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Thread: I would like a 44-40, but.......

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Colt still uses a .427 bore for either its 44 special or 44-40 revolvers. My only 44-40 is an original Remington 1875 with original oversized throats that shoot unsized .431 bullets well. If it were myself, I wouldn't buy a 44-40 for the challenge of loading 44-40, especially if there is a 44 special option. But if an original SAA, 73 or 92 presented itself with too good of an offer, that would be a different story all together.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    My 44-40 is an original Ruger Vaquero stainless. The throats pin gauge at .429 at the cylinder mouths and taper back to .4305 at the chamber mouth. The groove diameter is .429. I load with a Lee TL 430-240-SWC or the Lyman 429360 (245 gr SWC). I size them at .429 and lube with BAC. I load the Lee's over 6 gr 700x for 950 fps and the Lyman's over 8.5 gr Unique for 1060 fps (out of the 7 1/2" barrel). Both are very accurate and last time out I shot 100 rounds shreading 10 pop cans bouncing them from 15 yards all the way out to 70 - 90 yards with no leading.

    I have taken the 44 magnum cylinder out of my 50th Anniversary FTBH and it drops right into the Vaquero. Fit and timing are perfect. The same Lee bullets loaded over 8.5 gr Unique hit to the same POA and are just as accurate.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    With the 44 magnum FTBH cylinder;

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    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 10-06-2017 at 02:44 PM.
    Larry Gibson

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  3. #23
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
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    I had a set of 3 screw Ruger Blackhawk's that I'd had made into 44 Specials and then with Colt type backstraps for Cowboy Action Shooting. I then decided the black powder 44 Special load just wasn't enough, so had 44-40 cylinders made for them. I used original 357 cylinders rechambered with .429" throats and shot .430 bullets in them, pretty good magnum type load, made lots of smoke. You can find old or new model cylinders on Gunbroker, Ebay and other sites for $75-100 and rechambering will run $100 to $150, mine were $125 each.

    Also did it with a .44 Flattop I have but used a New Model 30 Carbine cylinder for that one.

    Space is tight in the 357 or 44 Special cylinders but the 44-40 will fit, I use Winchester brass, R-P often doesn't quite fit. Here's a few pics.


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  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    As long as Al knows it will go in a Ruger Blackhawk (.429 barrel) he will throat the cylinder for that. It's up to you to get/make ammo that fits. Don't worry about Al Story not knowing what he's doing!!
    Wayne the Shrink

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  5. #25
    Boolit Master
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
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    Larry--NICE dimensions on that Ruger 44/40.

    The 44 caliber and 45 caliber revolvers tend to have some dimensional poetry to them. Once known, Folks Like Us can usually adjust things to make them produce decently. That I have two 44/40 arms--built 115 years apart--that can run well on the same ammo is very fortunate. Neither have any business competing at Camp Perry, but they will do to repel boarders or harvest our coyote-sized blacktails and muleys at modest ranges.
    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.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I like the cartridge. I had two problem child firearms so chambered. A .427/.430 Vaquero that shot horribly. I wish I still had it because NOW I know how to fix it. The other, a Rossi lever action had feeding problems that I finally fixed- it shot very well and i got two turkeys with it. A SASS shooter waved money at me till I let him take it. I would actually rechamber a .44 mag Handi Rifle to get another 44-40.Silly? Yeah, but I said I like the cartridge.

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  7. #27
    Boolit Master

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    No question......get a hand-fitted and properly-sized Pietta and don't look back.Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #28
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    I like the cartridge. I had two problem child firearms so chambered. A .427/.430 Vaquero that shot horribly. I wish I still had it because NOW I know how to fix it. The other, a Rossi lever action had feeding problems that I finally fixed- it shot very well and i got two turkeys with it. A SASS shooter waved money at me till I let him take it. I would actually rechamber a .44 mag Handi Rifle to get another 44-40.Silly? Yeah, but I said I like the cartridge.

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    Rechambering a .44 Mag Handi-Rifle isn't going to make you happy because neck portion of the chamber is going to be WAAAY oversized for a .44-40, typical .44 Magnum chamber being .457 at the mouth, and .44-40 chamber .445-.447 if on the max. side of tolerance. A .44-40 with .447 chamber neck diameter provides adequate release clearance to load a .431" diameter bullet in Starline brass, or a .432" bullet in Winchester brass.
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  9. #29
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    So you're saying a custom reamer would be needed? This would be a non factory ammo proposition. Or the neck on the 44-40 would split?

  10. #30
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    So you're saying a custom reamer would be needed? This would be a non factory ammo proposition. Or the neck on the 44-40 would split?
    I am talking about chambering the rifle or revolver to the same dimensions used pre-SAAMI on original Winchester 1873s, Colt Lightnings and Single-actions, NOT the modern SAAMI chamber which is too tight for use with black powder or with bullets of diameter over .428". If you have a rifle or revolver with tight necked chamber, typical SAAMI being .443-.445", you cannot load a bullet large enough to fit a modern Marlin barrel with.430" groove diameter, UNLESS you use a heeled bullet such as Accurate 43-200QL, which was designed specifically to mitigate this condition without having to ream the chamber neck. The .448 stop ring on the bullet enables the bullets to be sized and lubricated in the conventional manner, and the nose flange will be cold-formed by the bullet sizer to make a front band which you size to fit the throats of your revolver or rifle. The reduced diameter driving bands on the heel are well lubricated, but not changed by a sizing die of larger diameter. The QL bullet has adequate lube capacity to prevent foul-out using SPG lube and Goex powder. This bullet is well proven in original rifles as well as modern ones, using both black powder and smokeless.

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    My modern Rossi and Marlin .44-40 rifles also have .447-.448 chamber necks and .430 groove diameter and I load .4305-.431 bullets in them, the same as I do for my S&W Model 544 and rechambered Ruger Vaqueros.

    If you are shooting a modern rifle or revolver having .44 Magnum bore and groove dimensions, then you load a bullet which fits. The great majority of ORIGINAL .44-40s will shoot best with .430 bullets.

    Factory ammo is loaded with bullets of .425-.427" diameter, but who can afford it at over $1 a shot?

    Most original rifles I have cast run large, many larger than .430", that being more the rule than the exception.

    But to answer your original question, yes, if you rechamber a .44 Magnum to .44-40 the neck diameter will be determined by its original .44 Magnum chamber, having a neck diameter of about .457", which is will be 0.010-0.012" oversized. While case necks might not split on the first firing, repeatedly reloading them by expanding the necks, firing them in a very large chamber, then resizing them down again for the thin case neck to hold the bullet will result in VERY POOR case life.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 10-08-2017 at 12:10 PM.
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  11. #31
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle333 View Post
    Thanks for all of the comments, guys. It does seem like a very good question why one would want to go from 44 special to a harder-to-load 44-40, just for the nostalgia of it. It is beginning to make much more sense to stick with the 44 special and keep my shooting simpler. I only have to load for 44 special and 45 colt and it would probably only serve to make my life more complicated if I wanted to add the 44-40 in there.
    That's the conclusion I'd be coming to.

    If you want the .44-40 experience for experience's sake, I think you'd be short-changing yourself to do it in anything other than Peacemakers, vintage Winchesters, or their clones. With a modern gun, a .44 Magnum can be watered down to functionally do anything the .44-40 or .44 Special can do with a lot less logistical and technical hassle - - which is why the older rounds really aren't around outside the circles of guys looking for that experience.

    Don't get me wrong - I like a good bit of nostalgia as much as the next guy, but if the object is to simply thump stuff with a .43 caliber bullet at about a thousand feet per second, without going full retro in the process, there's simpler ways to do it.
    WWJMBD?

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  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigslug View Post
    That's the conclusion I'd be coming to.

    If you want the .44-40 experience for experience's sake, I think you'd be short-changing yourself to do it in anything other than Peacemakers, vintage Winchesters, or their clones. With a modern gun, a .44 Magnum can be watered down to functionally do anything the .44-40 or .44 Special can do with a lot less logistical and technical hassle - - which is why the older rounds really aren't around outside the circles of guys looking for that experience.

    Don't get me wrong - I like a good bit of nostalgia as much as the next guy, but if the object is to simply thump stuff with a .43 caliber bullet at about a thousand feet per second, without going full retro in the process, there's simpler ways to do it.
    True that. Ya gotta enjoy the chase as much as the catch, for certain.
    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. #33
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation. I understand now.
    Best, Thomas.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master

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    Okay..... 'committed now. 'Got a 1873 in .44-40 sitting on layaway.

    One of these days...............
    Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  15. #35
    Boolit Man
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    i had a ton of fun shooting my dads 92with a marbles ang sight, so i vote for the 73

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle333 View Post
    Okay..... 'committed now. 'Got a 1873 in .44-40 sitting on layaway.

    One of these days...............
    Apart from its value as a family heirloom, I have gained high respect for the Winchester 1873 as a hunting and defensive rifle system. It was the "assault weapon" of it day. The rifle variants of these models held 15 cartridges, and that was unheard-of firepower just a decade after the Civil War. None of the '73's chamberings were uber-powerful, but a 115/180/200 grain bullet at 1300 FPS in a recipient's software wouldn't do its mainframe any favors. In days prior to antibiotics, ANY significant wounding was potentially fatal, and the lingering agony of septic mortality was no small matter.
    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.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master

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    I took it that Beagle333 put an 1873 revolver on layaway. Uberti?

  18. #38
    Boolit Master

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    Pietta...... a Cimarron Frontier.
    Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Ah ha.......1873 REVOLVER.
    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.

  20. #40
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    I would like a 44-40, but.......

    https://youtu.be/h5CeNw4vREI

    I love the 44-40. Best advice I can give on loading is to use a 44sp/mag plug in your expander die.




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    Last edited by 2ndAmendmentNut; 10-11-2017 at 09:26 AM.
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