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Old March 14, 2020, 03:03 PM   #26
Savvy_Jack
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Can't take it with you to the next life, better enjoy it while you can.
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Old March 15, 2020, 01:35 PM   #27
budrock56
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Thanks. I plan to.
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Old March 16, 2020, 10:07 PM   #28
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

I load and shoot Black Powder cartridges all the time. 45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44-40, 44 Russian and 38-40.

My BP 44-40 rounds I usually shoot in modern reproductions.

I always say I will not shoot Smokeless ammo in an antique revolver. As a matter of fact Colt did not factory guarantee the Colt Single Action Army for Smokeless powder until 1900. But I degress.

I think rifles are a bit of a different story.

Yes, the Model 1873 Winchester is not as strong as the later Model 1892 Winchester, because of the toggle link action. It simply does not lock up like a bank vault the way the '92 action does.

But if you think about it, there is much more steel surrounding the chamber of a rifle than there is surrounding the chambers of a revolver. As long as the bolt locks up properly a rifle made in 1883 is going to be stronger than a revolver made in 1883.

I bought this Winchester Model 1873 a few years ago. It was made in 1887. Although I have only fired it with my Black Powder reloads, I would not hesitate to fire light Smokeless ammunition in it.






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I'd re-think the idea of shooting it at all. There's an 1880 vintage, .44-40, '73 on Guns International with a $48,500.00 USD price tag on it.
Another 1883 .44-40 on Collector Firearms at $17,500.00.
Yup, those prices are delusional, unless they are very special rifles. I can't come across the receipt right now, but I think I paid around $1200 for my antique '73.



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The buyer had other model 1873 rifles that he reloaded for using smokeless powder. After less than ten rounds through the new old gun, the firing pin hit the primer on a round with a double charge of a fast burning powder. Luckily, the man was not hurt but the gun was destroyed.
I'm not surprised the rifle was destroyed by a double charge. That is one reason Unique is my favorite Smokeless powder. It takes up a fair amount of space in the cartridge, and if I am paying attention a double charge should be pretty obvious.
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Old March 17, 2020, 08:35 AM   #29
Savvy_Jack
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Quote:
I always say I will not shoot Smokeless ammo in an antique revolver. As a matter of fact Colt did not factory guarantee the Colt Single Action Army for Smokeless powder until 1900. But I degress.
Ironically, by 1900 Winchester added the "Not For Pistols" on the side labels of it's red labeled smokeless powered ammo boxes. However, previous years labeled for the Winchester 73'

The problem was not the Winchester 73', it was the revolvers thin cylinder walls.

By 1909 the "Not for Pistols" was removed.




Last edited by Savvy_Jack; March 17, 2020 at 08:48 AM.
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Old March 17, 2020, 10:23 AM   #30
Mike Irwin
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"Ironically, by 1900 Winchester added the "Not For Pistols" on the side labels of it's red labeled smokeless powered ammo boxes."

Sort of.

With the introduction of the Model 1892, Winchester, and later other ammo manufacturers, developed a line of high velocity ammunition specifically for use in the 1892 and NOT in either the 1873 or handguns -- any handgun -- to include the later Smith & Wesson and Colt hand ejectors in .32-20 and others.

Names like High Speed, Super Speed, and High Velocity were used to denote these rounds were for the 1892.

These cartridges were also generally loaded with jacketed bullets; regular velocity ammo was not.

The "Not for Revolvers" marking stayed on Winchester boxes for a LOT longer than 1909, as well.

This box is, I believe, from around World War I, possibly into the 1920s.

https://picclick.com/Antique-Winches...070472255.html

That marking, in various forms, stayed on Winchester boxes right up through the World War II.

And yeah, the load could be a SERIOUS problem to earlier 1873 Winchesters. If someone didn't pay attention and loaded a HV round it could could blow the side plates off.
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Old March 17, 2020, 10:28 AM   #31
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Western was still carrying HV ammo with the warning as late as 1954.

Check out the 1954 Western Jobber's Price Guide here:

http://cartridgecollectors.org/ammun...talogs/Western
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Old March 17, 2020, 12:06 PM   #32
Jim Watson
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I think .32-20 HV was the last of the rifle only series; it was still in the ammo table in the 1960 Gun Digest.
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Old March 17, 2020, 08:09 PM   #33
Savvy_Jack
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Mike, you are talking about two different loading's. The OP's rifle is a 44-40.

Winchester had two offerings of smokeless powder for the 44-40. "Normal" loads and "High Velocity" loads. I can get technical but trying to keep it simple!

In 1895 Winchester offered the first smokeless powder loads for the Winchester 73'. They were sold in 50 round ammo boxes with RED labels. By 1900 Winchester ADDED "Not for Pistols" on the side label...5 years later!!!!! As I already posted, the label was marked for "Winchester Model of 1873'". By 1909, another four years later, the "Not for Pistols" was removed. By 1900 the "92'" was added to the main title..."Winchester Rifle Models 1873' and 1892'".

By 1903, Winchester offered the "High Velocity" load for the 44-40. The box label was YELLOW and noted ".44-40 Model 1892 Special". It also noted "Low Pressure". Handloads at the time to replicate those "Low Pressure" High Velocity loads called for 14,000cup using rifle powders of the time. Two other HV offerings for the 44-40 had Lavender and Pink labels for "full patch" bullets. This load, in all colors, again noted "Not for Pistols" on the side label.

Now...Ironically, using pistol powders at the same time by handloaders for PISTOLS, Unique and Bullseye loads produced 15,000cup and is noted being recommended by the powder manufactures, thus questioning Winchester's motive's for pistol use....could be simply a liability issue for a firearm they do not manufacture.

By 1910...the Yellow label HV loads produced 22,000cup and maintained the "Not for Pistols" on the label.

Photos of these box labels can be seen here: https://sites.google.com/view/44winc...line-1873-1959

ALSO photographed is the same "1946" Winchester box but for the 44-40 (as you mentioned for the 32-20)....no such "Not for Pistols" noted for the 44-40 offering as well as it not being offered as a H.V. round in that box. However, it does specially state "for...Colt...revolvers"

"After" WWII, other ammo manufactures, such as Remington, still offered the 44-40 HV loadings but by this time they were all "neutered" and safe for all firearms chamber for the caliber.

Eventually I will be done editing!!!

I don't know when SAAMI standardized the 44-40 at 13,000cup but by the 1940's, SAAMI began the "safety" aspect of shooting. By 1970, the copper crusher method was superseded by the piezoelectric transducer method. By 2015, the 44-40 shows a max pressure of 13,000cup/11,000psi.

The SAAMI date timeline correlates with the neutering timeline of the 44-40.

Last edited by Savvy_Jack; March 17, 2020 at 09:17 PM.
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Old March 18, 2020, 07:13 AM   #34
Mike Irwin
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Yep, yep, you're right. For some reason I got it in my head that he had a .32-20 rifle.
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Old March 18, 2020, 08:59 PM   #35
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I actually had to go back and look myself. I can get all caught up in the 44-40, sometimes I forget where I am!!
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