Hunting With Handguns

Double duty handguns
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by James F. Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey     Last updated: 2016-08-13 11:00:26

This article will feature handguns that have the ability to switch caliber or barrel length making them unique among firearms. First up is my Colt Series 70 Gold Cup in 45acp. It was not long after buying the gun that I picked up a Colt Conversion unit in 22lr allowing cheap and plentiful practice with the price of the cartridge. I then found a Auto Ordnance 10mm conversion kit that only works with a Series 70 frame. The slide has fixed sights but I was surprised with the groups from Double Tap`s 10mm 200gr FMJ-FP ammo. I then found, in Texas, a Pachmyer Dominator conversion kit that turns the 45 frame into a single shot bolt action long range handgun. The Dominator has a 14" barrel with scope mount and is in 7-08. After changing some parts and using Nosler 120gr Ballistic Tip ammo in 7-08 I was given 2" to 3" groups at 100 without trying to hard. The last attachment is a 16" barrel carbine from Mech Tech. You remove the barrel and slide from the Gold Cup and install the frame into the bottom of the unit which is held in place with the slide stop fitting. Its topped with a one inch red dot tube giving very acceptable 50yd groups with 230gr jacketed ammo. 45acp handgun/carbine-10mm-22lr-and 7-08- four cartridges that can cover a lot of handgun hunting with the ability to be fired from one gun. Surely a double duty handgun as ever made........

Number two on the list is my late model Dan Wesson 744 in 44mag. Your all familiar with DW`s ability to switch barrels fast and easy. Its double duty status comes with installing the 4" barrel and being carried on an Alaskan bear hunt as back up to my main hunting handgun. I`ve also installed the 8" barrel with scope mount to take boar with a fast moving handload. Not to long ago I carried the DW with a 6" barrel to take a good size hog.... Definite double duty handgun.....

Perhaps the most unique system of the article came about many years ago after reading a handgun hunting story titled "Bears and Bunnies". This came from a gentleman living in Alaska who used his S&W model 27 in 357 to take a black bear in the morning and using the same gun he took a snowshoe rabbit that afternoon using a 22lr. This was accomplished buy using a very precise and well made conversion kit put together by the West German company of Lothar Walther and sold in the US by Gremmel Enterprises of Oregon. After I finished reading the story my $95 plus $3.50 for shipping was in the mail to Gremmel for their model 2172 44Mag/22lr 6" S&W kit. The unit is a dream of German engineering... The 22 caliber barrel has a removable tapered breech that comes off when installing and is threaded back on once the barrel clears the 44 forcing cone. A plastic centering ring slides over the muzzle of the 22 barrel and a knurled brass lock nut is threaded on until the barrel is held tightly in place. The heart of the system has six hollow brass 44 size cartridges that allow for a 22lr to be inserted from the base afterwhich a 1/2" steel cylinder with an off set firing pin is also inserted and that hits the rim of the 22. Your 44mag now becomes a six shot 22lr revolver. The installation of the kit is a lot less complicated in front of you then what I`ve described above and believe it or not, is fun to use. I no longer own a 6" S&W 44 but the kit perfectly fits my six inch Dan Wesson. I have yet to bag a "Bear and Bunnie" but if I get to Alaska again I`ll be prepared.

PS- I recently saw on of these kits on e-bay for a 4" forty four going for $395 plus $10 for S/H.....

Another double duty handgun on a 1911 frame is a Colt Combat Special Government in 38 Super that was all tricked out by the Colt Custom Shop when I ordered it. This is a Series 90 gun from Colts custom shop which I added another 22 conversion kit by the then named Centaur Systems with a fixed barrel and half slide similar to a S&W model 41. Wanting a 1911 in 9mm I then picked up a barrel and bushing along with a 9mm ejector and magazines with the goal being reliability first with accuracy second. I was surprised after shooting a few magazines of 9mm 115gr FMJ ammo without experiencing any hangups. So here we have another 1911 that after a few minutes of changing parts can handle 38 Super, 9mm and 22lr. Triple duty....

Two revolvers I`ve used many, many times over the years are a S&w model 48 in 22mag with an extra 22lr cylinder and a S&W model 34 in 22lr with a extra 22mag cylinder. The conversion is as simlple as removing a single screw, changing cylinder`s, and replacing the screw. I have always enjoyed the added power the mag has over the long rifle and these two handguns make it easy to shoot both cartridges. Rugers line of single action`s offers the same capability with a number of their models. I believe there is a Redhawk that can shoot 45 Colt/ACP...

I have included my early model Smith & Wesson 41 in 22lr. The original m-41s came with a 7" barrel that came with removable, internal barrel weights and muzzle brake. I also have a heavy 5 1/2" barrel that is drilled and tapped for a scope mount. With standard velocity ammo this gun shoots incredible 25yd groups and qualifies as an exceptional small game firearm. If I ran into a bad situation afield, the scoped m-41 is capable of head shooting a deer with the right rest....

My last paragraph on double duty firearms is about a product offered by MCA Sports from Ankorage, Alaska who offers a complete line of multi-caliber adopters. I purchased six machined brass adopters where a 22lr is inserted into the fitting which is then loaded into your 22mag handgun. These shell adopters are only for use in revolvers or single shot handguns. If carrying and extra cylinder is a little to much or just a few rounds are to be shot this can be useful.

These are some of the useful tools for handgunners...some still available...some not. The idea being that double duty handguns can make life a little easier for shooters.....


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Recent Comments:

Poster: pab1    Date: 2017-08-06    Top

Great research and article James! You list several options other than the more widely known multi-caliber guns like T/Cs we are all familiar with. Good work!
Poster: gemihur    Date: 2017-06-02   Top

James, I cannot fathom that you didn't touch upon Thompson Center's contender or encore. You've really gotta shoot an older contender to begin you're appreciation for versatility in caliber and one of the sweetest triggers you ever gave a squeeze to. When you need more stomp, graduate to the encore. Great article nonetheless. I love your contributions. Thanks, Jimmy

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