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Old 08-27-2010, 08:47 PM
panamajack310 panamajack310 is offline
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Default 44-40 ammunition

Hello guys and gals,

Any one have any expierence shooting 44-40? I am going to start shooting this round? I know it is a historic round and was used from the 1870s until the 1900's. I also know that it was one of the most popular rounds in the 1800s.. in your expierence is is just as good as the 44 special round?? is it still in a class of its own when it comes to stopping a human target??

The reason I ask is I am personally going to bring the round back into law enforcement. I am going to carry a S&W 544 as my new duty gun...just to have something different than everyone else.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:43 AM
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People are no tougher than they were 130 years ago. The 44/40 will hold its own with the 44 Special providing the weight and velocity is the same. Just don't use the "cowboy" loads. They are pretty weak. Be sure to use something that will pump 200+ grains of lead at 800+ fps and it should work.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:16 PM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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I show two loads for the 44/40 Winchester from the Lyman 45th addition reloading handbook.

The test firearm used was a Colt SAA with a 7.5" barrel.

200gr Jacketed bullet;
starting load, 8gr Unique, 825fps.

Max load 11.1gr of Unique, 1125fps.

Since the 44/40 is a bottlenecked case, you might have problems with setback with higher loads locking up your revolver.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE450No2 View Post
Since the 44/40 is a bottlenecked case, you might have problems with setback with higher loads locking up your revolver.
The brass may have to be canellured (I never can spell it correctly) below the bullet to prevent that, which is no problem with the correct tool. Also, a very heavy crimp is highly suggested. Of course, factory ammunition has both of these traits, but little, if any of factory ammunition is better than "cowboy loads." Not to say that a .44-40 at cowboy velocities is still a round capable of putting down any two-legged creature, but that will still leave you will nearly every load being flat or round nosed lead. I believe that Winchester quit making the Silvertip load for it, but still lists the 200gr. JSP- the only jacketed factory load left that I can find from the "big" ammunition companies.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:03 PM
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I don't think using the grand old 44/40 , aka .44 WCF as a duty weapon is a logical choice. I doubt many police chiefs would allow it as a primary weapon today. First , there's not much in the way of suitable ammo. There's a 200gr JSP and various flat point cast bullet 'cowboy' loads. Plus , most factory ammo is held down due to the large number of black powder era guns still in use. The S&W 544 , though a good N-frame gun , is not up to hot handloads because the case shape and size make for some thin cylinder walls. Brass is also rather weak. You'd have to buy/carry your own ammo , which is sometimes hard to find and the 200gr JSP is very expensive , and if ya run out in a social engagement , other officers ammo won't help.

OTOH , A like-chambered lever action carbine is always a cood companion to a sixgun. And there's several good copies of the Win 92 out there.


The main reason the .44 Special became more popular is that it was usually more accurate out of later sixguns like the S&W Triple Lock. Bore and cylinder throat size vary widely in 44-40 guns.
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:49 PM
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While I have quite satisfactoryly used 44-40 in both revolver and lever guns for a couple of decades, I only use my handloads and a few commercial loads from select custom loaders, I would be leary of using it as duty weapon for police work where others would most likely not be carrying 44-40s. I have never considered recent factory ammo to fairly represent original 44-40 ballistics.

For home defense or use as a lone individual, I would be quite happy with a nice double action 44-40 and a light, M92 carbine. At least they have advantage that I have used such guns for decades and shoot them instinctively.

I know nothing of the S&W revolver you mention, especially about factory specs for chambers, cylinder throats, and bores. However, 44-40s have been made with a wide range of specs for chamber necks and cylinder throats, as well as bore diameters. In addition, chamber dimensions can range from really sloppy to really tight. It can quickly get to be a custom handloading operation, possibly for each individual gun.

Happily, both my 44-40s take 0,429 bullets and both are strong actioned guns. Easy to get 900-1000 fps for 200 grain bullets with safe (SAAMI) pressures from my Ruger Vaquero with 5,5 inch barrel and 1200-1300 fps from 20 inch barreled rifle. That is, original BP velocities from these guns, as verified with BP loads using Swiss FFg or 777FFg and 200 grain bullets cast from Lyman 427098 moulds, in modern, solid-head cases.

For me, 44-40 is one of easiest cartridges to load, right up there with 30-30, 38Spl, 7X57 etc. and much easier than 45 Colt. Some folks get all confused about actual strength of modern, solid-head 44-40 brass and strength of 44-40 chambered revolver cylinders. Any revolver cylinder of same external dimensions and routinely chambered for 45 Colt will have essentially same wall thickness if chambered for 44-40 -- check cartridge dimensions.

Some folks call it a "bottlenecked" cartridge, and it sorta is when loaded with 0,427 bullets. Loaded with 0.429-0.430 bullets it is much closer to simply being a tapered, slightly stepped cartridge. Feeds really nicely in rifles like M92, with their sloping cartridge ramps. Never had any problem with tubular magazines pushing bullets back into cases, but some folks have, perhaps because of not-quite-right hand loading parameters.

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:11 PM
panamajack310 panamajack310 is offline
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Luck for me my agency allows me to carry anything I want because I am a detective. I currently carry a 3" model 625 I am shooting Speer GDHP 230gr. 45acp traveling at 890fps and muzzel energy of 404ftlbs

My research has shown 44-40 winchester soft point to put out 1100fps and 645ftlbs of energy so how is that not a good round????
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:39 PM
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Those ballistics read like those for modern, downloaded 44-40 loads in rifle. I have no doubt those ballistics can be obtained with handloads in revolvers that can handle chamber pressures somewhat greater than SAAMI for 44-40.

FYI, Lyman 47 lists some 44-40 loads up to 20.000 psi with 200 grain Speer 0,429 jacketed bullets. These closely approximate the true HV loads once produced by factories for use ONLY in strong 44-40 rifles, like Winchester M92, Marlin M94, Winchester Low Wall, etc. In a modern revolver (NOT Colt SAAs, old S&W, etc.) that can handle this pressure, you should expect well over 1100 fps and plenty of muzzle blast and recoil -- I know, I tried some in my Ruger Vaquero.

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:56 PM
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I bought a S&W 544 when it was introduced in the mid 1980's. The 44-40 round intrigued me. I picked up a 1000 new Remington cases. The first thing I noticed about the cases was there wasn't much of a bottleneck compared to factory loaded ammo. I loaded about a 100 rounds and when I put them in the gun, the cylinder wouldn't turn properly. I thought there was something wrong with the gun. Turned out that the RCBS dies I was using would not fully form the bottleneck on the new cases. I could fire them one at a time and that would fire-form the cases. Then they could be loaded with the proper bottleneck. Perhaps I got a bad batch of Remington cases.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:17 PM
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I too had some problems with bad batches of Remington 44-40 cases in late 1980s, early 1990s. Most common problem was diverse lengths, requiring initial trimming to get consistant case lenghts for crimping. Some even split after very few loadings, rather than after the more common 10 or so loadings. I also had some problems early on with Starline 44-40 brass, again, mostly with case lengths, but not with premature splitting. In recent decade plus, I have very few, if any, deviant cases from either Remington or Starline. It has now been 7-8 years since I bought new 44-40 brass.

New Starline and Remington cases arrived with simple straight taper and needed full-length resizing to fit into chambers.

I never had initial resizing problems with my RCBS 44-40 dies. I simply gave each case maximum resizing and that worked fine for even my Ruger with minimum chamber dimensions. I still resize that way because nothing else gives me brass that will chamber in my Ruger.

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:36 PM
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So let me get this straight. In this day and age where law enforcement handgun technology is at it's hightest peak ever, with plastics, composites, alloys, high capacity magazines and etc, etc, you plan on choosing a firearm that was designed over 100 years ago and a model that is chambered for a cartridge that is even older?

It really makes me wonder if we aren't related. Your 544 loaded with Winchester 200gr. SP ammo would be just as formidable today as it ever was. And if you handload and are allowed to carry them, you can do even better with proper bullets and increased velocity. (Stay away from the Cowboy Action ammo unless you are plinking with it.) Many people choose to arbitrairily label the "Old West" cartridges as obsolete without even looking at their ballistic similarity to our latest and greatest wonder cartridges, not to mention the surprisingly lower pressure limits with which they do it.

The market, and marketeers, have gotten so magnum crazy they fail to realize that these cartridges are perfect for their intended useage. Yes, you can load a .44 magnum down to match it, but if the only task you ever give it is to save your bacon from the scum of society, that was why it was made and it served that purpose well. Plus you don't have to worry about someone handing you some magnum ammo to try out that will only embarass you in front of your peers.

I have heard that the 544s had barrels made for .429 bullets while the chamber throats were made for .427 bullets, which could make accuracy a little challenging. I have one myself but have never checked it's specs. or its' accuracy potential.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:09 PM
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Call me old fashioned call me crazy I dont care. I like carrying stuff that no one else does. I was going to carry a 45 LC but I got this gun at a great price so I am going to carry it... I know the 45lc is a great round. I did not know until I started researching that the 44-40 was comperable to the 45lc in ballistics back in the day....I plan on using the soft point ammunition.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:46 PM
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The 44-40 softpoint ammo is a poor choice considering the much better options available. I suspect a 200gr soft point at 1100fps will pass clear through a human target without expanding and retain enough velocity to kill or injure someone else downrange that doesn't have it coming. It's also more dangerous for you because the suspect may not be incapicitated and remain in the fight longer.

No disrepect, but why go from a pretty much state of the art 45ACP 230 Gold Dot hp to an antiquated round that is less effective and more dangerous to bystanders just to be different?

I can't believe an agency would allow this extreme latitude with regards to duty weapons and ammunition in 2010, given the high liability concerns/realities inolved in today's world.

I carried a 4 inch 629 with 44 Specials back in the day. R-E-V-O-L-V-E-R day. I stopped when my agency transitioned to semi autos in 1990 and I have never looked back. The semi auto, with modern LE ammo is a much better tool for what we do. Again, no disrepect, but I am looking for performance not panache.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:30 PM
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Default Reloading 44-40

Huge pain in the butt to reload. Bottle neck case, must be lubed before resizing, erratic case length growth so consistent crimp is challenging, paper thin case neck that bulges, buckles or collapses at the worst possible moment.

Lubed bottle neck cases must be cleaned, tumbled, or polished before they are fired because of possible set-back in the cylinder. OP must really like a challenge.

I am not looking forward to reloading my third batch of brass.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:33 PM
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[QUOTE=SWAT Lt.;The semi auto, with modern LE ammo is a much better tool for what we do. Again, no disrepect, but I am looking for performance not panache.[/QUOTE]

Our agency carries the Glock 22 .40S&W. I have found that this round absolutly sucks in performance. We have had several shootin incidnets that required 3 to 5 shots to stop the suspect and put the suspect down. When we carried the .357 round it only required one to two shots to stop a suspect. Back in the 1800's the average round count to stop a suspect was one shot from a 45lc or 44-40 so how can you say that these rounds have no performance.

You being in SWAT you know it is all about shot placement, I know that as well, but the older cops that have used revolvers make the shots count because that is what we had 6 rounds to stop a suspect so every round had to count. Today all these officers have used nothing but 15 round 9mm and .40 s&w semiauto's so they use more rounds.

I have never felt out gunned with a revolver, I currently carry a 3" 625 45acp and my back up is a S&W 2.5" model 19 .357 so I know I am not outgunned. for me it is about the power and performance of the revolver round.
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Old 08-31-2010, 10:44 PM
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This and companion threads about modern-made S&W DA revolvers chambered in 44-40 got my interest up enough to go look on GunBroker and, surprise (to me) there were some for sale.

Then I got to wondering if S&W had been smarter than Ruger and matched cylinder and barrel specs. Jellybean mentioning 0,429 bores and perhaps 0,427 cylinder throats is disturbing, although better than Ruger's initial offering with 0,429 bores and 0,425 cylinder throats. I bought one of those Rugers used and sent it to Ruger for installation of new cylinder with chambers suited to ammo with 0,429 bullets. They got it almost right and I finished the job of making it right. It is now a much better grouping revolver than its companion in 45 Colt ever was -- actually, it is my favorate SA revolver.

I have no idea how those factory 200 grain soft points will expand on humans. I do know that 200 grain lead bullets, even made of nearly pure lead, at muzzle velocity of 1200 fps, will zip right through a deer's chest cavity at up to about 100 yards on broadside hit.

Question: Do any of makers of geewhizz personal defence bullets make a 0,429 200 grainer that expands at impact velocities of 800 fps? I shot a few 10s of Speer 200 grain, 0,429 jacketed HPs at fence posts, small trees, etc. and they all penetrated 3-4 inches of wood nicely at about 900 fps -- no idea how much they expanded. FYI, those Remington and Winchester 44-40 soft points are 0,425-0,426, as one would expect -- OK since they are jacketed. Anyone know for sure how well they expand?

BTW, anyone that cannot successfully load 44-40 ammo, and with ease, still has some room to improve loading skills.

Interesting thread!! Never thought i might need a modern S&W DA revolver in 44-40.

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Old 08-31-2010, 11:45 PM
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I would imagine that the 544 would indeed make a fine duty handgun. The 44 WCF cartridge is plenty of a manstopper, as good as any 45ACP round on the market or any other comparable round. A LSWC bullet at 900 FPS or so properly placed is going to be effective, whether the cartridge case that delivers it was invented in 1873 or 1904 with the ACP round.
Expansion isn't guaranteed in a human target with any of those rounds. The person hit by it won't know the difference anyway.

I don't buy the liability issues. We are going to be scrutinized no matter what we shoot someone with. All of us, with or without a badge are. If you have a badge, qualify with your handgun, document your use of force/deadly force training, and clearly articulate your need to use deadly force, then that is all you can do. If a round from a 9, 40, 45 or 44-40 hits an unintended target, then it is on us anyway. What difference does it make the caliber or platform that delivered it???
In the not so distant past LE agencies issued Model 25's in 45 Colt, a cartridge every bit as old as the 44, and quite frankly they used it to quite good effect.
The firearms that deliver those rounds are heavy, hard to hide, and not everyone shoots them well, but their is NO GOOD REASON not to carry it.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:23 AM
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The only problem with the .44-40 is the poor choice of factory ammo. With handloading it can be just as effective, and safe, as any other handgun ammo on the market. The Winchester 200 gr. soft point would be just like shooting a Gold Dot that didn't expand.

The velocity quoted above is from a rifle by the way, so a revolver would deliver a little less. But anyone who depends on wether or not their bullet expands to save their butt, or to keep from injuring a bystander, is chasing unicorns. It is much better to spend the extra money used on the latest and greatest, which usually means most expensive, ammunition on practice ammo, and get to know your weapon a little better.

I've never thought of loading bottleneck pistol cartridges as being a chore. I load because I like to and probably like to load just as much as I like to shoot. While they may be a little more challenging than straight walled pistol cartridges with carbide dies, I find them much more enjoyable and educating. I guess it all depends on why one handloads in the first place.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panamajack310 View Post
Call me old fashioned call me crazy I dont care. I like carrying stuff that no one else does. I was going to carry a 45 LC but I got this gun at a great price so I am going to carry it... I know the 45lc is a great round. I did not know until I started researching that the 44-40 was comperable to the 45lc in ballistics back in the day....I plan on using the soft point ammunition.
you might be both old fashioned AND crazy, but there ain't a thing wrong with patrollin' while carryin' a 44-40
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:45 PM
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Anything can, and has, failed to stop and it is about shot placement and how bad the BG wants to stay in the fight. This includes the 45ACP and 357mag 125 jhp (I'm aware of each failing to stop with decent placement locally). Perfect placement cannot be assured under the stresses and dynamics of a gunfight (lighting, movement by you & BG, etc.) so six may go pretty fast and one can run out of ammo before running out of gunfight.

Our G-22s have performed very well in numerous OISs, and I carry mine with complete confidence (but no illusion of it being a death ray). By all means, carry what you like and have confidence in. I prefer something with a little higher capacity for the above reasons, as well as our BGs often like to run in packs.

I hope you enjoy your 44-40 and that it serves you well. Stay safe.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:35 AM
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In your place I think I would carry a S&W revolver in 45 ACP with the 325 NG as a backup.

That way all your ammo would fit both of your guns.

For several years I carried a 1911 Govt Model with a LW Commander as a No2..

Later due to "official regulations" I carried 2 Glock 17's 100% of the time.

I like having all of my ammo/mags fitting both of my "guns".
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:02 PM
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I forgot to mention, in case you don't have any good speedloaders on hand for the .44-40, you can use the HKS mod 29s. Jiggle them as you turn the knob so it will turn easily and you should have no problem.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:43 PM
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I loaded 44-40 Win for use in a Colt New Service reolver. I finally sold the gun. I prefer straight walled revolver brass so that I can use a carbide sizing die and not put up with the mess lubing cases.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:31 PM
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Maybe it is some malady besitting handgunners, but, having reloaded various truly bottlenecked rifle cartridges for over 50 years, I have a real hard time getting unhappy about reloading a few boxes of 44-40 ammo. Lubing cases? What is so terribly negative about that? What did you do before carbide dies?

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Old 09-06-2010, 09:36 AM
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Mike Venturino has a book about old west sixguns, and has .44/40 loading tips. He may still advertise it in Rifle and Handloader and Shooting times. It is well worth the price.

I have always been leery of the .44/40 because of the stories that it jammed the guns. I don't know how, but cylinder rotation was impaired. That dates back to black powder days.
I don't know how common it is; saw it in Skeeter Skelton's articles. Venturino hasn't had a problem with it.

On the other hand, the round should work okay on people. Lt. Col. Vincent Fosbery, V.C., who later invented a Webley automatic revolver bearing his name, said that the .44 was the best handgun stopper that he saw in use along the Afghan frontier in the 1870's and 1880's. That carries a lot of weight with me, those Pathan tribesmen being notoriously hard to kill.

I've wondered how an explorer in the 1920's would fare with a Hand Ejector S&W in .44/40. The S&W .44's mentioned by Sasha Siemel may have been these, rather than .44 Specials, as the Winchester M-92 .44 rifle was so popular in Brazil. In fact, Siemel owned one, He didn't always rely on his famous spear with jaguars.

Anyone know what velocity the 200 grain bullet gave from revolvers with factory ammo in the 1920's? I assume that rifle pressure ammo was NOT safe for use in revolvers.

Elmer Keith did NOT like the.44/40, as it gave more reloading problems than did .44 Special, and the chamber thickness of the cylinders was more in .44 Special. With his hot loads, that mattered.

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Old 09-06-2010, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
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I have always been leery of the .44/40 because of the stories that it jammed the guns. I don't know how, but cylinder rotation was impaired. That dates back to black powder days.
I don't know how common it is; saw it in Skeeter Skelton's articles. Venturino hasn't had a problem with it.

On the other hand, the round should work okay on people. Lt. Col. Vincent Fosbery, V.C., who later invented a Webley automatic revolver bearing his name, said that the .44 was the best handgun stopper that he saw in use along the Afghan frontier in the 1870's and 1880's. That carries a lot of weight with me, those Pathan tribesmen being notoriously hard to kill.

Anyone know what velocity the 200 grain bullet gave from revolvers with factory ammo in the 1920's? I assume that rifle pressure ammo was NOT safe for use in revolvers.
T-Star
In "The Art of Handgun Shooting" by Capt. Charles Askins Jr., 1941, he lists the velocity of a .44-40 from revolver at 918 fps. with a 200 gr. bullet.

Tapered or bottlenecked cartridges in revolvers can lock up the cylinder by "set back", as they exapand under pressure they are forced backwards and press against the breech face. I have never noticed a problem with low pressured cartridges like the .32-20, which I've shot a lot of, or the .44-40, which I've only shot a relatively few of. But it is a problem in higher pressured cases like the .22 Jet or .22 Hornet. It might have occured using rifle ammo in revolvers but I've never shot any of it any either caliber so I can't say for sure.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:02 PM
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I have never had a problem with 44-40 cases backing out of revolver cylinders and locking them up, not even with 20.000+ psi loads, as given in Lyman 47th for strong rifles. I will admit two thing about this: 1) this revolver is a Ruger Vaquero with minimum-dimensioned chambers suited to 0,429 bullets and 2) both chambers and loaded ammo were wiped dry. Also of note, even at this "elevated" chamber pressures, I never had those "thin, weak-walled cases" stretch, either in Ruger or Rossi M92. Other than sometimes initially with new cases, I never trim 44-40 brass. Furthermore, I do not worry much about getting absolutely all of resizing lube off standard pressure 44-40 loads, either BP or nitro powders and have never had a single instance of a fired case backing out of chamber and locking cylinder. Actually, in decades of using 44-40s I have yet to see a single case of locked up cylinder from cases backing out.

I do agree with previous posters that truly high pressure, sharply-tapered cases can back out. However, even with such old-style, thin-walled cases as 30-30, often used in single-shot handguns at chamber pressures of well over 30.000 psi, I don't recall discussion or mention of these cases backing out of chambers.

I do vaguely recall stories of early 44-40 ammo, perhaps having weak primer metal and/or weak cases, resulting in lockup of cylinders. Was this really ammo or was it gun? Please do recall that lots of old or cheaply made (Italian mostly) revolvers can have firing-pin holes so badly burred by firing pins as to lock up cylinders or so sloppy as to allow soft primers to flow back between firing pin and frame, also locking cylinders.

FYI, any SAAMI-pressure 44-40 load that gets 1300 fps for 200 grain bullet from a rifle barrel -- and there are plenty with proper powder, eg. 2400, Blue Dot, etc. -- will get about 900-1000 fps from 5,5 to 7,5 inch revolver barrel. For shooting most sub-species of homo sapiens, that is well documented to be generally adequate.

Niklas
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:15 PM
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I shoot quite alot of 44-40 both in a Winchester 73 and a Colt Bisley S/A.
No problems reloading. I can't think of the last time I lost a case to buckling or collapsing as is often stated.
But it is a slower paced reloading,,, single stage, sizing lube, ect.
If you're used to crank 'em out high volume loading, the 44-40 probably isn't for you, though I seem to recall one of the progressive press mfg offering a 44-40 setup,,Dillon maybe??

Mine are all BP or BP sub (American Pioneer or it's earlier namesake CleanShot) loads.
No crimping problems, the bullet can't move back 'cause of the powder in the case, and a decent crimp keeps them from jumping forward in the Colt.
Powder scoop measured. Bullets are always 200gr LFN. They function in the Winchester
Very accurate in the 73 with it's Lyman tang site. The rifle is a rebore (Ken Briesen) from 38-40. Action rebuilt to tighten it to new. Outside, it looks like it sat in a barn all it's life.
Don't know what the MV/ME specs are but I wouldn't feel undergunned at ranges up to 100yrds using it for whitetails (if I still hunted).
It was quite a favorite for a long time before deer & other critters became unstoppable for some reason.

The Colt suffers from a poor bore and for now is just a fun noise maker.
The firing pin/ frame pin hole suffered from the problem mentioned in the post above. The gun would nicely demonstrate the 'lock-up on firing' syndrome every so often.
Not from the cartridge design, but from the mechanical problem. Once the problem was fixed, it has not done it once since.

When 44-40 brass was at a premium (before the Cowboy Shooter days!), I used to make some of it from 44magnum brass.
It is a little shorter than real 44-40. A simple pass through a 44-40 sizer gives you the brass,,but,, then you have to ream the inside of the neck to give it the characteristic thin neck area.

If you simply try to seat the bullet into the sized case w/o reaming the neck (the thicker 44mag brass in the neck) the brass will either collapse as it is now way undersize ID for the bullet,,or if you do get it to enter the case it will re-expand the brass back out to the parent 44mag case outside dimentions and you have accomplished nothing.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:25 PM
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Default .44/40 in action RIGHT NOW...

My father is currently packing a .44/40 Ruger Old Vaquero 5 1/2" to defend against unsavory two-legged predators trying to take advantage of the supposedly "evacuated" foothills west of Boulder, CO. My parents house is not in the "burn zone", but is close enough that almost all of the neighbors either left or got caught in-town when the roads were closed. It's good that somebody is minding the farm. FYI- Winchester's current 200 gr JSP generates about 800 fps out of the Ruger.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:58 PM
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I am satisfied that your Daddy guarding the homefront is well protected with such an obsolete round.....and I pity the fool who doesn't respect you Dad and the Vaquero
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:59 PM
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I am satisfied that your Daddy guarding the homefront is well protected with such an obsolete round.....and I pity the fool who doesn't respect your Dad and the Vaquero
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:18 PM
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well I think that this is still a viable round to be used in self defense situations, out of a " barrel I am sure that it will produce enough power to stop a person.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:37 PM
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I agree with you.....let me know how you like it. If I get my hands on a 544 I would carry it on duty
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:29 AM
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Years ago, before a long-term drought reduced desert quail populations, when Gambles and Scaled quail hunting was wonderful on San Carlos Apache Reservation in Southern Arizona, I carried my Ruger Vaquero 44-40 along with shotgun. Happily, I never did see much/any evidence of illegals, as one does at most areas in southern AZ, TX, NM.

Load was a Speer 0,429, 200 grain jacketed hollowpoint over SAAMI max load of Blue Dot, as given in Alliant 2005 loading manual. Have never chronoed this load but, it is much more powerful than any factory load I tried, perhaps 900+ fps from 5,5 inch barrel.

Note added later:: I chronoed the above load today (13 September) and got a bit over 860 fps at ambient temp of about 70F.

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Old 09-11-2010, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by panamajack310 View Post
. . . When we carried the .357 round it only required one to two shots to stop a suspect. . .
No disrespect intended, but nostalgia is a weak tactical reason for a LEO to carry an obsolete round. Not that the .44-40 hasn't been there and done that in law enforcement, but it's readily apparent that ammo selection is extremely limited, and the platforms that utilizes .44-40 are limited as well.

If I were to carry a wheelgun on duy, and I have and still do on occasion, I don't have a problem with the .357 magnum. It's a proven round with a lot of effective bullet and load selections, and there are still a plethora of revolver options chambered in .357. There are even modern lever guns which would companion a .357 revolver.

Besides, lugging around a hog leg all day long gets old pretty quick too.
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Old 09-11-2010, 01:59 PM
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It's a .44 caliber 200 grain bullet, between 800-900 fps, out of a Smith and Wesson N frame revolver.
I don't understand how that is a "weak, tactical reason"????
We carried all steel N frames, all steel 1911's for years all day every day.
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:07 PM
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I lug around a 3 inch model 625 all day, weight is nothing compared to my duty belt I wore for 15 years that weighed 28 pounds. I do not think a 5" barrel N frame will be any worrse than my 3" N frame.

As far as ammunition for the 44-40 I just purchased a but load of 44-40 john wayne JSP ammunition that produces 900 fps and 350footlbs of enerrgy. That is equil to a 44 special and 45 acp.
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:11 PM
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panamajack, if you get a chance to post a couple of pics of your rig and ammo, I would appreciate it.
That is, of course, unless certain doom befalls you the first day you carry it...
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:20 PM
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sure ill post some pics here is my rig I will carry on my 1 1/2" double thick black belt


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Old 09-11-2010, 05:53 PM
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only thing wrong with it is that it is right handed....
thanks for posting
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:42 PM
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Gotta admit, the rounds in that speedloader are pretty impressive.
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:16 AM
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You were lucky to score that old M-29 Safariland holster meant for a five-inch bbl. Those must be rare in that barrel length, presumably meant mainly for the five-inch M-27.

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Old 09-12-2010, 01:00 AM
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yeah it was pretty lucky to find that holster on E-bay
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:50 PM
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Default 44-40 Bullet recommendations?

For those of you who are reloading 44-40, do have a favorite bullet you want to recommend?

How do you feel about Sarline brass?

Favorite powder?
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:52 PM
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sure ill post some pics here is my rig I will carry on my 1 1/2" double thick black belt


Nice setup! Great photos too.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:53 PM
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Nice setup! Great photos too.
That sure looks good in blue. Shame we don't see more blue guns these days.

I would like one just like it.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:05 AM
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si--------

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Old 04-08-2011, 07:25 AM
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I am uncomfortable with your load choices.
One has no factory loaded HP defense round available. This leaves handloading your only choice, in which case you must perfect, via thorough testing, a good 900-950 fps 200 gr HP load. Handloaded Defensive rounds bring with them some degree of courtroom drama potential: "Your Honor, this man who shot the good Mr XXX, could not go to the store and BUY bullets that were deadly enough for him! He had to go out to his garage and make his OWN lethal cartriges!"
I think, perhaps, such would be less likely in many parts of our country, but it would always be something to consider. If one must go 44 WCF for defense, go the handload route. Be alive to give your side of it to the investigator.
I have personally tracked a deer hit in the vitals with a 44 SP. Never found him. My evaluation concluded that using a good HP would have made the difference. The deer weighed less than your average crack-head.
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:22 AM
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"For those of you who are reloading 44-40, do have a favorite bullet you want to recommend?

How do you feel about Sarline brass?

Favorite powder?"

Howdy

I prefer Winchester brass for 44-40. Winchester has the thinnest brass at the case mouth, around .007 thick. Starline can be a hair thicker. This can matter because rifling groove diameter can vary quite a lot with 44-40 guns. The 19th Century standard for 44-40 was .427, as opposed to .429 for 44 Russian, 44 Special, and 44 Mag. But in fact, 44-40 groove diameter could vary all over the place with old guns, as low as .425 and up to over .430.

If you look up the SAMMI specs for the cartridge, the groove diameter is still supposed to be .427, but a lot of modern manufacturers today routinely use standard .429 44Sp/44Mag barrels. Ruger does. Most Uberti rifles are coming through today with .429 barrels too. This means that with lead bullets, a .430 bullet will be ideal. However, sometimes you will run into a chamber that is a bit tight. If you encounter the combination of a barrel requiring a .430 bullet and a tight chamber, you may find difficulty chambering the round. That is where the thinnest possible brass comes in. It may buy you an extra .001 or so, which may make the difference between chambering the round and not chambering the round.

There can also be problems with chamber throat diameter and barrel groove diameter with 44-40 in revolvers. When Ruger first started chambering the Vaquero for the cartridge, they were putting cylinders with chamber throats around .425 on guns with barrels of .429. This silly combination resulted in bullets being swaged down as they went through the throat and then they rattled down the bore. Most of those guns behaved fine when the chamber throats were reamed out to .429 or so.

For bullets with Smokeless powder, I have always used any hardcast 200 grain Round Nosed Flat Point bullet, sized appropriately. With Black Powder I use my own home cast Big Lube Mav-Dutchman bullets cast from pure lead and lubed with SPG. I size them to .428 because my rifles vary in groove diameter from .427 to .429. The dead soft lead bullets bump up in the bore to fill the grooves. At least I think they do, they shoot fine out of my Henry.

For powder, I prefer Unique for Smokeless, but mostly I use FFg.

Regarding previous comments about loading 44-40; yes I lube my cases, with Hornady one shot spray lube. Much quicker and easier than a lube pad.

Regarding the crimp; there really is no such thing as a 'heavy crimp' with 44-40. The brass is so thin it does not really form much of a roll crimp. It kind of just smooshes into the crimp groove and takes the shape of the crimp groove. You will never get a whole lot of neck tension with such a thin brass cross section, you just do the best you can.

Regarding difficulties crumpling 44-40 cases, two suggestions: If you are loading relatively large diameter bullets, like up around .430 you might try using the expanding plug from a 44 Mag/44 Sp die set. The plug included in most 44-40 die sets is for .427 bullets. Shoving a .430 bullet into a neck sized for .427 can create enough friction grab the brass and mash it down with the bullet. The plug from a 44Mag/44 Sp die set will be a couple of thou larger. Try the standard plug first, but if you are having problems, see if you can order the 44Mag/44Sp plug.

2. Adjust your seating crimping die very carefully. Adjust it so that the crimp does not quite contact the underside of the crimp groove. If the crimp is jammed up against the underside of the groove, the brass may actually get shoved down a hair as the crimp is formed, resulting in a bulge under the bullet. The more robust neck of a straight walled case will just bite into the bullet, but the thin neck of 44-40 is not strong enough and something will have to give. The brass usually gives. I like to leave a gap of maybe .005-.010 above the case mouth when I load 44-40. Many shooters use a Lee Factory Crimp die because of this, but I have good results with a standard RCBS seating/crimp die.

ALSO...do not rush when loading 44-40. If you jam one into the bottom of the sizing die, it will probably crumple. Work a little bit slower so you feel it if one strikes the bottom of the die. Back off and center the case better.

For what it's worth, I reload all my 44-40 on a Horndady Lock & Load AP progressive press, but I run it a little bit slower than when I am loading 45 Colt.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; 04-09-2011 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:28 PM
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Since Driftwood Johnson has weighed in, just follow his advice. It is through his wisdom that I approached the 44-40 for the first time. He is a respected resource on such matters, especially among the cowboy action crowd.
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