A Combat Mini Conversion …

Concealable .44 Magnum Hand Cannon
103

Having a beater gun is a blessing. First, we never worry about them, because hey, “what’s one more nick, scratch, or wear mark, right?” Second, they make perfect project guns. A few years back, I had Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port International fame transform a beater of mine into something marvelous. I’d known about the Combat Mini for years, and it seemed like the perfect time. After all, timing is everything, eh?

Wow! What a transformation! Ken Kelley does top-notch work!

Donor Gun

My donor gun was a passed-around S&W model 29-2. It went from one friend’s hand to another until finally reaching mine one happy Christmas day. If you’re like me, you’ve helped Santa by handing over your list to Santa’s helper (okay, your spouse) and merrily say, “Guess what? I made Christmas shopping easy for you. Here’s this gun I want …”

I know I’m not the only one who does this. After the eye roll, logistics are completed, and the gun is shipped to my FFL.

I shot and carried the gun for a couple of years, but something was nagging in the back of my mind. Years ago, I read an article by Paco Kelly (no relation to Ken) where he tells the story of carrying a Combat Mini and how it saved his life. Mag-na-port did the conversion. I called Ken Kelly, and arrangements were made to have him convert my beater into something neater, a Combat Mini.

You can see the polished trigger and red sight insert Ken did besides the
high-luster blue job. The Barranti Leather Hank Sloan carries the Combat Mini in style!

The Trip

Having never been to Mag-na-port before, I figure I may as well hand-deliver the gun. There’s a method to my madness. You see, many folks don’t know this, but Mag-na-port is headquarters for the Handgunner Hall of Fame. Who knew? Inside the front lobby are the many trophies, plaques, guns, photos of every true groundbreaker, innovator and pioneer of handgunning.

Besides all our handgunning heroes, the front lobby is full of just some of Larry Kelly’s, founder of Mag-na-port, game trophies from around the world. You’ll see magnificent deer, elk, moose, lion, kudu, elephant and more, all taken with a humble handgun. How cool is that? There are several cozy couches parked in front of a giant TV where you can watch videos of Larry Kelly on some of his hunts. It’s well worth the price of admission — which is free! If you’re within a 5- to 8-hour drive, it is well worth it to see this magnificent display.

The Hank Sloan protects the rear sight from any inadvertent
bumping of door frames or other objects.

The Drop Off

After picking up Doc Barranti along the way, we head up the Ohio turnpike, and before you knew it, we were pulling into the parking lot of Mag-na-port. We were greeted by Ken and sisters Donna and Doreen, who operate the front office.

Ken’s shop is vast, spacious and a treasure trove for any gun aficionado. The shop smells of coffee, cutting oil and burnt metal from the EDM process. This process allows Mag-na-port to install their proprietary porting system, which reduces recoil and muzzle flash.

The recessed crown job adds accuracy and protects the rifling from getting any dings.

The Combat Mini

The Combat Mini is a custom design allowing maximum concealability and comfort for large N-Frame revolvers. The grip frame is re-worked into a round-butted K-Frame size providing comfort while still having plenty of grip for controllability when shooting. After the barrel is cut down to 3″, Ken crowns and ports it.

Ken also does a combat trigger conversion by polishing the serrations from the target trigger to a smooth surface, providing a more comfortable pull. He semi-bobs the hammer to keep it from digging into your side during concealed carry.

The action is then tuned, and let me tell you; Ken Kelley knows his way around an S&W double-action. DA pull measures 6 lbs.,14 oz., while SA measured just over 2 lbs. It’s the slickest action I’ve felt, yet it consistently ignites my CCI primed handloads without misfire.

Ken then polished the whole works, giving it the Mag-na-port high-luster blue job while etching the logo onto the barrel. A red insert was added to the front sight. I added some Spegal extended boot grips and a Barranti Hank Sloan holster to finish the kit for a perfect packin’ pistol with power to spare.

Mag-na-port adds two detent ball bearings, adding more lock-up to the cylinder.

Porting Testimony

Some complain of porting, saying it makes the gun louder while never having shot a ported gun. This is false and has been proven with sound equipment in the H.P. White Laboratory years ago. What people forget is heavy recoiling guns are loud! Period. Porting can’t make them louder. What the porting does do is reduce felt recoil. This is accomplished by using the gases to work against recoil by venting through strategically placed trapezoidal cuts. Over 20% reduction has been measured, with shooters saying reduction feels more significant.

Beater Face-Lift

So, if you have a beater of a gun you feel like sprucing up, check out Mag-na-port for some ideas. They do wonderful work and it is the coolest place around for us handgun lovers.

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