Homespun Cartridge Conversion, Part 2

The plan was to chamber the reworked and lined cylinder in .38 Special and reline the bore of whatever gun it ends up in to match. I felt no particular urgency about this; after all I already have a Richards-Mason conversion in .38 Special.

Saturday I was visiting my buddy Ernie; he had some .44 Special brass for me for another project, and of course he had to catch me up on what he’d been doing. In the course of this we were discussing chamber reamers and other tools and it hit me- the barrel-liner Linda bought me from Numerich Arms was labelled ‘9mm/.38/.357.  My friend just happened to have a 9mm chamber reamer… Why yes, he would be happy to loan it to me.

Saturday was busy and today we were away all day. Tonight was the season-ending episode of Game of Thrones, and after we watched it I was raring to go. Fearing that tomorrow I would be distracted from paying work I went into the shop to bore the cylinder for 9mm. I set up the drill press carefully and selected an appropriate speed for the reamer and got starting. A few minutes and plenty of cutting fluid later the first chamber was reamed. I set the plunge of the drill-press based on that chamber and did the remaining five. In about 45 minutes I had a 9mm cylinder for a Pietta revolver!


Since I am making the back-plate myself and get to choose the thickness of it I reamed the chambers so the cartridge bases would be flush with the back of the cylinder.

I’m not going to be an idiot about this; I really don’t know how strong the relined chambers are. I reload 9mm so I am going to start with very light loads and work my way up. The goal will be to wind up with a standard-pressure load that will cycle our 9mm semi-autos without being anywhere near ‘hot.’ I am not going to trust it to handle +P ammunition. Once the breech-plate and firing pin are in place I plan to drill small, shallow holes between the rims so the cylinder can be set between chambers to allow the gun to be carried hammer-down safely with all six chambers loaded.

This is the first time I’ve used a proper chamber-reamer, but the Brownell’s finishing reamer worked a treat. I’m very pleased with the progress on this project! I still have four inches of liner ready to go to sleeve the barrel. Now all I need is a Pietta .44 donor gun to work on the next stages.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 27 August 17

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