9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

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9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby jeep45238 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:17 am

Warning- ideas provoked by a week of 3-4 hours of sleep a night.

I’ve been daydreaming about having TK Custom machine the cylinder of my k frame to accept moon clips and 9mm.

They claim that after machining the revolver will shoot .38 and 9mm, with the caveat of staying with standard pressure 9mm to avoid sticking brass.

How would this impact shooting .38? Sticking any more of a possibility than without the caliber conversion? How would the higher pressure/lower weight of the 9mm treat a .38spl only k frame long term (durability issues)?

Having two calibers in one gun sounds mighty nice - and if proven means stocking one caliber. Best part is it’s less than a 1050 caliber conversion w/ toolhead to reload 38 spl.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby SMMAssociates » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:12 am

Jeep:

Can't recall where, but I once read that GI's (I presume aircrews) were putting burrs on the heads of 9mm rounds to use them in .38Spl revolvers. Worked OK. I doubt if they cared about damaging the guns, though :D....

I think I'd just try to find a 9mm cylinder for that gun. Probably cheaper, but I don't know about availability issues. I don't know if S&W made a 9mm K, or what the costs might be. The good news is that the only thing that you could really hurt would be the new cylinder.

The 9mm has a tapered casing that might make reloading interesting, or at least be rough on them. (Or my memory is faultier than usual. )

Good reason to buy another gun :mrgreen: .

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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby jeep45238 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:21 am

You'll never catch me doing any work on loaded ammo besides shooting it! Plain old not worth it.

I doubt the cost of a factory 9mm cylinder would be approachable, let alone fitting it to the gun. The factory 9mm K frames I'm aware of have a very unique ejection system and don't require moonclips - hence expensive, and model specific.

It's a heck of a lot easier to just mail the cylinder and not have any fitting issues, and the work with moon clips and associated tools is close to that of a cheapie j frame.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Brian D. » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:29 am

You should probably chat up TK Customs on the telephone with your questions. Back in my pin shooting days a couple different locals sent revolvers there and seemed happy with the work.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Cruiser » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:28 am

Would this be for CC or just for fun? I have Ruger 357/9mm Blackhawk that I don't us anymore.
http://www.ruger.com/products/newModelB ... /0318.html
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby jeep45238 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:31 am

For competition work, since I reload 9mm by bulk it’s not too hard to change the powder charge.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Sevens » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:12 pm

I think the best answer here is the one you already know. I think we ALL know it. It's shocking that nobody has yet said it.

You took a little chance and hunted down a sweet 64-5 and you are quite happy with what ya got.
If you want to explore what TK Custom can do a alter a K-38 for moon clipped 9mm, go grab yourself ANOTHER K-38 and make you play with that one.

Sure, this isn't the lowest budget route, but it surely isn't expensive. As best that I can remember, S&W only ever made one K-frame chambered in 9mm, that was the (now collectible and totally over-bloated in value) Model 547. And that revolver could not use moon clips. You can't touch one for under $700 and that would be low-end, with wear and no box. A minty one in box goes over a grand every single time the seller is aware of the market.

I say grab another 64 or a 10, ship off to TK, and keep us in the loop!
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby willbird » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:06 pm

Overall I'm not impressed with the idea of chambering a 35,000 PSI ctg into a gun that was mfg for a 17,000 (normal) to 18,500(+p) ctg.

Then your firing a .355 bullet down a barrel made for .358 bullets.

Bill
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Brian D. » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:17 pm

willbird wrote:Overall I'm not impressed with the idea of chambering a 35,000 PSI ctg into a gun that was mfg for a 17,000 (normal) to 18,500(+p) ctg.

Then your firing a .355 bullet down a barrel made for .358 bullets.

Bill


You may be alarmed at my conversion of an airweight J-frame, Bill. I have a model 637 that I fitted up with a 9mm cylinder from the long discontinued model 940. I have proof tested it with a little bit of +p 9mm, but mostly fire midrange reloads through it. Then again sometimes I carry it with the original .38 cylinder installed. Also bobbed the spur and ground the single action notch off the hammer.

I was concerned it might not be accurate with the .355" 9mm bullets, but they land in tight groups.

It has held up just fine.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby jeep45238 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:06 pm

willbird wrote:Overall I'm not impressed with the idea of chambering a 35,000 PSI ctg into a gun that was mfg for a 17,000 (normal) to 18,500(+p) ctg.

Then your firing a .355 bullet down a barrel made for .358 bullets.

Bill



The pressures I understand completely, and is one of my main hesitations.

I’m not too worried about the bullet dia - I load .357 in my 9mm anyway.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Brian D. » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:06 pm

jeep45238 wrote:The pressures I understand completely, and is one of my main hesitations.

I’m not too worried about the bullet dia - I load .357 in my 9mm anyway.


Keep the reloads to where they just make "minor" in USPSA, or thereabouts. At that level you'd probably not want to mistakenly run them through a semiautomatic though--except for malfunction clearing drills. :D

You saw what I posted above about my ersatz "Model 937". It's an airweight and has shown no signs of wear, cracks, etc. Just tread lightly.
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby Sevens » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:33 pm

Years ago I had a theory, it was quite simply that I didn't believe it made any decent sense to manufacture K-38 and K-357 cylinders differently, from a large scale manufacturing standpoint.

In other words, it seemed to me that if I am Smith & Wesson and I produce tens of thousands of cylinders to fit K-frame revolvers... would it make any good sense to build them to two (wildly) different specifications?

I am not in the business of manufacturing (on any scale, let alone "biggest ever in history") but it seems to me that the simple answer is the likely one -- S&W makes one cylinder that fits a K-frame, they trim it for length when stuffed in to a K-38 and they leave it a smidge longer for a Model 13 or 19.

My plan for my $250 pick of the litter Model 10-10 was to make abusive .357 Magnum handloads (in .38 Special brass) to prove my theory. I never chickened out and I would do it tomorrow (to someone else's K-38) but I fell totally in love with my 10-10 and I really don't enjoy any magnum from a K-frame anyway, so I couldn't bring myself to do it.

S&W would have ZERO to gain by giving a truthful answer, only liability, but I bet if they were forced to give you the truth, I bet they would tell you that a K-38 and a K-357 cylinder have exactly the same specifications and ability.

All of that is my way of saying that I would be not at all scared of 35k PSI in a cylinder that we only run .38 Special+P in. 13, 19, 65 and 66's run magnum, and the S&W 547 ran 9mm.

S&W also made J-frames that ran the 45k PSI .327 Federal.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby willbird » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:16 pm

Sevens wrote:Years ago I had a theory, it was quite simply that I didn't believe it made any decent sense to manufacture K-38 and K-357 cylinders differently, from a large scale manufacturing standpoint.

In other words, it seemed to me that if I am Smith & Wesson and I produce tens of thousands of cylinders to fit K-frame revolvers... would it make any good sense to build them to two (wildly) different specifications?

I am not in the business of manufacturing (on any scale, let alone "biggest ever in history") but it seems to me that the simple answer is the likely one -- S&W makes one cylinder that fits a K-frame, they trim it for length when stuffed in to a K-38 and they leave it a smidge longer for a Model 13 or 19.

My plan for my $250 pick of the litter Model 10-10 was to make abusive .357 Magnum handloads (in .38 Special brass) to prove my theory. I never chickened out and I would do it tomorrow (to someone else's K-38) but I fell totally in love with my 10-10 and I really don't enjoy any magnum from a K-frame anyway, so I couldn't bring myself to do it.

S&W would have ZERO to gain by giving a truthful answer, only liability, but I bet if they were forced to give you the truth, I bet they would tell you that a K-38 and a K-357 cylinder have exactly the same specifications and ability.

All of that is my way of saying that I would be not at all scared of 35k PSI in a cylinder that we only run .38 Special+P in. 13, 19, 65 and 66's run magnum, and the S&W 547 ran 9mm.

S&W also made J-frames that ran the 45k PSI .327 Federal.


You just never know until it comes apart ;-). The K frame 357's were never intended for a steady diet of 357 though, the intent was practice with 38's...carry with 357.

Bill
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby jeep45238 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:52 pm

Besides loose lockup/sloppy timing, what are some other early warning signs that can be measured with something like a feeler gauge?

Would carbon steel be a better choice than stainless for this sort of application, or would the work-hardening of stainless be a benefit under abuse?
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Re: 9mm cylinder conversion work - SW .38 K frame

Postby willbird » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:55 am

jeep45238 wrote:Besides loose lockup/sloppy timing, what are some other early warning signs that can be measured with something like a feeler gauge?

Would carbon steel be a better choice than stainless for this sort of application, or would the work-hardening of stainless be a benefit under abuse?


IMHO any well designed firearms part will not work harden in use.

Most firearms stainless is just 416 anyway....does not tend to work harden and machines very nice.

Probably one of the toughest steels avail is S7....I have heard of folks making custom revolver cylinders from it.

If you want to do a dive into metallurgy Google Jominey and or Charpey notch test

http://www.msitesting.com/u-notch-charpy-specimens.html

Many firearms by design include stress risers....these tests explore the strength of a steel when a stress riser is given an impact.
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