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Uberti 1873; 44-40 or 45 Colt?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by English Jay, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. English Jay

    English Jay New Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    I'm considering buying a Uberti 1873 short rifle.
    I can't decide between getting one in 44-40 or 45 Colt.
    The 44-40 is more original than the Colt but...

    I'll be hand loading, there doesn't seem to be much difference in the availability or cost of heads (I'm assuming the 44-40 Uberti copy is bored .429" like the .44 mag not the original .427") cases are less common but no more expensive.

    I think 44-40 is a little harder to reload than the 45 with thinner brass & a slightly shouldered/tapered case unlike the Colts straight case.
    I've been told it's harder to get tight groups with the 45 at 100 yards but I don't know.
    I'd appreciate people opinion on which is the better choice.

  2. Phil DeGraves

    Phil DeGraves Participating Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Being a traditionalist, I'd opt for the 44-40.
  3. iamkris

    iamkris Senior Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    My own little slice of Purgatory
    Another vot for .44-40 from a traditional standpoint.

    As you said, if you are handloading there isn't really a difference in component availability. The only issue is that the 44 is slightly more suseptible to damage during reloading due to thinner case walls. I wouldn't think this is an issue though.

    Another advantage of the 44 is that it is bottlenecked. It will seal the chamber better if you shoot low power smokeless or BP loads. Less blowback.

    If I were to buy a 73 (and I will eventually...have a 92 now) I'd probably get a 45 Colt but only because I already have 4 other guns chambered for it.
  4. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Participating Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    As an owner of a 32.20 mdl 92 (smokeless), I'd go with the .45 Colt.

    I know you said that you were a handloader, but factory ammunition for some calibers have been seriosly downloaded.

    You can still get period correct velocities and bullet weight for the .45 Colt that have not been reduced.

    Don't know about the 44.40.

  5. Gustav

    Gustav Active Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    If you are a person who likes the rifle to be as close to an original as possible the .44-40 is the caliber to go with its the one that was introduced with the rifle back in late 1873 it was called the .44 WCF and was IIRC Winchesters first brass cased reloadable cartridge.
    For many people living life long ago in the American West the 1873 was THE rifle to have.

    From what I have seen the Remington brass for the .44-40 is the thickest and best, the Winchester brass I have seen tends to be the thinnest.
    If you cast your own bullets the RCBS #44-200FN is hard to beat if you use factory lead the ones I have had the best luck with are the Lyman #427098
    and Lyman #427666

    The .45 Colt caliber is often chosen because people want a compatible revolver to go with it and there are allot of replica pistols chambered in the .45 Colt more so than the .44-40 that and some people consider the .44-40 an oddball of sorts.

    One of my favorites rifles for handling balance and shooting is a reproduction Winchester 1892 in .45 Colt in stainless steel with an octagon barrel.

    In the end I went over mostly to .45 Colt or .44 magnum for lever action rifles as it cuts down on how many different calibers I now have to reload for that and I can always find brass and bullets.

    I hope this helps.

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