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Old 02-14-2020, 03:08 PM
Nalapombu Nalapombu is offline
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Default Turn a M28 into a M27 in 3 1/2"...Anyone Done it or Considered Doing It?

Hey all,

I'd like to toss out something here and see what you all think of it. See if it's a nutty idea of one worth saving a bit here and there to one day give it a try.

One of my very favorite handguns is the M27 with the 3 1/2 inch barrel...particularly in Nickel with the smaller grip where a Tyler's T-Grip can be used. If anyone has one set up like this, please post some pics. I never get tired of seeing them. Just makes me want one that much more.

Anyway, as you all know, the prices of these wheelguns has went WAY up in the last decade or more. I'd say a nice, shooter M27 with the 3 1/2" barrel in nickel would likely fetch near $1,500 or more today.
With that said, I thought about a shortcut. What if you got a M28 with a 6 inch or 8 3/8 inch barrel and send it to a qualified 'smith and have the barrel cut back to 3 1/2" length and the ramp front sight replaced. I don't know about the grip though. If the grip can be modified to the shape of the smaller sized M27 style grip or if the M28 already has that type of grip where a Tyler's would fit right on it without any mods.

Now I know that it wouldn't be the same as a M27, but it would give me the look and feel of a 3 1/2 inch M27 without the really high price.
With literally millions of M28's out there, I would think that if one were patient, you could pick one up in decent shape for around $400 or so. Maybe less if you get lucky.
Then all you have left is the barrel cut and sight replacement and the grip work, if any is needed. You could go with it at that point and get it re-finished at a later time or as money allowed and have it done in whatever finish your heart desires.


I think it would look great. You also wouldn't have to worry about putting it in a holster and heading out on camping or hunting trips. If you scratch it, drop it, ding it, whatever, no big deal, after all it's NOT a M27 that you are constantly worrying about.


So...am I a NUT for thinking of a project like this? Anyone else thought of something like it? Thoughts?

What custom wheelgun ideas do you have floating around in your noodle that you'd like to see come to fruition some day?


Have a good weekend everyone.
Larry
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:23 PM
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I see all sorts of what I would deem to be “crazy” project guns mentioned or shown on here (but I keep my opinion to myself, if one can’t say something good, don’t say anything, plus what others do with their time and money is none of my business) but I think this the best idea I have seen since I have been on the forum. 1. Because they are so hard to find and 2. They are so expensive.

But I don’t know what the costs of the modifications would be. It seems to be a fairly universal truth spoken here that the costs of all the work will exceed the cost of simply buying the model you want (assuming you cand find one).

Anyway, great thought.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:43 PM
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Collectors, purists, and those that weigh everything in sheer dollars and cents will all tell you you're nuts.

Those of us that do what makes us happy would say it's your gun, if it makes you happy...

Personally I wouldn't do it at this stage of my life, but I'd be lying if I said I'd NEVER have considered it.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:44 PM
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Oh, grip is the same.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:35 PM
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I took a 6" model 28 that lived on a Shrimp Boat for many years.
Caught the seller at the right time just by happenstance.
Chopped it, bead blasted and I forget the coating.
Was concerned about the front sight so I went with a bead.
Slap dead on at 15 yards.

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Old 02-14-2020, 04:41 PM
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IIRC the M-28 was discontinued in 1986 and there are not "millions" of them out there-it's not like the M&P. So to turn one into a "faux" M-27...
I could see taking a beater such as Xfuzz did, but otherwise I think a factory correct M-28 in good shape should treasured for what it is.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:42 PM
ggibson511960 ggibson511960 is offline
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As others have noted, this is an exceedingly bad idea. All you are gaining is truncating 1/2 in. of barrel. If you find a clunker grade M-28 to butcher up you still have to bolt on the 3 T's to get to M-27 functionality. That could easily run to $400. What to do about the 1/2 in. of barrel and a re-fitted front sight? Please, please find any N-frame barrel, cut it to 3-1/2 in., fit it to your conversion piece, and save the original 4 in. or 6 in. barrel. You still have to spend $400 to get the 3T's and whatever it takes to get a new front sight on your conversion, but you will have the original barrel to put back on and preserve the value of the M-28 when you've had your 3-1/2 in. bbl experience. A 4 in. M-28 is a wonderful shooter. My best suggestion is to find a really good one and enjoy that extra 1/2 in. of bbl. If you gotta have the whole experience, spend the money and enjoy the checkered top strap only found on M-27's and polished blueing.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:45 PM
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I think swapping in a 3 1/2" barrel wouldn't be a bad idea, but cutting the barrel leaves you with partail or off center rollmarks which I think look less than professional. If one could find a 3 1/2" barrel....

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Old 02-14-2020, 05:48 PM
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3-t's are NOT essential to get Model 27 functionality. In fact, the greater majority of Model 27s did not come with them. They were standard only for the last few years of production.

And they would be out of place on a short-barreled version, in my opinion, as short barrels and standard hammers and triggers are considered more appropriate for combat shooting.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:05 PM
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I like what ggibson said because I believe that model 28s should be celebrated for what they are.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:27 PM
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Frame / Grip frame is the same on the 27 / 28. Same stocks. By cutting down a model 28, you will have barrel stampings that are not centered, and still be missing the 27's defining feature - The checkered top strap. No high polish blueing either.

I think a 4 inch model 28 with service grips and a Tyler grip adaptor comes very close to what you are wanting, without the hassle and expense of cutting down a 6 inch gun. Mine is pictured below.

Larry
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:27 PM
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The Model 28 came in 4" and 6" with a service type finish. The M 27 can with more barrel length choices, better finish and checkered top strap. There's not that much different between a 4" 28 and 3 1/2" 27. Changing the barrel length gives you a 3 1/2" modified 28... probably worth considerably less than you have into it. Just buy a 4" 28 if that's all you can afford and shoot it.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:27 PM
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If I ever find a 8 3/8 model 28 Iwould not chopthe barrel as it is rarer than any 3 1/2" model 27. Model 27s and 28s have the same sized frames, cylinders grips etc. I have done a lot of things to some guns, but wouldn't cut a 28 to 3 1/2" because the difference between one at 3 1/2 and those available in 4" is minimal.

I have a couple 27s but, none in 3 1/2" I have 28s in both 4" and 6". Only advantage of the 27s is the better finish and the the checkered top strap.

A nice model 28 is worth about 600-700 now days, if I spend a bunch of hours taking the the front sight off and cutting the barrel to 3 1/2" then reattaching the front sight, cutting it for a red insert, replacing the reaar sight body with a grooved one and a white outlined blade, then hand checkered the top strap, I would still need to sent it out to get it high polished and that deep blue. If I paid for the machine work cutting the barrel it would be a couple hundred, The grooved sight assembly would be about $60, then the polish and blue maybe $3-500 depending, Now my original $600 model 28, plus $500-750 would be worth ------Hey maybe $600.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:36 PM
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Afaik all N frames have the same grip frame, throw whatever grips and adaptors you like on them

Would probably be a cheaper option, as long as you got a decent deal on the base gun, especially if you save money by getting one with a bad finish. Can't get behind nickel though, probably my least favorite finish.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:37 PM
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please,just get a 4 inch gun. Model 27,28. So much simpler
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:00 PM
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Either save up for a real 27 3.5" or just get a 4" 28 and put on the grips of your choice.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:17 PM
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I wouldn't do it. Wouldn't waste the time and my money. After all's said and done, all you'll have is a modified 28; a wannabe 27. Don't forget the checkering on the top, either. That is not going to be cheap, and you wouldn't have a pretend 27 without it.

And really, does that .5-inch shorter barrel actually make that much difference, appearance-wise? Speaking for myself, the answer is no.

If I should ever want to modify a 28, it'd simply be a 4-inch converted to .44 Special. But that's a whole 'nother ballgame.

Push comes to shove, there are only two things that separate the 27 from the 28. The checkering and the finish. Other than that, they're the same gun.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:27 PM
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I kinda like the 28 better than the 27. It’s the same gun just a bit more plain. And it says highway patrolman on the barrel. But I think it’s your gun. Do what you want. I chopped a super Blackhawk to 4 inches. If the front sight was a bit easier I’d chop a Smith too. I like em all I guess. Factory and modified. Kinda like muscle cars.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:36 PM
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The "PRICE" of an original 27-2 w/3.5" barrel may seem high, but it's an investment that could likely be recouped or exceeded when the time comes.
A chop job on a 28 will be mostly money lost.

What about the rollmarks on the barrel? Would you pay to have them removed or restamped? Seems like it would be kind of an eyesore to see them after the cut was made...

Jim
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:09 PM
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Go for it!
I love projects! Pretty much every roadblock can be overcome on something like this. Remember, you aren't doing it for resale value, it's for your personal satisfaction. (Trust me on this - I'm the one with the rebarreled Model 10 thread on this sub-forum.) You probably won't want to do all the work yourself, so shop around for a gunsmith that's not only willing, but has a lot of revolver experience. You don't want one of these guys who's never handled anything but plastic and stamped-metal parts.
Oh, and shop for a few parts, like the barrel. They're scarce, but you won't know until you check around.
Anyway, good luck! Sounds like a great project!
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:33 PM
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A decently priced M27 3.5 inch revolver is out there somewhere. I bought one two years ago for $600. If nothing else get a 4 inch M28, they are very close to the M27, cousins shall we say. You could look for a gently abused M27 and make it a project gun.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:45 PM
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You neglected to include checkering the top strap, the soul and most distinguishing feature of the 27. In the end, you’ll have a molested 28 that cost you way more than it’s worth. It’s your money be as stupid as you want, you’re good in company here.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:50 PM
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Once an M28, always an M28.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:00 AM
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You probably knew you'd get a "wag of the finger" from at least a few...

But this is my opinion, very nicely stated:


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Those of us that do what makes us happy would say it's your gun, if it makes you happy...
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:08 AM
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Here is an idea. Look for a 6 inch Model 28 with a bulge in the end of the barrel. Chopping it down would be a great result. Plus, since the barrel was damaged, you might be able to get it for a song.😁
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Old 02-15-2020, 07:16 AM
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Your revolver to do as you like. The only thing I would change would be the chambering. A 3 1/2”, 45 ACP would be an interesting revolver.

I converted this 28-2 decades before S&W offered the Mountain Gun series. The only regret is I much prefer a squared grip frame.

Kevin
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:13 AM
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Lots of times we spend money on one hobby or another that we never get back. If the couple/few hundred dollars you'll be "out" isn't significant to you, go for it. It's not always about getting you money back.

An off center roll mark would bug the snot out of me, personally. But that's just me...
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:39 AM
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Although the I made the above statements I will add this.

I have modified plenty of guns. If the ops buys a gun its his and he should feel free to do as he wishes. It would actually be easier to make a 6 inch in to a 3 1/2 than a 4". Reason is on the 6" you could salvage the front sight ramp easier. The roll mark. Take a small round face hamer and tap the roll mark area a lot. This will move metal into the low areas. Then you could make a wood or aluminum piece that matched the curve of the side of the barrel, back iit with sand paper and sand of the marks. Labor of love. Ernie at Ble Lightning Stencil could make you a couple stencils and with those and a small 12 volt batttery charge you could apply pretty could fake roll marks. Now you have a 3 1/2: N frame 357, but far from a 3 1/2 327.
Hey I hade a 1917 into a 3 1/2" barreled 45acp by cutting down a 1950 barrel and milling the frame for adjustable sights. It is a handy gun, especially since I cut down the grip frame. I would post a picture, but out of town with out flash drive with most of my gun pics and the one here under 1917 Combat
Has that stupid photo bucket deal on it
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:48 AM
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I have both a 4" model 28 and a 3.5" Model 27-2. With my eyes closed and someone putting one or the other in my hand, I think I could tell the very slight difference in balance but I'm not sure. They are really close in feel. I'd suggest you try both of them at the same time if possible to see if your idea's still hold water for you.

Stu
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:54 AM
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A $400 Model 28 would have to be a real beater.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:04 AM
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I got a 3.5" M27 off this board in the last couple of years. I don't remember exactly what I paid, but I'm sure it wasn't more than $800 and probly more like $600.

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Old 02-15-2020, 09:27 AM
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Here's a 3 1/2" nickel one for you. It's my model 27 no dash. It has factory installed Herret's grips on it

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Old 02-15-2020, 09:36 AM
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I almost never like chopped barrels, which can be a big turn off to me. They can look like a tough guy belly gun (hard to pull off but cool looking). Most often they look clumsy to me, just personal taste here.

What I Might consider is finding a nickel 3 1/2" barrel and complete cylinder. Have them fit to the 28 frame, maybe add a nickel cylinder release. Now you'll have what you wanted, it will look unique. It is also something that could be undone if wanted.

A custom pinto with the brush blue frame and nice grips could be a real looker...

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Old 02-15-2020, 10:19 AM
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You can certainly buy a Model 28 and then maybe you can find a 3-1/2 inch Model 27 barrel somewhere, then send it off to a really good gunsmith who can swap the barrel, checker the top strap of the frame, polish everything to a brilliant shine without smearing the roll marks, then give it the correct electroless nickel plating. By the time you pay for all of this you could have bought a nickeled Model 27 with the rare 3-1/2 inch barrel and you will have a Model 27 that will continue to appreciate in value rather than a money pit Model 28. It's your money, do with it as you please.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:37 AM
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a 27 is a 27 and a 28 is a 28. Never the twain shall meet.
I have a 3 1/2" 27 and it is a wonderful gun. I also have a 4" 28 that shoots just as well.
Years ago when 28s were cheap, many were used as a base for some really nice custom guns. But the value of 28s has jumped considerably since then. Cutting the barrel on one would cost you money and in the end you'd end up with a gun worth considerably less than the original.
Just save up your money and buy a real 3 1/2" 27.

But since we're on the subject of custom Model 28s.....
Some years ago I came across a bare nekkid Model 28-2 frame cheap. It took about two years to get all the parts together and then a good bit of work on my part, but I put together a custom Model 28 snubby in .45 Colt. I like it!

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Old 02-15-2020, 10:49 AM
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Now you've got me planning on converting my beater M28 4" to a RM.
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:50 AM
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In my experience, some Model 28s were finished to a higher polish than usual. Also, some were shipped with target stocks rather than magnas. This one is a case in point. Also, it should be noted that 4" Model 27s are comparatively uncommon, whereas Model 28s in that configuration can be found more easily. Here's a really nice 28 that could darn near pass for a 27!

John

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Old 02-15-2020, 12:03 PM
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Buy a 4" 27 or 28 and then start watching for a 3 1/2" take off barrel. They are out there you just have to look and you can shoot the 4" all you want till you find it.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:04 PM
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There's a 3 1/2" 27-2 on that big auction site right now.

Needs some cosmetic work, but claims it's otherwise in great shape.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:21 PM
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I've actually thought about doing that myself. I have an old "S" prefix Model 28-2 that I sent back to S&W a number of years ago for a rebuild that I don't have a lot of money in. The gun basically looks like a 4" 27 now. I have a 27 checkered rear sight and thought if I could find a nice blued 3 1/2" 27 barrel, I'd have my local smith swap it out. Although it wouldn't have a complete checkered top strap, it would have the barrel rib and sight that were (with a tiny gap in-between that was smooth). Hmmm, anyone have a nice 3 1/2" 27 barrel they can live without???

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Old 02-15-2020, 01:29 PM
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A couple of months back, I got the wild hair to make my 4 inch 29-2 into a 5 incher. By the time I bought the barrel, had it cut to 5 inches, refit to the the frame, a new Weigand front sight system installed plus all the shipping costs, it would have cost at least $700. For an extra inch of barrel did not seem worth the cost. Decided it was not worth the cost.

I think you could find an original 27 3 1/2 for the cost of converting a 4 inch model 28 and you would have a real 27!
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:38 PM
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The only N Frame 357's that ever appealed to me were the 3 1/2 inch and 5 inch barreled M27's, and that was just because of the odd barrel lengths. Smith missed the boat by leaving them square butt frames. My thoughts were that if I was going to carry an N Frame revolver, it would be in a caliber more substantial than .357 magnum.

That being said, I at one time considered doing a similar project to what the OP is talking about. Being unable to locate a 3 1/2 inch Mod 27 barrel, I was able to locate a 5 inch Mod 27 barrel for an FBI 50 year commemorative. I also acquired a brand new in the wrapper Mod 27 rear sight. All I needed was a decent Mod 28 to round butt, polish, checker the top strap, get the barrel installed, and refinish. Unfortunately, this was about the time that everyone decided that Mod 28s were valuable and were asking ridiculous prices for them. I was hanging onto the hope of finding a reasonably priced Mod 28 beater but finally gave up. I refuse to pay what people want for a Mod 28 nowadays as they do not have that kind of value to me.

I changed direction and decided to go with an L Frame, the 686. I bought a 686-2 4 inch and made it to my liking. It turned out great and I don't have to listen to anyone cry about making changes to it like we have heard here from fans of the Mod 28.
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