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1866 Winchester 44 cal cf
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March 26, 2024 - 6:08 pm
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Any info on this cartridge

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March 27, 2024 - 4:27 am
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Here is a brief rundown on some history and information I’ve come across in the past. I’m not sure how 100% accurate it is.

The Weapons
Brazil bought Winchester Model1866s chambered for the .44 rim fire ctge. In 1872, they were distributed in 1874, in Brazil they are known as “Modelo 1872”. During the third term of Minister Caixas (22/03/1875 to 05/01/1878) an order was issued to transform Spencer, Roberts and Winchester rifles and carbines to centerfire, such modification was made in 1876 by the Arms Factory of Conceicao (Fabrica de Armas da Conceicao).
The Winchesters were modified with parts of Winchesters model 1873 (Cal. 44 WCF) previously acquired by Brazil, and they were produced two different models, being named by the Brazilians as “Modelo 1872/76” and “Modelo 1874/76).

The Cartridge
The first cartridges made for this weapons are of the coiled type, and they were manufactured in Brazil in 1876, certain Brazilian papers referred to them as “Boxer”, but they were not made it this way, the cartridges did not work properly either in the carbines or in the Nagant revolvers (they use the same cartridge). There was a variant of the cartridge with copper case, that use a Bachmann type double disc primer, they were crudely made, and maybe they were manufactured in Brazil from rim fire cartridges. The first French cartridges were made by Gaupillat, and they have a reloadable primer, they were pre-1886 (they bear no head stamp or they came with the head stamp Gaupillat Paris).
Known are some cartridges made in Austria in 1889 by Keller & Cie. (hdst. 44 89 K&C) but there is no documentation to prove a relation with the Brazilian carbines or with the Nagant revolvers, no specimens of them were found in Brazil, it is thought they were a Turkish contract for Winchesters transformed into center fire.

Cartridge used in the Nagant revolvers
This cartridge was always meant to be used in carbines and Nagant revolvers (those last ones issued to the Brazilian navy under the name “Modelo 1833 manufactured by Simpson & Co., Suhl, Germany).Only one specimen of this revolver was modified to properly function with the “coiled” ammo, according to some papers, in the test was only used “imported ammo”. Because of the obsolescence of the Winchester ctge., when Eley decided to produce the cartridge, they made it under the name “.44 Nagant”, it does not appear in the Eley catalog of 1908/09, but is in the ones of 1910/11 and 1914/15. Also was commercially made in Brazil by FNCM and C.B.C. under the name “.440 Nagant”. The blueprints and notes from the factory denotes that there are no differences between the carbines and revolver loadings since they employ the same powder charge.

About the Winchester “Contract”
The modification to center fire was a Brazilian initiative in 1876, and had nothing to do with the Winchester company.
The specific contract of Winchester 1866 carbines for Brazil was from 1892, in Brazil those weapons are known as “Modelo 92”, such designation causes confusion with the Winchester designation.The center fire cartridges made by Winchester in 1900 were loaded with black powder, 200 grains lead projectiles, and they are not a center fire version of the rim fire .44 Henry Flat, but a later version of the same cartridge with an improvement of the Stetson Patent of 1871, the case is longer and covers an extra cannelure of the bullet for a better hold. The case is 22.5mm (.885″) long, with no head stamp. And there is known an inert specimen with a hollow brass jacket bullet known in the U.S. as “Durable Dummy”.
The original Brazilian “Boxer” cartridge was used in the “Herval pistols” designed by General Manuel Luis Osorio (Marquis of Herval) which are shortened Winchesters 1866 in the Conceicao Arms Factory.

SFM and ELEY produced a cartridge shown in their catalogues and their boards as .44 Brazilian Nagant (or .44 Henry CF). In the SFM Catalogue November 1909 the cartridge is shown as: “Winchester Mod.1866 Cal.44 transform

There are floating around some known pictures of the Gaupillat and S.F.M. cartridge boxes, I’m not aware of known specimens of the W.R.A.C.O. boxes were seen ever in Argentina or in the U.S.

44henry-flatcf.jpg44henry-flatcf-full.jpgImage EnlargerViews of the Cartridge

44-Winch-ML-1866-Transf-Traç-1889-repris-en-1894-BRESIL.jpgImage Enlarger1894 Dated S.F.M. Factory Drawing

1919-SFM-FactoryDwg-44HenryCF.jpgImage Enlarger1919 Dated S.F.M. Factory Drawing

1923-SFM-FactoryDwgBoxesCenterRimfire.jpgImage Enlarger1923 Dated S.F.M. Factory Drawing with pictures of SFM boxes of both 44 Henry Flat Centerfire and 44 Henry Flat Rimfire

44henry-flatcf-sfm.jpgS.F.M. (Société Française des Munitions) – Head stamp of the 44 Henry Flat Centerfire

 

How’s your French?

Sincerely,

Maverick

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March 27, 2024 - 4:16 pm
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Very good info for what went on in Brazil.  Thank you, Maverick!  Tim  PS.  Do you have the un headstamped cartridge in your possession?  If so, how does it measure up with the dimensions I posted in my article back in 2015?

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March 27, 2024 - 4:24 pm
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My French is even worse than my Latin but I was impressed to see the bullet lube recipe in the lower right corner. 

 

Mike

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March 27, 2024 - 6:13 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Very good info for what went on in Brazil. 

And all this screwball improvisation was done so that the same ammo could be used in both their obsolete carbines & their crackpot-designed Herval pistol?  If not, what am I missing?  Might make some minimal economic sense if Brazil had been destitute, but this work was going on during Brazil’s rubber boom, which made it a rich country for about 30 yrs.

Here’s how they were being put to use, according to Wiki:  “”Correrías” are rapid slave raids which became institutionalised during the rubber boom around the turn of the century, to obtain labourers for the rubber extraction. A patron would give a small group of slave hunters Winchester rifles, which were in great demand, in return for which Ashéninka settlements were attacked and all individuals potentially capable of working taken captive, that is, preferably children and young women, who were taken to the patron as his personal property. Adult men were more difficult to control and thus they were preferably killed, to avoid witnesses and possible reprisals. These parties frequently consisted of Indians, who had long been subjugated by the patron through debt bondage. The Ashéninka, Yíne and Conibo were all active in these correrías. But colonists also participated as leaders of raiding parties.” 

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March 27, 2024 - 9:02 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Very good info for what went on in Brazil.  Thank you, Maverick!  Tim  PS.  Do you have the un headstamped cartridge in your possession?  If so, how does it measure up with the dimensions I posted in my article back in 2015?

I don’t own the cartridge pictured. I’m certain the unmarked case (no head stamp) is from a WRACo cartridge. The overall picture is for the SFM cartridge, as it has the two grooves in the bullet. Based on the SFM factory drawings converting mm to inches the SFM round matches the 1.346″ COAL of the #4 cartridge (1891 Un-head stamped) in your article.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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March 28, 2024 - 7:06 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Very good info for what went on in Brazil.  Thank you, Maverick!  Tim  PS.  Do you have the un headstamped cartridge in your possession?  If so, how does it measure up with the dimensions I posted in my article back in 2015?

  

Tim here are some pictures showing the 66 cf cartridge I have.  I will have to go back and read your article.

Henry-Rounds.jpgImage EnlargerHenry-Cartridges-1.jpgImage Enlarger

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April 1, 2024 - 11:42 pm
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has anyone seen an original box marked for win 1866 cf made by winchester

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April 2, 2024 - 12:20 am
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gene66 said
has anyone seen an original box marked for win 1866 cf made by winchester 

” The modification to center fire was a Brazilian initiative in 1876, and had nothing to do with the Winchester company.” 

However, there’s a Henry CF shown in Cartridges of the World that is said to have been made up for the last ’66s manufactured.  Can this be correct?  I was assuming any ’66 converted to CF was done outside the factory after the RFs went out of production.

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April 2, 2024 - 12:39 am
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clarence said

gene66 said

has anyone seen an original box marked for win 1866 cf made by winchester 

” The modification to center fire was a Brazilian initiative in 1876, and had nothing to do with the Winchester company.” 

However, there’s a Henry CF shown in Cartridges of the World that is said to have been made up for the last ’66s manufactured.  Can this be correct?  I was assuming any ’66 converted to CF was done outside the factory after the RFs went out of production.

I think you are misunderstanding what is being quoted. The initiative in the year 1876 in the country of Brazil to convert their firearms to center-fire was done on their own accord. Then in 1891 Brazil ordered from WRACo model 66s in 44 Henry Flat Center-fire. These are two different historical events. 

Any 66 that wasn’t ordered from the factory as being chambered for 44 center-fire and currently is center-fire would not be factory work.

 

This is from the IAA forum and maybe of interest.

I was doing some research (not on this subject) in the Winchester files at the McCracken Research Library in Cody, WY, a few years ago. I came across some in-house correspondence concerning the order for 1,000 44 center fire 1866 carbines for Brazil. It was mentioned that Brazil wanted these in .44 S&W American, but Winchester did not want to designate this name for the cartridge, so they thought they might call it .44 CF Henry Flat. But more importantly, the order number was mentioned. If you research Winchesters, you know that the letter gives you the order number your gun was shipped on, but there is no longer a record of those order numbers, so they are usually of little interest. Knowing the order number of the Brazil order, I asked Jessie Bennet to find what was shipped on that order. It was a pain, but she agreed to do it. Finally, she found 999 of the Brazilian guns. A couple months later, she found the last one, which was way out of serial number range of the other 999. So, now you can request a search on your serial number, and Jessie can confirm if it was or was not on the order for 1,000 to Brazil. On a visit with some collectors in Buenos Aires, I brought up the subject of what the cartridge boxes on the Brazil order looked like. I was told that even the Brazilian collectors were not sure, but the general opinion was they were pretty much unmarked pasteboard boxes.

Yes, when made by WRACo they would have put up in factory labeled cardboard boxes and then put in wooden crates and shipped to their destination. The boxes likely will look very similar to 1891 era 44 Henry R.F. boxes, but say Center-fire on them. I’m not of the opinion that WRACo wouldn’t have labeled the boxes, as I don’t know of any example of them doing such a thing with any of the other 190+ cartridges they sold. Plus it would be easy slap an over label with the words “Center-Fire” onto a Rim Fire label. They did that with early smokeless rounds.

Sincerely,

Maverick 

 

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April 2, 2024 - 4:32 am
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Maverick and Clarence,  I am of the opinion that Maverick is likely on target.  Winchester usually blew their own horn, so I STRONGLY expect they used some sort of labeling.  But I’ve not heard of anyone seeing a labeled box of .44 Henry Flat Centerfire.  Then again, it is very hard to prove anything about the lack of something, yet only needs one example to prove the existence.  The examples of rounds suspected of being Winchester manufacture is too compelling in their own.  Having the dummy round that Dan Shuey claimed to be a factory Winchester reference round plus a for real one along with Chuck’s, etc, shows Winchester seemingly MADE at least a few.  My 1866 carbine that I wrote about was modified out of the factory and I guessed it being very versatile as result, with several cartridges likely able to be used in it.  The modification to produce the centerfire striker seemed a bit better finished that some local smith likely would have accomplished.  Or far better than I would have been able at least!  Maverick, you have access to some really good references for the arms and ammo in South America.  Thank you for that!  Tim

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April 2, 2024 - 4:41 am
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I have a 73 that is in their museum reference book that is chambered for 44 S&W American.

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April 2, 2024 - 2:54 pm
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.44 American is nearly identical in all dimensions to the Henry; it’s very slightly shorter in OAL.  I have a Ballard marked only “44 Rim” that was converted to CF long ago, an easy conversion in this particular model.  It handles & shoots Black Hills .44 Russian perfectly, & with considerable accuracy considering rough shape of bore.  Both the American & Russian were noted target revolver cartridges in their day, due in part to low recoil, but both seem poor choices for a hunting rifle.

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April 2, 2024 - 3:02 pm
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Rather sounds neat, but do agree its also a bit on the light side unless shooting fairly small game.  Doubt I would care to be shot by it though!  Tim

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April 2, 2024 - 3:23 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Rather sounds neat, but do agree its also a bit on the light side unless shooting fairly small game.  Doubt I would care to be shot by it though!  Tim 

Before you could be shot, you’d have to be hit; think about the trajectory beyond about 50 yds for these cartridges.

I shoot .22 LR SV at steel targets at 150 yds.  With sights adjusted to hit at 150, I can’t touch similar sized targets at 50 & 100 yds.

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April 2, 2024 - 9:30 pm
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tim tomlinson said
Having the dummy round that Dan Shuey claimed to be a factory Winchester reference round plus a for real one along with Chuck’s, etc, shows Winchester seemingly MADE at least a few.  

In my book if Dan claimed something, you could just about etch it in stone as fact. He was the first to tell you if he was uncertain about something and why he had such uncertainties. Dan had in his collection a lot of reference material from the factory. So if he believed it a factory dummy, I believe it as well.

I have very little doubt, if any that Winchester didn’t make a healthy run of 44 Henry C.F. ammunition. They would have produced an supply or quantity enough to have been profitable to do so, otherwise they wouldn’t have taken the order. Winchester had a long history of seeking government contracts, and didn’t mind it being a foreign government. Generally speaking they wanted U.S. contracts but I believe mostly for political reasons didn’t achieve what they wanted not until WWI & WWII.

One does wonder why in 1891 Brazil would order these model 66s when they could get a 73. But I suppose it may have been more cost effective to do so. I’d have to look it up but I think a 66 was roughly 1/3 less than a 73 in this timeframe. Plus you never know if some sort of trade was made. Brazil may have paid for the order in coffee beans or rubber. Or something else Winchester wanted or needed.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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April 2, 2024 - 11:22 pm
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One does wonder why in 1891 Brazil would order these model 66s when they could get a 73. But I suppose it may have been more cost effective to do so. I’d have to look it up but I think a 66 was roughly 1/3 less than a 73 in this timeframe. Maverick said

$14.50 vs $17.50, in the ’93 cat.  That doesn’t mean the factory didn’t make Brazil a deal they couldn’t refuse, in order to reduce inventory of an obsolete model.

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April 3, 2024 - 5:02 pm
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The 44 cases I use to shoot my Henry and 66 are shortened S&W 44 specials.

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April 3, 2024 - 10:06 pm
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Chuck,  Roger, they work.  Starline was making a run some years ago for the cowboy shooters of .44 Russian brass as well.  Just in case you need an alternative.  Maybe still making that brass.  Tim

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April 7, 2024 - 12:33 am
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Talked to Ray Giles today at Tulsa about Winchester 66 CF and he told me what he knew. He heard that a Winchester employee had a box of Winchester 66 CF with mimeographed label which he said would have been around in that time period. The employee collected boxes for the 40 years he work at Winchester and then for 20 years after he retired. When he died, his wife didn’t sell the collection for another 10 years. Ray bought the collection but there wasn’t a 66 CF box.

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