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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  1860 Henry (Moderators: Flint, Major 2)  |  Topic: .44 Henry Rimfire ballistics from a .44-40 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: .44 Henry Rimfire ballistics from a .44-40  (Read 10972 times)
w44wcf
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« on: August 01, 2014, 04:25:24 pm »


That's what U.M.C. (Union Metallic Cartridge Company) did in the early 1900's.
The  .44 Henry Flat rimfire was factory loaded with 28 grs. of b.p. under a 200 gr. bullet.

Note the 44-40 28 gr. load in addition to the standard 40 gr. cartridge in this 1910 UMC catalog cut....



Why U.M.C. decided to offer a 28gr. .44-40 cartridge is anybody's guess, but the 28 gr. charge weight would indicate that they wanted to offer a .44-40 cartridge that replicated the performance of the .44 Henry Rimfire.   

Since I am a cartridge nut of sorts, I wanted to step back in time and replicate this cartridge just to see how it would perform.  U.M.C.  likely used a wad between the powder and the base of the bullet but I used PSB (Poly Shot Buffer).  Velocity was very similar the the Henry 1,125 f.p.s. and the accuracy was pretty much the same as the standard 40 gr. charge in my rifle.

Cartridge history is interesting.....
w44wcf    
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2014, 05:27:35 pm »

Check out those prices.  Of course, in 1910, those prices were a lot of money.

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pony express
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2014, 08:41:25 am »

I noticed that price. I think I'll order about 5,000.....and I don't even have a 44-40!
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Sean Thornton
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2014, 11:57:15 am »

Probably the 28 grain load would have been meant for a lighter revolver round.
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w44wcf
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2014, 05:54:49 pm »

Sean,
I hadn't thought of that but that is a very good application along with those that wanted a less powerful .44-40 for training new rifle shooters,  for just general plinking, target practice  and small game hunting.....

Interestingly There was a slightly downloaded .44 Henry Rimfire called the W&C that contained 23 grs of b.p.
It was advertised for use in Henry, Winchester 1866 rifles and Colt revolvers.

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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 12:14:28 am »

I have done that for years. I use a Circle Fly 0.430" 1/8" Nitro card wad between 28 gr. of FFFg or FFg and a 200 gr. bullet. Works perfectly.

http://circlefly.com/html/products.html
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Shotgun Franklin
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 10:29:38 am »

Most of ya'll know, but some may not, that Colt offered the SAA in .44 Henry RF.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 12:04:24 pm »

Most of ya'll know, but some may not, that Colt offered the SAA in .44 Henry RF.

Yep, Wm Mason's 1872 Open Top.  The finest Colt revolver produced, IMHO.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 12:17:14 pm »

I think Shotgun Franklin is referring to the 1873 Colt SAA type revolvers. He is correct.
They are quite rear and highly prized by collectors today.
My best,
 Blair
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 10:00:54 am »

Many years ago a guy had one for sale at a Houston Gun Show. This was well before SAA and the resurgent interest in all things Cowboy. No one was interested because it was a RF and would have to be 'worked on' to shoot CF ammo. It was a little rough but functioned. Ah yes, if I had known then what the future would hold.  Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 10:32:46 am »

Colt had made some up hopping to cash in on some of the S&W contracts coming from Turkish Government for the .44 Henry rim fires. The '66 Winchester's were very popular in Turkey as well.
Some of the Colts found their way to Mexico. I have to assume it was because of the number of '66 Winchesters that also found their way into Mexico.
I have seen one Mexican copy of a Colt SA revolver in .44 RF. It seemed to have been rather well made when new. It had not been maintained very well and was in very poor condition when I saw it.
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 12:26:42 pm »

I have done that for years. I use a Circle Fly 0.430" 1/8" Nitro card wad between 28 gr. of FFFg or FFg and a 200 gr. bullet. Works perfectly.

http://circlefly.com/html/products.html

I have used 21grains of FFFg GOEX with cream of wheat to fill the void. On my Chrony, it matched a 28gr load of FFg. From a '73 short rifle, the mv was in the 1100 fps range.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 12:07:45 am »

I was surprised this week to find the Henry used a true .44 cal bullet (.446" to be exact)  which is a lot closer to .452"  than .429 is in  a 44-40.   All of what got me thinking a Henry shooting the C45S short case would be very appropriate historically to the Henry.

So next up I just had to see how much FFF I could get in a C45S case with the appropriate 200g .45 rifloe bullet.  Turns out 25g wasn't much of an issue.  Have yet to shoot them in my Henry,  Waiting on the short lifter kit.
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2014, 02:17:09 am »

I was surprised this week to find the Henry used a true .44 cal bullet (.446" to be exact)  which is a lot closer to .452"  than .429 is in  a 44-40.   All of what got me thinking a Henry shooting the C45S short case would be very appropriate historically to the Henry.

So next up I just had to see how much FFF I could get in a C45S case with the appropriate 200g .45 rifloe bullet.  Turns out 25g wasn't much of an issue.  Have yet to shoot them in my Henry,  Waiting on the short lifter kit.


I believe the original Henry had a 0.420" bore that was rifled 0.010" deep x 2 = 0.440". Of course, this is approx. as just as today there are + or - variations depending on tool wear & other factors.
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yahoody
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2014, 02:37:11 am »

I was talking bullet not bore.
Not that Wiki is the definitive answer on anything but it is where I found the bullet trivia.
Been reading a lot of data on cartridges (out side wiki) from credible sources lately including the 44 rimfire and how the rifles were designed around them.
The balloon head cases were not strong enough and really did not fair well in the lever guns.  Which may be why a early Winchester '73 in .45 Colt wasn't built.  The more powerful (than a .44rf) balloon head cases couldn't take the rifle extractor and still hold together is what I have been reading.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.44_Henry
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2014, 12:11:39 pm »

I was talking bullet not bore.
Not that Wiki is the definitive answer on anything but it is where I found the bullet trivia.
Been reading a lot of data on cartridges (out side wiki) from credible sources lately including the 44 rimfire and how the rifles were designed around them.
The balloon head cases were not strong enough and really did not fair well in the lever guns.  Which may be why a early Winchester '73 in .45 Colt wasn't built.  The more powerful (than a .44rf) balloon head cases couldn't take the rifle extractor and still hold together is what I have been reading.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.44_Henry

The early Winchester rounds were balloon head cases, they faired well enough for the guns to function quite well.
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2014, 01:19:07 pm »

The early Winchester rounds were balloon head cases, they faired well enough for the guns to function quite well.

They were also quite tapered and bottle necked.....which eased the stress on the rim during extraction.
Madis wrote of the reliability improving significantly with the '73 and the 44-40, over the .44rf and the Henry and '66.

.44rf and .45 Colt were fairly straight walled cases by comparison.


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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2014, 05:30:37 pm »

They were also quite tapered and bottle necked.....which eased the stress on the rim during extraction.
Madis wrote of the reliability improving significantly with the '73 and the 44-40, over the .44rf and the Henry and '66.

.44rf and .45 Colt were fairly straight walled cases by comparison.




I'm trying to figure out your point. You first claimed that balloon head cases would not hold up. I was just pointing out the ones properly designed for use in a rifle did.

Most will admit the 44wcf cartridge is the better option for reliability in a rifle with black powder and for what reasons. All because Winchester designed it to be reliable in a rifle by incorporating certain features in the cartridge design.



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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2014, 05:39:47 pm »

I was surprised this week to find the Henry used a true .44 cal bullet (.446" to be exact)  which is a lot closer to .452"  than .429 is in  a 44-40.   All of what got me thinking a Henry shooting the C45S short case would be very appropriate historically to the Henry.

So next up I just had to see how much FFF I could get in a C45S case with the appropriate 200g .45 rifloe bullet.  Turns out 25g wasn't much of an issue.  Have yet to shoot them in my Henry,  Waiting on the short lifter kit.

The thread was started about ballistics and the fact UMC actually offered the 44wcf ammo with the powder charge of the Henry round.

If you are wanting to use a 45 caliber cartridge to close duplicate the 44rf ballistics you would be better to use the 45 Schofield brass since it holds the proper 28 grains under a 200 grain bullet.
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2014, 06:30:13 pm »

Couple of points when you start to wonder why the cases and charges were used "as is"

Why not chamber the 45 Colt early on in the '73 Winchester?  Cases wouldn't reliably extract.  45/70 rims had a similar problem in the Trapdoor.

Why a down loaded 44-40?  Because the full 40g charge would jam up a SAA with some regularity.
Henry was never chambered in 44-40.  I don't think the '66 was either.  But for sure it wasn't prior to 1873.

The issue of reliability is the reason many gunmen of the day used a 44-40 rifle and a .45 Colt hand gun.  Prior to the '76 and '86.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2014, 07:07:43 pm »

About 1100 1866s were made up in about 1891(?) chambered in .44 Henry CF. The round was a clone of the .44 American. All of these firearms were a special order for S. America, Brazil I think.

Of course the .44 American was merely a CF version of the .44 Henry Flat rf.
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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2014, 07:50:13 pm »

Couple of points when you start to wonder why the cases and charges were used "as is"

Why a down loaded 44-40?  Because the full 40g charge would jam up a SAA with some regularity.

The issue of reliability is the reason many gunmen of the day used a 44-40 rifle and a .45 Colt hand gun.  

I sure sounds like you're saying a 40 grain charge in a 44-40 will jam up a SAA more than the same 40 grain charge in a 45 Colt?

I don't buy that for one minute because I shoot both in SAA's and I can tell you from experience the 44-40 guns run MUCH cleaner. The only area of concern in them is the cylinder pin/bushing area. The recoil shield, hand, hammer area stay nearly as clean as shooting smokeless. The 45 colt's on the other hand get filthy compared to the 44's. Even worse if I shoot 45 Schofield in them. I'm cleaning a 45 colt right now from yesterdays shoot.

What I do buy is the possibility that UMC may have offered the 28 grain charge ammo in 44-40 for an option in revolvers. Not for reliability but for the same reason people used 45 Schofield and the 45 Government rounds in the SAA. A 40 grain load is not the most pleasant shooting load in a SAA and I have read besides the fact of wanting a round that would work in both the Smith and Wesson and the Colt revolvers, many also found the 28 grain load to be more manageable to shoot.
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« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2014, 07:58:08 pm »

Probably the 28 grain load would have been meant for a lighter revolver round.

I have to agree
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« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2014, 08:05:01 pm »

A lot of the .44-40 v .45 Colt in a rifle was not so much an extraction issue but a fouling issue which I guess could lead to an extraction issue. The .44-40 brass is thinner brass than the .45 Colt. Thinner brass was a good thing when couple with a bottleneck case in that the case could expand in the chamber thus eliminating some of the fouling in the chamber. A thicker straight wall case such as the .45 Colt does experience more fouling due to blow back into the action. The use of either in a revolver does not really present much of an issue, at least in the Colt 2nd generation revolvers I have.

The balloon head did not have much to do with extraction etc. The balloon head was eliminated due to the higher pressures of the smokeless powder loads coming into play.
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« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2014, 08:07:02 pm »

The lighter load was a very similar issue that the FBI had in the late 1980's early 1990's when they adopted the 10mm. They simply could not handle the 10mm round as a department. This is much the same as the recruit in the 1880-1890s and the .45 Colt with a full 40 grain load.
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