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44/40 black powder load?
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March 14, 2021 - 2:32 am
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Does anyone have any favorite 44/40 black powder loads for a 1 in 24” barreled 1873 Winchester?

 

Jim

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March 14, 2021 - 3:12 am
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[email protected] said
Does anyone have any favorite 44/40 black powder loads for a 1 in 24” barreled 1873 Winchester?

 

Jim  

BP?  No mystery.  As much as you can cram into the case.  Won’t be 40 g., as solid head cases won’t hold that much.  Compressed loads usually give better accuracy.

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March 14, 2021 - 5:09 am
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Modern cartridge cases will hold approximately 35 grs of 3F black, compressed load with 200 gr lead bullet.

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March 14, 2021 - 5:11 pm
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The correct black powder load is determined by the volume available in the case with the bullet seated. Since that will vary with components it’s something you will need to discover. Start by determining your seating depth and then fill with powder to where the base of the bullet will be, plus a little. Measure that amount by volume and record it as your starting load. Black powder performs best with some compression but the optimal amount of compression varies. Only trial and error with your gun & components will determine the correct load. Some shooters prefer FFg, some FFFg. Some use wads, some don’t. A bullet lube designed for BP (like SPG) will give you the best performance. Mike Venturino’s and Steve Garbe’s book BP Cartridge Reloading Primer is an excellent source for learning how BP cartridges work. 

 

Mike

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March 14, 2021 - 5:21 pm
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Thanks fellas. I cut an original case in half lengthwise and noticed it was formed differently than today’s cases. Explained why it could hold 40 grains of powder instead of 35. My 200 grain boolit mold has 2 shallow grooves, hoping it holds enough lube to give me the starburst at the bore. We’ll see. Waiting on my cases so I can begin loading. 

Jim

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March 14, 2021 - 5:27 pm
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[email protected] said
Thanks fellas. I cut an original case in half lengthwise and noticed it was formed differently than today’s cases.

Sounds like what’s usually called a balloon-head case.   

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March 14, 2021 - 6:37 pm
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 Don’t use old balloon head cases, I learned the hard way, when the fire came out the top of a 86. T/R

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March 19, 2021 - 11:23 pm
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Am I gaining anything cramming 37 grains of 2f in the case? I did that without bulging the case but fear the powder is no longer 2f but rather 4f since it’s so compressed. I want as much bang for my buck but don’t want a screwup……

 

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March 20, 2021 - 4:24 pm
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[email protected] said
Am I gaining anything cramming 37 grains of 2f in the case? I did that without bulging the case but fear the powder is no longer 2f but rather 4f since it’s so compressed. I want as much bang for my buck but don’t want a screwup……

 

Jim  

Maybe, depends on the powder. In my experience Swiss powders do best with only a slight compression while Goex’s Olde Eynsford may need a little more, for example. Other powders in different cartridges will behave differently. I don’t know how compression will change granulation but I suppose some grains will be crushed. It’s all speculation until the trigger is pulled.

 

Mike

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April 5, 2021 - 5:36 pm
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In modern W/W 44-40 brass, I can load about 30 about grains of the Goex 3F.   I like bullets made from a vintage Winchester mold or Lyman 42798 which is identical to the Winchester mold.  It has two wide grease grooves which work well with black powder.  No crimping groove but you don’t need one with black powder since the base of the bullet is lightly compressing the load.

If you use one of the old Winchester reloading tools the length will come out perfect.  Otherwise, I use an original round to gauge the length and adjust the seating die accordingly.

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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April 6, 2021 - 11:11 pm
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The problem most folks run into is not understanding volume vs weight. A good black powder will weight 40gr weight and also equal 40gr by volume when compressed. With today’s less quality black powder, one is lucky to get enough in to replicate original black powder ballistics although accuracy remains reasonable.

Original pre-headstamp (pre-1884) 44-40 cases only old about 3gr more than todays cases. Original dissected cases of that timeframe yielded 40gr by weight and the powder was compressed about .17″. The best quality black powder today, or the last I tested was Swiss. I actually got a batch that equaled 40gr weight that equaled 40gr by volume with .17″ compression of the powder. Later headstamped cases still had a balloonhead design but not as pronounced and held a little less powder. By the time the balloon was removed, powder compression was increased to about .21″, nearly 1/4″. The powder needs to be compressed with a powder compression die unless your bullet is hard enough to not deform when seated.

The compression of the powder needed is based on the seating depth of the bullet used as well as the case length. Basically the empty case, resized, is measures with water which equals an H2O volumetric measurement. That is getting a bit nitpicky! I think Winchester was the most at 41.something, without looking at my notes.

I tested several variants of 44-40 cases with black powder loads and came up with the following posted in my google doc files here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cZyKKXVyHq9as9uFJiko5yReJ9a-ER32YsENTgJGJs4/edit#gid=2085097263

From 1873 to 1877 the 44-40 was advertised at 1,325fps. Using original unheadstamped cases of the pre-1884 era…Swiss FFg was the best quality and may actually be a tad too much for a 40gr compressed load as you can see from the pressures it created at the link I provided. Goex FFFg was next and best replicated original BP velocities @ 1,356fps at 12,648 psi (approx. 14,000 cup).

From 1877 to 1904 the 44-40 was advertised at 1,245fps. Goex FFFg (same batch) again best replicated this by using later dated headstamped cases, WRA and REM-UMC cases. 40gr by weight, compressed to allow the bullet to sit on top of the powder, produced 1,248fps to 1,272 at only 10,037psi to 11,001 psi. (SAAMI MAP is 11,000psi or 13,000 cup)

Using the Swiss FFg load in modern Starline cases resulted in less velocity and less pressures. 1,226fps @ only 8,953psi

Read John Kort’s black powder tests using original loaded cartridges 
https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/contributors/john-kort/two-peas-in-a-pod-by-john-kort?authuser=0

 

Oh here is another bonus from John Kort.

https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester/contributors/john-kort/testing-vintage-44-40-ammunition

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