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Old October 5, 2018, 11:32 AM   #1
Bernie Link
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410-44 cal. ????

Hi Friends, I picked up an old single shot shotgun. It's an H&R & the barrel is marked "410-44 cal". The guy I got it from said it was manufactured in 1919. What little I could find on it was that it took .44 cal. shotshells or ( I think) 2" .410 ammo. Does anyone have info on these guns & is there factory ammo that I can buy for it? Thanks, Bernie
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Old October 5, 2018, 05:31 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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The barrel marking is a carryover from black powder days. 410 is 410. In the days of cap-and-ball revolvers, the Colt Army was considered a .44 caliber firearm, even though it fired a lead ball with a diameter of .452" to .454". Which happens to be the diameter of modern .45 caliber metallic cartridge ammunition.

If you buy a modern clone of a percussion cap revolver, the barrel is marked ".44 caliber, black powder only." But two companies sell conversion cylinder that allow you to shoot .45 Colt (or the slightly shorter .45 Schofield) ammunition through your ".44 caliber" revolver.

My concern would be the condition and strength of the barrel, and I have no good suggestions as to how you could assess that. I expect that modern .410 ammo will fit and fire, but I would look for the wimpiest .410 loads I could possibly find.
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Old October 5, 2018, 07:32 PM   #3
FrankenMauser
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It's a transitional marking, in order to not confuse the market ... and also help the .410s sell.
The .44 shot cartridges (mostly based on .44-40) came first.
Once .410 bore was introduced, H&R seemed to think they needed to mark the shotguns .410-44, in order to indicate that either type of ammunition could be used in the chamber. That was later dropped to just a stamp indicating .410.

So, that particular H&R should have a .410 chamber.
If it's a 2" chamber, I don't believe you'll be able to easily find ammunition. It will likely need to be made. (And remember that the length of a shotshell is its opened/fired length, not the crimped length. Just because certain 2.5" plastic shells might fit in a 2" chamber, doesn't mean they should be fired!)
If it's a 2.5" chamber, you should be fine. .410 bore was introduced from the outset as a smokeless cartridge. So there should be no worries about black powder barrels.

Your barrel is probably bored to .425" diameter, rather than .410" (nominal).


I was actually trimming some cases earlier, to make some more 2" shells for my own ".44 CALIBER" H&R shotgun. (It came as a small frame with a .410 barrel that needed work. I fitted a separately-acquired .44 shot barrel from an earlier small frame take-down model.)
I don't know exactly what happened to the .44 shot barrel that I have, but the chamber was modified at some point to be very close to a 2" .410.

I took a couple photos for other reasons. So, I'll post one or two, once I download, resize, and upload them to my image host.
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Old October 5, 2018, 08:23 PM   #4
FrankenMauser
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The photos from earlier kind of sucked, so I took another with everything.

MagTech (CBC) 2.5" .410 shot shells, with box marked 36 ga.
Nitro cards.
Fiber cushion wads.
Over-shot cards.
And some trimmed pieces.

The process sounds complicated, but really isn't. There really aren't any actually reloading tools required for the job, either. They just make it easier. ...As would using plastic shells, instead. (But, hey, nostalgia! And brass shells sound so much more awesome when ejected! PwufftIIiiiinnng!)

Cases are trimmed to rough length with a pipe cutter and a mandrel (27/64" drill rod) inserted inside the case. The mandrel keeps the case from collapsing with 'pizza cutter' style cutters, but cases can just as easily be cut with a hacksaw and a steady hand (don't snag it, it'll crease the case). I used the mandrel because I had it - I use that 27/64" (0.421"?) rod in the bores of .444 Marlin and .44 Magnum firearms for unrelated subjects.

Then they're trimmed to final length (2.000" for this chamber) on a lathe-style trimmer*, and chamfered and deburred.
*For this brass, I also had to massage the rims and bases a little bit with a drill and file, to fit the shell holder properly (for trimming and priming). But that isn't, necessarily, required. There are other ways to prime, and alternate methods for trimming, that don't require the use of a shell holder.

Large pistol primers are seated. A powder charge is loaded. A nitro card is pressed in. A cushion wad is inserted. The shot charge is poured. An over-shot card is seated. And, finally, I mark the type of shot and seal with nail polish. (Other sealants are better for repeaters, but I've found the nail polish to work just fine in single-shot or low recoil applications. Plus, it usually burns off completely.)
The better option here is using a crimp tool to crimp the load. ...But I don't have one, and crimping will shorten brass life.

Once fired, I clean the brass, knock the primers out with a punch and hammer (again - the shell holder helps, but isn't necessary), and reload without the trimming steps.

These specific markings:
4 is for number #4 shot.
R is for reclaimed shot. -Mostly #6 to #8, with the odd bit of #4 or #9 making an appearance. (Steel, rocks, and other unwelcome guests have been screened out.)

This wad column and powder charge allow a shot charge around 3/8 oz or less - or up to 7/16 oz with reclaimed shot (damaged shot packs tighter).

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Old October 6, 2018, 08:40 AM   #5
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I am constantly amazed at the wealth of information on this site!
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Old October 7, 2018, 06:32 PM   #6
Bernie Link
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Me Too

I am also amazed at the knowledge of friends on this site. Thanks to everyone, Bernie
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Old October 7, 2018, 08:49 PM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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For reference, here' s the SAAMI drawing for a 2-1/2" .410 shotgun shell, and the corresponding chamber:



.45 Colt brass is .480" in diameter. .44 Special brass is .4569" at the base and .4565" at the case mouth.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 410_SAAMI.JPG (86.5 KB, 84 views)
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