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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round (Read 1083 times)
GeorgeC
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.44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Aug 27th, 2017 at 5:18pm
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I have run across several articles on the .44-40 as being considered a target round back in the day.
Would it be a viable and accurate round for Class II ASSRA, mid range, and BP silhouette competition?  Modern loadings seem pretty versatile. 
200-215 grain bullets seem popular for lever action rifles and revolvers.  How would bullet around 250 grains work in a single shot? 
Like to get some expert opinions on an (to me) interesting round like the .44-40 or .40 WCF.
  

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coljimmy
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #1 - Aug 27th, 2017 at 11:19pm
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I have been reloading 44 WCF since 1958 and had serious problems with a Lyman mold 42798 MADE IN THE LATE 1950's.  No problem with later made molds of the same number.  The '50's mold had a little more taper on the ogive making it impossible to get a satisfactory crimp keeping the standard cartridge length, allowing the bullet to jump back deeper into the case on recoil, resulting in increased pressure with a standard "mild" load of unique.  Bent the bolt on a '73 Winchester and split a cylinder on an 1878 Colt.  I cannot bear to use unique since.  My newer 42798 Lyman mold as well as a no. 4 Ideal tool work great.  This should not ever be a problem with a single shot, but it took a while to get that bent bolt out of the '73 but the '78 cylinder was trashed.  Looking for a Hopkins and Allen or rolling block in 44-40 now.

James
  
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #2 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 7:40am
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For BP Silhouette, it would have to have enough power to knock down 55lb rams at 500 meters. I seriously doubt that this cartridge is suitable. You'd be using a bullet that's 400+ gr and the case doesn't have enough powder capacity.
  
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GeorgeC
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #3 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 7:44am
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What weight bullet were/are you casting?  What is you opinion of the .44-40 being a target round from 200-500 yards?

GeorgeC
  

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marlinguy
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #4 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 9:25am
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Personally I think the .44-40 would be starting yourself out in a hole and battling to keep up with others. There are numerous better choices for target work at those ranges.
  

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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #5 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:04am
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Well, Jimmy Stewart was pretty good with one in Winchester 73.... Of course, it was 1 in 1,000!
  
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #6 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:18am
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Actually Jimmy never got to shoot the 1/1000 in the movie. As for 44-40 I have a 73 from teh factory in 1891 that was built with a heavy round barrel and a long range tang sight (marked 73) so someone thought it would be a good long range combination.
  
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GeorgeC
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #7 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:27am
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Vall, I'm sure you are correct.  Like I stated in my OP that I've seen a few articles referencing the .44-40 as a target round "back in the day."  In Marcot's book, I saw where it was listed as an available round for the No. 1 target rifles.  Kind of piqued my interest as to the accuracy of the round. Have read a couple of articles about the .44-40 in the 1873 Winchester and being a good round in handgun caliber lever action silhouette.  I have an 1873 and it's a fun gun on gongs.  I am thinking about ordering one of Al Story's .44-40 cylinder to shoot them in my Bisley .44 Special.
I've never seen any threads on this forum about Class II matches, equipment, calibers, etc. so I am assuming Class II is not very popular.
Just thought the .44-40 might make an interesting topic.

GeorgeC
  

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gunlaker
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #8 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:28am
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For the further distances you really want more powder capacity and a bullet with a relatively low ballistic coefficient than you'll get with that cartridge and barrel twist.

Chris.
  

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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #9 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:48am
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If you contemplating a ASSRA Class II rifle (40+ cal) I think it would be a good choise. There would be some devolpement work to do, of course but, it would have a loading density advantage over all other cases, commonly used for Class II.

The only draw back that I can see is the flimsy brass and how long a brass life you would get.

Back in the early 90's, I thought about building a 38/40 (maybe the 40 WCF you mentioned in your post?) it's barely 40 cal (.401) and would have both a loading density and recoil advantage for Class II.

You might be able to rework 45 Colt brass to work either caliber for better brass.

Frank
  

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svartkruttgris#369
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #10 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 11:57am
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44-40 has long been one of my most liked small rifle cartridges. After thousands and thousands of rounds fired, some with loadings in the lower pressure range for 44 Mag (in Ruger Vaquero and Brazillian M92 Wins), I cannot agree with the "weak brass" label. Certainly not in comparison with 32-20 CPA brass life. Both Remington and Starline brass almost only get tossed because of splits in case mouth, where cases have been crimped one too many times for use in lever guns and revolvers. These cases are minimally resized and never annealed. In a single chamber, breech seated, I would expect something like 20+ loadings at chamber pressures in mid to high 20.000 psi up to 30.000 psi.

Having used standard velocity 44-40 loadings (210gr bullet, 1300 fps) for 200M metallic silhoette shooting for many years, any good hit always knocked down 25KG rams. Higher velocities and heavier bullets would do even better, but I would expect few, if any, knockdowns on 500M rams.

Den SKG:en
« Last Edit: Aug 28th, 2017 at 12:03pm by svartkruttgris#369 »  
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #11 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 1:47pm
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I thought about building a 38-40 using a 24 twist barrel and 290-310 grain bullets but decided the 40-50 Sharps Straight was the better choice for me. I like using wads and the straight wall case is the way to go....still haven't pushed the build button though Smiley.
  
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #12 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 4:53pm
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I shoot more .44-40 than any cartridge, but it's not for mid-range. The brass is OK, but does split as mentioned previously. The .40-50 straight is straight and is stronger brass.  A far better choice for a single shot and intended as a target round.
  
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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #13 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 6:37pm
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bohemianway wrote on Aug 28th, 2017 at 10:18am:
Actually Jimmy never got to shoot the 1/1000 in the movie. As for 44-40 I have a 73 from teh factory in 1891 that was built with a heavy round barrel and a long range tang sight (marked 73) so someone thought it would be a good long range combination.


Long range?  Like in 1,000 to 1,200 yard sight?

Seem  like one might need a map to record the impacts.  Cheesy
  

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Re: .44-40 As A Class II And Mid Range Target Round
Reply #14 - Aug 28th, 2017 at 7:20pm
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Schuetzenmiester wrote on Aug 28th, 2017 at 6:37pm:
Long range?  Like in 1,000 to 1,200 yard sight?

Seem  like one might need a map to record the impacts.  Cheesy


Actually, I've sat over on the warm, dry side of WA and watched a friend ring a 990 yard dinger (34") with a reproduction 73 chambered in 45 Colt and fitted with a Montana Vintage Arms #107 tang sight. 'twernt a fluke, either, he did several times once he got the sight setting.
  
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