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  #51  
Old 06-29-2022, 04:30 PM
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Model19man I did start reading the link that you mentioned. I should of wrote a lower FPS load. I did find a company named Buffalobore that claims to load a 44-40 with the same pressures as the original ammo. Of course I still would like to load a few myself.
I appreciate the help with the reload question from you as well as all the replies from everyone.
What I find interesting at this point is as pointed out by forum members the 1 9/16 cylinder points to the 44-40 yet if I understand the 44-40 guns had the caliber marked on the side of the barrel and this one does not. Of course perhaps it was polished off when refinished?
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  #52  
Old 06-29-2022, 04:45 PM
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What I find interesting at this point is as pointed out by forum members the 1 9/16 cylinder points to the 44-40 yet if I understand the 44-40 guns had the caliber marked on the side of the barrel and this one does not. Of course perhaps it was polished off when refinished?
I have my Frontier and it's never been refinished as near as I can tell. It too doesn't have the caliber marked on the barrel nor does it have the S&W logo etched on the frame. Maybe someone knows when S&W started marking the pistols. Please note my earlier post wherein I mention that cylinder length can't be used as a definitive indication of caliber.

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  #53  
Old 06-29-2022, 08:34 PM
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Model19man I did start reading the link that you mentioned. I should of wrote a lower FPS load. I did find a company named Buffalobore that claims to load a 44-40 with the same pressures as the original ammo. Of course I still would like to load a few myself.
I appreciate the help with the reload question from you as well as all the replies from everyone.
What I find interesting at this point is as pointed out by forum members the 1 9/16 cylinder points to the 44-40 yet if I understand the 44-40 guns had the caliber marked on the side of the barrel and this one does not. Of course perhaps it was polished off when refinished?
The Buffalo Bore rounds duplicate the original MAXIMUM black powder loads and are likely too hot for an old revolver like yours. You would likely be better off trying either the Winchester or Remington factory loads which are well under 1000 FPS.
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  #54  
Old 06-29-2022, 09:35 PM
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I also believe the factory blued the ejectors.
The one part that is often damaged is the ratchet teeth. To repair this condition is simple. Replace the ejector. A replacement ejector would be in the white. Early Major distributor catalogs clearly show every part available. They swap easily.

This gun was restored professionally. More photos would prove it. Part of a quality restoration would be to install a new undamaged ratchet/ejector to sharpen the action. No brainer.

Murph
This is my 3rd model that was factory refinished.



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  #55  
Old 06-30-2022, 12:40 AM
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Default Factory finish

They did a wonderful job on that DA Kinman.

Yes, the blued variation had ratchets that were nickel plated during the black powder ERA. I thought the focus was Nickeled guns? Like the Op's? Nickel plated guns had Blued extractors and ratchets.

Ratchets were often replaced as a tune-up measure during that time frame. They were readily available at "ALL Major Distributors"... I honestly don't understand why collectors don't except the concept. It's a no brainer.

The most common issue with collectors is having to swallow that a part on their antique is "NOT" factory original. They often throw a childlike fit even with the suggestion.

Antiques are not as durable as modern guns. I often shoot a model 3 TBDA 38. I've broken the bolt spring 3 times after about 700 rounds and the ratchet teeth are near the point of needing to replace the ratchet. I have replacement parts, and I enjoy shooting the gun so I'll just keep fixing it. Most antiques don't see 50 rounds shot through them by collectors. Most are safe queens.

The caliber stamp on the side of the barrel began in about 1902.

The S&W logo stamp on the right-side frame began about 1896/7 timeframe.

So if your Antique gun lacks the stamps then it originally left the factory before 1897.


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  #56  
Old 06-30-2022, 01:12 PM
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Always enjoy learning a bit more, thanks. I don't make a habit of shooting this one but when I do it is with a black powder load, which I find has more buck and roar than smokeless which seems to have a sharper impulse with much less drama.
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  #57  
Old 06-30-2022, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Model19man View Post
The Buffalo Bore rounds duplicate the original MAXIMUM black powder loads and are likely too hot for an old revolver like yours. You would likely be better off trying either the Winchester or Remington factory loads which are well under 1000 FPS.

Why would the 44-40 black powder pressure curves be too hot for this revolver?
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  #58  
Old 06-30-2022, 06:04 PM
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The factory rounds made by Remington and Winchester are manufactured with the understanding that they may be used in an older revolver or rifle. Buffalo Bore tends to load their stuff up with a target market probably directed towards someone using them in a rifle or carbine, either original or repop units. I'd be a bit wary using them in an older revolver, pushing maximum black powder maximums is not the direction you want to go with vintage revolvers. It would be fairly difficult to over fill a black powder cartridge with holy black and still seat a bullet. I use 30 grns of 3F Swiss and a .060 wad for a comfortable load 1.580 OAL under a .427 200gr RNFP bullet.
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Old 06-30-2022, 06:21 PM
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Default Proper loads

What is often abused and misunderstood among collectors and reloaders alike is the original loadings for Black Powder cartridges of the Black Powder ERA.

The original load for the 44 WCF "Rifle" round was 40 grains of FFG black powder.... NOT 40 grains of FFFG. I've loaded both the FFG and FFFG and there is a huge difference between them. Some have actually posted on this forum using FFFFG and that is nuts.

Large caliber cases were loaded with FFG by cartridge manufacturers of that era. When reading labels on old boxes you'll note that they never list the F' rating of the powder. Manuals of that ERA clearly list FFG as the proper powder.

It's the Reloaders that often used and use FFFG and sometimes FFFFG which increases performance from 10%-25% Depending upon the specific gun, barrel length, chamber volume, etc being used.

Also, I'd just like to state very clearly that any pressure listings posted "MUST" accompany the specific firearm tested. The pressure achieved from any load is specific to one firearm Not whatever gun you'd like to list or "claim" it's for.

Time/Pressure curves always list a specific firearm tested. The final line in small print is always "Your gun may achieve different results".

While conducting focused research on the 41 Long Colt I found the original loading was actually 22 grains of FFG powder by weight. I tried both the FFFG and FFG loading and found on my chronograph a difference in performance from 700 FPS (Feet Per Second) with the FFG and 785 FPS with the FFFG load which is a significant increase in performance. This was using a Colt Thunderer with 4 1/2" barrel as the test gun.

That is the proper way to report out on test results. Identifying the exact firearm used for the test results.

When you start including compressed loads and primer loads using FFFFG you really get a significant increase in performance!

Murph

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Old 06-30-2022, 06:35 PM
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Why would the 44-40 black powder pressure curves be too hot for this revolver?
They don't have to be if you use some filler when loading them. The original 44-40 black powder loads are fierce and high pressure - not the kind of thing I would want to put in my 120+ year old revolver. 40 grains of black powder is serious business.
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:39 PM
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Possibly the original 44-40 cases were balloon cases like the early .44 special otherwise I can see no way you could get 40 grains of 3F, let alone 2F without significant compression. Part of the reason I prefer Swiss over Goex (no longer in production) is that it requires much less compression and produces better results, cleaner, snappier ignition. Perhaps that is the reason someone would want to use 4F, silly me. I had a muzzle loader buddy that once used 4F in his .50 caliber rifle. He said that the recoil was significant and it even re-cocked his hammer for him. I do know some guys that use 4F in diminutive .22 caliber muzzle loading gallery rifles, using .22 caliber target pellets over a couple grains, one of them is still in the developmental process and thinks he's onto something. Cheap shooting muzzle loader fun...cheaper than a .22 rifle.
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  #62  
Old 06-30-2022, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinman View Post
Possibly the original 44-40 cases were balloon cases like the early .44 special otherwise I can see no way you could get 40 grains of 3F, let alone 2F without significant compression. Part of the reason I prefer Swiss over Goex (no longer in production) is that it requires much less compression and produces better results, cleaner, snappier ignition. Perhaps that is the reason someone would want to use 4F, silly me. I had a muzzle loader buddy that once used 4F in his .50 caliber rifle. He said that the recoil was significant and it even re-cocked his hammer for him. I do know some guys that use 4F in diminutive .22 caliber muzzle loading gallery rifles, using .22 caliber target pellets over a couple grains, one of them is still in the developmental process and thinks he's onto something. Cheap shooting muzzle loader fun...cheaper than a .22 rifle.
Of course they were balloon cases - click here and scroll down Chasing the 44-40 - Pressure Testing:
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:16 PM
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Default Goex no longer produced?

Kinman,
Goex sold out to Estes Corp.
A clip from there latest report;

Take that to mean we’ll see new GOEX and Olde Eynsford cans in the fourth quarter of 2022, or even the first quarter of 2023. Estes has reportedly told distributors that there will be no change in product distribution.

Yippee!!

They also clearly state that there is a high demand for black powder from various users. Military still uses it, fireworks, muzzle loaders, cartridge loaders like us, etc.
so it’s a long way from extinction!

Murph

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  #64  
Old 07-01-2022, 12:02 AM
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Of course they were balloon cases - click here and scroll down Chasing the 44-40 - Pressure Testing:
Thanks, has anyone watched the little video clip at the beginning of that webpage? That is one ugly *** that has an attitude as big as his fat belly.

Correct, early 44-40 WRA (Winchester) cases were of the solid head design but incorporated the large balloon pockets. These pockets gradually decreased in size. Some later cases had a simple little "bump". As the pocket size decreased, it would appear from test results that pressures and velocities decreased. The earliest published pressures I have seen is a WRA Cartridge Engineering document stating that the Service Pressures for the 44 cartridge used in the Win 73' is 13,000cup and the service pressure for the cartridge used in the 92' is 18,000cup, obviously referring to smokeless powder use.

Pressure test that I was able to make yielded the following;



Early red label smokeless boxes had labels on the bottom of the box telling folks to never reload them...but eventually dropped with no change in powders or charges.

One would think the FFFg may be more powerful than FFg powder. This may be correct but test examples proved otherwise. What proved more powerful was the quality of the powder rather than the granulars.

Correct, Your Milage May Vary!!!

In the black powder tests I ran in 2018, Swiss FFg yielded higher pressures and higher velocities compared to the same charge of Goex FFFg.

For those that still think you can not get 40gr by weight into a case, these powders were compressed from between .17" to .19" or so, with modern Starline cases being able to contain 40gr by weight of Swiss FFg and Goex FFFg with .21" compression.

These Solid-Head, Semi Balloon Pocket cases, much stronger than the folded head type, were still not as strong as today's modern cases with no balloon pocket.

John Kort wrote some great posts on the subject: Chasing the 44-40 - Two Peas In A Pod by John Kort

Back to the revolver, pending condition from age, (all anyone can do is guess at this by an inspection, even a gunsmith) as long as the bore is no smaller than .427", Buffalo Bore's .428" load should work with no problems. However, personally...I too would take it easy on the ole girl and not shoot such harsh loads.
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  #65  
Old 07-02-2022, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
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Kinman,
Goex sold out to Estes Corp.
A clip from there latest report;

Take that to mean we’ll see new GOEX and Olde Eynsford cans in the fourth quarter of 2022, or even the first quarter of 2023. Estes has reportedly told distributors that there will be no change in product distribution.

Yippee!!

They also clearly state that there is a high demand for black powder from various users. Military still uses it, fireworks, muzzle loaders, cartridge loaders like us, etc.
so it’s a long way from extinction!

Murph
Murph, As an affiliate with the NMLRB I have been given the heads up about the Estes issue, reports of a new modernized facility are in the wind. We were told to not make any expectations until first quarter of '23, happy to have a supply and current info from Buffalo Arms regarding incoming supply of Swiss and Schuetzen.
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  #66  
Old 07-02-2022, 08:50 PM
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I have a blued 4" double action 44 Russian with a factory letter and it has an in the white extractor star
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Old 07-04-2022, 10:52 AM
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Red face First 44-40 Frontier to Market?

I am a bit confused as to market time introduction of the 44-40 Frontier. When did the first model sale to the public? My gun is a shooter grade gun as I first saw it in Anchorage Alaska at a SASS competition. The fellow who owned it also had a gun shop and said that it was for sale for $300 about 25 years ago. It did shoot well but it looked like it had been run over by a herd of moose. The intrigue was the serial number 222, I have shown it before. It letters as nickel but is now blue. David Chicoine cleaned it up and replaced the springs. This gun shipped on October 8, 1887. When was #222 manufactured?
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
These Solid-Head, Semi Balloon Pocket cases, much stronger than the folded head type, were still not as strong as today's modern cases with no balloon pocket.
Was .44 WCF ever loaded in folded head cases?

I have seen government ammunition, .50-70, .45-70, .45 Colt in folded head, but not commercial stuff.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:19 PM
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Was .44 WCF ever loaded in folded head cases?
Unless the Milbanked primed cases were folded, then no.
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:12 PM
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Default Folded head vs Solid head case

The original Winchester 73’ in 44 WCF is listed as a folded head case until 1880 when the company is listed as first introducing the solid head case.
The photos depict the first Solid head cases from 1880-1884 when they started head stamping cases.
Therefore, those cases found at the little big horn sight would be folded head cases.
These early cases are literally impossible to find today. The few that remain are in collections and likely loose and unidentified since you’d have to cut the case to prove it’s folded.

Even non head stamped solid head cases are scarce today. Made for only 4 years! 1880-1884.


Murph

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Old 07-04-2022, 02:19 PM
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The original Winchester 73’ in 44 WCF is listed as a folded head case until 1880 when the company is listed as first introducing the solid head case.
The photos depict the first Solid head cases from 1880-1884 when they started head stamping cases.
Therefore, those cases found at the little big horn sight would be folded head cases.
These early cases are literally impossible to find today. The few that remain are in collections and likely loose and unidentified since you’d have to cut the case to prove it’s folded.

Even non head stamped solid head cases are scarce today. Made for only 4 years! 1880-1884.


Murph
Show me exactly where this cartridge is listed as a folded head cartridge. I need such information and photos
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:37 PM
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Default Cartridge colletors

Hi Bryan,

I just had it up...I'll post it later. I have some other research material up and I can't dump it right now.

You can start with the cartridge collector website? Also follow some of the forums that have documents on UMC. UMC didn't start using solid head cases until 1883. So any cartridges they manufactured prior to 1883 would have been folded head balloon type cases.

They also post some earlier 44 Winchester boxes that "Lack" the solid head listing on the cover of the cartridge box. The boxes also clearly denote "The NEW" Winchester rifle. Those are very early boxes containing folded head non head stamped cartridges.... Extremely rare.

Murph
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:48 PM
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Default Follow up

Bryan,

I pulled this up on my phone. From the Cartridge collecting forum. Those folks are really into it and have company documents. Early Pre-solid head box of 44/40 ammo and reference.
Remember that for UMC boxes produced post 1883 would denote “solid head” clearly stamped on the label.

Murph
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:06 PM
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You can start with the cartridge collector website? Also follow some of the forums that have documents on UMC. UMC didn't start using solid head cases until 1883. So any cartridges they manufactured prior to 1883 would have been folded head balloon type cases.
Yes, all I could find there was a statement that the unheadstamped cases between 1880 and 1884 were of the solid head type while insinuating that Winchester constructed them as folded head types prior to that time.

The empty Solid Head cases shown are said to be post 1880. Of the two cartridges shown, the one on the left is a 44 WCF of the solid head design that incorporates the balloon head pocket. The one on the right is a .38-44 Smith & Wesson cartridge with a folded head.

I have corresponded with Guy several times about 44-40 items, the latest being the "44 Remington" cartridges (44-40) and boxes he recently acquired.

Quote:
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They also post some earlier 44 Winchester boxes that "Lack" the solid head listing on the cover of the cartridge box. The boxes also clearly denote "The NEW" Winchester rifle. Those are very early boxes containing folded head non head stamped cartridges.... Extremely rare.
Murph
The only other 44-40 box, prior to the Solid Head box, is the Milbank Primed box. I have never seen a box, other than the Milbank Primed box, that did not have the Solid Head call-out.


The below photos are hard to explain since I can not post right over them. SO here goes nothing...

1. 1873, 1st Box - Yellow Milbank Primed, short case, 44/100 box
Of the only three boxes known to exist, all three boxes contained boxer primed cases, and no collector I have seen has said anything about folded case. I'd love to know. I have talked with one owner and of course, no way of knowing without destroying a case.

The Milbanked Primed cases were shorter than all other 44-40 cases.

2. 1874 to 1876, 2nd Box - Green Solid Head boxes
As can be seen here, from 1874 to 1876 (Giles & Shuey), this box calls out the Solid Head cases and are pre-1880.

I have compiled all of the information I can find, with photos, here
44-40 Cartridge History - Google Sheets

I check every lead I can to new information, I am teachable!!!
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:17 PM
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Bryan,

I pulled this up on my phone. From the Cartridge collecting forum. Those folks are really into it and have company documents. Early Pre-solid head box of 44/40 ammo and reference.
Remember that for UMC boxes produced post 1883 would denote “solid head” clearly stamped on the label.

Murph
Let me see what I acquired from those guys. I forget who right off (forgive me but I think Also Guy Hildebrand) but he sent me some of those UMC box label photos, cartridges with Orcutt primers

1. E Remington & Sons, reportedly 1877 with Solid Head cases (note exposed grease groove on bullet)
2. Post 1876 UMC, AC Hobbs Primer Patent Date
3. No Primer Patent Dates
4. 44-100 with Orcutt Primer, no mention if solid or folded head.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:23 PM
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I just bought one from Cabelas to replace my more worn 6 1/2" .44 WCF. The new one has lots of nickel remaining and is in 44 Russian which I prefer. Also it has the shorter 4" barrel which I also prefer. I'll post pics after it arrives. I feel like I got a decent deal too.
For anyone interested in this old frontier war horse it goes up on Gunbroker tonight at 7:30. It will be a penny no reserve auction.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:24 PM
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Default Destroying the case

Bryan,

That's the real problem. In order to confirm a case is folded head you'd have to cut the case. Even early boxes could actually contain newer cartridges. Impossible to tell or confirm since they were not marked in any way and the only way to tell is to cut the case or perhaps X-ray the case.

However, when we look at ledgers from the factory that clearly denote "Changed to solid head case"? both Winchester and UMC. 1880-1883 respectively? They must have changed from the earlier folded head case to the improved "solid head case".

If you're looking for "We changed our cases from folded head to solid head"? I don't think you'll find that information written down or it will be very difficult to find.

All You really need to do is find any evidence of a folded head case 44/40 Winchester cartridge. I think an X-ray would be the way to go. You find one, then you've proven a transition.

I personally see the transition from the ledger. "Changed to Solid Head Case".

Murph

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Old 07-04-2022, 03:35 PM
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However, when we look at ledgers from the factory that clearly denote "Changed to solid head case"? both Winchester and UMC. 1880-1883 respectively? They must have changed from the earlier folded head case to the improved "solid head case".

If you're looking for "We changed our cases from folded head to solid head"? I don't think you'll find that information written down or it will be very difficult to find.

All You really need to do is find any evidence of a folded head case 44/40 Winchester cartridge. I think an X-ray would be the way to go. You find one, then you've proven a transition.

I personally see the transition from the ledger. "Changed to Solid Head Case".

Murph

Ah yes, the ledgers, I keep forgetting about the ledgers. I can't always trust ledgers, but are certainly a good source of information.

Yeap, gonna take someone cutting open a $10,000 box of cases to find out for sure...lol...ain't gonna happen!!

Sometimes information on those ledgers are a bit late getting updated. Jotting down data and dates can get confusing when actually recording such data (I am guilty), so "catching up" on data can get dates incorrect or slightly off.

I stopped following the UMC box information a while back cause I got information overload then forgot about them. I even have them included in my on-line data, but not in depth.
44-40 Cartridge History - Google Sheets

Maybe we can get some good updates soon.

1. The attached photos is of a large pocket Western headstamped case.
2. Looking down into the case, one can see the large button and deep sides. This view in the photo is not seen correctly without the depth perception. However, the cut out shows details.

3. Of the unheadstamped cases I do have, they also have the large button on the inside, indicating they are not of the folded type. See last photo

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Old 07-04-2022, 05:29 PM
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Default Transition is proven.

Well Bryan,
I believe the original factory ledger since they were there when it happened. I believe based on that factory document along with the Winchester transition to "solid head" balloon pocket case in 1880. If there was no transition, why would they even mention it in the ledger? Why would they change the boxes to state: "Solid head case"? Something happened in 1880 and 1883 to Winchester and UMC cartridges.

I'd sure like to see one of those battlefield empty case pick-ups from the Little Big Horn in 44 WCF. Actually, I'd like to see them "ALL" to determine if they are legit to the battle. All you'd have to do is find one that is folded head. Since they've been shot you can look inside the case for the primer piece insert seen in photo 1. That would be proof positive.

Photo 1 is the transition from folded head centerfire to solid head centerfire. Notice the insert without a case crimp to hold it in place found on the Bennet primed cases?

Photo 2-3 are examples of non-head stamped pre-1884 44WCF cartridges. Notice the one on the left? Has a crushed primer? Strongly suggests it was once reloaded a very long time ago. The other two look original to me but no way to prove it and I'm not cutting them open in search of a folded head insert. They are very hard to find.

Murph

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Old 07-04-2022, 05:54 PM
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Well Bryan,
I believe the original factory ledger since they were there when it happened. I believe based on that factory document along with the Winchester transition to "solid head" balloon pocket case in 1880. If there was no transition, why would they even mention it in the ledger? Why would they change the boxes to state: "Solid head case"? Something happened in 1880 and 1883 to Winchester and UMC cartridges.

I'd sure like to see one of those battlefield empty case pick-ups from the Little Big Horn in 44 WCF. Actually, I'd like to see them "ALL" to determine if they are legit to the battle. All you'd have to do is find one that is folded head. Since they've been shot you can look inside the case for the primer piece insert seen in photo 1. That would be proof positive.

Photo 1 is the transition from folded head centerfire to solid head centerfire. Notice the insert without a case crimp to hold it in place found on the Bennet primed cases?

Photo 2-3 are examples of non-head stamped pre-1884 44WCF cartridges. Notice the one on the left? Has a crushed primer? Strongly suggests it was once reloaded a very long time ago. The other two look original to me but no way to prove it and I'm not cutting them open in search of a folded head insert. They are very hard to find.

Murph
Me too, I have been trying to track down those cases from the battlefield for 8 years. Dr Doug Scott doesn't really know where they are and every time I try to contact someone, I always get routed back to the same folks or emails go unanswered.

Oh and the cases, I was not sure if the insert could be seen with ease

Yes, I am familiar with the insert and is why I thought a folded head could be noted by the flatter dome at the flash hole.

My collection can be seen here: 44-40 Cartridge History - Google Sheets

It's not much of a collection but I also did the pressure testing with black powder with the unheadstamped cases. Found the the larger balloon pockets create much higher pressures than the solid head cases of modern times like Starline.

One of the last missing links I have to find is that of the folded head cases and those found on the battlefields.

I have some battle field information here: Chasing the 44-40 - Little Bighorn

Dr Scott has been a great help.

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Old 07-04-2022, 06:50 PM
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Default Little Big Horn

Well,
The 2004 report claims of the cases found in 44 WCF at the sight of the Little Big Horn or surrounding area, They estimate they came from 11 Winchester 73's that were used and confirmed 3 were used by Indians.

The report is very general and claims the cases found are either Milbank or boxer primed. I took another look at your X-Ray photo of the Milbank primed case, and it sure looks like it's a folded head case with a centerfire type insert those pre-date the solid head case because the X-Ray shows a dense area near the head of the case suggesting an insert but no way to prove it without cutting one open Lengthwise. I know, the cartridge collectors are having a fit about now.

***That's great reference on the Little Big Horn!

Where are those cases???

Murph

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Old 07-04-2022, 07:08 PM
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Well,
The 2004 report claims of the cases found in 44 WCF at the sight of the Little Big Horn or surrounding area, They estimate they came from 11 Winchester 73's that were used and confirmed 3 were used by Indians.

The report is very general and claims the cases found are either Milbank or boxer primed. I took another look at your X-Ray photo of the Milbank primed case, and it sure looks like it's a folded head case with a centerfire type insert those pre-dates the solid head case because the X-Ray shows a dense area near the head of the case suggesting an insert but no way to prove it without cutting one open Lengthwise. I know, the cartridge collectors are having a fit about now.

Murph
AH yes, the insert would certainly cause a more dense image...nice catch!!

Yes, if you follow the link I posted, you can see all the research I did for the battlefield cases to post it where folks can see it with ease.
Chasing the 44-40 - Little Bighorn

The cases found are too long when scaled to match a normal case. I also made my own short cases and actually shot them, but as expected, accuracy was non-existent.

Once again,

Photo 1, Milbank primed cartridge x-ray with replica cartridge for comparison
Photo 2, Case found at the battlefield in comparison with the replica Milbank cut cartridge. (case size, not Milbank primed of course).
Photo 3, Normal case in comparrison with the shorter Milbank primed x-ray cartridge
Photo 4, Normal length case in comparison with case found at the battlefield.

Certainly doesn't mean they are not of the folded head type, just not Milbank Primed type cases.

Oh, I also forgot that
Photo 4, In the x-ray cartridge, there is an example of a Milbank Primed case head that is of the folded head type.....of course, we all know that other Milbank Primed cases were of the folded head type.

Also on the webpage, I have information on why it was not used. I am certain not the only reasons but info I found anyway. Since folks don;t like clicking outside links, I'll just repost it here.

Quote:
Milbank Primer Issues

The Delays

On 9-24-1962, W.M. Bellemore wrote about the Milbank Primer. He tells us that it was patented (Pat. #103,641) on May, 31, 1870. During the early development of the Winchester 73's 44 cal. cartridge, the Milbank primer design was used. It appears that this centerfire primer design was flawed and troublesome. Mostly from loose primers by the why they were inserted into the primer pocket. The primer was developed with a dimple in it and it much resembled a spent cartridge when in fact they were not fired. This cartridge with the new primer was very short lived and it has been said that some of the earliest deliveries of the 73' were delayed until the newly Winchester patented boxer primer system was released.

An x-rayed cartridge, shows a typical 200gr lead round nose, flat point bullet. The case is shorter than the 44-40 case we have today but the AOL was the same. The bullet is only seated about .21". The "Dimple" is evident as well. Not only did Winchester have to come up with a new primer, they had to redesign the whole case!

However, it is still not clear if these new rifles were shipped with Milbank Primed cartridges or if no rifles were shipped until the new cartridge was finished.

The Milbank primer is evident sticking up from the pocket of this only known Milbank primed 44-40 cartridge x-ray example. From the looks of the thickness of the lower end of the case, this looks to be a solid-head design. Bottom right photo is not part of this particular cartridge, and is of the "folded" design.

Note Dimpled Primer, and how perfectly it is centered.

The wedged shape primer was notorious for coming loose and causing problems. This appears to be a folded head but is only a drawing and should not be a 44-40 case.
edited to add a photo of my replicated milbanked primed shorter cartridge case..
.
.
.

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Old 07-04-2022, 07:21 PM
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This Milbank Primed case head drawing sketch is minus the insert, so maybe the 44 WCF Milbank Primed case didn't have the insert.

Holly Cow, I I didn't realize this was the revolver topic, My bad guys!

I will stop replying to it.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:40 AM
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My fault. There were a lot of different types of cartridges in those days and it is interesting to see them kicked around.
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Old 07-05-2022, 02:27 PM
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BMur, here ya go: 44-40 Folded Head Cases - General Ammunition Discussion - International Ammunition Association Web Forum
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:23 PM
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Default Folded head case

Yeah,
Oh well, probably should have started another thread. I think we’ve covered it though.
The drawing is definitely a folded head case. Transitions were definitely apparent during that time.
Problem being proving when since the cases are not marked and worth a small fortune now, research would be expensive.
I still think those Little Big Horn relics are the answer. If only they’d share?

Murph
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:46 PM
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Default Folded head case

Thank You Bryan for that patent number.

When we pull up the patent and both look at the drawing and read Mr. Milbank’s description, we see a folded head case with an insert at the base to strengthen the head. It’s definitely not a solid head. You can clearly see two pieces at the base. See photos.

Even with this document and drawing we can’t be 100% certain since the final product is often different from the patent drawing.

Which puts us back to square 1. We must cut a case longitudinal and examine it closely.

Murph
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:55 PM
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This Milbank Primed case head drawing sketch is minus the insert, so maybe the 44 WCF Milbank Primed case didn't have the insert.

Holly Cow, I I didn't realize this was the revolver topic, My bad guys!

I will stop replying to it.
I found the discussion on the cases much more interesting than that on the gun
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:01 PM
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Thank You Bryan for that patent number.

When we pull up the patent and both look at the drawing and read Mr. Milbank’s description, we see a folded head case with an insert at the base to strengthen the head. It’s definitely not a solid head. You can clearly see two pieces at the base. See photos.

Even with this document and drawing we can’t be 100% certain since the final product is often different from the patent drawing.

Which puts us back to square 1. We must cut a case longitudinal and examine it closely.

Murph
I never doubted it not being a folded head. What I wanted to know is if all Milbank primed folded head cases had a primer reinforcing insert. I failed to ask correctly.

The drawing of the patent milbank primer case example is poor and reflects two surfaces at the primer rather than just one. Could be a reinforcement layer on the head, or just a poor sketch.

Also, looking at the 44-40 cartridge box linage again, there was no room for 44-40 folded head cases prior to the solid head case.

I just find it very hard to believe that Winchester would go from the Milbank primer folded head case, to a folded head case that equipped the new Winchester primer, then to the solid head case with the new primer all in the matter of 1 year (1874 solid head box label). I certainly do think it is plausible that other Winchester manufactured cartridges already well into production switched/transitioned to the solid head type by 1880 or to 1884. Makes more industrial sense! This is what leads me to think Winchester went from the Milbank primed 44-40 case right to the new solid head case. The cost for an additional step would have been astronomical.

Or, the dates given to the 1874 box is incorrect. The dates of the current box labels makes more sense than the missing folded head link that may not even be a missing link.

Photos Attached
  1. 1873 “New Model of 1873”
  2. 1874-1876 “Model Winchester 1873” (solid head)
  3. 1876-1877 Side Sealed (solid head)
  4. 1877-1883 Unheadstamped (solid head)
  5. 1884 Headstamped (solid head)

There are way too many of these cartridge and box examples for a folded head to not be present.

As for right now, there is more solid (no pun intended) evidence that there was no folded head case (excluding the Milbank primed case) prior to the solid head case than there is from a possible mis-interpreted statement in a ledger that applied to other cartridges already in production.
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File Type: jpg unheadstampedtop.jpg (22.4 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg 87885275_10217276475846802_4106486006289530880_n.jpg (158.5 KB, 4 views)

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Old 07-05-2022, 06:30 PM
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Default Research

The best method to research is to always begin and build based on fact. Patent reference is documented fact it’s not opinion.

Antique cartridge boxes are pure guess as to when a specific label was produced and in what specific year. Early boxes lack lot numbers so we can only speculate year of production. I’m not saying the dates aren’t close but I am saying that they are not exact.

I can reference factually antique firearms that were manufactured for only 1 year and discontinued due to a significant flaw found in the design. Usually accompanied by an improvement to eliminate the flaw. So a cartridge design flaw is very possible and an improvement introduced is extremely likely to eliminate that flaw in a very short period of time.

I have a cartridge patent reference book that is full of cartridge design improvements from 1869-1882. I mean a huge number attempting to perfect the centerfire design and primer pocket. This early time of cartridge manufacture was filled with issues that needed improvement.


Murph
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMur View Post
The best method to research is to always begin and build based on fact. Patent reference is documented fact it’s not opinion.

Antique cartridge boxes are pure guess as to when a specific label was produced and in what specific year. Early boxes lack lot numbers so we can only speculate year of production. I’m not saying the dates aren’t close but I am saying that they are not exact.

I can reference factually antique firearms that were manufactured for only 1 year and discontinued due to a significant flaw found in the design. Usually accompanied by an improvement to eliminate the flaw. So a cartridge design flaw is very possible and an improvement introduced is extremely likely to eliminate that flaw in a very short period of time.

I have a cartridge patent reference book that is full of cartridge design improvements from 1869-1882. I mean a huge number attempting to perfect the centerfire design and primer pocket. This early time of cartridge manufacture was filled with issues that needed improvement.


Murph
No need to debate any further here on the 44 Double Action topic, it is what it is and as soon as an example is found, I will edit my material, until then....there is no 44-40 folded head case other than the very short lived Milbank Primed case. I was told there was no Dupont powder keg data "wrappers" and I found one. Doesn't mean they didn't exist, just want more evidence....and again, for now more evidence debunks rather than supports.

44-40 Folded Head Cases - #5 by SavvyJack - General Ammunition Discussion - International Ammunition Association Web Forum

If you want to talk about this more, chime in over at the link I provided.

Feel free to leave the last word ;-)
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Old 07-06-2022, 03:23 PM
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I love the way this thread has developed. Thanks for adding all the information regarding LBH & the development of the 44-40. I have a long time interest in these areas.[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 07-06-2022, 05:11 PM
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Default Original “Factory” loads

I forgot that I had this “Factory” recommended loading data from a Smith & Wesson Catalog circa 1892.

Notice that basically all calibers higher than 32 cal were loaded with FFG powder. Not FFFG!

The only exception is the reduced Gallery/ball load and the 38-44 Target load.

Murph
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Old 07-07-2022, 01:35 PM
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I can't believe you guys don't recognize those Jay Scott plastic pearl grips! They made black and white pearl, stag, and ivory out of PLASTIC with the wood backers.
Google em!
jay scott grips - Google Search

The 44 Frontiers I have owned usually lack a caliber mark.
The Op's gun is refinished, possibly by the Factory.
I can't tell from his pic if the extractor is blue or white.


Here is a neat old original 4", not cut. The grips are original and numbered to the gun. It had no caliber mark even though it is #7252. I do not remember if I checked the extractor for a serial number, but it is white.


have a few question regarding an early smith & wesson 44 double action first model re-003-jpg

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have a few question regarding an early smith & wesson 44 double action first model re-006-jpg
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File Type: jpg 040.jpg (60.4 KB, 67 views)
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Old 07-08-2022, 08:51 PM
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BMur

After further correspondence with Guy Hildebrand, I have updated the UMC portion of the website to reflect the probability of the folded head cases used by UMC. With the design of the Orcutt primer, I feel confident (not that my opinion counts...lol) that in order to use the Orcutt primer, the primer pocket in solid head cases would probably be too deep. Thus, the correct folded head, Orcutt primer design sketch by Randy should give enough evidence.


However, since Winchester patented their own primer by 1874, I am keeping that data as is.

Like I said, I am Teachable!!

I had completely forgotten that I had started updating that page a while back when Guy first contacted me about the 44 Remington (44-40) cartridges.

44-40, Chasing UMC's Folded Head cases.
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Old 07-09-2022, 12:12 AM
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Default Patents vs Cartridge ID?

Bryan,

The point I was trying to make is that it’s literally impossible to identify cartridges by patent holder prior to head stamping. So many were approved from 1869-1882. Many inventors are listed during that period.

When we apply an open mind here? How exactly can you verify who’s patent was being used and who manufactured the case in question when the head is “NOT MARKED”?

Look at the 5 patent drawings from 1869-1872. These are my random picks from my cartridge patent book. Can you identify the patent holder? They are extremely similar to me. How do we confirm a Milbank primer exactly?

Each one of these photo’d patents are not Milbanks patent. They are other inventors.

Do you see my point?

Now let’s plug in UMC, Winchester, US Cartridge Co, Peters, American, etc etc. I can’t see how you can positively identify any cartridges Pre-1884 except for marked military cases etc. or obvious singular style primers. Even the Bennett primer has look alike designs.

Some of the patent drawings appear to me as exact duplicates of the Milbank patent drawing photo of 1870 That I posted.

These are all folded head cases as well. So how many folded head cases were manufactured before the solid head? An open mind?
Unknown!!

Murph

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Old 07-09-2022, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMur View Post
Bryan,

The point I was trying to make is that it’s literally impossible to identify cartridges by patent holder prior to head stamping. So many were approved from 1869-1882. Many inventors are listed during that period.
Not for the 44-40 (44WCF) in those very early 1873-1880 years. You have a small handful of patented primers. One 44-40 cartridge I have been looking at may have been manufactured by USCCo using a Farrington primer. When I purchased it, I was told it was a WRACo. cartridge made out of Gelding metal....nope, not WRACo., and more than likely not UMC. USCCo was known for using such metal at the time, as well as the Farrington primer....but I have not looked into it any further.

Quote:
When we apply an open mind here? How exactly can you verify who’s patent was being used and who manufactured the case in question when the head is “NOT MARKED”?
I said I was teachable, I didn't say how easy! Again, we are talking 44-40 here....I could care less about any other's except for maybe the 45 Colt cartridges of those unheadstamped early years. (see image below).

Quote:
Look at the 5 patent drawings from 1869-1872. These are my random picks from my cartridge patent book. Can you identify the patent holder? They are extremely similar to me. How do we confirm a Milbank primer exactly?

Each one of these photo’d patents are not Milbanks patent. They are other inventors.

Do you see my point?
Which of those were NOT used with the 44-40 cartridges? Do you see my point?

Primers used in Winchester's 44-40 cartridges
44-40 Cartridge History - Google Sheets
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The First Winchester 73's sn1 thru 37
I doubt seriously Oliver Winchester waited until after his primer patent of July 1874', before using them in his Winchester 44 cartridges.
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Old 07-09-2022, 10:57 AM
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Another item I have been slowly working on are the primer dates between Winchester and UMC, which can be seen here: 44-40 Cartridge History - Google Sheets

If you would like to contribute your primer patent knowledge, it would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-09-2022, 07:52 PM
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Default Work cut out for you

Well Bryan,
You have a lot of work to do. I looked more deeply into my patent research and found the following:

1869:
Over 30 approved patents for centerfire primer/case design improvements by 30 different inventors. All folded head cases.

1870:
13 approved patents for centerfire primer/case design improvements by 13 different inventors. All folded head cases.

1871: Start seeing the same inventors applying for improvements to their existing patents. 24 total patents approved in that year. All folded head cases.

Also: I found I. Milbank actually had 6 approved patents for his primer/cartridge design. The following:

August 1869
May 1871
January 1872
February 1872
April 1872
September 1872

So, from now on if we refer to the Milbank cartridge/Primer we will need to know which patent you are referring to.

Also, focused research on the 44-40 is not possible since all of these patents that I listed. (By the way, this is not a complete listing. Only until 1872) All of these patents "DO NOT" refer to a specific caliber. Therefore, they are relevant to all centerfires.

So, you could actually find any one of these patent designs in early "non head stamped" cases. The problem like I have been trying to get across is "identifying" the cases. Who made them and which of the 84 patents from 1869-1872 are we talking about?

Milbank alone had 6 patent improvements.


Murph
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Old 07-09-2022, 10:09 PM
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All depends on which patent 44-40 ammunition manufactures decided to use and since I am focused on just two and maybe three, it is pretty easy, actually, to determine which primers were used. It is much harder to find examples than it is to identify them.

Not really giving a rats rear-end what manor changes were made to each patent, especially to a primer that was basically not even used, if ever, in production.

So here ,once again, what I am trying to get you to understand is I am only interested in Winchester and UMC ammunition manufactures ONLY, I could care less of any others.....which is why I replied to this topic in the first place.....on a Smith & Wesson forum.

Winchester used the Milbank primer for a very, extremely short time during 1873. There were only about 16 rifles delivered before then end of 1873. The first being ordered and delivered on Sept 26th. How much ammo was needed for 16 Winchester Model 1873' rifles manufactured and delivered between Sept and Dec 1873? Seriously?

Luckily for me, Oliver Winchester was approved his own primer seven months later, patented July 14th, 1874...(1878 Gardner patent, an employee)..so it is relatively easy to identify unheadstamped WRACo. cases with Winchester's patented primers. But of course, one must dissect the cartridge. Winchester also used 200gr bullets while UMC used 217gr bullets, and USCCo. maybe 210gr bullets, so again it is not that difficult to identify the manufacturer of 44-40 unheadstamped cartridges.

UMC's primer used for the earliest 44-40's would be the Orcutt primer with "Octagonal" disk as early as 1873 or 1874, which was not "Patented" until March 10th, 1874. see attached photo

Interestingly enough, nearly four times the seating depth as the Wesson primer, the Orcutt primers in the Tin in the attached photo....while the tin label only lists the Hobbs/Orcutt October 24th, 1871 patent, the primers have the improved octagonal disks that were covered by the Hobbs March 10, 1874 patent...which were the same primers found in cases used in the UMC 1873/74 cartridges.


All of this has been educational and you have certainly made me dive deep into my brain, however bit shallow the water really is in there, but it is not that difficult to identify the timeframe of a 44-40 cartridge by the primers used in the cases I have an interest in. Also to note that these manufactures also used different weight lead bullets. Again, Winchester-200gr, UMC-217gr and USCCo.-maybe 210gr. These manufactures/patent holders were tuff on their patents and sued in a heartbeat if trespassed. I have a handful of unheadstamped cases that I will never be able to date because they came to me with no primers and no bullets.

As always, the data will be updated as new reliable data dictates.

I can not post all of my information here, so here is a link to the data I have collected so far. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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Attached Images
File Type: jpg While the tin label only lists the HobbsOrcutt October 24th 1871 patent the primers have the imp.jpg (50.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Untitled.jpg (19.1 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg orcutt1871.jpg (35.1 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpeg 12 (2).jpeg (53.8 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by Bryan Austin; 07-11-2022 at 09:35 AM.
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