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Old January 30, 2014, 03:26 AM   #1
Doc Hoy
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New at .44-40

It appears, I will be loading .44-40 which is a seventh caliber for me.

I use a Lee multi stage press and Lee dies.

I will be loading black powder and subs only for an Uberti 1866 with .24 Inch barrel.

I plan to at least begin with the Lee mold for .44-40 which is a 240 gr round nose. I have this mold and will try bullets from it for starters. Bullet diameter is .429. I do not have the rifle yet and so have not slugged the bore.

A Lee alternative is a RNFP bullet at 310 gr. This is a .430 inch bullet with bigger grooves for lube (I use either bees wax and mutton tallow or beeswax and lard)

I will cast metal at roughly BHN 14.

I like speed and so the smaller bullet suits me especially since I already have the mold. On the other hand, the bigger bullet may grab the rifling better and do a better job of lubing for bp loads.

Here is the first question:

Does anyone with experience in loading for this rifle have a bullet recommendation other than the two I have mentioned.

Second question:

I will likely load full loads (all powder with no filler) including Triple Seven. Is that too much pressure for the 1866 action AND is it too much pressure for a .44-40 revolver clone?

Third question:

Does anyone have any old loading stuff for .44-40 they would be willing to sell? Dies, Brass? Bullet sizer for the Lyman .450?
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Old January 31, 2014, 03:18 PM   #2
454PB
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I have the same rifle. The limiting factor with any bullet you use is keeping COL short enough to feed properly. I haven't tried the Lee 310 gr. (though I have the mould and use it in .44 magnum), but I think it's WAY too long to be usable in this application.

I'm using the Lyman 429215 215 grain bullet sized to .429". I have to seat to crimp above the normal crimp groove for proper feeding.

I can't help with black powder recipes, I only use smokeless in mine.

Last edited by Shane Tuttle; March 25, 2014 at 07:39 PM. Reason: Bullet...
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Old January 31, 2014, 04:36 PM   #3
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454

Thanks for the heads up.

I handled one of these Uberti 66s previously and liked it. The one I am purchasing is sight unseen but the guy I am getting it from is monumentally trustworthy. Knows what he is talking about.

I spoke to another person who told me that the lube rings on the .429 are large enough for good lubrication. I am ready to declare that I will probly stick with the .429s in anticipation of few problems with it.

I use a similar bullet in .45 LC revolvers and model 92 and Henry Big Boy with no problems.
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Old January 31, 2014, 04:43 PM   #4
WIL TERRY
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WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, SIR, You need to do a hellofabunch more reading on the loading of the 44WCF/44-40 cartridge AND the guns you want to shoot it in.
I load for five or six 44-40 handguns and a 44-40 '73 carbine and I would NEVER EVER NEVER shoot any bullets in 'em weighing over 240grs. The cartridge was designed for 200gr LFN bullets and after testing 200, 210, 215, 220, 225, and 240GR LFN bullets in all my guns it is pretty damned obvious why they chose the 200Gr LFN in in 1873. All the LFN bullet weights noted were designed for the 44-40 cartride and it's must-have- cartridge overall length of 1.590" to function through 1860, 1866, and 1873 rifles and carbines.
Furthermore, you have chosen the weakest action design to shoot those heavy bullet loads, and in the very weakest of the '73 style guns, the '66 made of brass not STEEL. Go read now, quiz and review in the morning !!
YEP, one of my all time favorite cartridges and I NEVER ever pick favorites.
And so it goes.....
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Old February 1, 2014, 02:31 AM   #5
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Wil

Thanks for the post. And no reason for the "WITH ALL...." I have pretty thick skin so there is no way I could ever feel disrespected when someone is advising me to be smarter. The reading you suggest is what I am doing right now.

I am gratified to know that .44-40 is a round you like. I was initially reluctant to start in on this caliber, but when a rifle came up for a good price, from a guy I respect, I couldn't pass it up, new caliber and all. I sent out some feelers for a 66 or 73 and I honestly did not expect to find one so quickly. Actually I did not choose it, it chose me.

My preference was .45LC. I had a Henry in .357 and IMO that was too small for that rifle. I have two other rifles in .45LC (Lightest RNFP I could find) and I am not a sophisticated shooter so it is not likely I could tell much difference from rifle to rifle using one round.

I took from your post that going bigger than 240 is not recommended and I can understand why. I am happy to know that smaller is better.
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Old February 1, 2014, 02:54 AM   #6
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I use a Lee 200 grain RNFP. Its a smokeless bullet with two grooves but does hold enough lube for bp. Most modern 44-40 bores are .429 but most dies still size to the old standard of .427. My mold throws pure lead bullets to .430. Trying to stuff .430 bullets down a thin necked case sized to .427 results in crushed cases. RCBS makes cowboy dies that size to .429 or you can use a .44 mag expander plug. I just use a wad punch to bell the case mouth a little more. The original 44-40 bp load was 40 grains but with modern cases you wont get but around 35-37 grains. I fill the case to within 1/16" and seat the bullet. That gives you a good compressed load. Figuring a base load of 37 grains with a full load of T7 that would give you right at 42 1/2 grains so that shouldn't be enough to stress the 66 action and it will be fine in your 73 Colt clones.
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Old February 1, 2014, 06:34 AM   #7
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Hawg...

Who made your 200 grain mold?

As regards expanding the cases, I can get a tiny bit of over expansion in all of the other Lee dies I use. I actually have to be careful how I set them up because of this. I have a separate turret for each caliber I load, but I always check the first coupla rounds for expansion and for COL. I don't generally have to change anything, but you can't be too careful.

I might be able to use Lee dies for the .44-40 and have a similar situation, allowing me to use .430 bullets. Now the problem is where do I get a lube sizer for the 450 that sizes to a true .430. I want to avoid lubing separately if I can.
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Old February 1, 2014, 06:37 AM   #8
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Never mind...I think I just found it.

Lee 90285.
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Old February 1, 2014, 08:42 AM   #9
Hawg
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Quote:
I use a Lee 200 grain RNFP.
Quote:
Who made your 200 grain mold?
That would be a Lee mold Doc.
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Old February 1, 2014, 12:30 PM   #10
Doc Hoy
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Yep...

Titan has the mold and the dies for .44-40 in stock.

I'll be on that like a Wolverine on a Poptart.

A bought some .44-40 Cowboy rounds from Georgia Arms and Ammo at the Gun Show today.

They are smokeless and 200 gr RN.
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Old February 1, 2014, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
I'll be on that like a Wolverine on a Poptart.
Never heard that before, gonna hafta remember it.
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Old February 1, 2014, 04:26 PM   #12
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Roy D. Mercer

Very Funny
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