Do moon clips work well in .38/.357 guns?


November 14, 2006, 05:16 PM
I was thinking of having my S&W 66 converted to take moon clips. Do moon clips function well with .38/.357 caliber guns? Thank you.

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November 14, 2006, 07:11 PM
Many competitive shooters use the 7 round moonclips in their 686's and the 8 round versions in their 627's. They are quite a bit thinner than 45 ACP moonlips but they do work. If you want real speed in a 686 frame then one in 38 Suoper with the thicker moonclips would be the way to go.

November 14, 2006, 07:39 PM
They do work, but a lot of people find that moonclips work better with short cartridges when wanting real speed.

Jim Watson
November 14, 2006, 07:57 PM
I gave the clipped .38 Special a run but gave up on it in favor of .45s and speedloaders. A lot of the ICORE guys load .38 Short Colt for easy clip loading.

November 14, 2006, 10:07 PM
In my experiences with my 8 round smith 327, shorter .38 specials work better than the .357s. However, lining up 8 holes is still a bear for me. Since yours is a 66 and is a 6 rounder it probably is easier. I am sure with practice the speed will come. Good luck

November 14, 2006, 10:19 PM
There was an article in a recent gun mag about a moon-clipped .357Mag. The writer commented that the longer cartridges wobbled around a bit and made loading difficult.

November 14, 2006, 10:43 PM
I have two K-frame .357 revolvers converted for moonclips, a Model 13 and a Model 65. There are pluses and minuses to the conversion.


1. It's much easier to carry moon-clipped reloads in a pocket than rounds in a speedloader - less bulky and no fiddling with speedloader releases.

2. Being less bulky than a speedloader, you can often fit twice as many moon-clipped reloads into a speedloader pouch than you can speedloaders. This is also useful for shoulder-holster ammo containers - they can be made smaller for moon-clipped rounds than for speedloaders, which helps with concealment.

3. They can be quicker on reloads in the sense that the rounds in the gun, being locked together with the moon-clip, fall out together when the ejector rod is pressed. I've not had any problems with one or more cases 'hanging up' in the gun.


1. As noted, you have to take care to line up the rounds with the cylinder when reloading. In normal reloads, this isn't a major problem, but in fast stressful reloads, it can produce fumbles. (On the other hand, HKS speedloaders suffer from the same defect, so that's not necessarily a problem restricted to the moon-clip.)

2. The rounds can gather detritus in between themselves if placed in a pocket with other items (e.g. a coin, or paper-clip, or something like that). This will stop a reload faster than I can tell it! If you want to carry moon-clipped reloads, do so in an empty, clean pocket, or use some sort of holder.

If you're prepared to train with the moon-clips, and practice (and practice, and practice) reloading them until it becomes second nature, I think they're a very valuable modification. If you don't plan to practice enough (and regularly enough) to master them, it may be less than optimum for you.

Hope this helps.

November 15, 2006, 12:05 AM
On the other hand, HKS speedloaders suffer from the same defect, so that's not necessarily a problem restricted to the moon-clip.Yes, that is correct--at times I've almost convinced myself that loading two at a time is faster than trying to get all the rounds in a speedloader to line up at once...

Brian Williams
November 15, 2006, 11:11 AM
Besides you can do a cylinder dump and reload, later the moonclips have all of your brass held nicely together and it is even easier to pick up than stuffing loose brass in your pocket after a reload. That is unless some clod footed moron has stepped all over them.

November 15, 2006, 11:11 AM
If you get good moonclips, the rounds will be held firmer and do line up with the cylinder holes better. The best clips out there are from Hearthco. You will pay a higher price for them, but they make a world of difference in the 8-shot 627. Dave will send you one of his clips for a free evaluation. If your experience is like mine, you will instantly realize how superior his clips are and he will win your business.

November 15, 2006, 03:51 PM
GMB nailed it. with the 8 shot N frame, you can have some difficulty getting a quick load. It's more a variance in the brass than the moon clips, but if you get the match moon clips like hearthco ( cylinder & slide? ) The match moon clips work great with Federal, Remington and Starline Brass. There are one or two other brands that work well, but since the match clips are thicker, some brass won't fit (dont try to force them). Winchester is one brand that defies a good moon clipping. The notch at the cartridge head is too small for match moon clips, too big for standard ones.

For competition, there's no practical way to get around separating the brass. What I do is load up the 1st cylinder with a standard clipped set of Winchester brass, and carry reloads of only match moon clips unless the match runs me short of clipped ammo and I use the remaining standard moon clips.

One advantage I haven't seen mentioned here is if you have a short barrel 327 PC. These don't have full length extraction, but with a moon clip, they all come out nicely even after a cylinder full of full power loads.


March 20, 2008, 12:46 PM
If you use round nosed bullets, the moon clips work fabulously for me. The slight wobble makes it easier to load. After a little practice, I just 'throw' the loaded clip at the cylinder and it drops right in. Oh yeah, did I mention I chamferd the cylinders while I was at it. makes a big difference.

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