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Ruger Speed Six .38 to .357 Conversion?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BrokenArrow, Sep 20, 2010.

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  1. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    Is it possible?

    How easily done?

    Just drop a .357 cylinder into the same frame?

    Just rechamber the .38 cylinder to .357?
     
  2. oldbear

    oldbear Member

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    It is very easy to do, just counter bore the chambers by one 1/10 of an inch, and the .357 round will fit. Now the real question is do you really want to shoot .357 magnum ammo in a revolver made for 38 special ammo:uhoh:.

    Either shoot 38 special +p ammo or get a revolver chambered for .357 ammo. would be better.
     
  3. Idempotent

    Idempotent Member

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    Long story short, no, it's not possible. .38 Special has a max pressure of 17,000 psi; .357 Magnum is 35,000 psi.

    You'll need to buy another revolver.
     
  4. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    Reason I ask is, I was told the Ruger Speed Six .38 and .357 pistols/cylinders are identical.

    When Ruger made them, all they did was chamber the cylinders and mark them differently.

    I've got a Service Six in 357, and it sure looks like that's the only diffference (other than the square/round butts).
     
  5. gwnorth

    gwnorth Member

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    The cylinders would have been heat treated differently to temper the steel differently. The external dimensions of the cylinders are identical.

    You could buy a .357 cylinder from Numrich gun parts and have a smith fit it I suppose. But even then, I'd imagine the forcing cones may have been tempered differently too.
     
  6. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    Do you know that, or assume that?

    Makes sense, also makes sense from a manufacturing point of view to make both as identical as possible, parts and processes.

    I will know for sure from some reliable sources soon, until then I will give youse guys sumthin' to chew on...
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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  8. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    Correct. It saved Ruger money to make everything the identical, and remember there were also 9mm and 380 models as well. One barrel and one cylinder for 4 different calibers equal an overall lower manufacturing cost.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  9. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    I've since found out it is as easy as I was told. About $110 to drop in a "new" 357 cylinder, about $45 to convert the 38 cylinder.

    Some revolvers may have different sizes, materials, metallurgy differences, but not the Rugers.
     
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    That's $155 and that's if you don't need anything else done to the revolver. I've seen very good .357 Magnum Six-Series revolvers available for ~$200, it it really worth converting your .38 Special into a .357 Magnum? For ~$50 more you can have both...
     
  11. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    Or he could save the $200 all together and hand load using 38-44 specifications.
     
  12. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    youse guys? Broken Arrow I'll bet you're from Wisconsin
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Sure it can be done with some fitting work. But why not TRADE for a .357 model? The .38 only models are a nice collector's piece and have their own appeal believe it or not.

    I'm assuming you have the .38 Special, not the .38 S&W. If the latter, please do drop me a PM and I'll make you a good deal ;-)
     
  14. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    I like _this_ gun, and I've already got a Service Six in 357 Mag.

    Around here the cheapest these go for when they pop up are about $350 for anything that's in any kind of shape worth having. Online, I'm seeing $350-420 for the 38/357, and $700 for the 9x19. Money is not an issue anyway.

    Was just wonderin'; will probably leave it as is. But I may buy the 357 cylinder just to have around...

    I'm from Detroit BTW. ;)
     
  15. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    ArchangelCD, I think those two prices were an either/or. :) If you buy a new cylinder, you don't have to convert the other one. I have a .44 Special Smith and Wesson, a later one with an IL, and found that the cylinder is NOT the lighter .44 Special cylinder, but the .44 Mag length cylinder just short chambered. This saved S&W money on machining, and I'm sure they would not do a different heat treat these days...that would be added expense. The gun is a tad heavier as a result. I would IMAGINE that Ruger used the same cylinders for their Speed and Security Sixes in .38 and .357 for the same cost-saving measures, but a quick call to Ruger would get you a real answer.
     
  16. gwnorth

    gwnorth Member

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    Well, I'll be. That's kind of cool, although it also speaks to the legend that ruger never made money off the six series. Kinda like designing a car around a big block V8 and then offering the exact same frame&body with a V6 and four cylinder and hoping to make money on all of them.

    If you want the other cylinder I would buy it soon. It seems parts for sixes are going away fast.
     
  17. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    I would be surprised if they never made any money off the Security/Service/Speed Sixes.

    They got more popular as time went by, and they were replacing Smiths in more than a few places. INS/BP were using the Security Six in 357. A friend w the BP was issued a Security Six in 1992. The Military used some Service Sixes in .38 IIRC.

    In tests the feds did w full power magnum ammo, the Sixes lasted longer (>10K) than the Smith K frames (<10K) before there were problems. Probably why we got the L fame from Smith and the King Cobra from Colt. Ruger trumped those w the GP100 (USMS issue), but by then the auto was taking over.
     
  18. edrice

    edrice Member

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    To make short story long, I had it done. The .38 and .357 used the same cylinder bored differently. Ruger wasn't going to the expense of creating a lessor cylinder just to make a .38. I have a 4" Speed-Six .38 that I had converted to .357

    Pinnacle High Performance will do it for you. If I remember right, he charged me about $85. (but my memory is hazy on the price. it might have been less)

    http://www.pinnacle-guns.com/revolver.asp

    I also had him do a moonclip conversion while it was there. You can just remove the cylinder and ship that to him.

    Ed
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  19. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Informative thread. I didn't know about the moon clip conversion. Now I gotta hold off the temptation to have a cylinder moonclipped. :(
     
  20. edrice

    edrice Member

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    Mwah HA HA HAaaaa... :evil:

    It's too late now. The seed has been planted and you'll quickly weaken and be minus a cylinder for a couple of weeks. I'm proof.

    Ed
     
  21. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    Pressure isn't an issue. Ruger chambered these cylinders in 9x19 too, sold plenty in Europe. The SAAMI specs for 9x19 and 357 are equal, the SAAMI +P, CIP and NATO specs for 9x19 can exceed 357 Mag pressures by 10 - 20%.

    Moonclip conversion!? Convert to 9x23!? Wish I'ld never seen THAT! ;)
     
  22. edrice

    edrice Member

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    The cat is outta the bag! (Glad I beat the rush)

    Ed
     
  23. abuelo

    abuelo Member

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    Last I checked Numrich no longer had any 357 cylinders in stock. FYI they used to carry a conversion kit to change the Six series revolvers from 38 to 357 but they no longer have that either. Sounds like a pistolsmith is the only way to get it done. I have also considered it but never found someone that would do it and not charge an arm and a leg.
     
  24. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Yes it's possible, and if the gunsmith (or you) is good enough, you can get maximum accuracy out of the gun.

    I converted this .38 Speed-Six into a .357 and it's one of the most accurate guns in my collection. Why? The gunsmith was meticulous when he rethroated my cylinder. With most .357s, if you drop a single .357 JHP bullet into each of the chambers, one or two or more will fall through. Taurus had this problem more than any other gun and that's one reason the 66s I ordered couldn't hit the broad side of a barn! (This was back in the 80s, so they may have improved.)

    Anyway, my Ruger chambers caught every single bullet I dropped into them. And because the sizing was right on, the gun was one of the most accurate in my collection.

    Rugers will generally handle .357, but check with someone before you do it.

    [​IMG]

    .
     
  25. BrokenArrow

    BrokenArrow Member

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    Numrich had them yesterday when I called to check.
     
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