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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #11779014 01/28/17
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It's cowboy loads that often fail to seal the chamber in a .45.

You are correct, higher pressure loads don't generally have that issue. But we are looking at the comparison to .44-40 not the .44 mag.

As far as using .44-40 brass in the .45. ??? There are more dimensional differences than the neck diameter. Dies won't change the base or rim diameter. As thin as those necks are, I wouldn't care to stretch them.


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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: sharpsguy] #11986401 04/20/17
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Originally Posted by sharpsguy
I have a Marlin 1894 Cowboy in 45 Colt, and a iron framed Uberti Henry in 44-40. Both are accurate and pleasant to shoot, the Henry will easily cut playing cards edgewise offhand at 25 yards. I have in fact killed two crows at 200 yards with the Henry.

On the other hand, if I were to hunt deer and had to choose between the two rifles, I would take the Marlin in 45 colt. Loaded with a 250 grain Keith style bullet and 8.5 grains of Unique, it is a really reliable killer, and will shoot through and through the shoulders of a deer at 100 yards. The other side of the coin is that I once shot a coyote on the shoulder with the 44-40 Henry, and it didn't go all the way through. I just think the 45 Colt is a much more effective cartridge.



Your .44-40 didnt go all the way through a coyote? What kind of load do you use?

This month I shot two red deer hinds with my .44-40 at 75 yards with pure lead bullets over black powder, and didnt get either of the bullets back.

The first thing to solve with a .44-40 is the crimp, and that is best done with a Lee Factory crimp die.

One of the main issues I have had with reloading the .44-40 is regarding the crimp in a levergun. With smokeless loads I couldnt gaurantee that I could keep jacketed or lead bullets from telescoping int he magazine in a Rossi 92, and in a Winchester 73, the lead bullets will do it straight away, as the bullet sI use in that are pure lead soft.

I fixed that by loading bulk load of H4198, and I recommend this load to anyone having the same issues, as it is accruate in both my .44 WCF rifles too, and acheives an appropriate velocity (1350fps)while being safe in a '73 action also.

The other problem I had was bullet seating - for rifles with .429 - .430 size bores (most modern rifles) it is better to use the expander die from a .44 Magnum in order to seat bullets straight.

Also, the thin case mouths of the .44-40 brass can get work hardened and get small splits over time, from the expanding and the Lee factory crimp die. (and especially if your case mouths get dinted on ejection sometimes) Annealing them helps somewhat.

After solving these issues which are particular to the cartridge, loading it is straight forward as any other. Solving the problems was a labour of love really, but I find the .44-40 very rewarding expecially with black powder.

As for cleaning up black powder with a .44-40 - no residue at all in the action. None. Thats with both a '92 action and a '73.

I would like to have a .45 Colt levergun also. I would load it with heavy bullets and push them hard, and turn it into a short version of a .45-75.


"A person that carries a cat home by the tail will receive information that will always be useful to him." Mark Twain
Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #12129921 07/06/17
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The 44-40 seems to be a good cartridge for most useage and as stated the case does a good job sealing the action from smoke and powder residue. The 45C has it all over the 44 since the bullet supply is nearly endless, the brass is fairly inexpensive and readily available. It will work with black if you insist and case sealing will be improved if you anneal the case mouths and use fairly heavy loads. Case sealing in rifles is a bit of an issue since the chamber specs for the round are truly overgenerous. This just calls for more case expansion and working of the brass. I have a Rossi 20" carbine and it will shoot well with certain loads- mostly on the heavier end of the spectrum. The '92 is incredibly strong for a 120 year old design. Thw chambering in the 454 Casul bears witness to that. My carbine likes Hornady's XTP bullets and H110 powder. Using the loads near but not max the carbine will group 1 1/2" at 100 yds off the bench (3shot) with either bullet. The 300 gr XTP yields 1700 FPS with a heavy load of H110. This is in the 30-30 horsepower class out of and incredibly light carriable rifle. Deer and wild pigs dont survive. he drawback is the skinny little steel cresent butplate which bites hard with hunting loads.


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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: greatwhite] #13376377 12/19/18
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Originally Posted by greatwhite
Did Marlin make the 1895 in 45-70 Govt??.


I have one of the nicest Marlin 45-70s I have ever seen


[Linked Image]

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[Linked Image]


"All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth." – Robert E. Lee
Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #13376384 12/19/18
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Originally Posted by 16gauge
I am thinking about getting an Uberti 1866 Winchester clone....don't plan on doing any "cowboy action" shooting; just shooting paper and doing some deer hunting. Which cartrdge would be better suited for my purposes? Seems like the .45LC would get the edge, due to more bullet designs, etc., but I'd like to hear from folks that have used either/both for hunting.
Thanks.......



I owned a Uberti 1866 "Yellowboy" (all brass frame) in .44-40 back in the 70's. Killed several deer with it. I reloaded some .44-40 brass too hot, and I could tell after one shot, when I worked the lever to eject the case (which was split) that I had bent something. The bolt was steel, so I figured the brass was bent slightly, resulting in the lever being slightly more difficult to work. Got to keep those .44-40 cartridges loaded to pistol pressures.


"All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth." – Robert E. Lee
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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #13376395 12/19/18
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OrangeOkie Offline
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Just picked up the 1873 Winchester in .45 long colt as a retirement gift from my company. Has the tiger stripe curly maple and is a gorgeous piece. The color case is just beautiful. I have always wanted a '73 to go along with my '92. (both .45LC)


[Linked Image]


"All that the South has ever desired was that the Union, as established by our forefathers, should be preserved, and that the government, as originally organized, should be administered in purity and truth." – Robert E. Lee
Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #13382501 12/22/18
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That rifle definitely attracts your attention.


"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #13460993 01/17/19
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Nice rifle Orange Okie. Rusty

Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #13467668 01/19/19
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OO, that rifle is an eyecatcher!!


Retired cat herder.


Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: OrangeOkie] #13638498 03/08/19
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Originally Posted by OrangeOkie
Originally Posted by 16gauge
I am thinking about getting an Uberti 1866 Winchester clone....don't plan on doing any "cowboy action" shooting; just shooting paper and doing some deer hunting. Which cartrdge would be better suited for my purposes? Seems like the .45LC would get the edge, due to more bullet designs, etc., but I'd like to hear from folks that have used either/both for hunting.
Thanks.......



I owned a Uberti 1866 "Yellowboy" (all brass frame) in .44-40 back in the 70's. Killed several deer with it. I reloaded some .44-40 brass too hot, and I could tell after one shot, when I worked the lever to eject the case (which was split) that I had bent something. The bolt was steel, so I figured the brass was bent slightly, resulting in the lever being slightly more difficult to work. Got to keep those .44-40 cartridges loaded to pistol pressures.



Okie, It would seem since those brass receivers were never originally chambered for the 44-40 that they may or may not be weak. Seems in your case, there is certainly room for question!!!

16gauge, if you get a Yellowboy, keep those 44-40s down to 11,000psi! I would not run anything stronger than Buffalo Bore's 44-40 "Heavy" loads. They are at or below SAAMI MAP of 11,000psi/13,000cup. With BB "Heavy" I get 1,350fps out of my 24" Marlin 1894CB. BB uses the popular 200gr hard cast Magma bullet. The Magma 44-200 LRNFP BB "Cowboy" bullet mold is common in commercial manufactures.

Lyman's 49th handloading manual give great loads for the 44-40 but not with the Magma bullet. My testings show that the magma bullet creates less pressures than Lyman's listed 427098 bullet. Layman also has two Groups. Group I lists ten rifles that are weak actions like the Winchester 73', Lightning etc which would include replica Henry's and 66's. This Group I should be kept at 11,000psi.

Group II rifles like the Marlin 1888/94, Winchester's 92/94 and five other frames cane withstand pressures much higher. Lyman lists 21,000cup ( close to 19,000psi) loads for Group II strong action rifles.

My strain gauge testings have been very enlightening....

40gr by weight of Swiss FFg with a .19-.21" compression and a 427098 bullet inside original semi-balloonhead brass resulted in pressures up into the 14,000psi range @ 1,380fps. Goex FFFG in the same cases consistently gave me over 12,000psi @ over 1,300fps. The same loads in modern brass with a slightly greater compression resulted in pressures in the 10,000psi-11,000psi range and a velocity decrease down to 1,200fps.

44-40 Winchester Super-X Factory ammo gives me consistent 8,000psi range @ 1,050fps while Buffalo Bore is set to 11,300psi @ 1,350fps. Cowboy loads such as Magtech etc are weak at about 6,000psi @ 800fps.

I use Reloder 7 powder with velocities and pressures that replicate those original BP loads above. I also use 240gr bullets with similar results for 15%-25% more power at related pressures.

IMR-4227 and 2400 powders have similar burn rates as the 44-40 original powders, Dupont #2, Sharpshooters and SR80 powders. IMR-4227 and 2400 powders create slightly higher pressures than Reloder 7 with a lower powder charge. Both 4227 and 2400 are listed in Lyman's 49th as well as Unique. Dupont #2 was short lived due to the uncoated powder that had an extremely fast burn rate. These first smokeless powder loads were NOT TO BE USED IN REVOLVERS, refering to the black powder frame revolvers....but were specifically used in the 73'. Sharpshooter and SR80 were coated with a retardant that slowed the burn rate and were SPACIFICALLY USED IN BLACK POWDER FRAME weapons, including revolvers. Dupont #5 was specifically used in handloading revolver loads.

I am getting consistent 4" groups at 100 yards with several combinations of powder and bullets. Way too much to list here.

Most of my work along with two other well known shooters can be found over on the 44-40 website: https://curtisshawk21.wixsite.com/44centerfire

The 44-40 is an extremely overlooked, underrated cartridge and can be loaded to just under 44 magnum loads with great accuracy in the stronger action rifles.


Last edited by SavvyJack; 03/08/19.
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Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: chlinstructor] #13920143 06/23/19
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Originally Posted by chlinstructor
If you reload, the 44-40 sucks, and the brass is a lot harder to get, also. Not to mention finding good Factory Hunting Ammo. I'd go with the 45 Colt, any old day and twice on Sunday!



^^^^^^^^ this

Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #14542585 02/05/20
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I have a Henry Golden Boy 45 Long Colt and that is by far the favorite of all the lever actions I have. I reload and shoot 255 and 300 grain cast lead bullets (300 with GCs) and use 5.6gr of Titegroup. It is a reliable shooter they all my friends like to shoot and is a great deer gun in this area. Never failed me yet.

Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: Turkeyrun] #14602933 02/24/20
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Originally Posted by Turkeyrun
Originally Posted by chlinstructor
If you reload, the 44-40 sucks, and the brass is a lot harder to get, also. Not to mention finding good Factory Hunting Ammo. I'd go with the 45 Colt, any old day and twice on Sunday!



^^^^^^^^ this


I'll agree that it is far simpler to run the 45 Colt brass through a carbide die, but the .44-40 isn't that hard to reload for. Yes, case mouths are thinner, so just start your brass straight instead of cockeyed. And, get a Lee factory crimp die and you are golden.

With low pressure loads the .44-40 seals much better due to that thin neck, keeps the action a bit more clean. The .45 Colt won't seal.

I have a '73 in .44-40 and a '92 in .45 Colt. Like them both. But in a '66 I think I'd opt for the .44-40 I deference to the action. Now, if the OP was getting a '92 I'd suggest the .45 Colt as it is more versatile in that stronger action.

Re: .44/40 or 45LC.......? [Re: 16gauge] #15956300 03/30/21
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Both cartridges will probably work equally well for deer hunting, although the .45 Colt has the edge in a toggle link rifle due to using heavier bullets at low chamber pressures.

For reloading the .45 Colt has the edge again since it uses a more modern wall thickness that is more forgiving to resizing, bullet seating, and crimping. The .44-40 brass is thin and takes care to load.

These days factory loaded .44-40 is hard to find and expensive, while .45 Colt is a standard shelf stocked load. (everything may be hard to find these days, but just saying...)

The modern .45 Colt rim works excellently in all lever guns, thanks to the fouling groove which presents plenty of rim engagement for sharp beak extractors, unlike the 19th century .45 Colt case which had hardly any rim at all.

As has been said, blow-by only happens with pipsqueak cowboy loads in .45 Colt. It does not happen in standard velocity factory loads or even with cowboy velocity factory loads.

I own both .44-40 and .45 Colt lever guns and both cartridges seal equally well.

Last edited by saddlegun; 03/30/21.
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