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Moon-clip conversions on K-frame S&W's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Preacherman, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    I'd like to hear from any of our members who have had these conversions done on K-frame S&W .38 Special and/or .357 Magnum revolvers.

    I have a couple of K-frames (a "salt-and-pepper" pair of a Model 13 and a Model 65, both with 3" barrels) that I'm thinking of converting to moon-clip operation. Wild West Guns in Alaska does them. However, the good folks at Clark Custom Guns, who also do moon-clip conversions, say they won't do K-frames - only L- or N-frames - because there's not enough metal in the cylinder to do the K-frame conversion "safely". Now, I know that Wild West Guns has done many such conversions, and as far as I know has had no complaints. So, I'm hoping that one or two of the membership have had it done, and can tell us how they found it.

  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I don't have such a conversion because I consider speed-loaders to be fast enough. I have wondered though if turning down the back of the cylinder to provide clearence for the clip might weaken the extractor star. It wouldn't matter unless you got a case or two that were really stuck. But if you did bend one or more of the fingers on the star you'd have a real problem.
  3. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    Preach you sure they giving you the right info since Clark advertises K and J frame conversions (albiet at a premium) on their web site...

    I also dont understand what they mean about safety since you are not removing that much metal from the back of the cylinderr

  4. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member

    Both TK Custom and Clark advertise K frame conversion. However, TK provides the clips and directs you to Clark.

    So I am puzzled. I do want to convert my K frame. My L and N frame both have the moonclip option and I find speedloaders too cumbersome (and expensive) by compairson.
  5. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    Im confusded too, because we have done probably 25-30 J and K conversions, and a good number more of Ns and Rugers...

    Never had a prob reported...
  6. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member

    Checked out TK Custom and Clark Custom pages. The info on K frame conversion is sort of buried on the TK page and way buried on the new Clark Custom page. Jand K frames are premium priced at $100 vs $80 for L and N.
  7. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

    Why would it? You're not taking any metal from the actual star... :confused:
  8. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

    I had my 66 converted by Pinnacle custom guns in PA, which is another one listed for this service at TK custom (a.k.a. moonclips.com). Anyway, it ran me 80 bucks and was, in my opinion, a great job. I can't see how this little shaving procedure could possibly have 'weakened' the gun in any way. I've certainly shot it plenty since the conversion without any problems. Accuracy, which was always fantastic in this gun, is unnaffected. I recommend Pinnacle heartily and think S&W is crazy for not clipping more of their guns from the factory.
  9. FPrice

    FPrice Well-Known Member

    I guess you could do it, but my question is, "Why would you want to?".

    About the only advantage I see is that re-loading might be a bit faster. But not that much.

    The disadvantages are the lack of abililty to do a tactical reload (if you consider that to be an option) and the logistical problem of dealing with moon clips.

    But if it works for you, then by all means do it.
  10. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    Actually thats the selling point...I carry a S&W Mountain gun fishing....the loaded moon clips fit right in the varioous pockets of my fly vest and a few in my pack...no more fumbling for lose rounds or loss loss of an ammo pouch (tough to wearr one on your belt when you are waist deep in water)...

  11. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

    Moon clips are great.

    The eliminate two of the potential weak spots of the revolver: slow reloads, and possible empties getting caught under the ejector star.

    With the exception of speed strips, they're also the least bulky way to carry reloads. The loaded .40S&W moon clips for my 646 fit into the watch pocket of my jeans, two stacked on top of each other, and they are easily retrieved. They'll also fit in speedloader pouches, where you can usually stack two moonclips in the same space as one speedloader.
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member


    >> Why would it? You're not taking any metal from the actual star <<

    While you don’t remove any metal from the ratchet where the hand engages to rotate the cylinder you do remove some metal from the star – that part of the extractor that usually pushes on the case’s rim to push it out of the chamber. The amount of metal might or might not be meaningful, but it would to some degree weaken the fingers on the star and if a case or cases were stuck in the chamber(s) these fingers might get bent. The possibility wouldn’t concern me if the revolver was used for gaming, but it might if it was used for other purposes.

    When a cylinder is made to be used with clips in the first place all of this is taken into consideration and there isn’t any problem.

    I have observed several .455 Webley revolvers that were converted to use .45 ACP cartridges with half-moon clips by turning down the rear of the cylinder (including the extractor) that did indeed have the star bent.
  13. HSMITH

    HSMITH Well-Known Member


    Have you done any P&R guns? Do they present any challenges?

    Reason I ask is I am GOING to have it done, but I don't know what gun yet. I have a couple 19-4's (best of the 19's IMO, but may pick up a 19-5 if the recessed chambers prove problematic.

    Current plans involve a model 15 for gaming and a 19 for my hip. Any comments?
  14. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    If rounds are sticking there is more of a problem than bending the star....sticky rounds mean...

    Poor maintenance
    Rough chamber
    Bad loads..

    All three should be taken care of before the revolver is used for any purpose...

    I think we have, but dont recall the specifics..I will check with the milling machine boys....

    We do the conversions on a CNC mill.....

  15. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    I found this on moonclips.com:
    So, it looks like recessed cylinders are not recommended for the conversion. However, I daresay it won't be a hard job to fit a replacement cylinder, without recessed case heads, and then do the moonclip conversion on that.
  16. HSMITH

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    Sound logic and good information Preacherman. It does sound a bit like you would advocate "fixing" one I have instead of buying a new one to "fix" though, and that is cause for some concern around here:D :D :D .

    Thanks for the info!!
  17. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Hsmith, I repent... (flogs back with carbon fiber cleaning rod) ... I repent... (kneels down and beats head against floor) ... I repent... (gets cats to sharpen their claws on his legs) ...

    Of course you should buy a new gun to convert! What was I thinking of? :banghead:

    :neener: :p :D
  18. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    On a REVOLVER?!

    Maybe i dont know what im doing but it would take me a LOT longer to pick out three empty cases and reloade those chambers than it would to just dump the whole cylinder and start fresh even WITHOUT a speedloader/clip.
  19. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Well-Known Member


    The method I was shown was to point the muzzle up, let the live rounds that still have the heavy bullets drop out into you hand and then punch the extractor for the empties. Follow with a new moonclip of rounds.
  20. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    Ues you can to a tactical reload with a revolver. I have taught it for over 20 years. But it can't be done the same way if you're using a revolver loaded with moon clips.

    If you are using moon clips you have to retain the ejected moonclips.

    In regular revolver training you open the cylinder, point the muzzle upward, let the unfired rounds fall free into your hand, eject the fired rounds and reload with your speedloader or speed strip.

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