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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  1860 Henry (Moderators: Flint, Major 2)  |  Topic: 44-40 bullet sizes 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: 44-40 bullet sizes  (Read 5362 times)
Marshal Deadwood
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« on: March 08, 2010, 09:09:49 pm »


I do not have a 44-40..but what bore diams are you guys buying molds for in ya  44-40 rifles ?...  .429,,, .430  ? Do you use the same mold,,say in a 200gr bullet for ya 44cal revolver loads AND for your 44-40 rifle bullets ?

MD
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 09:35:39 pm »

A lot depends on the throat & bore dimensions of your armoury.  For me, My original '73 was relined and takes .427/.428s.  

My two Old Vaqueros were manufactured with the same barrels as their .44 magnums, so it will accept .429/.430.  The trouble is that Ruger throats their .44-40 OMVs to .427, closer to the old Colts.  I use the RCBS 44-200-RNFP which comes out at 213 grains of wheel-weight metal.  I size to .427 and use the same ammo for them all, and it works.  The short rifle with Lyman #2 tang sight goes 2 inches at 50 yards and both revolvers group 2 inches at 25 yards.  I have an old Win 92 and shoot the same load in that, no sweat!

Others have had their OMVs re-throated to .430 and come up with a modified .44-40 using standard .44 mag bullets.  To paraphrase the late Gunners Guru, Jeff Cooper,  "An ingenious solution to a non-existant problem!"

Measure all your firearms and load to fit the tightest.  Odds are pretty good that the load will work satifactorily for the others as well.

Like all sage advice;  Your Kilometrage may vary! Grin Grin

BTW;  "Big-Lube" MAV DUTCHMAN bullets are OK, and come in 6-cavity molds, but the RCBS works for me, as it seems to do for Mike Venturino.
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 08:47:23 pm »

. 428 works well in all my 44-40s...I also use the same big-lube bullet in my 44 Russian, but size it to .430.
BTW, I shoot real BP 99.9% of the time, good accuracy, no leading.

Regards,
Slim
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2010, 06:18:50 pm »

Howdy

I don't own any revolvers chambered for 44-40. Just too many variables what with chamber throats badly matched to rifling grooves.

However I own 4 rifles chambered for 44-40. An original Winchester Model 1892, made in 1894; a Marlin Model 1894, made in 1895; an Uberti replica of a Winchester Model 1873, made in the mid 1980s, and an Uberti Henry, made a few years ago. I have slugged all four rifles and can report that the 1892, the Marlin, and the Uberti 1873 all have rifling grooves on .427. Yes, the Uberti too. The Henry is the oddball, with rifling grooves of .429.

The Henry is the newest gun in the safe, previous to buying it I shot all three of the other rifles with .427 bullets. The '73 was shot most often in CAS, with nothing but Black Powder, so it became the rifle I used for load development. I soon discovered that its .427 rifling performed equally well with .427, .428, or .429 bullets. But .429 was pushing it a bit, because that size of bullet expanded the necks of my ammo enough that they became a little bit sticky in the chamber. For that reason, I usually only use Winchester brass, it is the thinnest at the neck, and the most forgiving with large bullets and tight chambers.

I was perfectly happy casting and sizing my Mav-Dutchman bullets to .427, but then came the Henry with its .429 rifling. I have since been sizing all my Mav-Dutchmen to .428. All four rifles like them fine. I cast my bullets from pure, dead soft lead, so they probably bump up a little bit in the Henry to fill up the .429 rifling.
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010, 02:51:44 pm »

Howdy

I don't own any revolvers chambered for 44-40. Just too many variables what with chamber throats badly matched to rifling grooves...

Amen. Every one I´ve owned needed the chambers & throats opened up a tad. HOWEVER, as they were correctly done by a COMPETENT CAS ´smith they then became tackdrivers.  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010, 04:17:36 pm »

Howdy, Pards,
As you can see, there are about as many answers as there are .44-40 guns!  I've got an original '73 Winchester, with .434" groove diameter barrel!  NOT worn; probably the first barrel made with a new cutter in the rifling machine.  But the biggest bullets it will take are .430".  Rifling lands are high enough that it will stabilize JACKETED bullets reasonably well, but cast slugs give about minute of barn groups at 25 yds!  So it sits in the vault, unshot.  Sad

On the other hand, I've measured original Colt's Frontier Six Shooters with .427" grooves...and .4245" chamber throats!  Rather than modify the original cylinder, the owner bought a new cylinder, had it fitted to the gun, and specified .427" throats.  He shoots (occasionally) .428" CAST bullets.  In spite of having only a 4-3/4" barrel, that sixgun is one of the most accurate I've every seen!

My Old Model Vaqueros have .430" barrels, but the first one originally came with chambers too tight even for .427" bullets and had .425" throats.  Ruger subsequently opened the chambers, but left the throats at .425"  Shocked Roll Eyes  I shoot .430" 213.5 grain commercially cast, BHN 17-24, WITH the .425" throats.  Apparently, bullets that hard will compress going through the throats, then the residual stresses in the bullet metal matrix cause the slug to re-expand.  I can get 1-5/8" groups at 25 yds...when the old eyeballs and my hands co-operate!  The other gun, a 5-1/2" barrel OMV will do almost as well, using a .44-40 cylinder similarly configured, with the .425" throats.

I shoot the same ammo (smokeless) in both the sixguns and several modern-made rifles.

It does take awhile to sort all this out (about 3 years originally)!  IMHO, it is well worth it!  I've never had feed problems in any .44-40 rifle I've shot with this ammo.
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2010, 08:57:22 pm »

Trailrider,
I too have an original '73 that has an oversized barrel (.433").  I find that it shoots aok with a 50/1 lead tin .428" bullet over b.p. The b.p. does a great job of bumping up the bullet to the barrel dimensions and gives accurate shooting.  Grin  

Smokeless , metal patched bulleted .44-40 ammunition did not come along until 1895, so up until that time it was soft bullets and b.p. which shot well regardless of the variance in the groove diameters.  If it didn't, there would have been a number of folks dissatisfied with their '73's.  Not so much though with the new fangled smokeless metal patched stuff in oversized barrels (.426" bullet diameter).........    

My other .44-40 is a Marlin Cowboy Ltd. (late 1990 production) and has a .428" groove diameter. It shoots fine with .428" - .429" dia. cast bullets.  

w44wcf
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010, 10:38:05 am »

I have the hots for a '73 win in 44-40. Guess the deal will be slug the barrel, maybe try several offerning.....to see what makes it shine. If another mold is necessary, its necssary.

Thanks guy,

MD
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 11:07:32 am »

Trailrider,
I too have an original '73 that has an oversized barrel (.433").  I find that it shoots aok with a 50/1 lead tin .428" bullet over b.p. The b.p. does a great job of bumping up the bullet to the barrel dimensions and gives accurate shooting.  Grin  

Smokeless , metal patched bulleted .44-40 ammunition did not come along until 1895, so up until that time it was soft bullets and b.p. which shot well regardless of the variance in the groove diameters.  If it didn't, there would have been a number of folks dissatisfied with their '73's.  Not so much though with the new fangled smokeless metal patched stuff in oversized barrels (.426" bullet diameter).........    

My other .44-40 is a Marlin Cowboy Ltd. (late 1990 production) and has a .428" groove diameter. It shoots fine with .428" - .429" dia. cast bullets.  

w44wcf

Howdy, again, Pard,
My problem is that I am basically lazy, or don't have the time following a match to clean up immediately after using BP. Obviously, a soft bullet or a hollow-base plus BP would solve the "bump up" requirement for the old '73.  Since I pretty well stick with smokeless loads for my Navy Arms Henry or Rossi M92, I'll either have to load separate ammo for the '73, have it relined, or... Sad  leave it in the vault!  Maybe I'll pair it up with an original Frontier Six Shooter, and use BP...someday...
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 01:52:06 pm »

Trailrider;  Leave it in the vault??? Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

Try the Holy Black; - You might like it. Grin Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 10:07:50 pm »

Howdy again Trailrider,
There is another option. Grin  PSB (Polyethylene shot buffer) will make undersized bullets shoot in an oversized barrel.  I discovered that about 10 years ago. I had purchased a box of Winchester Cowboy .44-40 ammunition in anticipation of eventually getting a .44-40.  The bullets were .428" diameter and obviously didn't shoot worth a hoot in the '73's .433" bore as shots 1-5 show on the target below (UGH!).

I thought, now what do I do with the rest of this ammunition(?). I decided to try to firewall the bullet with PSB to see what would happen.  I dissected 5 rounds, changed the powder to slower burning 4227, put in the PSB and reseated the bullets. I was astonished on how well that worked as you can see on the target in shots 6-10......a nice snug group with all 5 cutting 1 hole. Grin Grin  
 

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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 11:54:27 am »

Wow!  I'll have to try that sometime...when I can find the time, these days!  What sort of load of IMR 4227 did you use, and did you chronograph any of your loads? 

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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 05:10:47 pm »

Quote
have the hots for a '73 win in 44-40. Guess the deal will be slug the barrel, maybe try several offerning.....to see what makes it shine. If another mold is necessary, its necssary.

Yup, that's exactly what I did. I slugged the bore, then took it to the range with ammo loaded with .427, .428, and .429 bullets to see what it liked best. That is actually a fun exercise. Shoot a bunch of groups all from the same distance. Do it off a rest. Measure the groups, they will tell you what the rifle likes best.
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 08:11:26 pm »

Trailrider,,
I'll send you a pm.

w44wcf
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