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S&W 646 conversion to 10mm about to begin

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Black Snowman, Oct 22, 2004.

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  1. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    The gun will be here next week and I've already contacted S&W about a replacement cylinder. Their recommendation was to start with a 686 Cylinder and rechamber it since I wanted to keep my original titanium cylinder unmodified.

    They said a 686 cylinder from them is about $175.00. I plan on ordering an unfluted 686 cylinder, cut it for moon clips, then rechamber it for 10mm.

    I'm working with Simmon's Gunsmithing for the transfer and modifications to the cylinder. I'll be sure to post more info as the project progresses.

    When I'm done I should have a gun with all the power of a 610 but in a much handier package. When I get CCW there's a good chance this will be one of the guns I carry.

    For those of you not familiar with the 646 it's a 6 shot .40 S&W in a medium frame with a titanium cylinder. Here's a pic.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Rangie

    Rangie Member

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    I thought they went to the Ti cylinder because of the diameter of the .40 S&W didn't leave enough thickness to be safe with steel ? Is it going to be a six or seven shooter ?

    While you're at it why not have your smith trim that lug off ? That would be sweet if you could get it down close to the weight of a model 19 with 10mm power. :D
     
  3. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    I heard a lot about the Ti cylinder and such but S&W says as long as I don't hold them liable they think it should be fine ;)

    I think the Ti cylinder was more of a marketing gimick. I'm not metalurgist but I think as long as I don't make any over-pressure loads good ol' steel should be up to the task.
     
  4. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    7 shot is not going to be an option. Reaming out for the larger caliber is cutting into the margin of safety as it is.

    I don't have a S&W 686 or 646 to check on at the moment so I'm using my Taurus 669 as a basis for comparison.

    If I reamed out my 357 Taurus enough to chamber a 10mm I would be reducing the thinest wall in the cylinder from 0.80" to 0.77" or about 4%.

    That 4% reduction in thickness would mean more like a 16% reduction in strength (a guestimation assuming I'm not ruining any kind of heat-treating in the process).

    The 10mm and .357 Mag operate at about the same pressures so I'd be cutting signifigantly into the safety margin of the cylinder.

    I did accidently proof test my 669 with about a max and a half charge of Universal in one of my reloads without it suffering any ill effects. Looking at the 7 shot S&W I'd say they sacrificed more than 0.03" of metal between cylinders when they added another round.

    In fact some quick math tells us that if they had the 0.10" between cylinders that my Taurus has they would have had to go to 0.04" walls. I know they didn't get that small because there has to be 0.06" or the rims will over-lap. So that means the S&W cylinder should be larger than my Taurus and give a decent amount of extra cushion making the thinnest the S&W goes to about the same as what the Taurus starts with.

    Still, I'll look into heat or cryo treating the cylinder to maximize strength.

    Anyone have a 686 cylinder they can put a micrometer on and give me the thinnest point in the wall? I was replying on THR to a post about the strength of the cylinder and I wanted to see how much I'm really losing.
     
  5. Majic

    Majic Member

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    Why not find out out what type of cutter is used cut the Ti alloy? You may can just buy another 646 cylinder and have the chambers reamed down to 10mm if the cutter isn't cost prohibitive. Less machine work and keep the advantages of using Ti.
     
  6. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Check with Tamara, here, or g33 over on glock talk, g33 had a 646 reamed to 10mm at the shop that Tam worked at.
     
  7. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    Thanks Brian.

    Majic, that was my 1st instinct and when I emailed them that was specificly what I was looking for, but their suggestion was still the 686 cylinder implying that there aren't any 646 cylinders available. Even if they have a few, I imagine they're reserved for warranty work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2004
  8. Nathan Detroit

    Nathan Detroit Member

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    Here are some numbers taken from a 686. The chamber wall thickness at the midpoint is 0.089". The thickness at the bolt cut is only 0.042". The nominal case diameter for the .357 is 0.379 and the case diameter for the 10mm is 0.425. That means that you have to increase the diameter of the chamber 0.425-0.379=0.046". That in turn translates into a radial increasse in the chamber of 0.023". That 0.023" results in a chamber wall at the midpoint of 0.089" - 0.023 = 0.066". The thickness at the bolt cut will be 0.042 - 0.023 = 0.019". That is getting mighty thin. Now it might be that the bolt cut is so close to the case head that the amount of load the the chamber wall at the bolt cut has to carry is substantially below that closer to the case mouth. Good luck.

    Detroit
     
  9. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    Thanks for the measurements Nathan.

    10mm brass is very strong in the last 0.3" or so of the cartridge and doesn't expand at all from what I can measure on my spent brass. The thickness tapers off as it goes up but the brass under the bolt cuts should still be quite strong.

    On the Ti cylinder the 40 brass is thinner at that point and is running at almost the same pressures. The stresses with 10mm shouldn't be any higher.

    I'm banking that the thicker brass will be enough to eliminate any problems there. The bolt cut only comes to a short line where it is at it's full depth so risk of failure is minimized.

    From G33s report on his conversion at Glock Talk.

    "S&W buddy would not go on record, but noted that as .40 ammo developed up to 35,000 psi, the cylinder could handle 37,500 psi."

    Now since I'm planning on working with a stainless cylinder that data probably doesn't apply. Odds are it's either stronger or weaker by some measurable degree than the Ti.

    Since S&W recommended it, I'm hoping it's going to be on the stronger side but don't want to take any chances. I'd rather know these things before I shell out the money for the cylinder and work rather than after I ruin a brand new handgun and possibly my hand with it.
     
  10. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    very interested in finding a 646 for a simualar project. I looked and i dont see them on there web sight is this model discontinued?
     
  11. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Hey Lloyd check Gunsamerica they had 2 yesterday at $560 and $599
     
  12. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    thanks Brain keep me posted on the progress.
     
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Very interesting, I have never gone along with that "titanium is necessary to hold .40 pressure in a "L" cylinder" business. There are a lot of steel alloys and heat treatments available if their usual stuff wasn't strong enough. I think titanium is a dead end in firearms and you are going the right way.
     
  14. 10mmman

    10mmman Member

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    "While you're at it why not have your smith trim that lug off ? That would be sweet if you could get it down close to the weight of a model 19 with 10mm power."

    A 66 is 37 oz, my 686+ Mountian Gun is 37.5 oz with full sized houges on it. My 646 non PC & thus full lug is 35 oz.

    Long load it to 10mm specs & Voila-

    What we need is a 5"&/or4" 610+ Montain gun. (Odd number chambers = stronger cylinder. If they can do a 8 shot .357in an N frame why not a 7 shot .401?

    X
     
  15. Rangie

    Rangie Member

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    So lets say we could get a 646, keep the Ti cylinder but rechamber it to 10mm and shave off the lug. Down to about 31-32 oz. SWEET ! :D
     
  16. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    At 10mmMan's suggestion I'm going to put off spending extra money on modifying the gun until I get my results from these.
     
  17. Combat Controller

    Combat Controller Member

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    Update?

    Well, I started thinking of 10mm revolvers that were easy to pack a few weeks ago, and my 610 is just not quite small enough. I was going to go custom but then I ran across a 646 non PC. While searching the interweb I came across this thread from the S&W forums... How did your conversion go? I know G33 from glocktalk is pleased with silvertips...I ordered a spare .40 cyl from S&W today, so if it gets screwed up, I can still shoot .40... I was thinking of using the smith you posted, did you have a good experience?
     
  18. 20nickels

    20nickels Member

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    I too am very interested. The ultimate caliber in the ultimate handgun, how did it go?
     
  19. Combat Controller

    Combat Controller Member

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    Woo hoo

    Found the gunsmith who did the original conversion for "G33" on glocktalk, and he is happy to do it, I have to keep the pressure down though, he said keep it as a Winchester Silvertip gun. I have no problem with that. The more I dryfire it, the more I love this revolver.
     
  20. Gator

    Gator Member

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    I recently got a 646 and I love it! I have heard of a couple conversions to 10mm using the original Ti cylinder, but I like your idea of using a 686 cylinder better.

    S&W's reason for using the Ti cylinder had nothing to do with strength. The 646 was first made as an IDPA competition gun, the lighter Ti cylinder rotates faster which allows a quicker lock time and lighter trigger pull. The first 646s were made by the Performance Center (PC) and had a lighter, slab sided barrel, later S&W did a run of 900 "non-PC" guns with the regular, full-lug, style barrel.

    Here's a pic of my "non-PC" 646:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. Combat Controller

    Combat Controller Member

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    That's the gun I got! I really like the trigger pull, and I ordered a spare Ti cyl for $150. The best part is I can still shoot .40 in it.
     
  22. grendelbane

    grendelbane Member

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    If you want to experience some thing close to 10 mm power in your 646, you can load .40 S&W cases with Hodgdon's Longshot. I have fired these from my 610, and they are very potent. Of course, 10mm will always do a little better.

    I like the idea of a smaller 10mm revolver.
     
  23. Gator

    Gator Member

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    I wonder if the chambers on a five shot 696 cylinder could be sleeved to 10mm? That should be plenty strong....probably pretty expensive though.
     
  24. Seven For Sure

    Seven For Sure Member

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    That won't work. 696 has .429 chambers. 646 has .401. I have two 646's and an unfluted 686 cylinder ready to go. Don't know if I want to do it yet, the 646 is sweet as is and I love the 10mm. Not if I'm stuck to silvertips. Basically, those suck in power for 10mm and bullet technology these days. If you reload, you can long load the .40 to get very close.
     
  25. Seven For Sure

    Seven For Sure Member

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    Plus, they only come in 20 rd. boxes, I can shoot DT way cheaper!
     
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