Cartridge caliber conversion units have been with us for a long time. Insert tubes for shotguns are quite common, as well as sub-califber inserts for both rifles and handguns. Harry Owen manufactures a wide variety of converters that make possible the use of smaller cartridges in firearms that use the same diameter bullet. The one thing that most conversion units have in common is that they utilize the barrel of the arm in which they are used, in one way or another.
The Cherry Converter, however, has its own barrel built in. The converter looks for all the world like a 12 gauge shotshell--at least when viewed from a distance. It has the same dimensions as a 12 gauge shell, and is even a bright cherry red in color. Only 2-1/2 inches in length, it incorporates a chamber that accommodates a .38 Special cartridge, plus a .38 caliber barrel only 1-1/4 inches long. Being the same size and shape as a 12 gauge shell, the Cherry unit will work through the action and chamber of any 12-bore gun.
A small neoprene O-ring is fitted into a groove near the breech end of the converter's chamber to hold the pistol cartridge in place during feeding and ejection. It is necessary, therefore, to use a cleaning rod or someting similar to punch the empty .38 case from the chamber after firing.
We used a Remington Model 1100 fitted with a slug barrel and open sights to test the Cherry Converter. It was found that a semi-automatic shotgun is probably the worst choice we could have made, because the action ad to be operated by hand, there being insufficient gas pressure generated by the puny .38 Special to function the action. A single-or double-barreled gun or a slide action might be easier to use. In any case, care should be taken ot to let the converters hit the ground, since they are made of aluminum alloy and can be damaged by encountes with rocks and such.
As might be expected, accuracy was not exactly in the category of pinpoint performance. Five-shot groups averaged about five inches at 25 yards, which is not too fabulous, ut still much better than is usually achieved by a handgun with a 1-1/4-inch barrel. The weight and long sight radius of a shotgun help greatly to attain maximum accuracy from such a short barrel.
Three loads were tested: Remington 95-grain +P, Federal 125-grain +P and Federal 158-grain semi-wadcutters. Accuracy was about the same with all these cartridges, although the point of impact was higher with lighter bullets.
Chronographed velocities were considerably lower than factory figures given four-inch barrels. Remington's 95-grain bullet clock 899 feet per second (fps) versus 1,175 fps claimed by the factory from a four-inch tube. Federal 125s registered 765 fps, compared with 945 fps shown in factory tables. Federal 158-grain SWCs moved out at 665 fps-90 fps slower than the table shows.
The Cherry Converter is fun to play with, and it may even have some practical applications, such as a training device for shotgunners that would allow them to see, on paper, the difference between point of impact and point of aim. The Cherry Converter is made by Amimex, Inc., Dept. GA, 2660 John Montgomery Dr., San Jose, CA 95148. List price is $19.95 plus $1.50 shipping and handling.
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|Author:||Glaze, Ralph C.|
|Publication:||Guns & Ammo|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1984|
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