Special Interests - Groups & Societies > 1860 Henry

What Caliber?

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Sir Charles deMouton-Black:
The first,a and almost the only caliber for the Henry and 1866 was the.44 rf Henry Flat  Apparently the last lot of 1866's was made in a .44 Henry cf.  By a coincidence, the first large frame S & W was made in .44 Henry rf, but quickly changed to centerfire, the .44 American.  By the way, the Turkish army used both the 1866 and the rimfire S&W in the original calibers.

In Cartridges of the World, the dimensions of both the Henry and S&W centerfire cartridges seem identical.

Except fot the Uberti "Yellow Boy", reproduction Henrys and 1866's started out in 44-40 wcf.  I got my 1866 in .38 Spl for two reasons.  First,  I saw an original 1866 in .38 Spl., admitedly made up from factory parts in about 1918, but of original manufacture, as a special order.  Secondly,  I adopted the 1851 navy Richard Mason as my match guns, so the caliber fitted in, even though it is not actually correct.

Would not the .44 Russian, as the closest kin to the Henry cartridge be the most appropriate repro chambering?  I see that someone does it in .44 Special, and claim that .44 Colt works just fine.  Seems closer to the original.

Any thoughts?

Fox Creek Kid:
There's a better way IMHO. I have a Henry in 44-40 & I load 28 gr. FFFg topped with a .135 thick card wad of .430 diameter and a 200 gr. BP lubed bullet. Identical ballistics as original & no straight case "blowback syndrome". This load gives a perfect 1/8" compression & shoots one hole groups at 25 yds. in my Henry & '66.

Rapid Lee:
Sir Charles,

I agree with your logic 100%.  I've been lusting after a Henry in 44 Russian for a long time now.  It would go perfectly with my 44 Open Tops and conversions and I think it would be more authentic in 44 Russian than 44-40.  I guess if I could find (and afford ::))one in 44 spl, I might consider switching over to 44 Colt...  I do have a Henry in 44-40 which I only shoot American Pioneer through.  I get absolutely no blowback; in fact the receiver is hardly dirty at all at the end of the day, much cleaner than my '73 in 45 Colt with smokeless loads ;D.

Rapid

Ottawa Creek Bill:
Actually .44 Colt would be the choice for a chambering in the Henry. It is the closest to the original rim fire (Henry's were never made in center fire, we all know that), in a center fire cartridge. I am in the process of rechambering my henry form .45 Long Colt to .44 Colt. .

Bill

Ottawa Creek Bill:
Seth,
You can! All you have to do is sleeve it the approprate length and rechamber it.

St. Charles,
I'm really suprised that the .44 magnum and .44 colt will interchange since the .44 colt rim diameter (.483) is much smaller then the .44 magnum. I'm wondering if the person had the .44 mag rims turned down to .483? Just curious as I was going to make a new lifter and bolt for this rifle and this would save a lot of extra work.

Bill

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