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  #1  
Old 03-29-2011, 06:36 PM
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44/40 fun loads


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I followed a good friend's advice and loaded up some 44/40 loads with a modest charge of Unique under a 200gr Hornady XTP. (Category 2 in the Lyman manual) I have no idea what the muzzle velocity was but they went bang when you pulled the trigger and the recoil was very light...not that the 44/40 is ever punishing on the shooter's end of the gun.

What made it a lot of fun was how everybody wanted to shoot, now that it wasn't running full-throttle hunting loads. My wife, daughter, son and his buddy took turns and went through all 60 rounds of ammo I had put together, in less than an hour. The accuracy was really good, too! My first shot centered an empty soda can and sent it flying. My wife hit the mark several times and was really enjoying it.

I've spent a lot of years focusing in on very accurate hunting ammo in bolt-action and single-shot rifles. My reloading and shooting have all been centered around the tightest groups possible with powerful loads meant strictly for big game hunting. I think I had forgotten how fun it is to just shoot a gun. It was cool, seeing the excited looks as people shot that old Model 92 lever-gun, watching their targets go spinning off down the range. I've already put together another 50 rounds with the remaining bullets and can't wait to shoot again, this coming weekend.
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Last edited by broom_jm; 03-29-2011 at 06:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2011, 03:43 AM
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Jason, I've used 8 grains of Unique + 205 grain cast plain based bullet in my Rossi .44-40, and found this load quite comfortable to "plink" at targets & soup cans. Did you ever try .44 caliber round M/L balls??
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:06 AM
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Davers,

I have not tried 44 caliber M/L balls in my 44/40...up until recently, I had only loaded for hunting applications. How do you seat/crimp those loads? My mind is open to new possibilities because I like the idea of this gun being used for more than just a few days in the fall. It's a hoot to work the lever and watch stuff fly.
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  #4  
Old 03-30-2011, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
Davers,

I have not tried 44 caliber M/L balls in my 44/40...up until recently, I had only loaded for hunting applications. How do you seat/crimp those loads? My mind is open to new possibilities because I like the idea of this gun being used for more than just a few days in the fall. It's a hoot to work the lever and watch stuff fly.
I've never used or fired round balls in my .44-40 but read where some have. They must be single loaded though as you can't crimp them in like regular cast or jacketed bullets, as they are seated below the mouth of the case with a slight crimp to hold them in the case.

Last edited by Davers; 03-30-2011 at 06:38 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davers View Post
Jason, I've used 8 grains of Unique + 205 grain cast plain based bullet in my Rossi .44-40, and found this load quite comfortable to "plink" at targets & soup cans.
That's the same load that I use in my 44-40 Marlin CB. I shoot the 200 gr. LaserCast bullets. Accurate and FUN.

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  #6  
Old 03-30-2011, 08:53 AM
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I'll try backing my charge off to 8 grains. I was using 10 grains, which is close to a maximum charge, even for the strong '92 action.

NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT RELOADING THAT MAY NOT BE SAFE IN YOUR FIREARM. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS DATA WITHOUT CONSULTING A REPUTABLE RELOADING MANUAL. NEITHER I, NOR SHOOTERS FORUM, ASSUMES ANY LIABILITY FOR THE STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2011, 08:54 AM
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Hey could you crimp them with a Lee FCD rifle die (lightly)?
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
I'll try backing my charge off to 8 grains. I was using 10 grains, which is close to a maximum charge, even for the strong '92 action.

NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT RELOADING THAT MAY NOT BE SAFE IN YOUR FIREARM. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS DATA WITHOUT CONSULTING A REPUTABLE RELOADING MANUAL. NEITHER I, NOR SHOOTERS FORUM, ASSUMES ANY LIABILITY FOR THE STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN.


Jason, Everyone who wants to use light loads in their firearms should BESURE their rifle or pistol is in good shape and the bullet is of proper size (.427" in their .44-40's) or any rifle caliber. No one wants to risk lodging a bullet halfway up the barrel, or loading too heavy powder charge. Some of these 'Ole Timers" would do better with Pyrodex Cartridge Powder & SOFT lead bullets of proper weight.
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  #9  
Old 03-31-2011, 04:22 AM
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8 grains of Unique is a light load? Works well on the 400 yrd. steel dingers.

Mike, I think the Lee FC die does more harm than help on cast bullets. The LFC never opens up like a roll crimp. The result is a distorted bullet which is usually detrimental to performance. The LFC is great for jacketed bullets but not cast bullets.

My opinion, I have no proof.

.
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  #10  
Old 03-31-2011, 05:10 AM
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I added that disclaimer above because the 44/40 has two distinct sets of loading data, based on the strength of action being used. For the older, weaker action types, like the Model 73 and revolvers, 8.5 grains of Unique is considered a maximum charge. In newer, stronger actions, like the Model 92 and Marlin Model 94, 8.5 grains of Unique is a starting load, although you can obviously go lower, if you like. From that perspective, I consider 8 grains of Unique a "mild" load in my Model 92.

Also, as Davers pointed out, you need to know YOUR gun: Mine has an aftermarket barrel with rifling cut for .429" jacketed and .430" cast bullets. I have shot factory .427" diameter Winchester rounds through it and the accuracy leaves much to be desired. They are almost squib loads in my gun, because they are a combination of light powder charge and under-sized bullet. They were also incredibly expensive, which is why I reload for this gun, now.

I think I've got some 44 caliber round balls around here somewhere...I'll see how they shoot, but what I'm really interested in is some inexpensive cast bullets that will function well and allow us to shoot this gun more frequently.
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  #11  
Old 03-31-2011, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
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8 grains of Unique is a light load? Works well on the 400 yrd. steel dingers.

Mike, I think the Lee FC die does more harm than help on cast bullets. The LFC never opens up like a roll crimp. The result is a distorted bullet which is usually detrimental to performance. The LFC is great for jacketed bullets but not cast bullets.

My opinion, I have no proof.

.
Could be. I suspect it has to do with the hardness of the bullet and the pressure of the load. While it's worked nothing but great for me, that is with hard (Beartooth) cast bullets and full rifle pressures in the cartridges I use (upwards of 40,000 psi).

There is always the option of not running the collet completely closed. Just thinking of a light bump for the application at hand (round ball).

Thanks for your input. I don't used the FCD on light stuff so may be overlooking something here.
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2011, 12:13 PM
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I've used that 8gr. load of unique and 205 cast in my sixguns and carbines fo 20 years now. It's a fine woods load to.
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  #13  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBledsoe View Post
.

8 grains of Unique is a light load? Works well on the 400 yrd. steel dingers.

Mike, I think the Lee FC die does more harm than help on cast bullets. The LFC never opens up like a roll crimp. The result is a distorted bullet which is usually detrimental to performance. The LFC is great for jacketed bullets but not cast bullets.

My opinion, I have no proof.

.
Actually you're thought isn't correct. If the charge has enough pressure to swell the case to the chamber walls it will do it to the tapered crimp too. The Lee FC die is actually much better for lead and plated bullets than a roll crimp is because it just lays against the bullet when crimped correctly rather than the case mouth digging into the bullet as happens with a roll crimp.
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