Author Topic: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.  (Read 291 times)

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« on: September 28, 2019, 08:19:15 pm »
Preparatory to my possible efforts to obtain a pair of Open Tops again, only in .44 Caliber this time, I was re-reading Mc Dowell's book on Colt Conversions and saw that there is at least one existing early 1872 Open Top in .44 Russian (Serial No. 6).  I have heard of others having been found in .44 Russian (and 44-40 if you can believe it!) also.  Considering the rim of the .44 Henry is actually larger, and the .44 Russian case is only .015" larger, it would be an easy to bore the cylinder and move the firing pin over.

Since my 1860 Henry rifle is .44-40, I have struggled with having an 1871/2 Open Top not in the same caliber as the rifle.  The .44 Special is out, as it is post 1900. .44 Colt is a possibility, but from a historical sense, its .451" diameter bullet would be too large for the open top's bore of .432/.442".  The soft .430" bullet of the .44 Russian would probably obdurate enough to be stable at pistol ranges.

As sexy as the .44  Colt is, I think the .44 Russian with its 246 grain bullet would be realistic, especially since there is/are original Open Tops in that caliber....  Besides, I already have 100 rounds of .44 Russian, 246 grain over Triple 7 loaded.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 09:48:09 am by Tuolumne Lawman »
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Coffinmaker

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 5475
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 10:39:51 am »
Hey there Lawman  :D

Really hard to figure out where your going with this one.  Many early "Finds" are rumor and propaganda.  The Cylinder of the original Open Top is too small in diameter to accept 44-40.  44 Russian is a maybe, as is 44 Colt.  It is known, conversions in those cartridges/calibers were not done by Colt.

Currently, Uberti built Open Top guns in .44 have a .429/430 bore and the barrel is comparable with all current manufacture .44s   Most new build Open Tops I have seen, the cylinder is chambered 44 Special regardless of marking.  A cylinder marked 44 Colt will chamber a 44 Special round.  The 44 Russian case is as close as your going to get to a 44 Henry Flat without a time machine.  A 44 Special cylinder can be rechambered to 44-40 to give you a match to your Henry in which case you would have matching rifle and revolver cartridges and both would be equally historically incorrect   :o

Since 44 Special Henry rifles are as common as Hen's teeth, I elected to go with a '66 in 44 Special and an altered carrier to run 44 Russian and shoot in companion to my Open Tops with 44 cylinders and barrels, in which I run 160Gr bullets over APP.  A nice friendly load for CAS.

PS:  I forgot.  I would suggest treating Micky Dowell's book with a good pile of skepticism.  Some of what he has purported as fact has been proven to be fantasy.  Such as an "Original" Open Top in 44-40.  Simply didn't happen.   
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 10:43:06 am by Coffinmaker »

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2019, 10:59:23 am »
Mc Dowell actually has pictures of No 6 in 44 Russian and a post factory conversion to 44-40 that was never finished (firing pin). I know the Uberti bores are .429/430".  I was speaking "historically," it would be unlikely to try a .451" heeled 44 Colt in a .435/442" in bore of an original 1872 Open Top. whereas .44 Russian was actually done.  I want my caliber, since I can't shoot .44 Rimfire in an open top, to be something historically plausible.  Thus .44 Russian (existing sample) and not .44 Colt (no existing sample).
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2019, 12:31:11 pm »
I have my 1860 Henry in .44-40.  I formerly had one in 45 that I loaded a "44 Henry Duplication load" of 28 grains of FFG and a 200 grain bullet in a .45 Schofield case.  The over length chamber and rigid .45 Schofield case, however, cause horrific fouling.  I switched to a .44-40 Henry which could be downloaded to 28 grains and not foul.  Even my .44-40 load of 7.0 grains Trail Boss gives about 1120 fps, duplicating the historical .44 Henry round in performance.

Since I can not have 1872 Open Tops in .44-40 the same as my Henry, I wanted it to be in a different, yet historically accurate/plausible cartridge...therefore the .44 Russian!
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Black River Smith

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 892
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2019, 01:41:20 pm »
Tuolumne,

You are correct about the 44Rus but read the Mc'Dowell text or picture text closely, he actually id's two revolvers as 44Rus.  Back in the 2001 when I bought my 1872 I used that info as part of my persona, in order to use and shoot 44Rus's in my 44Colt cylinder.  It is a great BP load and very easy to handle in competition.  I used an 1866 in 44-40 as a partner rifle. Back then I did not think about the 44Spec rifle, because the modified lifters where not around, as much.  Plus I had enough in the firearms already.

I like them as being as close to authentic as I could get for the early - early years.

BRS
Black River Smith

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2019, 06:51:34 pm »
A fellow traveler!  That is my exact rationalization.  I want a Henry, so I am limited to .45 and .44-40.  I wanted an original caliber for my conversions or Open Tops.  Im my two Kirst 1860 Conversion builds, I went with .45, and the Schofield with a 200 grain bullet looks really close to the .44 Colt with its .452 heeled bullet.



For Open Tops, however, the .44 Colt would not be historically plausible, but .44 Russian is historically correct since several exist.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2019, 09:05:02 pm »
I will not know until later in the week if my effort to get .44 Open Tops will work out.  A number of things have to line up correctly. If it works out, it will take about a month to get both because of Commiefornia's 1 pistol a month.

On another note, I am going to check Adler's conversion book to see what he says.  I know he had some additional information about Conversions, but I don't remember what he had about Open Tops.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators

Offline FriscoCounty

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 247
  • SASS #: 83712
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2019, 12:49:46 am »
Closest I think you will get is the .44 Colt Open Top firing .44 Russian and an 1866 Winchester in .44 Special with a Smith Shop Special Carrier.  It's what I shoot.  And, yeah, it would be great if someone put out a .44 Special or .44 Russian version of the 1860 Henry. 
NRA Life Benefactor, CRPA Life, SASS Life 83712, RO I, Hiram Ranger 48, Coyote Valley Sharpshooters, Coyote Valley Cowboys, SASS TG

Offline Coffinmaker

  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 5475
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2019, 08:46:59 am »

Way back inna Wabac (Sherman and the Perfesser) Uberti built some Henry Rifles in 44 Special.  I've worked on two in my Sordid past.  I couldn't get either owner to sell.  Really was frustrating/annoying. 

The Henry can be easily modified to run a case like the 44 Russian.  I have 4 .45 Henry rifles set up for C45S which is just plain SUPER FUN.  With a simple cartridge stop added to the Henry Carrier and relief slot cut in the side of the bolt the short cartridges can be run easily.

If you trying to run short cartridge in a Side Load Henry Transitional (I do) a Smith Shop Carrier is required.  Also the Carrier block must be extensively modified for the slot for loading thru the side.  Still very workable.

I realize the 44 Special Henry is probably not a big seller and thus Uberti no longer builds them.  For those of us who like guns of lesser popularity that is a nuisance.

Offline Tuolumne Lawman

  • CAS-L Ghost Rider
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 2206
  • Grass Valley, CA in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Re: Original 1871/2 Open Top in .44 Russian.
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 12:17:39 pm »
I actually have an Uberti 1860 follower that has been so modified.  I used it Civil War reenacting to feed heavily crimped 38-40 made into blanks in either a 45 or 44-40 Henry.  It would work on .44 Russian of .45 Cowboy.
TUOLUMNE LAWMAN
CO. F, 12th Illinois Cavalry  SASS # 6127 Life * Spencer Shooting Society #43 * Motherlode Shootist Society #1 * River City Regulators