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44-40 historical information request


Sierrita Slim
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I’m looking for information on what type of hollow based bullets (projectiles) were used in commercial 44-40 ammunition during the 1870’s. I have found information on powder, bullet weight and nose shape but no mention at all of bullet base style. I’m hoping someone on here will know. 

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I'm hoping @Savvy Jack will respond here.  He's quite the historian/technical expert in all things 44WCF. 

 

The Lyman #42798 bullet is patterned after the original from the 1870s.  But, I hadn't heard of any hollow-based bullets.  I have seen some antique hollow points.

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I don't have any documentation to back this up, but, as McCandless posted, the #42798 is very similar to the originals.  Unlike some really oddball cartridges like .38 Colt and .41 Colt, the .44-40 cartridge used a bullet that was close to groove diameter of the barrel.  So there really was no need for a hollow-base bullet to expand into the rifling.

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Thanks fellas!


UMC offered a 140gr and then a 160gr jacketed "Mushroom" smokeless load.  These bullets were of the hollow base design.

44-40160HiSpeedMushroom_zps40b30cc9.jpg.dc1c03376af4467be00eba9864bc6868.jpg

1923Pg130.thumb.png.663d0f3bbfc9644832149ea7f141c7ae.png

 

124172239_568354664002705_3847707964688897398_n.thumb.jpg.dbd8d11b4a157a1a0c550199e1fef3a1.jpg

 

 

 

 

The powder used was Sharpshooter.

124230149_828602537699723_4160157226713870578_n.thumb.jpg.797b0de3a523d0db6f97057a623f2c4b.jpg124644687_678726306402768_2014204499472081927_n.thumb.jpg.9e71bc1842b2ae2e6a7331c48b1b984a.jpgremington_4440_mushroom_small.thumb.jpg.b0333509c8af43c0d6de395315b78306.jpg

 

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Edited by Savvy Jack
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 I found a misfired 44-40 and an empty 38-40 case that were manufactured between 1873 and 1879 on my property. Nearby I found a spent hollow base bullet, mangled a bit. The base is distorted and measures between .40 and .44 depending on where you measure. I have the exact measurements at home. It weighs 198.2 grains. The style of hollow base looks old to me. 

your thoughts?

7B2098B8-3564-4D20-83D2-954A8EA08A3A.jpeg

7655A8AA-0367-4772-A901-835DC10E0880.jpeg

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Seems I read somewhere that the 44 rimfire or "henry" bullets were heeled and had a hollow base to force the heel to expand and engage the rifling. Could be what you have there.

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3 hours ago, Savvy Jack said:

Thanks fellas!


UMC offered a 140gr and then a 160gr jacketed "Mushroom" smokeless load.  These bullets were of the hollow base design.

44-40160HiSpeedMushroom_zps40b30cc9.jpg.dc1c03376af4467be00eba9864bc6868.jpg

1923Pg130.thumb.png.663d0f3bbfc9644832149ea7f141c7ae.png

 

124172239_568354664002705_3847707964688897398_n.thumb.jpg.dbd8d11b4a157a1a0c550199e1fef3a1.jpg

 

 

 

 

The powder used was Sharpshooter.

124230149_828602537699723_4160157226713870578_n.thumb.jpg.797b0de3a523d0db6f97057a623f2c4b.jpg124644687_678726306402768_2014204499472081927_n.thumb.jpg.9e71bc1842b2ae2e6a7331c48b1b984a.jpgremington_4440_mushroom_small.thumb.jpg.b0333509c8af43c0d6de395315b78306.jpg

 

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That powder looks a lot like Trail Boss.

kR

 

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59 minutes ago, Kid Rich said:

That powder looks a lot like Trail Boss.

kR

 

 

Don't let it fool you, they are nothing alike. Sharpshooter was a sliced hollow tube powder, which took to on the look of thick disks with a hole in the center. 

  • Sharpshooter is a slower burning rifle powder, not a fast burning pistol powder like Trail Boss.
  • Trail Boss gets a bit finicky when loaded for true 44-40 original velocities (test 19)!
  • Velocity suffers (never reaches 1,325fps) while chamber pressures skyrocket to near 44 WHV load standards (ref test 86).

Other results can be found here: 44-40 Chamber Pressure Test Results

Sharpshooter Powder details can be found here: Smokeless Powder Transition Years, Sharpshooter

 

Test/Charge/Powder/Bullet/Name/Velocity/psi/cup/OAT/Target/Notes

 

85 15 Sharpshooter 200 JSP Winchester 1,222 9,176 10,846 75 6-17-2022-85 1925 thru 1950's Winchester Factory Loads
86 19.6 Sharpshooter 200 JSP Winchester 1,568 15,583 18,420 74 6-17-2022-86 1903 thru 1943 Winchester Factory Loads
12 6.4 Trailboss 200 LRNFP Acme Magma 1,034 7,224 8,539 38   IMR Website Max Load 12,000 CUP
19 9.3 Trailboss 200 LRNFP Acme Magma 1,250 13,909 16,441 38 https://imrpowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/trail-boss-reduced-loads-r_p.pdf
Edited by Savvy Jack
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There’s a thought Ranger Dan. I bet there were a bunch of those bullets available for loading your own 44-40 too, if you had the desire. 

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11 hours ago, Sierrita Slim said:

 

I’m looking for information on what type of hollow based bullets (projectiles) were used in commercial 44-40 ammunition during the 1870’s. I have found information on powder, bullet weight and nose shape but no mention at all of bullet base style. I’m hoping someone on here will know. 

 

Slim,

to the best of my knowledge, Winchester never used a hollow based bullet for the 44 WCF loads. Winchester noted to use pure lead when handloading. The soft lead would expand into the grooves (especially oversized grooves) with the higher chamber pressures of the early 44 black powder pressures.

I am not sure what information you say you already have, weight, shape, etc but this should be correct......

.427" 200gr RNFP, Soft Lead
40gr by weight of BP, powder compressed between .17" and .21" pending case design.

Suggested powders

From Winchester's August 1895 catalog

For the 32, 38, and 44 WCF rifles and ALL center-fire pistol cartridges:

  • American Powder Mills' "Rifle Cartridge, No. 4"

  • Hazard Powder Company's "Kentucky Rifle F.F.G."

  • E. I. DuPont. de Nemours & Co.'s "Dupont Rifles F.F.G."

  • Laflin & Rand Powder Co.'s "Orange Rifle Extra, F.F.G."

  •  

  • My test loads
    215gr 43-214A soft lead
    40gr by weight, compressed as needed.
    Original Unheadstamped, solid-head, large semi balloon pocket

    My test results are consistent with actual advertised velocities.

  • All loads, 40gr by weight of BP, powder compressed between .17" and .21" pending case design.

 

Year Represented/advertised velocity/cup/psi/tested velocity (20" barrel)/notes

  •  

    1874 1,325 16,550cup 14,000psi 1,373 Test #43 - Pre-1884 Unheadstamped thru 1883, my Swiss FFg black powder test load results
    1874 1,325 14,000cup 12,648psi 1,356 Test #71 - pre-1884 Unheadstamped thru 1883, my Goex FFFg black powder test results
    1884 1,245 12,500cup 10,519psi 1,260 Test #54&53 - WRA, Western and REM-UMC Solid-Head, Semi-Ballon Pockt, Headstamped cases thru the early 1900's, Goex FFFg black powder tests
  • 2019 1,245 9,817cup

     

    8,305psi

     

    1,235 Test #55 - Modern Starline cases, my Goex FFFg black powder tests

For CAS loads, reduced loads, finding a hollowbase bullet just might help with such low chamber pressures.
44 Henry velocities for the Winchester Model of 1866, reported by Winchester, were 1,125fps

Edited by Savvy Jack
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5 hours ago, Ranger Dan said:

Seems I read somewhere that the 44 rimfire or "henry" bullets were heeled and had a hollow base to force the heel to expand and engage the rifling. Could be what you have there.

 

Howdy

 

That is incorrect.

 

There is no need to expand the base of a heeled bullet to engage the rifling, the outer diameter of the bullet engaged the rifling.

 

Just like with modern 22 Rimfire ammo, which uses a heeled bullet that is not hollow based.

 

The original 44 Henry Rimfire cartridge had a pointed bullet weighing 216 grains, over a charge of 26 grains of Black Powder.

 

Later a flat nosed bullet weighing 200 grains was used over the same charge of 26 grains of powder.

 

The cartridges on the left in the following two photos have the 216 grain pointed bullet. The cartridges on the right have the 200 grain flat nosed bullet. This cartridge is what became known as the 44 Henry Flat, and was the most common ammunition for the 1860 Henry Rifle.

 

pn4ECEOwj

 

 

poOghaQsj

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To add to Driftwoods post, here are some more photos of the Henry stuff.
Also note that no Henry bullets recovered at the Bighorn Battlefields have hollow bases that I know of either.

1571898314_44Henryssectionedr2(1).jpg.b760c4f38215e6c8bb991a6b9adf2057.jpg701888203_download(4).jpg.bcac676891b18e1ca8148133e8f7d609.jpgdownload.thumb.jpg.0244a583f6475c82f020b584ee258ac5.jpg

Edited by Savvy Jack
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