Moonclip 101: Experienced Feedback Please


Gary H
August 1, 2003, 09:44 PM
I'm new to moonclips and have been going through my early exposure using a 627PC in 38 Special. Half of my moonclips bind, rather than load. What do you guys do? How is this avoided? I've got a moonclip loader and the loaded clips look good to the eye. I'm using Federal brass.

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August 1, 2003, 10:57 PM
If you lay your moonclips on a very flat surface (i.e. piece of glass), is it completely flat? Do all the moonclips bind? You have a "moon clip loader", good - do you have a "de-mooner"?

Gary H
August 1, 2003, 11:08 PM
They seem flat. I have a demooner and device to flatten bent clips.

Guy B. Meredith
August 2, 2003, 12:42 AM
Check to see that the rounds are free enough to rotate in the clip. It may take some small effort. If they do not rotate they are not in straight or not the recommended brass or both. If the moonclip came with the revolver originally you should have no problem. After market clips have not been a problem for me, but there is always a first time.

I think TK is the only one that recommends Federal and only for the K-frame conversions. Most recommend R-P Remington or Starline (my favorite). I have found Winchester to be impossible. This fussiness is because there is no standard for the cut in front of the base and the moonclips are cut to a size that fits a certain number of manufacturers' standards, but not all.

Gary H
August 2, 2003, 01:18 AM
Hi Guy:

No, they don't rotate freely, even when they are in right. Some are very difficult to mount. So, it seems that I should be looking to another manufacturer's brass. I know that S&B would not work at all. These moonclips were purchased from Brownells. I don't really know who makes them.

August 7, 2003, 01:33 AM
I use moon clips in 45 acp. On brand new clips I have had similar problems. I have done 2 things to remedy the situation. One or both always work.

1. Take a Dremel tool and "ease" the points of each opening a little so that the rounds fit a "little" looser in the clips. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO REMOVE TOO MUCH METAL ON ANY POINT OR THE ENTIRE CLIP WILL BE WASTED.

2. Sometimes the clip does not fit real well where the center of the cylinder fits through the center of the clip. Take a Dremel tool and "ease" the edges of the center hole in the clip concetrating on the edge of the center hole that fits down flush against the cylinder face.

Hope this helps.

Roll Tide

August 10, 2003, 04:27 PM
I'm also using moon clips with .45 ACP. I had a wide variety of brass brands available when I started. I found that Starline brass has more of a relief under the rim which allows the brass to fit more loosly in the moon clip. This greatly improves my reloading.

Gary H
August 10, 2003, 04:45 PM
Starline brass makes moonclips great.

Wow, what a difference. I no longer struggle with mounting and dismounting. The clips just fall into the cylinder and fly out.

Greatly improved on all counts:D

August 10, 2003, 06:07 PM
Diddo to what Gary said. Starline brass has the proper size extractor groove for moon clips. Great combo...


August 13, 2003, 12:29 PM
.38sp/.357mag clips are totally touchy with brass types... Winchester is just a flat out no-go for me.


August 14, 2003, 07:03 AM
I found that Sellior Bellot .45ACP's were the most difficult to load for my 625 using the Wilson Combat #69B5 'clips from Brownell's. CCI Blazers were easy in/out, but yielded no brass, of course, for reloading - which I began doing last year. I had problems loading some moonclipped rounds into my 625 when I used LSWC's - the step outside the case was too long. Reseatting them - thus using a shorter OAL loaded - corrected that problem. The S-B cases are also more difficult to deprime/reprime - soaking the cases in lacquer thinner removes the red primer sealant, easing the problem.

Demooners: The screwdriver handled demooner works great. The more expensive plastic scissors device failed within two weeks, developing a stress crack which rendered it an expensive paperweight. Loading is easier accomplished when rotating the cases as you push them into the slot. A hard surface, and not your nice kitchen table, is also handy to 'push' against. Cases that won't revolve in the clip are too tight - that brand of brass should be relegated to your semi-auto's (Yes, I have one... a Marlin Camp 45!). I, too, eased the entry point of a few clips with an emery board early in my 625 ownership - those moonclips are no longer used. Those Wilson Combat 'clips are fine as delivered.

If you do go to .45ACP, don't forget a box or two of .45 Auto Rims - the loads Georgia Arms loads - like their excellent 200gr HP's - are great. Neat little cases with thick rims need no clips. The HKS #25 speedloader is made for them and the S&W 25/625. I hope some of this larger bore rhetoric is of use to you.


4v50 Gary
August 14, 2003, 07:12 PM
Went to the range today and took my 45 cal S&W revolver. Bought it several years back from a fellow from NY and I had taken it shooting once before. It wore Pachmayrs the first time and now it wears S&W N frame target stocks.

Intially the first shots went as aimed and inexplicably the trigger pull became horrendous. My shots started pulling to the right as the trigger pull would suddenly become heavy and have a startling let off. Not good.

Funny but I had fired the gun before and had no problems. While unloading and reloading the moon clip, I noticed that I had trouble removing some cartridges. For any of you who are curious, the Dillon unloading tool was used.

I decided to try a few SA shots and drat if I didn't learn right there that I had no SA trigger. That miserable Brazilian gubmint must have ground off the SA notch from the trigger. :( The one good thing I noticed was that the cocking the gun wasn't easy either.

The realization grew that the cause of my problems was warped moon clips. A warp one would cause the cartridge to bear against the breechface of the revolver, making for a difficult trigger pull and sudden let off. That explained everything and darn if you don't learn the oddest things on any given day of the week.

So, gentle readers, if you're going to play with moonclip equipped revolvers, inspect your moonclips and keep them straight.

I have the honour Sir, to be, your humble and obedient servant,


August 14, 2003, 07:36 PM
I have a S&W 625; I've probably thrown out a dozen or so tweaked moon clips over the years. At first I tried strightening them but gave up as it seemed that once they get bent they never really work again, no matter how much effort I put into them. As I read your post, I was thinking 'bent moonclip' I've never had one bind up on me that bad before though.

4v50 Gary
August 14, 2003, 08:02 PM
So, where can I get the Starlite Brass clips from?

Guy B. Meredith
August 14, 2003, 09:58 PM

The brass is Starline from the firm of the same name. The clips can be purchased from S&W, TK Custom ( and Bob Miles (no net address) among others.

August 15, 2003, 11:58 AM
Can these moon clips be used in other 38/357 revolvers, e.g., S&W 27, or just in the PC627 ?

August 15, 2003, 12:12 PM
'Can these moon clips be used in other 38/357 revolvers'

Not really; at least not without major gunsmithing- if you look at the gap between the back of the cylinder and the breechface on a revolver designed to use moonclips, you'd see that it's pretty substantial to make room for the clip.

In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not sure that it can be done retroactivly.

And the only advantage to it would be in a reduction in re-loading time; with practice re-loading with moonclips can be pretty darn fast.

August 15, 2003, 12:44 PM
It actually can be done. I've done it myself -- but my father's a machinist and owns a lathe. If you don't, you can have your cylinder sent out to a few places to have it machined to accept moonclips for around $100... plus they will still work with speedloaders and loaded one by one by hand as well.

See for info.


Guy B. Meredith
August 15, 2003, 01:08 PM
It is a routine matter to have a .38/.357 revolvers converted to moonclips. Previously this was true only for L and N models, but Clark Custom is doing K frames as well. When I get some dollars freed up my M66 will be going in to their shop.

TK Custom at has instructions and also offers a service through Clark Custom. Bob Miles in SoCal is one of three moonclip suppliers for S&W and also does the conversion. Bob is an ICORE competitor and has converted revovlers for many competiitors including my 686+ (semi-competitor in my case).

Uh, this is a "don't try this at home" sort of thing unless you know what you are doing and how a metal object reacts to this sort of manouver.

August 15, 2003, 01:20 PM
I stand corrected; I wasn't aware that there were gunsmiths doing this conversion.

Who's having this done? Is it for PPC competition or for everyday revolvers?

I'm assuming that people are having this done for the ease of reloading, I don't know what other advantages there would be.

August 15, 2003, 01:24 PM
I did it to my 686+ as a competition modification for ease of reloading. Moonclips are faster and cheaper than speedloaders.


Guy B. Meredith
August 15, 2003, 02:18 PM
Moonclip conversions are used in revolver competition, particularly ICORE or IPSC. Moonclips have been awkward for CCW, but new carriers are available that may change that.

ICORE (International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts) is an organization that sponsers revolver only competition (lavishly supported by S&W) that is a mix of Bianchi Cup, Steel Challenge and IPSC stages. I would have trouble finding ICORE competitors that do not use moonclips unless they are shooting a Ruger (there is one) or a sub L frame. The favorite revolvers are versions of the 686 which have been altered for moonclips, various 627s and 645s.

As it is, I want all my revolvers that can be converted to be able to use moonclips. The clilps are my preference, but if necessary it is no problem to switch over to speedloaders or strips.

4v50 Gary
August 15, 2003, 04:44 PM
I'm inclined to leave a revolver stock (except for sights, stock and trigger pull). You don't really get your money out of conversions like making them accept moon-clips. Moon clips have their place, as do speedloaders. Learn to use the speedloaders where your gun has them and where they don't, well, use the moon-clip. Both are fun.

August 15, 2003, 04:52 PM
You can also have J-Frames done as well as all the Ruger double actions.

I have a 627PC, but none of the tools for the moonclips. Can anyone give me specific details of what the good tools are for loading and unloading the clips ? What about carriers for the clips ?

August 15, 2003, 04:59 PM
Brownell's makes a nice tool for removing the emtpy cases:

But I believe it's for .45 cases only.

edit- I should have read the description better; it says that it will work for most calibers; 10mm, 40S&W, .38 and .357

August 15, 2003, 07:12 PM
I've found that popping out cases is very easily accomplished with the head of a screwdriver. Seating cases into the clips works very well with using a pair of pliers.

I can't imagine that those expensive tools work much better.


August 16, 2003, 07:44 AM
When you're working in volume, the tools are very nice. An IPSC match can easily be 150 rounds. I typically head out for the matches with 180 rounds mooned up. The tools save time, are easy on the brass and clips and saves wear and tear on my fingers.

August 16, 2003, 08:10 AM 610, 627 and 625's so much that I'm thinking of having my 686 converted...

August 16, 2003, 08:13 AM
I'm inclined to leave a revolver stock (except for sights, stock and trigger pull). You don't really get your money out of conversions like making them accept moon-clips.

Are these financial instruments or firearms? ;)

If I was worried about "getting my money out of" stuff, I wouldn't be building custom rifles on old Turkish Mauser actions, that's for sure. :D

4v50 Gary
August 17, 2003, 01:23 PM
Tamara: I prefer to leave my guns stock because: (1) I'm cheap - btw, I do my own triggers and the extent that I don't mind spending $ is on better sights & grips; (2) I consider the "preservation" aspect of the firearm (it's a quirk in my personality); (3) money I save allows me to buy more guns. :D What I need is a bigger house with a room dedicated for firearms.

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