The Omega Man : Springfield's Lost German 10mm

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So if you contend that 9mm is just too small, .38 Super is just too old school, and .45ACP is just too slow, odds are you are a 10mm Auto kinda guy. Well Springfield knew about the 10 milly back in the day and even made a 1911 framed pistol to accommodate it. We aren't fooling around here. In fact, it was the Omega.

These guns were old school 'Pre-90' series guns with a 5.04-inch barrel (a hair bigger longer than standard 1911s) that were made from a West German-US partnership.
Say what?

Yes, the top half of the gun was made in Germany by a custom pistol maker, then shipped to the US where it was married to a loaded frame built here and sold in the elegantly crafted blue and white cardboard boxes that Springfield was known for at the time.

The sold for about $838 retail when it was introduced in about 1986. Today their collector price is upto twice that if you have a nice one with some spare barrels.

What do we mean by spare barrels? Keep reading.

Design

The top half of these guns were made by Joe Peters of the firm Peters, Stahls GmbH in Paderborn, West Germany from early 1980s into the early 1990s. He used a link less design on the internals like that of the SIG P-series guns rather than the Browning 1911 style. The slide also features a double-extractor. Stahl's bit was in designing multiple caliber guns to comply with German gun laws that only allowed a gun owner a single pistol.

The Omega Man : Springfield
(Observe the very different internals from a standard 1911: no barrel bushing, twin extractors, one-piece full length guiderod, no swinging link on the barrel..)

Thus the 1911s his firm made could be swapped out to fire 9x19mm, 10mm Auto, .38 Super, .38 Wadcutter or .45ACP in the same frame, just by swapping out the barrel, recoil spring and (in some cases) the magazine. The gun came in either a 5.04-inch or a 6.03-inch barrel/slide length.

The Omega Man : Springfield

They were big. Bigger in fact than a standard 1911. And they were heavy, spec'd out at over 47-ounces unloaded-- but hey, it's a half German/half American 10mm Auto longslide, what do you expect?

The Omega Man : Springfield
These guns had optional "integral vent ports" as shown.



(notice the long extractor lever on the slide? An Omega has one on both the left and right)



(Internal view of the extractor. Also note the enlarged ejection port in the slide when compared to stock GI 1911s)

To help tame the heavy 10mm auto round the barrels used polygonal rifling while the heavier than normal slide created through a blend of CNC machining and hand craftsmanship was dual-ported in both the barrel and slide. The good news is that the lower is more or less stock 1911 and commercially available parts can be made/fitted for it. Colt 10mm mags even fit these guns fine. It's the German made loaded slide that has the unique parts.



Big Daddy Hoffman having 9:30 mins worth of fun with his great shooting Omega.

Trouble in paradise

Well at some point the relationship between Peters and Springfield soured and they stopped the Omega partnership in its tracks. Springfield started making a very, *very* similar gun that they billed as the "Linkless" while Stahl switched to having their guns imported by companies that ranged from Euro-Imports, to Swiss Trading GmbH, to Peters Stahl, U.S.A (for two years) and finally by Franzen International as the Model Millennium, 07 Multicaliber, High Capacity Trophy Master, and other names. The company never had more than twenty employees from what we can tell here and was largely a personal enterprise of Herr Peters.

The Omega Man : Springfield
(Ah the SA Linkless, very similar to the Omega, but slightly different. All Linkless pistols are US-made without anything to do with Stahl and have fixed sights. Omega's all come with adjustable ones)

Here is the bad news. Even though they had a lifetime warranty when sold, and that warranty is still honored by Springfield Armory, the parts just may not exist to ensure that if your Omega goes south, it can ever be resurrected again. Peters-Stahl folded up shop in 2009 and their website has long been taken down, replaced by one with a similar name that is a German shooting blog so don't get confused.

The Omega Man : Springfield

The failure point on these pistols all seem to be the guide rod assembly, so if you have an Omega and plan to shoot it, be sure to stock up on these if you can.

With that being said, SA may offer a comparable replacement if you have an Omega that goes kaput-- but there is no guarantee the collector's value will be there on whatever they offer.

For more info on the Omega, try the excellent Bren Ten website, keepers of the faith of all things 10mm.

And by all means, if you have an Omega, please share with the forum below!

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Posted: 
September 5, 2014  •  10:44 PM
I took possession of an early 5" Omega today.

The frame flats, thumb safety, and slide stop are high polish blue, matching the slide flats. The trigger face is smooth. I suspect that Stahl finished the frame and provided the small parts. The ejector is loose, as others have reported. The grip screw bushings are not staked in. The recoil assembly is not bridged. The frame rails appear oversized, so I believe that the slide was fitted to the frame. The recoil spring appears to be a much shortened 18 lb govt spring. There is a hex screw in the end of the spring guide portion of the recoil assembly.

The gun appears to have been fired quite a bit, but was very well cared for, with no wear or even the smallest scratch. The recoil assembly lug and the barrel lug that engages it show slight battering - Expected, since that's where all the action is with this design. No other parts show even normal expected wear, and there is no other place with even the slightest evidence of battering. The overall lockup is rock solid.

I believe that the barrel is free-floating. I do not believe it contacts the slide bore at lockup!

The barrel/recoil assembly linkless locking is simple and elegant. The two parts simply wedge together. There seems to be little possibility of the engagement wearing to the point where it would ever require adjustment. Replacing the recoil assembly probably requires fitting on at least two surfaces. The recoil assembly is often described as a failure point on the pistol, but looking at the way it functions it makes me suspect that the failures are associated with some unusual condition, possibly dirt getting between the assembly and the vertical engagement surface of the frame?

Field stripping is wonderfully simple. Hold the slide back to line up the slide stop and takedown notch, remove the stop, and remove the slide while holding the recoil assembly in place.

I had the opportunity to examine two other Omega's before buying mine, and they were each slightly different in finish, and each had a different recoil assembly!

I re-assembled the gun with small amounts of Royal Purple grease on every surface showing wear, and of course on the rails.

I am going to take the gun to the range tomorrow and will be shooting 200gr ZERO bullets over 7.4gr Power Pistol. I will post a range report afterwards.

RANGE REPORT:

Okay, I shot 100 rounds of 200gr ZERO bullets over 7.4gr Power Pistol an hour ago. The heavy slide keeps the recoil down to 45acp level (my barrel is not ported - I'd rather have the extra 50-100fps than the ports). It feels like a 1911 in every way. Accuracy is equal to my full-house wad gun. I have a new favorite pistol ;^)

MORE RANGE REPORT:

Shot 100 over 7.6gr Power Pistol yesterday. Little difference other than that the upgraded spring (see below) made recoil negligible. Gun feels like it can handle MUCH hotter loads. Phenomenal accuracy.

EVEN MORE RANGE REPORT:

Went up to 8.0gr Power Pistol. This should be just about 1200fps with the 200gr ZERO bullet. It feels like this is the load the gun "likes". The recoil impulse feels smooth and the gun stays pointed right on target. No trouble hitting (and this load hits with real authority) 4 inch plates at 50 yards or 8 inch plates at 100.
 
Posted: 
September 11, 2014  •  10:21 PM
Big important news flash: The Omega can be fed 40 S&W cases with long-shanked bullets like the 200 seated way out for a COAL of 1.260. Can finally stop worrying about losing my expensive 10mm brass. Use small pistol magnum primers.
 
Posted: 
September 15, 2014  •  12:34 PM
Disassembly/Reassembly:

Field stripping is trivially easy - Just hold the slide back to line up the slide stop, pop it out, and as you slide the frame back hold the recoil assembly down firmly with your thumb to prevent binding, then lift out the recoil assembly all in one piece.

Reassembly is difficult proportional to the spring strength, since you have to compress the recoil assembly so that it is fully engaged with the lug on the barrel in order to get the dust cover to clear it. If you have the guide rod with the screw in the end, you can put a 0.25" wide piece of wood behind the screw head to hold the assembly in place.

I replaced the relaxed original spring with a 20lb govt spring cut down to the same length, and it takes very strong hands to reassemble the gun! Going to a higher strength spring changes the lock timing such that firing pin drag can be reduced or eliminated. Going too high will interfere with feeding and/or ejection.
 
Posted: 
March 29, 2015  •  07:39 PM
Update: NEW LOAD - Omega Only

200gr Zero FMJ Bullet (BC: 0.200)

8.0gr Power Pistol

1.275 OAL - (Yes, this is longer than spec)

Light coating of Johnson's Paste Wax on exposed part of bullet after seating and crimping. Apply with soft cloth, do not buff.
 
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