Old, Old School .44-40 Packing Pistols - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Advertise Here
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-07-2019, 02:07 PM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Outside the Moderate Damage Radius, over the mountain and far away.
Posts: 2,436
Thanks: 2,043
Thanked 4,920 Times in 1,717 Posts
Default Old, Old School .44-40 Packing Pistols



Advertise Here

Colt’s Frontier Six Shooter, paired to a Winchester 1873, both in .44 WCF, started it all. An outdoorsman having both rifle and revolver capable of using the same ammunition back in the frontier era was well armed. The concept still works.

The .44 W.C.F. cartridge was loaded with a 200 gr bullet beginning in 1873. The Winchester catalog stated a velocity of 1,245 f.p.s. measured at 50 ft. from the muzzle. In 1910, the cataloged velocity was changed to read 1,301 f.p.s., being corrected to muzzle velocity.

John Kort's testing of original blackpowder .44 W.C.F. cartridges, reprimed with fresh Remington 1½ primers chronographed 1,319 f.p.s. in a 24” barrel. Clear gel penetration tests with modern blackpowder handloads are interesting. Lyman #42798 bullets cast of pure lead, and also with 75/1 lead/tin alloy were loaded in modern Remington cases with Remington 2-1/2 primers and 36 grains of Swiss 2Fg, compressed 1/8”.

These were fired in a 24” Marlin rifle and 7-1/2” Uberti Buckhorn revolver. Remaining velocity out at 50 yards for the rifle loads averaged 1162 fps. The 75/1 bullets penetrated 27” of clear gel and expanded to .528”. The pure lead rounds fired from the rifle penetrated 23” and expanded to .603”. These would be very effective woods deer and black bear loads.

The revolver loads gave velocities from 941-963 fps at 10 ft., perforated and exited the 32” gel block! Hollow-point bullets, similarly loaded, cast of 50/1 lead/tin penetrated 14” from the rifle, expanding the base to .58 cal. and blowing the expanded nose portion off in fragments. Revolver penetration was 17-1/2” with the expanded nose also shedding in large chunks, but without expanding the base. These would be very effective hunting or defense loads!

According to Hatcher (1935) the standard smokeless .44-40 load was 16.8 grains of Hercules Sharpshooter, a versatile powder which gave acceptable results in either rifles or handguns. Advertised velocity from a 7-1/2” solid test barrel was 935 fps at 15,000 cup, with 385 foot-pounds of energy, giving penetration of seven, 7/8” pine boards.

Sharpe (1937) said of the .44-40, “when properly loaded, has more knockdown than the .30-30, being excellent for game up to deer.”

Keith, in Sixguns (1955) favored the .44 Special, but said of the .44-40. “….a handy combination to have a rifle and a sixgun which could use the same ammunition…"

“While very good when properly hand loaded, the .44 Special and .45 Colt are much better, in being able to handle heavier bullets…. While the short, stubby .44-40 bullets are very accurate and have light recoil, therefore being favored by exhibition shooters such as the great Ashley Haines, they don’t have the deep penetration needed for big game …. But when loaded with 215 grain bullets and 18.5 grains of #2400 at 1200 fps, [Keith said] the .44-40 is “more powerful than, and a better killer than the .357 Magnum.”

A concern with modern production .44-40 revolvers and rifles is that many have barrels of .44 Magnum dimensions, with groove diameters of .429-.430.” Undersized .427” bullets being shot in chambers and barrels cut for larger .44 Magnum projectiles, is a recipe for poor accuracy. Handloads using soft lead .430" diameter bullets shoot best in all .44-40 rifles and revolvers, including the old ones!

Again said Keith: "“All of my .44 special and .44-40 lead bullets are cast 1 to 20 and sized either .429” or .430.” Out of my best Colt (a 7 1/2" New Frontier w/ .427 groove diameter) all my loads were exceedingly accurate and worked great on Blacktail deer, porcupines, opossums, spruce grouse, coyotes, and jack rabbits."

Fast powders help to upset undersized bullets. A charge of 6 grains of Bullseye or 6.5 grains of 452AA or WST with 200-210 grain soft lead bullets approximates the velocity of factory jacketed loads and are safe in old pre-WW2 revolvers such as the Colt Frontier Six Shooter and New Service. While subsonic in rifles, the soft lead bullets with large meplat are still very effective on deer-sized game at woods ranges within 50 yards or so.

Traditional .44-40 bullets didn’t need a crimp groove, because black powder charges were compressed, supporting the bullet base against compression by the magazine spring. Black powder loads didn’t suffer inertial dislodgement in revolvers, because their recoil impulse was much less than with modern magnums. Crimping the case mouth over the ogive of the bullet was adequate.

Today when loading far less than a case full of smokeless you need a bullet with a crimp groove! Accurate Molds has a great variety of proven .44-40 bullets which perform well on game as well as targets and feed reliably in lever action cowboy rifles. My favorites are 43-206H and 43-230G which give 950+/-30 fps from a 5-1/2 inch revolver and 1080+/- 30 fps from a 20-inch rifle with 6 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup or 6.5 grains of WST or 452AA without exceeding SAAMI MAP.

.44-40 Test Data

Ammunition_________Colt NS 5-1/2”_____Colt SAA 5-1/2”_____El Tigre 22”
Description__________0.008” cyl. gap____0.012” cyl. Gap_____solid barrel

Old Western_________958 fps__________916 fps____________1273 fps
200 JSP___________36 ES, 13 Sd____75 ES, 35 Sd________32 ES, 12 Sd
“Bullseye Box” Solid Head case

Rem-UMC___________923 fps__________893 fps____________1252 fps
200 JSP___________94 ES, 36 Sd____93 ES, 31 Sd________76 ES, 29 Sd_
“Dog Bone Box” Balloon Head case

Modern W-W________866 fps__________826 fps____________1218 fps
200 JSP__________73 ES, 30 Sd______45 ES, 15 Sd________76 ES, 29 Sd
Solid Head case

#42798____________887 fps_________854 fps____________1079 fps
6.5 grs. 452-AA____94 ES, 39 Sd____75 ES, 28 Sd________68 ES, 24 Sd
W-W case, WLP, Solid Head case

#42798___________970 fps_________953 fps____________1364 fps
18.5 IMR4227____96 ES, 37 Sd_____108 ES, 37 Sd_______89 ES, 26 Sd
Rem-UMC factory primed balloon-head case, REDUCE CHARGE 1 FULL GRAIN FOR SOLID HEAD BRASS!
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	43-206H-D.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	34.1 KB
ID:	292570   Click image for larger version

Name:	43-230G-D.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	37.5 KB
ID:	292572   Click image for larger version

Name:	44wcf50yds4galjugsKORT.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	38.2 KB
ID:	292574   Click image for larger version

Name:	43-206H6grsBullseye25yds44-40Colt.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	67.2 KB
ID:	292576   Click image for larger version

Name:	44-40No9ShotAt25ft.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	54.9 KB
ID:	292578   Click image for larger version

Name:	RangeRpt26Aug2019.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	79.5 KB
ID:	292580  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1920ColtNS44-40Acc43-206H6grsBE.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	60.9 KB
ID:	292582   Click image for larger version

Name:	ElTigre44-40 009.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	49.8 KB
ID:	292584   Click image for larger version

Name:	OldWestern200JSP25yds.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	47.3 KB
ID:	292586   Click image for larger version

Name:	ElTigre44-40 001.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	38.3 KB
ID:	292588   Click image for larger version

Name:	44-40HerculesAlliantRL7.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	51.3 KB
ID:	292596  
Quick reply to this message
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Outpost75 For This Useful Post:
Old 10-07-2019, 02:46 PM
charliemeyer007's Avatar
charliemeyer007 charliemeyer007 is offline
reluctant sinner
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rent Free in your head
Posts: 14,015
Thanks: 33
Thanked 24,195 Times in 8,889 Posts
Default

I have a Lyman single bullet mold for the 44-40. As cast it exactly fits my S&W 29's and Win 94AE in 44 Mag with no sizing and can be finger lubed. Plus it much lighter than my 4 cavity 44 Kieth molds.

I did load some 44 Mags with a full case of 4Fg. They felt like the full power power loads of nitro powder I normally shoot. I also did the same for my wildcat 458, except that I made a breach seater and used a card wad to hold the full case of powder intact for loading. Again recoil was telling me it was a full load although the velocity might be a little less.

Don't forget to take the weapons apart to thoroughly clean them. Real black powder is corrosive.

I once load 44-40 for a friend custom 12" barreled Cattleman (SAA clone). It like the slower nitro powder.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to charliemeyer007 For This Useful Post:
Old 10-07-2019, 03:24 PM
Nomad, 2nd Nomad, 2nd is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Gulf coast and/or Nomadically
Posts: 28,966
Thanks: 24,630
Thanked 58,837 Times in 19,084 Posts
Default

Thanks, I have a couple.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Nomad, 2nd For This Useful Post:
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 10-07-2019, 06:57 PM
randyt's Avatar
randyt randyt is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: tipp of the mitt
Posts: 2,148
Thanks: 4,000
Thanked 3,905 Times in 1,311 Posts
Default

I've been wanting to get a handgun in 44-40, I have a 92 winchester in that round. Had a chance a old colt double action but it would only fire single action. I thought the guy wanted a bit much for it, it was pretty beat.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-07-2019, 08:33 PM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Outside the Moderate Damage Radius, over the mountain and far away.
Posts: 2,436
Thanks: 2,043
Thanked 4,920 Times in 1,717 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by randyt View Post
I've been wanting to get a handgun in 44-40, I have a 92 winchester in that round. Had a chance a old colt double action but it would only fire single action. I thought the guy wanted a bit much for it, it was pretty beat.
A "shooter grade" Colt New Service can be found on gun auction sites for under $1000. Taylor & Co. sells a good quality Italian repro of a Colt SA for an affordable price. Actual Colt SAs in .44-40, even the later Gen2 and Gen3 guns can be pricey, more than a pre-WW2 New Service, which makes a better field gun.

S&W made a Texas Commemorative 1836-1986 on the N-frame with 5" barrel. You can find them on gun auction sites. Mine shoots very well out of the box and was worth every penny it cost.

Ruger made some Vaqueros on the large frame in .44-40, but on all of these the cylinder throats and chamber necks were too tight to load bullets of the proper size to fit the .44 magnum-spec barrels. John Taylor can rechamber your cylinder and return it for $150, which is what I did with mine. It now shoots well and is hell for strong, being able to take any loads my Marlin 1894 and El Tigre Spanish copy of the '92 Winchester can, as well as squirting lead factory .45 Colt conicals fired in my Blackhawk cylinder, which fits and times in the gun, shooting them down the .44-40 barrel!

Kids don't do this at home, but come TEOTWAWKI the Vaquero will shoot any ammo from any cylinder I have that fits into it! .44-40, .44 Mag., .45 ACP, .45 Colt, the cylinders from all my other large frame Rugers fit and time, so just pack one gun with all four cylinders and you can shoot any ammo that falls off the tailgate of the alien spaceship.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Acc43-230GfromS&W544DA7yds.jpg
Views:	14
Size:	54.5 KB
ID:	292598   Click image for larger version

Name:	Old Model Vaquero 100 yds.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	62.1 KB
ID:	292600   Click image for larger version

Name:	2016-01-07_13-07-30_829.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	24.4 KB
ID:	292602   Click image for larger version

Name:	45Colt-In44-40Squeezebore.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	64.0 KB
ID:	292604  
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Outpost75 For This Useful Post:
Old 10-09-2019, 02:33 PM
Bobcat In The Woods's Avatar
Bobcat In The Woods Bobcat In The Woods is offline
Just One More Gun
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Eastern Montana
Posts: 449
Thanks: 55
Thanked 726 Times in 277 Posts
Default

Many people discredit the old black powder cartridges, and the guns that shoot them. But the fact of the matter is, many deer, elk, bears, and people have fallen to the 44WCF. In my hometown, there's a saloon that used to be frequented by a certified badass in the area. They have a taxidermied mountain lion, black bear, and elk, all killed by him between 1920 and 1940, with a 44-40. He was also a county prohibition agent, and he used to same rifle for that, paired with a Smith and Wesson hand ejector 32 Long. (the museum has a Mt lion-skin coat he used to wear, made from the hide of a big Tom he had treed that attacked him. He killed it with a knife. But that's a different story)

While I wouldn't trade my 5.56 and 9mm for an 1873 Winchester and Peacemaker, there are days when I just leave the modern guns at home and sling my old 30-30 over my shoulder and buckle the cap and ball 44 around my waist, just for a trip down nostalgia avenue.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Bobcat In The Woods For This Useful Post:
Old 10-09-2019, 10:43 PM
clc79092's Avatar
clc79092 clc79092 is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: TEXAS
Age: 54
Posts: 1,925
Thanks: 197
Thanked 3,073 Times in 1,070 Posts
Default

Picked up a 455 Webley caliber top break. Spanish copy of S&W model 2. Made for the British contract in 1915. cylinder is long enough for 45 schofield but not bored out deep enough by about a mm. Thinking of committing blasphemy and have cylinder bored deeper to shoot 45 schofield in it.
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-10-2019, 11:23 AM
Outpost75 Outpost75 is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Outside the Moderate Damage Radius, over the mountain and far away.
Posts: 2,436
Thanks: 2,043
Thanked 4,920 Times in 1,717 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by clc79092 View Post
Picked up a 455 Webley caliber top break. Spanish copy of S&W model 2. Made for the British contract in 1915. cylinder is long enough for 45 schofield but not bored out deep enough by about a mm. Thinking of committing blasphemy and have cylinder bored deeper to shoot 45 schofield in it.
While the Spanish gun has no real collector value and the mod would do no harm, I'm not sure its worth spending the money to have it rechambered. Starline sells .455 Mk2 brass and Accurate produces molds optimized for the .455. I would simply buy the Starline brass, dies and the Accurate mold 45-264D load 4 grains of Bullseye and call it good. Gets 760 fps from my Colt New Service and is very accurate.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	45-264D-D.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	33.6 KB
ID:	292718   Click image for larger version

Name:	Starline_455-Webley-MKII.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	2.3 KB
ID:	292720   Click image for larger version

Name:	45-264H4grs452AABestLoad.jpg
Views:	4
Size:	59.5 KB
ID:	292722  
Quick reply to this message
Old 10-10-2019, 01:52 PM
Area Man's Avatar
Area Man Area Man is offline
Bear Fighter
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: North of the 45th Parallel, West of the 115th Meridian
Posts: 1,109
Thanks: 167
Thanked 1,627 Times in 651 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat In The Woods View Post
While I wouldn't trade my 5.56 and 9mm for an 1873 Winchester and Peacemaker, there are days when I just leave the modern guns at home and sling my old 30-30 over my shoulder and buckle the cap and ball 44 around my waist, just for a trip down nostalgia avenue.
I would make that trade in a heartbeat (for original 1873 stuff, of course).

5.56s and 9mms are all over the place. '73s and Peacemakers, not so much.

Plus, you look pretty goofy with your cowboy clothes carrying an AR . . . just sayin'
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Area Man For This Useful Post:
Old 10-10-2019, 02:12 PM
HawkCreek HawkCreek is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: PNW
Age: 36
Posts: 268
Thanks: 189
Thanked 417 Times in 163 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Area Man View Post
I would make that trade in a heartbeat (for original 1873 stuff, of course).

5.56s and 9mms are all over the place. '73s and Peacemakers, not so much.

Plus, you look pretty goofy with your cowboy clothes carrying an AR . . . just sayin'
Both types of guns have their place but you just reminded me of a funny story...

This September while in Montana helping some rancher friends with cows on their Forest Service leases I was riding my horse around a mountain. I was looking for sick or dead cattle down in draws and hard to access drainages so I wasn't following roads or trails but being public land there are plenty of access and through roads. I was riding along and came up to one of these roads, here I could hear some side-by-sides coming so I paused for them to pass. Sometimes they just gawk but usually you at least get a friends wave and just as often they'll stop and talk for a bit. I can tell them whats up ahead and they can tell me if they've seen any cows or predators. Well the lead vehicle paused long enough to tell me there were two more in his group, the second waved with curious glances but the third stopped. A nice elderly couple wanted my picture! Apparently it's not normal where they were from to see cowboys out in the wilderness where they are from. I had it all, well used rope on my saddle, Winchester in a scabbard, old beat up saddlebags, slicker and I was dressed head to toe in the whole get up, custom cowboy hat, wool vest, chaps, boots and spurs etc... When I got back to the cabin I had to laugh as I realized I'd picked that day to carry a Glock 10mm in a shoulder holster with two spare mags on the off side. Unfortunately I didn't have any wrap around sunglasses handy or I could have said I was going for the cowboy meets Miami Vice look!
Quick reply to this message
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HawkCreek For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net