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The 44 W.H.V. Cartridge Saga, as used in the Winchester Model 92' and Marlin's 94'
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February 12, 2023 - 1:49 pm
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For those interested in some detailed factory history and handloading data of the 44 Winchester High Velocity cartridges, check here
For all 44 cartridge details, click here

Aside from Winchester’s factory use (as well as REM-UMC and others like Peters)….the most interesting are the three popular powders for handloaders that offer such factory load data for such a popular cartridge…          (Remington’s 1974-1984 “High Velocity” loads lack such power)

  • 1903 – Laflin & Rand Sharpshooter – no handload data – as used by Winchester – 20gr, 1,500 fps @ 18,000 cup
  • 1912 – Du Pont Sharpshooter – 19gr High Velocity
  • 1914 – Hercules Sharpshooter – 19gr High Velocity
  • 1935 – IMR 1204 – Load Data Label on back on can – 30gr @ 1,830 fps
  • 1932 – Hercules 2400 – Load Data Label on back on can – 25.4gr, 1,870 fps @ 20,000 cup
  • 1935 – IMR 4227 – Load Data Label on back of can – 29gr @ 1,890 fps
  • 1936 – Hercules Sharpshooter – 19.6gr, 1,650fps @ 20,000 cup

** There was a .6gr charge increase in 1936 by Hercules. It looks as if this .6g increase changed the velocity from 1,570 fps to 1,650 fps as well as increasing the chamber pressure, deviating from Winchester’s service pressure of 18,000 cup, to 20,000 cup. Other powder handload charges increase velocity and a chamber pressure as high as 33,000 cup.

I certainly believe that the WHV loads were a heck of a lot more popular than folks realize. If not, why such load data and availability for nearly 45 Years!!! Why all of a sudden after WWII, or at least in our lifetime (1944 to Present), was such an offering forgotten, misunderstood or deemed too dangerous.

{Sarcasm} – So many rifles and revolvers were blowing up, all across the USA and Europe, it took over 45 years for the multiple ammunition manufactures to cease production of the high pressure loads for the strong action rifles and the higher pressure normal loads, 16,000 cup for rifles and 15,000 cup for revolvers. Also participating in the cease of such loading data were all of the powder manufactures.

Because this data has been forgotten, DO NOT USE ANY OF THIS DATA  AS ACTUAL MODERN DATA, and Winchester advised against such loads in the Winchester 73′ rifle and all revolvers.

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Winchester cartridge vs REM-UMC cartridge

 

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February 12, 2023 - 2:41 pm
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Bryan –

Thanks for this.  A lot of interesting information.  I clicked on both links and I’ll be going back to digest more.  I never knew that some high velocity cases included, “M92” in the headstamp.  I’ve never seen one.

I think you are quite correct that high velocity loads were more popular than most realize.  I’ve noticed for decades that many modern gun writers denigrate the suitability of cartridges like the .44-40 for larger game such as deer.  These writers seem to think that the low power ’73 and SAA loads are the only options.  Some will allow that handloaders can step up performance but they forget that factory loads were previously available that obviated the need for handloading.

A recent thread here on the effective range of the .30-30 branched off into a discussion of higher velocity .44-40 loads.  The .44-40 discussion started about two-thirds in page 2:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-shooting-and-hunting/effective-range-of-a-30-30-lever-action-rifle/page-2/

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February 12, 2023 - 4:21 pm
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Here is some HV. I picked this up perusing the net. Hard to find, especially with the warning label. I have 3 rifles I could shoot this stuff in, but.  Big Larry

 

44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

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February 12, 2023 - 4:49 pm
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Big Larry said
Here is some HV. I picked this up perusing the net. Hard to find, especially with the warning label. I have 3 rifles I could shoot this stuff in, but.  Big Larry

 

44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

I had that same yellow box in .45-70 High Velocity – had the same white sticker stuck on mentioning the sight adjustments.  

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February 12, 2023 - 6:38 pm
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steve004 said

Big Larry said

Here is some HV. I picked this up perusing the net. Hard to find, especially with the warning label. I have 3 rifles I could shoot this stuff in, but.  Big Larry

 

44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

I had that same yellow box in .45-70 High Velocity – had the same white sticker stuck on mentioning the sight adjustments.  

  

I have a bunch of collectible ammo, but only for guns I have. That covers a lot of ammo, as I have over 200 guns. My biggie now, are the high speed loadings for 44 and 38 Smith and Wessons.  Green Remington boxes.   Big Larry38-44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

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February 12, 2023 - 7:04 pm
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 Very interesting topic.Of late I have become interested in the .44-40.Would like to get a Winchester Model 53 solid frame .44-40 rifle sometime.In the past I had a couple of .38-40 rifles .A Model 1892 and Model 1873,but never a .44-40.

 

 Interesting about the 29 grains of IMR 4227 at 1890 FPS.The Lyman Handbook lists 20.5 grains of IMR 4227 as the max for the Group  2 class of firearms ,that include the Winchester Model 92 and Marlin Model 94 .They list the C.U.P. pressure for that load at 19600 and velocity at 1455 FPS.

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February 12, 2023 - 8:40 pm
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28 gauge said
 Very interesting topic.Of late I have become interested in the .44-40.Would like to get a Winchester Model 53 solid frame .44-40 rifle sometime.In the past I had a couple of .38-40 rifles .A Model 1892 and Model 1873,but never a .44-40.

 

 Interesting about the 29 grains of IMR 4227 at 1890 FPS.The Lyman Handbook lists 20.5 grains of IMR 4227 as the max for the Group  2 class of firearms ,that include the Winchester Model 92 and Marlin Model 94 .They list the C.U.P. pressure for that load at 19600 and velocity at 1455 FPS.

  

That is the top prize in the Model 53.  I have a .25-20 takedown here.  I’ve come close on a couple .44-40 M53’s.  I ended up passing (the timing wasn’t great for me) but I wish I hadn’t.  

I suspect you have a later edition Lyman Reloading Handbook than I do.  Mine is the 46th edition (1982) and doesn’t separate .44-40 loadings by groups.  Rather, they just list the Win. M92 and the Marlin M94 as their test rifles.  They do list 29 grains as their max load of IMR 4227 (with a 200 grain JSP) producing 2012 FPS (they specify this is a compressed powder charge).  It is interesting that 29 grains of 4227 in your manual only yields 1890 fps.

Also of interest, that same Lyman manual with the same 200 gr. JSP lists a suggested starting load of 8.3 grains of Unique for a velocity of 1181 fps. They specify this is a factory duplication load.  

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February 12, 2023 - 9:52 pm
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Because this data has been forgotten, DO NOT USE ANY OF THIS DATA  AS ACTUAL MODERN DATA, and Winchester advised against such loads in the Winchester 73′ rifle and all revolvers.

Don’t forget this part.

Also, Lyman’s 49th loading manual is outdated by Lyman’s 50th. However, Lyman’s 49th lists modern HV charges and the particular bullets used. Do not deviate from those bullets used unless you lower the charge.

 

Compare this data to Lyman’s data. Click Here for some more data

 

Lyman lists nineteen rifles chambered for the 44-40.

Group 1 (weak actions)

  • Winchester Model 1873
  • Whitney Kennedy lever action
  • Colt-Burgess lever action
  • Marlin Model 1888
  • Colt Lightning pump action
  • Replica Model 1873s (And I’d include replica Henry and 1866s in 44-40)
  • Remington No 2 Rolling Block Single Shot
  • Ballard No 2 Single Shot
  • Stevens Model 44 Single Shot

 

Group 2 (Strong Actions)

  • Winchester Model 1892 (& replicas)
  • Marlin Model 1889
  • Marlin Model 1894
  • Remington Keene Bolt Action
  • Remington Model 14 1/2 pump action
  • Winchester Single Shot rifles
  • Remington No 1 Rolling Block single shot
  • Remington “Baby Carbine” single shot
  • Stevens Model 44 1/2 single shot
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February 12, 2023 - 10:33 pm
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steve004 said

28 gauge said

 Very interesting topic.Of late I have become interested in the .44-40.Would like to get a Winchester Model 53 solid frame .44-40 rifle sometime.In the past I had a couple of .38-40 rifles .A Model 1892 and Model 1873,but never a .44-40.

 

 Interesting about the 29 grains of IMR 4227 at 1890 FPS.The Lyman Handbook lists 20.5 grains of IMR 4227 as the max for the Group  2 class of firearms ,that include the Winchester Model 92 and Marlin Model 94 .They list the C.U.P. pressure for that load at 19600 and velocity at 1455 FPS.

  

That is the top prize in the Model 53.  I have a .25-20 takedown here.  I’ve come close on a couple .44-40 M53’s.  I ended up passing (the timing wasn’t great for me) but I wish I hadn’t.  

I suspect you have a later edition Lyman Reloading Handbook than I do.  Mine is the 46th edition (1982) and doesn’t separate .44-40 loadings by groups.  Rather, they just list the Win. M92 and the Marlin M94 as their test rifles.  They do list 29 grains as their max load of IMR 4227 (with a 200 grain JSP) producing 2012 FPS (they specify this is a compressed powder charge).  It is interesting that 29 grains of 4227 in your manual only yields 1890 fps.

Also of interest, that same Lyman manual with the same 200 gr. JSP lists a suggested starting load of 8.3 grains of Unique for a velocity of 1181 fps. They specify this is a factory duplication load.  

  

 I have a Model 53 .25-20 solid frame.Nice rifle and it shoots quite well for me.

 

 Have run across a few Model 53 .44-40 rifles.One was a great condition take down,but I do not want a take down.Two other solid frame rifles,that were not in the condition I am looking for.The other was just what I wanted ,but I missed out on it.O well,one will come along sooner or later.

   The rifle does not have to be in mint condition,but I want one with a good bore and not been though the Boer War.Smile

 

 Yes the Lyman book I have is the 50th edition.Just checked an old 45 th  edition of the Lyman book that I have  and like your 46 th edition ,they do list 29 grains of IMR 4227 as the max load. Interesting that there was such a drop in the max load for Group 2 rifles from the 46 th edition to the 50 th edition.In the 45 th edition ,they do say that these loads were not to be used in rifles designed for black powder,which are all the now Group 1 rifles.Hand gun .44-40 loads were listed in a different section.

 

 The 29 grain 1890 FPS  listing I was referring to before  ,was listed in  the post at the start of the thread.It was found on the back of a 1935 IMR 4227 can.

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February 12, 2023 - 10:46 pm
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Compare this data to Lyman’s data. Click Here for some more data

 

 Very interesting site.Thanks for posting.

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February 12, 2023 - 10:50 pm
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A lot of the drop in load data is the liability involved now days. Back in the day, there was no min/max load, it was all max! Then there was the min/max and then there is the max, minus a safety margin. This is why the 44-40 performance plummeted from it’s inception. 

Usingt large diameter bullets in small bores will increase chamber pressures at no gained performance.

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February 12, 2023 - 10:51 pm
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Jeese, I cannot even give this one away.   Big Larry

 

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February 12, 2023 - 11:08 pm
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Big Larry said

steve004 said

Big Larry said

Here is some HV. I picked this up perusing the net. Hard to find, especially with the warning label. I have 3 rifles I could shoot this stuff in, but.  Big Larry

 

44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

I had that same yellow box in .45-70 High Velocity – had the same white sticker stuck on mentioning the sight adjustments.  

  

I have a bunch of collectible ammo, but only for guns I have. That covers a lot of ammo, as I have over 200 guns. My biggie now, are the high speed loadings for 44 and 38 Smith and Wessons.  Green Remington boxes.   Big Larry38-44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

Have never seen those, Big Larry. We had an officer in my hometown who carried a S&W 38-44. He retired over 40 years ago, that old revolver was his pride & joy.

 

Mike

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February 13, 2023 - 1:00 am
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Big Larry said
Jeese, I cannot even give this one away.   Big Larry

 

Winchester-M53-left-side.jpgImage Enlarger

  

That sure looks like exactly what he is looking for!  He must be drooling hard.

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February 13, 2023 - 1:15 am
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 Yes ,even better than I am looking for.Please be sure to wipe the drool off the rifle,before it rusts.Smile

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February 13, 2023 - 2:35 am
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TXGunNut said

Big Larry said

steve004 said

Big Larry said

Here is some HV. I picked this up perusing the net. Hard to find, especially with the warning label. I have 3 rifles I could shoot this stuff in, but.  Big Larry

 

44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

I had that same yellow box in .45-70 High Velocity – had the same white sticker stuck on mentioning the sight adjustments.  

  

I have a bunch of collectible ammo, but only for guns I have. That covers a lot of ammo, as I have over 200 guns. My biggie now, are the high speed loadings for 44 and 38 Smith and Wessons.  Green Remington boxes.   Big Larry38-44-ammo.jpgImage Enlarger

  

Have never seen those, Big Larry. We had an officer in my hometown who carried a S&W 38-44. He retired over 40 years ago, that old revolver was his pride & joy.

 

Mike

  

Mike, I gave up my Winchester collecting a few years ago, and now have an extensive S&W collection. Some nice, some not so nice, but all 100% correct. Here is a 38-44 Heavy Duty, shipped to the famous Wolf and Klar in the 30’s. Probably wound up some Texas Police Officers sidearm. Big Larry

 

38-44-HD-ammo-2.JPGImage Enlarger

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February 13, 2023 - 2:59 am
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Mike, I gave up my Winchester collecting a few years ago, and now have an extensive S&W collection. Some nice, some not so niceBig Larry said

 

 

“Not so nice” means “not perfect.”

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February 19, 2023 - 4:23 pm
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Big Larry said
Jeese, I cannot even give this one away.   Big Larry

 

Winchester-M53-left-side.jpgImage Enlarger

  

 So have you been able to give away that piece of New Haven scrap iron yet?LaughLaughLaugh

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February 19, 2023 - 7:49 pm
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28 gauge said

Big Larry said

Jeese, I cannot even give this one away.   Big Larry

 

Winchester-M53-left-side.jpgImage Enlarger

  

 So have you been able to give away that piece of New Haven scrap iron yet?LaughLaughLaugh

  

No. I was considering selling it, but it is a fairly expensive rifle, and most folks don’t want to pay the big bucks for it. I bought it to shoot, but my handicap got worse, so it sits with its brother, a 32-20, in the safe. My BIL had one, and it was extremely accurate with his handloads. Big Larry

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February 19, 2023 - 9:18 pm
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Big Larry said

28 gauge said

Big Larry said

Jeese, I cannot even give this one away.   Big Larry

 

Winchester-M53-left-side.jpgImage Enlarger

  

 So have you been able to give away that piece of New Haven scrap iron yet?LaughLaughLaugh

  

No. I was considering selling it, but it is a fairly expensive rifle, and most folks don’t want to pay the big bucks for it. I bought it to shoot, but my handicap got worse, so it sits with its brother, a 32-20, in the safe. My BIL had one, and it was extremely accurate with his handloads. Big Larry

  

 I have a Model 53 in .25-20.The rifle shoots really well with the hand loads I use in it.Have never fired factory ammunition in the rifle.Been using 60 grain Hornady bullets.

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