Cowboy Action Loads - THR

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Old Yesterday, 10:21 PM   #1
Join Date: October 5, 2014
Location: rural SC
Posts: 241
Cowboy Action Loads

A friend has recently acquired a gen-1 Colt Frontier, circa 1878. He would like to shoot it a few times before displaying it in his collection. I must confess to ignorance of pre-1900 ammo.

So the question: Does current .44-40 Cowboy Action ammo have black powder propellant? Trying to help him locate some safe ammo to shoot in his Colt, and can't seem to find the specifics in the on-line ads.

Any Cowboy Action shooters here?
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Old Yesterday, 10:27 PM   #2
Join Date: July 27, 2010
Posts: 1,301
Unless it says black powder, it is a relatively fast
smokless pistol powder held to a safe 14-15,000 CUP

(BTW: The above is one of the few times I've see BlackHill 44-40 offerred/in-stock)

and there is still BP-loaded ammunition:


Last edited by MEHavey; Yesterday at 10:35 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 11:50 PM   #3
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Join Date: January 27, 2006
Location: West Tennessee
Posts: 11,574
So-called cowboy ammo is loaded to even less pressure than standard factory ammo. I wouldn't hesitate to use it in a blackpowder era antique that was in sound mechanical condition.
"What we think, we become." - Margaret Thatcher

"Wise men learn by others’ harms; fools by their own." - Benjamin Franklin

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Old Today, 07:55 AM   #4
Join Date: October 5, 2014
Location: rural SC
Posts: 241
Thanks guys. Really appreciated.
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Old Today, 12:49 PM   #5
Join Date: November 4, 2007
Posts: 3,245
Speaking of the BH .44-40- When I used some in a test of the new Henry 1860 rifle, their cowboy lead load chronographed FASTER than Rem & Win jacketed standard velocity stuff.

The .44-40 (by at least those two makers) commercially available is not loaded very hot.
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Old Today, 01:02 PM   #6
Join Date: November 15, 2008
Location: Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
Posts: 6,832
I can also add in that from shooting 30gns of black powder in my replica cap and ball guns that .44-40 black powder loads are going to be some fun in a Colt.

I've shot a proper full load of black in .45Colt. And trust me, that was no "cowboy action" mouse burp load! ! ! ! It truly did feel like a full house .357Mag but with the typical black powder "push" instead of the smokeless style "smack".

If your buddy is a reloader for making ammo for his other guns then he would be able to make up fun but still light plinking loads for enjoying his Colt now and then which don't strain the gun even as much as the original black powder .44-40 loads did.
Sent from my boat anchor desktop via my pizza greased fingers....
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Old Today, 03:21 PM   #7
Join Date: July 27, 2010
Posts: 1,301
My `73 SAA 44-40 shooting a 200gr Lyman 427666 over 38gr/FFFg (compressed 0.2") was a
handfull. (in fact several folks came out of the range building to watch the balls of flame)

Nothing "Cowboy" about it.

Fully load up the cylinder pin/bushing with grease beforehand or fouling will lock things up
after a dozen rounds (or less)


Last edited by MEHavey; Today at 03:27 PM.
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