View Full Version : Modifying Ruger .44-40 cylinders?

July 27, 2001, 08:51 AM
There's an unfired Vaquero in .44-40 locally for $375.

I've heard that early models, at least, used standard .44 mag barrels, @ .429", and the cylinders are .425", causing accuracy problems.

How expensive a gunsmithing solution would it be to bore the taper out of the cylinder and use cut down length .44 mag cases?

Steve Rose
July 27, 2001, 09:09 PM
Sorry, that solution would not work. The base of the .44-40 is larger than the .44 Mag. or Special (469" v.s. .456"). The dimensional variance you mentioned did exsist in the early Rugers. Some would not even chamber a .44-40 loaded with a .429 bullet, although some would.

You've got 3 options:
1- Check with Ruger, I understand they are aware of the dimensions and will open up the throat if you return the cylinder. Some smiths advertising in CAS periodicals are also doing this job.
2-If it will chamber a round with a .429 bullet, shoot it and check the accuracy ( I've got one that shoots wonderful groups -no problems)

3-Have a .44 Mag cylinder fitted if you desire to shoot that round.

Have fun

July 29, 2001, 09:01 PM
Get a smith or machinist buddy to 'mike' the cyl throats or use a near size egg shaped fishing sinker to slug the diameters. Ideally they should be .0005" larger then bore size. This is a simple enough project for some home gunsmith work. Stillwell tool and die will hone the cylinder to your specs for about 45 bucks. Unless you have cowboy shooting on your mind, I'd leave the 44-40 die. It's not the easiest cartridge to reload and won't safely equal a +p 44 special.