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Old April 23, 2020, 07:26 PM   #1
Peter R
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Rossi 1892 carbine

I am thinking about picking up a used ( may be unfired ) Rossi saddle ring 1892 carbine 20” barrel from a gentleman i do not know. It is chambered in 44-40 he purchased it new so time around 1992.
I have a few concerns or questions.
1) I have never herd of the brand Rossi, from the little I’ve read up on it it may be Taurus manufacturing?
2 ) is the ammo readable available?
3 ) I reload for most of what I shoot, are the dyes and projectiles easy to find or am I going to need to cast my own?

Should I stay away from this ???

Any advice would be appreciated
Peter
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Old April 23, 2020, 07:48 PM   #2
Centurion
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For a good price?

Rossi at that time was not manufactured by Taurus. But were pretty good and reliable guns.
44-40 is a very common cartridge, so you won't have any problem to find ammo or bullets or even cases. But you will need a set of dies, since no other caliber die could be used to reload it.
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Old April 23, 2020, 07:52 PM   #3
Centurion
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At the end, if it is in good shape and the price is fair, go ahead, it is a good gun.

Their model name is Puma (spanish word for cougar). And Amadeo Rossi made it in 44-40, 44 mag, 357 mag and 38 special, last caliber only for the brazilian market I think.
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Old April 23, 2020, 08:11 PM   #4
Peter R
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Thanks , I’m going to grab it. Looks like a fun shooter.
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Old April 23, 2020, 10:58 PM   #5
44 Dave
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.44-40 is not the easiest to load, RCBS cowboy dies seem to give the best results. On the other hand it is one of the best black powder cartridges, the necks are thin and seal the blow back of fouling, and the large case rim is better for sure ejecting.
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Old April 24, 2020, 03:25 AM   #6
Hawg
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I had a pre safety Rossi in 44-40 and loved it but I needed money and sold it. The standard 44-40 dies size to the original size of .427. Modern 44-40's like the Rossi use .429 bullets. Trying to stuff a .430 bullet into a very thin case neck sized to .427 results in a crumpled case. RCBS cowboy dies size to .429.
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Old April 24, 2020, 06:56 AM   #7
Peter R
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This is a pre safety model 44-40 as well.
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Old April 24, 2020, 01:54 PM   #8
Driftwood Johnson
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Howdy

I have been shooting and loading 44-40 for a long time. Currently I have five rifles and two revolvers chambered for it.

I have not bought any factory 44-40 ammo in a long time, because I have been loading my own for so long, but whenever I walk into a gun shop, 44-40 is not as common to find on the shelves as more common cartridges such as 45 Colt or 38 Special. If you go into a big outlet, such as Cabellas, they will probably have some 44-40 in stock. Not very likely to find it in a small store. It is readily available by mail, Midway USA seems to always have some.

https://www.midwayusa.com/44-40-wcf/...ctedSort=False


Note: 44-40 was originally developed for the Winchester Model 1873, so most places list it as rifle ammunition, but some may list it as revolver ammunition.


The traditional 19th Century groove diameter for 44-40 was .427. Most modern manufacturers use barrels with .429 groove diameter, but not necessarily all. Of my five 44-40 rifles, only one modern one (my Uberti 1860 Henry) has a groove diameter of .429. One antique Winchester 1892 also has a groove diameter of .429. The remainder, an Uberti 1873 replica, an antique Winchester Model 1892, and a Marlin Model 1894 all have .427 groove diameters. The only way to know exactly what you have is to slug the barrel, which is not as difficult as it may seem. I would be glad to post my technique for slugging a barrel, it only takes about five minutes once I am set up.

When I first started loading 44-40 I was loading it for the Uberti 1873 with its .427 groove diameter. I experimented with .427, .428, and .429 bullets. All shot fine, however because the chamber was a little bit tight, ammo loaded with .429 bullets did not chamber easily. Do not be tempted to resize your loaded ammo, you will be squeezing down the bullet diameter inside the case mouth. Choose the right bullet diameter to begin with. At that time I settled on .427 diameter bullets. I was buying 200 grain hard cast bullets from a local caster. When I bought my Henry with its .429 diameter rifling grooves, I did not want to be loading ammo with different sized bullets for different rifles, so I compromised on .428 for all my 44-40 ammo. This has worked out fine, the .428 bullets shoot very accurately out of the .429 grooves of the Henry, and they are perfectly .001 oversize for my other rifles.

Yes, it can be a problem seating .429 or .430 bullets in mouth of 44-40 cases. Because the brass at the neck is so thin, it is easy to crumple the case mouth. One trick is to use the expander plug from a 44 Magnum/44 Special die set. These are set up for .429 bullets and the extra .002 of expansion of the neck can lessen the friction of shoving a large bullet into a small case mouth. This can help prevent crumpling the neck when the bullet is seated.

I have always loaded my 44-40 ammo with a standard RCBS die set, the 'cowboy' dies were not available yet.

Because of the tapered nature of the case, carbide dies are not available for 44-40. Hornady dies have a Titanium Nitride (TiN) coating on the inside of the decap/sizing die, but nobody makes carbide dies. This means that lubing the cases is a must. I give my brass a quick shot of Hornady's spray case lube while I am setting up my press. This gives the lube a chance to dry. A quick squirt is all that is needed, too much can leave droplets of liquid behind that can dent the brass. I usually buy my 44-40 brass from Starlne, they always seem to have it in stock. I used to buy Winchester 44-40 brass, but it was often not available, and twice I found a 44 Magnum case in bags of Winchester 44-40 brass. I only us Starline now. I can actually get away with not lubing brand new Starline 44-40 brass, the sizing die barely touches them. But once they have been fireformed, lubing the cases is a must.

I always say 44-40 is not difficult to load, but it is 'fussy'. This is mostly because of the thin brass at the case mouth. 44-40 brass tends to run around .007 thick at the case mouth, 45 Colt brass tends to run around .012 thick. So if a 44-40 case is not perfectly seated in the shell holder as it rises up towards the decap/sizing die, and the case mouth should happen to bump into the bottom of the die, the neck will probably crumple and be ruined. The more robust 45 Colt case would simply shrug off such a blow. The simple solution is to slow down. So if you feel a case mouth contact the bottom of the die, you can stop the stroke immediately before any damage is done. Yes, it happens to me all the time, cases don't always sit perfectly centered in the shell plate of my Hornady Lock & Load AP progressive press.

I have already mentioned the use of a 44 Mag expander plug to lessen the friction of a .429 or .430 bullet going down that neck with the thin brass. The other thing is that when seating and crimping in one step, as the seating/crimp die 'swallows' the case rising up towards the crimping constriction in the die, if the tippy top of the case mouth bumps into the underside of the crimp groove of the bullet, the thin brass has nowhere to go. What usually happens is the brass gets displaced downward, and crumples under the bullet.

Like this: (I set the dies really badly for this photo to exaggerate the effect)






A 45 Colt case would laugh and the crimp would burrow into the bullet, but the thin 44-40 brass is not rigid enough to do that. Again, there is a very simple solution. When setting up your dies the first time, set the die so that when the crimp is formed a hairline of space will be left above the top of the crimp and below the underside of the crimp groove. Like this:






That way, the crimp does not bump into the lead, and the neck will not crumple below the bullet. There only needs to be a few thousandths of space. When setting up your dies the first time, measure a bunch of pieces of brass, and select a few of the longest pieces to use as your set up pieces. That way any brass that is a few thousandths shorter will automatically leave a bit of space.


One more thing about loading 44-40. Because the brass at the case mouth is so thin, the crimp does not tend to be very strong. The action of the spring loaded follower slamming all the rounds in the magazine back every time a round is stripped out of the magazine can tend to cause bullets to telescope back into the cases. Not a problem with my Black Powder 44-40s, there is a 'solid plug' of Black Powder preventing bullets from setting back. But with the empty space in a Smokeless load, this can be a problem. I am hearing a lot of guys are having good luck with the more robust crimp formed by the Redding Profile Crimp Die. They seat the bullet in one step, then crimp using the Redding die in the next step. They tell me the crimp formed is more robust and helps prevent bullets from telescoping into the case when slammed back by the follower.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; April 24, 2020 at 02:08 PM.
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Old April 25, 2020, 05:24 AM   #9
Peter R
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Driftwood.
Bunch of great information you gave me. I appreciate it.

I ended up picking up the gun. There is very little doubt in my mind that this is unfired.

I have done a little searching online and you are correct the brass is readily available, I have also checked in with several local shops and they have a factory loads on the shelf.
I will pick up a couple of boxes to give her a test drive.


I would be foolish not to except your offer in sharing with me how you slug your barrels. I have done it once and I’m sure there is a mush better way of doing it. Once I know what the bore is i wil, order up the dies and expander.

This cartridge looks like it has many options for reloads. From cast to jacketed projectiles, smoukless powder to possibly using black powder. Looks like I have a lot to learn.

Thanks again
Peter
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Old April 25, 2020, 09:04 AM   #10
Tidewater_Kid
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Congratulations on your purchase. I foolishly sold a pre-safety Rossi made for EMF. Wish I still had that one. I missed it so I purchased another newer model made for EMF by Taurus. It's nice and a good shooter, but that earlier model was better. Attached a picture of that 1st one.

Posts some pictures of it when you can.

Andy
Attached Images
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Old April 25, 2020, 09:49 PM   #11
Driftwood Johnson
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Quote:
I would be foolish not to except your offer in sharing with me how you slug your barrels. I have done it once and I’m sure there is a mush better way of doing it. Once I know what the bore is i wil, order up the dies and expander.
By the way, if you decide to try loading Black Powder for your Rossi, you will find almost no fouling escapes into the mechanism. The thin brass at the neck is why, it expands at the relatively low pressure developed by Black Powder to completely seal the chamber. Almost all of the fouling goes down the bore, very little gets into the mechanism. Which is a good thing with a '92 because they are a pain to take down for cleaning. Generally speaking, a rifle chambered for 45 Colt will have a lot more soot getting into the mechanism because the thicker brass does not expand to seal the bore as well.

If you want to try loading Black Powder, here is where I buy my Big Lube bullets:

http://www.whyteleatherworks.com/BigLube.html

I use the 200 grain Mav-Dutchman bullets in my 44-40 and 44 Russian Black Powder cartridges.

Anyway, without further ado, here is how I slug a barrel. Sorry, but it is a little bit long:





Slugging a Barrel
There are lots of ways to slug a barrel. Here's how I do it.

First off you need to come up with a slug. I have used all sorts of things to slug barrels. Ideally, your slug should be just a few thousandths larger in diameter than the grooves you are slugging. If it is too big, you spend a lot of effort driving it into the muzzle in the first place. I have used soft cast bullets, hard cast bullets, soft lead round balls, whatever I have laying around that is just a tad larger than the bore I am trying to measure. I have even taken a 44 caliber soft lead round ball and hammered it down to a rough bullet shape in order to slug a 30 caliber rifle. Some folks also use lead fishing sinkers, if you can still buy them where you live.

When I slug a rifle I lay the gun down on a soft towel on my bench. Or else I support it in a felt lined rifle rack. I do not jam it in place so it does not move. I allow it to slide slightly with each hammer blow, hence the soft towel or felt to protect the finish. I used to slug bores completely dry, but lately I have taken to running a patch dampened with Ballistol down the bore. You don't have to soak the bore. Frankly, I don't think it makes much difference if the bore is lubricated or not, I've done it both ways and don't really see much difference.

Whenever possible, I will slug a bore from the chamber end. However with revolvers and most lever guns it can only be done from the muzzle end. I start with a short rod, only around 8 or 10 inches long. It is much easier to control a short rod when you are whacking it than trying to whack the end of a 3 foot long rod while still trying to hold onto the gun. I grasp the muzzle in my left hand, and jam the slug into the muzzle so it holds still. I also hold the rod in place with my left hand, leaving my right hand free to use the hammer. I place the end of the short rod on the center of the slug to get it started, grasping both the muzzle and the rod in my fist. I like to use brass rods. Some prefer wood, but I find wood splinters and shatters. I start with a brass rod about 10 inches long. I have a few lengths. 5/16" diameter brass will work for everything from 38 (.357) on up to 45.

Most any hammer will do, I have a nice 8 ounce ball peen hammer that works well.

The key here is to not hit the muzzle with your hammer. I start with the short rod. Getting the slug completely into the bore is the hardest part. Once it gets into the bore, it moves more easily. Don't be scared, I have never gotten a slug stuck in a barrel. Just be careful. I change the short rod to a longer rod long before my hammer gets anywhere near the muzzle so I don't risk striking the barrel. I change over to a 3 foot rod to run the slug all the way out the bore of a rifle. I keep a soft cloth by the chamber, so the slug will fall out onto the cloth without marring it.

With a revolver I stand the gun up with the barrel horizontal and the butt resting on the towel on the bench. The procedure is the same. I grasp the muzzle and the rod with my left hand, I jam the slug into the bore, and I control the rod with my left fist. The right hand is for the hammer. A 12 inch long 5/16" rod usually works for all my revolvers.

A few facts about slugging a barrel. The slug only measures the narrowest diameter of the rifling. If there is excessive wear near the chamber, like with some old rifles, the slug will slide along easily through the worn part, it has already taken the shape of the narrowest part of the bore. With a new gun, this should not be a concern. However with an old gun, it can give you a feel for if there is wear in the bore.

The slug must completely fill the rifling grooves. If the slug did not completely fill the grooves, any measurement you take off of it is meaningless. When your slug emerges, look for lengthwise drag marks on it. You should see these marks on both the low spots on the slug, corresponding to the lands of the rifling, and the high spots, corresponding to the grooves. If you don't have drag marks on the high spots, you may not have completely filled the rifling grooves, and any measurements taken from the slug are not as useful.

I hear a lot of guys say you have to measure a slug with a micrometer so you can measure it right down to the .0001 level. Frankly, I think a standard caliper is fine for measuring a slug. Measuring down to .001 is fine, particularly on a dial caliper, where you can interpolate what the dial is telling you between the tick marks. A digital caliper will round off to the nearest .0005, so you may not get as accurate a measurement. But using a micrometer that measures down to .0001 on a soft lead slug is overkill, in This Cowboy's Humble Opinion. Just the act of closing the tool on the slug will deform the lead a couple of tenths, killing the usefulness of the accuracy of the micrometer.

Obviously, you want to measure across the high spots of the slug, to get your groove depth diameter. This is simple if the rifling has an even number of grooves, so that you are measuring across the diameter of the slug. Some barrels though, like many S&W revolvers have 5 grooves. It is very difficult to get an accurate measurement on a slug run through a barrel with an odd number of grooves with a caliper or a micrometer. If you try to add the depth of one side of the rifling, there will usually be some error involved. It ain't impossible, but it is tough.

Slugging a bore is really very simple, I have made it sound complicated. It usually only takes me about 5 minutes to set up to slug a bore, and about 5 minutes to run the slug all the way through. The key is finding a suitable slug just a little bit oversized, and don't whack the muzzle!
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Old April 26, 2020, 09:20 AM   #12
Hawg
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Quote:
By the way, if you decide to try loading Black Powder for your Rossi, you will find almost no fouling escapes into the mechanism. The thin brass at the neck is why, it expands at the relatively low pressure developed by Black Powder to completely seal the chamber. Almost all of the fouling goes down the bore, very little gets into the mechanism.
If I may add to this. Most of the fouling you get inside the action with a 44-40 comes from cleaning the bore. If you leave a fired cartridge in the chamber you will eliminate almost all of it. What little does make it inside can be flushed out.
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Old April 27, 2020, 07:39 PM   #13
Driftwood Johnson
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Excellent advice.

My standard method for cleaning my 44-40 (or 38-40) rifles that have been fired with Black Powder is to chamber a piece of spent brass in the chamber and close the action. Then standing the rifle upright I place a cleaning patch, soaked with my favorite water based cleaning solution in the slotted end of a cleaning rod. I twirl the patch down the bore, then withdraw it. Discard the dirty patch and repeat. The first few times, the patch will come up black and crusty. Once the patch comes out wet and dirty gray all the fouling has been washed out of the bore and is sitting in the case in the chamber. Then I turn the rifle upside down and eject the spent case onto the ground. It will be followed by a spray of dirty cleaning solution, so don't get any on you. At this point, the bore is clean. Then I run a bore snake through the bore from the chamber to soak up any residual cleaning solution. Then I soak one more patch in Ballistol, and run it down the bore from the muzzle to leave a coating of oil in the bore, followed by a dry patch to mop up the excess Ballistol. A little bit of wiping with Ballistol on the exposed surfaces in the action and I am all done. Easy peasy, takes about five minutes.

Be sure to use the slotted end of the cleaning rod, do not use a jag. If you use a jag, the patch may get jammed in the case mouth and be difficult to remove. Trust me on this.
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