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evil dogooder

.38-40 vs 44-40. 73s

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Posted (edited)

  I just stumbled upon a deal for a pair of shooter original 73 winchesters. One in 38-40 one on 44-40. 

 

   Which would you shoot?

 

I plan to shoot both but is there an advantage to either?  They are coming with a couple hundred brass for each. 

Edited by evil dogooder
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Which one can you get brass for???  If both, other cowboys can tell you more....

 

Texas Lizard

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I shoot my 38WCF born in 1890. Usual full load of APP or BMZ. If the barrel is a little rough, you can get slightly oversize bullets from cowboybullets.com.

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Posted (edited)

Brass for both are widely available through Starline or a distributor for both.

 

I took a long time rebuilding an old Marlin 1894 in 38WCF.   

 

1426369497_MissouriBullet402Aug2019.jpg.3a65ad1c3252f65d34d524cbd1d20121.jpg

 

Missouri Bullet Company made me a special run of 402 Hi-Tek bullets.

 

2108424358_Marlin189438WCF10shotgroupAug202019.jpg.966e50edca4ea39f2fcae7ac55f5f947.jpg

 

Shoots good now.  (10 shots 25 steps from rest)

 

I really like the 38WCF.   I'm afraid I'll run across a pair of pistols in that caliber. 

 

 

Edited by Warden Callaway

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I was thinking of trying fcgf, or classic cowboy. I wasn't really planning on getting full guns but I went to see a guy about parts for originals and he had these.  We worked out a deal.

  Now I can pull them apart and get measurements then have a ball shooting them

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Mine still has the factory springs and give a good workout.

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55 minutes ago, evil dogooder said:

  I just stumbled upon a deal for a pair of shooter original 73 winchesters. One in 38-40 one on 44-40. 

 

   Which would you shoot?

 

I plan to shoot both but is there an advantage to either?  They are coming with a couple hundred brass for each. 

There really isn't that much of an advantage over either caliber. 44-40 brass might be easier to come by, but it hasn't been an issue either way. Were it me, all things being equal, I'd keep the 38-40 and sell the 44-40. The latter seems to garner higher prices. If keeping both, I would use the 44-40 more just because I have more components and all of my other rifles are in 44-40, save for, oddly enough, and original Winchester made in 1887 in 38-40.

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I can't say anything about the 44-40, but I've got a few 38-40s. When I first started thinking about going the BP route I read up on it a bit. Most said that the 38-40 sealed better and, therefore, was easier to clean.  Since I lean towards being lazy I opted for the 38-40.

 

BS

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51 minutes ago, Barry Sloe said:

I can't say anything about the 44-40, but I've got a few 38-40s. When I first started thinking about going the BP route I read up on it a bit. Most said that the 38-40 sealed better and, therefore, was easier to clean.  Since I lean towards being lazy I opted for the 38-40.

 

BS

I've heard that too, but if true, then the "better" is simply overkill. All of my 44-40's seal the chamber to the point that I don't even need to touch the action. Just clean the bore and I am good to go

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If there is one advantage of the 44WCF over the 38WCF it's that the 44WCF has a longer neck.  

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I have two 38-40s. One with a round Barrel the other one has a octagon Barrel . One takes 401 Bullets the other one takes 403.

I guess what I am saying , Slug the Barrel.

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28 minutes ago, Bailey Creek,5759 said:

I have two 38-40s. One with a round Barrel the other one has a octagon Barrel . One takes 401 Bullets the other one takes 403.

I guess what I am saying , Slug the Barrel.

 

What happens if you shoot 401 bullets in the gun that likes 403?

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Howdy

 

I have more experience with 44-40 than 38-40, so that would be my choice.

 

I do have an original 1873 Winchester chambered for 38-40 as well as a couple of Bisley Colts also chambered for 38-40.

 

One thing I learned when I loaded up my first BP 38-40 rounds was not to put in quite as much powder as I did with 44-40.

 

The old logic was they would both take 40 grains of powder. Of course with modern solid head brass the interior capacity is a little bit less.

 

Modern 38-40 brass has slightly less powder capacity than modern 44-40 brass. What I found when I loaded up 38-40 with the same amount of powder as 44-40 was the soft lead bullets were squashing slightly when I seated them on the powder. This caused them to swell up slightly so they would not chamber in the '73. I cut back slightly on the BP charge, while still compressing the powder slightly, and everything was fine.

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One of the positives in the last recession was that the price of shooter-grade old guns dropped.

I bought three original 73s in .38 WCF and one un .32 WCF.  I shot all four some, and three in SASS matches.

I sold the .38 WCF guns and kept the .32.  I like that the .32 has more steel (third gen, mostly steel gun) and a fraction of the powder charge of the .38 cartridge.

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I like the 38-40, it has been called the 357 Mag of it's day, but for playing this game my choice would be the 44-40 between the two. JMHO

 

Snakebite

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18 hours ago, evil dogooder said:

  I just stumbled upon a deal for a pair of shooter original 73 winchesters. One in 38-40 one on 44-40. 

 

   Which would you shoot?

 

I plan to shoot both but is there an advantage to either?  They are coming with a couple hundred brass for each. 

In a game where the targets are typically 25 feet in front of the shooter, neither is better over the other...shoot both

Guys will grind their teeth with envy!

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38/40  = recoil management.  I believe this is a sleeper round in our game.     It has been said that it hits harder and shoots flatter.   Had some pictures shooting 155 bullets and muzzle rise was less than some of the 38 loads used by my son.  

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It will be easier to find 44-40 pistols to go along with the rifle, but other than that, both will work fine for SASS. I would take the 44-40 myself, as i am all geared up  for that caliber.

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If you shoot 401 Bullets in a 403 barrel the Bullets will Key Hole.

If I remember rite the 38-40 has the same  energy as a 10 mm pistol.

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Why so slow of a twist rate for these old calibers.  The original Winchester and Marlin had a twist of 1 in 38 and 1 in 36.  I had a liner installed in my Marlin 1894 38WCF that has a twist 1-18.  

 

2108424358_Marlin189438WCF10shotgroupAug202019.jpg.966e50edca4ea39f2fcae7ac55f5f947.jpg

 

Seems to shoot well.  

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2 hours ago, Bailey Creek,5759 said:

If you shoot 401 Bullets in a 403 barrel the Bullets will Key Hole.

If I remember rite the 38-40 has the same  energy as a 10 mm pistol.

If the .401 bullets are soft, and perhaps with a hollow base, and you shoot BP, the bullet will probably "slug up" to fit the rifling.  Not so critical if the groove diameter of the barrel is .403 and you use that diameter bullets and especially with smokeless powders. In point of fact, the .38-40 is about ballistically equivalent of the .40 S&W with 180 gr. bullets. I have seen original Winchester '73's with groove diameters running anywhere from .427 to .434"!  Slug the barrel of any of them.  I prefer the .44-40, but the difference is really small.

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Yup.

 

Soft bullets have no problem slugging up in the barrel.

 

At last count I think I own five rifles chambered for 44-40. I have slugged them all, and they all have groove diameters of either .427 or .429. I have standardized on .428 for all my 44-40 loads, so I don't have to tailor the ammo to the rifle. Have not experienced any key holing.

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I am a big fan of the 44wcf. I have been shooting it since 1976. Started out with a Marlin saddle ring carbine that has been in the family for years.

Read in some of the magazines years ago . That the biggest complaint about the 44 wcf . That it would recache off a cream pie.  

Have shot it in a plowed field once watched the Bullet skip 4 times . I have 5 Rifles in 44WCF and 8 Pistols . But to be fair have seen 5.56  tracers go every which way.

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I've got one 44 WCF '60 Henry rifle and one 38 WCF '73 short rifle, one 38 WCF '73 carbine, one 38 WCF '66 carbine, and three pair 38 WCF revolvers. Guess that tells you which I would be shooting. Use 180 grain in the rifles and 140 grain in the revolvers. You should buy both.

Scout

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The 44-40 had three rounds in the trap door but it's in rougher shape

 

 The 38-40 just feels better to me and runs smoother

20190917_190819.jpg

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The 44-40 was made in 1892

The 38-40 was made in 1898

 

 

 Now I have to decide on which to keep

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5 minutes ago, Savvy Jack said:

BOTH BOTH BOTH....KEEP BOTH!

I wish I could but it's not in the cards.   Little ones need guns of their own

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38WCF is my choice.  I run an original born in 1892 and a Chaparral.  Both are sweet.

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I remember an article in Guns and Ammo many, many years ago about the 38-40, and much of the article compared it to the 44-40.  The basic points of the article were as follows...

 

The 30-40 uses a .40 caliber bullet.  Why it was ever called a .38 is unknown.

 

Performance wise, when comparing the two cartridges, no appreciable difference could be noticed.   The 38 had no greater velocity than the 44, had the same effective range, penetrated the same number of pine boards, which was an old time measure of performance back in the day, fired the same weight of bullets, had identical accuracy, and so on and so forth.  In other words, the article asked why the cartridge was ever created in the first place.

That being said, get, keep and shoot both.  I shoot the 44 round myself, but that's only because that's what I found in the used gun shop.  If I'd found 38's when I was starting the game I would have bought them.

And to this day, I am still kicking myself for not buying that Fourteen Inch Barreled one in .38-40 soon after the ATF said they were no longer SBR's for Twelve Hundred Bucks at a local gunshow.   Why did I pass on it?   I didn't want to tool up for another caliber.   Stupid...  Stupid... Stupid....

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9 hours ago, Yellowhouse Sam # 25171 said:

Dibs/first refusal on the 44-40!

Im leaning more toward the 38-40. Sent you a pm on the 44-40  and its condition.  If your interested I can email or text you pics if not im bringing it to gunsmoke this weekend

Edited by evil dogooder

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