Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Pit Bull Tex

Hunting with a 44-40 ?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
On 2/5/2018 at 7:43 PM, Savvy Jack said:

What a great topic with some of the most positive replies I have seen in a very ling time for this cartridge. 

It is very hard to "replace" the original charge of BP along with the 427098 type lead bullet and maintain original ballistics. Those early original loads catapulted the lead projectile downrange at 1,245fps. The bullets were lubricated well enough to lob 30 shots 110 yards downrange and all hit inside a 4" circle without cleaning the barrel between shots (Doc Pardee 1875 Winchester catalog). It just didn't get much better than that. Even today shooters such as John Kort prove the ole cartridge and it's original ballistics consistently hitting steel javelina at 300 meters (but using a scope).  The purpose was to prove the rifle/cartridge, not the shooter's eye sight! Results from my gel testing days..."75/1 bullets penetrated 27” of clear gel and expanded to .528”..."The handgun loads gave velocities from 941-963 fps at 10 ft., perforated and exited the 32” gel block"...excerpts taken from an article by Ed Harris, bullets cast by John Kort and gel shot test by Bryan Austin. Proof the velocity does not have to be much to penetrate a typical white tail.

Moving on up to modern factory/handload cartridges...modern velocities are about 1,190fps, still well plenty enough to knock down a white tail but accuracy plummets in many cases out to and past 100 yards.  In addition to many
firearm's differences in barrel sizes, tolerances, projectile weights and other sizes piled up on top of a somewhat finicky to load cartridge....the 44-40 has achieved a very unfair but understandable bad reputation.

When a person begins to understand all of these issues, learns to adapt and overcome, a whole new world will open up. The 44-40 is actually a very multifaceted cartridge. From shotshells, round ball "game getters", 180gr XTP coyote loads to 240gr deer loads...from 50 yards to 300 yard options....decisions on a load can be almost endless not to mention the fact that you are enjoying a classic rifle cartridge and firearms that most modern weapons can not compete with. Lets don't forget the revolvers too.

Now we get to the good stuff.....

 

A little food for thought...pay close attention...because my writing skills remind me of a song by Allen Jackson !!
 

Looking at Lyman's reloading manual #49 page 299, (Double check my numbers) Lyman lists several powders and charges for the 44-40. In particular, Lyman lists 2400 powder in use with the Speer 200gr JSHP bullet #4425. Lyman uses a 24" Universal receiver with 1:36" twist for these particular tests. Cases trimmed to 1.295 and an AOL of 1.600. Those measurements (plus some misc measurements) with Starline brass, using QuickLoad...gives a bullet seating depth of .313" as well as the pressures noted.

 

Lyman Manual....vs...QL (Quickload) Data

grains/powder/velocity/cup/QL psi CIP

 

Group I Rifles (weak actions)(Lyman lists ten rifles).....That's nineteen different firearms total chambered for the 44-40 
xxgr/2400/1,183fps/11,900/15,000 (fps=Current Factory VelocitiesNormal Loads

 

Group II Rifles (strong actions)(Lyman lists nine rifles).....That's nineteen different firearms total chambered for the 44-40 
xxgr/2400/1,380fps/14,500/19,000 (fps=Original Historical Velocities+P Loads due to higher than max pressures
xxgr/2400/1,638fps/19,000/25,753 (fps=1903 (1910) Factory "High Velocity" Replication+P+ Loads due to excessive high pressure

 

Lyman also lists Unique and IMR4227 powders for Group II Rifles

Personally I will not shoot anything in my Marlin with CIP estimated pressures over 26,000psi CIP, we all have our limitations right?. My goal was to replicate the 1903, more yet...the 1910 "High Velocity" ballistics....not to try and make the 44-40 into a 44 magnum as so I have been accused. I consider these HV loads as 44-40 "+P+" loads for those that like to use the "+P" status.

 

Reputable writers have been using and publishing the +P type loads that replicate original 1,300fps velocities ( but higher than black powder pressures) in magazines and online articles for years.

 

For all the nay sayers, dudes, weekend range worriers and city slickers.....the loads are right there in the reloading manual!!

 

Not in Lymans #49 but is in #47 is the 240gr lead bullet information and Reloder 7 that produce 1,200fps at "Group I" rifle category pressures. The same info is/was listed on Lee's 44-40 reloading 3-die-set pamphlet.

 

Although the modern 1,300 fps velocities replicate original velocities using both black powder and early smokeless powder, the modern pressures generated are above SAAMI/CIP max pressures. I call modern 1,300fps velocities +P loads because of the higher than standard pressures of the earlier black powder and smokeless powder ballistics. The 1,400fps-1,600fps step in velocities I call +P+ loads.

Again not trying to make the 44-40 into a 44 magnum....simply just trying to get that projectile downrange accurately and maintain enough energy to knock down that white tail :-)


CIP vs SAAMI
 

+1  I've used a 200 Grain Soft-Point (SP) with a Muzzle Velocity of 1190 and done very well out to around 200-250 yards for white tail.  150-200 is best though.  I would say 250 would be the max for this load.

Edited by Charlie T Waite
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

History lesson:  Some late model 1866’s was chambered for the .44 WCF, not many.

 

My grandson at 12 took his first deer with a Yellow boy in .44 WCF shooting a full case of black (about 32 gr compressed) behind a Big Lube 200gr LRNFP lead.  About 80 yards, it dropped in its track. He has take one when 13 and 14.  At 15 he was in hospital with appendicitis. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Charlie T Waite said:

+1  I've used a 200 Grain Soft-Point (SP) with a Muzzle Velocity of 1190 and done very well out to around 200-250 yards for white tail.  150-200 is best though.  I would say 250 would be the max for this load.

 

 

Absolutely, contrary to popular belief, all one needs to kill a whitetail is 700fps impact velocity for a clean shot. Where the shooter hits them and how and at what distance is up to the shooter's capability. 

 

Quote
1978 was the last offering for the 1,310fps velocity. It was after 1938 that Winchester lost the 1,570fps High Velocity option and after this year that the 44-40 lost it's standard 1,310fps load. From here Winchester dropped the velocity to an advertised 1,190fps.
 
1978 - Winchester-Western, Sporting Arms, Ammunition and Reloading Components catalog shows the White boxes with Western Red "X" and Winchester Yellow "X". The 44-40 (Oilproof) is listed for both rifle and revolvers. Listed as W4440 (Winchester) and 4440 (Western). Muzzle velocity is 1,310fps rifle and 975fps revolver.
 
1979 - Winchester-Western, Sporting Arms and Ammunition catalog shows the White boxes with Western Red "X" and Winchester Yellow "X". The 44-40 (Oilproof) is listed for both rifle and revolvers. Listed as W4440 (Winchester) and 4440 (Western). Muzzle velocity has dropped from 1,310fps rifle to 1,190fps and from 975fps revolver to 860fps.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Savvy Jack said:
5 hours ago, Charlie T Waite said:

+1  I've used a 200 Grain Soft-Point (SP) with a Muzzle Velocity of 1190 and done very well out to around 200-250 yards for white tail.  150-200 is best though.  I would say 250 would be the max for this load.

 

 

Absolutely, contrary to popular belief, all one needs to kill a whitetail is 700fps impact velocity for a clean shot. Where the shooter hits them and how and at what distance is up to the shooter's capability.

 

FYI, this is a factory load of the only jacketed soft points I could find.  I purchased 1 box 9-10 years ago just for hunting.  I have gotten my deer every year that I have used it. and the only reason I know the stats is that is what is written on the box, I personally haven't shot them through my chronograph.  I didn't say you needed that load, just that it was what I used..  With proper shot placement a shotgun even in 2 3/4" slug 410 will drop a deer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/28/2020 at 11:45 PM, Charlie T Waite said:

 

FYI, this is a factory load of the only jacketed soft points I could find.  I purchased 1 box 9-10 years ago just for hunting.  I have gotten my deer every year that I have used it. and the only reason I know the stats is that is what is written on the box, I personally haven't shot them through my chronograph.  I didn't say you needed that load, just that it was what I used..  With proper shot placement a shotgun even in 2 3/4" slug 410 will drop a deer. 


I figured as much when I saw the 1,190fps.  Winchester last offered their 1,310fps load in 1978 using what appears to be 12.5gr of a rifle powder with a mixture of ball and maybe flattened ball powder. The following year, 1979, Winchester offered the same cartridge but with the slower 1,190fps velocity. The powder used in the newly offered cartridge was 8gr of a disc like pistol powder. Winchester also notes that the new loading maintains 869fps @ 500 yards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Factory loads should be find for deer or smaller.   In a 92 or, you could "hot rod" the round to much higher performance if you want too for use on larger game.

I'd use it for deer, but nothing more than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Factory loads should be find for deer or smaller.   In a 92 or, you could "hot rod" the round to much higher performance if you want too for use on larger game.

I'd use it for deer, but nothing more than that.

 

I have no reason to believe the higher velocity loading was for "larger" game. Just my opinion but I think it was for a flatter trajectory for long/er distances.

Like Charlie said, 

Quote

I have gotten my deer every year that I have used it.

 

...referring to the slower 200gr JSP

Rather than hot-rodding the 200gr for "larger game", I'd  use the 240gr hard cast at a slower velocities between 1,200fps to 1,300fps. That already is 10% to 20% more "power" than the 200gr at the same velocities. This can be done with an Alliant 2005 published Reloder 7 load.

 

Edited by Savvy Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I used said 240gr load back in 2017. I shot (poor shot placement) a Carolina swamp deer at 65-70 yards. The 1,350fps Hornady 240gr SWC HP entered high shoulder left side shot, hit the shoulder blade area, turned 90 degrees and traveled for a total of about  two and a half feet (30") down the spinal cord destroying everything in it's path...including a lot of good meat. It came to rest in the right hind quarter. The deer never took a step of which I was pleased by not having to chase it in the dark.......but it was a bit overkill!!!!

I do honestly believe that load was good for larger game at that distance.

 

IMG_2138.JPG

IMG_2149.JPG

 

 

25gr is a tad bit more than published (23.4) but plenty safe for the Marlin 1894CB

IMG_2156.JPG

Img_2423.jpg

Img_2424.jpg

Edited by Savvy Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 3/28/2020 at 5:59 PM, Pee Wee #15785 said:

History lesson:  Some late model 1866’s was chambered for the .44 WCF, not many.

Ya, like NONE.

 

The rumors persist, but the original action is too short for .44-40, and no mention of a prototype with a stretched action has never been found.

Technically, I suppose there could have been such a thing - maybe they chambered a barrel for .44-40, screwed it onto an action, and experimented with DEEPLY seated bullets - flush, more or less, as an empty .44-40 case alone is the length of a loaded .44 Henry.
 

George Madis couldn't document one, and The Cody Firearms Research dept of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West has never been able to document one.

44HenryRimfire.jpg

Edited by Three Foot Johnson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the centerfire 1866’s were late production, chambered for the .44 Henry Centerfire (same dimensions as the Henry but centerfire), and most, if not all, were shipped to somewhere in South America that escapes my memory at the moment.  Seems like very few show up in the states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Savvy Jack said:

... The 1,350fps Hornady 240gr SWC HP ...

How soft is that Hornady swedged bullet?  Did it lead up the barrel? Did you try it with BP?

Tks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, Palouse said:

How soft is that Hornady swedged bullet?  Did it lead up the barrel? Did you try it with BP?

Tks.


I never did test the hardness nor did I see it advertised. It is a 44 Mag bullet so it must be at least 16?  I never did try it with BP either...that could be interesting...hmmmmm

Edited by Savvy Jack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.