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Thread: Loads for 44-40 (.44wcf)

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Loads for 44-40 (.44wcf)

    Hi, I am adding a Uberti Remington 1875 to my arsenal of odd calibers. I tried to search for threads about the 44-40 but could not find any? Would like to hear if somebody has used Vihtavuori powders in that caliber. Ordered Starline cases from Germany and reloading and sizing dies from Titan. I am going to use Lee .429 bullets in the 240gr range. Have to check the real diameter of the bore and throats when I get the gun.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    hay im looking for some magnum reloading recipes for 44-40 my self . good luck to you on your new gun
    i use 200 g big lube boolits i cast in a lee 6 cavety mold with starline brass, there made up the road in sedalia,mo.
    lee dies on a 650 dillion pumps em out
    NRA Life Member
    learn to make your own black powder collect bp arms as there presently not recorded
    smokless is a fad its fading fast, helped along by obama

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Patrick,
    Pushing a 44-40 revolver into magnum territory is not wise. Clear warnings are issued in reputable manuals that the do not exceed pressure for the cartridge and the revolvers designed for them is about 13,700 CUP. There are a bunch of threads on this forum that have covered loading the 44-40, but the search engine is not the best.

    Loading blackpowder is very straight foreword. Fill the case to allow for a little bit of bullet compression, seat a fairly soft 200 gr on top, lightly crimp. Shoot.

    For smokeless loads, a couple of good sources of data are either the Lyman 48th or 49th.
    And an online source is Hodgdon/IMR http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/pistol

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Fouronesix, thank you very much for your warning, but I suppose the message was to Buffalow Red? I am in search for very modest loads for the 44-40, as I have a .44mag already ( and a .458Win mag also).

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, good plan about staying with mag revolver for mag cartridges/loads. Thought I would mention it again as there is another parallel thread currently discussing the same thing. If you have access to Trailboss it is a good "light" load powder for these as it's difficult to double charge by mistake because of it's extremely low density.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    First Group of Mild loads which should be safe in any .44-40 rifle or revolver:

    200-grain cast lead bullet: (Accurate 43-200Q, wheeweights, .430")
    15.4 grains #2400 1178 fps in Marlin 1894S with 20" barrel
    6.5 grains Bullseye 1142 fps in Marlin 1894S with 24" barrel
    5.0 grains Red Dot 894 fps in Marlin 1894S with 20" barrel - Do Not Reduce
    7.4 grains Red Dot 1203 fps in Marlin 1894S with 20" barrel - Max., for Colt clones and link locked levers
    24.5 grains Alliant RL7 1359 fps Marlin 20", 901 fps Ruger 5-1/2" - based on old Hercules Data "should" not exceed SAAMI pressure.

    THE FOLLOWING LOADS ARE FOR Winchester 92, Marlin 1894S and RUGER revolvers only:

    200-grain Remington JSP .427", Starline cases, Rem. 2-1/2 primers, OAL 1.60"
    8.4 grains Bullseye 1264 fps Marlin 20", 1000 fps 5-1/2" Ruger

    200-grain Hornady XTP .430", Starline cases, Rem.2-1/2 primers, OAL 1.60"
    8.4 grains Bullseye 1197 fps Marlin 20", 1036 fps Ruger 5-1/2"

    200-grain cast lead bullet (Accurate 43-200Q Wheelweights, .430", OAL 1.60")
    7.2 grains Bullseye 1284 fps Marlin 20", 967 fps Ruger 5-1/2"
    7.8 grains Red Dot 1248 fps Marlin 20", 1023 fps Ruger 5-1/2"
    8.3 grains Red Dot 1317 fps Marlin 20", 1023 fps Ruger 5-1/2"
    8.3 grains Red Dot 1317 fps Marlin 20", 1073 fps Ruger 5-1/2"
    26 grains Alliant RL7 1420 fps Marlin 20", 1050 fps Ruger 5-1/2"

    230-grain cast lead bullet, (Accurate 43-230G, wheelweights, .430", OAL 1.61")
    8.3 grains Red Dot 1254 fps Marlin 20", 1027 fps Ruger 5-1/2"
    24.5 grains Alliant RL7 1355 fps Marlin 20", 957 fps Ruger 5-1/2"

    These loads were safe in my Marlin rifle and Ruger revolver.

    I do not recommend their use in other firearms.

    Use this data at your own risk.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Uberti 1890 Police revolver in .44-40. I would advise your using only the 200 grain weight boolits made for this caliber. My cylinder is much shorter than those on the Colt clones and even a correct boolit like the 42798 will tie up my gun if it slips forward out of the crimp from recoil. Since the 1890 Police was derived from the 1875, your cylinder should be the same size, with the only changes being you have the cooler looking web under the longer barrel.

    The only boolit of larger size that would be practical is something along the lines of the Ideal 429434. Here the nose portion is the same as the 42798, and the extra weight is in the gas check shank on the base. Most heavy .44 boolits are for the .44 Special and Magnum family, and they have too much of their weight (and length) in the nose portion to suit the overall length of the .44-40.

    I think RCBS has a .44-40 mould like the 42798 only with a crimping groove on the nose. That would be the one to get if you use smokeless powder.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Ok, thank you Bent Ramrod! Now I am getting worthy advises. How does your revolver shoot?Have you measured the throats, cone and barrell?
    I have to check my molds as I think I also have some molds made for BP revolvers. Strange that the search engine does not find the earlier threads about the old 44-40. I have time to order new molds as the Starline cases won´t arrive until late January from Germany. Pity that the US made it so difficult to order brass. Back in the -90:s I bought a lot of things from LL Baston and Brownell´s. If somebody has tried the 44-40 with Vihtavuori powders, please tell me your loads and how they worked.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Patrick,

    I use some of the VV powders for full power center fire rifle but not for handgun.

    I do see a load in the Hornady manual for VV n340 under a 205 gr swaged soft lead bullet.
    Start- n340 - 6.5 gr - 600 fps
    Max - n340 - 7.5 gr - 700 fps

    VV n320 and n330 both likely have application in the 44-40. But the VV data only lists those powders in their 44 Special data with the heavier bullet. VV doesn't list the 44-40 even in their "Cowboy" section.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Patrick56,

    My barrel slugged at 0.4265", with chamber mouths 1,3,4 and 6 slugging at 0.4285, and 2 and 5 at 0.4280. If I recall, I fire lapped the two tight mouths out so they were all the same. It's still always been kind of cranky with cast loads compared to my Colt clone in the same caliber. With the 42798, around 6 gr of Bullseye works pretty well, although it likes the 42499 hollow point with 17 gr of IMR-4227 better. Casting those takes longer, so I usually stick to the Bullseye load with the solids. It was easier to get good accuracy with the Winchester .426" or Remington 0.427" soft points.

    The reason I have the dimensions is because of the trouble I was having getting the thing to shoot tight groups. I remember doing a lot of experiments with boolit sizing, primer changes, etc. Eventually I just settled on what worked best at the beginning. The teeny rear notch on the sight and the rather skinny grip may have skewed my results early on, as well. I made more hand filling grips and filed the sight notch out a little and I have to say it doesn't embarrass me as much as it used to. With cast, it probably averages 3" at 25 yards off sandbags. This is an early one from the 80's, so the barrel and throat dimensions might well have improved since then. All my Uberti Colt clones shoot very well, and those were bought in the last 15 years or so.

    I've also used the 210 gr 429215 gas check in a pinch in the Remington, although I have to crimp over the top band and the resultant cartridge looks weird. Speaking of crimps, definitely get yourself a Lee Factory Crimp die for the .44-40; that will save you beaucoups irritation.

    We have Vihtavouri powders over here but I've only used the N130, N133 and N160 rifle powders, and not in the .44-40.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Lyman lists 8.1 grains of n340 as a starting load for a 200 grain boolit and 9.0 grains max. 6.0 grains of n320 is the only other data I have seen for a cowboy load. VV powders are scarce and expensive here in the western United States. Consequently, they get little use.
    I have never used any myself in 44 years of reloading.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    No use of VV powders here, sorry. I have a Winchester 1873 carbine (c. 1897) having a throat of "fat .428" dimensions; a two-year old Uberti SAA clone (4-3/4") also has fat .428" throats and .428" grooves. .429" sizing shoots well in both arms. SAECO #446 is the casting used in this caliber, usual dosing is 14.0 grains of Alliant 2400. This load shoots right to the sights at 25 yards for me, about 2.75"-3.00". The carbine manages about 2.5" at 50 yards. Neither arm is Camp Perry-capable, but neither am I--so I enjoy the guns immensely.

    The single-best upgrade I've made to my 44-40 WCF loading was the addition of Starline brass to the ammo cabinet. FAR superior to the W-W or R-P brass, which will bend/fold/staple/mutilate itself if looked at intently. Once Starline brass becomes available again, I will be scrapping ALL of the major-player 44-40 brass I have and replacing it with SL.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    The reason why I want to use VV is simple, very hard to find any others than domestic. I did check my inventory of molds and found one Lee swc 240- 430 (with micro grooves for lube?) that I have used in a Win 94 chambered for .44mag, and a Lee combination mold with ball and R-E-A-L bullet in 45(?)200gr with two very big lube grooves. The first one makes it possible to adjust the LOA as there is many grooves to crimp in. Have to check if it is possible to size the "real" bullet to .428 or .430 as I have the sizing dies on the shelf. Usually I use Lee Alox as bullet lube.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Ordered today a Lee factory crimp die, a Lee 200gr .429 RF double mold and some 100 Starline cases from Grauwolf, Germany.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Looks like you are on your way. Let us know how it shoots. A good .44-40, properly loaded, is very accurate.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Please be cautious, there is a picture of a .45 Uberti on here somewhere that blew up due to an over load. The Uberties, and Colts are not to be experimented with., If you need any real life experiences with the Colt, read some of Elmer Keith's work. He blew up a lot of them in the thirties.
    I run several loads in my 44-40s, but I also have never seen this Vihtavuori powder

    The rules of the range are simple at best, Should you venture in that habitat, Don't cuss a man's dog, be good to the cook, And don't mess with a cowboy's hat. ~ Baxter Black

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Hi Doc, I ordered some weeks ago a book written by Keith. Had to take a copy of the "Sixguns" as the original book costs a fortune. I have still copies of Guns & Ammo from the -80 where Ross Seyfried tested a lot of loads for different SA revolvers. Have to dig down in the attic to find the old magazines. 44-40 is new for me as I have been playing with the .38/ 357 and .44 for almost four decades.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Doc 1876 is correct to caution about adventurous loadings in Colt single-action revolvers or their clones. Same goes for 1873-series Winchester rifles and their replicas. I see a few repro makers are offering 357 and 44 Magnum chamberings in 1873 Winchester platforms. No way in hell I'll trust those rifles with those calibers, even in their presently SAAMI-neutered 36 KPSI format. Loads of that sort are Win 92 and Marlin 94 country to me.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick56 View Post
    Hi Doc, I ordered some weeks ago a book written by Keith. Had to take a copy of the "Sixguns" as the original book costs a fortune. I have still copies of Guns & Ammo from the -80 where Ross Seyfried tested a lot of loads for different SA revolvers. Have to dig down in the attic to find the old magazines. 44-40 is new for me as I have been playing with the .38/ 357 and .44 for almost four decades.
    I think Elmer was the Eric Clapton of the six gun. I accidentally bought his Sixguns recently, I say accidentally, as it was signed, and the seller I guess did not understand the difference. Once in a while even I get lucky.
    This is my load for my Uberti Henry. as it has the brass frame, and the toggle links, I am not going to push it at all, my six guns are a little more stout, however no where near a max load:

    200 RNFP .427 DIA
    14g of IMR 4227
    O.A.L. 1.592
    The rules of the range are simple at best, Should you venture in that habitat, Don't cuss a man's dog, be good to the cook, And don't mess with a cowboy's hat. ~ Baxter Black

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick56 View Post
    The reason why I want to use VV is simple, very hard to find any others than domestic. I did check my inventory of molds and found one Lee swc 240- 430 (with micro grooves for lube?) that I have used in a Win 94 chambered for .44mag, and a Lee combination mold with ball and R-E-A-L bullet in 45(?)200gr with two very big lube grooves. The first one makes it possible to adjust the LOA as there is many grooves to crimp in. Have to check if it is possible to size the "real" bullet to .428 or .430 as I have the sizing dies on the shelf. Usually I use Lee Alox as bullet lube.
    I tested VV Tin Star extensively for use in CBA shooting for a cartridge company. In the 44-40 I think you will find a good load between 6.5 - 7.5 gr N32C under the 200 - 205 gr RNFP bullets to be very useful in your SAA. I use 7.2 gr N32C under the Lee TL 240 gr bullets in my own 44-40 as it shoots to point of aim. The pressures of any of these loads is quite mild and entirely safe in your SAA.

    Larry Gibson

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