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Old Yesterday, 12:54 AM   #1
BLU
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.38 Special Moonclips... What am I doing wrong?

I have a S&W 642-Pro with a cylinder that accepts Moon clips. Since S&W sent me three clips with the gun I started loading some up by hand. One horribly bent clip later I was writing out a check for the Moon clip tool. It arrived today. (Now having easily bent a clip I knew to bookmark some sites I could buy replacements from!) I noticed that Midway USA had some .025 thick for some brass and some .020 for others. That's odd.... the ones S&W sent me are around .035". Well I tried one clip using different brass types. (Wow... that tool is wonderful.) But... the clip would not allow the rounds to enter the cylinder completely. Honestly, with Federal brass I could only get them half way in. Swapping out Federal for Remington, they went in further but the closest I got them to load was still 3/8" from being in the proper place to close the cylinder. I can't imagine shooters would go through this much crap to have moon clips. There's got to be something that's not quite right and my first suspicion is the clips S&W sent me. I don't know. I'm open to nearly all suggestions. If I hadn't spent the money on the tool, I'd just say screw the clips, I'll continue to use speed loaders as I have in the past. Since I'm getting ready to send off a .45 Colt cylinder to be machined for .45 ACP clips, I was really hoping the .38 clips would have worked smoothly. Is this even worth the effort? Can I expect this crap trying to load ACP in moon clips too?
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Old Yesterday, 01:11 AM   #2
rcmodel
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Either one of three things.

1. You have the wrong moon-clips to fit your gun?
2. You have the wrong brand of cases to fit your moon-clips?
3. You are bending the correct moon-clips with the wrong brand of brass with the tool you bought to force them into to clips they don't fit.

See this about that.

Ihttp://www.tkcustom.com/content/faqs.asp

rc
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Old Yesterday, 01:55 AM   #3
BCRider
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To hold the casings with the right sort of slop so the casings can self center in the chambers the moon clips need to be thin enough that they fit in the rather tiny groove found just ahead of the rim. Or if the clips are a little thicker then they would need to be stepped or chamfered to fit the groove and allow for the proper degree of slop.

If these conditions aren't met then the clips would need to be VERY accurate to the gun's chamber diameter and spacing. Even a few thou out would cause problems.

.45ACP and moonclips isn't as big a problem since the grooves in the casings is rather large. SO there's LOTS of room for some play.
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Old Yesterday, 02:05 AM   #4
BLU
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How odd S&W would send clips that you cannot load the majority of brass into, (and sent them in the same package with the new gun!). I'm just a typical guy... try it and THEN read the instructions, but there's very little info on them aside from pages 29-30 in the manual and there's no mention of various brass types that are acceptable or not. I thought maybe I'd order the .020 clips since they are clearly less rigid allowing me 'some' flexibility. To complicate matters, I reload and have a little of all kinds of brass. Guess when I find something that works I'm going to have to be brand loyal from then on, huh?
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Old Yesterday, 02:43 AM   #5
ArchAngelCD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLU View Post
How odd S&W would send clips that you cannot load the majority of brass into, (and sent them in the same package with the new gun!). I'm just a typical guy... try it and THEN read the instructions, but there's very little info on them aside from pages 29-30 in the manual and there's no mention of various brass types that are acceptable or not. I thought maybe I'd order the .020 clips since they are clearly less rigid allowing me 'some' flexibility. To complicate matters, I reload and have a little of all kinds of brass. Guess when I find something that works I'm going to have to be brand loyal from then on, huh?
If I remember correctly, even though the cylinders is cut for moonclips it's not a requirement to use them. That means other than practicing reloads you don't have to use the moonclips at the range so you can use any brass you want and save the brass that works best for you SD carry ammo and moonclip reload.
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Old Yesterday, 11:04 AM   #6
tark
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I'm not much of a revolver man, (as in stupid) but last time I looked a 38 special has a rim, so why would anyone build a revolver that takes 38s using a moon clip?

Is it for faster reloads? Educate me, someone...
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Old Yesterday, 12:01 PM   #7
David E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tark View Post
why would anyone build a revolver that takes 38s using a moon clip?



Is it for faster reloads? Educate me, someone...

Yes
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Old Yesterday, 01:38 PM   #8
Jim K
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First, do the clips fit into the cylinder OK without any ammo in them? If so, we can rule out bad clips. Then does the ammo fit into the chambers without the clips? If so, there is no ammo problem. The only thing left is the way the ammo fits the clips, and that is the area you need to look at.

S&W uses only one size cylinder for its J frame, so the clips can't be for the wrong model.

Jim
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Old Yesterday, 08:44 PM   #9
MAKster
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Moon clips are faster than the speed loaders.
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Old Yesterday, 08:57 PM   #10
Sam1911
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Quote:
Moon clips are faster than the speed loaders.
Yes, but you could also say that the difference is a lot less when talking about long, rimmed traditional revolver cartridges (.38/.357) vs. short stubby .45ACPs like in a 625. Toss in Safariland Comp IIIIs or Jet Loaders rather than HKS type twisty loaders and the difference gets even less.

None of which answers the question.

I'd start with dropping the clips in without ammo and closing the cylinder. Does that work perfectly or not?

Then does your ammo fit, without the clip?

The problem should become pretty obvious one way or the other.

My money is on wrong (or bad) clips.
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Old Yesterday, 10:25 PM   #11
BLU
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Q&A:

(I appreciate all the help with this problem! I'm pretty comfortable doing my own gun smithing, grip making, trigger jobs, etc., so I'm not a 'new' gun owner. I'm also smart enough to know if I need help when venturing down a new avenue. Thanks guys and thank you THR.)

Q. I'd start with dropping the clips in without ammo and closing the cylinder. Does that work perfectly or not?

A. Yes the clip drops in and closes. It's not a flush fit, (meaning the edge of the clip rises just a tad above the area reamed out for it on the cylinder) but it feels secure.

Q. Then does your ammo fit, without the clip?

A. Yes.

"The problem should become pretty obvious one way or the other.
My money is on wrong (or bad) clips."

Okay... my opinion: The S&W clip is so thick that even trying Federal, Remington, Winchester & Star brass, all are VERY tight. Having read some more blogs.... it sounds as though the clip should hold the rounds securely but still have some 'wiggle' room... not quite as much as my speed loaders but not tight either. The supplied clip is very tight no matter what brass used. I'm probably going to go the opposite route and get the minimal .020" thick clips. Or am I on the wrong track again? (I WILL figure this out!). There must be another 642 owner in THR that uses moon clips!?
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Old Yesterday, 11:01 PM   #12
Jim K
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I don't see how the thickness of the clip could cause the rounds to stop 3/8" short of seating. That indicates to me that the clip is somehow keeping the rounds from lining up, so that they are out of alignment with the chambers. How about loading the clip one round at a time, try it, then one more round, and so on until the rounds won't seat. That might help show the problem.

Jim
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Old Today, 03:53 AM   #13
Guy B. Meredith
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Possible the holes are not centered correctly.

Don't get too thin clips--the rounds will jiggle too much and slow down reloads.

I use Starline brass exclusively and have had conversation with TK about a batch that jiggled and rounds almost fell out and he replaced them with clips that keep the rounds aligned. Originally I thought the difference in brass was the width of the groove, but it may also be diameter. I'll get around to checking or asking some day.

tark, the moonclips are the standard for competition shooting where permitted as they speed up loading and unloading. The weight of the combined rounds or brass acting as a unit is very helpful.
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Old Today, 11:08 AM   #14
BLU
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I did try 2-3 rounds.... which did load, (placed on same side of the clip ONLY. Not staggered around the clip as they wouldn't load then!)

Okay... going to order some .025" clips from Midway. We'll see how those work.... or don't. I have a LCR but bought the 642 knowing it's reloading was faster, (Pro series model using Moonclips). When I have to qualify I think the Moonclips would speed up my reloading or I wouldn't even mess with these. I'm doing fine with speed loaders.... it's just in my nature to improve what I can, that's all.
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Old Today, 11:20 AM   #15
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Something to think about, depending on how you plan to carry your reloads: moonclips are more fragile than speedloaders, especially the thin ones for rimmed rounds. Don't leave them in your pocket, loaded with cartridges, through your daily rounds and expect that they're still going to work in an emergency. Even a slightly bent moon clip will hang the gun up badly.
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Old Today, 11:41 AM   #16
buck460XVR
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Have you tried factory ammo or just your reloads?
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