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Old September 27, 2011, 04:02 PM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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44 Bulldog / 44 American... anyone tried reloading

I've got one of these on a solid frame revolver, & been looking at what I'd need to do a load up for these...

... I think I can trim down to length 44 special cases ??? & I'll use a light loading of Trailboss to start... just curious if anyone else has played in this area ???
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Old September 27, 2011, 04:44 PM   #2
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Those are black powder era pistols, should you not be using black powder for those things?
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Old September 27, 2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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I've had good luck using light charges of Trailboss in my black powder era 32 & 38 S&W's
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Old September 27, 2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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Hello, Magnum Wheel Man..Do you mean you have two revolvers..each chambered for one of the cartridges? If not..they are two distinct cartridges..not the same! I know the .44 American itakes a "heeled" bullet..constructed like a .22 rimfire..rebated section inside case..bullet body same dia. as outside case. Not sure about the .44 Bulldog.
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Old September 27, 2011, 05:03 PM   #5
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I'm not positive right now... I'm assuming it's a bulldog chamber... I'll have to do a casting & compare to my Cartridges of the World book... this is why I haven;t loaded for it yet...

... but expect I could use shortened 44 special cases, & if I have to, lead round balls like I use for my gun test loads in 32 & 38 S&W...

just curious if anyone has already "been there, done that" ???
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Old September 27, 2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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While a light load of any smokeless powder won't cause a catastrophic blowup, it will over time stretch the frame. Black Powder is your best bet.
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Old September 27, 2011, 07:10 PM   #7
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The 44 American is very close to the 44 Russian.
The following is some history. They both use the same bullet as the 44 special which is .429

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m.../ai_n31877364/
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Old September 27, 2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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Hello MWM. Buffalo Arms Co. has S&W American brass. I wonder if you could use a hollow-based bullet? Otherwise if you try a .429 dia., it will probably fall right thru that oversize bore!
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Old September 28, 2011, 02:04 PM   #9
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My loading mentor ( retired tool & die guy ) has given me an original 44 Bulldog cartridge... a look see with a caliper looks like unless the chambers are tight, the shortened 44 special cases should work... a soft lead round ball looks like the projectile needed, as the bullet is heel seated, or maybe a gas check lead bullet without a gas check I load soft lead round balls in both my 32 & 38 S&W for my light loads even if the round ball 44 is loose in the bore, being a round ball it'll fly straight enough at belly gun distances
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Old September 28, 2011, 05:24 PM   #10
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the gun... I'd been wanting one for quite a while, & with the loading gate, & reciently was able to get this one off Gun Broker for a couple $100.00 less than others have been selling for...

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Old October 5, 2011, 02:26 PM   #11
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picked up the revolver today... it's in beautyful condition... ( though the cylinder pin is stuck ) the cylinder is stepped, I tried a 44 special cartridge, & it fits nicely ( or would ) if I trimmed off 1/4" off the case length... bullet was tight enough fit in the bore to get belly gun accuracy... now looking for a very light cast bullet or mold to load in the cartridge... should be interesting... the hole in the end of the barrel is impressive, since the gun is about the same size as a 3" barrel J frame
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Old October 5, 2011, 02:58 PM   #12
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my machinist buddy has some extra 44 special cases, he's knurling the head stamps, & shortening 100 of them for me

these bullets aught to work nicely... should be pretty cool...

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...ber=2046845752

maybe I'll just call it 44 extra special
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Old October 5, 2011, 08:00 PM   #13
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I, also, have a pistol, a British Bulldog, chambered for the .44 Bulldog. The proper bullet is, indeed, a heeled bullet...so the diameter of the bullet is the same as the outside diameter of the case. Both bullets and loaded ammo are available from GAD Custom Cartridges. I have had success with cut down .44 spl cases into which I seat lead round balls of .445 diameter over nine grs of FFFg black. The act of seating shaves off a ring of lead and the fit is tight.
In addition, the .44 Bulldog is a shortened version of the .44 Webley. Chances are that your gun may also chamber the slightly longer cartridge. The difference is powder capacity.
It is also possible that using .44 Spl case will require that the rims be thinned a bit so as to avoid binding the cylinder. Maybe.
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Old October 5, 2011, 08:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
The 44 American is very close to the 44 Russian.
I just gave away some .44 Russian and .44 American brass. The latter is .10" longer than the former, and .10" shorter than .44Spl brass.
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Old October 6, 2011, 05:48 AM   #15
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measured my cylinder throats last night... they come out at .428"... so I think the light weight 160 grain 44 bullets will work...

these are .427"

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...ber=2046845752

... the others I posted were .430"... will probably slug the barrel once I get the cylinder pin freed up before I decide which bullet to try loading

hmm... didn't think about the rim thickness
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Old October 7, 2011, 01:02 PM   #16
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.44

You can also make cases from .303 British brass - they require a bit more work as the inside of the mouth of the case needs to be reamed. Very strong case.
The one of the left is made from .303; the scratched up case on the right is a .44 Mag case.

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Old October 7, 2011, 01:30 PM   #17
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I used cut down 44 mag cases and made some wax bullets for mine. mine isn't in that good of shape and I wouldn't trust it with real ammo.
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Old July 30, 2012, 02:19 AM   #18
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trying an experiment

Cut down wome .444 Marlin grass....inside diameter was way too small for a
.44 bullet. So, loaded them up with 5-8 grams of black rifle powder for blanks. Recently used a tubing cutter to cut .44 special ammo to the proper length according to Wikipedia....loaded with 6, 7, and 8 grams of the same rifle powder....specs called for .97 grams, but that filled up my brass to the point that I could not get a .44 round ball to seat, so I cut back on the load. I figure the base of .44 Special brass may be a little bit on the thick side...If this experiment works I may cut down some more .44 special brass, but make it a little bit longer....I shoot black powder cap and ball Remington and Colt replicas and will try some conical bullets from those guns at a later date...gotta find them first....my pistol is a .44 Belgian made "British" Bulldog....similar to a Webley Metropolitian Police....mechanically in fine shape, but not sure I trust the metallurgy....therefore light loads with rifle powder....
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Old July 30, 2012, 09:20 PM   #19
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.44 Bulldog

Quote:
.loaded with 6, 7, and 8 grams of the same rifle powder....specs called for .97 grams, but that
Not sure what you mean by black rifle powder. There is no BP that is specifically for rifles. The two granulations commonly used in both rifles and pistols are FFg and FFFg.
Wikipedia is not a reliable source for load data. Powder charges are normally stated in grains, not grams. Nine to eleven grains of either FFg or FFFg will work.
Have you slugged the bore to determine the size bullet needed?
Pete
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Old July 30, 2012, 10:26 PM   #20
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Hello, 455webley..your last post said.."black rifle powder for blanks". Are you using salvaged rifle blank ctg. powder? If so..it is not real black powder..in fact this stuff has been written up in several handloading books warning of not using for bulleted loads.
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:42 PM   #21
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easy .44 Bulldog Reloads

Been experimenting for the last few months on reloading ammo of my Belgian made .44 "British" Bulldog, probably at least 125 years old....my first experiment involved cut down .444 Marlin brass....it fits, with a slight thinning of the base, but the casing is so thick, you could probably only load a .38 caliber, bullet, so I made some blanks using .6 to .9 grams of Dupont Rifle Powder. My second experiment involved cut down .44 special cartridges, using my tubing cutter, cut the cartridges to the appropriated length and discarded the smokeless powder. According to Wikipedia, an appropriate load of black powder would be equal to .97 grams. Round balls from my cap and ball .44 Remington replica could not be seated with a .9 gram powder charge, so I made three rounds with .6, .7, and .8 grams of Dupont rifle powder. In order to seat the balls, I reamed the rims slightly with a tapered steel rod that just happened to be the right size and pressed the balls in using my drill press vise, protecting the primer with a washer in the vice. The results were quite impressive. At a distance of 15 feet or there abouts the ball from each cartridge completely penetrated a piece of 3/4 inch wafer board and produced lots of lovely smoke. Future experiments will include cutting my .44 special brass to a slightly longer length to facilitate a full load of black powder, and also the use of 180 grain conical bullets produced by the Buffalo Bullet Company, specifically designed for my .44 Colt and Remington replicas. Also, I think a slight thinning of the base just enough to remove .44 Special is justified. there is a slight clearance problem I ran into today at the range, similar to what I found originally using .444 Marlin brass, easily remidied by placing the brass on an appropriately sized dowel in a drill press and turning it on medium grit sand paper or emery cloth. by the way used the same drill press vise to seat primers...worked great. I may also try finer grained pistol black powder and Pyrodex....but I like the smoke and safety margin the rifle powder provides
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Old August 12, 2012, 05:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
6, .7, and .8 grams of Dupont rifle powder
What are you actually loading? A gram is a unit of weight equivalent to 27 grains. You are not loading 16, 18.9, and 21.6 grains of powder into that little case.
What are you using to weigh and to dispense the powder?

Quote:
think a slight thinning of the base just enough to remove .44 Special
You might try thinning the rim from the other side. The problem with thinning from the head stamp side is that you also change the depth of the primer pocket.
It might also be helpful if you would stop thinking in terms of "pistol" black powder.....there is no "pistol" black. There are two granulations commonly used for both rifles and pistols, FFFg and FFg. FFg is frequently used in BP shotgun loads also. Whatever the DuPont powder you are using is, I am not familiar with it.
Did you slug the bore yet?
The proper bullet for the .44 Bulldog and it's longer brother, the .44 Webley, is a heeled bullet (.22 Rimfire bullets are heeled).
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:17 AM   #23
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Any plans on You-tubing at the range with that .44 American Jack Russ...I mean .44 American Bulldog Revolver?
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Old August 13, 2012, 07:30 AM   #24
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Quote:
According to Wikipedia, an appropriate load of black powder...
As has been mentioned, that may well be the worst possible way to obtain load data.
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Old February 28, 2016, 11:25 AM   #25
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Okay, I acknowldege I am bringing a zombie thread to life, but many issues seem to be left unaddressed above.

I have several 1880s vintage revolvers and decided to make some 44 Webley ammo after experimenting with some boxes of 44 Bulldog ammo I got from Western Scrounger back in the day. Making cases in small quantities was initially simple and essentially a 2 step process.

Using some borrowed virgin 44 Special brass the rim was thinned to 0.02" from the case mouth back on my mini lathe. To hold the cases I built a short chamber of brass by drilling a brass round out to a depth of 3/4" with a 29/64" drill then putting that into the 3 jaw chuck. The 44 Special cartridge case goes into the short chamber and a live center presses it in from the rear primer pocket so the rim trimming operation can commence in the direction of the center.

A simple plumbers tubing cutter allows reducing case length to whatever length is needed. The fun part is learning where to make the cut. Be prepared to sacrifice a few cases that come out too short, or use them as a cross between a Bulldog and a Webley load, I did play with using a lathe cutter on the cases but I found the results to be very burry and that the tubing cutter does a much neater job. Early on I realized most of my 44 Webley caliber revolvers had cylinders that had been bored straight through by the makers and were actually a little longer than they needed to be. Although Ely and other ammo makers had not really stabilized as to decisions about the case dimensions for the .44 Webley round and examination of collector cases of different brands from the pre-1900s shows some length variation, due to the lack of a SAAMI type organization covering the different countries involved so that cases can be as short as 0.64" a good rule of thumb is about 0.7". You will have some technical problems regarding crimping if you decide to go longer, but since no one makes factory crimp dies for this caliber anymore anyway, you will be having fun there anyway.

Good news is that I found that even with a thinned rim, a Lee 44 case holder works well with Webley brass in my Lee press.

44 Webley bullets were initially an issue. I used Cerrosafe to make some barrel castings. Surprise, surprise, none of my barrels were 442 bore. All of them were low to high end 43. 44 Magnum bulletts at .429 just drop through all of them, hence the myth the 442 Webley is a true 44. Balderdash, it is a 43. Therefore initially I center drilled/reamed a short length of a 3/4" steel rod to 7/16" (.437") and used it as a swaging die. 45 balls were simply hammered through with a 40 punch I made pushing them through. So too were a few lead round nose 452 bullets of 200 grain weight.

A problem is that the 44 Webley was initially a bullet that was both heeled and hollow based. None the less my swaged loads were usable as they had decent bearing surface to engage rifling and they happily seated round end down and only a very light tap is needed to seat them somewhat firmly. I use just enough FFF so that a light compression of 1/8" is experienced. These bullets work well in all of my .44 Webley revolvers, so if you just want something that goes bang you can stop here.

I next experimented with drilling a steel 1" cube 0.3" deep with a 7/16" drill, then boring the bottom of that hole another 0.3" deep with a 27/64" drill, then having a 3/8" bolt protrude into the cavity from the center of the bottom of the hole. Used as a mold this produced lovely hollow based and heeled wadcutters that work very well once crimped. However these lack lube grooves and after you fire a few dozen BP loads you will wish you had lubed the bullets when you clean the pistol.

Later on someone gave me some once fired 44 magnum brass and I tried that. LoL, his gun has sloppy chambers or he overloads. Either way the head of his cases measured .456" diameter but one of my .44 Webleys has a max chamber dimension of 452 so all of the fired magnum brass needed a case thinning operation at the base. I tried building a .44 Webley resizing die as a short cut from some 7/8" x 14 tpi rod (a grade 2 or 3 bolt is also usable if long enough), but the results were mixed. That last 3/16" can't enter it and that is a critical resizing failure if the round won't seat in the gun. That made a lathe operation neccesary. Frankly based on that experience all 44 magnum brass fired by someone else brass now gets a few 0.0x" shaved off their base at the time of the rim thinning. This has prevented further problems. I have not had any issues with virgin 44 magnum brass.

There are no decent heeled and hollow based bullet molds being sold under the name .44 Webley. In any case all of what is available is configured for the obsolete round nose ball ammo. I did some research and realized the semi-popular Cowboy Action round of 44 Henry Flat had the perfect .43 caliber bullet molds readily available commercially. I picked some up in 200 and 205 grain weight and am a happy camper there as the rounds have decent melats and are also heeled and hollow based with lube grooves and even a crimping groove too.

Early on I had realized both Webley, their clone makers and the ammo companies had missed the significance of the dead space present in the cylinder of a weapon chambered for the .44 Webley round. My chambers are not quite long enough to handle a 44 American round (.9" case length) with one of the Henry bullets, but they will work with a shorter swaged 45 lead ball. So I drilled out a block and set it so that a sized case will sit in it snugly and can be mounted in a mill vise with all but 0.85" protruding as a jig. Then I simply lower a 3/4" end mill on it at 500 RPM and perfectly trimmed cases result. I made a longer block that holds 4 cases at a time and I have found this to be the fastest way of trimming multiple cases.

I next center reamed a short length of threaded 7/8" rod to a depth of 0.7" and a diameter of 29/64" at the entry and a diameter on the other end of 7/16" on the other end. Then I very slightly made the bullet end a hair wider with some emery paper and a dowel. The step in the middle functions as a roll crimp and the cases grab the crimp groove of the Henry bullets very nicely.

I don't know what velocity I am getting but I suspect it is quite a bit faster than the original 44 Webley loads. Western Scrounger 44 Bulldog loads often barely embed in a 1 inch wooden board. On frozen days they bounce off. By way of comparison these things blow through 2 or 3 such boards. In the small bulldog pocket revolvers it kicks a heck of a lot, but I certainly wouldn't want to be standing in front of it. When I reduce the load for target practice and plinking I drop a few felt percussion revolver wads on top of the powder and this maintains the compression all black powder weapons should have present. Fired in a friend's 44 magnum lever action the recoil is about that of a modern.44 Special load. The accuracy isn't bad and I can hit a pie plate from any of the bulldogs at 15 yards and really for a weapon of that type (one with no rear sight at all), what more could you wish?
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File Type: jpg fold.jpg (37.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg NewBulldog44.jpg (58.6 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by Inner Dark; February 28, 2016 at 11:38 AM. Reason: dimension typo and add photos
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