Hunting load for the .44-40

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Johnwell
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Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Hey, I'm new here and new to reloading--I recently ordered some .44-40 dies and cast bullets off midway--my question is, with a model 53 Winchester, can I go over the published loads in my book? I plan on using 2400 for my loads, and my manual (lee second edition) doesn't have 2400 for 200 gr cast bullets. I'm just wondering if I can transfer the data from the jacketed bullets and possibly make them a little hotter. They have a max load listed at 14.5 gr of powder for 1230 fps and I was hoping to get a little more performance for the old gun. Any suggestions?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by EdinCT »

The 53 is based on the 1892 action and has good steel.you could start at 16 gr of Alliant 2400 and work up slow. Ken Waters listed 20 gr of 2400 for 1503 fps with a cast bullet has maximum.
Just remember hot loads eat 44 wcf cases. Use only new or once fired brass for hunting because case separations do happen. I find starline brass the best out there for my WCF needs.
Good luck and remember 200 gr lead bullets at 1300 fps kilt a lot of deer.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Thank you very much--I currently only have Winchester brass available to me, but I plan on buying better brass as I get more into it. Another question, should I expect any leading to occur or how can I prevent that? I previously only loaded .30-06, so cast bullets are foreign to me so I don't know what to expect.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 3leggedturtle »

Welcome aboard. What a great little rifle. I have used Lee Liquid Alox on cast bullets with no leading up to 1900fps. You can use on any cast you want even if they are already lubed. BUT a little goes a long way. You should just barely see a slight color it on the bullets Todd/3leg
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

I dont call it a long Colt for the same reason I dont call it a short Auto!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by EdinCT »

It depends on the rifle, my 38-40 doesn't lead at 1500 fps. Other rifles do, just clean it really well so there isn't any jacketed fowling and see. I have been trying a product called pufflon case filler that is supposed to help with leading in another rifle but the jury is still out.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Thank you all very much--I think the bullets I got are pre lubed, otherwise I guess I'll have to make another purchase. I've heard the horror stories about trying to get lead out of the barrel, I wanted to use jacketed bullets, but they were all for .44 magnum. Am I correct that the .44-40 uses .427 diameter bullets and the .44 mag is .430?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by ollogger »

Hi & welcome
sounds like you have a very nice 44-40 :mrgreen:
Lee has a good read on psi versus speed on leading, it seems to work good for me
in a rifle I use slower powder to gain more speed with less psi
Hows the bore on your gun? Ive had bad bores that would lead like crazy, but maybe
shoot good for a few rounds
try some 2400 & report back


ollogger
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

It's a very nice gun, probably my favorite lever action we have. The bore doesn't look too bad, but I've never shot cast through it so I'll keep you posted on the leading once the dies and bullets come in. I'll try to figure out how to get pictures on here at some point, this is off an iPhone, so I have no clue as to how to do that. The gun's a beauty though :D
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by jdad »

Plenty of low velocity 200gr 44-40 load data here. http://www.gmdr.com/lever/lowveldata.htm

I used 16gr of 2400 as an accuracy load out of a 28" Marlin 1894. I probably could have gone hotter, but that load worked.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

That's very helpful--the graph puts the pressure up pretty high for h2400 though, is it still a good choice for a relatively warm load?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by jdad »

Those loads are all low velocity hence low pressure loads. Think how mild 16gr of 2400 is considered, in 44 magnum load data.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by OldWin »

Welcome to the forum.
Don't get too hung up on the speed. I've killed a few deer out of a 92 44 carbine with 9gr. of Unique. They killed a lot of stuff with the old 44wcf at black powder velocities. IMO it's more important to find an accurate, comfortable load and spend a lot of time shooting it. I have also had good luck with IMR4227. Unless you get lucky it could take some playing. The 44 can be fussy. Before you do anything, slug your bore. You may find you can use 44mag bullets. Many are on the big side and old Lyman manuals will tell you the groove dia. can be between .426-.430. This will be critical if you use cast bullets. So will your alloy hardness.
Good luck and don't worry. There are plenty of fellows here with way more experience and knowledge than me who will gladly help you.

Or be happy to take that old rifle off your hands! :D
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 3leggedturtle »

If you can find some RL7, it will give 1600fps IIRC with a 200gr bullet at 20,000 PSI. Check the Alliant web site, for the exact info.
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

I dont call it a long Colt for the same reason I dont call it a short Auto!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

OldWin: I think I'm gonna hold on to the old gun for a bit :mrgreen:
I'm not like a speed freak or anything, I just want to be able to have enough energy to cleanly take a deer out to about 50-70 yards max. I know it's been done before at even longer ranges with bullets going 1300 fps (my dad got his first buck at 125 yards with this gun) but I'd like to make sure it puts them down. At the risk of sounding inexperienced--how does one slug a bore?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by piller »

Several ways. One of the simplest and quickest is to take a brass rod and push a lead bullet through the bore. It is not always perfect, but usually the brass rod, if it is a little smaller than the bullet diameter, can be lightly tapped with a hammer to drive the lead down the bore. It will force the bullet to expand to bore diameter. You can then measure the bullet and get a good idea of bore diameter. A better method is to find a gunsmith who has the tool which measures it based on a device using compressed air and measuring the amount of air escaping around the part that goes down the barrel. Several of the members on here who know a whole bunch more than I do about this topic will probably weigh in soon.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by M. M. Wright »

Welcome and here's what I would do:

Slug the bore by driving a 50 cal round ball into the muzzle and then through with a wooden dowel or brass rod. Measure the deformed ball across the largest diameter with micrometer. You can re-size .429 bullets to .427 or .428 but they may shoot just fine in your rifle without doing anything. The key will be if a cartridge loaded with the large bullet will chamber in your rifle. Usually no problem with Winchester chambers but Colts are much tighter.

I have killed whitetail with the 44-40 and a 200 grain RNFP bullet cast from 20:1 alloy and lubed with SPG. I loaded it over 17 grains of 2400 and got good accuracy. A decent buck went about 20 yards before collapsing. Use this load in the 92 type action only! Not for 73.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Grizz »

cast bullets sized a thou over groove diameter go a long way toward preventing lead fouling. Marshall Stanton recommends getting ALL of the copper fouling out before developing accuracy loads.

The velocities mentioned are around 44 spcl hand gun velocities and lower end magnum velocities and they kill right now out past a hundred yards.

Even at 1200-1300 fps you are going to get complete pass thru to the limit of your shooting ability if the bullets are hard cast. and as has been said, hard cast bullets can run fast without leading.

have any pictures of your gun, it sounds like a beauty.

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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 44-40 Willy »

I use a strong action load of 20gr of 2400 behind a 200 or 210gr jacketed bullet in my Marlin 1894. This load is from the Lyman 47th. There's data out there for a lot stouter loads and I've tried some of them. But with my Marlin, the faster I push the bullet, the less accurate it is.

As mentioned above, for cast bullets, slug your bore and use bullets .001 or larger than your groove diameter. My Marlin measures .428 and I use .429 cast in it with no problems. Although admittedly, I don't push cast that hard in it.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Treeman72 »

Little off topic. From reading various posts over time, sounds like the 44 wcf was truly the round that won the west. When was 45 colt first made into winchester rifles?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 94deluxe »

I have yet to slug a winchester 44 barrel that was under .429. The model 53 i had was .430 +. I have gone to using Hornady XTP 200g .430 with in my 92's excellent results (less than 1" @ 50yds and less than 2" @ 100yds). I load 18g 2400 @ abt 1560 fps which is the equivalent of winchester's High Velocity loading for 92's.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by OldWin »

What Grizz said.
If you have the right groove diameter, 200gr Hornady XTP's work super on deer. I have never recovered a bullet from a deer with the 44wcf. If you hold up your end of the bargain you will have no problems. Some of the old loading manuals were optimistic to say the least. They may say it's safe but wow they seem pretty hot to me. With a jacketed bullet or a properly sized cast you should be able to get to 1400fps safely. If this was coming from a 44mag revolver everyone would think it's plenty. The deer won't know.
Every deer I shot with the 44 dropped where it stood and didn't take a step. One was a nice 185lb 8-pointer at about 65yrds. I have always had better luck dropping deer on the spot with the old slow-moving, bigger bullets. All but one of the deer I've shot at woods distances with 308 & 30-06's have run 50yrds or so. This of course is just MY experience.
For what it's worth, I hunted last year with a '73SRC in 38wcf and a 180gr cast. I was getting about 1200fps out of it. I didn't end up shooting a deer with it but I had no worries. It was very accurate and I could get them where I needed them to be. You will find the more you shoot it the more confident in it you will be. Shooting it a lot is, for me at least, one of the most important factors.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 44-40 Willy »

I've only had one not drop on the spot with the 44-40 and it was a heart/lung shot that went about 60 yards then piled up. That was using a 200gr Speer Gold Dot that stopped just under the hide on the other side. With just the one hole, it still left an impressive blood trail.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

I'll definitely have to slug the bore--it would be a real advantage to be able to use .430 bullets if its the right diameter. I know the gun and caliber itself are long time deer killers--every time someone killed a buck with this gun they notched the forend. There's 22 notches on it. Once I can figure out how to post pictures, I'll be sure to do so :mrgreen:
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 44-40 Willy »

Treeman72 wrote:Little off topic. From reading various posts over time, sounds like the 44 wcf was truly the round that won the west. When was 45 colt first made into winchester rifles?
Sometime in the mid to late 1980s. The 45 Colt in a levergun is a fairly recent development. I don't think even Colt used the 45 Colt in their Lightning pump rifles of the late 19th Century.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Well I slugged the barrel tonight--assuming I'm reading the micrometer correctly, I'm at .429 bore diameter. My next question is can I still use the .427 bullets I bought? The land diameter is .424 as near as I can tell, if that makes any difference.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by OldWin »

If your .427 bullets are cast I doubt you will get very good results. A .430 would be about right for you. On the plus side, 200gr 44mag bullets in a .429 dia will be a good jacketed load. If I recall, Speer's 44 bullets are 429. I have used their 200gr HP with very good results.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by 94deluxe »

I use MT Bullet cast for years and still do for some guns but the price per hundred is not much different than the XTP's. Try the 200g .430..... think you will like them especially if the bore is a little rough. The .427 wont work well unless very soft to obturate to the bore....
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Mike Armstrong »

I have an original Winchester 1885 Hi-wall .44-40 that has a (relined) .429 bore. Used loads from Ken Waters' "Pet Loads" that are equivalent to the old WHV loads with a Speer Gold Dot 180 gr. hollow point to kill a nice fat whitetail fork-horn in upstate NYS from a tree stand at about 45 yards. He took two little hops and piled up. I SUSPECT I was getting about .44 Magnum pistol ballistics from the 28" barrel, but don't have a chrony.

+1 on the Starline brass; it is thicker than other brands and you need to start loads a little lower because of that, but for HV loads, it holds up a lot better than the other available cases. I find the same with .38-40 and .32-20, BTW.

Finally went to using a handgun from tree stands because my rifles were all just too long and bulky for an old man to climb with....
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

I guess I'll have to pick up some .429 jacketed bullets then--can I do anything with the .427 bullets, or is it just a wash there?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Grizz »

Personally I would not use them since they can't bump up to groove diameter, may tumble, and will likely foul the bore. My guess.

Someone who needs that size bullet would probably be glad to have them...

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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by EdinCT »

John, not sure if you are in th U.S.Midway USA has 200 gr Win jacketed in .426 for the 44-40 that would work fine if you so desired. Not that a well fit cast isn't up to the task.
Also for those asking about the 45 colt it wasn't chambered in rifles because the pre WW II rims on the brass was very small and wouldn't be held by an ejecter they were made to be pushed out of a SA.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

I guess I'll have to sell them then, I doubt Midway would accept returns on bullets. Now would .426 bullets work well in my gun if the diameter is .429?
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by EdinCT »

Jacket will hold in rifling a few thous under and most likely bump up too. I have shot small bullets but they lead more unless soft enough to bump up. Black powder tended to bump bullets up better than smokeless I would call Midway and ask about a return if you bought them there and if the answer was no give them a try.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Ok, the stuff from midway today. I resized all my brass then I measured my bullets--the came in at .429 with my micrometer. I was wondering if it might be off so I measured some .308 cal bullets. They came in at .310. I'm thinking it might be off .002. I'll load some up and report back.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Johnwell »

Well I promised an update on this thread, it’s been a while...

I still have yet to get a deer with the old 53, but I worked up a load with the .427” hard cast bullets. They seem to shoot well enough for practice loads, but I don’t plan on using them for hunting.

An update on the micrometer; it was out of calibration. I measure the bore of my rifle at .428” after slugging the bore and calibrating the mic’s.

Pictures as promised:
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by OldWin »

Nice rifle.
Weird. I happen to be using a 44 this year too. Haven't in some time. An old 73 from 1887.
I'm using a .430 cast 200gr over 8.2gr. Unique. Just about matches black powder velocities at around 1230fps.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by wvfarrier »

8 to 8.5 grains of unique works well in several projectile weights
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

Original black powder velocities were 1,325fps, slowed to 1,245 by 1900 then back to 1,325 with Smokeless rifle powders in 1894. As the powders that made the 44-40 perform were discontinued, performance dropped. Leave the pistol powders for pistols and mouse fart cowboy loads.

Switch to rifle powders when used in a rifle. Reloder 7 is the best and can be used in the Winchester 73' with a case capacity load (fill to base of bullet), bullet sits on top of powder. 23.5gr under a 240gr bullet will get you 10% to 20% more powder and performance, safe for the 73'.

IMR-4227 works very well when loaded slightly hot for the Winchester 92' and Marlin 94 types with 200gr lead bullets and the JSP. Your mileage may very.

Reloder 7 and IMR-4227 work well for me when loaded accordingly and used in the proper firearm and retain accuracy/killing power out to 250 yards. Leave the pistol powders for rabbits.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by COSteve »

Johnwell wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:37 pm
Thank you very much--I currently only have Winchester brass available to me, but I plan on buying better brass as I get more into it. Another question, should I expect any leading to occur or how can I prevent that? I previously only loaded .30-06, so cast bullets are foreign to me so I don't know what to expect.
Actually, Winchester brass is in my humble opinion, better than Starline. I shoot a lot of .357mag full power in leverguns and my new Starline brass was splitting with a couple of case separations after only 2 loadings. I'm not talking about some over pressure loads either. Just slightly under max loads from Hodgdon's on-line reloading manual.

When I contacted Starline's CS they admitted that failures after only 2 loadings was not acceptable and they had had some runs that were brittle. However, they didn't offer to make things right for me so I scrapped all my Starline brass as I won't do business with a vendor who won't stand behind their product, and bought some new Winchester and JAG brass. Both have proved to be better performing than the Starline and I'm very satisfied with both of them.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by marlinman93 »

Uncertain how far you plan to shoot, but I can tell you that a 200 gr. SWC in the .44-40 in my Marlin 1889 and 1894 rifles will stop deer easily at 1300-1400 fps. No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots. One shot kills through the shoulder had devastating results for my hunting.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

marlinman93 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:01 am
No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots.
Bingo! The 44-40 is good much further than 100 yards when loaded correctly, even with 1,300fps loads. 700fps is enough to penetrate the broadside of a horse.

More speed = less trajectory, more energy retained. Folks making 1" groups at 50 yards with 900fps loads is horse manure!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by COSteve »

marlinman93 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:01 am
Uncertain how far you plan to shoot, but I can tell you that a 200 gr. SWC in the .44-40 in my Marlin 1889 and 1894 rifles will stop deer easily at 1300-1400 fps. No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots. One shot kills through the shoulder had devastating results for my hunting.
I absolutely agree. I limit my 24" Uberti .45 Colt with the toggle action, to standard pressure, 14,000psi, loads and a 255grn .45 cal hardcast bullet at 1,209fps should be plenty powerful enough to drop a good sized deer at 100yds. However, as the Colorado hunting laws require at least a .24 cal bullet with 1,000ft/lbs of ME at 100 yds to hunt deer with, neither my .357s or .45 Colt leverguns are powerful enough legally. But, my Winchester 88 levergun in .308 Win. is!!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

COSteve wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:24 am
marlinman93 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:01 am
Uncertain how far you plan to shoot, but I can tell you that a 200 gr. SWC in the .44-40 in my Marlin 1889 and 1894 rifles will stop deer easily at 1300-1400 fps. No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots. One shot kills through the shoulder had devastating results for my hunting.
I absolutely agree. I limit my 24" Uberti .45 Colt with the toggle action, to standard pressure, 14,000psi, loads and a 255grn .45 cal hardcast bullet at 1,209fps should be plenty powerful enough to drop a good sized deer at 100yds. However, as the Colorado hunting laws require at least a .24 cal bullet with 1,000ft/lbs of ME at 100 yds to hunt deer with, neither my .357s or .45 Colt leverguns are powerful enough legally. But, my Winchester 88 levergun in .308 Win. is!!
LOL, stupid law!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by COSteve »

Bryan Austin wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:45 pm
COSteve wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:24 am
marlinman93 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:01 am
Uncertain how far you plan to shoot, but I can tell you that a 200 gr. SWC in the .44-40 in my Marlin 1889 and 1894 rifles will stop deer easily at 1300-1400 fps. No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots. One shot kills through the shoulder had devastating results for my hunting.
I absolutely agree. I limit my 24" Uberti .45 Colt with the toggle action, to standard pressure, 14,000psi, loads and a 255grn .45 cal hardcast bullet at 1,209fps should be plenty powerful enough to drop a good sized deer at 100yds. However, as the Colorado hunting laws require at least a .24 cal bullet with 1,000ft/lbs of ME at 100 yds to hunt deer with, neither my .357s or .45 Colt leverguns are powerful enough legally. But, my Winchester 88 levergun in .308 Win. is!!
LOL, stupid law!
Not really, we get some really stupid hunters here (some locals and some from out of state) and if not for the minimums, someone would try to down an 275lb mule deer or 700lb elk with a .223 and just wound it. I agree with a minimum caliber and muzzle energy at 100yds approach as most of the shots taken out here are over 200yds and you need the power and performance to humanely harvest a game animal.
Steve

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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

COSteve wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:10 pm
Bryan Austin wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:45 pm
COSteve wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:24 am
marlinman93 wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:01 am
Uncertain how far you plan to shoot, but I can tell you that a 200 gr. SWC in the .44-40 in my Marlin 1889 and 1894 rifles will stop deer easily at 1300-1400 fps. No reason to push them any faster, unless you planned to maybe shoot further than 100 yd. shots. One shot kills through the shoulder had devastating results for my hunting.
I absolutely agree. I limit my 24" Uberti .45 Colt with the toggle action, to standard pressure, 14,000psi, loads and a 255grn .45 cal hardcast bullet at 1,209fps should be plenty powerful enough to drop a good sized deer at 100yds. However, as the Colorado hunting laws require at least a .24 cal bullet with 1,000ft/lbs of ME at 100 yds to hunt deer with, neither my .357s or .45 Colt leverguns are powerful enough legally. But, my Winchester 88 levergun in .308 Win. is!!
LOL, stupid law!
Not really, we get some really stupid hunters here (some locals and some from out of state) and if not for the minimums, someone would try to down an 275lb mule deer or 700lb elk with a .223 and just wound it. I agree with a minimum caliber and muzzle energy at 100yds approach as most of the shots taken out here are over 200yds and you need the power and performance to humanely harvest a game animal.
Ah yes, I can understand that. I forgot you were from Coloradoish where one can see 20 miles!!!
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Griff »

Treeman72 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:28 pm
When was 45 colt first made into winchester rifles?
The first levergun chambered in 45 Colt was the Winchester 94AE in 1985. I have one the 1st 5 Ubertis imported into this country in 45 Colt. It was made in 1986, but I think they were offered in Europe shortly before they were imported into the US.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by COSteve »

While I don't have any reason to 'need' one, I've always been intrigued by the 44-40 in a levergun. If you'll indulge me, I have a few questions about the caliber for those of you who own and handload for them.

I've heard that the brass is thin and damages easily during reloading so I'm wondering how well it holds up to repeated reloadings. How many standard pressure (13,000 CUP or under) 200grn loads will the brass typically survive?

What do the modern Rossis and Ubertis use for bore diameters? Would the .429" dia bullets I see advertized for the 44 special / magnum also work in a 44-40?

Besides plain lead, are plated and/or coated bullets a good choice for a 44-40 in a levergun?

If yes to the questions above, 240grn 44 bullets are quite common. Would they work in a levergun or are they too heavy?

What are the basic powders that are good choices for the 44-40?

Finally, what question didn't I ask?

Thanks
Steve

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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

COSteve wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:38 pm
I've heard that the brass is thin and damages easily during reloading so I'm wondering how well it holds up to repeated reloadings. How many standard pressure (13,000 CUP or under) 200grn loads will the brass typically survive?
Well, it is thin and it can cruch if you don't use the correct dimensional equipment and components. Trying to stuff a .430 diameter bullet in a case mouth that has only been expanded by a die designed to expand for only .427 bullets will give you a hard time. There are many "improper" ways to load the 44-40 components: https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/handloading
What do the modern Rossis and Ubertis use for bore diameters? Would the .429" dia bullets I see advertized for the 44 special / magnum also work in a 44-40?
I don't know about the Rossi but most modern firearms used .429 bores with 1:36" twist. Some like Winchester may revert back to .427 while some older firearms use .424 bores and as large as .432.
Short answer...yes, you can use 44 Special/44 Magnum bullets if the dimeters are considered: https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/handloading
Besides plain lead, are plated and/or coated bullets a good choice for a 44-40 in a levergun?
Yes, Winchester offered the JSP "Patched" bullet when they transitioned to smokeless powder in 1895. The JSP bullets varied in diameters but typically are .4255". They are also the same bullets used in Winchester's High Velocity offerings from 1903 to 1941, 38 years!!! (I will skip the "nickel plated" gilding copper bullet details: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 1905899731)

Care must be taken when using larger diameter JSP or even SJHP (Speer #4425) bullets when loading in smaller diameter bores. The ONLY 44-40 jacketed bullet is the Winchester and Remington JSP that are still offered, or were. You can still get Winchester JSP bullets on the net. Lyman offers load data for the Speer SJHP #4425 and 2400 powder: https://sites.google.com/view/44winches ... aami-specs
If yes to the questions above, 240grn 44 bullets are quite common. Would they work in a levergun or are they too heavy?
Hercules (1995) and Alliant (2005), as well as Lee Precision, show a published load for the 240gr LEAD bullet. Very little details are shown such as bullet diameter etc. They show 23.5gr of RELODER 7 with Remington 2 1/2 primers...safe for all firearms @ 12,100cup as well as a load for 2400 @ 12,500cup...again, safe for all firearms.

I tested a few 240gr options and recorded the following;
1. 25gr/240LRNFP/3D/1,300fps/9,613psi
2. 23.5gr/240SWC/Acme Hi-Tek/1,284fps/9,761psi
3. 26gr/240SWC/GA Arms L44A/1,441fps/14,274psi
4. 25gr/240SWC/Acme Hi-Tek/14,542psi
5. 26.5gr/240LRNFP/43-230G/1,505fps/14,737psi
6. 25gr/240DCHP/Speer 4455/1,350fps/15,248psi
7. 25.3gr/240LRNFP/Lee 3 Crimp?/1,446fps/15,279psi
8. 27.5gr/240SWC/GA Arms L44A/1,541fps/16,743psi
What are the basic powders that are good choices for the 44-40?
This is complicated...I use RIFLE powders for RIFLES and pistol powders for pistols. Here is why:
" The 44-40 is capable of excellent performance when loaded properly for handgun use. If, however, one endeavors to combine loading for both handgun and rifle in this caliber, he is destined to meet with only mediocre success. As in all other dual-purpose cartridges, the factory loads are only a compromise at best. Smokeless-powder loading for handguns requires a much more rapid-burning type than loading for rifle use, as the short barrel must burn all the powder if satisfactory results are to be achieved. In addition, rifle cartridges can be loaded to a pressure of about 30,000 pounds in this caliber [WINCHESTER 92'/MARLIN94' ONLY], whereas the same load in a revolver would be more or less disastrous."

With that said;

Rifles
100 yards and less - Unique, Bullseye
100 yards and further - 2400, IMR4227, Reloder 7, SR4756, 4759

Revolvers - Unique, Bullseye
Finally, what question didn't I ask?
Handloading the 44-40: https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/handloading
History: https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester
Smokeless Powder Transition Years: https://sites.google.com/view/44winches ... tion-years

On that website in the upper right hand corner is the search (magnifine glass) function FOR THE WEBSITE. Test it out for me and tell me what ya think. Heck, I have to use it to find my own work!!!
I am welcome to any feedback.
Last edited by Bryan Austin on Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by Bryan Austin »

I forgot, I have good results with the 240gr bullet at 100 yards or less. If you want to go further, you may need a 1:20" twist rather than the 1:36" twist barrel.
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Re: Hunting load for the .44-40

Post by piller »

If the .44-40 would have been standardized, it seems to me that some issues would have been avoided and it would have been an even better cartridge.
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