View Full Version : 44 Cal?

March 22, 2012, 10:02 AM
Ok so I've been wondering this since I bought my first revolver. But didn't want to mention it because I know to some its probably a silly question. But why on earth are these pistols referred to as a .44 Caliber when clearly they shoot .45 caliber balls and bullets? Then again with the .36 using a .380" ball. And the .31 cal shoosting a .320" ball.

Hawg Haggen
March 22, 2012, 10:16 AM
C&B are measured groove to groove. Modern guns are measured land to land. And remember balls are reduced some in size when loaded.

March 22, 2012, 10:19 AM
;) got it! Thank you.

March 22, 2012, 11:45 AM
C&B are measured groove to groove. Modern guns are measured land to land.
Isn't it the other way around?:confused:

Land-to-land is smaller, so if the caliber is smaller than the projectile, then it must be land-to-land that's being used for caliber. I think...

For example, my Colt 3rd Dragoon has land-to-land dimension of 0.438" (which is .44 cal) and groove-to-groove dimension of 0.449" (which is .45 cal). It's called a .44, so isn't it the land-to-land dimension that determines caliber in replica and original Civil War era handguns?

March 22, 2012, 01:32 PM

I agree with you. It is the other way around.

March 22, 2012, 09:21 PM
I agree with Mykeal.

The land to land measurement on the 36s & 44s are .360 & .440 respectively. The groove diameters should match the chamber diameter but chambers are often undersized.

March 22, 2012, 09:32 PM
In the days of muzzleloaders, the rifle's caliber was the size of the smoothbore barrel before the rifling grooves were cut, or the land to land diameter.
As breechloading replaced muzzleloaders, it was quickly learned that the major axis, or groove to groove diameter had to match the bullet diameter in order for a gun to be accurate. This led to groove diameter to be standardized and in many cases for the caliber name to reflect the groove diameter instead of the land diameter.

Example, .30 caliber or .308 caliber, depends on what you measure.

March 22, 2012, 10:17 PM
ohhhh, now i get it :D

Ideal Tool
March 23, 2012, 12:49 AM
Hello, deerslayer..what is even more confusing is the modern .38's & .44"s using .358" dia. & .429" dia. bullets!
This goes back to the early ctg. conversions..the cylinder back was faced off, & original chamber hole dia. was retained..the new metalic ctg. cases were based on these dia's. the original bullets were like our modern .22 rimfire..a rebated 'Heel" fit inside case, bearing surface of bullet was nominal case dia...so for the early conversions..the bullets were roughly the same dia. as the old percussion projectiles were.
The confusion come in during the 1890's..when inside lubrication was introduced for these calibers..now the case was lengthened, and the bullet was seated inside..covering lube for cleaner handling...However..that undersized bullet would fall right thru the bore..so it was given a deep hollow base to expand like a minnie bullet into the rifling.