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Old 09-14-2020, 06:26 PM
Cutter Cutter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The NorthEastern of the NorthWestern
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Speed loaders and moon clips for Colts

I have been enjoying my revolvers more of late, and doing more drills with them. I have always carried an auto loader for work and most of my training has been with them.

I pick up a smith 442 that I have been meaning to buy for a couple of decades, and bought a new production Colt Cobra as well. The D frame Colts have long been a favorite of mine and I am looking forward to getting my hands on my Cobra in a week or two (waiting period).

I have been experimenting with HKS loaders, and a safariland comp3. really like the comp3. Will likely try a speed beez as well. Finding options for my Smith J frame is easy. My 5 shot L frame less so. Colt D frame options is very limited.

My specific question is what are actual Colt D frame (original detective specials etc, new Cobra, new King Cobra)owners using? I have been told that Smith Wesson k frame speed loaders work with Colt D frames but I have never tried it. Do they work or do they "kinda work in a pinch if you fiddle with them just right"?
Also I am kicking the idea of having the Cobra"s cylinder cut for moon clips by TK or similar company. Trying to see if 6 shot .38 Smith K frame full moon clips would work. Anyone by chance have a K frame and a D frame to compare chamber spacing and actual diameter?

I have done some searches online from moon clip suppliers, but none mention Colt D frames. I have not tried calling and talking with them yet. I thought I would check here first.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by Cutter; 09-14-2020 at 06:28 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:23 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
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Pinnacle says Colt clips but not WHICH Colt.

Speedloaders seem few.
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:09 AM
Cutter Cutter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The NorthEastern of the NorthWestern
Posts: 146
I can find a few speed loaders but they are all of the twist to release, gravity dependent type. 5 Star, HKS, and Pachmyer all list loaders for colt D frames .

I just find that the spring loaded ones like the comp 3, and the jet loader are faster, and more important they seem more constant. With the gravity dependent ones I find that occasionally a round will not fully exit the loader and drop into the chamber. Then the round often drops with the loader, leaving you with a partially loaded gun. The spring powered don't seem to do this.

Hopefully someone has tried some k frame loaders in their new Colts
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:03 AM
pat_jones pat_jones is online now
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Colorado
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For moon clips you could call TK Custom, their website is http://moonclips.com/. To use moonclips, a 38/357 needs to have a recess cut into the cylinder. TK Custom can help with that.

I shoot a lot of moonclips in competition. The ones thin enough to fit the rim of a 38 special can bend very easily. I would not carry one as a reload because once bent it will not fit into the cylinder. That said, I have considered getting my J frame cut for moons. When ejecting brass, the mooncliped 38s come out as one unit, this is much more consistent. I believe the hot carry tip is a moon in the gun and a Safariland speedloader on the belt.

Pat Jones
Firestone CO
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Old 09-15-2020, 12:50 PM
Pizza Bob Pizza Bob is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 830

It seems that you have done your research. Here's my take on what you are proposing. As you have found out, some of the speed loader manufacturers do make models specifically for the D-frame. That leads me to believe that there is probably a small dimensional difference between the Colt loaders and others - resulting in the situation you described - wiggle/jiggle a little. Unacceptable.

I looked at TK's site and he doesn't even mention moon clips for Colts. Truth be told, I'd recommend 86ing the moon clip idea. I have over a dozen guns that use moon clips and I shoot moon clip guns in competition, so I am not without moon clip experience.The problem with using moon clips with .38/.357 guns (if you can even get the clips) is that not all .38/.357 brass even has a groove ahead of the rim - which is needed for monn clip use. For the brands that do have a groove, dimensionally, it is left up to the manufacturer - there are no SAAMI specs for the groove on rimmed cartridges, the way there is for the extractor groove on rimless cartridges. So getting a brass to moon clip fit is a trial and error process. Yes, manufacturers like TK will tell you what thickness clip works with what headstamp, but that does not mean that it is an optimum fit. Keep in mind that the longer the cartridge, the more rigidly the clip needs to hold it to facilitate a fast reload. Competition shooters that use moon clips in guns chambered in .38/.357 generally use short versions of those cartridges - .38 Long Colt or .38 Short Colt to reduce jiggle and speed-up loading.

I'd stick with speed loaders and those especially made for the D-frame - even though they are not as fast or sure as a Comp III - the long "handles" of which can present its own set of problems if carrying concealed.

Nice to have that sixth shot, but I tend to favor a Smith K-frame for that.

Good luck!


Pizza Bob
NRA Benefactor Member
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Old 09-15-2020, 02:07 PM
drail drail is offline
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Listen to Pizza Bob - he knows what he's talking about here.
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:55 AM
Cutter Cutter is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The NorthEastern of the NorthWestern
Posts: 146
Thanks everyone.

Bob, particularly appreciate the advice on the moon clips. I had been reading on TK's site and looking at their chart for fitting brass to clips what a messy situation that is.

It does seem like more hassle then use. I have never had the chance to try moon clips so it is good to hear from people who have. Some time I will get a revolver set up for them, but that will probably be one chambered in 9mm, or .40/10mm. I think it would be a lot of fun to work with. Perhaps a LCR 9mm and try out some IDPA BUG matches. Or if I get really crazy I could have my 625-6 mountain cut for moon clips and run .45acp.( Don't think I could ever get myself to modify that one the way their prices are now)

I'm a little surprised no Colt owners on this board have tried any of the K frame loaders yet. I did find a discussion on Reddit with a few successfully using Comp 2's with the new King Cobras. It is hard to find any of the safariland loaders around here, so I may just have to order one and see how it goes.

I'll give it another day or so and see if anyone who has tried it chimes in.
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