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Old 05-10-2012, 08:00 AM
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Bill_in_fl Bill_in_fl is offline
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Default Wildcat cartridges in revolvers.

I was re-reading an old 35 or so year old book of mine called "Handloading for Handgunners" by former major George C. Nonte (deceased).

Under the "wildcat" cartridge section he was talking about and showing pics of the 38/45 Clerke wildcat cartridge. That is a .45 acp necked down to hold a .38 caliber projectile. He was talking about how it delivers about the same ballistics as the .38 super cartridge and how you could easily change a 1911 pistol over to it by simply changing out the barrel and recoil spring. Here's a couple of links.....

and a pic, (the three on the left obviously, not sure what that far right one is)....

Which got me to wondering. Has anyone here had experience with putting a .38 caliber barrel in a .45 acp cylinder revolver and firing the 38/45 wildcat cartridge in it?

I was thinking that although it no doubt would increase velocity, it also likely would increase pressure in the barrel too wouldn't it? Which made me think about what if you necked down a .44 magnum to .38 caliber and did the same thing, or even necked a .44 mag down to 32 caliber?

Even if it would be safe pressure wise to neck down a .45 acp to .38 caliber, at what point would it be too much pressure and unsafe to neck any given cartridge down thus increasing barrel pressure? Would a .44 magnum necked down to .38 caliber be okay? What about a .44 mag necked down to 32 caliber?

Anyway, the old article made me curious about this and was wondering if anyone here had any experience with this.


Last edited by Bill_in_fl; 05-10-2012 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:24 AM
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I tried that 38/45 when I did NRA bullseye shooting in my Colt Goldcup.
Too much trouble to reload for that kind of competition plus it did not shoot any better that the M19 I used for center fire.
Don't remember what happened to the dies & barrel, gone like the Goldcup...
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:07 AM
silentflyer silentflyer is offline
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Sort of like the .30 and .35 Herrets for the Contenders years ago, yes they shot really well, but it was a lot of work forming brass,trimming cases etc., when for a lot less work there is a bunch of stuff that does about the same thing.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:59 AM
feralmerril feralmerril is offline
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Not too many of these fad cartridges get popular or stick with us. Yes they work but usualy isnt worth buying the dies and exspense. I have the .22 jet, the .256. The .357 maximum was a fad that dident last, the old .357/44 bain and davis, 45 gap etc. People wont pay for the unusual on used guns like had they not been altered etc.
Hey! I bought a beautiful first year winchester model 70 .22 hornet. Took it out and discovered it had been rechambered to .22 K-hornet. Had it not been messed with today that gun would be worth many times more than I could get for it as is. Actualy, the K-hornet is a better cartridge than the standard hornet. Thats what I mean when I say they arent worth messing with. Rarely will you get your money out. Might be okay as a project just to prove these things work. When I was young and dumber 40 years ago I converted a winchester model 73 to .38 special and a 92 to .357. Besides costing me the exspense of the work I instanly lost all collector value and probley sold them for less than a fraction of what they would bring now unmolested!
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:16 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bill_in_fl View Post
Which made me think about what if you necked down a .44 magnum to .38 caliber...
"There is nothing new under the sun." That is the .357/44 Bain & Davis and it has been around since the '60s. As to your question about pressure, a qualified engineer could give you more info than I can, but I believe the factors that determine the pressure any cartridge operates at are not so much determined by its shape as how it is loaded. Even fairly radical shapes have been successfully loaded and used safely.

Years ago, someone developed a .22-.378 Weatherby cartridge with the idea of producing 6000 FPS in a conventional rifle. The project wasn't undertaken as a serious effort to produce a marketable product. It was just an experiment. I don't recall anyone getting hurt.

The conversions you are talking about a pretty tame compared to something like that. Bottom line with this stuff is, "How useful is it?" The .38 AMU was way more productive than the .38/.45 Clerke ever was, from what I can recall.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:09 PM
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Seems kind of mute now with the 610, 460 and 500.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:30 PM
Willeys Willeys is offline
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I had a M27 with two cylinders, 357Mag and 357/44 Brian & Davis was fun to reload and see how it performed. After a while, I decided I really didn't need that kind of performance and if I ever did, I could buy a hand gun that is chambered for the 30 Carbine used for the M1.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:13 PM
Shooting4life Shooting4life is offline
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I always had an idea of converting a Ruger maximum to a long 357 b&d. Using 445 supermag brass instead 44 mag brass. even had the extra cyilinder and a s&w 4 position silhouette front site for the conversion on the Ruger. Like most of my ideas, it did not go anywhere because I spent the rest of my money on other guns.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:11 PM
OKFC05 OKFC05 is online now
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He was talking about how it delivers about the same ballistics as the .38 super cartridge
And that's the rub with a lot of wildcat cartridges: after all the work and hoo-haw of trying something different, you may wind up balistically duplicating a commercially available cartridge.

An otherwise distinguished gunner (Charles Askins) spent his last years producing an endless embarassing parade of wildcat cartridges that proved nothing other than he had money to blow.
Science plus Art
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:52 PM
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[QUOTE=OKFC05;136509152]And that's the rub with a lot of wildcat cartridges: after all the work and hoo-haw of trying something different, you may wind up balistically duplicating a commercially available cartridge.

Correct. Larry
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:09 PM
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Very few wildcats offer much except the opportunity to waste a lot of time and money. There are the few old wildcats such as the .22-250 and the .25-'06 which have survived, but there is such a large variety of available commercial calibers out there now (way too many, I think) that all the bases have been long covered. But that does not keep people from trying.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:28 PM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is online now
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Most folks had LOTS of trouble with cartridge setback using bottleneck cartridges in revolvers. Ask Dick Burg about M53s.
John 3:16
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:00 AM
Frank46 Frank46 is offline
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That one on the far left is for the rare eargsplitten loudenboomer cartriridge for the lower slobbovian army. It was supposed to be inserted from the muzzle and the firing pin detonated the cartridge and launched the bullet. Frank
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:39 AM
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the one on the far right looks like it could be a 38 or 357 necked up to 45. crazy..........
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:49 AM
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Default .224 Harvey K-Chuk

Here's a wildcat that is of some significance to S&W collectors. It is the Harvey K-chucker which is before the Jet! It starts out a 22 Hornet and ends up fitting in the cylinder of a standard K frame with a 35gr Sisk(long gone) bullet! However, the new Hornady plastic tip pills work great! This cartridge had none of the sticking problems of the 22 Jet.

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Old 05-11-2012, 10:02 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Ooh, I like the Kay-Chuk; have ever since the 1950s Gun Digest article.
Be a way to get some use out of a Jet, rechamber the LR cylinder... if the collectors wouldn't cry.

I also remember an old article about reboring and rechambering to .25 Hornet. Lots of speed, no bottleneck worries.
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