.38-9mm conversion


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mljdeckard
November 30, 2012, 05:43 PM
A friend of mine has a S&W Airweight, that is frankly, painful to shoot. I don't mind it, I cranked through as box of .38s as fast as I could mostly for fun, but it recoiled more than my 1911. My wife shot three rounds and she was done.

I told him he can have the cylinder scalloped to load it with 9mms in moon clips, it would make it easier and cheaper to shoot, and still be an entirely effective defensive carry gun. If he does that conversion, can he ever shoot .38s in it again? Does anyone sell a converted cylinder than can be switched back and forth?

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1KPerDay
November 30, 2012, 05:46 PM
How about loading some lighter .38 specials? 148 grain wadcutter/target loads, for example?

mljdeckard
November 30, 2012, 05:47 PM
I suggested that to him as well, we were also shooting some .38 Supers through it.

rcmodel
November 30, 2012, 05:53 PM
9mm will recoil just as hard if not harder then .38 Spl.

Especially lighter .38 Spl loads like 148 WC or 125 Cowboy loads.

In a 3/4 pound gun:
.38 Spl 148 grain @ 750 FPS = 6.39 ft/lb free recoil - 23.43 FPS velocity of recoiling gun.
9mm 115 grain @ 1,200 FPS = 10.55 ft/lb free recoil - 30.1 FPS velocity of recoiling gun.

The 125 grain cowboy load would kick even less.

BTW: You do realize the ..38 Super is loaded to higher pressure then the .357 Magnum or the 9mm don't you??
About 2 1/2 times more pressure then the .38 Special.

rc

Carne Frio
November 30, 2012, 05:55 PM
Converting to 9mm is possible. It will, however
increase the recoil. I have a few J frame Smiths.
The model 940 kicks just like a 38spl+p, shot
in a model 60.

I don't know about swapping back and forth of
cylinders.

1KPerDay
November 30, 2012, 06:00 PM
we were also shooting some .38 Supers through it.:uhoh:

Spammy_H
November 30, 2012, 06:33 PM
.38 Super? Are you sure they weren't .357 Magnum? I didn't know you could fire .38 Super in a .38/.357 revolver.

OilyPablo
November 30, 2012, 06:40 PM
That just isn't right.

If softy 38 specials are too much, the only real cure may be a new gun. I mean you could light load some, but factory 38 specials are on the low end already.

zxcvbob
November 30, 2012, 06:48 PM
Try .38 Colts (long or short), or 148 grain wadcutters.

1KPerDay
November 30, 2012, 06:52 PM
That just isn't right.

If softy 38 specials are too much, the only real cure may be a new gun. I mean you could light load some, but factory 38 specials are on the low end already.
Dunno about that... Factory 158s can be plenty painful in the airweights.

OilyPablo
November 30, 2012, 07:16 PM
Maybe try some new grips. I was firing 9mm +P+ in my very light Kahr CM9. Not unduly brutal, but very sharp.

walnut1704
November 30, 2012, 10:28 PM
Maybe the Taurus .380 revolver...

rcmodel
November 30, 2012, 10:45 PM
I was firing 9mm +P+ in my very light Kahr CM9. Not unduly brutal, but very sharp. There is a huge difference in felt recoil between any fixed-breech firearms such as the S&W Airweight the OP ask about.
And any locked-breech semi-auto pistol, of any size or weight.

The locked breech semi-auto soaks up most of the sharp stinging slap of a revolver, no matter how light it is.

rc

OilyPablo
November 30, 2012, 11:11 PM
This is true. Lightweight .357 revolvers are pretty stout. I've just never thought .38Specials felt very bad, even the light ones.

Kymasabe
November 30, 2012, 11:26 PM
Check out MagTech ammo, they make a .38 special short. It's available thru Sportsmans Guide. Item # 85435, only has 130 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy.
Is a VERY light round, great for new shooters. I taught both my daughters to shoot with it when they were 10. Your wife will have NO problems shooting that light round. Very little recoil, not loud at all, subsonic, easy on the shooter. It's a blast to shoot. Buy a few boxes.

Brian Williams
December 1, 2012, 05:52 AM
9mm's in an Airweight are harsh. I have a 940 cylinder that fits in both my 642 and my 60-4, in the 60-4 it is a sweetheart, in the 642, which is just like the mythical 942 that S&W made 2 of, 9mm is harsh. Not brutal but the recoil is short and abrupt. Just reaming a 38 cylinder to 9mm will make it a problem shooting 38s in it. The base of a 9mm is large enough diameter that 38 specials will probably split 2/3s of the time.

Lucky Derby
December 1, 2012, 08:08 AM
.38 Super will not function in an unmodified .38 Special revolver.
A light .38 Special load will have less recoil than any 9mm Luger, .38 Super or .357 Magnum loading, out of a gun of the same size and weight.
If the gun in question has to much recoil with cowboy or match grade . Special ammo, the solution is either a heavier gun, a smaller cartridge, such as .327 Magnum, .32 H&R or a heavier larger gun in .38 Special. Or both a smaller cartridge in a heavier gun.

WC145
December 1, 2012, 08:49 AM
I have a 360J that has been converted/rechambered to 9mm by Pinnacle, 9mm do not recoil any less than .38spls. Not much more, IMO, but definitely not any less. Also, once the work is done, as Brian said, .38 cases will bulge and split and ignition can be iffy because the primers aren't centered since the chambers are now tapered.

S&W made some J frames in .32 H&R mag, that might be an option since you can shoot .32 longs as well, not much recoil there. Don't rule out J frame .22s and .22 mags, either. They're not cannons but they're fun to shoot and are way better than rocks and sticks for self defense. My wife is quite recoil shy and she carries a 317 8 shot snubby and she loves it, it's lightweight, plenty accurate, and she actually enjoys shooting it.

AFDavis11
December 1, 2012, 09:04 AM
I'm guessing you meant .38 +P loads, and not 38 super. You should be able to put on a better grip and find a lighter kicking bullet easily.

OilyPablo
December 1, 2012, 09:12 AM
I have a Ruger Blackhawk convertible in .357.38/9mm, I have not put the 9mm cylinder in for several years, but I still remember the first time I ran 9mm through it. Wow, it was surprising. Probably right in the middle between .357Mag and .38Special in terms of felt recoil. (so yes comparing to a semiauto is a bit silly) but the Blackhawk is obviously not a light gun.

bikemutt
December 1, 2012, 09:58 AM
Of all my ARs the 9mm has by far the most felt recoil, much more so than 5.56, .300 AAC and 6.8 SPC. And it's the heaviest upper of the bunch.

9mm just feels like it releases all it's energy very quickly resulting in more of a snap. I guess I wouldn't imagine it mitigating felt recoil compared to .38 special on any comparable platform.

AJumbo
December 1, 2012, 10:19 AM
I'm unfamiliar with the S&W 9MM wheelguns, so educate me, please- can they safely chamber and fire .380 ammunition?

My girlfriend has a Taurus 85 that she hates to shoot, so I had my dad load up some 110gr. powderpuff loads so she could practice without pain. She loads it with 125 gr. Gold Dots otherwise. I have convinced her that if she has to light those, they'll make her uncomfortable for a few minutes, but the bad guy will hurt for a lot longer.

WC145
December 1, 2012, 10:40 AM
I'm unfamiliar with the S&W 9MM wheelguns, so educate me, please- can they safely chamber and fire .380 ammunition?
No, the case is too small for the chamber (same issue as trying to shoot .38spls from a rechambered gun) and they won't properly fit in the moonclips. The only .380 revolver option is the Taurus that came out last year.

TarDevil
December 1, 2012, 10:57 AM
smaller cartridge, such as .327 Magnum I don't think he'll like that one any better. I think it's quite harsher than light .38 loads.

PedalBiker
December 1, 2012, 11:14 AM
I bought some Rainer bullets and loaded them with Trail Boss for my wife. I think they're supposed to generate 600fps or so. Rainers are less likely to get stuck in the bore because they are much softer than hard jacketed bullets and the Trail Boss is a bulky powder that is more reliable in light loads than other powders that would leave the case quite empty.

351 WINCHESTER
December 1, 2012, 04:06 PM
A s & w airweight j frame won't take the pressure of even a standard 9mm.

WC145
December 1, 2012, 11:01 PM
A s & w airweight j frame won't take the pressure of even a standard 9mm.
Really? Explain the light weight .357 mags then.

rcmodel
December 1, 2012, 11:53 PM
For starters, the .357 Mag chamber is bored .380" in dia.

The tapered 9mm case is .391" at the base, so you have less chamber wall thickness.

Then, the .357 is loaded to 35,000 PSI.
The 9mm is loaded to 38,500 PSI in +P loadings.

rc

Brian Williams
December 2, 2012, 10:34 AM
A s & w airweight j frame won't take the pressure of even a standard 9mm.Bull crap! even S&W made a 942 airweight in 9mm.

WC145
December 2, 2012, 02:07 PM
A s & w airweight j frame won't take the pressure of even a standard 9mm.
My scandium 360J is holding up just fine and I shoot 9mm, 9mm +P+, and .38 Super through it, heck, even a few 9x23 Winchester.

firesky101
December 2, 2012, 06:37 PM
My scandium 360J is holding up just fine and I shoot 9mm, 9mm +P+, and .38 Super through it, heck, even a few 9x23 Winchester.
You have what I would consider to be a dream revolver. Pictures please.

351 WINCHESTER
December 3, 2012, 12:03 AM
I should have stated that the alum. j frames won't take the pressure - not for very long unless I am completely out in left field. The scandium ones will for sure. I've not heard nor seen the 942 Brian, is it a "limited run". Did they just fit a 940 cylinder to an alum. gun?

I have a 940 and I have shot the snot out of it with standard, +P and even some +P+. It's a pocket rocket for sure.

Brian Williams
December 3, 2012, 03:29 AM
The 942 as listed in the "Standard Catalog" they made 2 one of which was sent to Wiley Clapp for evaluation. Never a cataloged item nor special order.
Basically a 940 cylinder and barrel fitted to a 642 frame.

351 WINCHESTER
December 3, 2012, 04:01 PM
I wonder how many standard 9mm rounds it would take to strech and break the frame? That's probably why S & W only made 2, but I would like to have one in scandium. That would be the bee's knees.

I've got a 940 and it's sweet. Wilely Clapp really liked these little pocket rockets. I read an article several decades ago where he tested one. With corbon 115+P he got an honest 1247 fps. Pretty impressive.

WC145
December 4, 2012, 01:41 PM
You have what I would consider to be a dream revolver. Pictures please.
It has certainly worked out well for me, it's exactly what I wanted - a 13oz, DAO, 9mm snubby. Too bad S&W or Ruger won't make one, I'd be the first in line.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YRYzq8g2bfQ/UL4ql52zsaI/AAAAAAAAFAk/EcdWH46aVR8/s800/SDC10022.JPG
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-JjlOMm0Ciwc/UL4qsvo31nI/AAAAAAAAFAs/qP-s81Nt2Sw/s800/SDC10023.JPG

351 WINCHESTER
December 4, 2012, 02:01 PM
Nice piece. What is your favorite carry load?

WC145
December 4, 2012, 02:43 PM
Federal 9BPLE 115gr JHP +P+, I've clocked it at almost 1200fps from a 2" revolver. Hot enough but very manageable, much less recoil and muzzle blast than a comparable .357mag.

351 WINCHESTER
December 4, 2012, 04:13 PM
That load has a very good reputation even though it's considered old school by some, it still works.

WC145
December 4, 2012, 06:28 PM
That load has a very good reputation even though it's considered old school by some, it still works.
Just like me!:D

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