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Custom single six 38 special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by ljnowell, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    As the title says, I'm kicking this around again. A couple years back I was just about to do it, then some things came up and I backed off it. I talked to a few very reputable people known for such conversions. It's not cheap but it isn't super expensive.

    Just curious what other people think of it. It's an itch I'm afraid I'm going to have to scratch.

    Anyone else have one or seen one?
  2. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Well-Known Member

    Never seen, or heard of one. Interesting concept. Is the cylinder big enough for 6 rds of .38? Or would it have to be Single-Five?
  3. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Well-Known Member

    Wait for the 327 version.
  4. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I have seen them converted as a six shot and a five shot. I would want the six shot personally.
  5. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I really don't have any interest in that cartridge. I compete with the 38 special and load and shoot well over 10k of them per year. I just love the balance of the 4 5/8" single six and would love one in 38 special. Even more with a birds head grip.
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Sounds like an interesting (and expensive), conversion. I think I would look instead for the something like an Uberti Stallion in .38 Special. Might also be available with birds head grips as well.
  7. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Well-Known Member

    I'll take one. My bucket list is complete save one gun *but* I have always wanted a single action (Ruger?) 6 shot .38 Special with Birds Head grip. I'll sell a Safe Queen to get one of these. :cool: Also more prone to stainless and prefer black "hard rubber" style grips but finish and grips are way down the list.

    If you can keep it under a grand I'm in.


    Edit: Are you looking to do a run of them? Like TALO does with Rugers? Or just one personal gun?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  8. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    I do love the single actions and I do love me some .38 Special. It's a very neat idea.
    You simply must post lots of pics when you decide to pull the trigger on this project. It would be very interesting to see how it turns out.
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I've got one; a friend had legal expenses thanks to his soon to be ex spouse.
    A really neat revolver, perfectly proportioned to the cartridge. A Blackhawk or SAA in .38/.357 is heavy because of the .38 holes in .45 barrel and cylinder.

    It is a sixshooter on an Old Model Single Six by John Gallagher.
    He says that if you try it on a New Model, you run the risk of cutting into the transfer bar channel when enlarging the loading gate to pass .38s.
    He recommends sticking to standard velocity .38 Special, that +Ps will beat up the small frame Ruger.
    He also built a couple of .41 Special Single Fives. He says he won't do that again.
  10. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Well-Known Member

    I am on the fence about the .32Mag, but if they made a five shot .38....I would probably have to have that one. If you do go ahead with this, please keep us posted.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    As per Jim Watson's post I went to John Gallagher's website, (gallagherfirearms.com), and found his prices for a Single Six .38 Special conversion to be quite reasonable. Worth taking a look.
  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    Where did you find that on the site?
    I must be overlooking it.
  13. RealGun

    RealGun Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    Arkansas Paul

    Gallagher had two listings under 5 Shot Conversions. One was for large caliber guns where he supplied the gun (a new Ruger Blackhawk), as well as all the parts to make it a custom conversion and prices started at $1995.

    The other listing was for a conversion done to your gun (rechambering the cylinder and supplying a new barrel), and was priced as starting at $550.
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The Single Six conversion will cost a good deal more than a simple caliber conversion.
    It takes a new made cylinder to be long enough for any .38 besides wadcutters, the firing pin has to be relocated, and the loading gate enlarged.
  16. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Always thought it was a really neat conversion that I'd get around to one day. New Models are limited to .38Spl for the reasons Jim explained but the .41Spl can be shoehorned into an Old Model. Either one would be slicker than snot on glass.
  17. RealGun

    RealGun Well-Known Member

    I recently took note that the .327 Federal Magnum brass is the same length as .38 Special. That should mean that the new Single Seven adaptation might be a platform for doing the .38 Special.
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    It will still take a new cylinder. I doubt there is room for seven .38s. And retiming along with the new barrel.

    If I were having one built for myself I would ask if he could make a New Model into a .38 without exposing the transfer bar track. I have shot CAS and been limited to five in a sixshooter but for general dinking around, I like to be able to fill 'er up.
  19. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Well-Known Member


    I know a smith who used to do these conversions. Six shots. I'm pretty sure he bored out the original cylinders to 38, I'm pretty sure he did not use a new cylinder. Dunno whether or not he was using modern transfer bar Single Sixes or the old Three Screws.
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    A good trick.
    I googled one report that a Single Six cylinder measured 1 13/32" = 1.41".
    Lyman shows various non-wadcutter bullets seated 1.407" to 1.575".
    SAAMI is 1.58".

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