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Old August 28, 2018, 09:37 PM   #8
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Join Date: January 7, 2008
Posts: 2,893
My thinking is that the original 44-40 cartridges were only very slightly less powerful than the 45 Colt. I have read several times over the years that the 45 Colt was the most powerful handgun cartridge in America until the advent of the 357 magnum. I consider that just so much baloney as the 357 magnum is simply a smaller hammer. Sure, it shoots faster and flatter, but if you put 200 grain bullets in a 357 magnum, I think it would fall short of original, black-powder, 44-40 ballistics. If you load real fffG black powder in your 44-40, packed in and compressed with no filler wads, I think you will find that it's not such a mild cartridge after all.
Mike and Yvonne Venturino put together an excellent article called, "Old West Pistol Performance", for HANDLOADER magazine, #244, December 2006, that documents quite well how powerful the 44-40 and 45 Colt really were. Today's so-called, "Cowboy", ammo is totally misnamed, being intended as mild target ammo for a particular shooting sport. The 44-40 and 45 Colt were truly the magnum revolver cartridges of the Old West.
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