Author Topic: Black Powder in the 44-40  (Read 78402 times)

Offline David Battersby

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Black Powder in the 44-40 Range Report
« Reply #80 on: March 14, 2013, 06:31:27 PM »
 I and my son shot lever action silhouette this past saturday at Atglen Sportsman Club. We both used the same rifle and ammunition trading back and forth between relays 1 and 2. I must say that at least with this rifle I have found the Holy Grail, or as my son said "this isn't a good load for this rifle, this is THE load for this rifle" Impresive would be an understatement.
 First let me say the rifle and load performed well, my score was low average for me, but when the trigger broke the bullet hit where the sights were aimed.
 The rifle is a Uberti 1873 24" straight stock rifle. Marbles tang, and 3/32 ivory bead front, sights.
 The load: Starline brass, CCI#300 primers, hand cast bullets from Accurate Molds 43-220 in 30-to1 alloy, DGL lube and Swiss FFG powder. The powder charge is 2.55cc compressed about .2 inches with a powder compression die to where the bullet base will make solid contact when seated. Bullets are then crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die.
 I need to/want to chronograph this load. Chickens were landing on top of the berm or imbedded into the berm. Chickens, pigs and turkeys were jumping and ringing like bells. When a neck shot on a turkey caused it to spin end-over-end I couldn't believe it. We went down range with the target setters and saw that the targets were not being damaged . They did however have large bullet splatters on them. WOW!  I can only guess the slightly heavier bullet, good velocity and soft alloy makes for high energy transfer???
 After practice, two fourty round matches and some playing around we put 120 rounds thru the rifle. I did blow from breach to bore a few times as the barrel was getting hot, but no cleaning. When all was said and done the bore looked like maybe some old RED DOT loads were fired thru it, or maybe some cheaper 22lr ammo. Very visible rifling, very thin fouling and very easy clean up. Before I put the rifle in a case I ran a very loose patch soaked with Balistol thru the bore. Four hours later at home a black slurry was easily pushed out with a tight patch. 
 Accurate, powerfull, shoots all day and easy cleanup.....thats it I'm hooked. This rifle will never see smokeless powder again ! The dirty looks and odd comments from other shooters is just icing on the cake. " hey who is shooting the howitzer down there"

     Thanks to John Kort
     Your advice and information was very helpfull and I gave you the credit to the good folks at the match, and Jack too. ;D

     Does anyone have info for the Eastern Regional Match ? I was told it is at McKean County out side of Bradford but can not find info on the web.

          Thanks to all
          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 w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #81 on: March 16, 2013, 06:42:16 AM »
David,
Thank you for the great report!  ;D  Glad to hear that you are getting excellent results with the Accurate 43-220C / Swiss combination.
To date, the most rounds I have fired in a row with the 44-40 & Swiss has been about 70 or so with flawless performance throughout, soft fouling and no foul out. I suspected that many more rounds could be fired accurately and you have confirmed that.
Thank you. ;D

Bradford is holding the PA State Championship on Aug 31 (smallbore & pistol ctg.) & Sept 1 (Cowboy Rifle). They normally hold the Eastern Regional around July 4 but I have not rec'd and inormation on that yet.

w44wcf 
aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
aka John Kort
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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #82 on: March 17, 2013, 01:12:06 PM »
Howdy Shooters!

I've got a new video for you about the 44-40 Ideal tool. I wonder why the bullet was so small.. Do you have any idea?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_rQNj1V1YY&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

cheers,
SC

Offline Lefty Dude

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #83 on: March 17, 2013, 02:30:56 PM »
Are you sure you have a 44WCF tool ?  The dimension suggest a 38WCF (38-40) Ideal tool .
Both calibers were chambered in the 73 at the tools time period.

However the original bore groove was tighter than the clones that are made now. I have an early mid 1980's Navy Arms (Uberti) 44WCF Carbine and the barrel is very tight, . 4245" - .425". This Rifle barrel leads very quickly if I shoot bullets sized .428". The size that is very accurate in this piece is .427".

When I received this Rifle the chamber Leade was very leaded, indicating the previous owner was using .428"-.429" sized projectiles.

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #84 on: March 17, 2013, 03:25:00 PM »
Are you sure you have a 44WCF tool ?  The dimension suggest a 38WCF (38-40) Ideal tool .
Both calibers were chambered in the 73 at the tools time period.

However the original bore groove was tighter than the clones that are made now. I have an early mid 1980's Navy Arms (Uberti) 44WCF Carbine and the barrel is very tight, . 4245" - .425". This Rifle barrel leads very quickly if I shoot bullets sized .428". The size that is very accurate in this piece is .427".

When I received this Rifle the chamber Leade was very leaded, indicating the previous owner was using .428"-.429" sized projectiles.

Hi Lefty!
100% sure that it is a 44-40 tool.
SC

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #85 on: Today at 02:46:39 PM »

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #85 on: March 17, 2013, 04:38:20 PM »
Howdy Space Cowboy,
Thank you for that neat video using a vintage Ideal Reloading tool. ;D
I currently have an original Winchester .44 WCF mold and reloading tool along with a vintage Ideal .44-40 mold.

.424" lead bullets
Most folks probably don't realize this, but initially the lead bullet diameter for the .44-40 was .424".  
It wasn't until around 1920 when the spec was changed to.427".

Last year I tested some .424" pure lead bullets in my rifle's .428" groove diameter with Swiss FFG powder and 5 rounds went into a 1/2" group at 25 yards. ;D  In my original '73's oversized .434" barrel, they grouped into around 1".

On that occasion the  bullets were ones that I pulled from early factory b.p. cartridges.  Bullets from my vintage Winchester and Ideal tools measure closer to .426" and I was curious about the accuracy of the slightly smaller bullets in the early factory cartridges. I'll be testing them at 100 yards when the weather breaks.
 
Those were pure lead bullets and did bump up nicely to fill the larger groove diameters.

The dimensions of your tool are a bit undersized at .421". Probably not unheard of due to tool wear and the cutting cherry being resharpened.  The sizing hole is definitely way undersized so if it were me, I would try the bullets as cast only and made from a very soft alloy like 50/1 or pure lead to achieve the best bump up possible if your initial tests are not satisfactory.

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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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #86 on: March 18, 2013, 02:31:12 AM »
Howdy Space Cowboy,
Thank you for that neat video using a vintage Ideal Reloading tool. ;D
I currently have an original Winchester .44 WCF mold and reloading tool along with a vintage Ideal .44-40 mold.

.424" lead bullets
Most folks probably don't realize this, but initially the lead bullet diameter for the .44-40 was .424".  
It wasn't until around 1920 when the spec was changed to.427".

Last year I tested some .424" pure lead bullets in my rifle's .428" groove diameter with Swiss FFG powder and 5 rounds went into a 1/2" group at 25 yards. ;D  In my original '73's oversized .434" barrel, they grouped into around 1".

On that occasion the  bullets were ones that I pulled from early factory b.p. cartridges.  Bullets from my vintage Winchester and Ideal tools measure closer to .426" and I was curious about the accuracy of the slightly smaller bullets in the early factory cartridges. I'll be testing them at 100 yards when the weather breaks.
 
Those were pure lead bullets and did bump up nicely to fill the larger groove diameters.

The dimensions of your tool are a bit undersized at .421". Probably not unheard of due to tool wear and the cutting cherry being resharpened.  The sizing hole is definitely way undersized so if it were me, I would try the bullets as cast only and made from a very soft alloy like 50/1 or pure lead to achieve the best bump up possible if your initial tests are not satisfactory.

w44wcf

Hi w44wcf,

I'll try that. The cavity in the mold is not in the best shape for sure. I made some testing again, and you were right. The bullets cast with the tool are too small, but the sizing hole is ok. I pushed thru my regular Lyman 429 bullets, and it clearly read .424!!

So the tool is good afterall, just the mold is too worn out.

Cheers,
SC

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #87 on: March 18, 2013, 08:31:57 AM »
Hi Space Cowboy,
Thank you or the update. Glad to hear that the sizing hole is .424".  I wonder if the bullet is .421" all around or if it is a bit out of round(?). Earlier Ideal tools did not have an alignment pin in the mold portion. Later ones did to help keep the halves in the correct alignment.

I have an Ideal tool like yours in .25-20 that did not have an alignment pin and there was a bit of looseness between the two halves, resulting in a mismatched mold. I had an alignment pin installed with the blocks accurately aligned which trued everything up.

You could add a .003" shim between the two halves and increase the bullet size to .424" at 90 degrees to the parting line. Since it looks like you drop pour, you should not get any flashing (excess lead) between the blocks.

Another thing that you could do or have done is to lap the mold to increase the bullet diameter.

Looking forward to your test results.

w44wcf


  
aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
aka John Kort
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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #88 on: March 18, 2013, 10:11:04 AM »
Hi Space Cowboy,
Thank you or the update. Glad to hear that the sizing hole is .424".  I wonder if the bullet is .421" all around or if it is a bit out of round(?). Earlier Ideal tools did not have an alignment pin in the mold portion. Later ones did to help keep the halves in the correct alignment.

I have an Ideal tool like yours in .25-20 that did not have an alignment pin and there was a bit of looseness between the two halves, resulting in a mismatched mold. I had an alignment pin installed with the blocks accurately aligned which trued everything up.

You could add a .003" shim between the two halves and increase the bullet size to .424" at 90 degrees to the parting line. Since it looks like you drop pour, you should not get any flashing (excess lead) between the blocks.

Another thing that you could do or have done is to lap the mold to increase the bullet diameter.

Looking forward to your test results.

w44wcf


  

Howdy w44wcf,

I think it is out of round as you said. First I will try to heat it up more and cast some bullets. Maybe the mold was not hot enough, and maybe it will be as oversized so I do not need to modify it. If not, than I will surely have to make some work on it.

Cheers,
SC

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #89 on: March 18, 2013, 11:09:49 AM »
I heated up the mold, so I could not hold it without gloves. I think this was the best fill I could make. The bullets are oval. Seems like some material is missing from the the two mold halves. The biggest diameter I could measure was .4245 with pure lead. The smallest .4175.

Biut I'll try the bullets anyway, just for fun. :)

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #90 on: Today at 02:46:39 PM »

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #90 on: March 18, 2013, 09:28:01 PM »
If the smallest diameter is measured 90 degrees from the parting line, it is very likely that when the mold was cut with the cherry, the handles were not closed completely. Thus, the cherry did not cut at its complete depth, which is unfortunate.

With the mold that out of round, lapping would not be the way to go. A good machinist could use a lathe or turntable on a mill to remove material from the mold to drop a truely round and up to spec bullet.

With the upset of b.p.,  the pure lead bullet will likely bump up to fill the grooves and may just shoot aok the way it is.

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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Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #91 on: March 19, 2013, 03:37:36 PM »
If the smallest diameter is measured 90 degrees from the parting line, it is very likely that when the mold was cut with the cherry, the handles were not closed completely. Thus, the cherry did not cut at its complete depth, which is unfortunate.

With the mold that out of round, lapping would not be the way to go. A good machinist could use a lathe or turntable on a mill to remove material from the mold to drop a truely round and up to spec bullet.

With the upset of b.p.,  the pure lead bullet will likely bump up to fill the grooves and may just shoot aok the way it is.

w44wcf      

Hi w44wcf,

I am not sure if I cand find someone to take care of that mold... I think I'll just use other bullets with it, and then it is fine.
By the way, I tested the cartridges compared to my target shooting BPCR ammo.- Here is range report:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_1dxTkIUHg[/youtube]

Cheers,
SC

Offline w44wcf

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #92 on: March 20, 2013, 08:18:15 AM »
Howdy Space Cowboy,

Thank you for the excellent video comparing the results between the two bullets. As you indicated, for a bullet being oval and up to .011" undersized, they didn't group too bad at all, especially if the 1st shot which fouled the bore was discounted.

I wonder if the bullet from the Ideal tool was orientated in the chamber so that the smallest diameter was always at, say, 12:00, if they would group more consistantly(?).  That would probably close the group up some.

Nice shooting with the 240 gr. bullet. ;D  A friend has loaned me his 429667 mold to test in my .44-40 just to see how it compares, accuracy wise, to the 427098* (original .44-40 bullet) at 100 - 330 yards.  It will be a couple of months before I am able to do that.

*Fairshake version - Accurate Molds 43-210B
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=43-210B-D.png

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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.22 W.C.F., .30 W.C.F., .44 W.C.F., .45 Colt Cartridge Historian

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #93 on: March 21, 2013, 04:39:41 AM »
Howdy Space Cowboy,

Thank you for the excellent video comparing the results between the two bullets. As you indicated, for a bullet being oval and up to .011" undersized, they didn't group too bad at all, especially if the 1st shot which fouled the bore was discounted.

I wonder if the bullet from the Ideal tool was orientated in the chamber so that the smallest diameter was always at, say, 12:00, if they would group more consistantly(?).  That would probably close the group up some.

Nice shooting with the 240 gr. bullet. ;D  A friend has loaned me his 429667 mold to test in my .44-40 just to see how it compares, accuracy wise, to the 427098* (original .44-40 bullet) at 100 - 330 yards.  It will be a couple of months before I am able to do that.

*Fairshake version - Accurate Molds 43-210B
http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=43-210B-D.png

w44wcf

Howdy w44wcf,

We'll it worths a try but I ma not suire it will improve the group too much. The 429667 is the mold I use. I am really happy with it I have to say.

Cheers,
SC

Offline Dakota Ike

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #94 on: March 21, 2013, 09:47:58 AM »
Space Cowboy
Two great and informative videos.  Thanks for posting.

w44wcf
John.  Really enjoy your posts and the knowledge you share.

Offline Space Cowboy

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #95 on: April 27, 2013, 01:04:21 AM »
Howdy Cowboys!

I know that I am a bit of offtipic here, but I need your help. I have a Pedersoli 44-40 Lightning rifle on hand - a beautiful piece of art - and I want to reload some cartridges for accuracy for further testing. I already assembled some dummy cartridges to check what the action likes, and it seems that my standard OAL, bullet and brass for the 1873 will fit this rifle as well,. However I had to put a harder crimp on with a factory crimp die to help the cartridge chamber easily.

So to cut is short: if you have any suggestions on BP load for the Pedersoli gun, I will be thankful!

Cheers,
SC

Offline El Tio Loco

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #96 on: April 27, 2013, 01:01:39 PM »
This is a great thread if one is searching for a black powder load in the .44 wfc.  Let me add to it.

My 1873 Winchester was built in 1893.  The bore mics to .431 and has a little pitting throughout the bore.  The bore is dark but the rifling is sharp and I was hoping that it would shoot.
The cases are Remington with cci large pistol primers with 37 grains of swiss 1 1/2.  The bullet is a lyman 427098 that comes out of the mold at .428.  I sized it .428 and used SPG lube.

I fired a couple of shots at 25 yards to make sure that I was going to hit the target at 100 yards and then shot a five shot group at 100 yards.
The group measured 2 3/4 inches X 3 inches.  That seems really good.  Is that about right out of a 1873?  Or am I not giving these old guns enough credit.

Then I hit a gong with it 5 times, the gong is 10 X 8 inches.  After it cooled I shot another group and it was all over the target.  So I guess the barrel fowled with black powder residue on the pits in the barrel?


The bottom line is that this is so much fun.  The recoil, smoke, and clang of a target being hit with a black powder round is such a rush.  Thanks to all who contribute to this board and sharing all they know.

Offline pony express

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #97 on: April 27, 2013, 01:14:08 PM »
I wouldn't complain about 3" at 100 yards with open sights. But you could always experiment and try to do better. Maybe different sizing or bullet alloys.

Offline Blair

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #98 on: April 27, 2013, 04:35:05 PM »
Space Cowboy.

I can't offer you any help on the DP Lighting Pump Action Rifles.
I did some experimenting with an original in 44-40 Colt Lighting Rifle.
I will be more than please to share what I found with you if you would like to contact me by e-mail.
Pierangelo, as you know has that contact info if you wish to contact me, or you may PM me on this web site and I will send my e-mail address to you.

As a side note here; you have provided some marvelous firearms vidios. I truly hope everybody can access these vidios.
My best,
  Blair
A Time for Prayer.
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God and the soldier we adore.
But in times of peace and all things right,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted"
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Offline El Tio Loco

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Re: Black Powder in the 44-40
« Reply #99 on: April 27, 2013, 07:35:05 PM »
I am very happy with a 3" group @ 100 yards, but I wished it stayed together for more shots.  Maybe if I used softer lead instead of wheel weight lead or a bullet with more lube.

Ken

 

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