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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Project complete: "Old-style" P229-P228 Conversion

Just thought I'd share the results of my latest project. The simplicity of the classic P-series SIG design and being able to take them down and work on them makes them fun to tinker with for me, so this "expanded old-school P228" dual-caliber project was something I really wanted to try.

I really wanted a P228 to shoot, but with the market for old-school P228's going up and up, I was reluctant to fire the one "safe-queen" P228 I already had. So with a little research I now have a true "old-school" P228 to play with and shoot that I can convert back to .40 anytime I want.

The recipe is pretty simple... an older .40 P229 frame, a P228 upper (slide assembly, barrel, guide rod and spring), a P228 locking insert, a new-style P229-1 9mm 15-round magazine.

Lot of folks have been kicking around conversions for a long time with lots of ways to do it, including the SIG kits and aftermarket barrels. I really wanted an old-sytle P228, so I was interested in trying it this way. Initially, I wasn't sure the P229 .40 frame was the same until I discovered a factory P228 shipped from SIG on a P229 numbered frame, which told me it would work.

I guess one reason that using the full P228 upper for a conversion wasn't so popular is that up until recently, P228 uppers aren't all that easy to come by. This project all came together thanks to a guy who goes by the handle of "twogunjay" on GunBroker. Some of you guys might know who I'm talking about or seen his P228 parts kits on GB and eBay. As the story goes, his company was able to buy a load of P228 trade-ins from a state agency back East- with the stipulation that they could sell any parts of the gun, except the frame! So, Josh is selling these out for an average of about $170 bucks or so, which I think is an amazing price, and you get all these parts. I've purchased a couple of sets and overall, they're in really pretty good shape. I should probably make a disclaimer that I have no financial interest here. It's just a good deal.



So basically, here's how it shakes out. The older P228 and the P229 in .40 share the same exact frame with one key difference- the dimensions of the inside walls of the magazine well. A P229 frame is widened inside the magwell to accommodate the slightly wider P229 .40/357 magazine. When SIG abandoned the P228 for the P229 in 9mm, they still stuck with the P228 frame dimensions for the 9mm version of the P229 up until a few years back. So, same frame, two different mag well widths and two different size mags for the different calibers.

I did not like the idea of using the narrower "sloppy fit" P228/P229 9mm mags in a .40 frame. That concern went away when I discovered that the newer "E2" P229-1 9mm magazines were the same size and width as the older P229 .40 mags. What makes them even better is that they're 15 rounds compared to the older 13 rounders. This makes them perfect for the conversion project as it's all "factory spec" as a 9mm mag in a .40 frame.

Here's a shot showing the three different mags back to back. The one on the left is an older 10 round P228 mag from the nineties (didn't have a new 13 or Mec-Gar 15 rounder for the shot, but they're the same width). The straight, flat sides of the P228/P229 9mm mag is apparent. The middle one is the standard P229 12 round .40 mag. You can see how the sides are flared out and become wider (at the arrow) than the P228 mag. Then, the mag on the right is the new P229-1 9mm mag. Same width and design as the .40 mag, but now it holds two more rounds than the original 13 round P228 mag, and it's designed to fit the P229 .40 frame.



Since I'm a P229 fan anyway, I thought it wouldn't kill me to have another one just for the project, and I could sell off the slide I didn't need. P229's are plentiful and nice ones can be had for less than $500 for a full gun. I got lucky and found a really nice one for under $450 ready to go with all the parts. All it needed was a good stripping, cleaning and lube and it was good to go. Now I have an extra P229 .40 upper to sell or swap out with some of my other shooters.

So other than the P229 frame with internals and controls, here's the stuff I used from the P228 parts kit. I also swapped out the P229 grip panels for the P228 grips panels that came with the kit. Being LE trade-ins, the upper was pretty dirty, so I broke it down, cleaned the breech block, removed and cleaned the extractor, firing pin, etc, replaced the firing pin spring and re-assembled.




And here's a key to making the P228 slide work on your existing P229. The locking insert from the P229 .40 has to be swapped out for the P228 insert that comes with the kit.



When researching slide/frame swaps for the P228/229 swaps, everything I'd read said flat out that a P228 slide wouldn't work on a P229 frame. Some folks just took it as a given and gave up. Others attributed it to a difference in the frame. THEN, buried deep in the bowels of the interwebs, I found a post revealing the secret about the locking insert. Turns out that, because of some slight dimensional differences, a P228 barrel and slide will NOT lock up and cycle correctly on the exact same frame that has a P229 .40 locking insert. I experimented. They were right. It didn't work. Other than the magwell width, the frames are the same, but you need the P228 locking insert to function correctly with the P228 barrel and slide.

So, the long and the short of it is that after a few weeks of messing around, I finally have the look and feel of a real "Old School" P228 with full factory spec and design, with the benefit of it being a true 15+1 capacity pistol. I can shoot and enjoy as a 9mm, or swap out the slide and locking insert in 1 minute to bring it back to complete .40 P229 spec anytime if need be. This one is the real deal, from all stock factory spec SIG parts. I have full confidence that this pistol will be a fully functional and reliable for any purpose.


Follow up range report: Took the pistol to the range a week or so ago and the pistol functioned flawlessly with the exception of one slide lock failure, which ended up being a weak 229-1 mag spring. I'm digging this "new" pistol!




 

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I've read this a couple times...is sounds complicated, but I'm a complete novice.

What are the main differences between the P228 and the P229 that makes this all worth doing? And please pardon me for my ignorance on the differences in the stock old-school P228s and new P229s...I should be doing a lot of Googling rather than asking this question, but it's been a long day/week for me...but I'll get to it eventually.

Again, sorry for my ignorance and laziness, but it sounds like you're pretty excited. And the total cost of all this has been what, around $650ish (plus perhaps the cost of that insert, unless it was included in that kit you purchased for $170.)

Congrats on getting all that together, and I hope it all works out at the range for you!
 

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So do you have more Slides than Frames? We need to find a source for P228/P229 9mm Frames. I have five or six Slides with no frames. I want to buy 4 Frames today. Not .40 though, 9mm.
 

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So do you have more Slides than Frames? We need to find a source for P228/P229 9mm Frames. I have five or six Slides with no frames. I want to buy 4 Frames today. Not .40 though, 9mm.
The frame is "the gun".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I've read this a couple times...is sounds complicated, but I'm a complete novice.

What are the main differences between the P228 and the P229 that makes this all worth doing? And please pardon me for my ignorance on the differences in the stock old-school P228s and new P229s...I should be doing a lot of Googling rather than asking this question, but it's been a long day/week for me...but I'll get to it eventually.

Congrats on getting all that together, and I hope it all works out at the range for you!
:D You're right LeftCoast, the presentation is probably a lot more complicated than the process! Basically, all you do is take a P229 -.40, swap out the slide assembly and locking insert with those same parts from one of the P228 parts kits and get a 229-1 (9mm) magazine.

Since there's really no difference between the P228 and 229 frames other than the magwell, the only benefit to the P229 frame is the ability to use a factory mag to get the added two rounds of the factory P229-1 9mm mag. Of course, there are aftermarket 15-round or larger extended mags available for the regular, thinner P228 magwell, but I've heard of some reliability issues with them. Or, you could pop a P226 mag in it for the range if you wanted 15 rounds, but the only "factory" 15 round 9mm mag that functions in a true "as-sold" SIG configuration in that frame is the P229-1.

My only P228 is a two-tone "safe queen" that unfortunately doesn't get shot. I really wanted a P228 to shoot for fun or maybe even carry, but finding good ones at reasonable prices is getting harder and harder. Good P229s are cheaper and plentiful, and I already had a couple I could experiment with. Once I learned that the slide/locking block swap would work, there was still concern after that was that I would have to use the thinner, stock P228 mag in the wider mag well. When I found out that the P229-1 mag was made to fit the .40 frame, it was a no-brainer for me to try out.

I bought another P229 two weeks ago for less than $450 and it's in great mechanical and cosmetic shape. I could easily sell off the slide/barrel assembly from it and get my net cost for the complete lower frame assembly down to under $200. The leftover unneeded controls and parts from the P228 parts kit could easily sell for $100 on eBay or in other places, so net/net (if I sold off all the stuff I don't really need), I'll end up with a nice P228 of all "factory specs" for about $275!

I like to tinker with SIGs, so I"ll be keeping the parts and the extra P229 .40 slide assembly as a backup for my others, or in case I ever want to restore it back to P229 .40 to sell it as such. The extra controls will probably get sent off to Robar or CCR for nickel plating to bling out an older P226. Anyway you look at it, it's all good SIG fun!
 

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I do it much simpler
A Bar-sto conversion barrel is a 40 barrel drilled for a 9mm. It also is a match grade barrel although Bar-sto does not say so. Very very accurate.
I use my 40 magazines because any double stack and a lot of single stack magazines will do all three calibers just fine. Some guns need a recoil spring although I find that new springs will handle it fine.
I had a 229-40/9mm and now have a 239-40/357/9mm that does it all with 40 mags and recoil spring.
I have a 229-40/357 in the mail that will do 9mm eventually.

Your way is better for carry. Bar-sto for 160.00 is great for target shooting, and much more accurate than a standard Sig barrel.

There is this
http://sigtalk.com/sig-sauer-gunsmithing/17536-barrel-conversion-tables.html

PS
I shot 40 out of 229-9mm magazines with no problems. Not carry, just target shooting.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I do it much simpler
A Bar-sto conversion barrel is a 40 barrel drilled for a 9mm. It also is a match grade barrel although Bar-sto does not say so. Very very accurate.
I use my 40 magazines because any double stack and a lot of single stack magazines will do all three calibers just fine. Some guns need a recoil spring although I find that new springs will handle it fine.
The Bar-Sto barrels are great from what I hear. I think my mission on this project was more about getting a real, old school folded carbon steel slide P228 than another milled slide P229 in 9mm. I like that it's a true "up to spec" SIG using all factory original parts and as-designed fitment. I really wouldn't have even thought about it doing if I hadn't found the P228 parts kits at such a good deal.

I've never really experimented much with crossing different caliber rounds in different mags and I don't know enough about mag design to know what things are critical and what aren't. Tell me more about how that works. Does the "stagger angle" of the stack (as determined by the relationship between the diameter of the round and the inside width of the mag) make any difference? Is the width of the mouth of the mag critical to hold the round in the correct place for cycling? I'm going to have to do some measurements today!
 

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Yes Glock, H&K, and Sig double mags will do all three calibers fine.
The differences on mags is to me more about years than calibers.
The 229-1 magazine is a 40 magazine size. Sig may make a feed lip difference, but the size is the same.

Sig told me single stack mags won't do it. but all 5 of mine are 100%.

I can see where your idea is a great hands on project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
The 229-1 magazine is a 40 magazine size.
I didn't know this either until a few weeks ago when I was researching what I could do to make a stock P228 mag fit better in the .40 frame. I thought I was going to have to use the smaller mags in my project until I was digging around on sigsauerguns.com (Osage County Guns) reading about P229 conversion kits. The light came on after reading which frames the conversion kits would work on. In the description they talk about the 9mm conversion kit and that they fit any .40, .357 or "15 round 9mm" frame made in Exeter.

Sig Sauer P229 .40 Caliber Exchange Kit 12rd

I guess basically all I did was create my own conversion kit using an old P228 slide!
 

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Wonderful review SIG Sauer Puss.

I was wondering if you know much about DAK frames. I have a P229R DAK 40S&W RAIL. I put an Exeter 228 slide and locking insert on the P229R frame. It almost worked, but the DAK hammer interferes with the slide preventing the slide from cycling. I was wondering if you know of any solutions. I really like the 9mm, as well I like the DAK. Is there a way for me to get the best of both worlds?
I would suggest you start your own thread, with your problem, and not piggyback on a 5+ year old thread.

I would suggest you provide photos with the grips removed. I'm not aware of any DAKs with a P228 slide, although I have seen P220 DAKs with folded steel slides, so I'm satisfied the Breech Blocks should be able to support them.
 
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