Holy cow. Apparently there is an automatic 1911-ish frame .357 magnum. http://www.coonaninc.com/index.php/cPath,5
Has anybody ever fired one of these? Also, do any of our resident gun experts know anything about the Coonan brand? .357 magnum power in a 1911-ish frame, this thing looks amazing.
That thing would make John Browning roll in his grave. There has been but only one other automatic pistol chambered in .357, that I can think of, and that would be the Desert Eagle Mark XIX. It's a noble concept, for sure, but impractical for any purpose other than a pleasing afternoon at the range. The feed geometry of that gun has been customized sufficiently to load the cartridge, but my gut tells me the pistol would still be quite dependent on what ammo is fed through it. To be fair, most guns are at least a little persnickety about what ammo they like, but 1911s are notorious for disliking anything other than full metal jacket (a.k.a. "ball" or "hardball"), and this is a phenomenon true of 1911s in .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 9mm Para.
The .357 cartridge is rimmed, whereas nearly all other autoloader cartridges (in both rifles and pistols) are rimless. The rims on the cartridges affect how they stack in the magazine, which is why this handgun has crappy capacity at only 7 rounds. That is one more round than most small frame revolvers, and two more rounds than most ultra compact revolvers, in a Government sized (5 inch) Colt handgun profile. Granted, it is firing .357 magnum, which is attractive from a self-defense standpoint, but you can get the same power in a smaller handgun, with better capacity (10-15 rounds sound good?), in something chambered for .357 Sig.
The Coonan piece looks the shit, though, and I'd love to have one for a fun day at the range. As a carry piece they are impractical, though I could actually see it being useful for deer hunting, though there are better pistols for it, some of them even on an M1911 frame. If you're going to go full tilt on an M1911 chambered in something oddball, consider a .460 Rowland. It's like .44 mag power in a 1911 frame.