Author Topic: Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. 44 Winchester Mold  (Read 193 times)

Offline Bryan Austin

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Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. 44 Winchester Mold
« on: May 26, 2022, 09:56:35 AM »
I have always wanted to dig deeper into the original 44 WCF lead bullet design. Why? Because I had/have nothing better to do, but the cost is getting prohibited. In my efforts to learn as much as I can about the history of the 44 bullets and cartridges, I decided to purchase, against my better judgement, an old BGI 44 Winchester bullet mold. The original Winchester molds are just too expensive.


Bullet Profile
Some folks today just do not realize that just because a bullet is a "44" doesn't mean that it is a 44WCF/44-40 bullet. The original 44WCF lead bullets were of the LRNFP design but unlike many today, there was no exposed forward driving band, nor any hint of a wad cutter. The lead bullet was "clean" and the o'give, a constant curve from the flat point to the case mouth. The o'give curve is what some refer to as the profile, and it was specific to the 44 Winchester. (how bad did I mess it up this time?)

Both Winchester's factory swaged lead as well as the soft point bullets had the same profile. At some point (about 1884) it appears that Winchester's handloading bullet molds began to add a "raised" forward driving band somewhat like paper cutting ledge of semi-wad cutter design. Lyman's 42498, 42499 hollow point and 42798 also seem to implement this "raised" band. However, there really is no "raised" anything. It appears that while the profile remained the same, the bullets gained in diameter sizes making the driving band appear to be "raised". This is visually "exaggerated" in Lyman's 427098 mold which drops a .428 bullet with typical lead mix.

I never did like this design and is why I came up with the 43-214A, nothing more than a .428" Lyman 427098 with the o'give filled in to give a smooth transition from the driving band to the o'give like the original 44 design.

The Bridgeport mold looks to be a direct copy of the Winchester's 4th model made about 1884. While Winchester's 4th model bullet mold implements this cut out for the "raised" driving band, the Bridgeport does not.

The Diameter (Raised Driving Band Explained)
I do not know what the early Winchester mold's dropped size is for a comparison. The Bridgeport mold dropped a soft lead bullet at .424" with a smooth o'give transition. The Lyman 42499 HP drops with a slight raised driving band at .427" and the 427098 drops a .428"...all with the same lead mix. I did not test the hardness. Not real soft but probably harder than wheel weights.

The Late John Kort did a lot of shooting with the undersized bullets in larger diameter bores and found that with the proper chamber pressures, the small diameter bullets expanded just fine in the large bores for adequate accuracy.


I am very happy with this mold, dropping a bullet good enough to shoot. I will post the results but have no idea when that will be. Just thought ya'll might enjoy seeing this mold.

As always, I will probably have to edit this ten times!

More photos and info here: https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/chasing-the-44-40/handloading-introduction/handloading/bullet-molds/bridgeport-bullet-molds





Offline greyhawk

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Re: Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. 44 Winchester Mold
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2022, 06:53:44 PM »
Bryan
fun info as always
to my eye the 200grain Magma is closest to what this boolit should look like
I really like the look of the LEE boolit - if that darn thing just had a bit better lube grooves I would shoot nothing else, but it falls short on lube for blackpowder

Offline Bryan Austin

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Re: Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. 44 Winchester Mold
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2022, 09:37:31 PM »
Yes sir,

The 200gr Magma (Magma Engineering) is probably the most popular store bought bullet by commercial casters.


For pistol powder smokeless loads, it is probably best to used those type bullets that offer a crimp grove.


 

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