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Old 06-17-2012, 12:55 PM
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Default Unusual Custom Model 28-2....

I was a a gun store yesterday and saw a very unusual custom model 28.....Two cylinders....one in 40 s&w, one in 38-40....40 cal barrel of course....overall good apperance, except bore looked odd....very shallow grooves, maybe some corrosion, or maybe it was just crud.....Bluing looked very good.....How would have someone come up with the barrel...???....Re-bored and rifled..??...Priced at $700....Asked if they could do better, the girl in the shop said $625 plus tax....I didn't take it.....It is in Illinois.....If someone is inerested pm or e-mail me, and I'll give you the location.
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:52 PM
KJM KJM is offline
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Originally Posted by acpick11 View Post
I was a a gun store yesterday and saw a very unusual custom model 28.....Two cylinders....one in 40 s&w, one in 38-40....40 cal barrel of course....overall good apperance, except bore looked odd....very shallow grooves, maybe some corrosion, or maybe it was just crud.....Bluing looked very good.....How would have someone come up with the barrel...???....Re-bored and rifled..??...Priced at $700....Asked if they could do better, the girl in the shop said $625 plus tax....I didn't take it.....It is in Illinois.....If someone is inerested pm or e-mail me, and I'll give you the location.
Did it say "Highway Patrolman" on the barrel?
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:35 PM
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hmmmm......Don't remember....It had 28-2 on inside of frame....Also, no moon clips were with it.....you would have to get them custom made i guess.....The gun and two cylinders would cost thousands today to have made......Would have cost a bundle 20 years ago......Do you know when the 40 s&w was introduced..?
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Old 06-17-2012, 05:46 PM
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hmmmm......Don't remember....It had 28-2 on inside of frame....Also, no moon clips were with it.....you would have to get them custom made i guess.....The gun and two cylinders would cost thousands today to have made......Would have cost a bundle 20 years ago......Do you know when the 40 s&w was introduced..?
I think the .40 S&W came out in 1990.
Jim
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by acpick11 View Post
I was a a gun store yesterday and saw a very unusual custom model 28.....Two cylinders....one in 40 s&w, one in 38-40....40 cal barrel of course....overall good apperance, except bore looked odd....very shallow grooves, maybe some corrosion, or maybe it was just crud.....Bluing looked very good.....How would have someone come up with the barrel...???....Re-bored and rifled..??...Priced at $700....Asked if they could do better, the girl in the shop said $625 plus tax....I didn't take it.....It is in Illinois.....If someone is inerested pm or e-mail me, and I'll give you the location.
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Did it say "Highway Patrolman" on the barrel?
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Originally Posted by acpick11 View Post
hmmmm......Don't remember....It had 28-2 on inside of frame....Also, no moon clips were with it.....you would have to get them custom made i guess.....The gun and two cylinders would cost thousands today to have made......Would have cost a bundle 20 years ago......Do you know when the 40 s&w was introduced..?
"acpick11":

I have seen at least one such gun (with a similarly tapered barrel, however, also with a checkered rib on an N-Frame Model 27) that was bored out and re-rifled to .41 Magnum (and either had its original cylinder rechambered as well or was matched to a separate .41 Magnum cylinder) by the factory as a “favor”. And while it wasn’t one of the calibers that you mentioned, it was close enough to make me think that it is possible that either S&W or some talented private gunsmith might have produced the one of a kind, two cylinder, 38-40/40S&W gun you saw.

For the record, I believe (and I certainly could be wrong) that at one time or another, Ruger has formally offered both 38-40/40S&W and 38-40/10mm, dual cylinder revolvers in their line.

You didn’t mention the length of the barrel or its configuration on the gun that you saw but as nothing jumped out at you, I would assume that it was of the original (tapered) configuration but if you do happen to get another look at the gun, it would be worth noting (along with any model or caliber markings per “KJM’s request above as that might be even more importantance).

A few more points:

1) The Model 28 was never as big a seller as were some of the other guns of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Sometimes today, when they have become more collectable, we tend to forget that. Because of their past availability and generally lower cost as both new and used guns, they have long been used as the basis for centerfire caliber conversions of all sorts. So it is not surprising that one appears to be the basis for what you have seen here.

2) Without seeing it and without being able to check things “for real”, the moon clip issue that concerns you might not be a big deal for most, if not all, of the commercially available N-Frame 10mm moon clips should work on a .40cal gun of this frame size.

3) And depending on how the chambers were cut, other than the inconvenience of extracting and ejecting the cartridges or cases (not a problem with the SA Ruger’s), you might not “need” the clips at all.

4) I don’t follow things all that closely these days but I think that the only .40cal revolver that Smith made was the 646 and it was an L-Frame. And I think the only 10mm N-Frames they made were in Stainless and not Carbon (blue-finish) Steel and I also believe that the bulk of them (if not all of them) were made with untapered (if not outright full lug) barrels and non-fluted cylinders.

5) If I am correct about the points in #4 (above), then the gun you saw was probably more of a true gunsmithing project rather than one of merely switching out parts.

6) Your remark about the “…Bluing looked very good…” also makes me think that this is the case for blacking stainless steel is one thing but bluing it is something else. One question however, and I don’t mean to be insulting, but did all the parts you observed have the flat (satin) blue (almost blue-grey) finish of the Model 28 and not the typical glossier (polished and deeper) blue of the bulk of the Smith & Wesson line at the time? (I only ask because I had a friend who used to make used Model 28’s into .45’s of various sorts and he would routinely go back and polish the flat luster frame to match the sheen of the originally highly-polished barrels and cylinders when everything was professionally reblued as a unit.)

7) One last question and that is about the cylinders themselves. Were they both fluted? And did you check the .40cal cylinder to see if it was, indeed, a .40 caliber? Or might it have been chambered for 10mm instead (as obviously .40S&W ammunition can be shot from something like that and the shop might not have checked). Checking this might also allow you to make a decision as whether or not the clips might be needed per #3 (above) for .40cal chambers cut like a pistol could locate off the case mouth (and permit only .40cal ammo to be inserted in the them) and 10mm chambers cut like a pistol would also locate 10mm’s off their case mouths but would require the clips (if room is allowed for their use) if 40cal ammo was also employed. In both cases (the .40 and the 10mm) allowance for the clips must be made in regard to the cylinder and/or recoil shield.

While many people today either turn up their noses at such things or decry the irreversible modifications to a gun like the now discontinued Model 28, two cylinder guns (while perhaps not as multi-purpose as some folks think) are still pretty neat concepts and for those of us who like to both experiment and build things, something to be admired if done well.

And it is that type of admiration (for workmanship, originality and uniqueness) that can even trump (in some circles anyway) the impracticality of the calibers in the gun you’ve seen.

In the case of the Ruger Single Action, the 38-40 is a traditional caliber for such things, the 10mm is a well respected hunting cartridge for certain game in some parts of the country, and the .40S&W is well thought of in terms of personal defense; another recognized use for the time-honored and multiple-purpose SA revolver (regardless of manufacturer).

But the 38-40 was never a standard caliber for later day, big frame, swing out cylinder, hand ejector Smiths. The 10mm might make more sense in the heavier, non-fluted, generally full lug guns it has been offered in. And the lighter-recoiling .40S&W would seem better suited to the .41cal Smith “L” frame into which it was once installed. So it would almost have to be uniqueness (and hopefully good workmanship) that would make this gun into something worth the money they are asking.

And as to the money, while somebody might have charged the original owner a “bundle” (your word) some years ago to do the work, it might not have been all that hard to do. In any case, such “novelties” (my word and I do not use it derisively) generally have more value to their creators or original owners than they do those later on in time (or in line regarding ownership) so the $600-$700 price that is currently being asked does seem a little high. I am sure that if you searched this Forum and others on the ‘net when it comes to privately made (not known “specialty shop”) custom guns, you’ll find all kinds of comparisons made to privately “customized” cars. For while the workmanship employed in such things can (not always) be just as good, if not better, than that offered by “the professionals”, you’ll rarely, if ever, get the money back that you put into it.

Still, if it is made well, you’ve got to give this gun’s maker(s) a lot of credit for venturing into an area that most people never do. Thanks for mentioning that you saw it.
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