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what game for those rifles

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Shung, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Shung

    Shung Well-Known Member

    just to satisfy my curiosity, and without any legal issue, I'd like to know from skilled hunters, what can reasonnably be hunted with these 2 rifles..

    the 1st is a 24" 44-40 Uberti Winchester 1866..

    the 2nd is a 24" 357mag Uberti Winchester 1873..

    looking at the table, the rifle in 357mag can provide more kinetic energy, but i wonder if the heavier bullet from the 44-40 (loaded smokeless or with full charge of black powder) is better in hunting application-

    Thank you very much for your help ^^

    (thought I posted this already, but cannot find it anymore..)
  2. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member

    During its glory days the 44-40 was considered plenty adequate for deer size game....maybe more I don't know...deer for sure at distances of 100-150 yards or less.

    In it's original form, the 200 gr. bullet develop a bit more muzzle energy than a full spec 357 Magnum out of a revolver barrel, ~700 ft/lb

    The 357 Mag out of a carbine barrel is significantly more powerful (it can easily exceed 1000 ft/lb)

    Nowdays the 44-40 power figures are thought to be patetically inadequate for deer (probably in some states is even forbidden to hunt bambi with that level of energy), but it did harvested countless numbers of them in a long gone past....for some people even the 30-30 is entry level for deer....
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  3. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Have a friend that deer hunted in Michigan with a .44-40 lever action for years... I think it's a tad light for the mule deer we have here in Colorado, but for white tail I can see it. He wanted to bring it ELK hunting before I talked him out of it.
  4. Lets see they hunt deer, elk, bear, sheep and moose with bows and none of them produce the type of energy you are talking about. However they understand the limit of their weapons and get within the range required for them to work. Same can be said for the weapons you are talking about. It is not the size of the weapon or the energy of the weapon as much as the bullet placement and the range. I have seen many a 1200lb steer droped in his tracks with a well placed 22 round at 10 to 20 yards. Same as a bull elk droped with bow at seven yards. Nothing beat bullet placement.
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    From the standpoint of a clean and ethical kill, I wouldn't choose those cartridges for game which is larger than our whitetail deer.

    The sights commonly found on those rifles are not the best for precision, and the performance of those cartridges is not all that wonderful. So, I'd tend to limit myself to shots inside of a hundred meters.
  6. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Well-Known Member


    I wouldn't use the .44-40 on anything larger than a deer although I am sure that it has taken bigger game than that, it isn't ideal. Back in the day the Win 73 came in .44-40 and colt (and others) made .44-40 handguns. The round was used because it had to be, not because it was fantastic. For instance THE VAST majority of buffalo hunters used the Sharps .50 and Springfield 45-70 and others like it.

    I think that the .357 from the carbine would be fine for your average Black Bear. There are better, but that would be about the limit. The round is capable of the penetration needed using the proper ammo from a 24" barrel with a soft point bullet (158 grain) and it is capable of fast follow up shots...

    MAYBE MAYBE in a pinch for Elk, but I wouldn't use it for that unless it was a survival situation or something.

    Shot placement is the key with any gun. A 7mm mag can fail to "drop" a yearling if it is a miss or hits it a poor location.

    *****DO NOT USE the 180 grain .357 or stepped up .44-40's without calling the manufacturer and asking about it.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  7. KenWP

    KenWP member

    For many years we could not hunt with a rifle that had a shell under 1 3/4 inches of length. They finally got rid of that so we could use 44 mags and such.
  8. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member

    Very true...even at the time of introduction the 44-40 was never considered a buffalo cartridge at all.....

    However, the vast majority of Sharps cartridges in the glory days killed countless numbers of bison with energy level inferior or on par with a modern 30-30....and the 30 WCF is nowdays considered an entry level deer cartridge...go figure!!! :D:D
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    That should give you a clue about the validity of using energy alone as a measurement of effectiveness.

    Alas, I doubt it will.

    Chuck Hawks seems more habit-forming than cigarettes.

    Note that the people who used .44-40s and .45-70s had no hunting seasons, no game wardens. They also didn't have too much money to waste on ammo, which was very expensive at the time vis-a-vis income. Their ability to kill game determined their ability to eat, either directly or indirectly -- often both.

    They didn't have the Internet, gun magazines, cable TV, or Chuck Hawks.

    So they probably had some clue about what actually worked on game.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  10. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    The Winchester 1873 with the .44-40 was considered "ideal" for deer, both whitetail and mule, by Van Dyke when he wrote The Still Hunter. His treatise though was all about getting close, and he used iron sights so as one of the previous posts pointed out, under 100m (I'd say under 100 yards, and the closer the better.)

  11. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    Either would be just OK for deer as long as the range is kept short. Pistol bullets are about as aerodynamic as tuna cans and shed what little velocity they have rapidly.
  12. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member

    Energy alone is not the only factor...bullet construction, caliber (to some extent), SD...

    Definitely "momentum" (not as as standalone factor) is not one of them.....

    They didn't have magnumitis either nor they did pretend to shoot buffalo at 400 yards....even without rangefinders they were good at evaluating distances....

    Finally, with time opinions of what is thought to be adequate does change indeed....immediately after its introduction the 30 WCF was considered God's lightning on deer, today is considered entry level...even at the same distances....
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  13. Shung

    Shung Well-Known Member

    Thx a lot for your answers guys. much appreciated, even more in a field I know near nothing !

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