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Thread: Bellm vs MGM 357 max chamber

  1. #1

    Bellm vs MGM 357 max chamber

    Getting ready to order a 357 maximum barrel for my contender. Which would be the best route to go on the barrel just let MGM cut the chamber while they build the barrel or have it shipped to Mike Bellm for his famous chamber cut? I talked with Marty at haus of arms he suggested letting MGM do all the work for warranty reason. It will be feed a mix of bullets and some of those nasty J word bullets. Mostly plan to deer hunt with it and use it for range time with buddys.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    North of Dallas 1100 miles or so
    Posts
    352
    MGM all the way unles Bellm has a barrel ready to go. I had Bellm rechamber 4 barrels for me, they all shoot better than I can hold. I have 2 barrels from MGM and they are very well made and chambered. Todd/3leg

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by 3leggedturtle View Post
    MGM all the way unles Bellm has a barrel ready to go. I had Bellm rechamber 4 barrels for me, they all shoot better than I can hold. I have 2 barrels from MGM and they are very well made and chambered. Todd/3leg
    I was going to have MGM make the barrel but just have them send it to Bellm for the chamber cut.

  4. #4
    MGM MGM MGM MGM MGM MGM

    did i say......MGM
    What are you doin' down here
    We don't like your kind boy, do I make myself clear
    Better take your earing back where you belong
    We don't like your kind, so you'd better move on
    We just don't mingle with the folks from the town
    You laugh at us rednecks and you put us all down
    You said you're from college, but you don't seem too Bright
    Cause you just brought a switchblade to a pistol Fight

    "Move On" - Chris Knight

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tom, VA
    Posts
    4,303
    One of mine was done by Mike Bellm; shoots great.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Western Pa.
    Posts
    459
    What is the famous Bellm chamber cut?

    I have quite a few MGM Contender and Encore pistol barrels and won't consider any others now. It seems like MGMs are chambered with minimum dimensions anyway.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    1,320
    If you had the opportunity to speak at length with anyone at MGM they will tell you that Mike Bellm showed/trained them on how to cut the chamber on their 357max barrels. You'll find that neither Bellm nor MGM has nothing but kind and flattering words for each other...ie, they're as thick as thieves. There exists an entire community out there that works on TC products and does quite well at it. There's another gentleman out there who customizes TC forearms so that they don't touch the barrel to enhance accuracy. I have bought frames and barrels from all three of them (Bellm, MGM, and Haus of Arms) and they're all good people to deal with. The only caution I'd give you is to NOT let MGM talk you into getting a 1:20 twist in your 357max barrel. They really push them hard when you buy. I suspect they got the deal of the century when they purchased the barrels and that was because they were in 1:20 twist. They'll tell you that they shoot just as good if not better than a 1:14 or 1:16 twist with heavy bullets (180g and up). That is definitely NOT TRUE. Neither Bellm or Haus of Arms pushes the 1:20 twist in their barrels. I've had custom guns built over the years in 357mag and max, and always got superb accuracy out of them in 1:16 twist. I let MGM talk me into the 1:20 and I have two pages on a spread sheet showing all the different bullets, powders, etc and the resulting groups. I have exactly 1 load that is marginally acceptable with a 180 grain bullet, and one only. David White, who also specializes in 357max rifles concurs with my findings. It's possible that your standards/expectations might be satisfied with 1.5-2.0" groups at 100 yards, but I find that unacceptable. My Low Wall would shoot numerous loads of heavier bullets under an inch...and that's five shots, not three. Just make sure you get a barrel with a faster twist from MGM or go to Bellm or Haus of Arms and get one in 1:14 or 1:16. I don't think either of those two even carry a 1:20 barrel for that cartridge. Good luck with your new barrel.

  8. #8
    NSB thank you for all the info and taking the time to share it with me. My studying on 357 max had steered me away from the 1:20 twist MGM recommends. NSB do you have any suggestions on barrel length? I'm lean toward a 20" barrel.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    1,320
    My barrel is a 24" heavy factory contour. For me it balances well for off-hand shooting. If I were to get a 20" bbl I'd get it a bull barrel to keep the weight the same (or very close). Length wise there's no advantage in getting anything longer than the 20". If that's what you want, I think it's a good choice. You're likely going to need to have your forearm modified to keep it from touching the barrel. Contact strattoncustom.com if you want to get that done. His work is excellent, his prices are very reasonable, and his turn around time is very, very prompt. He's located in the same area as MGM is. I think he used to work for them before they were called MGM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    My barrel is a 24" heavy factory contour. For me it balances well for off-hand shooting. If I were to get a 20" bbl I'd get it a bull barrel to keep the weight the same (or very close). Length wise there's no advantage in getting anything longer than the 20". If that's what you want, I think it's a good choice. You're likely going to need to have your forearm modified to keep it from touching the barrel. Contact strattoncustom.com if you want to get that done. His work is excellent, his prices are very reasonable, and his turn around time is very, very prompt. He's located in the same area as MGM is. I think he used to work for them before they were called MGM.
    20" bull barrel with 1:14 twist was my plan for this barrel. Just wasn't sure if I should go with bellm cut chamber or MGM version.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    WNY
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    Quote Originally Posted by midnight_f150 View Post
    20" bull barrel with 1:14 twist was my plan for this barrel. Just wasn't sure if I should go with bellm cut chamber or MGM version.
    Really no difference. Go where you get the best price and service. I like Bellm myself.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Switzerland of Ohio
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    2,647
    All Bellm did was add a cylindrical bullet seat, in place of the crude forcing cone of the original SAAMI chamber design. The biggest problem with SAAMI reamers was that the pilot was way undersize, (.346" as I recall) so it wouldn't cut true in a barrel with .350 land diameter.

    Frankly, I have no use for Bellm, after he sold me $$$$ worth of parts and springs for my Gen 1, which did absolutely nothing to cure my light strikes problem. Which turned out to be the only spring he DIDN'T have me replace: the one which retracts the hammer block slide when the set trigger trips. Simply stretching that spring a bit to increase the preload solved the problem. Monetary cost: ZERO.

    I am now cured of the T/C addiction, so have nothing else to say, except that I had Dave Manson grind me a .357 Max reamer with a cylindrical seat and the proper pilot diameter for about $10 more than Bellm was charging to ream a barrel.
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

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