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What is a 44-40 and why is it thought to be so weak?

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  • What is a 44-40 and why is it thought to be so weak?

    What is a 44-40?

    **ANY LOAD DATA LISTED BELOW IS FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE USED**
    REFER TO CURRENT HANDLOADING MANUALS FOR LOAD DATA!!!

    Lyman's 49th handloading manual is best!



    The 44-40

    This seems to be one of the most well know cartridges but yet most people have no idea to it's true historical ballistics. One battle, if not the first battle it was used in, was the Battle of the Rosebud just a few days earlier than The Battle of the Little Big Horn. Although certainly not the main rifle, it was still rather new and the American Indians were still in the process of obtaining this new rifle. The 1860 44 Henry and 44 Winchester 66' were already being used in great numbers by the American Indians. Unliked by military leaders, the Indians already knew of its capabilities.

    "Winchester's "New Model of 1873" as it was known at the time was to replace the aging Winchester Model of 1866' in it’s out dated rimfire cartridge. The new 44 W.C.F. (Winchester Center Fire), as it was eventually called, was a cartridge that could be reloaded by being able to replace the external “center fire” primer.

    I failed to see a catalog offered for 1874, however, in Winchester's catalog of 1875 the "New Model of 1873" is introduced.

    "Its Popularity Proves Its Success"
    The title given to the article that explains...

    "One hundred and fifty thousand have been sold without advertising or puffing, and they have everywhere been given unqualified satisfaction, having earned their position solely by their merits."

    Probably the most seen target today is the 110 yard, 30 shot, 4" group by Doc Pardee.
    “It affords me much pleasure to communicate to you the result of 30 consecutive shots at a distance of 110 yards with one of the improved Winchester rifles (1873). The firing was done without wiping, which proves the Winchester to be steady in her performance….”

    1860-1872 -For nearly twelve years the repeating Henry seemed to be way ahead of its time. The Henry cartridges and bullets can still be found today along many front lines and skirmish areas. It was time to improve and Winchester did just that. The Model of 66' used a little longer cartridge and heavier bullets. Both were still of the rimfire design. The firing pin would strike the edge of the rim. At times this would not work and the cartridge was removed, turned a little and retried. Recovered cartridges and spent cases sometimes reviled three or more attempts at firing.


    1873
    MILBANK PRIMERS - I am not certain as to the history of the Milbank Primer design but it was patented, Pat. #103,641...May, 31, 1870. During the early development of the Winchester 73' cartridge, the Milbank primer design was used. It appears that this primer design was flawed and troublesome but I lack details. The primer was developed with a dimple in it and it much resembled a spent cartridge when in fact they were not fired. Several 73' cartridge cases recovered from early Indian battle sites such as Bighorn are reported as being such primed cases. Seems odd since those cartridges were short lived and may not have even sold in quantities. This cartridge with the new primer was very short lived and it has been said that some of the earliest deliveries of the 73' were delayed until the boxer primer system was released.

    1873-1877 - In Winchester's 1875 catalog the first 44 WCF cartridges appeared. Winchester stated, “The effect of this change [from 44 Henry to the 44-40] is to increase the initial velocity of the arm from about 1,125 f.p.s. to 1,325 feet per second." During the Indian Wars, the Indians would prove how valuable the Lever-actions would become!!

    "The records show that all decisive actions of history, with muzzle-loaders, have been fought with a distance not exceeding 50 to 150 yards. Making all possible allowance for improvement in modern arms of precision, 500 yards will more than cover the distance at which decisive conflicts will be fought". ~1875 Winchester Catalog (Indians proved this to be true at the battle of the Little Bighorn) LINK

    Time after time the American Indian Warriors proved this, especially on "Custer Battlefield" when archaeologist discovered a couple hundred spent .44 Henry, Winchester 66' and a few Winchester 73" cartridges and cases on a small knoll 265 yards east of Last Stand Hill and small hill, 150 - 200 yards east of Calhoun Hill, named "Heneryville" by the 2004 Archaeology team.

    Cartridge boxes at this time showed a "44/100" designation but so did the .44 Henry boxes. The only way to know which rifle the ammo was for was to notice which rifle was designated on the cartridge boxes. I believe on the Second Green Label box, the 44-100 is removed altogether and eventually replaced with "50" on the left top and ".44 Cal." on the right top. Some later UMC boxes still used 44-100.

    In 1884, the first cartridges appeared with the W.R.A. CO. "44 WCF" headstamp. This is when most manufactures began headstamping the cartridge cases.

    1886 - Between 1886 and 1904 the UMC .44 WCF cartridge would carry a heavier 217 gr. bullet at 1,190 f.p.s. while Winchester still offered the 200gr at a slightly faster 1,245 f.p.s. (less than was offered in 1873 @ 1,325fps) By 1894 UMC designated the cartridge as a 44-40 for Marlin and by 1900 it was refereed to as a 44-40 by Winchester as well and printed on teir cartridge boxes at a later date.

    1895
    First this is where it gets colorful, literally. Winchester ammunition box tops were colored identifying what the cartridge components were. For a little information, check out the Winchester's Colorful Cartridge Boxes.

    Approx Date introduced...Label Color/Powder Type/Projectile Type

    1873...Green/Black Powder/Lead
    1895...Red/Smokeless/Lead or Soft Point (NOT FOR PISTOLS)
    1903...Lavender, Pink/Smokeless/Full Patch…High Velocity (NOT FOR PISTOLS)
    1910[?]Yellow/Smokeless/Soft Point…High Velocity (NOT FOR PISTOLS)
    Orange/Smokeless/Full Patch
    Grey, Grey-Green/Lesmoke/Any
    Tan, red print/ Smokeless/Any Bank or Proof Loadings
    Tan, black print/Black Powder/Primed Empties. Blank, Military, Special Order loadings

    1895 - offered the first smokeless powder loads for this great cartridge. Early Red Label (signifying smokeless powder) cartridge boxes also note "NOT FOR USE IN PISTOLS" more than likely referring to...at the time...black powder frame pistols due to their weak metal construction. They were, however, labeled for use in the Winchester 73' and later between 1900-1903 both the 73' and 92' Models...busting the myth that smokeless powder loads of the day should not be used in the 73'.

    "Twenty two years after its introduction, the first .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridge is found in Winchester's catalog No. 55, dated August, 1895. In its manufacture, Winchester used 17 grains of DuPont...
    ...No. 2 which was a "bulk" type smokeless powder patented on August 22, 1893. DuPont's description of "bulk" smokeless powder indicated that it was to be loaded in "bulk" measure just like black powder. In the .44 W.C.F., 17 grs. of DuPont No. 2 Bulk Smokeless occupied the same volume as 40 grs. of FFG. Velocity was cataloged at 1,300 f.p.s. for a 55 f.p.s. increase over the the black powder cartridge. To identify the new .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridges from those containing black powder, which looked identical, Winchester put a "W" in a circle on the primer." ~John Kort
    ​​
    1903 - Winchester offered the first "High Velocity" cartridges. [as well as the Jacketed Soft Point bullets]
    "We first see these new improved performance cartridges in Winchester’s Catalog #70 dated March, 1903. Cartridges were head stamped .44 W.C.F. W.H.V. ’M92. Velocity with a 200 gr. metal patched bullet was cataloged at 1,500 f.p.s. in a 24” barrel. Instructions in Winchester’s catalogue and on the cartridge boxes indicated they were not for pistols. Velocity was increased to 1,570 f.p.s. in 1910. On the side label, it says not to be used in the 73'. Early Lavender labels showed "Winchester 92 Special" depicted on the top label. The below later Yellow label depicts "Especially Adapted To Winchester Rifles Model 92'".

    1950-Today- sometime after WWII the 44-40 settled down to two offerings, the Standard load and the High Velocity load. I can't find it but somewhere I inquired John Kort about the neutered HV loads from Remington. John informed me that the Remington HV loads were nowhere near the 1,600fps as the original HV Winchester loads. Early HV boxes noted to NOT use them in pistols, and only designated for Winchester 92's and Marlins. However, the 1960's or so Remington HV boxes note these loads are safe for all firearms (not to be confused with earlier HV loads). The last 1,320fps load Winchester offered was in 1978. From 1979 to today, Winchester cartridges claim 1,190fps but recent trials showed 1,013fps from a 20" barrel and 1,055 from a 24" barrel. However, Buffalo Bore Ammunition started manufacturing loads safe for all firearms that clock in at 1,300fps. My test results came in @ 1,335fps in my 24" Marlin and 955fps in my 7 1/5" barrel revolver. I grouped 2 1/4" shots @ 100 yards with Buffalo Bore and 4 1/8" groups @ 100 yards with Winchester's 1980's box loads.
    Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-20-2019, 01:28 PM.
    My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

  • #2
    POWDERS AND HAND LOADING

    Black Powder

    This is an area I have yet to explore in detail. I'd like to just start off with Winchester's 1895 Catalog #55.

    After the Civil War manufactures started using the F system to designate black powder granular.

    From Winchester's August 1895 catalog

    For the 32, 38, and 44 WCF rifles and ALL center-fire pistol cartridges:

    American Powder Mills' "Rifle Cartridge, No. 4"
    Hazard Powder Company's "Kentucky Rifle F.F.G."
    E. I. DuPont. de Nemours & Co.'s "Dupont Rifles F.F.G."
    Laflin & Rand Powder Co.'s "Orange Rifle Extra, F.F.G."

    For powder to be used in rifle cartridges containing more than 40 grains, we recommend the following brands and sizes of grains as giving the best results:---

    American Powder Mills' "Rifle Cartridge, No. 3"
    Hazard Powder Company's "Kentucky Rifle F.G."
    E.I. DuPont. de Nemours & Co.'s "Dupont Rifles F.G."
    Laflin & Rand Powder Co.'s "Orange Rifle Extra, F.G."

    My testing using original unheadstamped, semi-balloonhead cases with 40gr of Swiss FFG black powder with a .18" compression resulted in over 1,300fps velocities and over 14,000psi. 12,000psi with mixed headstamped semi-balloonhead cases. Those same loads in modern Starline brass with .21" compression gave me 11,000psi. Those same loads in modern brass with Goex FFFG gave me high 1,200fps @ 9,000psi-10,000psi.


    Early Smokeless Powders



    1894-1897 "Dupont #2"

    "Twenty two years after its introduction, the first .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridge is found in Winchester's catalog No. 55, dated August, 1895. In its manufacture, Winchester used 17 grains of DuPont No. 2 which was a "bulk" type smokeless powder patented on August 22, 1893. DuPont's description of "bulk" smokeless powder indicated that it was to be loaded in "bulk" measure just like black powder.

    Dupont Rifle #2 was introduced in 1894. This powder was identical to Dupont Rifle #1 except that the granulation was a bit finer, thus intended for both rifle and revolvers. Great caution was noted when handloading with this powder due to fine dust collecting in the primer pocket and greatly increasing chamber pressures. I have yet to see published pressures for this time period. Do not forget this is reported to be the factory load and was not to be used in pistols. More on this shortly.

    In the .44 W.C.F., 17 grs. of DuPont No. 2 Bulk Smokeless occupied the same volume as 40grs. of FFG. Velocity was cataloged at 1,300 f.p.s. To identify the new .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridges from those containing black powder, which looked identical, Winchester put a "W" in a circle on the primer." Dupont #2 had a similar burn rate as today's IMR-4227. However, Unlike 17gr of Dupont #2, 17gr of IMR-4227 is not a case capacity load but is a published load. Also unlike Dupont #2, IMR-4227 is formulated in a way that retards burning which prevents high pressure spikes.

    Lyman's 49th lists a max load, 17gr of IMR-4227 with a Lyman 427098. They claim 1,083fps with no pressure listed for Group I rifles like the Winchester 73'. I tested 17gr in my 20" MGM barrel I used for high pressure testing. 17gr with a 427098 resulted in 1,127fps (closely replicating modern Winchester Super-X ammo velocity) @ 9,500psi. I tested 20gr with a 43-215C (427098 replica) resulted in 1,418fps @ 16,500psi but also included .5cc of PSB shot buffer to keep the powder at the back of the case. IMR-4227 is position sensitive and could be why some of my early velocity tests were lower than the manual.

    Lyman's 49th handloading manual shows a max load of 18.5gr of IMR-4227 with a Speer JHP@ 1,212fps. This load only gave me 1,097fps. 20gr of IMR-4227 produced 1,297fps but also created 12,000psi, just a tad over the 11,000psi max. A caseload (26gr) of IMR-4227 with the popular Magma type 200gr lead bullet resulted in 1,733fps but produced 20,913psi....only safe for Group II rifles like the Winchester 92/94 and Marlin's 1894. I am getting consistent 10 shot 4" groups at 100 yards.

    22gr with a Winchester 200gr JSP (.425) produced 1,386fps at a lower 12,000psi, which closely replicated early Dupont #2 velocities. I also tested black powder loads in semi-balloon head cases and got a consistent 12,000psi, so I feel safe using 12,000psi loads in my Winchester 73 replica and revolvers with .425-.427 lead or jacketed bullets.

    Because of my black powder results using semi-balloonhead cases, I am beginning to think that original BP and smokeless factory loads produced at least a consistent 12,000psi to 13,000psi and tests have also been consistent at 14,000psi. I have yet to see original factory data other than 22,000cup for the High Velocity loads that produced 1,500fps. It would appear that Dupont #2 powder was not coated with a flame-deterrent coating that would retard burning thus causing high pressure spikes and may be why Winchester advertised their new smokeless powder ammunition to NOT be used in revolvers...referring to those black powder frame revolvers...but yet okay for the 73!

    Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-20-2019, 08:33 AM.
    My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

    Comment


    • #3
      1897-1948 "Sharpshooter"
      1913-1939 (Sporting Rifle) "SR80"

      By the early 1900's, Sharpshooter replaced Dupont #2.

      In the mean time by 1902, Dupont had bought out Laflin & Rand and by 1913, Dupont was split by the Fed anti-trust act and Hercules took over the Laflin & Rand Assets from Dupont.

      Unlike Dupont #2, Laflin & Rand "Sharpshooter" was specifically used in black powder frame firearms. I assume this must be because of the addition of the flame-deterrent coatings that would retard burning allowing lower pressure curves even lower than black powder. In 1903 the High Velocity .44-40 cartridge was introduced. It to used "Sharpshooter" powder in larger doses to achieve its 1,570 f.p.s. velocity. They were discontinued by the mid 1940's.

      In 1913, DuPont introduced SR80 (Sporting Rifle 80) . It was a granular type powder, similar in appearance to DuPont No.2 Bulk Smokeless but was a bit faster burning and WAS a "bulk" type powder BUT NOT "bulk for bulk" like Dupont #2. It's burning rate was in the same range as "Sharpshooter".

      “Sharpshooter” and "SR80" fueled millions of .44-40 smokeless factory cartridges up until at least the 1950’s (SR80 was discontinued in 1939) when ball powders began appearing on the scene. Winchester switched to a ball powder similar to the old W630 which also has a similar burning rate to 2400. Remington continued to use “Sharpshooter”. It has been said that SR4759 is a good replacement and is listed in current Lyman manuals. SR4759 (IMR) is a tad faster burning than IMR-4227.

      During all that time, factory ballistics for the standard cartridge remained at 1,300 f.p.s. with a 200 gr. jacketed bullet.

      John had the opportunity to find and shoot cartridges of the period and they equaled and sometimes slightly exceeded the 1,300 f.p.s. cataloged velocity.

      By the early 1970’s, factory ballistics had been reduced to 1,190 f.p.s. in the catalogs. The reason? It would appear faster burning pistol powders in smaller 7 to 8 gr doses had replaced the slower burning rifle powders. Thus, to keep the pressures within the specified SAAMI limits for the .44-40, the velocity was reduced. I still do not know what the early pressures were for the 44-40. My testing found that some black powder loads in early semi-balloonhead case produces 12,000psi to 14,000psi pending which powder I used. I used Swiss FFG and Goex FFFg, Swiss FFG being the hottest.

      Unlike the earlier smokeless cartridges that produced catalog ballistics, John also found that in testing the current Winchester and Remington JSP cartridges, they fell a bit short of the 1,190 f.p.s. specification (closer to 1,150 f.p.s. average). My testing resulted in a consistent 1,050fps @ 8,000psi. Most of my factory smokeless powder testing resulted in pressures 10%-20% lower than SAAMI MAP.

      By the 1990’s a new class of 44-40 cartridges were introduced called "Cowboy” loads. This was due to the interest in Cowboy Action Shooting. Bullets were lead or lead alloy going at around 900-1000 f.p.s.(rifle). Ballistics are 30+% reduced from the original smokeless (and black powder) cartridge and powerwise are just fine for recreational shooting.

      Some more information from John....

      there is SR80 "more dense" and there is SR80 "less dense". I say that because I have had the pleasure of working with 5 different lots of SR80 and found that some are more dense than others.

      It was one of the powders used in factory ammunition for many of the low pressure factory cartridges.... .22 W.C.F., .32-20, .32-40, .38-40, .38-55, .44-40, etc.

      It is considered to be a gelentanized powder and thus pretty impervious to moisture which was not true of the old DuPont No. 1 & No. 2 bulk smokeless powders.

      I currently use what I have in the .22 W.C.F., .44-40 and .30-30 SR (Short Range) cartridges. It produces accuracy as good as any other powders I have tried in those applications. 14 grs. in the least dense lot of SR80 that I have, is a capacity load in the .44-40 and produces very good groups @ 1,290 f.p.s.

      17 grs. of 4759 is the equivalent to 14 grs. of SR80 in my .44-40. That is with the lots of powder I have and doesn't necessarily mean that the % difference would be the same with different lots and/or different cartridges.

      Regarding the smell, Frank Marshall ("Speaking Frankly" column - CBA) said it was the "perfume" powder. I would describe the smell as "barnyard". Since it was around from 1913 to 1939, no doubt, tons of it were used by the factories and reloaders.

      Historic SR80.....a vintage powder from the past........
      (SR - Sporting Rifle)


      A good bulk powder, impervious to moisture, with a burning rate of, say, 4227 (Dupont No. 2) or 4198 (DuPont No.1) would be fantastic!~ John Kort


      Early Smokeless Powder was sold in Kegs just like black powder. The kegs came in various sizes...some not much bigger than a can of beans.

      Note that Dupont #5 was also used but only for Pistols.

      1923-1948 "Dupont No. 5"
      By 1923 and used until 1948, Dupont No. 5 was the newest powder and used only as a pistol powder. Three different bullet options and six loads. 140gr "High Speed", 195gr B&M 529205 and 200gr Lead. The Dupont No.5 pamphlet lists 11.5gr @ 1,150fps for a 5 1/2" revolver.

      Sharpshooter was developed by Laflin & Rand, then offered by DuPont after they purchased L&R. Hercules produced it from 1912 on. It was a very flexible powder and after about 1900, was THE powder that was used in most all the b.p. cartridge factory smokeless loadings including the H.V., H.P. and W.H.V. (High Velocity) cartridges. It was used right up to the 1950's, after which it was discontinued.
      Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-20-2019, 08:46 AM.
      My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

      Comment


      • #4
        Modern Smokeless Powders
        For the 44 W.C.F.


        "IMR-4227"

        As mentioned above in the "Early Powders".....

        "Twenty two years after its introduction, the first .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridge is found in Winchester's catalog No. 55, dated August, 1895. In its manufacture, Winchester used 17 grains of DuPont No. 2 "Rifle" powder which was a "bulk" type smokeless powder patented on August 22, 1893. DuPont's description of "bulk" smokeless powder indicated that it was to be loaded in "bulk" measure just like black powder.

        In the .44 W.C.F., 17 grs. of DuPont No. 2 Bulk Smokeless occupied the same volume as 40grs. of FFG. Velocity was cataloged at 1,300 f.p.s. To identify the new .44 W.C.F. smokeless powder cartridges from those containing black powder, which looked identical, Winchester put a "W" in a circle on the primer." Dupont #2 had a similar burn rate as today's IMR-4227. However, Unlike 17gr of Dupont #2, 17gr of IMR-4227 is not a case capacity load but is a published load. Also unlike Dupont #2, IMR-4227 is formulated in a way that retards burning which prevents high pressure spikes.

        Du Pont #1204, introduced in 1925, was directly replaced by IMR-4227 in 1935. 25gr to 30gr of #1204 was used in the 44-40 cartridge giving a 200gr JSP between 1,400 and 1,830fps (Sharpe 1937). IMR-4227 was superior and 29gr gave the 200gr JSP 1,890fps. No pressures listed for those loads but notes recommended by Dupont.

        Lyman's 49th lists a max load, 17gr of IMR-4227 with a Lyman 427098. They claim 1,083fps with no pressure listed for Group I rifles like the Winchester 73'. I tested 17gr in my 20" MGM barrel I used for high pressure testing. 17gr with a 427098 resulted in 1,127fps (closely replicating modern Winchester Super-X ammo velocity) @ 9,500psi. I tested 20gr with a 43-215C (427098 replica) resulted in 1,418fps @ 16,500psi but also included .5cc of PSB shot buffer to keep the powder at the back of the case. IMR-4227 is position sensitive and could be why some of my early velocity tests were lower than the manual.

        Lyman's 49th handloading manual shows a max load of 18.5gr of IMR-4227 with a Speer JHP@ 1,212fps. This load only gave me 1,097fps. 20gr of IMR-4227 produced 1,297fps but also created 12,000psi, just a tad over the 11,000psi max. A caseload (26gr) of IMR-4227 with the popular Magma type 200gr lead bullet resulted in 1,733fps but produced 20,913psi....only safe for Group II rifles like the Winchester 92/94 and Marlin's 1894. I am getting consistent 10 shot 4" groups at 100 yards.

        IMR-4227 is my "go-to" powder for replicating 1,600fps "High Velocity" 20,000psi High Pressure cartridges, shooting out to 265 Yards with a scoped Marlin 1894CB "Group II Load" rifle. Hitting Golf Balls at this distance has been accomplished using 26gr with Acme's .430 200gr LFNRP bullets. These are hefty loads and can put a beating on the rifle. I do not plan on shooting these much and are not pleasant to shoot...and should be known by now NOT FOR HE 73' OR REVOLVERS! However, 20gr of IMR-4227 can be position sensitive but with 200gr LRNFP bullets, can give 1,349fps @ 12,238psi. Groups are marginal @ 100 yards but can be used. 12 of 20 shots gave an open group of 4".

        "Reloder 7"

        I do not know when Reloder 7 was introduced but it is a great powder for replacing Dupont's No.2 Rifle "bulk for bulk" powder. Reloder 7 is a fast burning rifle powder but slower burning than IMR-4227 and can, in most cases, be loaded to case capacity to where the bullet, 240gr or 200gr can sit firmly on top of the powder and remain under 15,000psi. The highest pressure I have come across during my testing have been 16,743psi from 27.5gr using a 240gr Georgia Arms L44A SWC.

        27.5gr using a 200gr Magma bullet produced 13,602psi while most jacketed variant designs produced up into the mid-13,000psi area. 25gr of Reloder 7 with a 200gr LRNFP can give some great results and I feel greater results can be obtained by the appropriate Marksman. Most of my Reloder 7 loads give me 4" groups out to 100 yards.

        "Unique"

        Unique is a great powder and shoots well in just about everything out there. Unique was introduced by Laflin & Rand in 1900 as a shotgun powder. This is a very fast burning pistol powder and is in no way a bulk powder. Very popular among Cowboy Action shooters, an 8gr load with Lyman's 427098 205gr LRNFP bullet produces a mild 8,335psi. 10gr using Acme's 200gr Magma produced 1,419fps @ 14,000psi. 12gr with the same bullet produced 1,636fps @ 21,786psi which could be higher than 26,000cup.

        18,000psi should be close to the 22,000cup pressures offered by Winchester for their "High Velocity" loads at least by 1910. The only problem with using this powder is a chance of a double charge that could be catastrophic in Group I rifles and most revolvers which could produce nearly 30,000cup.

        Early 1937 revolver load data shows this powder being used with 140gr up to 250gr bullets. Typical 205gr cast lead bullet shows 10.9gr, 1,100fps @ 15,000 pounds of pressure. The two main powders for revolvers by 1937 were Unique and Bullseye using 205gr-210gr cast lead bullets. Loads gave pressures from 9,000 - 15,000 pounds of pressure. DO NOT USE THIS OLD LOAD DATA!!!! Current 10gr loads with a 200gr LRNFP gives me 14,000psi (approx 16,500cup...1,500cup higher than older 15,000cup charges)

        "Trail Boss"

        Absolutely the best powder to be used by someone new to reloading, Trail Boss offers "bulky" powder with no chance of a double charge going unnoticed. A lot of people don't like Trail Boss but there is nothing wrong with this powder when used correctly. IMR's max load for Trail Boss in a revolver is 6.4gr which gives me a very mild 7,224psi. Velocities are low, but again....this powder is intended for the low velocity cowboy sport. IMR does not offer published loads for rifles but claims that one can fill the case to the base of the bullet and remain safe for all firearms chambered for this cartridge. My testings resulted in 9.3gr with a 200gr Acme Magma bullet sitting firmly on top of the powder, producing 1,250fps but comes at a cost of a high pressure of 15,200psi. Plenty safe for any Group II rifle in a safe condition to shoot BUT could cause trouble in weak old timers and black powder frame revolvers to include replica Winchester 73's. I believe 12,000-13,000 psi (approx 14,000-15,000 cup) to be normal original black powder pressures before the much higher spiking Dupont No.2 Smokeless powder was introduced in 1894.

        Below is a video using only 6.4gr in an Uberti 1873' @ 25 yards and 265 yards.


        Trail Boss is a great plinking powder. Great groups at 25 yards produces practically no recoil.

        Below is IMR's "reduced loads" instructions. Again, if the claim is true, then full loads in the 44-40 gave me 15,200psi

        IMR® TRAIL BOSS® REDUCED LOADS FOR
        RIFLE AND PISTOL

        Link to IMR's Instructions

        As noted in the powder description section, Trail Boss was designed primarily for reduced loads using lead bullets in pistol cartridges. However, Trail Boss offers superb versatility in rifle cartridges producing reduced loads using lead or jacketed bullets. These reduced loads make firing such cartridges as the 300 Winchester Magnum or even the 458 Winchester Magnum pure fun! Listed below we show a few examples of such loads throughout the Reloading Data Center, but the fun doesn't stop there. If you don't see Trail Boss data for your favorite cartridge we have a formula for developing loads for all cartridges and it's simple to follow. This formula may be used in both rifle and pistol applications: Find where the base of the bullet to be loaded is located in the case and make a mark on the outside of the case at this location. Then fill the case to that mark with Trail Boss, pour into the scale pan and weigh. This is your maximum load. Pressures will be below the maximum allowed for this cartridge and perfectly safe to use! Take 70% of this powder charge weight (multiply the maximum load from step 1 by .7), and that is your starting load. Start with this beginning load and work up to your maximum charge, all the while searching for the most accurate reduced load. Once found, the fun begins!


        "2400"
        Hercules 2400 was introduced in 1932. Eventually 2400 was manufactured under the Aliant brand and is still in use. Old H2400 rifle data showed a load of 27.5gr for 2,100fps @ 33,000 pounds of chamber pressures with a Winchester 200gr JSP bullet. 200gr lead bullet loads were up to 26.8gr and gave 1,910fps @20,000 pounds of chamber pressure. Again I must assume C.U.P.
        DO NOT USE THIS OLD DATA.


        For more information and tons of photos on this great cartridge, please visit my website: https://curtisshawk21.wixsite.com/44centerfire
        Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-20-2019, 01:45 PM.
        My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

        Comment


        • #5
          On a side note, here is a video shooting golf balls at 265 yards with my scoped Marlin 1894CB and 200gr lead bullets using IMR-4227
          Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-18-2019, 11:36 AM.
          My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

          Comment


          • #6
            What the hel is all that about? What's your point?

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for posting the .44-40 info. Darn it, you sparked my interest in the cartridge!
              Last edited by PigHunter; 04-19-2019, 02:17 PM.

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              • #8
                Lots of history. My Uncles Father hunted deer and black bear with a 44-40 in the Adirondacks, don't remember his rifle. My Sister has hunted deer in the Adirondacks with a Marlin 38-40, now the rifle is retired.

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                • #9
                  Jimbo, I've had the pleasure of shooting a Winchester Model 92 in .38-40 made in 1903. Now that was fun. I bet the .44-40 would be too.

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                  • #10
                    Franchi20....I apologize if it was kind of an "in your face" topic. I never was good with writing, didn't know how to present it or start out the topic. For years and years all I ever hear and herd was that this cartridge was weak, inaccurate etc. I was hoping to set the story straight by busting all of those myths. There is another topic on this forum about the 44-40....in the replies are some of these myths. https://answers.fieldandstream.com/f...30-06-vs-44-40



                    I am glad you guys are enjoying it.

                    One thing I failed to mention is that modern load data is safe for all 44-40 firearms BUT care should be taken when using custom AND max loads in older firearms with small .425 bores rather than .429 bores and firearms with tight chambers. Shoving a .430 jacketed bullet down a barrel with a .425 bore is bound to give you pressure spikes that could make for a very interesting day.
                    Last edited by Bryan Austin; 04-20-2019, 10:03 AM.
                    My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

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                    • #11
                      I know of one animal shot with the .38-40 in a rifle that failed to break the shoulder.
                      Mild on the shooter, and even milder on the game.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                        I know of one animal shot with the .38-40 in a rifle that failed to break the shoulder.
                        Mild on the shooter, and even milder on the game.
                        l would like to know details!!!

                        I shot one year before last with my 44-40 at just less than 75 yards with a 240gr bullet with 25gr of Reloder 7. Hit the top of the shoulder shattering it, turned 90 degrees and traveled down the spinal cord, destroying the back strap and lodged in the hind quarter. Deer never took a step, dropped straight down.
                        My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bryan - The shot was taken at 100 yards, and although the buck went down, he was up and running in a few seconds.
                          It took a tracking job and two more shots to finish him off.
                          The first shot was lodged under the skin, but come to think of it, I do not know for a fact that it was factory ammo.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 99explorer View Post
                            Bryan - The shot was taken at 100 yards, and although the buck went down, he was up and running in a few seconds.
                            It took a tracking job and two more shots to finish him off.
                            The first shot was lodged under the skin, but come to think of it, I do not know for a fact that it was factory ammo.
                            Wow....I shot one once with a Browning shotgun with express loads. Most of the 000 lead was just under the skin......shot was less than 50 yards.

                            Very interesting report...thanks for sharing!!
                            My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. ~Blondie

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bryan excellent post, like PH you got my attention and sparked my interest. I always enjoy reading something a little different . Well done

                              Comment

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