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Handloading question - 44 magnum jacketed bullets in .44-40/
October 5, 2020
7:08 pm
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What’s the experience here using .44 magnum (.429 or .430) bullets in the .44-40?  Say, a Model 1873 or M1892?

October 5, 2020
7:37 pm
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I have used .429″ cast bullets in the 1873, 1892 and in some Colt pistols and rifles.  Proper operation is dependent on how your barrel slugs out.

October 5, 2020
8:49 pm
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Thanks Chuck.  Any experience using jacketed .429 or .430 bullets?

October 5, 2020
9:44 pm
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My Lyman Reloading Handbook (purchased new by me but I was a much younger man) lists, for their two test rifles used, a groove diameter of .432 for a Winchester M92 and a groove diameter of .436 for the Marlin M94 they used.  Interestingly enough, the Winchester had a 1-20″ twist and the Marlin, a 1-36″ twist.  So, it clearly a .430 .44 magnum jacketed bullet would be a better choice than a .426 or .427 .44-40 jacketed bullet.  An actually, even the .430 bullet would be slightly small for either of their test rifles.  

My Accurate Arms loading manual has .44-40 loads for the Hornady 180 grain JSP and Nosler 200 grain JSP.  They don’t specify, but I am confident these are .44 magnum bullets.  

October 6, 2020
12:31 am
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I always use the .427 bullets in my M92’s. I don’t remember the brand. As another poster suggested, slug your bore. Those old rifles vary considerably. When you get a proper load, the accuracy will amaze you. I always use H110.  Big Larry

October 7, 2020
9:28 pm
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steve004 said
Thanks Chuck.  Any experience using jacketed .429 or .430 bullets?  

The only time I have shot the jacketed bullets is when I found factory ammo.  I shoot it once then use the brass for reloading.  I do this for other calibers too, 32-40 and 38-55, and have never had an issue.

October 8, 2020
12:24 am
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In the “for what its worth” category, yes, I have reloaded jacketed bullets designed for the .44 Mag into my .44 WCF for the model 1873.  Its been long ago, but at the time I used Hornady 200 grain jacketed hollow points that were .430 diameter.  Back at those times, the cannelure was in the right spot so they were the correct length for the elevator, and they shot right well.  I don’t know if I would shoot a regular diet of them through an early 1873, like into the multi hundreds, as I suspect they could scrub the lands out of the rifle, but that is pure speculation on my part.  I have NOT tried the newer offering of jacketed hollow point, 200 grain Hornady bullets that are out there now, so no idea if the cannelure is the right location, etc.  The old 1873 I was shooting back then needed the .430 bullet, and a cast bullet likely could have been .431 or maybe even .432 IF it would chamber.  There was a reason I chose the .430 diameter jacketed bullets.  Note, I would not advocate using the heavier weight jacketed bullets, since the rifle was built for 200 to 205 grain weight. Tim

October 8, 2020
1:21 am
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Tim – 

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.  It was useful.

October 8, 2020
3:06 am
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Take it from a bullet caster; slug the bore. Two main causes of bore leading are rough bores and poor bullet fit. A third cause is lube but that’s a subject unto itself and if you’re buying bullets they are probably already lubed. Hard cast lead bullets actually make things worse if they are too small for the bore. A softer lead bullet (if slightly undersize for the bore) will often “bump up” to the bore size given the proper “motivation” by the powder charge. Hard cast bullets are good for two things; high velocity and surviving shipping. Wheelweight alloy is actually somewhat harder than the 20-1 or 16-1 lead used in the early 1873’s and other black powder cartridge but it works well in the 1873/1892 cartridges I load.

I’ve been told the early bores varied somewhat from the standard because black powder and soft lead resulted in a load that would obturate and create a good fit between the bore and the bullet. I haven’t seen this variation but my experience with early (BP era) 1873’s is limited. For a better explanation look for posts by “44WCF”. He had other screen names, but we lost him a little while back.

 

Mike

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October 9, 2020
5:10 pm
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Mike – 

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.  I did try to search for 44WCF posts and couldn’t find him.

October 10, 2020
10:16 pm
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steve004 said
Mike – 

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.  I did try to search for 44WCF posts and couldn’t find him.  

I was apparently wrong about his screen name. Wish I could remember it, hate when that happens. 

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
October 10, 2020
10:28 pm
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
October 10, 2020
10:44 pm
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TXGunNut said
Found it, his name was John Kort.  

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/general-discussions-questions/sad-news/

 

Mike  

Thanks Mike – I do remember him.  He was surely an asset to the forum.

John Kort is mentioned here.  In fact, I see it is dedicated to his memory:

https://sites.google.com/view/44winchester

I found this interesting about him:

1866 Switzerland Trials
This photograph shows a target used during the Switzerland trials at 300 paces. A few years ago John Kort duplicated these shots but using the 44-40 loaded to Henry ballistics. The impact area roughly represents the average size of a man’s chest. (you can see the photo of the target if you go to the link).

Mike – here is an interesting discussion of moulds that you and John were involved in.  Very informative with some very experienced input:

https://winchestercollector.org/forum/winchester-shooting-and-hunting/any-bullet-casters/

October 11, 2020
1:59 am
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Yes, Steve, we had some good times on the Cast Boolit site and John spent endless hours researching how to make those old obsolete rounds work. Those of us that shot the old hyphenated cartridges benefitted from his scientific approach. Many of the moulds produced by NOE and Accurate were designed by members of that forum (probably still are) individually or as a group effort. Another member we all knew as “Ranch Dog” would design hunting bullets and if enough orders were placed Lee would make them. When he wasn’t flying he would test his bullet designs on the feral hogs intent on destroying his ranch near Cuero, TX and the resulting posts were very entertaining. I had to quit hanging out @ CB /and the NOE site because I was spending too much time (and money). Seems every time I go looking in my loading room for a mould recently I find a new one or one early in the break in process and I promise myself to resume that project someday. 

If you’ll look I’m sure you will find posts John wrote about the “bumping up” process for the 44WCF and quite possibly the 38WCF. He describes the process much more thoroughly than I can. I have used it to obtain acceptable accuracy from an 1873 in 38WCF with a proverbial sewer pipe bore. In the interests of full disclosure I don’t load 44WCF as a result of a longstanding prejudice against anything .429 but everything I’ve read about the 44WCF applies to the 38WCF. In fact, that’s one of the things John and I talked about on occasion. 

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
October 11, 2020
2:07 am
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TXGunNut said
Yes, Steve, we had some good times on the Cast Boolit site and John spent endless hours researching how to make those old obsolete rounds work. Those of us that shot the old hyphenated cartridges benefitted from his scientific approach. Many of the moulds produced by NOE and Accurate were designed by members of that forum (probably still are) individually or as a group effort. Another member we all knew as “Ranch Dog” would design hunting bullets and if enough orders were placed Lee would make them. When he wasn’t flying he would test his bullet designs on the feral hogs intent on destroying his ranch near Cuero, TX and the resulting posts were very entertaining. I had to quit hanging out @ CB /and the NOE site because I was spending too much time (and money). Seems every time I go looking in my loading room for a mould recently I find a new one or one early in the break in process and I promise myself to resume that project someday. 

If you’ll look I’m sure you will find posts John wrote about the “bumping up” process for the 44WCF and quite possibly the 38WCF. He describes the process much more thoroughly than I can. I have used it to obtain acceptable accuracy from an 1873 in 38WCF with a proverbial sewer pipe bore. In the interests of full disclosure I don’t load 44WCF as a result of a longstanding prejudice against anything .429 but everything I’ve read about the 44WCF applies to the 38WCF. In fact, that’s one of the things John and I talked about on occasion. 

 

Mike  

Mike – very cool story background.  Thanks for sharing that.  There truly is an endless amount to be learned.

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