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A question of bullets for .44 Mag and/or 44-40


Cheyenne Ranger, 48747L

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Been casting for a pard with a .44 Mag. Powder coat and size to .429 and accurate, no leading; life is good.

 

Another pard is getting hankering for 44-40 (you can see it coming, can't you?)

 

I know the 44-40 takes a .427 sized bullet but wanted to see if we could use .429?

 

Yes, I know we need to try it with this rifle but just want to see what data is out 'there' on the Wire

 

thanks

cr

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When I was Reloading commercially, .430" is the only 44 bullet I cast and loaded.

 

There are exceptions like the Ruger 44-40.

This was an issue of the barrel bore being larger than the cylinder bore.

Once the cylinder was opened up, then all was good using .430" bullets.

 

Older guns like Colt seen to have larger bores and the .430" bullet works well even though the gun specs called for .427" or .428".

 

Load a few dummy rounds and cycle them through the guns you want to use them in.

Dummy Rounds..no primers or powder.

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Been casting for a pard with a .44 Mag. Powder coat and size to .429 and accurate, no leading; life is good.

 

Another pard is getting hankering for 44-40 (you can see it coming, can't you?)

 

I know the 44-40 takes a .427 sized bullet but wanted to see if we could use .429?

 

Yes, I know we need to try it with this rifle but just want to see what data is out 'there' on the Wire

 

thanks

cr

I use .428-429 & .430 with no problems in my Colts and Uberti's, rifles and pistols.

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This comes up from time to time, and usually Driftwood gives a good and full answer.

 

Personally, I use .428's for .44-40 and .430's for .44 Special/Magnum.

 

Some use the .428 for both.

 

 

The real potential difficulty with using .429's in the .44-40 is that, even if the rifle bore is the right size, the loaded cartridges might not fit in the chambers, which are designed with the smaller bullet in mind. The fatter bullet will expand the case that much more, and it might not fit.

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Yes, I know we need to try it with this rifle but just want to see what data is out 'there' on the Wire

 

thanks

cr

Howdy Ranger, depends on what rifle.....the Ubertis I've been around took .429, my Marlin .427, and only from what I've heard the new 73 Winchester takes .427. I'd slug it, the right size Mec bushing makes great slugs ;) Good Luck :)

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

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If the bullet will pass thru the throat of the cyl. You might be OK.

Have him load 10-15 rnds with the bullet in question, and chamber check/cycle to be sure.

OLG

That's exactly what Ed Janus of Peacemaker Specialists told me! ;)

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This comes up from time to time, and usually Driftwood gives a good and full answer.

 

Personally, I use .428's for .44-40 and .430's for .44 Special/Magnum.

 

Some use the .428 for both.

 

 

The real potential difficulty with using .429's in the .44-40 is that, even if the rifle bore is the right size, the loaded cartridges might not fit in the chambers, which are designed with the smaller bullet in mind. The fatter bullet will expand the case that much more, and it might not fit.

This has been my experience as well. My new Winchester does not want to chamber anything bigger than 428.

 

It can also depend on what brass you're using. I loaded some in brass other than the Winchester brass I normally use and they wouldn't chamber in my Marlin. .429 or .430 bullets being used.

I use starline brass and I can't chamber 429 in my new Winchester either.

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This has been my experience as well. My new Winchester does not want to chamber anything bigger than 428.

 

I use starline brass and I can't chamber 429 in my new Winchester either.

 

 

A chamber reamer made with a healthy neck dimension will clean up the chambers to let you chamber a .429 or even .430 bullet in a Starline case. Well worth fixing the gun so it REALLY works with the modern barrel groove diameter (0.429).

 

Good luck GJ

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Howdy

 

It seems we are talking about rifles, so information about cylinder chamber throats, while important for a revolver, is not relevant to this discussion.

 

The thing about .427 is that is the old 19th Century standard for 44-40. In fact, rifling grooves could vary all over the place, as low as .425 and right up past .430.

 

I have five rifles chambered for 44-40, some are modern and some are from the 1800s, and I have slugged them all. They are all either .427 or .429. Interestingly enough not all the .427 barrels are from the 1800s, and not all the .429 barrels are modern. The newest one is my Uberti 1860 Henry which I bought ten years ago. It slugs out to .429, and from what I have heard, it seems that most of the recent Uberti 44-40 rifles are using .429 barrels.

 

Standard rule of thumb with lead bullets is to use a bullet that is .001 over groove diameter. So for a .429 barrel, a .430 bullet would be appropriate. However, as has been stated, most Uberti rifles have tight chambers, and stuffing a .430 bullet into a 44-40 case might result in a cartridge that is stubborn to chamber. My Uberti 1873 has a .427 groove diameter and it most definitely did not like .429 bullets, they were tough to chamber.

 

Great thought, GJ, to open up the chambers, but my question is does that require removing the barrel? I suspect so. Beyond my pay grade.

 

So the standard workaround for 'fat' bullets in 44-40 is to use the brass that is the thinnest at the case mouth. In my experience, Winchester 44-40 brass was the thinnest at the case mouth, only about .007 thick. That allowed me to use .427 or .428 bullets for my Uberti '73, the chamber still did not like .429 bullets. Unfortunately, Winchester 44-40 brass is not always available. Starline 44-40 brass is always available, is just about as thin as Winchester, and that has become my new standard for 44-40.

 

Most recently I have compromised on .428 bullets for all my 44-40 rifles, the .427 ones and the .429 ones. I just did not want to be loading up ammo with two different bullet sizes for two different groove diameters. Yes, .428 is .001 smaller than the rifling of my Henry. This does not cause a problem, the rifle is plenty accurate for me. Of course I am shooting soft lead bullets with Black Powder and they may be bumping up in diameter in the bore.

 

Bottom line: Slug the barrel. Don't buy a bazillion bullets or load up a bazillion rounds of ammo until you do. Once you slug the barrel, you will know what you need.

 

Another sizing die? How expensive is that?

 

P.S. If you need instructions for slugging a barrel, just ask.

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I have re-cut Chamber throats /necks simply by removing the bolt, by hand with a "T" handle to turn the reamer ...

As usually not a lot of metal is needing removal I use only the finishing reamer ...

 

It works out faster than removing the barrel to do it by machine ,,, If the chamber needs a cleaning-up then removing the barrel

is what I do ... But just to open up the neck a few thousands I do it by hand ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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This comes up from time to time, and usually Driftwood gives a good and full answer.

 

Personally, I use .428's for .44-40 and .430's for .44 Special/Magnum.

 

Some use the .428 for both.

 

 

The real potential difficulty with using .429's in the .44-40 is that, even if the rifle bore is the right size, the loaded cartridges might not fit in the chambers, which are designed with the smaller bullet in mind. The fatter bullet will expand the case that much more, and it might not fit.

I had to go to .428 on my Uberti 1866 to insure consistent chambering.

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