Author Topic: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?  (Read 723 times)

Offline Stopsign32v

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38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« on: November 20, 2021, 09:33:35 PM »


Well about to dip into some 36 cal conversion revolvers. I know you can line the barrel easily to shoot true 38 special in them but I just want to be different.

 

38 Colt

 

Pros:

Original to old conversions

Can do heeled 38 Colt short

Can do hollow base 38 Colt long

 

Cons:

Heeled reloading

 

41 Colt

 

Pros:

Not dealing with heeled and go with internally lubed boolits

Pretty cool

 

Cons:

Have to have 38 special cylinder bored out for 41 Colt

Hard to find brass I'm sure

Offline Rye Miles

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 08:50:49 AM »
 Not knowing much about this at all, I would go with the .38 Colt simply because dies, bullets and brass should be easier to find. Just my uneducated opinion. ::)
I'm actually thinking about this myself. ???
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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 09:16:42 AM »


 :)  Happy Saturday Stopsign  :D

Yep, you can certainly line the barrel for 38 Special.  Or load Healed Bullets for a 375 bore.  Or take the easiest way out and shoot swaged 38Spl Hollow Base Wad Cutters.  I'm lazy.  I've been building conversions for years (now retired) and built lots of guns, for myself and my customers.  We all found the SHBWC to be quite accurate.  For CAS gaming, just seat the bullet with about an eighth of and inch of lead, proud of the case mouth.  Even funner loaded with APP and making smoke!!

I once looked into a 41 Colt conversion, but found the "cons" way outweighed the "Pros."  Only one reason real pro.  It would be different.  Not necessarily practical but different.  Then I had to reconsider the fact, I'm lazy.  So much for 41Colt.

OOPS:  Verbosity.  Short answer.  Stick with .38Spl, unlined, shooting SHBWC.

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Offline Reverend P. Babcock Chase

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2021, 10:24:02 AM »
Howdy Rye,

Plus one for Coffinmaker. I have a very old 51 colt conversion in 38 S&W with original percussion barrel that couldn't shoot std ammo worth a damn. Carefully working up loads with hbwc bullets until the base was blown out enough to fill the barrel revealed a pretty accurate sixgun. I'd try that approach before doing any machine work that can't be reversed. Naturally a lined barrel is a desired modification, I found that it wasn't needed in my case.

Rev. Chase

Offline Stopsign32v

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2021, 11:15:27 AM »

 :)  Happy Saturday Stopsign  :D

Yep, you can certainly line the barrel for 38 Special.  Or load Healed Bullets for a 375 bore.  Or take the easiest way out and shoot swaged 38Spl Hollow Base Wad Cutters.  I'm lazy.  I've been building conversions for years (now retired) and built lots of guns, for myself and my customers.  We all found the SHBWC to be quite accurate.  For CAS gaming, just seat the bullet with about an eighth of and inch of lead, proud of the case mouth.  Even funner loaded with APP and making smoke!!

I once looked into a 41 Colt conversion, but found the "cons" way outweighed the "Pros."  Only one reason real pro.  It would be different.  Not necessarily practical but different.  Then I had to reconsider the fact, I'm lazy.  So much for 41Colt.

OOPS:  Verbosity.  Short answer.  Stick with .38Spl, unlined, shooting SHBWC.

Play Safe Out There 
 

What about these? I have this mold, Rapine 358-149 and 358-158. Here is the 149 which drops a .365 diameter






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Offline Dave T

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2021, 12:10:36 PM »
Only way to know would be to cast them from pure lead and give it a try.  You might get lucky and have a winner on your hands.  Good luck!

Dave

Offline Stopsign32v

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 12:51:44 PM »
Only way to know would be to cast them from pure lead and give it a try.  You might get lucky and have a winner on your hands.  Good luck!

Dave

Pure lead? I asked this question over on Castboolits and was told factory soft-swaged .38 Special HBWC bullets were 8 BHN so I was thinking of shooting for that...?

Offline Johnson Barr

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2021, 01:00:45 PM »
  I made some adjustments to a R&D .38 Special conversion cylinder with the 6 floating firing pin backing plate. First change was to ream the chambers for .38 S&W brass. Second change was to open the cylinder throats to .375". Loads consist of 8.5grs. 3Fg Pinnacle with 0.3cc grits filler and a 150gr. 375" diameter heeled bullet. Accuracy is petty decent from my Pietta 5" 1861.
 
  Initially I tried .38 S&W rounds loaded with .363 bullets, then tried .365" diameter bullets (cast Makrov) hoping for enough rifling engagement to print well, but the grouping opened up greatly compared to that of the .375 heeled bullets. The increased case mouth diameter of .38 S&W brass vs. .38 Colt makes loading and crimping the heeled bullets much less grief without disturbing the bullet heel.
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Offline FriscoCounty

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 05:48:07 PM »
Do Both.   ;D

By leaving the barrel "as is" you can shoot percussion, .38 Colt heeled, .38 Colt hollow-base, and .41 Colt.  You just need a second conversion cylinder bored out to .41 Colt and the forcing cone reshaped.  If you want to shoot conicals in addition to round ball when shooting percussion you need the rammer bored for the conicals.

Hoof-hearted (Gary Barnes) will do it all for a reasonably exorbitant fee.  ;D
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Offline Johnson Barr

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2021, 01:04:26 PM »
That is why I left the barrel unaltered. Still have a passion for cap gun shooting. I've also loaded .375 round balls in the .38 S&W brass with fair success, but the percussion cylinder groups are very much tighter. Nearly identical to the .375 heeled bullets with .38 S&W brass.
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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #10 on: Today at 06:48:44 PM »

Offline Navy Six

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2021, 08:39:41 AM »
What about these? I have this mold, Rapine 358-149 and 358-158. Here is the 149 which drops a .365 diameter

I have the same Rapine 358-158 mold that I've loaded in 38LC cases for the last twenty years. Accuracy in my guns (Uberti/Kirst 51 Navies) was outstanding. However, due to the length of the bullet it was difficult to cram much more that about 14 grs of Goex 3F and fit the Kirst OAL restrictions. I finally resorted to the advice in an article published in The Blackpowder Cartridge News which described filling the case with 17/18 grs 3F, partially seating the bullet, then turning the whole thing UPSIDE DOWN and finish seating in a hand press. This allowed the extra powder to fill the hollow base, and the bullet could then be seated to correct OAL. Yeah, I know, a lot of extra work. However, the additional powder charge seemed to push the effectiveness of the cartridge to the point where steel knock down targets were no problem at Cowboy Matches, and as mentioned, accuracy was outstanding past 25 yards.
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Offline Stopsign32v

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2021, 07:32:01 AM »
What about these? I have this mold, Rapine 358-149 and 358-158. Here is the 149 which drops a .365 diameter

I have the same Rapine 358-158 mold that I've loaded in 38LC cases for the last twenty years. Accuracy in my guns (Uberti/Kirst 51 Navies) was outstanding. However, due to the length of the bullet it was difficult to cram much more that about 14 grs of Goex 3F and fit the Kirst OAL restrictions. I finally resorted to the advice in an article published in The Blackpowder Cartridge News which described filling the case with 17/18 grs 3F, partially seating the bullet, then turning the whole thing UPSIDE DOWN and finish seating in a hand press. This allowed the extra powder to fill the hollow base, and the bullet could then be seated to correct OAL. Yeah, I know, a lot of extra work. However, the additional powder charge seemed to push the effectiveness of the cartridge to the point where steel knock down targets were no problem at Cowboy Matches, and as mentioned, accuracy was outstanding past 25 yards.

Do you have the article of how to do this? Seems like a good solution but I’m having trouble imagining it

Offline Navy Six

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Re: 38 Colt or 41 Colt? Which way would you go for a conversion?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2021, 04:35:22 PM »
I will have to search which edition of The Blackpowder Cartridge News contained this article as it must have been about 5 years ago.
However, it is simple enough:
1. I loaded the cartridge case with powder and placed a bullet on top
2. Insert in bench mounted single stage press with bullet seating die installed
3. partially seat bullet so its snug in case and can be handled. I usually do 50/100 at a time
4. remove seating die and shell holder and install in a HAND HELD portable type press
5. after adjusting seating die, insert case with partially seated bullet.
6. turn hand held press upside down and finish seating bullet.
By partially seating the bullet initially, you left room in the case for the extra powder. If you tried to completely seat the bullet at this point with the extra powder, you will deform the soft lead bullet and still won't be able to seat it far enough in the case. When you turn the case upside down( since partially seating the bullet it won't fall out) the extra powder fills the hollow base and can then be seated to correct OAL while the press is upside down.
Only Blackpowder Is Interesting 
"I'm the richest man in the world. I have a good wife, a good dog and a good sixgun." Charles A "Skeeter" Skelton

 

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