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Old May 6, 2022, 05:45 PM   #1
Savvy_Jack
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44-40 PressuretraceII Videos

Over the past few years I conducted 83 ten shot tests using the PressureTraceII system. Recently I decided to try and open up a comparison chart using overlays in the Gimp editing software.

It is not the best but I think it is certainly good enough for discussions.

It took me a while to satisfy myself as to the accuracy, but with the discovery of a few missing links, in general, everything is 100% consistent with reloading manuals and factory ammunition.

Rather than do one video at a time, once or so a week, I decided to dump a few all at one time. Check the website link below for updates.

https://sites.google.com/view/44winc...eos?authuser=0
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Old May 7, 2022, 10:07 AM   #2
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Wow. Those videos are nice. I’ve never shot much less reloaded that cartridge but those videos are worth watching just to see how those powders behave.
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Old May 7, 2022, 04:33 PM   #3
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Thanks!!!

Indeed, these powders can be finicky!!!
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Old May 7, 2022, 05:28 PM   #4
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Ed Harris' 230gr 43-230G has been added to the new Reloder 7 230gr/240gr video...probably the best performing of the group.

I personally used a Hornady SWC HP for hunting but never tested it.

https://sites.google.com/view/44winc...e-trace-videos
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Old May 8, 2022, 12:30 PM   #5
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All eight videos have been added
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Old June 5, 2022, 04:23 PM   #6
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I may be adding a few more in the next few weeks.

With all the pressure testing that has been done over the past few years, I decided to conduct at least 8 more tests. With what we do have now, there is enough data to show a relative linage between CUP and PSI now for the 44-40. We still have a few missing links that could use some closure.

I tried to simplify what I have done the best I could in the following charts. These charts are always subject to updates based on better and more reliable data and are subject to change without notice.

They can be seen here: Click the tabs at the bottom of the charts.



For years I have seen reports to indicate that the 44 High Velocity loads produced 22,000cup. However, this February 14th, 1917 document below may indicate otherwise. It looks as if the WRA Cartridge Engineering Office documented 18,000cup service pressures and 23,500cup Proof Pressures. Looking at cartridge examples from the Draw Set to late production, the only component that looks to have changed is the primer. The WRA "Balloon Pocket" appears to be the same through the late 1930's. The powder charge dropped from 20gr down to 13.9 in some examples while the velocities advertised an increase. From 1,500fps in 1903, to 1,564 by 1925 and to 1,570fps by 1938.

This also shows the earliest documentation, I have seen, that the normal loads have a service pressure of 13,000cup and a Proof Pressure of 16,500cup. Keep in mind that these normal loads used between 13gr and 17gr of Dupont No. 2 rifle powder since 1895 and was used until 1925, thus this Service Pressure directly relates to this particular powder and load for this cartridge. Black powder was still offered during this time and the document does not stated any difference between black powder and smokeless powder loads. Certainly with the information therein, they are referring to smokeless loads.

Simply put, Winchester loaded their cartridges to Service Pressure loads, but over time they seem to downgrade performance.

Below, Sharp's "Sharpshooter Powder" handloading data does not indicate a "max" load but lists loads that exceed 13,000cup as well as 18,000cup loads. Loads with a Service Pressure of 13,000cup are listed but pressures not noted. Load pressures of 14,000cup and higher are listed and noted. Winchester started using Sharpshooter powder in 1903 for their 44 WHV loads but switched from Dupont No. 2 to Sharpshooter by 1926 for all 44-40 smokeless loads.

Testing the following Sharpshooter (photo 1) , and in other charts (photos 2 and 3) Dupont No. 2, will not be easy and several obstacles could hinder accurate results. Cases used will be period cases but new primers will be used as well as the Winchester bullets where needed.

With the above tests results, if successful, the below charts can be updated to give even better data and cup/psi comparisons. Hopefully we can get a better idea what the 1914 era HV loads actually produced.

Details and more photos can be seen here

And here, click the links at the bottom of the screen
Attached Images
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File Type: png Untitled1.png (42.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png UntitledBB.png (125.2 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by Savvy_Jack; June 6, 2022 at 04:36 PM.
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Old June 7, 2022, 08:35 AM   #7
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I think what you are doing is very interesting. The pressures generated by black powder VS smokeless - dispelling old myths is hard but you have clearly succeeded.
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Old June 7, 2022, 07:59 PM   #8
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Thanks Royce!
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Old June 8, 2022, 05:25 PM   #9
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The 44-40 Google Docs "Pressure" Page has been updated to reflect the 3 new tests 1A, 2A&2B (re-tests for "control"), and test 90. I also updated a few other items by including the 1917 WRA data and highlighting Lyman's max loads that were previously tested. I will update other items as well as dates etc. the week of the 20th.

44-40 Chamber Pressure Test Results Update
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Old June 12, 2022, 05:12 AM   #10
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Hello All, and thanks Savvy_Jack for the post . . .
can you provide a link to the Pressure Trace software source?
Thanks,
Doug Lee
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Old June 12, 2022, 06:21 AM   #11
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I have a pressure trace system, my first reaction was "how is that guy getting a good strain gauge position over the chamber on his barrels?" I was imagining whacky drill-outs on vintage revolvers and rifles--but then I saw you actually set up a test-barrel--nice job!

My system comes with a catch that I can expect an error margin of up to 2,500 psi depending upon things like gauge position and the expansion characteristics of the steel used in the barrel.

I quickly learned that pandering skills are extremely important; if I called certain ammo manufacturer(s) and drew the conversation out long enough with the adequate assurances if I blow myself up isn't anybody's fault but my own--I occasionally got their test results that I could then use as a reliable calibration measurement.
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Old June 12, 2022, 09:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Lee View Post
Hello All, and thanks Savvy_Jack for the post . . .
can you provide a link to the Pressure Trace software source?
Thanks,
Doug Lee
*
RSI Pressuretrace II

stagpanther, it has been a huge challenge for me.
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Old June 12, 2022, 02:14 PM   #13
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Here is a few photos of the barrel
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Old June 13, 2022, 05:53 AM   #14
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Hello All, Thanks for the link Savvy_Jack
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Old June 14, 2022, 10:49 AM   #15
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Jack,

Nice job with the test setup. What I've done for .45 Auto and other pistol rounds is to buy them a barrel for my TC Encore and gauge that. It has worked out well. I mention this not because it is better than a dedicated fixture but because a lot of folks reading the thread will have Contenders or Encores and may not be up to building a special fixture.
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Old June 14, 2022, 06:51 PM   #16
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Thanks Unclenick,

Yes, a Contender would be better!!
I would love to have had a Contender with a 44-40 barrel. I thought of that back when I first started but even then the cost was too much for me. I now have a co-worker who owns a Contender and I thought about getting a barrel and using his frame as well as test stuff for him for his 44 Mag. Still tempting but I hope to be finished after this next round of tests....especially since the cost of everything has skyrocketed. We'll see how that works out for me...LOL

The fixture is actually a Hyskore rifle rest that I modified (no cutting), that I picked up cheap.
https://hyskore.com/products/30185-b...-machine-rest/

The barrel is just a basic MGM barrel clamped on a piece of flat stock steel plate with aluminum bicycle handlbar clamps. I welded up the blast plate myself as well as made the firing pin plate. I think I got the barrel cut and blued from MGM for $75, can't remember exactly. Not sure how I managed that one.
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Old June 18, 2022, 07:56 PM   #17
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I really enjoyed this test.

I acquired two full boxes of Winchester Red Label smokeless Dupont No. 2 charged cartridges dated 1914. These are WRA headstamped with a large balloon pocket. I took 13 of the best looking cartridges and dissected them. I replaced the 1W primers with modern small pistol primers and replaced the LRNFP bullets with 200gr JSP. I recharged each cartridge with 17gr of the wonderful smelling Dupont No. 2 powder.

The following pressure curves show a slow burn rate, slower than black powder loads during that time, and more consistent. The velocities are a bit slower than advertised. Peak pressure is also lower than the original replicated black powder charges, as published data has indicated.

Very consistent for a 100 year old powder.
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Old June 19, 2022, 03:59 PM   #18
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There is just too much information for me to repost it all here, especially since there is only a link for photographs.

For those that are somewhat following the progress, I have updated the Pressure Testing page of the 44-40 website with a large selection of test result charts to compare.

The test results prove that early smokeless powders used by Winchester produced less pressures than original black powder loads. They also prove that the 44-40 ballistics was greatly reduced by the 1970's.

Black powders of today create less pressure than those of the originals and sends the wrong message about pressure comparisons for modern smokeless loads.

I have created a 44-40 Pressure Timeline for those interested.

I have also updated the 44-40 google docs pages with the Recent Pressure Test Results, also for those interested in understanding the myths of this cartridge's performance of yesteryear vs today.

If you visit the google docs page, make sure you look at all of the data by select all of the tabs at the bottom of the chart window.

Last edited by Savvy_Jack; June 19, 2022 at 05:42 PM.
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Old June 21, 2022, 04:24 PM   #19
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The bad news is that I was not precise with my aim while performing the tests. The good news is that, even so....look what we got with 100 year old powder, .4255" JSP bullets in a 20" barrel, .429" bore with a 1:20" twist @ 50 yards

3.4", 10 shot group
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Old June 25, 2022, 01:41 PM   #20
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I have added two .gif files here and to the website that show a great comparison of the smokeless vs black powder pressure curves as tested.
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File Type: gif Black Powder gif.gif (94.9 KB, 7 views)
File Type: gif Smokeless Powder Curves1.gif (56.5 KB, 9 views)
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Old June 26, 2022, 08:39 AM   #21
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Interesting to note that the '63 proof set has probably aged out of reasonable powder strength or your chamber or throat or both are more spacious than it was designed for. Modern proof limits are ten-shot averages of 17,500 psi minimum to 18,500 psi maximum. The Maximum Extreme Variation is 3,400 psi, so, theoretically, you can get one round as low as 14,400 psi or one as high as 21,560 psi and still average the minimum or maximum proof limits, respectively. However, the odds against actually hitting those limits are astronomical, as it requires the other 9 rounds in the ten-shot average all to be exactly 340 psi above the minimum or below the maximum and for 3,400 psi to be the exact extreme spread for the respective averages to work out.

All this begs the question, what reading would modern proof loads with their 2-year recalibration cycle kept up to date average in your gun, so you could calibrate the Pressure Trace readings more closely?
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Old June 26, 2022, 09:00 AM   #22
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Wouldn't he do better with reference loads than proof loads?
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Old June 26, 2022, 12:17 PM   #23
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Absolutely, old is old and I wish I had new!!!!!

Would it not be the same with the Dupont No. 2 powder and Sharpshooter powder tests? Question is, if the velocity increases with "newer" powder, the pressures would also have to increase. Meaning that if the 1963 loads should create higher pressures/velocities, then all of the other old powders tested (pending deterioration) would also have to increase?

If the 1963 loads are decreasing in quality, would the 1960's and 1979 factory loads also possibly be effected?

If this barrel is "larger in specs" (more than likely so) than a legitimate test barrel, then all pressures and velocities would have to move linier in correction, right?

The 1917 data shows the HV proofs pressures for the 92' at 30% above service pressures and the 44 loads for the 73' at 25% above service pressures.

Related to the probability of "old powder", lets compare those years.

20" barrel .428", a;; factory loads are .4255" Winchester and .426" Remington

1963 Proof - 1,407fps @ 11,964psi x25% = 2,991psi -/= 8,973psi service load...can't be right....see below.
1975 Rem - 1,123fps @ 10,542psi x 25% = 2,635.5psi +/= 13,177.5psi proof load?
1979 Win - 1,012fps @ 7,318psi x 25% = 1,829.5psi +/= 9,147.5psi proof proof load?

Theoretically, ?

1963 Proof - 11,000psi + 25% = 13,750psi proof?
So in a perfect world, there could be a 1,786psi decline from age?

As expected, I got tons more questions out of these tests than answers!!!!

My favorite question is that, why during my tests do the black powder loads exceed advertised and all smokeless loads fall short of advertised, even new modern loads? There is a consistent pattern there....I think.

I guess we would have to have the 1963 data showing exactly what the proof pressures registered.


Another interesting note was the 44 WHV replication loads with the correct charge of 19.6gr of Sharpshooter. No deterioration there......

1,564fps advertised, 1,568fps tested, 18,000cup advertised, 18,420cup tested
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Old June 27, 2022, 04:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Question is, if the velocity increases with "newer" powder, the pressures would also have to increase.
Not necessarily strictly correlated from what I've seen. Pressure trace's website has examples of "secondary" pressure spikes down the bore that may be related to a column of powder behind the bullet going off behind the bullet while it's still in the bore. There's also a theoretical pressure wave that "ricochets" down the bore to the muzzle and back, forgot what it was called but unclenick is far more more knowledgable than I on these things and perhaps might further enlighten.
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Old June 27, 2022, 11:31 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savvy_Jack
Would it not be the same with the Dupont No. 2 powder and Sharpshooter powder tests? Question is, if the velocity increases with "newer" powder, the pressures would also have to increase. Meaning that if the 1963 loads should create higher pressures/velocities, then all of the other old powders tested (pending deterioration) would also have to increase?

If the 1963 loads are decreasing in quality, would the 1960's and 1979 factory loads also possibly be effected?
What determines the kinetic energy in a bullet is the average pressure in the barrel during the bullet base's whole length of travel, from starting position in the case all the way to the muzzle. If you have a slower powder, it will allow you to put more energy in the case and it makes more gas, which means the pressure behind the bullet is higher past the peak pressure value than it is for a faster powder. When you include that greater post-peak pressure's bullet accelerating force, you find it can get to the same average pressure, and thus the same kinetic energy and velocity with lower peak pressure than the fast powder can.

As far as the deterioration of powder goes, it is highly variable. The breakdown is caused by random molecular attempts to reach lower potential energy states triggered by randomly high points of heat concentration. This happens to both nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin. The breakdown produces nitric acid radicals. Left unchecked, these acid radicals help adjacent molecules to break down, causing a snowball effect that accelerates the overall breakdown of the rest of the powder around it. To prevent this, diethylamine or calcium carbonate are added to the powder formulation to act as a stabilizer by neutralizing the acid radicals. The exact amount of stabilizer varies by formulation and by lot, so how much powder has to break down before it is used up is variable. That means how weak the powder can get before it goes bad is variable. Because this is a heat-induced phenomenon, the lower the storage temperature of the powder, the lower the probability of random molecular vibration causing a heat concentration point that breaks a molecule and releases an acid radical. Powder kept in a freezer could well last centuries. Powder kept in a shipping container in an outdoor yard in Arizona could be bad in under two years.

So, no, you can't count on age in years to tell you the state of a particular lot of powder. The only generalization you can make is that it weakens with age until the stabilizer is consumed. After that, it either weakens rapidly and starts to corrode cases with acid radicals or, if the powder relies on deterrent coatings to keep its burn rate down, the acid radical can destroy some deterrents faster than the nitrocellulose or nitroglycerin, in which case the burn rate is radically increased. Board member Slamfire had some information posted about the Navy aging powder at, IIRC, 140°F for 18 months and having the peak pressure of 7.62 ammunition thus aged increase by about 150% (again, IIRC; from CUP's in the upper 40,000s range increased to the 70,000s range). There were some photos online of a Garand action destroyed by late 1940's production ball ammo that probably hadn't been stored well. On the other hand, a lot of folks have fired much older ammo than that without damage.

So, there is a big random element to the condition of aging powder. Unfortunately, the only way I can think of to determine what original lots produced is to contact their manufacturers to see if old records still exist to be mined for historical data. You can contact SAAMI to see how their standard for the 44-40 may have changed over the decades (if it has).

You might try contacting SAAMI to see if you can get permission to buy some current reference ammunition to calibrate your test barrel with. They don't normally allow non-manufacturers to obtain it. They used to but found the lots would tend to be exhausted too quickly and could come up short when a manufacturer needed them. However, since you have a site and do a lot of work devoted to this one cartridge, you might be able to ask them for an exception.
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