View Full Version : Easier to find: .45 LC or .44-40 ?

December 5, 2009, 08:52 PM
I'm about to buy a new SAA pistol and can choose either .45 or .44-40. I already have a .45 LC SAA and have found it difficult to find ammo for. Is .44-40 any easier to find?

December 5, 2009, 10:07 PM
hmm, 45 is about as easy as it gets. with all the cowboy loads around i am enjoying the rebirth of 32 20, 45 and 44 40. while i shoot all three, the 44 40 is definately my favorite. bobn

December 5, 2009, 10:39 PM

December 5, 2009, 11:52 PM
IMHO 44-40 is a whole lot harder to find than 45LC-

And remember, with 45LC cylinder one can also shoot 45 Schofield and a few months ago Cheaper than Dirt had those little 45LC inserts to let you shoot .22LR for about $50.

However, since you already have a 45LC then do yo thang

Fingers McGee
December 6, 2009, 12:30 AM
I don't have any trouble finding 44-40 rounds. Just open my gun safe & there they are - of course, I reload my own - waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy cheaper that way.

As far a commercially available ammo is concerned, neither is widely stocked unless the store caters to Cowboy Action Shooters; and it usually isn't cheap when it is. Mail order or special order through your local toy store is the easiest way to go.


December 6, 2009, 12:42 AM
orrrrrrrrrrr, get a 44 special

December 6, 2009, 03:38 AM
I reload my own - waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy cheaper that way.

No joke. I went to the gun store after burning through 95 rounds of my .45 Colt reloads, and saw the .45 Colt on the shelves in 50-round boxes for $50 each. It was the first time I realized just how much I save reloading, not to mention the benefits of tailoring my ammunition for groups and leading-free shooting. That morning of shooting cost me under $10, but had I been obligated to buy factory would have run $95! If I didn't reload, I wouldn't shoot.

Uncle Buck
December 6, 2009, 09:57 AM
I had some serious trouble finding .45LC ammo. I do not own a .44- anything, so I did not look for the ammo.

I started reloading and brought my costs per round from .85 cents each to
.23 cents each. Reloading is not really that expensive once you get all the equipment you need. (BUY AND READ the reloading manual, or a couple of them!) It also does not really take up that much space.

I would imagine the cost savings could be comparable with the .44-40 if you decided to reload.

Reloading components have become more readily available and you won't have to worry about being gouged on them as much as you did a few months ago.

Also, this forum has an EXCELLENT reloading section and these guys will help you out tremendously when you have a question.

December 6, 2009, 10:44 AM
45 Colt is far easier. My uncle lent me his Original 1875 Remington in 44-40 to load him some ammo because he has trouble finding it for a reasonable price.

December 6, 2009, 04:14 PM
The store I frequent offers some 300-400 shotguns alone. I couldn't tell you how many pistols and rifles. But I bought their last 2 boxes of 50 count 45LC cowboy loads. They had plenty of 20 round boxes for 19.95 though.

December 6, 2009, 05:22 PM
Amazing! It wasn't all that long ago that .50 cal. BMG rounds were a buck a pop.

December 7, 2009, 10:48 PM
OK on the answers about availability. But what are the pros and cons of a gun chambered in .45LC versus .44-40? Any real differences that would help me make a decision?

December 7, 2009, 11:23 PM
Not just a whole bunch. The .45 colt uses a heavier bullet . Running both rounds at 750 to 950 feet per second the 44-40 with give less recoil. Since you already have a .45 get the .44 .You can always trade it if you don't like it.
One suggestion, if possible mic the chamber throats on the gun you plan to buy. Oversize or undersize throats can cause bad accuracy.

December 8, 2009, 11:21 PM
The first single action I ever owned was a .45 colt. Loved that gun. That was about 17 years ago. I bought my first .44-40 13 years ago. I have since bought 5 more .44-40 firearms. I have seen no difference between the two. I have taken several deer with my .44s. Rifle and revolvers. I have never had a hard time finding >44-40 ammo. Besides you can always order it. Sorry for the long post but I love my .44s :D

December 9, 2009, 02:28 PM
here are my two 44-40 rifles,a rem 14-1/2 carbine and a 1892 win. i wanted to start reloading for them but had always heard how hard it was with alot of ruined cases,so i didn,t reload for them. how ever in the last years i started and i have lost maybe 5 cases out of 100,s of reloades. i load 17grs imr 4227 with a 200gr lead .429 bullet for plinking and 23grs imr 4227 for hunting with the same bullet. i have a old model vaqcuro in 44 mag and i am looking for a extra ruger 44-40 cylinder for it. eastbank.

December 11, 2009, 08:39 AM
the bottle neck shape of a 44 40 allows it to feed and chamber slightly faster. it is slightly more difficult to reload than a 45. my marlin is a cowboy competition model. its chamber is on the loose side so the brass expands more. it splits occasionally.
...just what i have encountered while playing with both. bobn

December 11, 2009, 03:39 PM
OK on the answers about availability. But what are the pros and cons of a gun chambered in .45LC versus .44-40? Any real differences that would help me make a decision?
I like the 45 Colt vs the 44-40 and here is why.

You can use carbide dies on the 45 Colt. You need to lube the 44-40
45 Colt cases are thicker, stronger, and will last longer.
You really have to work hard to bulge a 45 colt case when seating the bullet. You can bulge a 44-40 case by looking at it funny.
Wider selection of bullet styles and weights.

December 28, 2009, 11:03 PM
Thanks guys. I'm about to make my move on the .45 versus .44-40 purchase but, since I don't plan on reloading anytime soon, my question is really about factory ammo.

Will I be able to find .44-40 factory ammo any more easily than .45 LC? Less so, or about the same? Cost difference is not a concern.

December 28, 2009, 11:22 PM
Only a few stores in my area carry .45 LC ammo, and on rare occasions I will find .45 LC brass lying around at the outdoor range where I shoot, which helps me with my reloading. I have never seen .44-40 brass at the range or ammo available anywhere.

December 29, 2009, 08:25 AM
i load 45lc and 44-40, and i have no trouble with either. but from a standpoint of just going to a store and buying ammo, the 45lc is what i would get. but i do like the 44-40 and shoot it more. the cost of store bought 45lc and 44-40 is allfull, 50-60 dollars a box. you must reload to realy save money. i just bought 500 lead 200gr 44-40 bullets for 45.00, 500 primers cost 17.50 and a pound of imr 4227 cost 26.00. to load 500 rounds(10 boxes) cost, bullets 45.00,primers 17.50, powder 43.00 (useing 23grs) total cost 105.00 for 10 boxes plus your time, for the 45lc your bullets may be a little more but not much. eastbank.

December 29, 2009, 09:02 AM
My favorite a 45 LC case full of real black powder topped off with a .250 gr cast bullet . Real fire power .

January 4, 2010, 11:21 PM
Walmart's in my area stock the 45LC, and it's fairly easy to find at other outdoor stores. I don't recall ever seeing 44-40 in retail stores. I have some 44-40 BP loads for an old Colt SAA that I rarely fire.

January 4, 2010, 11:34 PM
If you wanna really shoot .45 colt you need to reload, if you do that they are very easy to find!!
If you dont plan to reload save your brass, people will line up to buy it!

January 7, 2010, 12:19 AM
Bass Pro in Pearl, Mississippi keeps .44-40s on the shelf

January 7, 2010, 10:14 AM
To answer the question. The 45 Colt is easier to find and generally cheaper than the 44-40.
Because of the straight case, the 45 Colt is easier to re-load.
There are many choices of bullet configuration for the 45 Colt, few for the 44-40.

That said, you couldn't pay me to shoot a 45 Colt.

44-40 is the proper Cowboy cartridge.

Diamond LawDawg
January 7, 2010, 04:05 PM
45lc all day long. Have over 3500 rounds that I reload..shooting appx:200 plus each week. Have some really great SAA Colts 3rd Gen and 4th.. Nickle and blue all 4 3/4 with custom Eagle grips..Sambar,Buffalo Horn and Elk handles...retired PO carrying Glock 30 and 27 model...but I'm just as good with my single action Colts dead money out to 45 ft under the timer. Hell even got a derringer (BOND) in 45lc and that mother is dead on at 45ft also

January 8, 2010, 01:28 AM
That said, you couldn't pay me to shoot a 45 Colt.

44-40 is the proper Cowboy cartridge.

It's funny. I can hear the cowpokes back in the late 1800s sitting around the camp fire after chuck discussing this same thing like we are doing here. Those with Winchesters were probably more likely to prefer the .44-40, but by the turn of the century, with the production numbers tallied, the .45 Colt was the clear winner by a big margin;)

January 8, 2010, 08:03 AM
When I first started Cowboy shooting I wasn't yet reloading. I'd buy a case of .45LC from Black Hills Ammo. At that time, I was able to request "seconds" and save a few bucks. You might want to try that.

January 8, 2010, 09:46 AM
if you tally all the winchesters made in 44-40 from the 1873 to the last 1892,you will find winchester made more 44-40,s than colt made 1873 revolvers or there big double actions in 45 colt. the winchester was just about the only way to go if you wanted a powerfull rifle and revolver combo. i reload just about all the old winchester rounds for the 73,s and 92,s and also reload for most modern rounds including the 45 colt and don,t find the old winchester rounds any harder to load for than the newer rounds, the cases may cost a little more,but not by much. i just bought 100 new 44-40 case for 30.00 and 370 once fired cases at a local gun shop for 35.00 and 500 hard cast and lubed 200grs .428 bullets for 45.00. i know all the older winchesters calibures(25-20,32-30,38-40 and 44-40) feed better than any of the straint walled cases do in lever actions. eastbank.

January 8, 2010, 01:17 PM
No fair. The tally to which I was referring was for the SAA, since the original question was only about SAAs and ammunition availability, not Winchester rifles or carbines:D Besides, I was just messin' around with what Noz said.

Just so we don't get too far off track:
Easier to find: .45 LC or .44-40 ?


I'm about to buy a new SAA pistol and can choose either .45 or .44-40. I already have a .45 LC SAA and have found it difficult to find ammo for. Is .44-40 any easier to find?

January 8, 2010, 02:38 PM
no problem. and the 45 colt ammo is easier to find than the 44-40 in general. eastbank.

January 9, 2010, 10:22 PM
I still haven't made my move but I was in my favorite gun store yesterday looking for the exact gun I wanted (which they didn't have) and noticed they had six boxes of .44-40 on the shelf, and no .45 LC of any kind. I was leaning toward the .45 until I saw that. Now I'm really confused as to which direction to go. There's probably less demand for .44-40, which one might think would make it easier to find.

Like I said, I'll probably eventually go the reload route, but right now I can't do it and need factory ammo, however expensive.

January 9, 2010, 10:53 PM
45LC way easier to find

January 11, 2010, 11:35 PM
Well, I finally found and bought my gun today (1866 Winchester Yellowboy (Uberti)) in .45 LC. So I guess that ends my concern over the .45 versus .44 question. Actually, I would have preferred the .44 because it would have been more historically accurate (although not rimfire).

At least I can now use the same ammo for my rifle and my six shooter.

Thanks for all the answers to my original question. Best wishes to all.

Now, if I could just find .45 LC ammo. My favorite store says they haven't gotten any in two months.

January 12, 2010, 06:40 AM
find a cheap press and reload,reload. you should be able to for about 10.00 a box,if you get into it more and cast and resize your own lead bullets, the cost will go down to about to 5-6 dollars,eastbank.

January 14, 2010, 06:16 PM
I think you made a good choice, I'd love to get one of those rifles someday! I would have gone for the '73 though. Maybe next year.
About those six boxes of 44's. You would have bought them and they wouldn't be restocked for months most likely. I would seriously recommend reloading for your 45. You'll save a ton of money.

January 14, 2010, 06:22 PM
Not round here.