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Reloading The .44/40 Winchester


(WC= WadCutter, SWC= Semi-WadCutter, HP= Hollow Point, RN= Round Nose, FMC= Full Metal Case, FMJ= Full Metal Jacket, JHP= Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

Loads for .44/40:
(Note: These are near maximum loads, you should use 10% less to start.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullet sizes vary from .426" for jacketed to .427" for some lead in diameter. (Note .44 special uses bullets from .429" to .423")

Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up. However, this is a big case and with light loads of low density powder, case position is important. Suggest tilting gun to sky before each shot with very light loads. Stuck bullet reported with minimum load (May 2010)

These loads are for MODERN guns.
Make sure your gun can handle it.  
Powder Mfgs. Velocities in a test
barrel differ from a 4 4/5" revolver by
about 175 fps and from 7 1/2" by 50 fps.
----------------------------------------
160 grain LFP (Lead Round Nose Flat Point)
    Titegroup  4.5 gr.     750
    Titegroup  6.2 gr.     983 max
    CLAYS      4.2 gr.     747
    CLAYS      5.5 gr.     916 max
----------------------------------------
190 grain LRN or SWC (Lead Round Nose)
    AA No. 2   5.2 gr.     891 (Cowboy load)
    AA No. 5   8.5 gr.     950 (Cowboy load)
----------------------------------------
200-205 grain LRN or SWC (Lead Round Nose)
    Bullseye   4.0 gr.     695 FPS  (light start load - careful that bullet comes out)
    Bullseye   6.6 gr.     945 MAX. LOAD
    Unique     6.0 gr.     750
    Unique     9.0 gr.   1,095 MAX. LOAD
    231        6.7 gr.   1,100 MAX. LOAD
    WAP        8.7 gr.     676  Very light, careful
    Universal  6.6 gr.     722 cowboy load
    Universal  7.3 gr.     777 cowboy max
    Titegroup  5.0 gr.     758
    Titegroup  6.2 gr.     901 max
    Trail Boss 5.5 gr.     723
    Trail Boss 6.5 gr.     826 max
    HP-38      5.5 gr.     711 cowboy mild (report of stuck bullet with this load)
    HP-38      6.5 gr.     820 cowboy max
    Clays      4.2 gr.     648 cowboy mild
    Clays      5.0 gr.     765 cowboy max
    AA N100    5.3 gr.     954 (Cowboy load)
    AA No. 2   6.3 gr.     961 (Cowboy load)
    AA No. 5   9.2 gr.     983 (Cowboy load)
    AA 5744   17.0 gr.   1,035 MAX. LOAD
    VV N320    6.9 gr.     841
    VV N340    9.2 gr.     865
-----------------------------------------
200 grain JSP (Jacketed Soft Point)
    Bullseye   6.6 gr.   1,070 MAX. LOAD
    2400      14.5 gr.   1,230 MAX. Load
    Unique     8.0 gr.   1,090 MAX. LOAD
    HS6        9.0 gr.   1,292 MAX. Load
    HP38       6.5 gr.   1,140 MAX. Load
    231        6.0 gr.   ----- MAX. LOAD
-----------------------------------------
240 grain Lead
    Bullseye   5.0 gr.     850 FPS
    Unique     6.7 gr.     950
    2400      12.0 gr.   1,130 Max
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Discussion: The .44-40 Winchester, also the .44 Winchester, and the .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire) was introduced in 1873 by Winchester. It was the first centerfire metallic cartridge offered by Winchester, and was the standard chambering for the new Winchester Model 1873 rifle. This is a bottle neck cartridge with the base of the case being .471" in diameter and the neck is .443 in diameter and uses a .427" bullet. The case is nearly the same length at the .45 Colt. The rim of the case head is nearly the same. You can hardly tell the difference holding in your hand, save for the mouth opening and slight taper. I have picked up several 44-40 cases thinking I was picking my .45 colt cases. The mouth of the 44-40 will fit inside the .45 colt, but it will not go past the bottle neck expansion of the case. For reloading, the case shell holder are the same.

This is a very old cartridge. It's been around over 140 years. Do not use any of this data with gun designed for black powder loads. It's best to use new brass so as not to get the old balloon head type used years ago. Some old cartridges also used corrosive primers.

A bullet with a copper gas check or copper plating is best for INDOOR ranges to keep lead vapors out of the air.

*
Bullseye, Unique and 2400 are products of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders.
Clays, Universal, HP38, HS6, HS7 and H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders. HS7 is slowest of the group (Similar to 2400)
IMR 4227, IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 are products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company.
No.2, No. 5, No.7, No. 9, #5744, #2230, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company.
231 is a fast burning powder from Winchester.

References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet - - Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders' Guide (1995) - - Hodgdon's Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) - - Speer Reloading Manual, #12 - - Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. - - VihtaVuori Oy Company, reloading booklet (1995) - - Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.

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This page created 7/29/96 by M.D. Smith and last modified on August 21, 2011 ©