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.44-40 load testing Miroku 1873 rifle and Colt SAA

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I recently started casting my own bullets and picked up an Accurate Molds 43-215C based on recommendations here.  My bullets weighed 232 grains on average when sized to .429 and lubed with SPG.  Powder charges were scooped using Lee scoops as my volumetric measure wasn’t with me at the time.  The rifle used was a Miroku 1873 with 24” barrel.  The revolver was a 3rd gen Colt SAA with 4.75” barrel.  The weather was -3 Celsius, overcast with a light covering of snow on the ground.  The two loads I shot today were;

1.  2.2 cc scoop of Old E 3F.  The Lee card would say that produces 35 grain charges but my experience with Lee data is that the charges are generally lighter than the scale indicates.  Chronograph readings provided an average velocity of 1281 fps from the rifle with a spread of 61 fps.  This was a nice shooting load but I believe that a bit more powder could easily be used to get me to 1300+ fps.  In the Colt, the load averaged 919 fps with a 45 fps spread.  This was the first time that I’ve shot black in the Colt and it was a fire breathing, spark spitting peacemaker!  Surprisingly to me, at 15 meters off hand that load produced a group of less than 2” for 5 shots.  I was shocked!

2.  1.0 cc scoop of Unique.  The Lee data chart says that is 9.2 grains however experience indicates the Lee data card is rarely accurate and is at best an indicator.  I weighed many of these charges and they weigh at 8.0 grains quite uniformly.  For many years I shot 8.5 gains of Unique in revolvers and carbines but rarely ran it over a Chronograph. Old manuals go considerably higher even in revolvers but my goal has always been factory specs at most.  Readings today using my new Garmin provided an average velocity of 1254 fps (29 fps spread) in the rifle and 982 fps average (67 spread) in the Colt.  Accuracy was what I expect from Unique in a wide range of cartridges, quite adequate but not as good as the 3F load.

I really like the Miroku and first indications are that it will be a good shooter.  I do intend to try a Bullseye rear sight which may be kinder to my eyesight.  Since I plan to hunt with the rifle, a fibre front sight may also find its way on to the rifle at some point.  Tang peeps are amazing but I don’t like them on a hunting rifle.

The Colt has always shot everything quite high.  For example today the 3F load was 6” above point of aim at 15 meters and most loads shoot even higher.  Shots at 50 were very high.  If it was anything other than a Colt I would have already made a significant change.  There aren’t many good options up here (north of the 49th parallel) so I will likely try a few old school options  :o  to get her shooting closer to where the sights are looking as it shoots great groups.  The Unique load produced a slightly higher velocity but that 3F load clearly demonstrated that the old Colt .44 WCF with black powder loads was a very good companion back in the day! 

The OE powder weighs less than Swiss comparing by volume. It also by volume is about 5 to 8% hotter than Swiss and much more consistent under compression.

Lucky R. K.:

--- Quote from: wildman1 on January 02, 2024, 07:21:49 AM ---The OE powder weighs less than Swiss comparing by volume. It also by volume is about 5 to 8% hotter than Swiss and much more consistent under compression.

--- End quote ---

How were you able to determine strength of the Goex compared to the Swiss?
Lucky  ???


With a scale and measure by volume to measure the powder and a chronograph to measure the velocity of the loads. Loads were shot by volume and more tests done by weight. The rifle used was a Springfield trapdoor. I used 1/8, 3/16 and 1/4 inch compression in both powders. An interesting side note is I have a rifle that doesn't shoot either Swiss or OE as well as Schuetzen.

Great report QueensHorseman.


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