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When Lipseys had a special run of New Vaqueros in .44 Spl, I purchased a set of stainless steel from Long Hunter. Now, I've always wanted to shoot .44-40 and planned to have custom cylinders made by Gary Reeder, but I decided to check with the Ruger service centre here in Canada to see if I could get another set of .44 Spl cylinders from them. I could so I bought a pair which they fit to my guns. After I got them guns with their new cylinders back, I sent them to a gunsmith I know who reamed them out for .44-40. Now I can shoot either caliber but for the past 3 years have exclusively shot .44-40. So when Ruger says the New Vaqueros can't be chambered for .44-40, they aren't correct.
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I'm not sure which brand of .44-40 brass has the maximum size rim, but every brand of .44-40 brass I use fits; I use Winchester and Starline most. Every part of my guns was made by Ruger, the only "customization" was the reaming out of a New Vaquero .44 Spl cylinder to .44-40. There isn't a lot of space between the cartridge rims, but they don't touch; everything loads smoothly.
Again, no brand has the maximum size rim by design. It is a matter of tolerance stacking and tool wear. I have several .44-40 guns and ammo from one won't necessarily work in another depending on the bullet OD and case brand used. I have standardized on the original bullet size of .427. This fits all of my current guns. I have .44-40s that vary from .423 to .432. In the old days SAAMI did not exist so the dimensions for the chambers and cases were/are not uniform. I have had the worse luck with Remington and CBC. Both of those frequently have rims that won't fit in some of my guns or stick in the shell plates on my reloading presses. So, I now only use Winchester or Starline brass. They have the thinnest case necks and seem relatively consistent for rim size. As an example, suppose the reamer your smith used was towards the maximum. That would allow the cases to move outward from the centerline and give the rims a tiny bit more space. A tighter chamber with wider rims and they would be a no go.
The reamer used by my gunsmith was a new one from Mason, one for which I paid half. So maybe the chambers were more toward the maximum. All the bullets I load are .429 RNFP, usually as I previously mentioned, in Winchester or Starline brass. Use these rounds in my Rugers as well as my Marlin Cowboy Limited and new Winchester from Miroku. Love the .44-40.