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Convert .357 OM Blackhawk to .44 Special

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by mrstang01, May 15, 2003.

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  1. mrstang01

    mrstang01 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Central KY
    I'm interested in having the above conversion done, is it something someone who is tool handy can do themselves, or is it really better done by a smith? If so, who would you recommend?


  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Ah, yes, that was a favorite hobby of Skeeter Skelton's, converting this and that to .44 Special.

    Let's see now, for the tool handy...

    Barrel: You might could find a takeoff Ruger .44 barrel like Skeeter did once. I think the threads are the same but the O.D. is larger than for .357, see below. Brownell's used to advertise Marion replacement barrels but I don't see them in the current catalog. Maybe you could find Marion to contact direct. Blanks are available for you to turn and thread your own.

    Cylinder: Rechamber the .357, see below.

    Tools: Clymer will make a *reamer* for the purpose, it pilots on the .357 chamber and throat and enlarges to .44 Special. Skeeter said it was best used in a *lathe*, that his FLG tried it by hand on a scrap cylinder and it chattered, leaving marks.

    You may need a *barrel vise* and a *frame wrench*. There have been a lot of revolver barrels changed with blocks of wood in a bench vise and a hammer handle through the frame, but there have been some guns bent, too.

    Work: Rechamber the cylinder. Six times.
    Fit the barrel. Screw into frame, check and set cylinder gap. If a used barrel, regulate so the sight comes up on top and the extractor stud at 4 o'clock. If a Marion or other new barrel, set the gap and install the front sight and extractor stud. Might need a *lathe* or the specialized *hand tools* Brownells sells and/or a *drill press*.
    Install the extractor rod housing. It will have to be fitted to the larger diameter Super BH barrel if you use one, and maybe to the Marion.
    A Marion or other new barrel will have to be blued and a used barrel might need refinishing... along with the whole gun to come out the same polish and color.

    John Taffin was high on Andy Horvath for caliber conversions and the elaborate Little Ruger remodeling but I have no personal knowledge and am NOT recommending for or against him.

    Or you could just look for an Old Model .45 or .41 or one of the occasional SBH .44s with 4 5/8" or 5 1/2" barrel and plain BH grip and trigger guard.
  3. heritageguy

    heritageguy Member

    Mar 27, 2003
    Try Hamilton Bowen (bowenclassicarms.com). He's done a lot of Ruger conversions. Be prepared to pay serious money as these conversions are not cheap.

    I had a model 28 Smith converted to .44 special by Bill Lauthridge at Cylinder & Slide years ago, but I don't know if he works on Rugers. Bill's work was exemplary.

    Send it to an expert for conversion.
  4. VictorLouis

    VictorLouis Guest

    There is an article on that VERY conversion

    on www.gunblast.com Well worth the read, and it's well toward the bottom of their 'archives' section.
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