Hamilton Bowen caliber conversion?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Dave T, Jun 16, 2003.

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  1. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    I just found a Flattop 357 Ruger and put it on lay away. It will replace my 3-screw (non Flattop) 357 Ruger and that got me wondering what to do with the less collectable Ruger.

    As a lover of the 44 Special cartridge one consideration is converting the extra 357 to a 44 Special. Hamilton Bowen's catalog lists this as a standard conversion they do.

    Does anyone on THR have one of these; shoot one; seen one; or know anyone with any first hand knowledge of them? I'd like some feed back before venturing into this rather expensive customizing job.
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Dave, Hamilton's work is exquisite. So much so, that I would probably not send him "minor" work like that. I think I'd go to a cheaper Ruger smith for the conversion, unless you plan to do more than just the conversion itself. If you want a lot done and you want EVREYTHING perfect, go to Hamilton. It will take a long time, and it will cost a lot, but you'll be happy.

    One example of a good place to go without the extra expense and time is http://www.clementscustomguns.com/handguns/ruger.htm Gary Clements will do a fine job. Looks like the conversion is $350 though him, and if you want it done really well with line boring and perfect timing, its $850.
     
  3. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    YOU NEED TO START SNOOPIN' AROUND WWW.SIXGUNNER.COM

    I can also recommend highly the sevices of BRIAN COSBY as a pistolsmith who can do anything feasible with a Ruger SA sixgun.
     
  4. ElToro

    ElToro Member

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    the shiznet of caliber conversions is Bowens.38/44 conversion to .45 colt in a 4 inch with roy fishpaw ivory grips.... just gets me drooling thinking about it... check out the article posted on bowencustomguns.com i just need to find the right heavy duty or model 20 first...

    a lot of people think its blaspheme to cut up any gun but i say its your gun and your money... do what you think is right
     
  5. AC

    AC Member

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    Dave, I've had an OM conversion to .44 for 15 years. Not long after doing the conversion I was wishing for my .357 back.

    The revolver in .44 Spl. weighs around 34 oz. which is pretty light when you are tossing around 255 gr. bullets. Mine gets downloaded with 6.5 grs of Unique and I'm guessing it at somewhere between 800 and 850 fps. More velocity than this and I start to pull shots.

    Were I to do it again I would get more length or weight than the 4 & 5/8" barrel on mine. It is muzzle light and I don't like that for precision work. But if I were in your shoes I'd leave it just like it is, a .357. When I download .44s it doesn't hit any harder than loading the .357 in the 1100-1400 fps range and the .357 hangs better for me and shoots flatter.

    Of course if you have an itch you have to scratch, do it. But consider a heavier than standard barrel or a longer length.
     
  6. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    The 4 5/8" Bowen conversion .44 spec Stainless I picked up CHEAP has his rear sight(a must) and a Keith style black front with brass range bars. The action and trigger are to die for. It had Pach grips when I got it! I put one some slim rosewood ones and Voila! Purrfection. I think that this 36 once gun could handle magnums if the chambers were deepened, but whats the point? 240grains at 1000fps does it for me.:D $1300 dollar gun for $300! I won for a change that year!:D :D :D
     
  7. Glamdring

    Glamdring Member

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    I haven't been able to afford to have anything done by Bowen yet, but I know a few people (gunsmiths and others) that know him fairly well.

    I would agree with Steve, I don't think Gunsmiths (poor word to describe his skill level IMHO) get any better than Bowen. But you do pay for what you get, and the very high demand keeps them busy.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Be aware that the "Old Model" .357 Blackhawks were built on a smaller frame, and had a smaller cylinder then the .30 Carbine, .41 Magnum and .44 Magnums in the same series. Converting one of these (the .30 Carbine or .41 Magnum) makes a good .44 Special, but the .357-to-.44 Special is marginal. All of the "New Model" Blackhawks are built on the basic .44 Magnum frame regardless of chambering and the ones in smaller sizes can be converted to anything up to .45 Colt.

    If I was going to convert an O.M. .357 Blackhawk to something bigger I would consider the .41 Special (shortened .41 Magnum) before the .44 Special, or I'd look for a .30 Carbine or .41 Magnum as the basis for a .44 Special. I too like the .44 Special, but not in a converted .357 Blackhawk. The resulting wall thickness between the bolt cuts and the chamber walls is much too thin.
     
  9. mrstang01

    mrstang01 Member

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    When such pistoleros as Paco Kelly, John Taffin, and Skeeter Skelton recommend a conversion as safe, I'd be inclined to think that it's safe.

    Michael
     
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