MidSouth Shooters SupplyTitan ReloadingRepackboxInline Fabrication
ADvertise hereLee PrecisionRotoMetals2Reloading UK

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24

Thread: '44 special in 44 mag' vs 44-40

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    35

    '44 special in 44 mag' vs 44-40

    Fellas just asking for a friend looking at these calibres in a modern lever gun. He wants to shoot 200-240 grain bullets at 1000-1250fps and was thinking of loading 44 special brass in a 44 mag lever. The question is whether there is any advantage to getting a 44-40 instead from an accuracy point of view? Or maybe just downloading 44 mag to start with. He will only be using light charges of moderately fast burners( nothing slower than unique). I think he figured maybe the 44 special will have less powder position variations being a smaller case, but then it has to make a jump to the rifling. Anything to really split this decision or is it all splitting hairs?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Outside Rolla, Missouri
    Posts
    1,754
    Get the 44-40 and load 8 grs. of Unique and be done with it. I think he's splitting hairs needlessly
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


    Soundguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    N Central Florida
    Posts
    1,737
    Take your 44 mag brass and load a minimum charge of trail boss. No jump issue and it's a reduced ( everything) load.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Lenawee County , MI
    Posts
    900
    Either of the 44 mag. or 44-40 can easily loaded to that velocity. The 44-40 actually has more internal volume than. 44 mag already.

    Jedman

  5. #5
    Boolit Master JoeJames's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Arkansas Delta
    Posts
    986
    Since my Rossi R92 will not feed 44 Special, I load 7 grains of Unique under either a Lee 430 240 grain water quenched or an Oregon Trail laser cast .431 240 grain swc in a 44 Magnum case, and get @1050 fps. I also use the same boolits in all my 44 Special revolvers.
    Britons shall never be slaves.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy veeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    296
    44-40 is just plain cooler!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Southern Arizona
    Posts
    3,824
    If he wants to shoot black powder, or likes the traditional aspect, the .44-40 is the way to go. If he prefers ease of reloading or wants maximum versatility, the .44 Magnum would probably be best. You can duplicate anything from .44 Special through 44-40 to full-house .44 Magnum loadings, with the added bonus of using carbide dies for reloading.

    I like the .44-40 as well as anyone, but once I fitted a .44 Special cylinder to my .44-40 SAA clone, I have the admit I havenít used the .44-40 cylinder much. The loads shoot to a different point of aim, and lubricating and cleaning the bottleneck cases is extra work. Attrition of the more fragile .44-40 cases through mouth cracks or mangling in the dies goes at a higher rate, too.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    35
    Thanks fellas. I'd forgotten the 44-40 is a little larger capacity than the 44mag too, I will pass that on as well

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Posts
    9,162
    The .44 Magnum case works extremely well with loads approximating the payload and velocity of the .44-40, giving almost identical results with the same bullets and powder charges. Just make sure that bullets are of correct diameter for cylinder throats and barrel. I have found no advantage to using .44 Special brass because the increased free bullet travel negates any potential advantage of having reduced powder capacity.

    .44 Magnum brass is plentiful, inexpensive and sturdy. Not so with .44-40. A boutique round for nostalgia, more expensive, thin walled and fragile, requiring finesse in handling.
    The ENEMY is listening.
    HE wants to know what YOU know.
    Keep it to yourself.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    35
    Thanks Outpost75 and others. And can I ask for someone to address the issue of blowback in straight walled catridges. Were he to load charges in the 5.5-6 grain red dot range or unique in 6-8 grain etc(adjusting for 44sp vs 44 mag as needed) is this a problem. Saw some posts about the issue of blowback. Actually what is the real problem with blowback? Inconsistent pressures, bad accuracy or unpleasant gas in the face? Would the 44 special also give more blowback being a shorter case. I dont recall having blowback issues in 38 special fired from lever guns is all

  11. #11
    Boolit Master smkummer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    So. Indiana
    Posts
    1,605
    My 1970’s vintage Marlin 1894 44 mag. feeds best with long cases. So it’s easy to down load 44 mag brass. Remember too that straight wall cases can be loaded with carbide dies that need no lube. Currently my 1894 is shooting cowboy loads that are very light with a 200 grain lead bullet and 4.5 grains 700X. In a 44 special case, it’s 4.2 grains with the same Lee bullet. As stated, 44-40 needs special attention for its application.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    2,249
    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    The .44 Magnum case works extremely well with loads approximating the payload and velocity of the .44-40, giving almost identical results with the same bullets and powder charges. Just make sure that bullets are of correct diameter for cylinder throats and barrel. I have found no advantage to using .44 Special brass because the increased free bullet travel negates any potential advantage of having reduced powder capacity.

    .44 Magnum brass is plentiful, inexpensive and sturdy. Not so with .44-40. A boutique round for nostalgia, more expensive, thin walled and fragile, requiring finesse in handling.
    whats a boutique round for nostalgia ? sounds a bit one eyed that does
    plenty of 44/40 brass around at reasonable prices last time I looked, yeah its a little more cost but not so bad, still cheaper than most.
    fragile requiring finesse in handling ?? must be a lot of ham fisted blokes live north of the equator - I been loading the stuff for decades and never had a serious problem
    plus side 44/40 feeds way better in many lever guns than the 44mag - dont have the blowby problem with blackpowder fouling either
    and like the man said "its way cooler"

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    11,477
    The 44-40 might feed better in a 92 style action but the .44 magnum is the easier choice for reloading all levels fourty four as said by Outpost.
    That said, I have a 44-40 single shot rifle and I feel no need for the .44 magnum.
    Since 1873.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


    Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    2,547
    Never thought of .44-40 as a "boutique" round, but I guess growing up with Winchester '92s and Colt SAAs I just think of it as just another round. It along with the .38-40 are far better cartridges for Black Powder.

    The .44Mag in a Lever gun can easily Loaded down, one of My Cowboy Shooting Friends shoots the N.O.E. #TL432-247-RF over 5.5grs of TiteGroup in a .44Mag case.
    I use the Lyman #429667; 240 RNFP over 5.0grs in a .44Spl case. Both loads function flawlessly in Win 94, Marlin 1894 and Rossi 92 .44Mag Rifles.
    Overall cartridge length is about the same with both loads.
    I HATE auto-correct


    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Outside Rolla, Missouri
    Posts
    1,754
    I never thought the 44-40 as a boutique round either, or difficult to load or fragile, unless you're not paying attention and are slamming the cases in the press and literally ramming them into the die. But, I've only been loading it since the mid-80's so maybe I've missed something. I don't even think the 32-20 requires finesse and you can crush the neck of it with your fingers. There again, my experience with it only runs to 40+ years so I'm probably not up to speed on it.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Orange, VA NOW
    Posts
    5,292
    Anyone who states the 44-40 is as easy to load, as cheap to buy, as common to find, or as sturdy as the 44 Mag is, is either delusional, forgetful or dishonest. The 44-40 needs to be lubed when sizing, and those thin case walls crumple like tissue if your case, or boolit, is misaligned at all. Mag brass is usually 10% or more less costly, while in normal times, any sporting goods store worth its name has 44 mag ammo sitting on the shelf.
    The only claim of the 44-40 advocates that stands up to challenge is the coolness factor. A 44-40 is not like half the other guns on the line, newbies get glazed eyes when your "antique" shoots groups their plastic pistol can't match. And when loaded with black powder, you get a "boom" with a rolling cloud of grey smoke, not a "crack" and a whisp of smoke that wafts away before you have time to see it. That is cool.
    But it ain't easy, common or cheap.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    2,249
    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    Anyone who states the 44-40 is as easy to load, as cheap to buy, as common to find, or as sturdy as the 44 Mag is, is either delusional, forgetful or dishonest. The 44-40 needs to be lubed when sizing, and those thin case walls crumple like tissue if your case, or boolit, is misaligned at all. Mag brass is usually 10% or more less costly, while in normal times, any sporting goods store worth its name has 44 mag ammo sitting on the shelf.
    The only claim of the 44-40 advocates that stands up to challenge is the coolness factor. A 44-40 is not like half the other guns on the line, newbies get glazed eyes when your "antique" shoots groups their plastic pistol can't match. And when loaded with black powder, you get a "boom" with a rolling cloud of grey smoke, not a "crack" and a whisp of smoke that wafts away before you have time to see it. That is cool.
    But it ain't easy, common or cheap.
    We speak of our own experience - you dont like mine - I dont have yours - thats cool
    1) easy to load ? I been loading 44/40 for 50 years and never had a problem worth bothering about with the stuff you talk about - but I work my press with my fingers not a clenched fist
    2) cost - yeah 5 to 10 % more for 44/40 - they both quite cheap compared to most other brass - put that in the so what basket
    3) beat the bushes in my neck of the woods and I bet you flush out more 44/40 ammo than 44mag - thats life in rural downunder
    4) needs lube for sizing - so what? at the velocities the O P is talking - sizing should be a non event - maybe every five reloads - if ya wanna kill your brass by FLS every shot go ahead - not my plan at all .
    5) 44mag is an inferior Blackpowder case (to the 44/40) in every regard - that makes a difference to some of us.
    6) the feed issue in some lever guns is real, the 44/40 definitely smoother and less problematic, if not then they likely bored the chamber oversize.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    We speak of our own experience - you dont like mine - I dont have yours - thats cool
    1) easy to load ? I been loading 44/40 for 50 years and never had a problem worth bothering about with the stuff you talk about - but I work my press with my fingers not a clenched fist
    2) cost - yeah 5 to 10 % more for 44/40 - they both quite cheap compared to most other brass - put that in the so what basket
    3) beat the bushes in my neck of the woods and I bet you flush out more 44/40 ammo than 44mag - thats life in rural downunder
    4) needs lube for sizing - so what? at the velocities the O P is talking - sizing should be a non event - maybe every five reloads - if ya wanna kill your brass by FLS every shot go ahead - not my plan at all .
    5) 44mag is an inferior Blackpowder case (to the 44/40) in every regard - that makes a difference to some of us.
    6) the feed issue in some lever guns is real, the 44/40 definitely smoother and less problematic, if not then they likely bored the chamber oversize.
    More 44/40 ammo than 44mag? Not in my part of rural Australia. Generally 44mag has at least a dozen loads imported here. 44-40 is usually just a couple cowboy loads. This pre-covid of course, not even sure what is available right now.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Outside Rolla, Missouri
    Posts
    1,754
    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    Anyone who states the 44-40 is as easy to load, as cheap to buy, as common to find, or as sturdy as the 44 Mag is, is either delusional, forgetful or dishonest. The 44-40 needs to be lubed when sizing, and those thin case walls crumple like tissue if your case, or boolit, is misaligned at all. Mag brass is usually 10% or more less costly, while in normal times, any sporting goods store worth its name has 44 mag ammo sitting on the shelf.
    The only claim of the 44-40 advocates that stands up to challenge is the coolness factor. A 44-40 is not like half the other guns on the line, newbies get glazed eyes when your "antique" shoots groups their plastic pistol can't match. And when loaded with black powder, you get a "boom" with a rolling cloud of grey smoke, not a "crack" and a whisp of smoke that wafts away before you have time to see it. That is cool.
    But it ain't easy, common or cheap.
    I never saw cheap mentioned, or sturdy, around here it is as common as 44 Spl. and I'm neither delusional, forgetful or dishonest. It is as easy to load as anything else unless you're ham handed, inattentive and near blind. I loaded 50 44 Spl. last week. I sized and lubed the 429421 bullets just like those for my 44-40. Your point was? Cost? When compared to the cost of the firearm, that's a rather moot point. I load mostly smokeless but always have some BP loaded cartridges because I like them. Smokeless loads as easy in my 44-40's as my 44 Spl. I could give two spits in the ocean less what anyone thinks of it but disinformation never solved anything. I don't shoot at a club or public range and there's no one to impress at my back yard range. The few times I have shot at clubs or private ranges, other than matches, I wasn't there to impress someone so cool only exists in the mind of those for whom that is even a factor. It isn't for me. I prefer the 44 Spl. AND the 44-40 over the 44 Mag. and, I shot a Ruger SBH for several years in Hunter Pistol Silhouette. I don't need the fire breathing 44 Mag anymore. If I did, I'd use my Freedom Arms in 45 Colt.
    Last edited by sharps4590; 07-20-2021 at 07:39 AM.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  20. #20
    Moderator Emeritus


    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    SW Montana
    Posts
    11,404
    If he ever wants a handgun I would go with the 44 Mag. It is very easy to download, factory ammo is a lot easier to find than 44-40 and bullets, sizing dies and molds are easier to find in 0.429-0.433" than 0.427".
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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