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Thread: 44-40 bullet choice

  1. #1
    Boolit Master hiram's Avatar
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    44-40 bullet choice

    Can anyone compare the accuracy between the lyman 427098 and 427666? My 44-40 slugs to 429. I was told the 427098 is a true replicate of the original bullet shape, but it looks like a semi wadcutter and I have concerns with how it will feed from the magazine. For use in a Win M92. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I can't help you with the boolits you mentioned, but I use the Lee 210 gr. round nose SWC sized .429 in my replica Henry 44/40 with excellent results. It feeds perfectly and cuts a thumbprint size group with open sights at 25 yards using Unique.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by hiram
    Can anyone compare the accuracy between the lyman 427098 and 427666? My 44-40 slugs to 429. I was told the 427098 is a true replicate of the original bullet shape, but it looks like a semi wadcutter and I have concerns with how it will feed from the magazine. For use in a Win M92. Thanks.
    I can't say anything about the 427666 but the 42498 (now 427098) IS the Ideal 44-40 boolit and in various iterations has been along a long time. It is not a semi-wadcutter and feeds fine from both my Marlin 44 WCF rifles. That said, if your bore slugs .429, you may not be able to use it satisfactorily. Mine casts about .429 and as cast weight is about 211 grains with WW. I recently obtained an RCBS 44-200 which is a similar boolit and it MAY become my 44 WCF boolit of choice because I can crimp in the crimp groove without exceeding max. COL. The Lyman requires crimping over the forward band or max. COL is exceeded. My RCBS 44-200 casts about .430-.431" and weighs about 214 from WW. YMMV Regards, Woody
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    Boolit Master hiram's Avatar
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    44-40

    You fellas gave some stuff to think about. I'm using a 210 semiwadcutter design right now from NEI. It casts at 429 and I use a 429 die basically for the lubing since there isn't any sizing. I didn't see any leading. I get about 1.25" at 50 yds with 25gr of APP 3 f. I have to check out COL since I was single loading. Thanks again.

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    ive mostly used the rcbs 200
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  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Any bullet over .427 (either sized or cast to that diameter) just will not chamber in my S&W #544. I assume the barrel dia. is .429 but really haven't checked. I tried all my .44 molds (casting from .430 to .432) and sizing them down to .427 but the best for accuracy so far is the 427098 and that has to be sized down also. Quantrill

  7. #7
    In Remembrance w30wcf's Avatar
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    hiram,

    I have both the 427098 and 427666 molds along with a Magma 200 gr. Cowboy bullet. Sorry to say, though, that I have not had a chance to work with the 427666 yet. I have heard good things about the RCBS 200 gr. bullet that Woody1mentioned. I believe that Mike Venturino indicated that the RCBS bullet was his favorite for loading the .44-40.

    Both the Magma 200 gr and 427098 have worked well for me....with smokeless.
    With both b.p. and APP, the 427098 will outshoot the Magma 200 gr. by 2 to 1 (groups 2X larger with the Magma bullet). I would expect the same result from the 427666 since it is very similar to the Magma.

    If you are going to use only the case filling APP3F in your .44-40, I would say get the 427098 based on my experience in an original '73 Winchester.

    The problem with the 427098 when used with smokeless, is that the .44-40 sizing dies that I have tried will not size the neck back far enough to retain the bullet in the case neck under spring pressure in the magazine. This bullet was originally designed by U.M.C. back in the late 1800's for their .44-40 cartridge which used black powder. The case full of b.p. supported the base of the bullet.

    Two ways to solve this is 1.) to use a Lee Factory crimp die to push the crimp into the bullet in front of the first driving band. 2.) Cut .10" off the bottom of the sizing die so that a neck length of .40" can be achieved. THat'swhat I did and it works very well.

    Being a traditionalist, I really like the 427098 bullet since it works well and is the correct bullet, historically speaking, for the .44-40.

    Good luck,
    w30wcf

    p.s. It also works very well with a capacity load of Alliant RELOADER 7 which will duplicate b.p. ballistics (1,250 f.p.s.)
    Last edited by w30wcf; 03-21-2006 at 06:43 PM.
    aka w44wcf
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiram
    I was told the 427098 is a true replicate of the original bullet shape, but it looks like a semi wadcutter and I have concerns with how it will feed from the magazine. Thanks.
    My son and I have two replica 44-40's. One a fairly new Marlin 1894 and one a Rossi 92. I don't have a 427666, but I do have a 42498, a 427098, a Saeco 444, which are all traditionally shaped. I would call that round-nose with a flat. The Saeco has the largest flat, but all feed perfectly OK. There are a few others, but they are NOT traditionally shaped (mostly with a SWC nose, but a Rapine hollow-base has traditional on the front end).

    Unfortunately, the replicas use .44 Magnum barrels. I have to size the bullets to 0.430"-0.431". Luckily, the chambers are large enough so that bullets that size will still chamber. The 42498 is a really old one and only casts out at about 0.426"-0.427". It will not work in these. Bad leading. The 427098 casts large enough, BUT, it only works with a full case of BP. It does NOT have a crimping groove. Small amounts of smokeless will let the bullet push into the case when used in lever actions. Not speculation. I have had it happen. The brass I have (Remington) is too thin to grip the bullet enough when I have a full magazine of cartridges. The Saeco does have a crimping groove and casts large enough. Look at that one.

    The only problem I have had with feeding is with some wide-flat-nose LBT bullets I bought (don't have a mould for it). The flat nose caught on the top inside of the chamber where the 44-40 necks down. That did not jam the gun, but it did throw off my levering. I would think the same kind of setup on a 38-40 would jam it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by w30wcf
    hiram,

    The problem with the 427098 when used with smokeless, is that the .44-40 sizing dies that I have tried will not size the neck back far enough to retain the bullet in the case neck under spring pressure in the magazine. This bullet was originally designed by U.M.C. back in the late 1800's for their .44-40 cartridge which used black powder. The case full of b.p. supported the base of the bullet.

    Two ways to solve this is 1.) to use a Lee Factory crimp die to push the crimp into the bullet in front of the first driving band. 2.) Cut .10" off the bottom of the sizing die so that a neck length of .40" can be achieved. THat'swhat I did and it works very well.

    Good luck,
    w30wcf
    True. I shortened the sizing dies on all of my "dash" cartridges, too (I tried it at 0.125" first, but later got another one and shortened it 0.075"). I does make quite an improvement. Not so much in gripping, but I shoot them in several different guns and the chamber lengths were different from one to the other. Even on full length sizing them with standard dies, I had some combinations that were tight. This gets the neck back to the length that they come from the factory.

    I also bought an extra neck expanding die (center shaft) and had it machined down a couple of times to get a tighter grip on the bullet. By the time I was getting wrinkles on the neck it held solid, but I did not like that. I decided to either use a full (compressed) case of BP or use a bullet with a crimping groove.

    The Lee FCD is a must for ALL the "dash" cartridges.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master and Generous Donator
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    HarryO:

    "Small amounts of smokeless will let the bullet push into the case when used in lever actions. Not speculation. I have had it happen. "

    When the trasition was made to smokeless powders around 1900, the old BP cases like the 44-40 had a heavy cannelure rolled into the case at the bullet base to prevent this. With repeated firings and reloadings, this would gradually iron out, and the bullets would start pushing back in again. I guess in modern loadings they expect case mouth tension (or maybe a dab of case sealant?) to prevent this in tubular magazines.

    Someone - maybe it was Corbin? - used to make a little tool to roll a crimping cannelure into an un-cannelured bullet. I wonder if this could be used to put a cannelure in the case at the bullet base to solve this problem. Or, maybe, a blunted tubing cutter?? Hmmmm....

    floodgate
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by floodgate
    HarryO:

    When the trasition was made to smokeless powders around 1900, the old BP cases like the 44-40 had a heavy cannelure rolled into the case at the bullet base to prevent this. With repeated firings and reloadings, this would gradually iron out, and the bullets would start pushing back in again.

    Someone - maybe it was Corbin? - used to make a little tool to roll a crimping cannelure into an un-cannelured bullet. I wonder if this could be used to put a cannelure in the case at the bullet base to solve this problem. Or, maybe, a blunted tubing cutter?? Hmmmm....

    floodgate
    I have a few of the original loadings with the heavy cannelure in the case below the bullet. I worked all right, but the newer cases I have don't have it.

    I thought about buying a Corbin a while back, but for completely different reasons (to put a different crimp groove location on some .375 bullets for my 9.5x57 MS). Sounds like a lot more work, though. More than I want to do. The Saeco bullet with a crimping groove does the job.

    BTW, the 427098 works great in a revolver. By crimping on the curve of the bullet, it keeps the bullet from working forward during heavy recoil (I do have a few heavy loads). But that does nothing for using them in a lever action rifle.

  12. #12
    In Remembrance w30wcf's Avatar
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    Hi Floodgate,
    Hi Harry,

    Glad you fellas stopped by. I have some .44-40 original smokeless rounds with the deep case cannelure, and as Floodgate, indicated, With repeated firings and reloadings, this cannelure would gradually iron out.

    By modifying a sizing die to allow a longer case neck to be produced, so that it extends at least .04" past the base of the seated 427098, a minimum cannelure of sorts is provided in that area that is smaller in diameter than the bullet. It has been sufficient enough for me to fire 1000+ magazine feed rounds with no bullet telescoping at all using smokeless.

    That is, with bullets of at least 10 b.h.n. Softer bullets may deform enough to proceed through the smaller base of the neck diameter and into the case under spring pressure from the magazine.

    Harry wrote a nice article regarding neck lengths for the Leverguns forum.
    http://www.leverguns.com/articles/neck_lengths.htm

    w30wcf
    aka w44wcf
    aka Jack Christian SASS 11993 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
    aka John Kort
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I forgot about that article. If you do read it, substitute about 0.075" to 0.100" instead of my first try at 0.125". It turned out that that was longer than needed. It just worked the brass more than necessary. The shorter ones seem to work better.

    BTW, I have noticed the slight "bulge" in the case neck that w30wcf talks about, but it did not seem to completely stop my bullets from moving. It must have been because I was using soft bullets at that time (Bhn 7-8). I have since gone to harder bullets (sized to 0.431") in my micro-groove 44-40 Marlin (and then in both rifles), but have not gone back to try using the case neck bulge alone to hold it in place.

    I had to stay with soft bullets (and sized 0.427") with my Ruger Vaquero's though. The dimensions on those two were really screwed up. A gunsmith could only partially fix them.

  14. #14
    I've worked with the Lyman 427666 and the LEE 429-200-RF in rifles and now in a Ruger Vaquero. IMHO the LEE 429-200-RF is very forgiving and is accurate in the 44-40 rifles, new clones and the really old ones as well. It casts a bit small for 44 mag, and as soon as the groove diameter is larger than the bullet by much, it's a leading disaster. 427666 was a real disappointment in my rifles, groups were more than twice as big. The big lube groove doesn't leave much to support the bullet in the bore, and with shallow lands, it will not work. The bevel base makes loading ammo easy, but if something in the throat is off, or ???, accuracy goes to pot. Perhaps with Black Powder the design is more to what is needed.

    Fast forward to today. I long ago sold all my 44-40 rifles, and my LEE 429-200-RF mold. Then a few months ago I bought a 44-40 Vaquero. Throats and groove are in the 429 to 430 range, chambers are in the middle, not min, not max. I still had loaded ammo, and the LEE 429-200-RF load I had shot to POA and were accurate. I still had some cast and sized bullets, they worked good as well. Then I was out of ammo, and the LEE mold is out of stock.

    So out came the 427666. I cast with my normal alloy, COWW and a bit of tin, BHN app 15. I kept the temp below 700 and worked with a warm mold, a bit of finning but no frost. They dropped at around 429, and I lubed them in my 430 sizer. They work in my Vaquero, perhaps not quite as accurate, but no issues. They don't lead. I'd much rather use a LEE 429-200-RF, but the Lyman 427666 is usable. It does use at least twice as much lube as the LEE, but there doesn't seem to be a downside to that. Probably more lube than I need for a 4 5/8" barrel.

    I apologize for resurrecting a rather old thread, but I thought adding a bit more info was worth while.

    I also bought a LEE 452-250-RF for my 45 Colt, also a Ruger Vaquero, and the throat/groove is nearer 451 on it, and my Uberti '73. The same ammo works well in either. My load is a low velocity Cowboy load, so the cases come out a bit black. My 44-40 handles low velocity loads without any soot, the thin neck seals as it was designed to do.

    BTW, I use around 5.5 gr of Red Dot in the 44-40 for about 750 fps. For a bit more sparkle I've used Unique, 9.5 gr. Somewhere around 7.5 gr the ammo becomes erratic, accuracy suffers. I did not chrono the Unique load, but it has sparkle, and it dented and bent the steel at our club. I did not use that load again for competition. It was below the regulation 1400 fps, but still too much for the targets.

    I still have some fine tuning to do, I've only ever used CCI 300 primers to load 44-40 ammo, and in other calibers a primer change will sometimes improve Es/Sd, and powder forward/powder against the primer numbers. As it is my combo is decent. Velocity Av = 752.5/740, Es 28.12/65.3, Sd 11/25.4 ) Note: It was a cool day, with powder forward ignition was a bit sluggish, loosing more than 10 fps. Those numbers are with the 427666.

    And, as mentioned above, my die did leave the shoulder a bit short, and in my Ruger, cartridges would barely chamber. I took a bit off the bottom, 0.050", and that gave me the adjustment I wanted. I could have got by with 0.025", but with my Dillon 550 I prefer the added adjustment range 0.050" gives me.

    Note: A Dillon 550 uses a shell plate, adjusting the die is not of the snug plus a partial turn. The die is adjusted for the correct shoulder setback.

    Nitro.

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    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Nitro,
    You are forgiven or resurrecting the old thread. Best bullet for .44-40 is the John Kort design Accurate 43-215C which has adequate lube capacity to prevent foul out in long barrel rifles with Goex powder and SPG lube, and also has substantial crimp groove for light smokeless loads. Also good is Accurate 43-206H, which is a stump - nosed Keith style of correct nose length for old Colts and 1873 Winchester. I use either 6 grains of Bullseye or Titegroup or alternately 6.5 grains of 231, WST or 452AA, which all approximate factory velocity at safe pressures for the old guns.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    The old #42798 absolutely ROCKS in the .44WCF Rifle. In a WIN 1892, Japanese made 1892, and the various spaghetti made WIN clones. A Rossi '92 also.
    My Dad had an ancient #42498 for his 1899 made 1892, feed bullets like they were greased.
    In 25yrs of Cowboy Shooting I must have tried just about every Commercial Cast bullet available in .427, .428, .429 & .430 diameter. And the Lyman #427666, #429667, #429434, RCBS #44-200-CM, Saeco #446 & #420. Plus the Magma 210gr & 225gr sized to .428

    All shot pretty well, regardless if they were crimped in a crimping groove, over the ogive or even over a small front driving band like the Lyman #42798 has. Taper crimp worked best when loading in a progressive machine.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    I'm partial to the Accurate bullets mentioned above. Excellent bullets in both long guns as well as short guns. The large lube groove is an asset if shooting matches (lots of bullets) all day with BP.

    The Lee 429-200 works fine as well and can be used with all grooves filled with SPG if shooting with BP or with other lube in bottom two grooves for smokeless.

    I am sure the OP (Hiram) has determined by now, 15 years after posting the original question, which bullet to use. For readers of today, it may be worthwhile to mention that there are many factors influencing which bullet works best in your particular gun. Libraries are full of books on this subject alone. Use what you have since with a little fooling around with variables, it will probably shoot better than you can.

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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