Quantcast

.38 Special Moonclips... What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BLU, Sep 16, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    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? :cuss:
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,076
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    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
     
  3. BCRider

    BCRider Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    7,833
    Location:
    Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
    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.
     
  4. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    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?
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    25,957
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
    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.
     
  6. tark

    tark Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2013
    Messages:
    3,020
    Location:
    atkinson, ill
    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...
     
  7. David E

    David E Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,455

    Yes
     
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,848
    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
     
  9. MAKster

    MAKster Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,444
    Moon clips are faster than the speed loaders.
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    34,964
    Location:
    Central PA
    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.
     
  11. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    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!?
     
  12. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    17,848
    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
     
  13. Guy B. Meredith

    Guy B. Meredith Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    2,384
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    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.
     
  14. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    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.
     
  15. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Messages:
    34,964
    Location:
    Central PA
    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.
     
  16. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    7,855
    Have you tried factory ammo or just your reloads?
     
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    25,957
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
    My first move would have been to call S&W and see what they say. The clips might be out of round or incorrect. They should at least send you clips that will work since you paid for them.

    I use Safariland Comp I speedloaders for spare J frame ammo. They are very fast and they are small so they also carry easily.
    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/duty/speedloaders.aspx
     
  18. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    The moon clips would be carried in a protected speed loader case, shortened so I can get to them easily. On the street, I use HKS speed loaders and have for 38 years. I'd divert my HKS to my wife for her gun and use the moon clips for mine while we travel together. If something goes wrong she can toss me a HKS. Yes, I've tried factory rounds as well. I can't begin to explain how many different style and combinations of ammo. Nothing works. I didn't get around to ordering from Midway yet, but I will tomorrow after calling S&W. I'll explain I brought this up on a gun forum, (that seems to put them in a more willing position so as to avoid bad publicity! We have the power!)
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,076
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    .035" thick .38 Spl moon-clips you mentioned in your OP were a manufacturing mistake of some kind.

    Clips that thick simply will not / cannot work in the tiny grooves ahead of the rims on any rimmed revolver cases. of any brand.

    Call S&W.
    They must be aware of the vendor mistake that supplied them the clips by now.

    rc
     
  20. Snubshooter

    Snubshooter Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    FINALLY IN FREE AMERICA
    Rim thickness on .38s varies from maker to maker. Smith should have noted the preferred brass maker (Federal, Remington, Starline). If you tried loading the wrong size brass into the clips it does tweek them. Go to TK customs website there are many answers there for you and TK is the best site for new moonclips. Most .38 moonclips work best with starline brass. The revolver will work with un clipped rounds, or with speedloaders.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,076
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    Rim thickness can't vary much and stay in SAAMI spec.

    What varies so much between brands is the little groove, or total lack of one the clips fit in, in front of the rims.

    There is No SAAMI spec for that little groove!

    rc
     
  22. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    25,957
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
     
  23. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    I did go/have been to the TK Custom site. I did miss reading a few things there that I've now made amends for. They are the folks I had planned on using to convert my .45 Colt cylinder from my M625 so I can use .45 ACP as well.

    I've been carrying a long, long time and always 'baby' my reloads/mags while doing so, (if I don't, it could hurt me as well as them, right?!), but, should I get this problem solved, I'll consider buying a dedicated holder for them.

    A call to S&W definitely seems to be in order on my things to do list for today. (I'll be so happy when I can sit at my gun bench all day long and not have to trim back the greenery! Can't wait for Fall)
     
  24. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    Update... FINALLY called S&W and told them the problem. He said they haven't received any other complaints on this matter, (that's what I would have told a customer too! LOL!) A couple new clips are in the mail, so, I'll give you an update then. He wasn't aware of what thickness theirs are, (Mine vary between .031-.034"). Time will tell.
     
  25. BLU

    BLU Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    325
    I apologize for the delay but I was out of town dealing with a family illness. S&W sent me two replacement moon clips, (they finally arrived on 10-11). Both are consistent in their measurement of .025". Unlike the three they sent me, I perceive no variances in the measurement of these. The new ones appear stainless steel where the three sent with the revolver are black. Using the Mooncliptool.com tool, the moon clips were very easy to load using Remington brass and most importantly... the moon clip loads into the 642 just fine. I suspect the problem was the original moon clips sent with the new revolver. This was a frustrating series of events and almost turned me off to moon clips, but, in the long haul I think S&W made it okay in the end. I just hope this may save other S&W 642 owners some headaches. Thanks for all the advice here!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice