I want a Unique Custom Revolver


September 19, 2012, 07:51 PM
I've been mulling this over time and time again. I blame Reeder Guns for this. Rather than keep buying gun after gun, I'd like to only buy a couple more before I give up handguns for the mantle of husband and father (I'm engaged and don't have kids for at least another year, and I want to get married and have kids [I know, crazy]).

I have no shortage of AR-15 and FAL/CETME, rifles and I don't plan on getting anymore.

So what is a boy to do. I have a STI Spartan V 1911 .45 ACP, and I don't really want another 1911 unless it's a Rock Island Compact model. So a Rock Island Compact 1911 in .45 ACP, and that's it. I leave room for one more pistol. I have no love for shotguns so then that only leaves one option open to me. I will eventually replace my Rossi 462 with a Ruger Sp101 .357 magnum with a 2" barrel so that's not really adding as much as it is replacing (don't tell the fiancee different I've got her sold on this). At least the way I see it, and that's custom guns.

I've looked and looked and looked, and I think with the right amount of coin, $2,000 plus a base gun, I can get something no one else has that fills my "MagnumDweeb" mentality (heavy bullets at 1400+fps).

So here's my plan, won't happen for at least a year as I'm still putting money away for a wedding but if things keep going upward I could order my new custom gun in October of 2013.

Take a Ruger Super Redhawk .454 Casull, and convert it to .357 Maximum. Have it be a six shot. I know there's a temptation to turn it into an eight shot but I want this gun to be a fire breather. I've debated barrel length and I've centered on a 10" barrel. I want to push 200 grain FMJ and cast LRN at 1600 fps. This can be done with a lot of .454 Casull rounds and still be in the mid range power of the gun, if not in the light range of performance.

Now why get this monstrosity? Because no one has one, and I can have it as my very own. It can be used for handgun hunting for medium and small game, and target shooting. I wouldn't use it for self-defense because I can only see bad things coming from that. It'd just be fun to have ultimately and should I age to where the beast can no longer roar so loud. I can enjoy it's less than great accuracy with .38 special, and then possibly pass it on and know that it'll be referred to as "Grandpa's Gun, the only one in the world."

I own Redhawks and Blackhawks in .44 magnum. I own numerous .357 magnums, they all rarely see the light of day outside my safe. I figure if I'm going to settle and only shoot three handguns on a regular basis. One of them should be for pure unadulterated fun. The other two can be my carry guns that double as home defense guns (a Ruger Sp101 2", and 1911 that is either a Colt Combat Comander or Rock Island Compact).

Life is short, I'm not a collector of firearms (merely a hoarder), I don't see them as investment opportunities, and I just want to enjoy them for the hobby and responsibility they are.

So does anyone else have any Unique caliber makes, that are feasible, they'd like to have done on their bucket gun list.

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September 19, 2012, 08:20 PM
If you're sure that's what you want, this is probably the guy to build it for you:


I will confess that as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the size of the gap between the things that I thought I wanted, and the things I actually do want. My 10", .223 Contender pistol comes to mind - I loved everything about it, except for the concussive blast, and my complete inability to hit anything with it.

It's not too hard to try a .357 Max and see how much you like it. You can buy a used contender with an appropriate barrel, and with the expectation that you'd sell it later. Your only real cost would be the difference in price between the two sales, probably not too much when all is said and done. And then you'd know.

September 19, 2012, 08:41 PM
Hello, MagnumDweeb..I had a custom revolver made up..but I went the "other" way. friend of family had an original Colt Bisley revolver that had cyl. bushed to .22 L.R. sometime in the pre-WW2 years..bushings had "heads" same dia. & thickness of .45 to control headspace. Barrel was replacement..with wrong taper..ejector rod fit poorly. broken notch in hammer..wouldn't stay cocked. I had just gotten married & money was tight..I knew it needed alot of work..but he gave me a good price..so I bought it.
I took it down to last screw..but at time, didn't know who to have repair hammer..so for 20 years it sat in pieces in a cigar box at back of closet.
Finally I heard about Hamilton Bowen..& Doug Turnbull.
At this point, I figured having waited this long..I was going to do this thing right!
Ordered match-grade CM hand-lapped 1-15" twist .22 L.R. blank from Shillen, to be turned to proper Colt taper, 7 1/2". Mr. Bowen asked me about that cyl. He said they were out of stock, but he could make me a new replacement...Now whoever bushed that cyl. must have been a real craftsman..the fit on most brands of .22's is so close..you have to push them in..Eley for instance..really takes some pushing because of their excess lube..none will merely drop in..chambers are far tighter than any rifle I have seen...so I hesitated..Bowen said nothing wron with it, ratchet in good shape etc..just thought I might want new..he said think about it.
Few days later..I get a call from Mr. Bowen..he sounds kind of exited..he asks.".I hope you haven't decided on a new cyl.? Because I don't think I could make one to shoot as accurately as that gun is shooting!...I have never before seen such an accurate .22 revolver!"
After action and trigger work, and regulating sights..gun was shipped off to Doug Turnbull for his magic.
I wanted an extra fine finish on everything..Carbona blueing, Color-case hardening of frame & hammer. Fire blue all pins, screws & trigger. Authentic Bisley markings on barrel.
I had 1pc. presentation Elephant ivory grips fitted.
The gun is absolutly beautiful! And Bowen was right..with match ammunition, it puts them into one ragged 1/2" hole at 25 yds!
I had waited well over twenty years..but it was worth it!

September 19, 2012, 08:52 PM
Sorry but a SRH in .357Max is not possible.

September 19, 2012, 09:15 PM
Ever since the movie Johny Dangerously, I've wanted Joe Piscopo's "88 magnum". Well a few years back I picked up a S&W model 28, with a bad barrel. Well this spring I finnaly got off my duff, brought the revolver to Wild West Guns, and talked with the owner, Jim, about the conversion. Well, they've had it all summer and I should be getting it back soon. (The project was plagued my unavailable parts.)

When its done, I WILL be posting it here, but basically, its a S&W model 28 with a 12 inch bull barrel. Not quite Joe's gun, but its sweet.

September 19, 2012, 09:29 PM
A Webley would be "different."

September 19, 2012, 11:45 PM
Since you are starting with a blank sheet of paper you might as well develop my pet desire.

I would like a 30 or 32 caliber true magnum on a S&E M19 or similar DA frame.

By "true' 30 or 32 magnum I mean a case length the same as a 357 or 44 Magnum at 1.29 inches or possibly longer rated at 357 magnum pressures.

We have the 32 H&R Magnum, the 32 whazzit, and the 30 carbine. The first two are shorter than 1.29 inch case length. The 30 carbine is about 1.29 case length but is tapered and rimless, making it more difficult to reload and really practical only in a single action.

September 20, 2012, 11:01 AM
One possibility of a supercharged .357 would be a 357/44 Bain&Davis.

Essentially a .44mag necked down to a .357. You will need a new cylinder to be crafted but it should be possible by a reputable gunsmith.

This should put you into the 1400+ fps category.

From a cost standpoint I think this might be a better option on a SuperBlackhawk platform as the cylinder design is much simpler by not having to deal with the ejector star at the back.

September 20, 2012, 11:03 AM
CraigC is correct, I finally operated with some common sense and looked at the case length. The Maximum is longer. So that's a fail. Hmm could I do a .357/.454? It wouldn't be that much more different than a .357/.44. I don't know I might have to give this one up it looks like. I don't even know how I would reshape the brass for a .357/.454 and even if I could would it even be safe the pressure levels. Then I'd have to get the collars made like they do for the .357/.44 setups so I'd need to get a lifetime supply of those made up which would probably be like three hundred (and only take like sixty with me to the range at any given time).

Any more ideas?

September 20, 2012, 11:25 AM
You can do any of the bottlenecked cartridges but it'll cost you. About the only thing that can be rechambered is a .357 Redhawk. So if you build it on a Super (you'll have to use a .44 because it's very difficult to remove barrels on the .454's and there's no reason to use a .454 anyway) you'll have to either procure a take-off .357 cylinder from a Redhawk or have one made. Custom cylinders for DA's are very expensive. A custom barrel will have to be installed as well. All of which will result in an expensive custom sixgun that shoots fast and flat but is less potent than the base gun and not really that unique. Gary Reeder builds .356's all the time.

What is it exactly that you are trying to accomplish?

September 20, 2012, 01:26 PM
I think the 357-44 is a fairly practical idea here. Forget the Super Blackhawk and go with a Blackawk, you would be starting with a 357 barrel and chamber throats, it's a simple chamber reaming job,. My 357-44 is on a S&W N frame which adds the complication of dealing with the extractor star. It's a neat job, includes counter boring.

Something above confuses me. Why are we talking about "collars".

A 454 or 45 Colt case necked down to 357 is probably past the point of diminishing returns, you could run more pressure with 44 sized holes. Gary Reeder has a 41 mag necked down to 357. The only advantage it would have over the 357-44 is possibly higher pressure limits.

September 20, 2012, 01:32 PM
Something above confuses me. Why are we talking about "collars".

The 357/44 Bobcat and I believe one other 357/44 variant actually used a removable collar so as to be able to utilize a standard 44 magnum cylinder as opposed to a custom cylinder


Seems to me like that would be an uber dangerous thing. You could drop in a regular 44 mag bullet that would attempt to swage down to .357 as it passed through the forcing cone. I can't even fathom what the pressue would peak at.

Jim K
September 20, 2012, 01:42 PM
"...I'd like to only buy a couple more before I give up handguns for the mantle of husband and father ..."

Who says you have to give up handguns if you become a husband and father? Your gun budget may shrink, but trades are always possible and often less expensive guns can be more fun. Reloading stretches the ammo budget a lot.

Apparently, your bride-to-be is not influencing you in such a step. If that were the case, I would suggest some hard thinking. A fiancee who says, "I don't want you to have guns around after we are married" is not a good choice for a happy marriage, not because she is anti-gun, but because she is controlling and will want to control all your actions.


September 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
Would the other 357-44 you're thinking of be the one that used an unmodified straight 44 Mag case with a collar shaped sabot on a 357 bullet? The idea was that the collar wold stop at the barrel breech and seal the cylinder gap. Haven't heard anything said about it in a long time.

Firing a 44 mag into a 357 breech would tend to raise the pressure a trifle.

September 20, 2012, 03:07 PM
I went this route. A Dan Wesson .357 pistol pack with four different length interchangeable barrels.


dagger dog
September 21, 2012, 10:56 PM
What about a Linebaugh 38-40 Custom Ruger Blackhawk Bisley shoots a 200 gr @ 1600 fps ?

The Lone Haranguer
September 21, 2012, 11:03 PM
Is the Super Redhawk cylinder - and the frame window - going to be long enough? The Blackhawks and Dan Wessons I've seen in this cartridge had an elongated cylinder.

September 21, 2012, 11:47 PM
I went this route. A Dan Wesson .357 pistol pack with four different length interchangeable barrels.


I went even more different

BFR in 30-30


IMO just custom ordering a 35 Remington BFR would be a much cheaper route to a custom revolver in a real firebreather than all this hanky panky with combining hard to find ruger parts

September 22, 2012, 10:16 AM
It isn't really "different" exactly, but you could get a so-called "353 Casull" (ie. a Freedom Arms 83 chambered for .357 Magnum) and shoot the FA-83-only loads without special components. The 353 Casull is really just a .357 Magnum +P+P+P+ or something to that effect with the FA-83 being about the only gun around strong enough to handle it. I've never really been clear on the pecking order, but this article by Taffin makes it appear that the "353 Casull" bests the .357 Maximum/Supermag. Looks like it'll shoot a 200-gr bullet up to 1500fps.

September 22, 2012, 02:59 PM
I thought about the .353 Casull but it's not much of an improvement on .357 magnum. Now the .38-40 Linebaugh has me interested, http://www.customsixguns.com/sixguns.htm. I'm going to have to contact them and see what guns they will use as base guns for this conversion. At $2,700 it's a tad high, but it'd be a rare gun at the range. And if god forbid I was ever asked why I used that exact gun I could just say it was an old west caliber weaker than many of its more modern counterparts.

If I could get away with a Super Redhawk .44 mag as a base gun with a 7.5", that would be great as I already have one (and I could keep my Redhawk in .44 magnum as a .44 magnum).

September 22, 2012, 03:20 PM
You could have one built on a SRH but Linebaugh won't do one. Actually very few gunsmiths do custom cylinders for DA's and he isn't one of them. Hamilton Bowen, Jack Huntington, David Clements, Alan Harton (I think) and now Gary Reeder does them. Be advised that case life is abysmal when running the .38-40 at such pressures.

If you want Linebaugh to a .38-40 on a single action, think at least a two year wait. Here's one for sale currently and the asking price is about what it would cost to build one, without the wait. Price tag not for the faint of heart.


September 22, 2012, 03:57 PM
I went the smaller is better route...Ruger Old Model Single-Six converted to 5 shot 41 Special with 4" barrel.

September 22, 2012, 04:00 PM
Very few sixguns are as unique as a .41Spl Single Six! There probably ain't more than a handful in existence. :)

Then there's the .32H&R Bearcat.

September 22, 2012, 04:23 PM
I own Redhawks and Blackhawks in .44 magnum. I own numerous .357 magnums, they all rarely see the light of day outside my safe.

My question is MagnumDweeb, if you do not enjoy shooting your other magnum revolvers, what makes you think you'd enjoy shooting a new Magnum Revolver, especially one built on the same platform that you already own and don't use? I like oddball things also and love the big boom of my .460, but I also enjoy shooting my .357s and .44s. I couldn't imagine deserting them and then feel a need for something else. As a compliment to them, and the occasional diversion from them yes, but if I did not use them at all, I couldn't imagine wanting something else, even if it is different and bigger. Is it just the whole custom thing and if it is, why? I ain't trying to be critical, just tryin' to understand. It's hard for me to recommend something or give a opinion without knowing a need. As for passing guns down to your kids, it don't have to be a custom to be special. It just has to be dad's or grandpa's. If that ain't special enough for your heirs to keep and cherish, I guarantee you, the high resale price of a custom will be even a bigger temptation.

September 22, 2012, 05:01 PM
Gary is a premier revolversmith. I have a Colt SAA he did speciality work on, action job, our ranch brands on the barrel, fine fitted Ivory grips, etc. How about a SAA like that for a keep revolver?

September 23, 2012, 11:45 AM
How about sending a Ruger Old Army to Clements for conversion to 50 cal? There's a review in the gunblast archives.

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