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Back in the last of the 1800’s were these always chambered in the .44 Henry rimfire cartridge? Is that what most of the users of this rifle would have carried?

41


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Yes. The .44 Henry Flat cartridge was a rim fire cartridge developed for the Henry Rifle in 1860 and also used in Winchester's First Rifle with the Winchester name Model 1866 "Yellow Boy" because of the shiny Yellow Brass receiver nicknamed by the Early American Indians. The 44-40 was a center fire cartridge designed in 1873 for the Winchester 1873 Rifle and never chambered by Winchester for the Model 1866.

HS 58

Last edited by HunterShooter58; 12/23/22.

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Ok, so the 1873 offered the advantage of 1 ammo type in both revolver & rifle, that’s well known. Now, was the 44 Henry rimfire cartridge ever offered in a handgun type?


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Originally Posted by 41rem
Ok, so the 1873 offered the advantage of 1 ammo type in both revolver & rifle? Or was the 44 Henry rimfire cartridge ever offered in a handgun type?
I believe it may have been offered in conversions.

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The Colt SAA was available in 44 rimfire, so users of the Henry rifle & Winchester 1866 could pair them up


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Back in 1860 when the .44 Rim fire Flat Cartridge was designed, Colt used the Cartridge in their 1860 Army, along with their Colt 1871 and 1872 open top Models, as did Horace Smith and Dan Wesson, (Smith & Wesson), in their S&W #3 Revolvers.
The Cowboys of the West naturally enjoyed the Convenience of Having the availability of the use of the same cartridge for their Rifles and their hand guns. Prompting Winchester to Develop the
44-40 Winchester First Metallic Center Fire Cartridge to be used in their Model 1873 Rifle. More umph was needed, (better Ballistics), as the .44 Rim Fir Flat was limited. Other Manufactures, such as Marlin, Colt, S&W etc............
Union Metallic Cartridge, (UMC, Founded in 1867), also started producing the cartridge making availability easier.

This a condensed version of a Historical Timeline that I find Interesting.

HS 58

Last edited by HunterShooter58; 12/24/22.

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.44 Henry Rimfire was the only official chambering in '66 Winchesters, however toward the tail end there were some that were ".44 Centerfire", which was basically .44 Colt. Early Colt cartridge conversions of cap & ball revolvers, as well as newly manufactured cartridge conversion revolers were also chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire, and .44 Colt. There were some 1873 Colts (SAA) that were chambered in .44 Henry but they were very few.

Converted 1866 Winchesters are not uncommon as many were converted to .44 centerfire.

Last edited by GunGeek; 12/27/22.
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I can agree with you on that.

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Thanks for the information


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I picked up a Uberti last year in .44 Special because I felt like that was about as close as you can come to the original chambering.

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If you were to have a replica 1866 and want the proper period correct revolver to go with that rifle, the proper revolvers would be:

Colt 1871-1872 conversion on the 1860 .44 frame
Remington 1858 conversion
S&W No 3
Those were the revolvers that were chambered in .44 Henry back in the day. Many would later be converted to .44 Colt centerfire.

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Originally Posted by HunterShooter58
Back in 1860 when the .44 Rim fire Flat Cartridge was designed, Colt used the Cartridge in their 1860 Army, along with their Colt 1871 and 1872 open top Models, as did Horace Smith and Dan Wesson, (Smith & Wesson), in their S&W #3 Revolvers.
The Cowboys of the West naturally enjoyed the Convenience of Having the availability of the use of the same cartridge for their Rifles and their hand guns. Prompting Winchester to Develop the
44-40 Winchester First Metallic Center Fire Cartridge to be used in their Model 1873 Rifle. More umph was needed, (better Ballistics), as the .44 Rim Fir Flat was limited. Other Manufactures, such as Marlin, Colt, S&W etc............
Union Metallic Cartridge, (UMC, Founded in 1867), also started producing the cartridge making availability easier.

This a condensed version of a Historical Timeline that I find Interesting.

HS 58

Originally Posted by GunGeek
.44 Henry Rimfire was the only official chambering in '66 Winchesters, however toward the tail end there were some that were ".44 Centerfire", which was basically .44 Colt. Early Colt cartridge conversions of cap & ball revolvers, as well as newly manufactured cartridge conversion revolers were also chambered in .44 Henry Rimfire, and .44 Colt. There were some 1873 Colts (SAA) that were chambered in .44 Henry but they were very few.

Converted 1866 Winchesters are not uncommon as many were converted to .44 center fire.

I've often wondered how many were actually converted,(Originals). As to my knowledge I'm pretty confident that number is not known exactly.
Historically Winchester along with some Professional Gunsmiths from back in the Day did convert some 4th,(last), Model 1866 Winchesters. As GunGeek stated!
These Original Model 1866 Conversions were apparently at approximate serial numbers starting with #140,000 and later.
The best documented information that is known and referenced was a batch of 1,020 center fire Rifles to Brazil in 1891 from Winchester. Serial Numbers from 167,000-169,000 as an approximate total production of Winchester Model 1866's at 170,101 from 1866-1898.
Not sure as to any breakdown from Saddle Ring Carbines, Rifles, or Muskets that could be truly called a conversion or a later after market conversion to misrepresent an honest Original.

With this in mind I'm quite confident it has no bearing on the modern after market production of Some of the more Finely made Replicas that make it more affordable for interested parties to enjoy the older fire arms and appreciating the many developments along the way.

HS 58


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Interesting thread!


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The 1866 was made right up to the millennium, and IIRC the last few batches came from the factory as centerfires. I think I recall reading that in George Madis' book. But I don't believe they made any different markings on the rifle, they just said .44.

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Good point. Still extremely interesting and as we all know George Madis was definitely considered one of the Later Authorities as he truly kicked off the Winchester Collectors with his "The Winchester Book' as truly a Bible to Collectors that is Based on the Authors first hand knowledge and surveying through years of Traveling and Buying up thousands of Winchesters through out the U. S. and even through Mexico. Through combined registered self Family Surveys and Gun Show knowledge George has helped us all out tremendously. Over the Years as more and more Facts come out based on Printed Factory Ledgers, Cody Wyoming research and The Winchester Arms Collectors Ass.,(WACA) Members search and Information. Some of the numbers, facts and information was a little of in all due respect to Mr. Madis. Who if you we're lucky enough to get through on his land line,(pre-cell phone), or he wasn't riding his John Deere Tractor, he could keep you on the phone for hours and you enjoyed it for all it was worth. I wish he we're still around to ask him these questions and try to further our knowledge combined with the other facts we have. Today's Surveys combined with past written knowledge and other existing Facts are a little easier today with the Computer and all it's resources combined. WACA Members doing Current Surveys use many Different areas to research but not limited to. Auctions, big or small, collectors, Documentations, with Winchester Model 1866 provenance or Affiliation, etc.....................The .44 Henry Flat Rim Fire Cartridge case and Overall Length was Shorter than the .44 Center Fire Cartridge, so the Chamber length Conversion had to be made besides the firing pin for the Flat Rim Fire Cartridge to the Center Fire Cartridge. Winchester Factory would always most definitely would record, Stamp or Markings. Due to Factory Fires at Winchester years ago there is some information that's not available. Even George in his Wonderful Biblical Winchester Book states a center fire Firing pin and Breach prepared for Center Fire Ammunition. He also states that he inspected a few of these Rare specimens from all over the U. S. and a few foreign Countries and Always dismantling them completely for his own Survey, knowledge and Love for the Winchester Rifle! It's very possible the Winchester Factory didn't change the 44 on the Model 1866 as they felt it was a 44 and the only difference was the Flat Rim Fire vs. the Center Fire in the Caliber. Back in those Days markings were differently viewed. However be it that it may the Cold Revolver which used the .44 C.F. Caliber would not chamber in a .44 Flat Rifle Due to Cartridge length. Gunfighters and the Likes would love to carry one Caliber and not have to worry about carrying two different kinds of Ammo and well you can see where some confusion exists. We'll stay tuned and see what gets uncovered if anything in the near Future.
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To try to take this a bit Further some interesting Comments have come to light over on the WACA Forum site.
Solidifying what GunGeek and a few others have suggested as in the 13th edition of Cartridges of the World publication in 2012 on page 146 states under the .44 Center Fire Flat Cartridge that 1,020 Winchester Model 1866's were shipped to Brazil in 1891!
According to the WACA Forum site Serial number search the Earliest Serial number mfg. in 1891 would be serial # 167865 of a Total number of #170,101 Winchester Model 1866 Produced
with the last being mfg. in 1899! Hence the later serial numbers previously mentioned.
Further research is being conducted to establish the information printed in the 13th Ed. of C.O.T.W.(2012) A very good substantial Cartridge Publication based on Facts.
At this point there's no reason to believe this information is not true as I'm sure more will come to light substantiated this advanced knowledge.

HS 58

Last edited by HunterShooter58; 04/09/23.

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I guess as this information grows it should have probably been continued under the Winchester Collector heading. I hope that I didn't hijack this thread as those we're not my intentions.
With that being said on the International Ammunition Association Forum, (IAA), Posted in 2018 by a Renowned Collector named Mike Carrick in doing some research a while back and Being in Brazil he uncovered Valuable information and Contacted Jessi Bennet from Cody Wyoming at the Winchester Museum revealing that indeed Brazil put in an order with Winchester but Wanted the order of Carbines filled in the .44 Smith and Wesson,(American), Cartridge used in the S&W Model 3 Revolver. Winchester did not want to put S&W on their Firearms in any way being extremely proud of their own works so Winchester developed a .44 Henry Center Fire Flat Caliber in 1891 to fill the Brazilian contract order of First 999 Carbines serial numbered after 167865 and manufactured in 1891 and an additional Carbine was added to fill out the original order of 1000 Winchester Carbines that we're sent to Brazil.

Once Again I find this information very interesting and I tip my Hat to GunGeek which prompted me to further research and get the truth as we know it Today.

With all that out of the Way the OP Deserves Credit for starting this Thread and a Final Resolution.


Originally Posted by 41rem
Back in the last of the 1800’s were these always chambered in the .44 Henry rimfire cartridge? Is that what most of the users of this rifle would have carried?

41
Yes! 41rem that's what Most of the users of this Rifle Carried.
Approximately 1000 Carbines used the .44 Henry Center Fire Flat mainly in Brazil!

HS 58


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