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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #1  
Old 11-20-2017, 07:27 PM
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Default 38/44 HD with bulged barrel

Last week I posted I acquired this HD at the Tulsa Gun Show. While cleaning it after getting it home I found the barrel was bulged about in the middle. I took it to the range and tried some light 148 DEWC target loads. At 7 yards it was low to the left and didn't really group at all. I tried it at 25 yards and had to put a B27 target behind the bullseye target to see where it was hitting. The same rounds in my Model 14 were not bad. I was really disappointed because I really like this gun. I contacted a gunsmith and he recommended replacing the barrel. I found and ordered a 6.5" M23 barrel I was hoping he could modify for me. I went to the range today and took it along just to see how it would do with some hotter loads. At 25 yards it was a little better, but I still wasn't happy with it. Just before I finished for the day I figured I'd fire up the rest of the box at 7 yards. The target is 36 rounds of 158 LRN with 3.5 gns Titegroup. I'm pretty happy with it now, and I'll skip replacing the barrel. I'm going to start looking for a pair of correct stocks with some wear and a T-grip.
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Last edited by VNK971; 11-20-2017 at 07:35 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2017, 08:56 PM
deyomatic deyomatic is offline
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I skimmed the last couple of sentences and thought that target was at 25 yards, and I was feeling very disappointed in myself!
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:12 PM
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Same thing happened to mine, while my 4" grouped really good, the knowing of the bulged barrel always haunted me. Eventually found, thanks to my dear friend Cal, a 5" replacement.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:22 PM
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Sounds like a candidate for reboring to .44 Special.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:08 AM
bower bower is offline
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I hope the seller disclosed the barrel condition to you before you made the purchase.
I hate nasty surprises.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:37 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K View Post
Sounds like a candidate for reboring to .44 Special.
Where can you get that done these days?
A guy on the 1911 board wants to build a .44 Russian Rimless Auto.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
Where can you get that done these days?
A guy on the 1911 board wants to build a .44 Russian Rimless Auto.
That's a good question and I'd like to know the answer myself. Since Jim Dubell of Clearwater Gunsmithing died, people who can rebore revolver barrels are hard to find. I did find this reference in a thread on the gunsmithing section, about building a .32 Long K-32.

K frame conversion to .32?


This shop is the new source for some of the pros:

BARREL RE-BORING
Alan Siegrist
8752 Turtle Road
Whittemore Michigan 48770
989-873-3929

Last edited by Tom K; 11-22-2017 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:55 AM
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That gun looks suspiciously familiar.....there was a dealer at the local SAXET show in San Antonio that had one. I looked it over really well and we discussed price, he did not disclose the bulge in the barrel, but admitted it when I called him on it. I saw it for sale several time thereafter, still no mention of bulge on the tag.

If yours shoots fine, there is likely no real reason to replace anything. There are some loose barrels floating around (see ebay, gunbroker, ect) or you might want to post a WTB here. That is if you really need to get it 100% right.

Nice shooter for sure!
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:01 PM
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Reboring/converting it to .44 spec was considered, but I wanted the HD as a .38 spec. I'm acquiring an actual HD barrel for it.

@Bower, no he didn't disclose it, but I didn't ask.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by VNK971 View Post
@Bower, no he didn't disclose it, but I didn't ask.
It's a shame you would have to ask.

Given how it shoots with the heavier bullets, I would be torn between investing the money to replace the barrel and keeping it as is. I would also be strongly considering taking it back to the dealer I bought it from to see what he had to say for himself.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:48 PM
Lt JL Lt JL is offline
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I once bulged a barrel on a 25-5 . It actually shot better afterwards.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAFireman View Post
That gun looks suspiciously familiar.....there was a dealer at the local SAXET show in San Antonio that had one. I looked it over really well and we discussed price, he did not disclose the bulge in the barrel, but admitted it when I called him on it. I saw it for sale several time thereafter, still no mention of bulge on the tag.
That .38/44 in San Antonio showed up at a table for a long time, but not recently. You may now have it, but as I remember, the San Antonio gun may have had a 5" barrel and was in better condition. Anyway, I noticed the barrel bulge the first time I saw it, and the seller didn't deny it. It sort of straddled the barrel extractor rod lug, or was maybe a little behind it, so shortening the existing barrel was not really an option. He offered it to me for a price at which it might have been worthwhile to rebarrel it (I don't remember what the price was, but I am thinking it was around $250-$300). I wasn't interested in taking on such a project.

Last edited by DWalt; 11-23-2017 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:51 AM
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A 38-44 bbl can be a project for a liner especially if you are going back to the original 38spcl caliber.

It keeps the original bbl on the gun with it's ser# and all, but can give you a new bore of course. Also there are many more smiths that can do relining than do rebore/rerifle out there.
You'll need the bbl recrowned and a new forcing cone cut of course.

A liner for the project can be turned from an otherwise bore perfect M&P 38sp bbl of length that leaves you with enough to do the job. Keeps S&W specs for you in the bore that way if it matters.

Otherwise nice 38sp spec liners (and most any other caliber) sold by the inch (hammer forged) are sold by TJ's Gateway Enterprises, Alexandria, KY 859-635-5560 is the # I have for them.
Track of the Wolf muzzle loader parts sells some of his liners/calibers but not all of them. Don't know if 38/357 is in there., They also charge a little more than buying direct, but you can see what's available.

If the outside of the orig bbl doesn't have a cosmetic defect in it from a bulge, then that can be left alone and usually no refinish is needed. If it has the snake ate the rat look,,then some draw filing and polish work and reblue will be in order. A new bbl would probably be a reblue job too especially if it's a reworked 23.

Just another way to do it.
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Old 04-03-2021, 02:59 PM
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I would be interested in hearing the safety aspects of firing with a barrle bulge. My wife just got a gorgeous Model 14-4 SAO with a slight bulge about 1.6 inches back from the muzzle of its 8 3/8 in barrel. She ran about 100 rnds through it with no adverse effects before it was noticed during cleaning afterwards. We basically shoot only target type loads. I don't want anybody to get hurt.

I would appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 04-03-2021, 03:03 PM
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The four inch 38/44 barrels show up from time to time or an add on this forum may yield one for you.
Another option is the rechamber to 44 Spl as mentioned or make a snubby out of it.
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Old 04-04-2021, 01:39 PM
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I had several handgun barrels relined about 40 yrs ago and they worked very well. This leaves your gun all original outside with a pristine new bore. You may get to pick your choice in rate of twist...........
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:40 PM
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I have always thought it would be cool to bore one to 38-40, assuming the bulge was minimal.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:02 PM
StrawHat StrawHat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VNK971 View Post
...I'm going to start looking for a pair of correct stocks with some wear and a T-grip...
I like that set up and use it on all of my N frames.

My 1950 HD with 5 barrel.

Kevin
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