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Old March 10, 2010, 03:33 PM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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"modern" black powder conversion cartridge gun...

I reciently ran across this "replica" gun that had a black powder cartridge conversion cylinder & loading gate added, as well as other mods to make it safe to shoot modern smokeless cartridges... I've seen these "kits" sold before...

Anyone know what the BATF's stance is on owning & or reselling such guns, that... er... aren't or weren't technically "guns" before the conversion ???

the particular gun I've seen is a pocket 31 caliber Colt replica converted to 32 S&W, but I've seen them for ( I think ) 44 Remington to 44-40, maybe even for the 45's ???
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Old March 10, 2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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AFAIK the "Loading gate" modification to the frame is where the BATFE draws the line between a C&B "antique" and a "Modern revolver".

Local & state laws may differ sharply though & will vary depending on geography.
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Old March 10, 2010, 03:52 PM   #3
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these "kits" don't modify the frame, they incorporate a shorter cylinder, & a loading gate firing pin assembly in the form of a "disk" that sits behind the new cylinder, but in the space where the nipples were on the old cylinder...

Looks like this...

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=711510
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Old March 10, 2010, 04:01 PM   #4
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This style converts those 44 Remingtons to ( I guess 45 Colt ) it doesn't use a loading gate & requires the cylinder to be removed for reloading...

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=292272

the one I'm looking at is like the 1st one linked, with the built in loading gate...

curious how the BATF looks at these ???
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Old March 10, 2010, 06:14 PM   #5
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If it requires modifying the frame, it is considered "manufacturing a firearm", even if all you do is grind a clearance groove in the frame. If it is a drop-in cylinder, its status is null, not even on the radar.
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Old March 10, 2010, 06:17 PM   #6
wogpotter
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Quote:
Drilling and tapping of the frame is required, as well as removing material from the frame for cartridge clearance. Purchase of the proper Installation Fixture and Drill and Tap Kit is strongly recommended.
This is from the website & refers to the mods to the frame I'm talking about (my italics inserted to highlight the relevant bits).

You can indeed insert the conversion in an unmodified frame, you just can't load the cylinder without removing it. (even with the gate installed, but not with the frame modified)

Quote:
After firing, the conversion cylinder must be removed and the plate lifted off so that the empty brass can be removed with a rod or other suitable object (not included with the cylinder).
This from the second link explains how that conversion HAS to be removed to load the cylinder.

As the other poster remarks it's the process of filing the frame that is the legal dividing line between gun & non-gun.
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Old March 11, 2010, 08:15 AM   #7
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The cost of that cylinder certainly dampened my enthusiasm for the concept. But low volume insures that the price is not likely to drop.
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Old March 11, 2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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Most of the conversion cylinders are limited to black powder or cowboy loads. There are problems with bullet and barrel groove fit.

A cap and ball revolver with a conversion cylinder installed is a firearm, removed it is a cap and ball and not a firearm. Modifying the frame for a loading gate is a gray area, if the modification allows you to retrain the use of the cap and ball cylinder your able to go back to a non-firearm. If the mod does not allow the cap and ball cylinder to be used it's now a firearm. At least that's what I was told verbally by a local batf agent.

If you want a open top conversion for smokeless loads get one of the purpose built revolvers. They have a forged frame and the correct barrel groove diameter.
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Old March 11, 2010, 11:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Note:This conversion cylinder is for BLACK POWDER cartridges or black powder equivalent cartridges (also called Cowboy Ammunition) ONLY. Attempting to use modern ammunition will create a dangerous condition that can result in injury or death.
From the first linked post.

Quote:
Note: This conversion cylinder is for BLACK POWDER cartridges or black powder equivalent cartridges (also called Cowboy Ammunition) on a steel frame revolver ONLY. Attempting to use modern ammunition and/or installation on a brass frame will create a dangerous condition that can result in injury or death.
From the second linked post.

So in addition to everything else these will NOT "make it safe to shoot modern smokeless cartridges."

The purpose of these is for partly historical accuracy for those interested in a particular time frame when these were in use, & partly for faster BP reloads for BP competition such as SASS where more than 6 shots are needed.

I'm sure a "creative individual" could do the raft of things needed to do to re-engineer a BP revolver into a modern cartridge pistol, but it would be massively time intensive & almost certainly illegal.
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Old March 11, 2010, 02:34 PM   #10
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agree about the power levels of the big bores, but the 32 S&W ( short ) is pretty enemic even in factory form... which BTW... the guns I have been "shooting" in this caliber have been middle quality top break revolvers I've been loading with light loads with Trailboss & round balls, so just for diversity, I've been thinking about the one I saw, that's chambered in 32 S&W...
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