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1885
August 19, 2016
9:36 pm
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Wincacher said
Here’s more fuel for the fire:  copper cases on the early .45 Colt we too weak and the rims too small to be handled by rifle extractors.  Also, the primers were internal so the cartridge was not reloadable.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/24/the-45-colt-history-and-surprising-facts-about-this-iconic-cartridge/  

Early cartridges used Copper Cases with Benet Primers, but that wasn’t very long util they went to Berdan Primers and then Boxer Primers along with brass cases.  As Early as the year 1876, WINCHESTER was not only selling center-fire 45 Colt cartridges they were also selling Winchester Loading Tools and Bullet Molds for 45 COLT. It is my current belief that they did so for as long as they produced and sold loading tools until around 1914. 

Winchester made the 1875 and 1882 Tools chambered in 45 Colt, along with three different versions of Bullet Molds for 45 Colt. They first cataloged 45 Colt in the 1876 Catalog. The 1874 cartridge board, also known as the Rimfire board, has the rimfire version of the 45 Colt on it. The next board made the 1879 cartridge board has the 45 colt center-fire cartridge on it. 

Now all that said, How that might translate to Winchester actually chambering a firearm in 45 Colt, I honestly do not know. But if they made Cartridges, Bullet Molds, and Loading Tools for close to 40 years in 45 Colt. I don’t think its beyond the realm of possability that they could have made one chambered in 45 Colt. They had all the tools, dies, and reamers to make Loading Tools. Granted also that Winchester may have sold alot of other calibers they may have never been chambered in a Winchester Firearm as well.

Here some examples of Winchester Tools I’m referring to. 

3rd Model Mold in 45 Colts3rdTypMld45Colt.jpgImage Enlarger 4th Model Mold in 45 Colt4thTypMld45Colt.jpgImage Enlarger 1882 Tool in 45 Colt82Tool45Colt.JPGImage Enlarger

Sincerely,

Maverick

P.S. Agree that the 44-40 is a better round. Bert have you seen vary many other small pistol type caliber rounds chambered in the 1885? Such as the 32 S&W, 32 Marlin, 32 colt, 38 s&w, 38 Marlin, 41 Long Colt, 44 webley, 44 colt, 44 american, 44 russian, 44 marlin, 44 remington, 44 evans and so on?

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August 20, 2016
5:33 am
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None are listed in the factory records for any of the cartridges you just mentioned.

Bert

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August 21, 2016
11:07 am
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Why is 44-40 better than .45 Colt? Could someone please explain.

August 21, 2016
5:08 pm
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Bert H.

 Over the last 35 years I’ve had only three Model 1885 rifles. My area of collecting Winchesters has mostly been the Model 1873, however 2 of the most accurate antique rifles I’ve owned and shot were my “Re-Rifled” 32-20 Low Wall with a “Pope” re-rifled cut down barrel of 18 inches. I purchased it at a New York gun show about 25 years ago. (VERY CHEAP) I shot it in competition, this against 2 other shooters that used scoped Winchester Model 52 Target rifles at 50 yards. The target was an aluminum arrow shaft. I cut the target using the iron sights that came with the Low Wall on the 7th round fired. My competitors, using scoped rifles clipped the target a few times, but failed to cut it. (BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR ME) My other Winchester that I’ve found to be extreamly accurate is my Model 1873, “1 of 1000”, but this rifle is expected to be. The other 1885’s were a 25-20 SS and a 32 Long Rim Fire. I sold both a number of years ago. I don’t know if you find this tail of “fancy” shooting interesting or not, but I thought I’d just throw it into the conversation anyway. Take care Bert.

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August 21, 2016
8:27 pm
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CJS57 said
Why is 44-40 better than .45 Colt? Could someone please explain.  

Sure… it was developed as a “Rifle” cartridge versus a “Pistol” cartridge, and was then adapted for use in a pistol.  It is a faster and flatter shooting cartridge than the 45 LC.  The fact that the 44-40 used in both the Winchester Model 1873 and Colt 1873 whereas the 45 LC was not, also makes it the better cartridge.

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August 22, 2016
12:51 am
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CJS57 said
Why is 44-40 better than .45 Colt? Could someone please explain.  

Yes, as Bert pointed out the 44 WCF was designed as a carbine/rifle round that happens to do quite well as a handgun round. The 45 Colt was designed as a handgun round that has in relatively recent years been pressed into service as a rifle/carbine round. The bottleneck case is part of the 44 WCF’s success story but there’s another reason. Many of the early carbines and rifles chambered for black powder cartridges were rifled in a 1:20 twist rate, sometimes 1:16 or 1:18. When Winchester or another manufacturer finally decided to chamber a rifle in 45 Colt for some reason the twist rate chosen was 1:38, just like the .444 Marlin. A 1:38 twist will not stabilize a heavy-for-caliber or often even a nominal weight bullet in most cases and a light-for-caliber bullet generally doesn’t have the BC necessary for accuracy much past 100 yds, if that.

Why didn’t Winchester chamber rifles for the 45 Colt until recently? Because as a BP cartridge the 44 WCF outperformed the 45 Colt. Both cases held similar amounts of BP and the 44 WCF bullet had a better BC and would shoot flatter than the 45 Colt. With the 25-20, 32-20, 38-40 and the 44-40 Winchester had a winning line-up and the 45 Colt simply wasn’t needed.

Why did Winchester make ammo for the 45 Colt? Because they were in the ammunition business and Uncle Sugar probably wanted lots of 45 Colt ammo as did the Winchester retailers.

So yes, as Bert pointed out, the 44 WCF was a better rifle/carbine cartridge 140 yrs ago and it still is today. Is the 44 WCF a better cartridge than the 45 Colt? IMHO no, but we’re talking traditional rifles and carbines here.

Why didn’t Winchester use a 1:20 twist when they finally got around to chambering carbines and rifles for the 45 Colt? I wish I knew!

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August 22, 2016
2:25 pm
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TXGNUT,  I am not much of a collector of Winchesters as I am a shooter of them especially BPCR with highwalls.  I do have a 92′ winchester in 38-40 that I shoot at gong matches and the twist rate in these is quite baffling. If Campbell is correct, he says the twist rate in a 38-40 highwall is 1-36″ so the 92′ probably has something close to that although I haven’t measured it.  Now, you wouldn’t think that twist should shoot worth a darn past 100 yds, yet I can easily and accurately shoot a 180 grn cast lead bullet to 300 yds. I have a small Lyman 17 on the front and a Lyman 47 on the tang.  With proper sights, it’s amazing to see them shoot that far without the bullet tumbling.  For some reason manufacturers put much faster twist rates in handguns of the same calibers as they do in rifles ( probably because rifles reach a higher velocity) yet both seem to work.

August 22, 2016
3:02 pm
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It is also interesting to note that the 45LC was not offered in the Colt rifles of the time.  The Colt Burgess was only offered in 44-40, while the medium frame Lightnings came only in the Winchester calibers, 32-20, 38-40 and 44-40.  If the 45LC had been comparable to the 44-40, it seems logical that Colt would have chambered their rifles in this caliber.  Heaven knows there were plenty of single action army revolvers in 45LC to justify producing companion rifles of the same caliber.  

August 23, 2016
2:21 am
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Old-Win, it seems I stand corrected. For some reason I thought the 38-40 had a faster twist but it seems that’s not the case. In fact there seems to be some variation in the twist rate used for the 38-40 in Winchester rifles. My 1892 in 38-40 was built in 1915 and the 1873 in 1921, IIRC. Now I’m thinking about pulling them out and checking the twist rate. My little reference library wasn’t much help but one book appears to be loaned out. I hope the borrower has a better memory than I, lol. 

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August 23, 2016
12:26 pm
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By the way the 44 WCF twist rates were never that fast ,they were in the ballpark of the 38 WCF rates which Bert or Bob will Know

 There is a thread on 38-40 twist rates 

http://winchestercollector.org/forum/whats-new/mod-73-38-40-rate-of-twist/#p48802

 

Phil

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August 23, 2016
2:14 pm
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I just looked in my notes, and both the 44 WCF and the 38 WCF were made with a 1:36 twist rate.

Bert

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August 4, 2021
5:01 pm
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mustang said
       I have an eighteen year old replica (Japan) 1885 chambered in .45 (Long) Colt.

       Idle curiosity got me to wondering if there is any information (guesses) about how many original Single Shot rifles were chambered for that cartridge ?  

Crazy old post but I have an 1885 manufactured in 1892 that my dad rechambered in .45 LC sometime around 1993. It’s a fun little rifle but I’ve been perplexed by his choice in caliber since I inherited it lol

August 4, 2021
6:41 pm
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rvrrat87 said

Crazy old post but I have an 1885 manufactured in 1892 that my dad rechambered in .45 LC sometime around 1993. It’s a fun little rifle but I’ve been perplexed by his choice in caliber since I inherited it lol  

.44-40 would have been an original chambering, but I guess that’s really irrelevant on a rechambered gun.  There are new guns being mfgd. in .45 Colt, so that might be a better choice with respect to ammo availability.  In fact I just saw a ’66 replica in .45 Colt used in a TV hog hunt.

August 7, 2021
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clarence said

.44-40 would have been an original chambering, but I guess that’s really irrelevant on a rechambered gun.  There are new guns being mfgd. in .45 Colt, so that might be a better choice with respect to ammo availability.  In fact I just saw a ’66 replica in .45 Colt used in a TV hog hunt.  

Per the oral history I received when the gun was given to me it was in terrible condition when my dad acquired it. Per the serial number on the lower tang and Bert’s search it was originally mfgd as a .32 WCF with a 28″ #1 octagon barrel.

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