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How hard is it to convert a revolver to 9mm?


JesseM
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I've been thinking about picking up an old Smith like a model 64 or something or maybe a used Ruger Gp100 and sending it off to a smith to get converted to shoot 9mm from moon clips so I can have an ESR gun that isn't the 625.

I mean I know I can get a 38 special gun to use moon clips but I would like to keep my caliber selection down and also I kind of like the idea of being different.

So I guess my quesiton is how hard is it to take a gun in 38/357 and have it rebarreled and re chambered for 9mm? Do people make 6 shot 9mm moon clips? And more importantly assuming any of this is doable who would do it? Who is the go to guy for revolver work?

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The issue with the Smith is that the cylinder notch is in the middle of the chamber and if you ream the 38 special out to a 9mm it will cause a weak spot there. GP 100 notches are off set and MAY not be a problem, I'll let a true gunsmith reply to that one.

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I've been thinking about picking up an old Smith like a model 64 or something or maybe a used Ruger Gp100 and sending it off to a smith to get converted to shoot 9mm from moon clips so I can have an ESR gun that isn't the 625.

I mean I know I can get a 38 special gun to use moon clips but I would like to keep my caliber selection down and also I kind of like the idea of being different.

So I guess my quesiton is how hard is it to take a gun in 38/357 and have it rebarreled and re chambered for 9mm? Do people make 6 shot 9mm moon clips? And more importantly assuming any of this is doable who would do it? Who is the go to guy for revolver work?

Look at the TK Custom website. No problems machining a .357 to 9mm. Not sure about pressures with a .38. No need to re-barrel - SAAMI spec for land and groove diameter is the same for .357 and 9mm. Twist rates are different but as long as you use heavier bullets with the 9mm you'll be fine. He even sells moonclips.

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If you start with a gun made for 357 it should be OK. You're only taking off about .003 per side to ream it for a 9mm case. You would need a 9mm barrel to get accuracy unless you want to load .357 diameter bullets in the 9mm case. For a 9mm barrel, I would go with a Walther 1 in 10 twist. This is a barrel blank that has to be turned down, threaded, etc. The twist isn't 1 in 10, but a close metric equivalent. The grooves are .355, correct for a 9mm bullet.

I would recommend Cylinder and Slide or Clark Custom for the conversion. These are old school places that understand revos.

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I would need a 9mm barrel to get accuracy unless you want to load .357 diameter bullets in the 9mm case. For a 9mm barrel, I would go with a Walther 1 in 10 twist. This is a barrel blank that has to be turned down, threaded, etc. The twist isn't 1 in 10, but a close metric equivalent. The grooves are .355, correct for a 9mm bullet.

All of my modern S&W .357s also have .355 grooves, which is SAAMI spec. But an older one may be questionable. The twist rate is the only difference.

You can shoot .357 diameter bullets from 9mm cases but I notice no difference in accuracy using 9mm bullets in 38 SC in my 627.

Making 165 would be tough but doable - you can load long. But if you want to make major with a 6 shot better off with a 625.

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9mm major in a L frame revo would suck. Makes my wrists and elbows hurt just thinking about it.

I had a 686 in Super and even 160s at major were brutal after a while. The big fireball was cool though...

Edited by Tom Freeman
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I'd have thought converting it to .38 Super would be more feasible than 9 mm

It might be but it doesn't help with my desire to keep the number of calibers I shoot down.

I still might do it just for the f*#k of it but honestly if I can't shoot it in IDPA then the new S&W 986 looks damn appealing all of a sudden.

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I still might do it just for the f*#k of it but honestly if I can't shoot it in IDPA then the new S&W 986 looks damn appealing all of a sudden.

If IDPA gives you grief about short colt, will they allow a 9mm conversion?

Ruger for sure (on the Security Six frame) and I think S&W (K frames) made 9mm revolvers. You might look for one of those. It could be cheaper than building one.

Owned the S&W one and traded it for my 625. Not something you could convert to moon clips and 9mm speed loaders are no longer available.

Edited by PatJones
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Well

I still might do it just for the f*#k of it but honestly if I can't shoot it in IDPA then the new S&W 986 looks damn appealing all of a sudden.

If IDPA gives you grief about short colt, will they allow a 9mm conversion?

Well the only reason I didn't want to buy the 986 was that A) It comes with a lock and B) I can't shoot it in IDPA. I thought I couldn't shoot it in IDPA because it has 7 rounds and a 5" barrel but apprently I can't shoot it in IDPA because bulet diameter and power factor (I'd forgot that ESR had a higher power factor) too so that means if I just want a 9mm revolver (which I kind of do) then I'll just get the 986. That being said knowing I can't shoot it in IDPA made it drop from "Gonna buy soon" to "Gonna buy eventually when I can get a good deal on it."

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Omg, this is why I've always been hesitant to shoot IDPA. Fortunately, I have several USPSA and ICORE clubs to shoot, and no intention to bad mouth IDPA, it's just my admittedly little brain can't overcome the IDPA way of thinking.

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Ruger for sure (on the Security Six frame) and I think S&W (K frames) made 9mm revolvers. You might look for one of those. It could be cheaper than building one.

I saw a Smith Model 24 ( I think thats right) on gun broker back in the winter. It was 9mm and they were asking an insane amount of $$$. It's more a collector piece than a shooter. If they have BUG matches where you shoot you could look for a S&W 940. 5 shot 9mm J Frame. Everytime one comes up for sale I'm always broke but I'd love to have one.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone with a 627-4 done this? I have a .38 Super that load exclusively for this revolver, but load the same bullets in 9mm (158gr LRN) and it would be cool to be able to shoot both. Currently, my .38 Super shoots <3" @ 50 yards and I wouldn't want to mess that up. The same projectile seated in 9mm to 1.150" produces good accuracy and around 130pf - bullets are sized to .3565" for both loads.

Warren, any thoughts on this? I could fire up the monoset and make a reamer, but I would want specs first. Maybe an off the shelf chamber reamer? I can't imagine it being more than a few thousandths per side or even just the extractor that needs relieved.

Lee

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When he had a gun built by Apex there was discussion of setting it up for Winchester primers because that was one of his sponsors. I don't know if this was the gun in question but I bet he's still shooting Winchester primers. I also remember him mentioning just using WWB 147 for practice.

To get a good grab on brass I think you'll still have to go by headstamp for our standards. I'm figuring that out now for my 929.

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When he had a gun built by Apex there was discussion of setting it up for Winchester primers because that was one of his sponsors. I don't know if this was the gun in question but I bet he's still shooting Winchester primers. I also remember him mentioning just using WWB 147 for practice.

To get a good grab on brass I think you'll still have to go by headstamp for our standards. I'm figuring that out now for my 929.

I suppose this isn't the end of the world, but the idea of having a big bin a semi auto ammo I could occasional supplement for practice is appealing. Especially since I only have 1,200 pieces of Super brass.

Lee

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I bet it's fine for practice. The clips I'm going to use are .035, and they really do work well with all brands compared to the 38 special headache. I think you will see plenty more 929 users using range brass than was ever possible with 38s.

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Warren, any thoughts on this? I could fire up the monoset and make a reamer, but I would want specs first. Maybe an off the shelf chamber reamer? I can't imagine it being more than a few thousandths per side or even just the extractor that needs relieved.

Lee

The 9mm case is tapered. It is bigger at the bottom than .38 Special or Super. If you just ran a regular 9mm chamber reamer in there, it would be rechambered for 9mm. You would only be shaving a few thou. at the back end by the extractor. You would still have to cut for moonclips, but that's a given.

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