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38-40 or 44-40 over-the-top reloads


Will Kane
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Do any of y’all who shoot 1873 long guns in 38-40 or 44-40 do over-the-top reloads? If so, any words of wisdom you’re willing to share will be much appreciated. 

Thanks. 

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First . . . a CAVEAT.  I don't shoot either 38-40 or 44-40.  I have been known on occasion to shoot 45 Colt and an over-the-top reload would be the same.  Use the "reload" to shove the Carrier Block down, leaving the "reload" on top of the Carrier and just close the Breach Block.

 

Normally, most folks fumble less going thru the Gate.

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I shoot 44-40 and have never been able to perfect an over the top reload. I put a 66 style loading gate on my 73s and reload with my left hand, I'm right handed shooter.

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I always loaded my .38 Special ammo over the top in my Uberti ‘’73.

 

I started shooting a .44-40 Miroku ‘73 in December.  Had my first “on the clock” reload this month.  I loaded a regular length cartridge over the top.  I fumbled it a little but it worked.

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Double clutch it to drop the carrier, then load it right into the chamber...might take some practice to be fast but I do it all the time....just real slow...like from a bench rest slow...lol

https://www.full30.com/v/deadly-weird-hntKU

Edited by Savvy Jack
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2 hours ago, Savvy Jack said:

Double clutch it to drop the carrier, then load it right into the chamber...might take some practice to be fast but I do it all the time....just real slow...like from a bench rest slow...lol

https://www.full30.com/v/deadly-weird-hntKU

I did try this method but when your gun is real slick like mine is, pressing the carrier down causes the lifter arm to hit the lever, causing the bolt to move forward leaving even less room to insert the shell. Over the top reloading is faster if you can do it reliably. I was never able to find a reliable technique. Over the top I can reload maybe 2 out of 10 attempts without errors, using the loading gate I can reliably load 9 out of 10 times without error.

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.38s are easy in a ‘73 because the receiver is longer to accommodate the .357
 

My Uberti Henry is chambered in .44-40 so the receiver is barely longer than the cartridge. Since there isn’t a loading gate, over the top is the only option. I load the cartridge nose down into the chamber as Savvy Jack described. With practice it takes me about as long as thru the gate, which tells you I’m not real fast. :)

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For me I think it is more positive to go via the gate, I mean most times you have shot so there is an mt case in the chamber, throw one in the side, lever & bang ! And if you leave the rifle at the shoulder it just sorta' flows real natural....we have a lot of reloads down-under so we get plenty of practise. Over the top works but more chances of a fumble..IMHO

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I prefer over the top reloads....

For 38 spl. It's easy with a "short" 38 round...  just push the carrier down, close the lever & shoot..... No Problem

I takes a little practice with a 38-40

You push the carrier down first with the nose of the bullet, then drop the bullet in nose first.

Having the gun tilted slightly downward helps some.

It takes a little practice, but for me it's quicker than going through the gate.

 

I've never tried a 44-40 or 45...........

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One of my main match rifles is a Peddersoli Lightning. It has an open top so you just lay the round on the lifter and close the bolt.

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I have to admit, when I read " Over-the-top reloads " I was a bit surprised. Cowboys don't usually want +P reloads. 

 

Then it was clarified. 

 

I'm not fast at it, in a match I'm probably better off to take the miss. I have a '66 in 38Spl and '73's in 357, 44-40 and 45 Colt. I seem to recall a post or video that advised that you can speed up the process by having shorter ammo for the extra shot, that can be used to load over the top. This makes sense, a shorter round is easier to drop on top of the depressed or lowered lifter block. To that end I have a few 38 Long Colt rounds handy for that added round. for when I shoot my 38 or 357 rifles. 

 

I have some 45 S&W Spl brass that I can and probably will load for that purpose as well. For 44-40 and 38-40, because of the taper on the cartridge, it does tend to somewhat drop partially into the chamber, I'm fairly new to 44-40, when I have the opportunity, I'll give it a try. 

 

My procedure is on the last round out of the magazine, I leave the lever down, lifter at the top, and with my finger or the round in my fingers push on the lifter, and drop in the round. The lifter will drop to the mid position, and depending on how the timing is set, the bolt only come forward a small amount.

 

I've installed one short stroke kit, and my rifles have not been slicked. Therefore all the springs are as issued, and the lever spring has enough tension to stop the lifter from going to the bottom. 

 

I'd like to learn how to do this faster, perhaps someone could post a video or direct us to a video on this process. 

 

BB

 

PS: A short stroke kit will cause the bolt to move forward more than the normal toggles, when the lifter is pushed down. 

Edited by "Big Boston"
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I've only had opportunity to do an over the top reload on this type of gun once.   It was .44-40, and the reason I went over the top instead of through the loading gate is because I was shooting a Henry.  :)

To be honest, I found doing the over the top load kind of a pain.   If I was shooting my 73 (.32-20) or 66 (.44-40) and there was a single round reload, I'd go through the gate.   It's just easier.   If I was shooting a 92 (.44 Magnum or .45 Colt) or a Lightning, (.32-20 .44 Special .44-40 or .45 Colt) then I'd go over the top.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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I can load my 66 in .38 WCF over the Top or through the Gate with the same amazing Speed :P ...

But depending on props is how I choose to load it's a 50-50 thing ... Some stage instructions allow one to load the extra round on the clock any time in the shooting string.  When I load over the Top I use the cartridge to press down the lifter, far enough to push the bullet into the chamber with the muzzle canted down .

I can't remember the last time I jacked out in an unintended manner... 

 

Jabez Cowboy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Howdy

 

There is no loading gate on my 44-40 Uberti 1860 Henry. So if I want to do a quick reload I have to do it over the top. Yes, it is close, my 44-40 rounds barely fit, but after shoving the carrier down with my thumb I start the nose of the bullet into the chamber, then they slide right into the chamber. I do not keep any shorter 44-40 rounds around, all mine are full length.

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