View Full Version : Revolving rifle?

August 6, 2001, 08:49 PM
Ok, I know that the old Colt blackpowder revolving rifle had a propensity to chain fire all it's chambers. That's a blackpowder thing. I also realize that a rifle based on a revolver action runs the risk of having a bullet lodged in the barrel due to too much gas escaping from the cylinder/forcing cone gap.

Assuming that I could keep pressures high, cylinder gap close, barrel not much over 16", what donor revolver frame would I use to build such a creation?

Donors. Here's what I've considered:

1. S&W L-frame. Why not a K-Frame? Because for a K-frame, I'd want to run .357 Magnum loads through the carbine, and K-Frames just don't withstand the abuse of full-patch .357 ammo as well as their bigger L and N frame cousins. Full-patch .357 because I wanna make damn sure I don't lodge a bullet in that barrel, see above. L or N-frame guns can run the bigger .44 Magnum.

2. Ruger Super BlackHawk or Super RedHawk. Again, no problem with magnum loads, it's beefy, it'd boil down to whether I want single action or double action.

3. Freedom Arms Casull? Expensive, but you know a .454 Casull is gonna make it down the barrel ok, and with 16 inches or more of powder burn time, gain a few extra fps velocity. Damned expensive to kitbash a Casull into a carbine, though.


Now, what about the single vs. double action revolving carbine? How well would it work? I have no problem shooting a well-tuned S&W revolver double action, I've done it in the Steel Challenge with my race revolver. So I take that same butter-smooth double action revolver, and build a heavier carbine out of it. Still shouldn't be too tough to shoot well, I'd wager it would be even easier, with the added mass and sight radius.


I've seen Navy Arms' recreation of the Remington solid frame cap and ball carbine, but it lacks something. I would want a barrel heavy enough to have a real wood forend attached to it, to complement the nice buttstock. The forend would attach much like it does on, say, a Remington Rolling Block. It could even come back as far as the cylinder crane, and a nicely inletted metal blast plate (Brass?)could be used to cap the wood forend nearest the cylinder, to protect the wood. As for the buttstock, I'd want more than just something that looked stuck on a revolver pistol grip. No thumbhole, mind you, but a nicely proportioned sporting rifle with a tang area that included a pistol grip integral with the rest of the stock, kind of like a Remington Model 81's pistol grip/tang area.


I can see all of this coming together, but the fly in the ointment to me so far is modifying the donor revolver's gripframe to better approximate a rifle's pistol grip. Arched flat S&W mainspring, coiled wire Ruger mainspring, that would be the tricky geometry.

So am I goofy, or what? :rolleyes:

August 7, 2001, 12:29 AM
Maby use Blackhawk type. Seperate grip frame could be pretty much dispensed with, make a new trigger guard assy. Have to fiddle a bit with the mainspring angle and stuff it into the butt stock. Not having a swing out cylinder would make mounting the forestock easier. Ejector rod would require some fiddlin cause of the fore stock. Could extend it clear out the front of the forend tho. Interestipating indeed. Use slower powders to utilize the longer barrel. Maby put a little hi-temp insert on the top strap to reduce gas cutting.

Sam....dreamin on...

August 7, 2001, 10:46 AM
You got a Federal manufacturer's license? If not, what you are proposing is a Federal felony.:(

James K
August 7, 2001, 11:12 AM
It is not against the law to make a rifle out of a revolver; the reverse is. You would have to have the barrel installed first, and it has to be a minimum of 16" (not counting the cylinder). If the stock is detachable or folds, the overall length must be over 261/2 inches without it or with it folded.

Actually, except as a novelty, there is not much real point in such an animule. There are plenty of good semi-auto rifles as well as compact bolt actions that give the same capacity and as much or more power.

But, if you want something different, have at it.


August 7, 2001, 11:30 AM
He's correct, the only reason to build such a beast is simply to have something different. I'm of that bend, I still am working on plans for a .45-70 autoloader on a Saiga AK shotgun action.

As for the legality, you can build a rifle from a pistol, but not a pistol from a rifle, without going through Title III NFA paperwork and registration. (aka, SBR) My conversion would, in fact, make a pistol even less concealable, as I would use a non-folding stock, full barrel, and wood forend. The Brady bunch would probably like to see all revolvers converted to such a configuration, aside from the fact that it would still remain a functional firearm.

I've shot several completely legal benchrest rifles that were assembled using the stout and much-preferred Remington XP-100 pistol action. Kinda neat to see a handgun built into something that measures groups in the 1/10" size!

Paul B.
August 7, 2001, 12:20 PM
Gewehr98. Sturm-Ruger already makes such a rig. That's the good news. The bad new is it is made for sale in England only. I think you can see pictures of it at (www.therugerforum.com) If that doesn't work, E-mail me and I'll try and hyperlink it to you.
One thing to think about though. That forearm amy look cool, but watch out for the escaping gas coming from the cylinder gap. That do smart. Been there and done that one. :D You'll only make that mistake one time.
Paul B.

August 7, 2001, 12:22 PM
Kinda like puttin a Graham supercharger on a Hillman Minx. Only good to come out of it was it kept the Minx off the streets most of the time.

But oh what fun tween discombobulations.


August 7, 2001, 03:41 PM
Blown 580 big block, 700-R4 gearbox, Chassisworks back-half, narrowed Ford 9" rear end, 16.5" wide Mickeys in the back, 4" wide VW tires up front. Owned by Scott Pruett, but never driven in California (Smog laws). Broke into the 8's at the Southern Nationals, but was disqualified for not having a parachute when it crossed the traps well over 150.

Scary, but paraphrasing Sam, oh, what fun between time in the shop!

August 7, 2001, 07:41 PM

Jim V
August 7, 2001, 09:42 PM
Back to the revolving rifle. Why not use a Dan Wesson to start with? Not the conventional grip, removable barrels (and you can adjust the barrel gap). They work well in .445 Supermag.

James K
August 8, 2001, 09:51 PM
One maybe problem. Almost all revolvers have chambers that are off just a tiny bit. In the normal use of a revolver, the different points of impact get lost in the general grouping at short range. But if the same idea is used in a rifle, where long range accuracy expectations are greater, the grouping might not be what one would like.


August 8, 2001, 11:45 PM
And Brownells' doesn't sell >16" range rods to check cylinder alignment, either.

There are a pair of well-used Dan Wessons in .357 not too far from me that have been on sale for quite a while. Hmmm...

August 9, 2001, 07:35 PM
It would appear that I am a day late and a dollar short. The sharp young gunsmith who built my Steel Challenge revolver has outdone himself, using a Stainless Super Redhawk as the donor gun:


Although I would've used wood...:rolleyes:


August 9, 2001, 07:47 PM
Hey, that thing's pretty cool looking.

But, why? :p

Jim V
August 9, 2001, 09:09 PM
Why? Why?, he asks. Just because, that's why!!!!

Because he had some time on his hands.
Because he wondered if he could.
Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.


Alex Johnson
August 10, 2001, 12:11 AM
I think I would be inclined to start with the Ruger Blackhawk and work from there. A nice color case hardened frame and the rest rust blued, some nice english walnut, hmm, sounds kind of interesting now. The one thing that I would probably consider would be eliminating the idea of a forestock. It's true that you probably don't have to worry too much about the old time scare of multiple discharges as applied to the percussion revolvers, but gas leakage from the barrel cylinder gap would be a consideration. At the least it could cause you to lose a few shirts at the cuff area, but at worst it could give you some pretty nasty burns to contend with. Better to support the gun behind the barrel or to fire it from a rest. Oh also getting back to my dream image, a half round half octagon barrel al la Colt Dragoon would be really neat.