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Cat Brules

.44-40 CAS Reloads - Need Your Advice, Please

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Posted (edited)

I am looking for advice for light CAS loads (powder and lead), using Hodgdon TiteGroup powder, for .44-40 WCF.  However, if you have other suggestions for powder, I would like to hear those, too.

 

I just bought an older, 1st generation,  .44-40 Colt Model P.  The gun is in pretty good shape, but I need “recipes” for low-power CAS Cowboy “reloads”.

 

If The Wire Cowboys familiar with light CAS .44-40 loads can make some suggestions, I’ll appreciate hearing their advice.

 

Cat Brules

Edited by Cat Brules

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I have used 6 grains of Unique with a 200 gr. RNFP for many years, very mild and accurate as well.

 

Bugler

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5 gr Promo under 200gr lead.       GW

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I used 5.6 grs of Tite-Group with a 200 gr. bullet when I shot smokeless .44-40. I thought it was a nice load!

 

 

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Titegroup is a relatively fast burning powder with a sharp pressure spike.  Not sure if it's appropriate for an "older First Generation" Colt.

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I use 4.5 gr of titegroup for 44-40 and 44 magnum cowboy loads. 165 gr to 200 gr bullets. Anything less and you start getting inconsistent ignition.

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I dont load much smokeless in any caliber and even less in 44-40 but i've found 4.8 gr of wst under a 200 gr rnfp to be very mellow for me. Same load I run for my 45's. 

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I used Titegroup's starting load of 5 grs. under a 200 gr. bullet for years with good results. But even at the starting load recoil was snappy. Started looking for a milder load with other powders on hand (Universal, Clays, 700X and HP38) I settled on 5.5 gr of HP38 under a 200 gr bullet. Very mild and accurate load.

 

Chase

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1 hour ago, Tex Jones, SASS 2263 said:

Titegroup is a relatively fast burning powder with a sharp pressure spike.  Not sure if it's appropriate for an "older First Generation" Colt.

 

THIS^^^^

 

What year was your First generation made???

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

THIS^^^^

 

What year was your First generation made???

 

 

 

SD,
1906 is the year of manufacture....

....according to a serial number look-up, so I am told.

 

Cat Brules

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Posted (edited)

I use 4.2 gr of Red Dotwith a 200 gr bullet in my 44-40 rifle, don't own any revolvers in that caliber.

Edited by Boulder Canyon Bob# 32052L

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Just a question,,,,,, have you had your gun checked out before you shoot it ?

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53 minutes ago, Isom Dart, SASS#8096 said:

Just a question,,,,,, have you had your gun checked out before you shoot it ?


That’s a very good point.

 

I am capable of doing a checkout, but I’m taking it to a gunsmith I know for check out anyway.   I want to hear what he has to say and discuss it with him.  I believe the gun is suitable for smokeless, but I need to verify that.   Also, I don’t intend to fire full-power commercial ammo in it.


It is possible this gun has never been fired, and I’m guessing the screws are going to be very difficult to remove.  The action has that heavy new feeling common in older revolvers.  There are other clues on it as well.  I’ll have to be very careful with this gun.

 

Cat Brules

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5 grains of 700X with a 200 grain RNFP bullet. Hodgdon lists the pressure as 7100 psi which is well within the safe range for 44 WCF pressures.

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What about 5.5 to 6 grains of Trail Boss?

 

Or heck, full case of APP, make it nice and smokey.

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5.0 grains of Trail Boss with a 165grn bullet from Badman bullets

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Posted (edited)

I want to give a big THANK YOU! to all the suggestions that you Cowboys have given me.  It will probably be a few weeks until I can get after it, due to medical issues.  When I do, I’ll try a couple of the different powder loads as suggested, too.  You gentlemen have been great!  Thank you all again.

 

Cat Brules

SASS 14086

Arroyo Grande, CA

Edited by Cat Brules

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1 hour ago, Cat Brules said:


That’s a very good point.

 

I am capable of doing a checkout, but I’m taking it to a gunsmith I know for check out anyway.   I want to hear what he has to say and discuss it with him.  I believe the gun is suitable for smokeless, but I need to verify that.   Also, I don’t intend to fire full-power commercial ammo in it.


It is possible this gun has never been fired, and I’m guessing the screws are going to be very difficult to remove.  The action has that heavy new feeling common in older revolvers.  There are other clues on it as well.  I’ll have to be very careful with this gun.

 

Cat Brules

I looked in Kuhnhausan's book and he says Colt gives 1900 for all calibers , all SAA's as good for smokeless. I've got a 38-40 from 1910 about 15 yrs ago.I can relate to the "truck spring" in it.  Where I worked we had a NDI (non destructive inspection) section. I took it apart except barrel, frame and hammer . Had them dye check and x-ray I before I shot it.. I used the lightest Unique load for it. Shot good. I cleaned it put it back in the safe. Acquired a pair of OMV in 38-40-/40S&W in SS , got a pair of OMV in 357, had them converted to 38-40, finally got a pair of 3rd gen. Colts in 38-40. Shot the he%& out of those Colts for about 10 yrs and not a bit of problem. I do love 38-40. B/P in everything. I thought I'd switch between the Colts and Rugers , but I got used to shooting the Colts, then the Rugers felt awkward. The 38-40/40S&W is in SS, but I don't like "shiny" guns

Good shootin',

Isom

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Posted (edited)

Titegroup with a 160 grain LRNFP and 6.0 grains of powder is a light recoil of 2.25 ft-lbs in a 2.81 pound revolver.
This is #15 on the burn speed scale.

Trail Boss is #21 on the burn scale.

5.5 grans of TB with a 200 grain bullet is 3.28 ft-lbs in the same revolver.

These are VERY low pressure loads and require very soft cast lead bullets in the BHN=6 range.

Moving up to BHN=9
Clays is #9 on the burn scale.
5.21 grains pushing a 160 grain bullet gives 3.07 ft-lbs of recoil.

Recoil Energy = 0.5 * Mass * Velocity * Velocity
You get more recoil reduction from reduced velocity, than from reduced bullet weight.

OLG presents a compelling argument for a slow powder such as Unique which is #31 on the burn speed scale.
Especially in a coach gun.
This is more of a "pfffft" than a "bang", but you will spew more unburned powder out the revolver muzzle.

Unique calculates to a higher recoil around 6.0 ft-lbs using the Alliant loading guide.
Alliant is very stingy with their (lack of) load range and PSI values, so one has to guess.
I figure their published cowboy load is around 12,000 PSI from 8.6 grains, and 8,017 PSI at 70% charge and 6.02 grains of Unique.
Hodgdon definitely offers a whole lot more data for their powders and loads.

Edited by bgavin

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For what it's worth.....

 

44-40 Smokeless Powders
Pre-1900 - Bulk "blonde in color" powder
 
It is rather difficult to follow the dates of these powders with the exception of when they were introduced. The below powders are not necessarily in any specific order, however I did try to list the oldest used first, DuPont and Laflin & Rand appear to be the three earliest powders I can find;
 
1894 - Dupont's No.2 Smokeless Rifle Powder
1896 - Laflin & Rand's "Sporting Rifle Powder"
1897 - Laflin & Rand's "Sharpshooter"
 
The "Sharpshooter" powder (1897), probably being the more forgiving , was also approved specifically for "Black Powder Rifles".
 
Laflin & Rand "Sporting Rifle Powder" shows use specifically for "Rifle and Revolver" on the can but we also find Winchester factory ammunition loads were not approved for use in revolvers until at least 1909. I wonder if this has anything to do with Sharpshooter being introduced in this time frame? [Sharpshooter introduced in 1907 by L&R, then to DuPont after L&R destroyed by fire, then to Hercules by 1909 due to a law suit]
 
The Laflin & Rand "Sporting Powder" shows a load for 17gr for the 44-40 which is the same as DuPont's "No.2" 44-40 load data of 17gr.
 
Ironically it seems even before the smokeless powder was "proven" for revolvers, Winchester had already developed the High Velocity "Low Pressure" loads by 1903 (Yellow labels). Both DuPont and Hercules "Sharpshooter" shows a High Velocity load in the load data on the back of the can. It also is amusing to me that by the time Winchester removed the "Not for Revolvers" from the smokeless powder (Red label) boxes by 1909, the 1910 High Velocity "High Pressure" (Yellow label) loads jumped from "low pressure" to 22,000cup high pressures...showing that the smokeless powder rifle loads were way in advance of the smokeless powder revolver loads.
 
Food for thought,
 
Colt seemed to be having a difficult time with the transition from black powder to smokeless powder. Even though Unique and Bullseye were introduced by 1900, they were still formulated from shotgun powder "Infallible" and I guess it took another ten years to transition for revolver use. I have not explored that venue yet. Unique and Infallible were made from the exact same formula, the only difference being the granulation.

Also note that even in the 1930's, 44-40 revolvers were shown handloaded  to a max load of 15,000cup, not today's 13,000cup.

AS LONG AS....
 the firearm has not deteriorated, have a bore smaller than .426, ANY REPUTABLE PUBLISHED SMOKELESS LOAD such as Lyman's 49th data is safe. If anyone's firearm is junk, don't shoot it period, if your bore or cylinder throat is smaller than .427, DO NOT SHOOT over-sized bullets.
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On a side note, back around 1909, the US Government's loading machines kept dropping an occasional "double charge" of Bullseye in their M1909 45 Colt loads. Most of the time they would blow the gun with the first shot. DuPont came up with a replacement powder called RSQ. One could fire six consecutive double charged 38 caliber loads before it got ugly. Being "rescued" by DuPont, Major K. K. V. Casey requested it be called "RSQ"......Resque! The powder was dropped two years later with the Model 1911.

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