TK Custom Precision-Machined Revolver Moon Clip Conversions

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

February 28th, 2012

UPDATED May 29th, 2012







Click pictures for a larger version.










BMT Mooner.


When I first reviewed the TK Custom conversion on the Schofield back in February of this year, TK was not doing the 45 ACP conversion on the 45 Colt cylinder of Uberti Schofield revolvers. Since then, TK now has the clips and the program ready, and they are doing the conversion on the Uberti Schofields. Shown here is the pride of my Schofield fleet, the Navy Arms Founders Model. The Founders Model is no longer in production, but was the best-looking Schofield ever produced, at least in my eyes. The beautiful bright blue contrasting with the case-hardened frame is stunning, and I had Eagle grips to make a set of stag grips for me. As I requested, Eagle made them smooth. I wanted these as bark-free as possible, and they turned out exactly as I wanted, getting a smooth set of grips, with the warm colors of stag. Perfect.

When I found out that TK Custom was doing the moon clip conversion on the Uberti, I sent in my Navy Schofield, and received it back quickly. It now will shoot either 45 Colt, 45 S&W, or 45 ACP ammunition. The 45 ACP in the moon clips works perfectly, loading and unloading quickly, with no chance of a cartridge getting caught under the ejector star while unloading.

TK Custom has converted my favorite Schofield revolver into my most versatile Schofield revolver, allowing a wide choice of ammo selection, cheaper shooting, and faster loading.

Jeff Quinn

TK Custom specializes in doing moon clip conversions on Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Taurus and other revolvers. For many years, moon clips have been a way to shoot rimless cartridges in a double-action revolver, providing a convenient and easy way to facilitate extraction of the fired cases. This is still a good way to go, to allow the firing of 45 ACP cartridges in revolvers that are chambered for the 45 Colt cartridge. TK Custom does this. However, they also do conversions that allow the firing of rimmed cartridges in the revolver, but using moon clips. On the TK conversion, the revolver can still be loaded singly, just as it was designed to do, but can also use full moon clips, to load the whole cylinder all at once. Loaded one-at-a-time, the cartridges still use the rim to headspace in the cylinder. TK machines the cylinder to allow clearance for the moon clip, but leaves a rim around the cylinder’s circumference to headspace the cartridges, regardless of whether they are loaded with or without the use of a moon clip. With the TK conversion, cartridges can be loaded singly, all at once using the moon clip, or by using a speed loader.

The TK Custom conversion can used for 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 44 magnum, 44 Special, 45 Colt, and other cartridges, just as the revolver was originally chambered. The advantage of the TK system is that, if desired, the full cylinder capacity of the revolver can be loaded all at once, which is even faster than using a speed loader. A major advantage is that the moon clip system also increases the reliability of the weapon. If not done properly every time, ejecting cartridge cases from a double-action cylinder can leave an empty cartridge case stuck under the extractor star, which is aggravating, and most importantly, time-consuming to clear out the empty case. By ejecting all six at once (or five, seven, eight, whatever the cylinder capacity), there is no chance of an empty cartridge case getting stuck under the extractor star.

Being left-handed, I have never made an attempt to use a speed loader on a double-action revolver. I have always preferred single-actions, but I also do realize the advantage of the speed of loading and unloading a traditional swing-out cylinder double action. One great single-action design that does eject all six at once is the Smith & Wesson top-break, my favorite variation of which is the Schofield. I have an unnatural affection for the S&W Schofield, and the many replicas thereof. The Schofield is a truly ambidextrous design, working perfectly well for shooters using either hand. The top-break design, with simultaneous ejection of all six cartridge cases is a boon to fast loading, just as it was back in 1875. A man on horseback could unload the S&W much, much faster than he could the Colt Single Action Army, and loading the cylinder was faster as well, as the cylinder did not have to be indexed for each cartridge to do so. For a Cavalry trooper on a galloping horse, engaged in a fight, the Schofield could put double the number of rounds in the fight in the same time as could the Colt. If the moon clip had been available back in the late nineteenth century, to greatly speed the loading of the Schofield in one motion, the Colt SAA might have just been a footnote in history. However, it would be decades later before the advent of the half-moon clip, which held three cartridges, and even later for the development of the full-moon clip, which holds a cylinder-full of cartridges.

With all the above in mind, I have for a long time wanted to get my S&W Schofield Model of 2000 machined to use moon clips for loading 45 ACP into the cylinder. The S&W is chambered for the 45 S&W cartridge, sometimes referred to as 45 Schofield. This is basically a 45 Colt cartridge, using a shorter case. 45 S&W ammo is available, loaded to relatively low pressure, for Cowboy Action competition, but the ammo is pretty hard to find. Empty cases are available for handloading, but 45 ACP is extremely popular, and available just about anywhere that ammunition is sold. I was hesitant to alter the Schofield’s cylinder to shoot 45 ACP ammunition, as doing so would have eliminated the possibility of ever using 45 S&W ammo again. However, when I heard of the TK Custom conversion, which allows the use of either the 45 ACP or the original 45 S&W ammunition, I had to have it done.

Tom Kilhoffer at TK Custom handles the entire operation, and even makes and sells his own moon clips, to assure that everything works perfectly. The turn-around time was very quick. Tom had my S&W cylinder for less than one week, and when delivered along with ten of his precision-machined moon clips, I reinstalled the cylinder into the Schofield, and realized that I now had the perfect S&W top-break revolver. This is what the Schofield should have been since its inception. Loading is smooth and quick, and ejection is absolutely reliable, with no chance of getting an empty case stuck under the extractor star.

Anyone who has ever loaded and unloaded cartridges and empty cases from a moon clip knows that it can be aggravating. For that reason, there are many tools on the market to help with that chore. Usually, loading isn’t as hard as is the unloading. Prying the empty cases from a good, sturdy clip requires a lot of effort, unless you have a special tool to help with the process. I happened across a moon clip loading/unloading tool that makes the clip loading and unloading as much fun as the shooting. I have tried other methods of loading and unloading moon clips before, particularly the unloading part, as the cases are sometimes impossible to remove from a clip without some sort of tool. This new tool is called the BMT Mooner, and it is absolutely the best moon clip tool that I have ever seen. It is very fast, and easy to use, requiring no effort to load the clips, and very little to unload. To load, a clip is placed on the tool, the two halves placed together, the tray loaded with ammo, and then just turn the crank. The video here will show it much better than can be explained in this text. Unloading the clip is just as simple. This is an amazing tool, and I will never again load a moon clip without the BMT Mooner.

For carrying extra moon clips for most revolvers, there are pouches made by many of the holster makers, but for carrying extra loaded clips for this Schofield, I found that the Rocking K Saddlery holster rig that I reviewed in our last “Tools of the Trade” video has the cartridge loops spaced perfectly to accommodate the loaded moon clips. The Rocking K rig is built upon a nice, flexible money belt design. I like a good money belt, as they flex better than does a thick, stiff belt. The holster itself is stiff enough to allow easy re-holstering, without being overly thick. This is a very comfortable rig, expertly crafted, and finished in an antique type light brown, which looks great with the S&W Schofield. The Rocking K holster rig is comfortable, functional, and authentic.

Shooting the modified Schofield proved to be a real pleasure; exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Loading six 45 ACP cartridges in the TK moon clips is fast and easy, and ejection is even faster. The Schofield is a design which I would really like to see make a comeback. It is an excellent revolver. The lines of a Schofield are elegant and beautiful, to my eyes. The Smith & Wesson Model of 2000 shown here wears a set of Eagle American Elk Antler grips, which look great and offer a secure hold on the weapon.

This review of the S&W Schofield, modified to perfectly suit my needs and desires, is unlike most of our reviews. Usually, I am shooting someone else’s gun, showing something new on the market, and pushing to get the review posted quickly. The sixgun shown here is mine, modified to exactly suit my needs, for my own shooting pleasure. This Schofield will never achieve the rapid firepower of a modern plastic high-capacity nine millimeter of the twenty-first century. It is just my idea of a perfect nineteenth century combat handgun.

For more information, or to have a Schofield or more modern double-action revolver modified for moon clips, go to

To order one of the many different models of the best moon clip tool on the planet, go to

For a closer look at the quality holsters and belts of Rocking K Saddlery, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.






The Schofield is among Jeff's favorite handguns.



TK Custom moon clip conversion.



Eagle American Elk grips.



Rocking K Saddlery holster rig.