Bullet size for 44-40

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pwl44m
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Bullet size for 44-40

#1 Post by pwl44m » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:09 pm

I can buy 500 bullets sized 427. Is that the right size ? I asked this in My Gun Show thread but didn't know if it would get read. I need to know this by tomorrow morn. Any help would be appreciated.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#2 Post by veeman » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:35 pm

Best way to tell is to slug your barrel. I have 6 44-40's, all shoot best with .428's.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#3 Post by pwl44m » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:49 pm

Thx veeman, mine are all new guns and have not slugged them. This just came up today and it may be why the Guy is selling them. He has a couple tuned Colts so maybe He knows they are too small. And as everbody notes in other threads- too small bullets make for serious leading.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#4 Post by Ray Newman » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:04 am

What firearm are going to load them for?

As another posted stated you really need to slug the barrel and -- if for a revolver -- also measure cylinder throats.

I had --emphasis on had -- an early Ruger vaquero in .44-40. Problem: barrel was .429". Seems as if Ruger built some with the .44 magnum barrels and the Remington jacketed .427's did not shoot for fecal matter, same with .427/.428" diameter cast bullets. Shot better with .44 magnum jacketed and cast. Finally sold it someone who needed it more than I did....
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#5 Post by 44-40 Willy » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:30 am

Bullet size depends on the individual 44-40. I also had a 44-40 Vaquero with the problems mentioned above. I've got Marlin 1894CCL that slugged to .4285 and I've slugged a Rossi 92 at about .431". The Marlin was the closest to SAAMI spec which is .428.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#6 Post by 1886 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:42 am

The bore on my Rossi 92 manufactured in the early 1980s (they call it a model 65) measures .429. It wears a .44 mag barrel. I am confident Rossi did this to ease manufacturing costs. This suits me just fine as there are plenty of properly sized projectiles available. As stated by others, only way to know is to slug the barrel and the cylinder throats if it is a revolver. I purchased a set of used pin gauges from a machine shop supply house years ago just for the task of measuring revolver throats. 1886.
Last edited by 1886 on Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#7 Post by perry owens » Sun Dec 01, 2013 5:38 am

My new Uberti 1873 slugged at .427 so I size to .428.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#8 Post by Borregos » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:34 am

I have three rifles of 44-40, a Marlin 1889 that needs a .431" bullet, a Marlin 1894 that takes a bullet sized to .428" and a Winchester Cheyenne Commemorative that is ok at .427" so you must slug the bore.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#9 Post by M. M. Wright » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:43 am

First generation Colts are about the only thing I have found that will use a .427 bullet. Even early 73s have a generous chamber to fire .429 bullets. The only problem you will have is some old Colts will have such tight chambers that they will not accept a cartridge loaded with a .429 bullet. The chamber is just too tight. Don't get the .427s. I think you will be disappointed. I have two Ubertis and a Rossi that have .428 barrels so I load for them. The second generation Colt which I shoot in SASS has a first gen barrel but I shoot the .429 bullets in it and the third generation that fills the other holster. I did have to match the cylinder throats to the bullet size and re-cut the forcing cones but they shoot great now. Buy yourself a mold after you've slugged the barrel(s).
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#10 Post by pwl44m » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:59 am

Thx Guys, this is what I was looking for. I have a Vaquero, a Henry and a Rossi 92 which I bought yesterday. These things seem to be all over the place. I remember when I got the Vaquero that Everyone chimed that it probably had a 44M barrel. I will take Ur advice and steer clear as I don't have a 1st gen Colt 44-40.
Thx again - Perry
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#11 Post by J Miller » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:34 pm

I have a reprint of an 1895 Winchester ammo catalog. It shows the lead / tin alloy for each bullet their ammo was loaded with.
The 44 WCF ( 44-40 ) was loaded with a pure lead bullet with either the black or smokeless powder used.

This helped the bullets expand to seal the bore or chambers. And is why the hard cast bullets of today are so hard to match to a variety of guns.

Were I loading for a 44 WCF I'd slug all the pertinent areas then use the softest bullets I could get in combination with a good lube.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#12 Post by Sixgun » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:07 pm

Perry,
In my 40+ years of reloading, only the 38-55 matches the 44-40 in terms of a wide range of diameters.

If your loading for a revolver, size to cylinder throat diameter. Don't worry about the groove diameter.

For rifles, go a thou over. Grease up the barrel and pound a slightly oversized lead round ball down.

In my past, I have reloaded for dozens of 44-40's, old and new. I currently have 44-40's that measure .425-.431.-------------6
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#13 Post by jnyork » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:05 pm

My Uberti 1873 requires .431 bullets, any smaller is like throwing rocks. Get them from Oregon Trail.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#14 Post by Lefty Dude » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:22 am

With my stable of 44WCF shooters, I have settled on a size of .428". They all seem to enjoy this with great appetite.
I have one Uberti early Navy Arms Carbine made in the 1980's. This is the most accurate of the pair I have. This barrel slugs, .4255". I load a special accuracy load, and use a .427" as it shoots this with great accuracy. I can shoot the .428", however I get some leading in the barrel leade.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#15 Post by 1886 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:35 am

Just a side note and I am certain you are aware of this, be certain all fouling is removed from the bore before slugging. This includes copper, lead, powder. 1886.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#16 Post by pwl44m » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:19 am

1886 wrote:Just a side note and I am certain you are aware of this, be certain all fouling is removed from the bore before slugging. This includes copper, lead, powder. 1886.
Good tip, something I probably wouldn't even have thought about. Have to wait 10 days for the Rossi and the other 2 I have in possession.
I didn't buy the bullets and messed around too long and the once fired brass was all gone. All he had left was new Starline. I think this Guy was a CASS-SASS or Jambalaya shooter as He had a couple Colts and a Ruger in 44-40 for sale along with the brass and bullets.
Thanks for all the tips, looks like slugging bores is first order of business.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#17 Post by Mike Armstrong » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:39 pm

My two .44-40s, a Colt New Service DA from 1914 and a C.Sharps replica Winchester Hiwall from 2009, have, by coincidence, .429 barrels. I don't shoot my grandfather's NS much any more, but the Hiwall is very accurate with .44 Magnum bullets loaded in .44-40 Starline brass over 2400, and soft lead cast bullets over black powder.

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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#18 Post by Driftwood Johnson » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:28 pm

Howdy

Have to agree, it depends on the gun.

I have 5 rifles chambered for 44-40. I have slugged them all. The 1980s era Uberti 1873, Marlin 1894 from 1895 and a Winchester Model 1892 from 1897 all slug out at .427. A recently made Uberti 1860 Henry and a 1918 vintage Winchester 1892 Saddle Ring Carbine both slug out at .429.

Until I bought the Henry and the Saddle ring carbine I was shooting .427 bullets in the rifles with the .427 bores. Since acquiring the two with the .429 bores I have settled on .428, like my friend Lefty Dude. I sure am not going to be loading up ammo with different size bullets for the different rifles. The .428 bullets are serving me well. Of course they are all dead soft, pure lead and all get shot with Black Powder, so the bullets may be bumping up in the bore of the .429 rifles.

Slug the bore, it will let you know for sure.

The other thing to be aware of is, sometimes a slightly tight chamber will limit your bullet choices. I could shoot .427, .428, or .429 in the .427 1873, but .429 bullets caused the case necks to swell enough that those rounds did not want to seat all the way. In this case, go with the thinnest brass you can find, to give yourself about .001 of leeway. In my experience, Winchester brass was the thinnest at the neck, Starline a close second.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#19 Post by williamranks » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:18 pm

1886 wrote:The bore on my Rossi 92 manufactured in the early 1980s (they call it a model 65) measures .429. It wears a .44 mag barrel. I am confident Rossi did this to ease manufacturing costs. This suits me just fine as there are plenty of properly sized projectiles available.
Same with my Moruku-Winchester takedown 92. They did it for the same reason.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#20 Post by pwl44m » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:02 pm

williamranks wrote:
1886 wrote:The bore on my Rossi 92 manufactured in the early 1980s (they call it a model 65) measures .429. It wears a .44 mag barrel. I am confident Rossi did this to ease manufacturing costs. This suits me just fine as there are plenty of properly sized projectiles available.
Same with my Moruku-Winchester takedown 92. They did it for the same reason.
I just bought the Rossi 65 and I'm sure it will be the same as Yours, The Henry 66 and the Vaquero will have to be measured. I passed on those bullets so I will have to find the right one for all My guns. I think I will have enough brass, I think I have about 500 pieces. That should do Me, but I'm greedy so I will probably buy whatever comes along.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#21 Post by williamranks » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:39 am

With the renovations I haven't had time to set up for loading. I'll have to remember to order an expander plug for a .44 mag when I order the 44-40 dies so I don't crush the cases.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#22 Post by Indigo22 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:23 pm

Ray Newman wrote:What firearm are going to load them for?

As another posted stated you really need to slug the barrel and -- if for a revolver -- also measure cylinder throats.

I had --emphasis on had -- an early Ruger vaquero in .44-40. Problem: barrel was .429". Seems as if Ruger built some with the .44 magnum barrels and the Remington jacketed .427's did not shoot for fecal matter, same with .427/.428" diameter cast bullets. Shot better with .44 magnum jacketed and cast. Finally sold it someone who needed it more than I did....
I also "had" a Ruger Vaquero in 44-40. the biggest problem with the early ones was that the throats slugged out at .426 while the barrels were their stock 44mag barrels slugging out at .429.. Nice... squish a soft lead slug down in size then send it rattlin down a big'ol pipe. Mine was pie plate accurate at 15 feet... both before and after I sent it back to Ruger to have the problem corrected. Obviously, it didn't get fixed. Took me quite a while before I would buy another Ruger product. Worse part was that it was in my book the most beautiful and well balanced gun I have ever owned. Stainless with a 5 1/2" barrel.
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Re: Bullet size for 44-40

#23 Post by buckeyeshooter » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:05 pm

I have a uberti 66 and a Winchester 92 in 44-40, along with 2 vaquero's ...... I generally use .429's but .428's are just as accurate.

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