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Joe Burr, SASS#12614

Hodgdon Universal and .44 WCF

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The published max load 7.3 grains of Hodgdon Universal in their Cowboy load data manual shows a 200 grain bullet travelling at 777 fps. The data is supposed to be for both pistols and rifles but given it's only 777 fps I'm thinking the testing was done in a revolver or similar length test barrel? Has anyone chronographed the same load out of a 19 inch carbine and if so what kind of speeds are you getting? I guess if you have run the same load out of any rifle or carbine I'd like to hear what kind of speeds you are getting. Many thanks!

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Hodgdon shows 950 - 1,069 fps for a 20 inch barrel with the same weights as the pistol load.  I would call Hodgdon and check.

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1 hour ago, Tex Jones, SASS 2263 said:

Hodgdon shows 950 - 1,069 fps for a 20 inch barrel with the same weights as the pistol load.  I would call Hodgdon and check.

 

Great info! Where did you find that listed?? Do you have a link? 

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On the Hodgdon.com web site.  The info on 44-40s is listed under both the handgun and rifle tabs.  The 7.3 gr Universal maximum load in the rifle section is almost 300 fps faster than than the same load in the handgun. 

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16 hours ago, Joe Burr, SASS#12614 said:

The published max load 7.3 grains of Hodgdon Universal in their Cowboy load data manual shows a 200 grain bullet travelling at 777 fps. The data is supposed to be for both pistols and rifles but given it's only 777 fps I'm thinking the testing was done in a revolver or similar length test barrel? Has anyone chronographed the same load out of a 19 inch carbine and if so what kind of speeds are you getting? I guess if you have run the same load out of any rifle or carbine I'd like to hear what kind of speeds you are getting. Many thanks!

 

I did chrono 7.0 gr with a 200 gr LEE, in a 24" Rossi '92. The load was a bit powder position sensitive and my notes indicate I was getting a bit over 1100 fps. Increasing the powder up to about 9.5 gr. really improved the accuracy. Waters lists a 9/Unique load as VG. I do not own a hipgun in 44-40. All my testing was in '92's or a '94 Commemorative. (Lyman #50 lists 10.5gr of Unique as max for group 2 rifles).

 

I found that 5.5 gr of Red Dot was a charm, sorry, did not chrono it. I was just tickled with the 1" groups at 50yd. 

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2 hours ago, "Big Boston" said:

(Lyman #50 lists 10.5gr of Unique as max for group 2 rifles).

 

Any chance all of the 44-40 data is the same as in Lyman's 49th? I guess I need to get a 50th!

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I gave my # 49 to my brother, but the 44-40 rifle data in #48 is identical to # 50, so I assume #49 is the same.

 

I did do a fair amount of bullet testing in several rifles, a LEE 200 gr lead bullet, cast big enough for the bore, with Red Dot (5.5gr), does work in various rifles, as does the same bullet with Unique between 8 and 10 grains. I used a CCI 300 LP primer. 

 

A Lyman 427666 didn't work well at all. Being small rendered them useless. 

 

Caveat: I still have much to learn about cast bullets. My alloy was similar to 94-6-2 with a BHN of 15. A softer alloy may work better with lighter loads, if they don't skid on the shallow grooves. I don't own a 44-40 now, so that chapter is closed, for now.

Lyman 48 44-40 Rifle.JPG

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Because I have two convertible Old Model Ruger Vaqueros, one 7-1/2" and one 5-1/2", both of which have the .44-40 cylinders with tight .425" throats, I chronographed a considerable amount of data using Hodgdon's Universal powder.  My "standard" load for .44-40 is 8.0 gr. Universal behind a 213.5 gr. commercially hard cast bullet.  From the 7-1/2" gun, MV (@ 10 ft.) averages about 950 ft/sec, depending a bit on the air temperature.  I use Winchester brass, exclusively, with Winchester WLP primers.  When I have the .44 Magnum cylinder in the same gun, using R-P brass, with the same primer and bullet, and the powder charge reduced to 7.5 gr, I get the same MV.  (The case capacity of the .44 Magnum brass is less than the .44-40 brass, which is why the charge is reduced.  I had not chronographed the .44-40 loads from my Rossi '92's, but did check the MV from a Marlin M336 in .44 Magnum, which gave me around 1110 ft/sec.  I would expect similar results in a .44-40 20" bbl. carbine.

 

Note: While the 8.0 gr. Universal load is higher than the maximum load listed by Hodgdon, I have been told that it was safe in my OM Vaquero and the rifles.  I did shoot this for about 3,000 rounds through a Navy Arms Henry, and observed NO increase in headspace. (I have quit shooting the Henry very much simply because the 24" barrel's balance bothers my back!)  Nevertheless, I would NOT recommend shooting the 8.0 gr. loading in Colt's SAA's or consistently in toggle-link rifles.  I can assume NO responsibility for the use of the above information in guns other than my own...and maybe not then!

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