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Old 05-06-2020, 07:46 PM
toad67 toad67 is online now
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544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter??  
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Default 544 groove diameter??

Recently purchased a model 544 in 44-40. Really want to roll some out and make some noise. I have some O/T laser cast 200 grainers in .430 from my 44 special that I could use, but haven't slugged the bore for a correct diameter. Are the 544's running a standard .429" groove diameter, allowing me to use these, or are they closer to the old .427". The guns were made for one year in 1986. Thanks.
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:51 AM
cowboy4evr cowboy4evr is offline
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It is my understanding that S&W used barrels for the 44 magnum/ specials on the 544 . I have read that the cylinder throats are .428 and the groove is .429 . I don't own one , just sharing what seems to be common knowledge . It's very easy to crush a case or get the bullet in the case crooked and have a bulge on one side of the case with the larger bullets so take your time . It's not like loading a little larger bullet in a 44 magnum / special case . The case walls on the 44-40 are very thin . Yes, I do reload for it . Regards Paul

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Old 05-07-2020, 11:23 AM
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Most folks that slugged the bores of Model 544 revolvers came out with .429+/-



That is why it was popular to fit a 44 cylinder to these revolvers back in the day

You can instantly end up with a 5" 44 Special or 44 Magnum

I might be willing to shoot Specials through one, but not the Magnums

As to crushing cases while hand loading, If I were going to load this cartridge, I would swap out the expander plug that was supplied with the 44-40 dies and use one intended for the 44 Magnum

After all the 44-40 was Winchesters 1st metallic cartridge and that was almost 150 years ago. Remember we did not have SAAMI back then. So the 44-40 chamber and barrels had wildly varying dimensions from manufacturer to manufacturer
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Old 05-07-2020, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy4evr View Post
It is my understanding that S&W used barrels for the 44 magnum/ specials on the 544 . I have read that the cylinder throats are .428 and the groove is .429 . I don't own one , just sharing what seems to be common knowledge . It's very easy to crush a case or get the bullet in the case crooked and have a bulge on one side of the case with the larger bullets so take your time . It's not like loading a little larger bullet in a 44 magnum / special case . The case walls on the 44-40 are very thin . Yes, I do reload for it . Regards Paul
Unless soft bullets are used with upper pressures the .428"/.429" dimensions are a recipe for barrel leading. If I bought a gun in 44/40, I would want one that used "normal" cartridge dimensions; .427" bullet diameter and a .428" groove diameter (SAAMI)...

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Old 05-07-2020, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for the answers. I plan on single staging these, and not running them thru my Dillon for the fact that they can be finicky to reload. In most all of my reading I've found that you want to use a bullet that is .001/.002" larger than the groove diameter. So with the current SAAMI specs of .4285", a .430" bullet should work fine, at least by my logic. Would changing out the expander ball for a 44 mag for .0005" make that much difference?
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Old 05-07-2020, 03:16 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is online now
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I loaded 3 batches of 44-40 on my Dillon 550b, batch size was 1500. I used Bear Creek moly coated on the first batch and Patriot cast bullets on #2 & #3. All sized to .427 for Ruger Vaquero 4". The adjustment of the seating and crimp die was critical! Case length was a factor in crushed cases! I hate to admit the only way I could get consistent good ammo was to seat and crimp separately and use a Lee FCD, then production was back up to 500 per hour and 100% wrinkle free!

Ivan

BTW Midway puts the Lee Factory Crimp dies on sale a few times a year. One year on a whim, I bought 12 of them in old cartridges, just to have them. I usually don't need or like them, but when you really need one, YOU REALLY NEED ONE.

More modern cases are .015" of neck wall thickness, but 44-40, 38-40, 25-20, 32-20 and 22 Hornet are only .010" Thick. (they learned their lesson and 218 Bee is .015"!)

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Old 05-07-2020, 09:34 PM
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544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter?? 544 groove diameter??  
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Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
I loaded 3 batches of 44-40 on my Dillon 550b, batch size was 1500. I used Bear Creek moly coated on the first batch and Patriot cast bullets on #2 & #3. All sized to .427 for Ruger Vaquero 4". The adjustment of the seating and crimp die was critical! Case length was a factor in crushed cases! I hate to admit the only way I could get consistent good ammo was to seat and crimp separately and use a Lee FCD, then production was back up to 500 per hour and 100% wrinkle free!

Ivan

BTW Midway puts the Lee Factory Crimp dies on sale a few times a year. One year on a whim, I bought 12 of them in old cartridges, just to have them. I usually don't need or like them, but when you really need one, YOU REALLY NEED ONE.

More modern cases are .015" of neck wall thickness, but 44-40, 38-40, 25-20, 32-20 and 22 Hornet are only .010" Thick. (they learned their lesson and 218 Bee is .015"!)

Agree 100% on the separate crimp die. I ordered some RCBS cowboy dies, and a LFCD from Midway. I seat and crimp all of my pistol cartridge's in 2 steps.
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:43 PM
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Mine was .428" throats and .429" barrel. Theoretically that's a problem, but the revolver was a tack driver. Best jacked results were Sierra 200 geain JHP.
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Old 05-07-2020, 09:57 PM
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Mine was .428" throats and .429" barrel. Theoretically that's a problem, but the revolver was a tack driver. Best jacked results were Sierra 200 geain JHP.
Why do you consider that a problem?
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Old 05-07-2020, 10:25 PM
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My understanding is that the throats should the same size or very slightly larger that the barrel. In mine the 200 grain JHP Sierras at .4295" shot noticeably better with less primer flattening than the same case, primer, and powder charge behind a Hornady 200 grain JHP at .430". Someone who can explain the 'why' will be along, I'm sure.

I should NEVER have sold that nice revolver!
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