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44 mag to 44-40 brass?


Doc Moses
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Posted (edited)

Does this even work?  Looking at my loading books it looks like the 44 mag is narrower at the base than a 44-40. I can see where they trimmed the top of the case to go from .456 to .444 but the base is still .456 on a 44 mag and a 44-40 has a base of .469. I am guessing when fired the base will expand without splitting?  I am not really planning to buy this I am just curious if anyone knows if it works.  It is good to have a back up plan for brass just in case! Thanks

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Edited by Doc Moses
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I would not trust that this would be a great thing to use.   Just how thick is that neck area?  .44 mag brass is pretty thick!  Has it been thinned enough to let a .429" bullet fit in the neck and then chamber in all .44-40 cylinders?

 

good luck, GJ

 

 

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Personal Opine??  That is an idea in search of an application.  I don't see it as either practical, cost effective, or a really good idea.  While 44-40 brass is sometimes in short supply, the supply stream always catches up.  Start with a couple hundred cases and build up as necessary.  Oh, and I seriously doubt 44 Mag brass would successfully fire form to 44-40 at the base. 

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And the headstamp will read .44 mag forever.  Your brass will get handed to a cowboy shooting .44 mag rifle.  :lol:

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Posted (edited)

Howdy

 

This question gets asked from time to time.

 

It will not work.

 

This is the official SAAMI spec drawing for the 44-40 cartridge and chamber.

 

plElwwP0j

 

 

 

 

This is the official SAAMI spec drawing for the 44 Magnum.

 

plvsWMYNj

 

 

The 44 Mag is considerably narrower at the base, .4569, vs .4689 for the 44-40. Also, notice how much wider the rim is on the 44-40, .525, vs .514 for the magnum.

 

Some real world measurements:

 

44 Mag: Base: .453 Rim Diameter: .508

 

44-40: Base: .463 Rim Diameter .519

 

Because the 44-40 was originally developed as a rifle cartridge, it has a wide rim to allow a rifle extractor a good grip.

 

44 Mag is the same as 44 Russian and 44 Special, just a little bit longer. Developed as revolver cartridges by S&W, the rim is large enough for a revolver extractor to grab.  Also, because 44-40 has been necked down, the brass is significantly thinner at the case mouth, only around .007 thick. 44 Mag brass is much thicker at the case mouth, around .012 thick.

 

I cannot say if 44 Mag brass fired in a 44-40 chamber will split or not, I have never tried. And I am not going to try.

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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3 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

Personal Opine??  That is an idea in search of an application.  I don't see it as either practical, cost effective, or a really good idea.  While 44-40 brass is sometimes in short supply, the supply stream always catches up.  Start with a couple hundred cases and build up as necessary.  Oh, and I seriously doubt 44 Mag brass would successfully fire form to 44-40 at the base. 

 

I admire your diplomacy Colorado Coffinmaker, I lack that trait. 

 

Doc Moses, you were correct in thinning the neck, without that your ammo would not fit in the chamber. However you did not taper the transition between the thinned neck and the body, that may introduce a point of stress. After than you lost me. As a proof on concept, if you were defending yourself in times of war, it has almost as much merit as shooting 44 Russian in a 44-40 chamber, perhaps a bit better, but not something I'd try or recommend. 

 

I'm not sure of the limits on fireforming, but at the base the brass is thick and resists expansion much less fireforming. At or just above the web, 0200" up from the base, the clearance between your modified 44 Mag case and the chamber is. 0.019" approximately, and that would be too much for me to accept as reasonable. 

 

In error I have fired 44-40 in a 45 Colt. Expansion was only to half way down from the case mouth. To get any sort of fireforming you will need more pressure than most 44-40 firearms can safely withstand, IMHO. Or are you loading with Black Powder?

 

Even here in Canada 44-40 brass is available. 500 44-40 brass costs about $70 more than what 500 44 Mag brass cost. Cowboy shooting and reloading are not hobbies for the faint of wallet anyways.

 

BB

 

 

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B Boston :rolleyes:

 

Thanks for the compliment :)  Just as a tiny tid bit, I have been know to "Carefully" run 44-40 brass thru 45 Colt dies and then "Carefully" fire form them to 45 Colt dimensions.  this thinner case mouth allows the case to seal a 45 chamber for clean running.  This is applicable for BP and APP where blow-by is a nuisance.

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23 hours ago, "Big Boston" said:

 

I admire your diplomacy Colorado Coffinmaker, I lack that trait. 

 

Doc Moses, you were correct in thinning the neck, without that your ammo would not fit in the chamber. However you did not taper the transition between the thinned neck and the body, that may introduce a point of stress. After than you lost me. As a proof on concept, if you were defending yourself in times of war, it has almost as much merit as shooting 44 Russian in a 44-40 chamber, perhaps a bit better, but not something I'd try or recommend. 

 

I'm not sure of the limits on fireforming, but at the base the brass is thick and resists expansion much less fireforming. At or just above the web, 0200" up from the base, the clearance between your modified 44 Mag case and the chamber is. 0.019" approximately, and that would be too much for me to accept as reasonable. 

 

In error I have fired 44-40 in a 45 Colt. Expansion was only to half way down from the case mouth. To get any sort of fireforming you will need more pressure than most 44-40 firearms can safely withstand, IMHO. Or are you loading with Black Powder?

 

Even here in Canada 44-40 brass is available. 500 44-40 brass costs about $70 more than what 500 44 Mag brass cost. Cowboy shooting and reloading are not hobbies for the faint of wallet anyways.

 

BB

 

 

Oh, I did NOT make this ammo!  I saw it on gunbroker when I bought a 44-40 Vaq. I was pretty sure it would not work and am to cheap to buy it and try!

Thanks for the clarification.

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17 hours ago, Doc Moses said:

Oh, I did NOT make this ammo!  I saw it on gunbroker when I bought a 44-40 Vaq. I was pretty sure it would not work and am to cheap to buy it and try!

Thanks for the clarification.

 

Thanks for clarifying that. You were right to ask, and as you can see from the answers is that the consensus is that is not an approved way to go. 

 

I shoot lots of different calibers and there are two shooters in out family, it's better is the headsatamp on the cartridge is actually what the caliber is. 

 

BB

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Some one once said " Just because you can do it,  Does not mean it's a good idea"    He wasn't talking about reloading but it applies to many things.     GW

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1 hour ago, Cusz M. Dutch SASS Life 55326 said:

Don't ask how I know, but 44Mag brass does neck size up and fire in 45 LC.   Little bit on the ugly side but had to try it.

So will 44 Spcl.  Not that I "had to try it".  It was more of an accident.  But it hit the targets 5 times (back before big/close). :)

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On 5/7/2022 at 8:01 PM, "Big Boston" said:

In error I have fired 44-40 in a 45 Colt. Expansion was only to half way down from the case mouth. To get any sort of fireforming you will need more pressure than most 44-40 firearms can safely withstand, IMHO. Or are you loading with Black Powder?

 

Howdy Again

 

Just for fun, not in error, I fired five Black Powder 44-40 rounds out of one of my 45 Colt 2nd Gen Colts a bunch of years ago. Wanted to see if there was any truth to the often quoted, "they will rattle down the bore and not touch the rifling." I did this at the end of a match, while the targets were still set up.

 

At standard CAS distance, all five rounds hit the target. That was the extent of my test, did not try putting the rounds on paper, and did not recover the bullets to see what they looked like. I seem to recall the case mouths had expanded a bit, but the rest of the brass did not look like it had expanded at all.

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MY wife has in the past shot my 44-40 through her 45 Colt rifle. I eliminated to problem by switching her to C45S brass. Accuracy was off a bit, but the brass did not split.

   More than once at the public range I have found 9mm brass that the neck was blown out to 40 caliber. I assume it was shot in a  40 S&W caliber gun.

And 44 Russian shoot fine through a 44-40 pistol, at least with my BP loaded rounds. With high pressure Smokeless, who knows.

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On 5/12/2022 at 12:00 PM, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

MY wife has in the past shot my 44-40 through her 45 Colt rifle. I eliminated to problem by switching her to C45S brass. Accuracy was off a bit, but the brass did not split.

   More than once at the public range I have found 9mm brass that the neck was blown out to 40 caliber. I assume it was shot in a  40 S&W caliber gun.

And 44 Russian shoot fine through a 44-40 pistol, at least with my BP loaded rounds. With high pressure Smokeless, who knows.

 

Shooting the wrong caliber ammunition happens more often than it should, not that rare. For the most part the shooters are aware and responsible shooters. We are enthusiasts and have a desire to experience different guns and varied calibers. A testament to todays brass is it's ability to survive a fair amount of abuse. 44-40 in a 45 colt expands the mouth and seals adequately for cowboy loads. It does make a rather anemic pop, and looses several hundred fps. 

 

It would be better if i didn't have 44-40, 44 Mag and 45 Colt firearms, and they are in Vaqueros or 73s. I have a policy of only taking one of those calibers to a meet at a time. 

 

Back in the day, the government told the firearms industry to simplify the number of different calibers and marking caliber on firearms. In addition the color coding of shotgun gauge ammunition came into being. I remember one shooter saying that if you shoot enough ammunition long enough you will have a XXX moment. And then he looked at the group and said, and don't be smug, it can and probably will happen to any of us. IMHO the rules for shooting cowboy are pretty extensive and seem to do a good job of keeping us safe. 

 

BB

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It is "very easy" to shoot .44 Magnum brass in an otherwise .44-40 OLD MODEL Ruger Vaquero!  Just do what I did...have a .44 Magnum cylinder fitted to the gun!  A GOOD gunsmith can time both cylinders to the gun.  That gives you a convertible that can shoot four different cartridges: .44-40 with that cylinder installed, and .44 Magnum (aka .44 Extra-Long Russian, when shot with reduced loads); .44 Russian, .44 Special and .44 Magnum. As far as using .44 Mangle-em in a rifle, that is simple... Just buy a second rifle in .44 Magnum!  Just be sure when going to the range, you match up the right rifle with the right cylinder! :D  All it takes is finding a good gunsmith, finding the extra cylinder...and money! B)  

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I would not use those in a 44-40 cylinder or 44-40 rifle chamber.

If you ream out a 44 Mag cylinder/chamber to fit a 44-40, then you have a 44 Mag neck size. If you then use .427/.428 bullets and dies, the case neck will be over worked and you will more than likely encounter cracked case mouths.

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Except most 44-40 guns have .429 barrels, same as 44-40. I reamed out both my 44 Special '72 Opentops to 44-40 and use .429 bullets with no problems. I rented a reamer that was made to SAAMI specs and it barely even touched in the neck area. It worked so well that I reamed out my 4 other Uberti 44-40 revolvers  so that they would all be the same and not be so finicky about ammo.

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Posted (edited)

Oops. Measure the throats after work today. The gun is old enough that there is a good chance it has been reamed already. That is my hope anyway.

Edited by Doc Moses
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