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Old 07-29-2013, 04:06 PM
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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Default Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)

I need some help to localize some obsolete brass for my Model no. 3 Target in 38-44. The old revolver, been 127 years of age, is still in its prime. I can shoot 38spl loaded with 17grains FFg under a 158grains bullet, but they give to much of a blow back and soots up the sylinder. A good and thorough clean up can mend the sooting.But it would be nice to be able to shoot the intended brass in this sweet vintage S&W.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:24 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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A 38-44 is an N-frame in 38 Special! A #3 is a hinge action (top break) revolver, and I believe some were chambered in 38-40 WCF. This brass is closely related to 44-40 WCF. The 38-40 uses .401" diameter bullets, 38 Special uses .357" diameter bullets. The correct brass and bullets, as well as loaded ammo, are still available. Try Midway! This round uses a large pistol primer. If loading you can most certainly use black powder, and maybe a light charge of smokeless powder or one of the B.P. substitutes. Hodgdon powder makes and has loading data for whichever you need. Ivan
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:28 PM
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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My #3 Target (top break) revolver is chambered in 38-44.
I have shot 38spl. with 17grains FFg under a 158 grains bullet lubet vith natural BP grease. On one ocation I did shoot 90p. at 25 yards MLAIC rules. (Shoot 13 and count the 10 best.) That is ok. but I belief I can get even better accuracy with propper fiting brass. It maight be posible to shorten the 357mag. brass or use the 38super brass?
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:42 PM
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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I am happy that there is newer to late for me to learn. The 38-44 is two things, it is a pre 1900 Target cartridge, kind of an early wad cutter and it is also an N-frame in 38spl. It is the pre 1900target cartridge who is of special interest to me as I am so lucky to own a M#3 Target cahmbered for 38-44.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:24 PM
lebomm lebomm is offline
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You can make usable cases for your .38-44 Target by trimming .357 Maximum to cylinder length. They'll swell a bit, but at BP pressures, it should be no trouble. Case mouth should seat .005 -.010" shy of the end of the cylinder.
You may use a 148gr wadcutter seated full flush over a light charge of 231, or a 158gr LRN seated deep against 15-16 gr FFFg.
Let us know about your results

Larry
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:24 PM
Masterpiece Masterpiece is online now
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captsnapshot View Post
My #3 Target (top break) revolver is chambered in 38-44. It might be possible to shorten the 357mag. brass or use the 38super brass?
captsnapshot,

I can't actually help out as far as locating some Original Brass, but I can offer you some info that may help until you do!!

First of all, there's no need to shorten 357 Mag Brass whatsoever!! Reason being, the Case Length for Original 38/44 Target Brass is 1.475 compared to 1.290 for 357 Mag!! The only thing you have to remember is to seat the bullet your using (Depending on Nose Profile) deep enough not to extend past the front face of the cylinder!!

Secondly, the only Brass that has a long enough Case Length to build Cases to fit the chambers of your 38/44 exactly are 357 Maximum Casings!! Drawback is...they are hard to find as well as expensive & still need to be trimmed back about .115 to build duplicate 38/44 Brass!! Of course I'm referring to seating the Bullet flush with the Case Mouth as I'm sure you already know the Originals were!!

Last of all, you didn't mention if you knew the actual 38/44 Target Cartridge Dimensions so I'm attaching some photos with info you can download that may help should you stumble across some 357 Maximum Cases at a reasonable price!! There's also one there that shows what an Original Cartridge looks like when chambered just in case!! Anyway, hope I've been of some help even though I wasn't able to point you in the right direction to find any Original Casings...Sorry!!
****************************************************************************************

Larry,
I guess I shouldn't be as long-winded or learn how to type faster, Huh??...Ha!!~Ha!!
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)-38-44-cartridge-case-info-002-jpg   Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)-38-44-cartridge-case-info-003-jpg   Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)-38-44-cartridge-case-info-005-jpg   Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)-38-44-cartridge-case-info-009-jpg  
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Last edited by Masterpiece; 07-29-2013 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Edit Comment to Larry (lebomm)
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:23 PM
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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Masterpiece & all. Your pic`s just did it. Thanks a lot. I managed to locate some 357maximum and trimed them down. It is easy and the way to go. next now is to get some WC in 148grns so the copying of the original BP load will be toal. I actualy got some deasent groups with the 158grns RN, but still room for improvments. i will post back lather on the progress. Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:46 AM
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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Still in the prosess of experementing out the best load for the 38-44 target load. Got a mould from mp moulds in Jugoslavia hbwc 148grns. Need a new batch of 38 maximum brass as they tend to swell and ocationaly crack. Only BP loads so newer any danger. Seems like the 17grns fffg load does it. This things takes time, but it is loads of fun on the way.
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:29 AM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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Keep in mind that with true black powder loads you do need to have the load compressed. Forget to do that and there is a very real risk of a powder detonation with a blown up gun.

As for your brass splitting issue, a couple of thoughts. First, the sizing die for the 38 special has a sized diameter of 0.379 inch and the 38-44 Target calls for 0.383 inch per the previous post. As a result you are expanding your cases more than they were intended for with each firing. To extend the useful life of your cases you may want to look into having a local machine shop that specializes in Carbide tools grinding your sizing die to that 0.383 inch [9.728 mm] diameter. Doing this will require that you cast bullets to a larger diameter so you have proper Neck Tension in the case and ideally you'll slug your barrel to determine the "ideal" size. Because back when your revolver was made it wasn't unusual to see a difference as much as 0.003 inch in the diameter of the barrel. I think if you do a bit of adjustment of sizes you'll both extend your case life and likely see a distinct improvement in accuracy, because I have a strong hunch that both your cases and bullets need to be larger that was is produced today for the .357 calibers.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:21 AM
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
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It's unfortunate that the newer cartridge references have left out the really old ones.

It does sound like you are over working your brass. The references in Masterpiece's post suggest to use a .38 S&W sizing die as this is closer to the original .38-44 target diameter used by S&W. This was way before S&W made the .38 spl. based on the Colt .38 Long which was a smaller diameter. This should also help cure your "sooting" problem.

The old S&W "target" cartridges were actually very unique. They were the full length of the cylinder but could be loaded to power levels anywhere the shooter desired, from flush to the mouth down to the base. Keep in mind that the brass used then was of the old balloon head type and did not get thicker near the head. If you want to reproduce the old gallery loads with new brass you will need to inside ream the brass.
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Old 09-28-2014, 05:08 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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After reading Scooter123's post, Alot of time we have old sets of non carbide sizing dies lying around. Any good machine shop can ream a standard die to any diameter you wish. You could use any die for that sizer as long as it starts smaller than .383" have it polished smooth and lube you brass. This is bound to be more affordable than opening up Carbide! Ivan
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:28 PM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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Non Carbide sizing dies will be fully hardened, probably to a hardness of 58-61 on the Rockwell C Scale. "Reaming" something this hard will require the use of a High Rockwell Carbide Cutter and those items are VERY expensive when needed for a special diameter. This is a case where it will actually LESS expensive to have a relatively inexpensive Carbide Sizing Die re-ground and polished than attempting to "Ream" an older Tool Steel sizing die. Here in the Detroit area I could have 38 Special dies re-ground for less than 50 dollars because with a relatively inexpensive diamond bit it actually takes more time to set up the grinder than it does to do the re-sizing operation.
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Old 09-29-2014, 04:59 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I find this fascinating. I would think it easier to heat a die with a torch until orange hot let cool slowly (by burying in sand if possible) would take the temper out, The it would be workable with home shop tools if you had the stuff. A local commercial reloader had something like this done to several dies. His frugal ways would never allow him to spend the equivalent of $50 on a project like that. We use to heat things up in a charcoal grill while cooking hamburgers, then shape on our anvil. That is pretty low tech, The shop I had projects like this done at had many tricks for this kind of project. Ivan
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:29 AM
RoyB RoyB is offline
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I just bought a beautiful version of this antique target revolver.

357 Max brass, trimmed to fit the cylinder, fired with a full load of fff black powder swells the case to the perfect size. From there, I use a simple universal decapping die to remove the primer without touching the case. I then bell and load a .360 wad cutter.

This load shoots extremely accurate without much blowback. Cases come out relatively clean.

Great revolver and great fun to shoot!
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:00 PM
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I just wrote a whole article on my web site about loading for the S&W 38-44 Target Model 3.

Great fun doing it.

Hope it's helpful

RVB Precision | Welcome to the world of ultra precision

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:12 AM
59dexta 59dexta is offline
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Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?) Model 3 Target 38-44 Black Powder (brass?)  
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Enjoyed your article on the 38/44. I never found good data on it. Cartridges of the world touched on it. Mine is Serial # 1936 nickle plated, fair bore. Now i can find the component so i can shoot it along with my first gen colts. Need to find some 357 maximum. Thanks again
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