Author Topic: Black Powder in the 44-40  (Read 77923 times)

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2012, 07:39:39 AM »
David,
Thank you for the update. For the very best performance (groups), I would shoot only those bullets that had no visible defects, especially on the base, and that did not vary more than + - .3 grs. in weight.

I'll look forward to your future range report(s).

I did not make it to the Eastern Regional match either ...... family doings.  So, I am looking forward to the PA State Match Sep1 and Sep2 in Ridgway......

w44wcf

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Offline Jubal Wilson

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2012, 11:57:20 PM »
w44wcf/John, it has been a bad year for me as far as shooting. Since we had such a dry year I haven't been able to get out to the forest (closed because of extreme fire danger) since my last post on this thread. Anyway I have a question for you. Have you tried a side by side comparison of the accuracy of the 427098 and the 43-215C using the same load of Swiss? It seems to me that the wide lube groove would effect the streamlining of the bullet when it spun off the lube. I am talking about 200 to 300 yards.
We are still waiting on our new rifle range but the Game, Fish and Parks which took over the project says maybe by summer. It sure will be nice.
Jubal/Paul
Jubal Wilson

When a man loses his dreams he becomes a wanderer in the wasteland of human existence.

Offline 58cal

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #62 on: December 14, 2012, 05:34:48 AM »
Good morning....I really appreciate this forum. I'm learning a lot.

In the North-South Skirmish Association, we have a breech loading rifle competition.
Most competitors use Uberti Henry rifles in mostly 44WCF. Spencer's are less common.
A commonly used bullet that isn't discussed much in this forum is the Lyman 429667,
weighing close to 250 grains(in hardball)...715 inches long.

Happy Holidays!

58cal
Charleston, SC




Offline David Battersby

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2012, 01:08:27 PM »
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

   I have been working on my black powder loads for my Uberti 1873 in 44-40 and I guess there is progress to share and a question or two.
 I had some encouraging results from the last batch of cast bullets purchased, but they were also the most expensive cast bullets purchased. So now I am a bullet casting...um...uh..fellow.  I have a Lee 20lb bottom pour pot with basic accessories. I chose the Accurate 43-220C as it follows the original Lyman nose profile, is flat based and with smokeless loads my rifle has done better with 240 grain bullets.
 My first and only batch of bullets so far were not perfect. Many have wrinkled lines in the noses. I cleaned the mold with denatured alcohol, smoked the cavities with a butane lighter and lubed the alignment pins with graphite. I believe I simply did not get the mold hot enough . I have since recleaned the mold with brake cleaner. Should I smoke the cavities ? Should I hold the sprue plate against the spout when pouring, or leave a small air gap ?  I will try again and report back.
  As of right now I am casting 30-to-1 alloy. The bullets that look good are round, uniform in weight and are .431in diameter as cast, which is what I requested.  The bore is .429 just ahead of the chamber. The bullets have good neck tension in unresized fired cases. The cartridge loads into the rifle chamber with no problems.
 I also have a powder compression die now. Compressing the powder with bullet seating most definitely squashes those soft bullets. I am using DGL bullet lube. It is a soft black powder lube similar to SPG but more oily. Pan lubed not sized.
 The combination of the above has been impressive. After 50 rounds fired there is a substantial grease ring on the muzzel and the thinnest softest fouling I have experienced in the bore. Today I shot one of the best 100 yard groups ever with this rifle, with ANY load.
 My best black powder load so far has been with Swiss 1.5f, which gave me a couple surprises and raised a few questions. I have tried 2.45cc of Swiss 2f which weighs 35.2 grains and is compressed 1/8 inch. The seated bullet touching the compressed powder. The accuracy was good but I loaded another box of 50 to compare with any other combinations I might try. While all the equipment and components were out I loaded a box with 2.45cc of 1.5f . I was surprised as this weighs 37 grains. I was expecting a bulkier powder of the same volume to weigh less . As I fired this load I observed more "sparks/flares" falling out of the muzzel as compared to the 2f load. I was sure this was due to inefficient combustion and would be an inaccurate load. Well look at the picture and you tell me. The seventeen holes are the first 10 after fouling shots and then the last seven out of a box of 50. The target is torn up because it was wet when I pulled it down, as it started raining. Visibility went south , I could hardly see the bright white bullseye and yet....wow !
 I will try again compairing 1.5f and 2f Swiss before I order a case, but I am curious. Has anyone else compaired them and found one better in the 44-40 ? I know every rifle is a creature to itself, just curious. As I stated the loads were compressed about 1/8in, would more or less powder be better ?
John Moses Browning and Teddy Roosevelt, we need you again !
In the days of old when men were bold and a quarter was still worth a dime.

Offline wildman1

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »
I also have a 20 lb Lee pot. When I pour the larger bullets I use a Lyman ladle because I also had trouble with imperfect bullets from the bottom spout on the Lee pot, doesn't get the lead in the mold fast enough. Same temp using the Lyman Ladle but the bullets come out perfect. The Lee bottom pour works great on the smaller bullets. WM
WARTHOG, Dirty Rat #600, BOLD #1056, CGCS,GCSAA, NMLRA, NRA, AF&AM, CBBRC.  If all that cowboy has ever seen is a stockdam, he ain't gonna believe ya when ya tell him about whales.

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #65 on: Today at 10:24:51 PM »

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2012, 10:07:59 AM »
........Have you tried a side by side comparison of the accuracy of the 427098 and the 43-215C using the same load of Swiss? It seems to me that the wide lube groove would effect the streamlining of the bullet when it spun off the lube. I am talking about 200 to 300 yards.  Jubal/Paul

Jubal, I have fired both bullets out to 300 meters (327 yards) and I will say that accuracy seems to be very close to the same. Paper targets @ 200 yards - showed almost the same group size for 10 shots - 427098 - 8 of the 10 shots inside 4", 43-215C - 8 of 10 shots inside 4". All 20 shots were inside 6".

58cal,
Welcome to the forum!  Thank you for the information.

David,
Thank you for the report. Nice shooting!  Excellent!   Much, much improved as compared to your first tests. ;D
Welcome to the world of making your own bullets!  ;D

The Accurate 43-220C is a very good choice for the 44-40 in combination with Swiss powder. It follows the same design as the 427098 (Accurate 43-210B - Fairshake) but with the crimp groove added which lengthens the bullet the width of the crimp groove (.04") and increases the weight.

I would agree that the alloy was not hot enough. I would suggest to try running the 30/1 alloy at 800F - 850F . You could preheat the mold in a toaster oven to bring it up to temp so that you will eliminate most of the rejects from a cold mold start up.  I use a toaster oven set at 450F to do that. Before placing the mold into the oven I remove the screws that are used to retain the handles. I turn on the pot and oven at the same time and let them warm up for a minimum of 1/2 - 3/4 hr.

Once up to temp, I use the mold handles to remove the mold from the oven then align the holes and insert the retaining screws.
I don't have the Lee 20# pot (I have the RCBS) but I looks like it has an adjustment to control the flow. Set it so that there is a fast drip then open it slightly so that it is a solid stream. As the alloy in the pot gets lower, adjustments will need to be made to keep the stream constant.  

I have had very good luck in making very good bullets with a bottom pour pot - on bullets up to 350 gr in weight. Over that and the dipper makes better bullets. As WM indicated, if you are still having a bit of trouble, you might want to try getting and using dipper.

If the mold is clean you should not need to smoke the cavities. If you do smoke the cavities, use wooden matches rather than a lighter.

I prefer to make mold contact with the spout which I find makes the base edges nice and sharp. I do have a few molds that seem to work better if I drop pour (mold below the spout by 1/2" or so.   I do find that spout contact has worked the best for me with the Accurate molds I have. 

Regarding Swiss 1 1/2 vs 2F, I have tried both and find them to be pretty equal accuracy wise. Since I like to = original factory ballistics (1,300 f.p.s.) I use mostly Swiss 2f.  Using standard large pistol primers 35 grs = 1,309 f.p.s..  It takes 38 grs of Swiss 1 1/2 to = 1,300 f.p.s. which requires more compression, but accuracy seems to be pretty much the same. Charges are by weight.

The same volume of 1 1/2 weighs just 1/2 gr less than the 2F in the lots that I have.

Happy new year!
w44wcf
  

    
  
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Offline David Battersby

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2012, 12:30:33 PM »

      I cast some 600 bullets yesterday afternoon and am now in the midst of pan lubing. I ran the pot at 800 degrees and preheated the mold more aggressively . Them is some purdy boolits !
 I will experiment with more 2f loads, up to at least 37 grains.
 I will post a picture of my Lee Turret Press with the modified Pro Auto Disc, the plastic hopper has been replaced with copper. It's not pretty but it works.

  The advice is very appreciated.

   David
John Moses Browning and Teddy Roosevelt, we need you again !
In the days of old when men were bold and a quarter was still worth a dime.

Offline wildman1

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2012, 07:41:47 PM »
w44wcf is correct. I just weighed 30gs by measure of Swiss 1.5 and it weighed 33gs. WM
WARTHOG, Dirty Rat #600, BOLD #1056, CGCS,GCSAA, NMLRA, NRA, AF&AM, CBBRC.  If all that cowboy has ever seen is a stockdam, he ain't gonna believe ya when ya tell him about whales.

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2012, 09:29:47 AM »
David,
Thank you for the update. Glad to hear that your latest casting session went better than the one previous.
"Them is some purdy bullets!"   Yes indeed! Better than store bought cast bullets. Quality can be much better too.

F.Y.I.
Chip Mate won the NRA Cowboy Silhouette Arizona State Champ with a score of 75x80 using a 44-40 Henry and 35 grs of Swiss 1 1/2 powder under a 200 gr RCBS bullet.  He does have to wipe after every 10 shots to maintain accuracy partially due to the less lube capacity of the RCBS bullet and partially because of the low humidity in the south.

Later he shot a perfect 40x40!
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,42343.0.html

Awesome shooting!
w44wcf 
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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #69 on: January 28, 2013, 12:28:27 AM »
Howdy,

Yesterday I shot my 44-40 Uberti 1873 to 100 m. I shot several 5 shot groups from a sandbag rest, the worst group was 5.7", the best was 3,3", but 4 shots from the best groups were in a 2.3" circle. I fired 25 shots with the rifle, and the best group was the 4th 5 shots. I did not clean the bore between shots, and did not use a blow tube.



Load: starline cases, 35gr 3Fg Swiss, Lyman 240 grain bullet sized to .427", primer: CCI 250 large pistol
Lube: mixed from 0W40 engine oil, beeswax and tallow

I am sure that this group can be improved with a better rest and diopeter sight.

I love this rifle.

cheers,
SC

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #70 on: Today at 10:24:51 PM »

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #70 on: January 28, 2013, 12:31:49 AM »
One more thing. my rifle is sighted to 50 ms, so if I aim at the bottom of the black are the bullets fly into the ten ring. At 100 m the bullets hit the target just where I aim so trhe bullet drop between 100 and 50 m is cca 5".

Offline Rowdy Fulcher

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #71 on: January 28, 2013, 12:50:33 PM »
Space Cowboy
Thanks for sharing your shooting results . Have you had a chance to try them over a chronograph . The 35 grains of 3F Swiss is a hot load .

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #72 on: January 29, 2013, 10:23:05 AM »
SC,
Thank you for the range report. ;D    I wonder if you sized the bullet to...say .429 or .430 (if it is large enough) if the average group size could be reduced.   I don't have a Uberti '73, but I have read that the groove diameters of those rifles are likely closer to .429" from those that have slugged their rifles.

w44wcf
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Offline Rowdy Fulcher

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #73 on: January 29, 2013, 11:29:18 AM »
Howdy
I switched to the .429 and it printed smaller groups . The .427 worked but the .429 was better .Uberti rifles have a larger bore .

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #74 on: January 29, 2013, 12:45:03 PM »
Yes, the bore is .428 so theoreticall 429 bullets work better. With this load I tried the 429 bullets, but they were hard to chamber in the rifle, and sometimes impossible to chamber in my revolvers. The bullet seemd to push out the brass.


Offline griswold

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #75 on: January 29, 2013, 05:05:57 PM »
Howdy,
Been reading all the above comments and really enjoy the testimonys and learning about everyone's testing and results concerning BP loads.

I don't know if I missed the point or what, but I noticed that most successes were with the Swiss BP loads and most were around 35grs. some were a bit higher at 37.

And I have come to learn that the magic number for velocity is around 1300 fps.

Then one fellow mentioned he loaded 40 grs highly compressed into a starline (?) case and W44wcf I believe said his notes showed this load was around 1338 fps but he noted some could be closer to 1400 fps.

Now I am confused.
One: I understood that it was difficult to impossible to load 40 grs. of BP in today's 44wcf cases. (I have loaded 40 grains in a Colt .45 case, but there is a little more room and it is quite stout with a pistol) ((Ruger Blackhawk)) I also think a heavy compression effort is a little dangerous.
Two: the original ballistics for the 1873 was around 1300 fps with 40 grs. Is this correct or just for Cowboy events?
Three: Many shooters writing here are stating their 35-37 grain loads are producing close to around 1300 fps. Is this correct?
Four: I remember, again from a old NRA article, the consensus was at that time, the old BP cartridges were heavy compressed loads. But I never read any further confirming literature.

Loading for Cowboy events I understand the 1300 limit, but what is the actual velocity limit for 44-40 BP loads?

Is the Swiss BP superior to the old time BP's? If not, what is the reasons for the discrepancy's in Velocity and powder loads? Old 44-40 data to todays loadings?
Griswold,
The Griswold was favored by my Great Grand Pa James Henry Story who rode with the 7th Georgia Cavalry.

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #76 on: January 29, 2013, 08:58:44 PM »
SC,
Thank you for the update. So, if the brass was a little thinner, then it would work with the .429/ .430" bullets.
Recently I ran some accuracy tests on soft, undersized bullets (.003") (50/1  lead/tin alloy) with b.p. to see how the accuracy compared with harder, .001" over groove diameter bullets. I found the accuracy to be pretty much the same (very good). ;D

The issue with the softer bullets though, is if the load requires much compression, the compression needs to be done before the bullet is seated or the bullet will be distorted.

mossback,
To help clear things up....
1,300 f.p.s. was the original cataloged velocity of the 44-40 b.p. carrtidge

Early 44-40 factory cartridges that I have dissected had .20"-.24" of compression.

It is possible to load a settled charge of 40 grs in modern brass and it will need to be compressed to at least to the above amount.
Different powders do have different densities though, so powders like Swiss and Diamondback being the most dense would be compressed less than Goex, etc. when measured by weight.

Swiss definitely works the best with the original 2 lube grooved bullet (427098) but Goex, Schuetzen, Diamondback, KIK do just fine with the Accurate 43-215C and DD's "Big Lube".

Swiss is a higher energy powder and thus it takes less than 40 grs. to reach 1,300 f.p.s. with FFG. 35 grs by weight will do it in modern brass while 37 grs. in older REM-UMC (balloon head) cases gives a bit more. (The REM-UMC cases hold 2 grs. more b.p.).

I would say that Swiss is the equal of some of the old time "Sporting" grade b.p.'s but is likely not really superior.
All had the ability to keep the fouling soft since they were moist burning. not so with Goex and similar powders.

w44wcf   

   
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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #77 on: January 30, 2013, 02:13:35 AM »
w44wcf,

I strongly beleiwe that the kick of the 35 grains Swiss BP is enoughj to upset the bullet into the rifling. I recovered some of my fired bullet and they show a complete fill. My alloy is pretty hard: 1:20 tin:lead.

SC

Offline griswold

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #78 on: January 30, 2013, 06:23:46 PM »
SC,

mossback,
To help clear things up....
1,300 f.p.s. was the original cataloged velocity of the 44-40 b.p. carrtidge

Early 44-40 factory cartridges that I have dissected had .20"-.24" of compression.

It is possible to load a settled charge of 40 grs in modern brass and it will need to be compressed to at least to the above amount.


I would say that Swiss is the equal of some of the old time "Sporting" grade b.p.'s but is likely not really superior.
All had the ability to keep the fouling soft since they were moist burning. not so with Goex and similar powders.

w44wcf   
   

W44wcf
Thanks for the education. I really like this site, mucho information.
Mossback
Griswold,
The Griswold was favored by my Great Grand Pa James Henry Story who rode with the 7th Georgia Cavalry.

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #79 on: January 31, 2013, 08:48:24 PM »
w44wcf,

I strongly beleiwe that the kick of the 35 grains Swiss BP is enoughj to upset the bullet into the rifling. I recovered some of my fired bullet and they show a complete fill. My alloy is pretty hard: 1:20 tin:lead.

SC

SC, Thank you for that information.  I have only experimented with softer 1 & 2 percent tin / lead bullets and have gotten complete upsets and accurate shooting with bullets that are .006" undersized so it stands to reason that a 5 percent tin / lead bullet would expand .002" and give accurate shooting. ;D

w44wcf
aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
aka John Kort
aka w30wcf (smokeless)
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