.44 magnum = .44-40?


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evan price
September 3, 2009, 06:27 AM
I found some cowboy brass at the range recently- .44-40, .56-50, etc.

The .44-40 looks the same as .44 Mag to me, but since I don't own a .44-40, can I just use that brass as .44 mag brass?

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Virginian
September 3, 2009, 07:06 AM
No. Totally different caliber. 44-40 is a bottleneck cartridge to boot. Don't you have any reloading manuals?

Eric F
September 3, 2009, 09:11 AM
IIRC 44 mag is a .429 bullet the 44-40 is a .427 bullet.

The magnum beats the 44-40 by 400 fps give or take for any given bullet weight What the 44-40 is more equal to is the 44 special.

Ben Shepherd
September 3, 2009, 09:48 AM
Evan, The above posters are correct, the 44-40 has a slight bottleneck, is actually slightly longer(1.305 vs 1.285) and has a larger body diameter near the case head(.469 vs .457). So no they won't interchange worth beans.

I imagine one could try to size and trim 44-40 brass down to 44 size, yes(even then, the 44-40case head diameter is about 10 thousandths larger, so it may not have room in your revolver) . BUT-

1. 44-40 brass is notoriously thin/weak near the case mouth.
2. You would end up with brass that was mis-headstamped
3. I doubt that 44-40 brass is strong enough in the web/head area for 44 magnum pressures, as it was NEVER designed as anything approaching a high pressure round.

Eric F.- Nominal is .427, but bores on the high side of .430 have been reported. So if you have one, slug your barrel.

Eric F
September 3, 2009, 10:06 AM
Eric F.- Nominal is .427, but bores on the high side of .430 have been reported. So if you have one, slug your barrel.


Hmmm, Thats note worthy, however the 44-40 IMO is good and attractive but I would really rather have a 38-40.

Smokin Gator
September 3, 2009, 12:32 PM
Most modern 44-40 gun makers use the same barrel on their 44-40 and 44 mag guns. I use .430 bullets in my Marlin 44-40. I use Winchester brass because some other makes of brass won't chamber in the Marlin with the .430 bullets. Some guns may have tight enough chambers that they won't work with any .430 bullets. Mark

Vern Humphrey
September 3, 2009, 01:21 PM
Evan, The above posters are correct, the 44-40 has a slight bottleneck, is actually slightly longer(1.305 vs 1.285) and has a larger body diameter near the case head(.469 vs .457). So no they won't interchange worth beans.
In the last issue of Handloader, I believe, Mike Venturino writes how his friend, "Shrapnel" bought a clunker Colt SAA in .44-40 and asked if he could have it re-chambered to .44 Special. Neither Shrapnel, nor Mike, nor the gunsmith consulted any references -- they went ahead and did it. And ruined the cylinder.

The .44-40 is not interchangeable with the .44 Mag or .44 Special.

Loyalist Dave
September 3, 2009, 01:34 PM
The .38-40 was a very hot cartridge in its day. One fan of the cartridge for Cowboy Shooting told me it was the "magnum of its day". I suppose it could've been, but since the manufacturers often downloaded the BP round of the time a bit, from original design specs, I don't know if the run of the mill factory loads would've been that hot.

LD

rcmodel
September 4, 2009, 02:19 PM
I think your friend might be misinformed.

The Magnum revolver of the day was the .45 Colt.
255 grain bullet @ 900+ FPS for over 400 ft/lb energy out of a 7 1/2" SAA.
It remained the most powerful handgun cartridge until the .357 Magnum was invented in 1935.

The 38-40 WCF was a 180 grain .40 cal bullet with the same 40 grain BP powder charge as the .45 Colt.
Out of a handgun, it was slightly faster but decidely less powerful then the .45 Colt.

Later on, there was a smokeless powder Hi-Speed rifle load that was more powerful then the .45 Colt revolver.
Maybe that's what he is thinking of.

rc

loadedround
September 4, 2009, 05:20 PM
FWIW, Most 44-40's you see today are the discontiued Ruger Vaqueros(may be a few Italian clones out there also) and all Ruger 44-40's have the same barrel as their 44 Mag. Mine mikes at .4295". Their cylinders are a different story and mike at .4275" however. :)

evan price
September 4, 2009, 11:20 PM
My load manuals don't show .44-40 or .56-50 or .38-40 or a .44 Russian...I guess I need older manuals.
These didn't appear bottlenecked, rather they had the remnant of what looked like a strong roll crimp, and appeared to be the same diameter and length as .44 Mag.
It's possible someone ELSE made them into .44's and then left them at the range. Probably in that case, they go in the scrap bucket.
Thanks for the help.

Harve Curry
September 4, 2009, 11:33 PM
44-40 have more of a taper then bottleneck, after they're fired it's even less noticeable. Don't scrap them give them to someone that could use them.

The 56-50 are probably for the Italian copies of the 1865 Spencer. Slightly different rims then the original, so it won't work in my center fire conversion or I'd have my hand out.

Ben Shepherd
September 5, 2009, 08:41 AM
Evan, they are probably real 44-40, as Harve noted its not really much of a bottle neck, it's more of a slight taper. It's only a 4 degree shoulder, vs a standard bottle neck taper of 17 or more degrees.

Sorry if I mislead you.

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