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Thread: 44 WCF Prototype Cartridge

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    44 WCF Prototype Cartridge

    RARE and early, this Winchester prototype .44 W.C.F. has a copper Milbank primer, {Pat. #103,641 May, 31, 1870,} it has a 1.177 / 29.91mm long brass case and a flat nose lead bullet. If side-by-side, an M-66 .44 Henry long case mouth would end at the shoulder of this. So this case was most likely too short to support the bullet and would have then been lengthened into the production .44 W.C.F. Weighing 319.4 gr., with uneven toning and oxidization, it is in good condition. estimate- $4,000-$5,000

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    Milbank Primer


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    Milbank "Dimple" primer...not a fired round.


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    Maybe a replica but accuracy is horrid.

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    First style ammo box BUT filled with boxer primed cartridges. Image on box cover could be the short cased cartridge.

    https://curtisshawk21.wixsite.com/44centerfire

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    This is very interesting! I'm curious as to how the Milbank primer worked mechanically. There doesn't seem to be any sort of anvil to pinch the primer compound against - at least not in the drawing. Very different primer pocket as well. I'm fascinated with the ingenuity and creativity used by the numerous ammo producers back then. A particularly tricky design I read about was the soldered-in primers which was termed "central-fire" as opposed to "center-fire" ammunition. They looked like rimfire ammo, since the primer was internal and not visible. It seems unusually hazardous to subject a primer to enough heat to solder it into a case - unless I'm mistaken about how this was accomplished. I have a small supply of UMC (I think) semi-balloon-head button-pocket cases in .45 Colt which I've shot with BP which are fun, but I don't do much with them.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahbub View Post
    I have a small supply of UMC (I think) semi-balloon-head button-pocket cases in .45 Colt which I've shot with BP which are fun,
    I have about 50 unheadstamped semi-baloonhead 44 WCF cases that date back to at least pre-1884. Interestingly enough, when I tested these with full black powder loads, I achieved over 14,000psi. Those same loads using modern starline brass achieved only 9,000psi - 10,000psi and required a tad more compression. A few post-1884 44WCF stamped cases produced 12,000psi. 11,000psi is equal to 13,000cup in SAMMI's 44-40 test data and I find that 18,000psi is getting right at 22,000cup. many early smokeless powder handload data sources call for 16,000 on the chamber pressures but don't say what kind. I would have to assume CUP. If true, 14,000psi is close to 16,000cup. I have seen consistent patterns in my research for historic pressure data although I could be completely wrong!!!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I have no pressure testing equipment, but it would be interesting to know what actually happens when the trigger is pulled.

    Is there some book or online source which explains how the early cartridges were constructed? Such minutiae is very interesting to go through on those rainy days.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    You got the patent no,just look up the patent claims and all will be revealed.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check