes:

XTP SWC
Factory Barrel 19y Group Size 1.700″ 1.347″
Factory Barrel 25y Equivalent Group Size 2.237″ 1.772″
Storm Lake Barrel 19y Group Size 0.842″ 1.053″
Storm Lake Barrel 25y Equivalent Group Size 1.108″ 1.386″
% Reduction in group size 50% 22%

Overall, this 1911 shoots way better. I’m really liking how the Hornady 230 grain XTP load is working, so I think I’ll standardize on that for precision shooting, and continue to experiment with other loads at the same time. Plus, I’m ready to use my Osprey 45 when I get my tax stamp! If you are looking for a drop-in 1911 barrel upgrade take a look at Storm Lake!

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Thanks,
Gavin

One thought on “Tested: Storm Lake 1911 Drop-In Barrel (Suppressor Ready)”

  1. Hi Gavin.

    I bought a KKM Precision threaded for my Para 14/45 a while back and had a smith install it as recommended by KKM. I was very disappointed. It had FTF, FTE and stovepiped a percentage of the time using a range of quality ammo, ball & HP. The feed ramp was crappy, the projectiles would get jammed into the casings at times while feeding. When it does shoot, it is fairly accurate and of course, there’s nothing like shooting a .45 I also have an Osprey can for it. I am glad I watched this video as I have been contemplating for some time getting another barrel for it and now I am going to and do hope it will be a 100% drop in and function without any of the other issues I have sited.

    Keep up the good vids and be safe.

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