Multi Caliber Platforms

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by phishi, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We all know that the cost of ammo is only going up. Its availability is also begining to come into question. Since a firearm is nothing more than a paper weight without ammo, what are we going to do when we are out of ammo?

    I know that some here are thinking reloading is the answer, and it is until you are out of powder, brass or ball in a particular caliber. Not being a reloader myself, I find myself approaching this problem from a different perspective.

    I am fortunate enough to have access to a collection that already has multi caliber platforms available. By that I mean, a firearm that can be easily converted to a new caliber with minimal effort (Read as Not needing a gunsmith). We all know for instance that a .357 magnum can also shoot .38 special rounds. (Note for the uninformed: this is a one way door, a .38 special can not shoot .357 magnum due to case length.)

    This example can be taken a step further to include 9mm. Ruger used to make Blackhawk revolvers which where convertable. Simply by removing the cylinder and exchanging it for a new one the conversion was complete. They also made one that converted from .45LC to .45ACP. Ruger also made a conversion rim fire in its Single Six series that converted from .22LR to .22WMR. It is probable that the .22LR cylinder would also shoot .22L and .22S. (Note: I have not tried this and am only assuming that it would work because it is a revolver. Do this at your own risk.).

    In double action revolvers, I know of few which allow for their cylinder to be removed simply by pulling a pin. (If they exist please forgive my ignorance and share your knowledge.) An interesting note is that much like the .357mag/.38special, the 10mm and the 40S&W will function the same way. In fact, the 40S&W was developed off the 10mm round. They are the same diameter, the 40 is just shorter. Thus the same one way door exists. You can shoot 40S&W in 10mm, but not the opposite. Smith and Wesson makes the 610 which is listed as a 10mm, but will also shoot 40S&W. You can even use the same moonclips. So, short of a custom job, in common calibers, you can get more mileage out of .357/38 and 10mm/40S&W in double action revolvers. Please, if someone has more info on this I would love to hear it.

    Moving on to autos, HK used to make a pistol known as the HK4. It was a user convertable pistol sold as a kit to include the calibers you wished out of the four available. The calibers were .22LR, .32ACP, .380 and IIRC .25. One simply flicked a switch for the fireing pin/extractor, replaced the barrel, recoil spring, and mag for the caliber you wished to go to. Overall size and shape was like a Walther PPK.

    While I have had trouble finding other autos that convert as easily, there are two companies that stand out. EAA claims that their Witness series can work with 9mm, 38 Super, 40S&W, 45 ACP, and 10mm. I have never handled this line but reviews I have read seem favorable. I believe that you swap barrels and mags and have a new caliber ready to go. I assume all parts are available from the company, although I do not know of any kits available.

    The other company is Glock, which I am much more familiar with. Glock itself does not offer any kits, but due to its popularity, after market parts are available from companies like Lone Wolf Distributers. Due to the length of the 9mm, the 40S&W, and the .357Sig, it is possible to purchase a Glock in 40S&W, buy two new barrels in 9mm and .357Sig, and extra mags in 9mm and have a 3 caliber drop in platform. (Note: 40S&W/.357Sig share the same mag as they are the same diameter. Also, it is debated by many as to if a second slide or new extractor is needed for 9mm. The 40S&W slide will handle the pressure, the debate is if the extractor will work. YMMV.).

    Getting back to 10mm, the Glocks in this caliber, will also shoot 40S&W and .357Sig. For accuracy, I would replace the 10mm barrel with an after market 40. For the necked down .357Sig, I believe that an aftermarket barrel is needed. I'm not sure that extra mags are however, although they probably would increase reliability. I'm sure that other auto platforms exist, I just have not seen them.

    For rifles I find there is less of a selection. I own a Marlin 39A .22LR lever action rifle. It is capable of firing .22L and .22S as well. I have access to a Savage 24C in .22LR over 20 gauge. This would also fire .22L and .22S as it is a single shot breech loader. Other Savage 24s, or other breechloaders, in .222 or .223 could be converted to rimfire with a drop in sleeve shaped like that caliber shell. The .22LR shell is placed in the sleeve and the weapon fires like normal.

    In semi auto longarms, the AR15 platform has exploded in the last few years with options. Calibers like the 6.8 came readily to mind, but there must be half a dozen available, including pistol. What makes this so appealing is that one only has to swap the upper and the mags. This is often cheaper than buying a second rifle.

    The TC Contender and Encore are probably the ultimate expression in a multi caliber platform. Single shot breechloaders available in just about any caliber imaginable as both a pistol or a rifle, whats not to like? I view the ones I have access to as the ultimate back up for the other firearms in my collection. Imagine the frustration of having a pile of ammo, but the firearm to which you planned on using it with being Tango Uniform. By having a TC barrel for each of the calibers you run, this is no longer a problem. Quite possibly the ultimate survival firearm.......

    Other options are drop in .22LR conversion kits which are available for a host of semi auto pistols and rifles. As discussed elsewhere on this board, they offer a low cost option for firearm practice, as well as way to take small game without depleting your defensive ammo supply.

    Finally, I know that I've omitted some options. What I've presented here is what I know to be available, any ommissions are out of ignorance.
    Please feel free to add other options that were missed.

  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The AR platform is pretty versatile for changing uppers or installing a .22 conversion. Somewhere, a while back, I came across a list of cartridges that could be safely fired in a variety of weapons, lie the .444, ,.44 special, .44 magnum, the 9mm, .380--several others. I can't seem to find the list though.
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Can't get any more versatile than the Thompson Enforcer/Contender guns.... they've got barrels from 22 to Express Magnums... pistol calibers, rifle, shotgun, and muzzle loader all in one. But of course they're only single shot.
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Theres also NEA handy rifles and Pardner shotguns. They are along the same lines as the TC line but a lot less expensive.

    One of the best long arms I know of for this without swaping anything would be a .410/.22 over and under that will also shoot .45LC since you have 3 options in one gun.

    I havent seen them myself but my dad had told me about a revolver he had see at a gunshow that was designed so you just drop in whatever ammo you want to shoot in that size and didnt have to change anything and it shot .380, .38 spl, .357, all the 9mm handgun cals, and IIRC .38 super, .38 new police, and .357 sig. I figure one like that would be awesome even if it just did the .38 spl, .357 mag, 9x19mm, and .380.

    I also add some other options to my tool box in that I have and use archery and muzzle loaders. I have the mold to make my own bullets for the muzzel loader and want to get a couple that are flint lock since while not ideal I could make my own powder and make my own bullets so could continue to feed that long after all the other ammo ran out and use it for general daily use with large amounts of .22 stored (a .22 can win most ANY war if it only faces bows and slings) then I also want to get a good crossbow.
  5. BigO01

    BigO01 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Personally I think because of the slight supply problem with copper the manufactures are simply price gouging on the other components .

    There is NO good reason why lead bullets have gone up other than a small raise due to the gasoline increase which effects shipping . Same thing with brass , I see no shortage yet prices have climbed simply because the makers know they can rake us over the coals .

    I can go to any of my reloading supply stores and find plenty of components in any caliber .

    If you can't find ammo start reloading , it is as easy as following directions to make a cake , unless you're a complete moron , there's no reason not to other than perhaps financial and it's only a hundred dollar or so investment to get started .
    Alf60 likes this.
  6. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    I'm not entirely sure that a conversion kit is always the answer if you're concerned about price. You can buy a nice .22 marlin for a little over $100...not sure why you'd take the time to convert your AR etc. A .22 revolver is very cheap these days. I prefer to keep one of each in the closet and stockpile the .22 ammo since it is so cheap as opposed to buying conversion kits and the same ammo. Am I missing the point here?
  7. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    I approach this from where I sit, that is, unable to reload due to space and cost. I have no work space to load in, and no safe area to store powder. The cost to create such a space in my current home makes it prohibitive. I'm sure that others fall under similar constraints. Someday I hope to change this, but until then I'm attempting to work within my means.


    In some states, registration of firearms makes it less than desirable to purchase a new one. For those wishing to have multi caliber options, including .22LR, which fall under the radar, a conversion kit is often the way to go. In most cases they can even be purchased on line as they are not regulated by existing firearm laws.

    Speaking sirectly to .22LR conversions, they allow an individual to keep the muscle memory of their carry weapon. For instance, Glock does not make a .22LR. If I want to remain proficient with my pistol, but can't afford centerfire ammo, a .22LR conversion kit would be a cheaper way to go. Depending on how often you shoot determines how soon the conversion kit pays for itself. In the long run it can be cheaper.

    Finally, image a world where an individual pays you for some work with a box of shells. You have two options, use them in your gun or trade them for something else. Now imagine that the shells you got are in a caliber that you can't use. Suddenly you are down to one option.

    Why not keep your options open?
  8. BigO01

    BigO01 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    phishi , you are greatly overestimating the needed space to reload and store the supplies for only a few calibers .

    I have been reloading on a simple work/hobby bench that can be bought at any hardware store for $25-40 "thats what I paid for mine" all you need to do is replace one of the boards the prefad bench comes with is a thicker sturdier 2x6 cut to the correct length to mount a press on .

    Powders are no where near as volitile as you seem to think and can be stored on closet shelf , and you realy only need 1 or perhaps 2 kinds of powder to reload for several calibers especialy handguns .

    I reload for the 38/357 , 45 acp , and 40 S&W and made due with only 1 lb of Winchester 231 powder in the home for quite some time until I decided to try Power Pistol as it is designed for the 40 . I could expand with 9mm , 10mm , 380 , and 44 special and magnum and only need a box or 2 to keep the all of the dies , brass and bullets for each respective caliber in .

    For area all you realy need is maybe one forth of 1 shelf or floor space in a closet to keep all of your supplies included loaded ammo stored neatly in a 3-4 boxes depending on how much you store .

    With a simple setup like this you can reload in your living or bed room for a few hours by getting your bench out as I have seen pics on forums of folks who live in mobile homes yet manage to reload .
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    On the reloading, I do some reloading and ave to agree with ig on the idea it dosent take a lot of space or money. I keep all my stuff for reloading in one of the big ammo cans thats about 8"x18"x24" includeing the press and dies when not in use and have 2 holes drilled in the edge of the computer desk to mount the press when I want to reload. You can get a basic kit includeing the press, book, dies, scale and so on for around $100-!25 at midway USA to do it then about $50-75 and some empty brass from the loaded rounds you bought and shot to get the primers, a pound of powder (enouph to load several hundred rounds of most handgun ammo on average) and the bullets to load up say 500 rounds.

    On the conversion kits, another big advantage is space and weight. I had seriously considered an AR with a .22 conversion upper for a truck gun because I plan to be back to working in the Gulf of Mexico region around the first of the year and so will have to go back and forth SEVERAL hundred miles from home and if SHTF my plan would be to do my best to make it home which depending on the situation could easily become a real long hike (think national gridlock). If it came own to traveling without the truck then I would a lot rather carry a spare upper and be able to swap from a batle/largeish game rifle to a general game getter and rifle to keep the other guys head down while I run like hell and be able to carry say 2k rounds of .22lr, the spare upper (which could fit IN a pack) and 250 rounds of .223 for the weight and be able to try to resupply with either or both along the way than to have to try to carry 2 seperate rifles (that wont fit in the pack) and the ammo for them or have to give up either the option of extra punch when needed or the abiity to carry tons of cheap ammo.
  10. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    And you sir greatly underestimate my current living situation. Please do not assume that you know enough about my home to purpose where or how I would set up such a station. I too have seen the set ups on line and know that they can be done. However, I feel that my circumstances make such a set up impractical and potentially unsafe for my family.

    You are implying that I have not thought this thru. What you are failing to take into account is how each indivdual lives under a different set of circumstances. If I was at a different point in my life such a set up would make sense. The fact is that I'm not, my house is full and closets are nonexistant. In other words, at the present time, due to current conditions, this option is a no go.

    Thank you for your concern on this matter,
  11. BigO01

    BigO01 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Well Phishi with this being a Survival forum one would assume that you subscribe to the theory that an impending collapse of society as we know it is almost eminent and perhaps quickly approaching .

    As such the idea of successfully scrounging for ammo after the Balloon goes up seems rather unlikely .

    Most folks on these types of forums do one of two or often both things as severe violence in such a collapse is a forgone conclusion either A) stockpile ammo for their respective calibers or B) stockpile reloading supplies .

    It seems odd to me to consider storing guns with the most versatility and hoping to find ammo for them rather than simply laying in a large supply of ammo for few commonly chamber weapons .

    Well as you say we all have different circumstances , as such I found something that is in the spirit of your first post .

    I have never tried these or known anyone who has but I do recall reading reviews of them in gun magazines that were favorable about their usefulness .

    Caliber conversion chamber adapter inserts .

    Try clicking on Shotgun inserts and look at whats available for 12 Ga shotguns the list is far longer than I thought would be available for them , it includes rifle and handgun calibers that you can convert your shotgun into .

    Merry Christmas
    Alf60 and Homer Simpson like this.
  12. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That was the link I had in mind, just can't seem to remember where I parked it. He has some interesting ideas concerning what can come out of a shotgun. Makes it sound like the dead space after the insert could act almost like a silencer. Wonder if it works? Also wonder if you flinch what could happen to the end of your barrel....maybe nothing. Probably moving too fast to really hurt something.

    Noticed that he listed 380, 9mm, and 38 special but no 357 mag. Wonder why?

    The adapters were how I was turned on to this idea. Figured a Savage 24 in .233 over 20 gauge like my father used to own would be that much more versital with a chamber adapter that could shoot .22LR. Thing sort of snowballed from there.

    BigO01 I was sharp to you in my reply this morning, I should not have been. No real excuse, just in a foul mood. Sorry that you caught it, you meant no offense in your post and I should have realized that.

    As for your vision of the future vs. mine, well, they are similar but also differ. I doubt that one could, much less would, stumble across a hoard of ammo. I do however believe that it may become similar to currency in a barter economy. Ammo is small, easy to count and carry, also very practical. However it is only practical if one has the firearms that it will fit.

    I also could see a situation where a caliber like 9mm or 45ACP is off the sheves because of an increase in our war footing. 40S&W is not currently military issue however and there is justification for making it available stateside for LEO. Some of that might trickle over into civilian hands through either legitimite or illigitimite channels. As such, it might be benificial to have a pistol that could switch easily between the two rounds so that ammo could still be found.

    Again, just my take,
  13. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I bought one of these in 357 for use in a 20 gauge back in the late 70’s. I used it in a Savage 22LR/20Ga OU with a scope on it and the accuracy out to 100 yards was good enough to hunt with. The insert I have is only 6 inches long and I am not sure if the longer ones that they are selling, 10 and 18 inch, would be more accurate. The one I have is stabilized by fitting into the 20 ga chamber and only has 3 inches of 357 barrel hanging loose in the shotgun barrel. When you are talking 7 or 15 inches in the barrel, if it is not supported past the chamber, I am not sure what kind of accuracy you would get with heavy recoil rounds?

    Phishi: Yea, kind of strange that there are no inserts for the 357 and 44 mag rounds.
  14. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    Did you notice any change in the sound? Site seemed to indicate that shooting a 6 inch barrel inside a longer made it quieter. If so how much?

    What about if you flinched? Any chance you would ding your longer barrel on the way out?

  15. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    The sound difference that I noticed is that it is slightly muffled compared to a Ruger Blackhawk revolver and is nothing close to having a suppressor, so don’t think that one will suppress the sound of your shots. As far as flinching goes, as long as you don’t have someone hit the barrel with a hammer as you fire, I would not worry about it. A bullet traveling at 1000 fps will clear a 30 inch barrel in 2.5 thousands of a second and anything faster will cut down that time. If you flinch, the insert will follow the flinch of the weapon and anything short of a major impact to the barrel as the round fires would not be enough to have the round hit the barrel on the way out.
  16. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Thanks for the clarification on both questions. One of these might be in my future for the wife's Savage 24C. What did the insert run you?

  17. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I bought mine around 1977 and have no idea what I paid for it, hell I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday, ha ha. The one I have does not even have a manufactures name or cartridge it uses on it. The 10 inch one from for $65 seems reasonable.
  18. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    It would be a simple matter to fabricate a shotgun barrel insert that dissipated the gasses through a series of baffles when firing a sub-caliber round. Also a simple matter to machine cartridge cases for pistol rounds that approximate a 12 gauge shell in dimension. sounds like a unimat project to me.
  19. hartage

    hartage Monkey+++

    Oh be very careful with that. If by function or design you step over the line in the definition of silencer that will open a whole world of headaches.
  20. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    yea, wonder what the market would be for a pistol/rifle cartridge insert for a shotgun that was a silencer too? Would be worth the $200.00 tax to find out.
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