Medusa conversion of a Ruger Blackhawk. QUESTIONS

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by TheBlackFedora, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    Hello to all.

    I have some questions about the Phillips & Rogers Medusa conversion cylinder that was made for the Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver.

    Hopefully someone here has the facts and can answer these. I'm hoping to find people with experience with the pistol and conversion cylinder. Gunsmiths with experience would be even better. The best of all would be a direct contact with the inventor himself... but I doubt my luck is that good.


    1 : Is the Medusa conversion cylinder able to be swapped to a DIFFERENT Ruger Blackhawk revolver? If so, what are the requirements? If not, what are the reasons?


    2 : Is the barrel of the Ruger Blackhawk altered in ANY WAY to accommodate the Medusa conversion cylinder? If not, can the Blackhawk barrel be replaced, and are there any special considerations that should be made for swapping a barrel?


    3 : Does the Medusa conversion cylinder for the Blackhawk use the same extractor as the regular production model Medusa M47 revolver?
     
  2. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    An explanation...

    I have a chance to buy a Ruger Blackhawk with the Medusa conversion cylinder. I haven't seen the pistol yet, but the seller tells me the Blackhawk has a short barrel... "about three inches or so", which is the opposite of what I was hoping for. (I'd prefer the long barrel... but it's not like there are a lot of these things around to choose from.)

    So I'm looking into the possibility of either swapping the barrel out on the Blackhawk, or swapping the Medusa cylinder into another Blackhawk. (I'm figuring either operation would be done by a gunsmith.)

    I'd appreciate any helpful information on the subject.
     

  3. ramjet

    ramjet Member

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    I’m figuring the cylinder work would be fairly easy with said single action Blackhawk. But the barrel could possibly be changed by Ruger....you’d have to call them. I always wanted to see a Medusa. It’s like the mythical beast that it portrays. Lots of stories and none sighted.
     
  4. freefall

    freefall Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure it ejects cases one at a time out the loading port via the ejector rod like all Blackhawks.
    Other than that, I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about. Why not just get a 9mm cylinder for your .357?
     
  5. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    1 : Is the Medusa conversion cylinder able to be swapped to a DIFFERENT Ruger Blackhawk revolver? If so, what are the requirements? If not, what are the reasons?
    YES some fitting may be required

    2 : Is the barrel of the Ruger Blackhawk altered in ANY WAY to accommodate the Medusa conversion cylinder? If not, can the Blackhawk barrel be replaced, and are there any special considerations that should be made for swapping a barrel?
    NO

    3 : Does the Medusa conversion cylinder for the Blackhawk use the same extractor as the regular production model Medusa M47 revolver?
    YES
     
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  6. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    Ramjet...

    I know just what you mean. I've wanted one since I saw the Popular Mechanics article back in the 90's. Just about everybody I've ever talked to about them looks at me like I'm speaking ancient Greek.
    Apparently this example has issues with a couple of the chambers not holding rimless rounds properly. I'm hoping that the Blackhawk conversion cylinder uses the same spring-loaded extractor 'fingers' as the regular Medusa... so that a replacement would be available.


    Freefall...
    I know there are other options, and better options for given needs.
    But this is what I want to get, and to each their own.
     
  7. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    oO_Rogue_Oo...

    Thank you for the info.
    If you don't mind my asking...
    and I mean no disrespect... forgive me if it sounds rude, but...
    are you sure, and how do you know?
     
  8. rock185

    rock185 Active Member

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    FWIW, I had the opportunity to shoot a Medusa revolver with a variety of different cartridges. An acquaintance had acquired the revolver in order to write a magazine article about it. The Medusa revolver worked, for the most part, as advertised. There were misfires when loaded with .380 ACP ammo, and .357 ammo bulged a bit, but still extracted IIRC.

    Reference the Ruger using the same extractor, I admit I'm at a loss as to how the extractor of the Medusa revolver, with a swing out cylinder, could be used in a SA Blackhawk revolver.
     
  9. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    This is why I am asking these questions.
    Yes, the Blackhawk does use an ejector rod, and does not use a regular swing-out revolver style extractor.

    But the Medusa uses a spring 'finger' on the extractor to allow rimless rounds to be properly positioned in the chamber. The Blackhawk conversion must either use the standard Medusa revolver extractor, or some other part that is unique to the Blackhawk Conversion cylinder.

    This is why my third question is if the Medusa conversion for the Blackhawk uses the same extractor as the regular Medusa revolver.
     
  10. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    Very reasonable questions. And I'm operating from memory; granted from 25 years ago but I'm not senile yet. :)

    That said, I'll direct you to a simple point. The Blackhawk conversion cylinder was sold as a single piece to convert any Blackhawk. No extractor was included in the conversion.

    EDIT: The Medusa revolver was a different matter. Although based on a S&W design the potential for increased pressures dictated some frame differences. The Blackhawk frame is much stronger and the cylinders were sold to fit the standard frame.
     
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  11. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    I'd be shocked if you could find replacement spring loaded "fingers". They are the weak link although necessary part in this design. And I'm sure why you're able to get a "deal" on the gun in question.

    Do you know of a source for these parts?

    EDIT: Although I've never done it; I suspect even with the parts; the replacement would not be an easy task. If for no other reason than how uncommon it is and the potential for breaking more parts during the service.

    EDIT: See quote below; those fingers would not be easy to replicate. You would need originals.

     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  12. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    I would think a more viable conversion would be the Ruger GP100 using the Medusa Cylinder.

    To convert a single action revolver to use the Medusa would create ejection problems with the shell retainers the Medusa uses.
     
  13. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Looks like it was just a drop in replacement. I think two versions were available: Ruger Blackhawk and S&W 686. Heres a pic from the brochure I have:

    KIMG1689.JPG
     
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  14. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    I would get the entire gun and try to find a "slab" barrel for it. That would be pretty close to a Medusa...
     
  15. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Looking closely at the photos it looks like the "fingers" are in the cylinder so you would still use the loading gate? The 686 one looks like it has the Medusa style ejector.
     
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  16. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    Thank you everybody for the input and opinions.

    - oO_Rogue_Oo...
    Thanks for the detailed reply, and follow-up questions.

    I do not have any source for replacement parts, but over the years I have seen Medusa "Parts kits" for sale... very rarely... at different sites online. However the only ones I have seen were for the standard Medusa. I've never seen any replacement parts for the Blackhawk conversion cylinder, and I'm a bit worried that the seller indicates a couple of the chambers have an issue holding rimless rounds (specifically .380ACP).


    - Trez...
    Thanks for posting that picture from the catalog. I'm guessing the cylinder on the right is the Blackhawk conversion cylinder based on the design (but i could very well be wrong.)
    Both cylinders have those spring-fingers like the regular Medusa M47, but the one on the right looks a bit different from the regular Medusa. (Comparing it to other pictures.)

    I had assumed that the conversion cylinder used the same basic extractor-with-fingers as on the Medusa M47 revolver, but based on that catalog picture is seems likely that the Blackhawk conversion cylinder uses a different piece (with similar design.)



    As far as my other questions about cylinder swaps and barrel swaps, this is because a person informed me that the Medusa conversion cylinder could not be swapped to another Ruger Blackhawk. I asked why not, and this person didn't know. They also didn't know where they had learned this information.
    Rather than just assume they didn't know, I have tried to either confirm or disprove this information.

    This is why i'm asking for people with experience with the Medusa or Medusa conversions.
    I was really hoping to be able to get the answers from jwphillips2...

    Right now I'm leaning VERY heavily toward buying the Blackhawk, and possibly trying to get the barrel replaced with a longer one (out of personal preference.) Or, swapping the conversion cylinder to a Blackhawk that is more to my liking.
    But I'm still a bit worried about the issues the seller mentioned about a couple of the chambers having problems with .380ACP falling too deep in to fire.
     
  17. TheBlackFedora

    TheBlackFedora New Member

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    Trez
    Yes, it does definitely look like the Blackhawk conversion cylinder has the fingers in that picture.
    I compared it to a picture of a regular Blackhawk cylinder and it looks very close to the one on the LEFT in that picture. (My previous post I said right... because i'm a dimwit. Please disregard that.)

    Anyway, the one on the left in the picture you posted looks to me like it might be the Blackhawk conversion cylinder. And it sure looks like it has those same spring fingers.
    The Blackhawk still uses the loading gate and ejector rod, but has the addition of the Medusa-style spring fingers for use with rimless rounds.
     
  18. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    If I remember correctly 380 was always a bit of a challenge and may be due to inconsistency in ammo. There may not be anything wrong with the cylinder at all; especially if 380 is the only problem. The solution MAY be to try a longer (or just new) firing pin. Based on the information you've given so far; I'd say you have a winner on your hands; grab it before you miss out.
     
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  19. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    .380 worked fine in mine - I would have trouble with standard 9x19mm, the cylinders were too tight for most brands. I think Seller & bellot fit just fine...
     
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  20. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Medusa "Parts kit" ? where did you find those? I could use one..... Im still trying to fix mine...
     
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