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a 357 MAX conversion??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Blade&Bullet94, Sep 19, 2012.

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  1. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Member

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    so i love revolvers. love love love them. 18 and iv iv loved them as long as i can remember. to own a 357 maximum revolver is a very high goal for me. anyway, without rambling on TOO much more, i was poking around the net and discovered that Taurus has an 8 shot 357 magnum (the model 608). my guessing is they pulled this off by building it on a 44 mag frame, hence the huge cylinder. my ultimate question is, does anyone know if it would be possible to reem the chambers to 357 max, and have something unique with serious firepower?
     
  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    At 48,000 CUP max pressure, the .357 Max is only 2,000 CUP shy of .454 Casull pressure. 44 Mag max pressure is only 40,000 CUP, so even if it's built on a .44 mag frame, and even if the cylinder is heat treated to handle .44 mag, it wouldn't try it. That's before we even start looking at reduced cylinder wall thickness resultant from going to 8 chambers instead of 6. There's no way I'd try it because of major safety concerns.
     
  3. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    The cylinder length is another issue. Your best bet would be a magnum research BFR

    Of course if you're doing a BFR in 357 Max why not go all out and do a 35rem
     
  4. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    The 44 mag and 357 mag are essentially the same length. to modify it to 357 max you need to have a longer cylinder. Best would be to find a Ruger blackhawk,
     
  5. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Member

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    damn, i thought as much. well, it was worth a shot, gotta admit woulda been pretty friggin sweet if it would of worked. im pretty budget restricted, do you think theres any hope for getting a double action 357 max that ISNT going to kill my wallet?
     
  6. batmann

    batmann Member

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    I doubt it. The only ones in DA that I am aware of are on the used market and are more collectors items now. Good luck.
     
  7. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Some alternatives

    If you can find one, Seville made a SA, & Dan Wesson made a DA chambered for the 357 SuperMag. (The 357 SuperMag is NOT the same cartridge as the 357 Maximum,)

    Dan Wesson made a revolver chambered for the 360 Dan Wesson on the 44 Mag frame.

    The 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 360 Dan Wesson, 357 Maximum, & the 357 SuperMag, all have the same diameters but are progressively longer. Any chamber in this list will accept any cartridge before it in the list.

    Then there is the 357-44 Bain & Davis wildcat which is used in a 44 size frame.

    I have a Dan Wesson chambered for the 357 SuperMag and a S&W 28 chambered for the 357-44 Bain & Davis. The later is a bottle necked cartridge. Contrary to street wisdom, bottle necked cartridges DO work in revolvers. It was only the S&W 22 Jet that gave them a bad name.
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The problem has never been cylinder diameter but the length. No standard length revolver is long enough. Which is why we've seen it chambered in so few guns. It needs its own frame, which would also be compatible with the .375, .414 and .445 SuperMag's.


    Uh no, the .454 runs 65,000psi.
     
  9. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Almost but not quite

    The Ruger Blackhawk Maximum does not have a frame window long enough to chamber the 357 SuperMag or the other SuperMag cartridges. Hence the shorter 357 Maximum. The 360 Dan Wesson was designed as the longest possible 357 cartridge to chamber in the Dan Wesson 44 Magnum frame.

    The 357 Bain & Davis was designed for a standard N frame S&W to deliver the actual velocity claimed in early advertising for the 357 Magnum, something the 357 magnum itself never did. Off hand I don't recall the 360 Dan Wesson performance but I would guess it's in a class with the 357-44 Bain & Davis.

    PS I'd think the Taurus Judge would have a frame long enough. And now we have a S&W version. Also the S&W X frame.
     
  10. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

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    not a revolver,but I just bought a used contender in .357 Maximum,and I gotta tell ya it's a stud !!
    It don't just ring steel at 150 yards like it was nothing,it can and will knock it off of the stand,LOL. If u get the chance to own one,you'll love it.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  12. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    From a guy who actually builds these guns, speaking of converting a Ruger Maximum:

    "You don't need over-sized cylinders for any of the SuperMags."
     
  13. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    357 SuperMag vs 356 Maximum

    CraigC,

    Your link seems to lead to something about B-25s in Angola. I presume you mean to refer to one of numerous articles in print that erroneously refer to the 357 Maximum & the 357 SuperMag as one and the same.

    Any of the SuperMag cartridges loaded to SuperMag specs are longer than the Ruger Maximum cylinder.

    I suppose this calls for the long version of the story.

    First there was the 357 Magnum we are all familiar with. Elgin Gates developed the 357 SuperMag as a silhouette cartridge since the 357 Magnum was a bit iffy at knocking over the 200 meter ram. The name of the game is momentum rather than energy so the 357 SuperMag was designed to push a heavy for caliber bullet at somewhat faster than 357 magnum velocities. Elgin was a friend of the main guy at Seville and Seville was the first company to market a revolver chambered for the 357 SuperMag. It was marked 357 SuperMag. Next, Dan Wesson marketed a revolver for the 357 SuperMag. At about this time Ruger and Remington began development on the 357 Maximum, obviously inspired by the 357 SuperMag. Early production Dan Wessons were marked 357 SuperMag on one side of the shroud and 357 Maximum on the other side. They were actually chambered for the 357 SuperMag.

    Ruger did not want to make the frame window long enough to accommodate the 357 SuperMag, hence the shorter 357 Maximum. At the same time Remington developed a load using a standard weight for caliber bullet at very high velocities. Throw in a big charge of slow ball powder and the infamous erosion fiasco resulted. They just didn’t understand what the SuperMag was all about. .Elgin Gates advised them that it was not going to work. Elgin considered them two different cartridges and that’s from the horse’s mouth.

    When loaded to SuperMag specs with a 200 grain bullet the 357 SuperMag has about 0.125 inch more powder room and will not chamber in a Ruger Maximum. I’ve tried it. Any of the SuperMag cartridges loaded to standard SuprMag loads would be too long fot the Ruger Maximum revolver.

    Nominal case length for the 357 SuperMag is 1.610 inch, the Maximum nominal case length is 1.605 inch. 0.005 inch difference is not a very big difference in case length. SAMMI nominal chamber length is 1.610 so an empty 357 SuerMag case may or may not chamber depending on how the tolerances fall. The SuperMag takes a rifle primer. SAMMI does not specify the primer for the Maximum. The significant difference is 0.125 inch in OAL. OAL length, please don’t claim the 0.005 inch difference in case length makes them the same cartridge. Maximum average pressure for the 357 SuperMag is 50,000 CUP, SAAMI maximum average pressure for the 357 Maximum is 48,000 CUP.

    The distinction was fairly clear early on, but later great confusion arose and you will find any number of articles assuming they are one and the same. Adding to the confusion are the many single shot pistols chambered for the 357 maximum. Cylinder length is a non-issue, bullet seating depth is more flexible and the difference in case length is quite small so that a SuperMag cartridge will sometimes chamber in a Maximum barrel.

    SuperMag shooters never suffered from the erosion problem. (Mine shows no more erosion that any other revolver I have.) The 357 Maximum erosion problem can be greatly alleviated by a judicious choice of hand load.
     
  14. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I didn't say anything about them being the same but in his book "Big Bore Sixguns", Taffin does say that they are and that ammunition is interchangeable. What I took issue with is that you said the frame window was not long enough and this is untrue. The link is to an American Handgunner article where Taffin tells about his .357Max that was rechambered to .445Supermag and converted to a Bisley by Ben Forkin. This is a common conversion and I know of quite a few that have been done. Simple rechambering and rebarrelling, no custom long five-shot cylinders. You are wrong. End of story.
     
  15. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    By the time you spend the amount of money it would cost to "convert" an existing gun to .357 MAX, you could just buy a Ruger.

    A custom gun in a hot-rod caliber is worth next-to-nothing on the used-gun market.

    You could shoot the Ruger until you got tired of it - which probably wouldn't take long - and still get most of your money back out of it when you realize that there is a reason why that caliber never caught on.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    This gets repeated all the time and obviously by folks who have never bought or sold a custom gun built by a known gunsmith. It's simply untrue. More often than not, you can actually make most of your investment back on a custom gun, sometimes all of it. I know of several listed right now for full replacement cost and he will get that for all of them.
     
  17. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Perhaps I should have said a "custom Taurus" in hot-rod caliber...

    Done "right," with a correct objective and subject, a custom gun is exactly that.
    A custom gun.
    You might get your money out of it eventually, but the market is worse than slim in most instances, even for the good ones.
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I agree on the custom Taurus, for sure.

    I do not agree on the custom Ruger, Colt or USFA. Seriously, people get their money back out of them and it does not take long. The idea that you lose your pants on a custom revolver is simply no longer true. Especially as the good gunsmith's lead times grow.
     
  19. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    I wrote CUP not PSI. The two are not interchangeable.
     
  20. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    SuperMags

    CraigC misses the point. Its the OAL that makes it a SuperMag, If you bore out a Ruger Maximum to 44 diameter you do NOT have a 445 SuperMag. You would have to seat the bullets too deep for SuperMag specs.

    A 357 SuperMag cartridge loaded to 357 SuperMag specs (As originally designed and published) will NOT chamber in a Ruger. All the SuperMag cartridges have an OAL longer then the Ruger cylinder.

    I will repeat, Ruger did not want to make the frame window long enough to accommodate the SuperMag in spite of Elgin Gate's advice to the contrary.

    The 357 SuperMag OAL is 0.125 inch longer than the Maximum.

    Like wise the Sevlle or Dan Wesson cylinder is 0.125 inches longer than the Maximum cylinder

    If Elgin gates didn't know the difference, who would?
     
  21. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Opposite side of the coin

    Years ago (I ain’t telling how many.) I had a S&W M19. A friend had a bucket full of 178 grain cast semi-wad cutters and we worked up a nice plinking load. I was fat dumb and happy until I acquired a Python. Low and behold, this load was long enough to stick ou the front of the cylinder. I was displeased with the Python.

    Not until some years later did I learn the rest of the story. The M19 derives from the M10 which has an overlong cylinder for the 38 Special in order to accommodate the 32-20, one of the cartridges it was originally designed for. The M19 cylinder is a bit longer yet to shorten the part of the forcing cone that protrudes into the frame window.

    The moral of the story is that while our hand load worked fine in the M19, what ever you want to call it, you can’t call it a legitimate 357 Magnum load since it would not chamber in an N frame S&W, Python, etc.
     
  22. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    Heres a great place for info on most of the 357 cartidges with pros and cons.
    http://www.lasc.us/RangingShotDanWesson360Revolver.htm

    And heres some loading info that can reach the limit of many smaller 357mags
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=357 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun

    http://www.gunsamerica.com/99791144...Dan_Wesson_Super_Mag_8_NICE_Free_Shipping.htm

    I went a bit different when young and plain ole stupid. Loaded some 125gr 357 mag loads to 1920fps and some 170gr sp and 180gr gc to 1450fps out of 8' dw 15-2. Thanks to DW for makeing strong revolver. Cylinder lengh on the DW was 1.635
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    True, but 50,000CUP is nowhere near 65,000psi. For straight-wall pistol cartridges, the two are close enough to be interchangeable.


    BS. It's the chamber that makes the, uh, chambering. There are .45Colt's that are not long enough for some bullets, are they not really .45Colt's? There are .357's that are not long enough for the Keith bullet. Are they not .357's?
     
  24. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    length

    There are such things as specifications for a given cartridge. If you have a load in a 357 Magnum case that will not chamber in a given 357 magnum, it's not a SAAMI spec cartridge. Ehile the 357 SuperMag is a wildcat, it does have specs and those sepcs make it too long to chamber in a Ruger.

    By your criteria a 38 Special, a 357 Magnum, a 360 Dan Weson, a 357 Maximum, and a 357 SuperMag are all the same cartridge.

    As for the case length, a 357 SuperMag case may or may not chamber in a 357 Maximum chamber depending on how the tolerances fall. The case isn't much longer, but it is longer.

    The Ruger was specifically designed to NOT chamber the 357 SuperMag, against Elgin Gates advice. Since Elgin developed the 357 SuperMag and was consulted by Ruger on the following Maximum project I should think his opinion that they are two seperate cartridges should be the gospel.

    They have two different case lengths, two differnt OALs, two different case capacities, two different working pressures, and two different sets of loading data, and two different design purposes. Sounds like two different cartridges to me.

    I think you are arguing purely for the sake of arguing. Go call your 357 Maximum a SuerMag and be happy. The diffrence really only counts in revolvers anyway, not single shots.
     
  25. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Added thought

    Any SAAMI spec 357 Magnum will chamber in any SAAMI spec revolver. Likewise for the 45 Colt. Loads that are too long for some revolvers are not SAAMI spec. But neither are they wildcats. For lack of a better term I would call them a bastard 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.

    It occurs to me: The 357 SuperMag was in existence with standard specs and chambered in at least one commercial production revolver before the 357 Maximum came along. Ruger specifically did not want to make the frame window long enough to accommodate the 357 SuperaMag against Elgin Gate’s advice. Since it doesn’t chamber a standard 357 SuyperMag the 357 Maximum must be s a different cartridge.

    Now fast forward a number of years. Dan Wesson developed the 360 Dan Wesson. They don’t want to make a frame long enough for the 357 Maximum so they use their standard 44 magnum frame. By certain “criteria” above, the 360 Dan Wesson is the same cartridge as the 357 Maximum. Funny, I never heard anybody make that claim.

    The 357 Maximum fiasco results from the major manufactures’ urge, when taking a wildcat commercial, to fix what ain’t broke. The most notorious example being the S&W 22 Jet. It’s daddy was the 22 Harvey K-Chuck based on a shortened 22 Hornet case and chambered in K frame S&Ws. S&W decides to take it commercial. Instead of the 22 Hornet case they use the 357 Magnum case necked down. OK so far. The problem arises from the fact that the shoulder is so long you might as well call it a tapered case. This results in the infamous set back problems that other bottle necked cartridges (Including the 22 Harvey K-Chuck) do not have in revolvers.

    BTW: The 22 Jet and the 22 Harvey K-Chuck are NOT interchangeable.
     
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