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Old December 9, 2018, 11:41 AM   #1
Savvy_Jack
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44-40 Black Powder...a little something different

I wanted to go shoot about 100 test cartridges today but with weather creeping in, it just keeps getting worse. Supposed to get 12" to 24" of snow here in NC. I was going to wait until I shot these to share but figured I would go ahead and share what I have done already.

Not trying to reinvent an inferior bullet, I wanted to try and load an as close to an 1873 load as I could. The Winchester 1873 cartridge bullet appears to be a 200gr swaged bullet with two lube grooves and no crimp groove. According to the Winchester 1875 catalog this is what is inside. If this tests nicely, I will use some original late 1870's or early 1880's unheadstamped semi-baloonhead cases.



As late as 1875, we see this bullet on the second style box label. This particular label is the later label that does not wrap around the box end which would date it as to the last of that style right at 1875 when Winchester started sealing their boxes...note the external lube groove. If this is indeed the same swaged bullets offered in the catalog, this means the crimp is about midway of the foreword driving bad leaving the first lube grove exposed and not having a crimp groove.



The current 200gr Magma bullet closest resembles this bullet design from what I can fine. The Ideal/Lyman 42798 is too long.


I decided to seat the bullet and crimp just a tad past midway of the forward driving band. I used an RCBS Cowboy die two step roll crimp. I thought the lead would be too hard but it works well.

Before I go any further we should all know that I am just playing around and there is not enough bullet lube on these for many shots without fowling...like I said, probably an inferior design.

I used new, unsized Starline brass. In the bullet photo on the box and in the 1875 catalog, the cartridge show no sign of a bottleneck. New Starline brass shows no sign of a bottleneck and chambers just fine if not resized. I also used WLP primers.

The bullet is a Lasercast hard cast Magma design. I removed the lube, ran it through my lubesizer to .429 and added lube to the crimp groove for the exposed second lube groove.


I used 40gr of Swiss FFG and unsettled, the powder was even with the case mouth (#7 and #8). tap settled to .12" (#9). I used my modified bullet seating die to compress the powder .10" (#10). This gives me .22" to seat the bullet without any pressure on top of the bullet meplat...or just enough pressure to round the edges of the meplat.


Here are 5 loaded cartridges. The center cartridge has no lube in the exposed lube groove. The others have yet to have the excessive lube wiped off...using care as to not remove the external lube from the lube groove.
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Old December 9, 2018, 11:42 AM   #2
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Showing the finished load but not cleaned.


Finished cartridge on it's side to resemble a late 1873 cartridge.


When I get a chance to run these through the chronograph and strain gauge, I will post the results.
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Old December 9, 2018, 05:06 PM   #3
Savvy_Jack
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FINALLY after years of searching I finally found a photo...an x-ray to be exact, of the 1873' 44 WCF PROTOTYPE cartridge valued at between $4,000 and $5,000.

The bullet does appear to be of the longer 225gr heeled style. I am still awaiting conformation. Here is the kicker...the case is only 1.177" long rather than 1,300.

Answered a lot of questions but creates more questions.

I don't want to share the photo until I have written approval.

Last edited by Savvy_Jack; December 11, 2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old December 9, 2018, 05:58 PM   #4
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Using the case length of 1.177" of the Prototype and a Lyman 427098 bullet, the results shockingly resemble the the 44 Winchester with exposed lube grove on the .44 Winchester Second Style ammunition box. A case could still hold 40gr of compressed powder BUT it would overflow the shorter case if not poured in from a drop tube or some form of settling.
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Old December 9, 2018, 10:28 PM   #5
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Using these measurements I cut down 10 RP cases and filled them with 40gr/w of Goex FFFG with a .20gr compression. I had to fill the case with my Lee powder measure and before removing the case from underneath the spout...holding it firmly up against the spout...I tapped the side of the case enough to settle the powder even with or just barely below the case mouth. I used my powder compression die to compress the powder to .20". That is a tad too much compression and bullets #5, #7 and #8 sit a tad too low into the case.

This is probably an inferior design and I can see where I would not want these out in the field with lube in the exposed groove. I bet it would be messy and get dirt and trash all in the lube until it wore off in your pockets!!

Performance is not important to me as I just wanted to give them a try. Even before I shoot them....like John Kort use to say....

"It was nice stepping back into history..."

Unlike the the Prototype, these have the exposed lube groove like shown on the second style .44 Winchester 73' cartridge box.




Last edited by Savvy_Jack; December 10, 2018 at 09:13 AM.
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Old December 10, 2018, 09:07 AM   #6
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With written permission from the owner...
With written permission from the owner...

Well here it is...he is asking $4,000 for it. It does not appear to be a heeled bullet like the Henry but it does sit shallow...only about .19"-.21"

Item #203; RARE and early, this Winchester prototype .44 W.C.F. has a copper Milbank
primer, {Pat. #103,641 May, 31, 1870,} a 1.177” / 29.91mm long brass case and a flat nose
lead bullet. If side-by-side, a M-66 .44 Henry long case mouth would end at the
shoulder of this. So this case was most likely too short to support the bullet and
would have then been lengthened into the production .44 W.C.F. Weighing 319.4 gr.,
with uneven toning and oxidization, it is in good condition. estimate- 4000-5000






http://pdbullets.com/catalog_order_files/%2316.pdf


Scroll down to item #203
http://pdbullets.com/catalog_order_files/%2316.pdf

I will be adding it to the website today


Here is an example of the first style box featuring the extremely short lived Milbank primed cartridge featured on the box.
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Old December 10, 2018, 09:34 AM   #7
ligonierbill
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Very interesting. Great research! Me, I just load 200 grain 0.427 Hunter's Supply over 35 gr Black MZ and have at it.
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Old December 10, 2018, 09:44 AM   #8
Mike Irwin
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Damn you, Dude... Posting the entire catalog...

That's like crack to me.

From No. 1 to 203 I found about $35,000 worth of cartridges that I really want...
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Old December 10, 2018, 02:04 PM   #9
Savvy_Jack
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LOL, I know right!!!!

Here is the link to the website. JUST BELOW THE TAN BACKGROUND COLOR AND TO THE RIGHT is the #16.pdf link. http://pdbullets.com/catalog_order.html
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