Before I start, I know that Mr. Venturino says that the 44-40 is more accurate in a lever action. I am trying to decide which to get and would like to know what the difference is on paper at lever action ranges. Does anyone have first hand experience?
I can't speak for the 44-40, but I have a Win. 94 Trails End in 45 Colt and I have been very satisfied with it's accuracy. I mostly shoot 250 gr. cast bullets for CAS matches, but also shoot some jacketed. With it's preferred loads it will put five rounds into one ragged hole about the size of a quarter at 25 yards. I know the range is short, but that is where I do the majority of my shooting with this rifle. I did work up a load with the 300 gr. Hornady XTP. I shoots into about 2 1/2 inches at 50 yards. Considering the range that these types of rifles will be used I think that either caliber will be plenty accurate. It is really just a matter of personal preference.
my Win 94 Legacy 45 Colt shoots a <1" @ 50 yds with 10 shots group with 16 gr of 2400 under a 255 gr lead fn. And a <2" @100 with the same load. This is my plinking load. My 23 gr of H110 under a 300 gr XTP will stop anything in NA, though it wouldn't be my first choice for brown bears or bison.
Get the 45 Colt, easily reloaded and get Starline brass. Much heavier then others.
I have a Rossi 1892 in 45 Colt. After lapping the barrel, replacing the rear site and tinkering around with the loads, I'd say you'd have to go some to beat this little rifle/ caliber. Playing card size groups off hand at 50 yards. Maybe the same off the bench at 100.
The trick that I learned for this caliber was to make sure the bullets are sized .454. There's no ifs or buts .454!
I shoot the Saeco 300 gc'd, sized .454, lubed with LBT or Apache Blue, fill case with 20 grs of H110, Winchester LP, works like a charm.
I have no experiance with the 44-40, but I do have a Win 94 AE Trapper in .45 Colt.
I don't believe in sighting a rifle in at 25 or 50 yards. After all thats handgun range.
I sight all my long guns in a 100 yards.
With factory standard loads, not cowboy squib loads, my 94 trapper will do 2" groups a 100 yards. I have several of my own loads that will do better or the same.
It has been retro fitted with a Lyman Receiver Sight, and an old style action.
Lever guns are not bench rest rifles. This is true. However it is a mistake to dismiss them as inaccurate. They can be quite accurate.
Some people like to group SA revolvers and LA rifles in the inaccurate catagory, I don't know why. I have never had a bad one.
The .45 Colt cartrige is a very good cartrige. It's one major handicap is that gun makes don't seem to have any agreement of the chamber and bore dia specs. They wonder all over the place.
Like arkypete said, it's best to use .454 bullets. As a note of information, WIN and REM factory .45 Colt bullets run .455 to .456.
One big suggestion. When you check out your gun prior to buying it. MAKE ABSOLUTLY SURE YOUR SIGHTS ARE PERFECTLY STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN. AT TOP DEAD CENTER, AND NOT LEANING TO EITHER SIDE. If they lean, reject the gun and keep looking. It's not worth the trouble to buy one with crooked sights and try later to get them fixed. ESPECIALLY if you plan on installing any kind of aperture sight on the gun.
Accuracy has to do with properly matching ammunition to the dimensions of the gun. The "inherent accuracy" of various cartridges is largely a myth, especially when comparing cartridges of such similar capacity. Get the one you really want and have fun!
Personally I would go for convenience (carbide dies) but I would not be concerned over accuracy. ID
The .45 Long Colt is the clear winner of the two as far as I'm concerned. As Mike and ID indicated you'll be able to use clean, convenient carbide dies to load as opposed to steel dies and lubes for the bottlenecked .44 WCF. If hunting anything larger than smallish deer go with the bigger round. The .44-40 isn't even in the same ballpark as the handloaded .45 LC. Accuracy would vary from gun to gun and not so much cartridge to cartridge. The only area where the .44 WCF wins is in nostalgia. That wouldn't be enough for me for anything but CAS competition.
Brad: I don't have either and some of these other fellows may know the real facts about this, however I read recently that 44-40 brass does not stand up well to repeated high velocity re-loading where the .45 Colt does. If any of the gents having experience with both can confirm or deny that then it may make a difference in your choice. best
Dittoes on the 45 Colt and Starline brass. I have very few brass failures with Starline, they can be annealed and used longer.
I shoot a Win 94 Legacy in 45 Colt. At 125 yards a friend and I wear out the steel plates, 6" x 10". The rule is all shots are offhand, open sights only. On a good day we hit 8 of ten times. Loads of fun.
I'll be the only one in support of the 44-40. But, I'll do it with the caveat of - only if you can get your hands on a 73 Winchester or a Henry era rifle. I'm much more of a rifle person than a cartridge person and I like the 73, in particular, better than the 92 or 94 for reasons that I just can't put into words. I think Cimarron is making the 73 in both, but the 73 and the 44-40 go together like bread and butter. The 44-40 probably isn't as practical as the 45 Colt, but is a very interesting round in it's own right. Would be great for deer-sized game and CAS.
First, let me say that I am a die hard .45 Colt fan, owning 4 revolvers and a Marlin Cowboy rifle so chambered, but I would agree with Alyeska338 on this one, at least in comparing the two rifles I own using factory equivalent cartridges.
I purchased an original circa 1882 model '73 Winchester .44 W.C.F. (.44-40) about 3 years ago and have fired over 3,000 rounds to date. My .45 Colt Marlin cowboy rifle is 5 years old and I have several thousand rounds through it.
In comparing the accuracy of my Model '73 .44 W.C.F. (200-217 gr. bullets) against my .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy (250-265 gr. bullets) using factory equivalent hand loads at about 1,200 f.ps. , the '73 will, on the average, produce slightly smaller groups (about 1/2" smaller average @ 50 yards) than the .45.
However, when I shoot 325 - 350 gr. bullets in the .45, the groups will equal or better those of the .44.
A friend of mine who is an accomplished shooter and reloader, has a relatively new '92 Winchester in .45 Colt and was having a heck of a time getting good accuracy at 50 yards. Groups ran 4+" yards using several different 250 gr. bullets up to and including .456”. I gave him some .45 Colt's to try that were loaded with the RCBS 300 gr. bullet (320 grs. in w.w.) sized to .457" diameter over 20 grs. of 296. What a difference! The first group he fired with these cartridges went a little over 1" @ 50 yards for 5 shots from his rifle.
Mike Venturino has stated that on average, rifles chambered for the .44 W.C.F will give better accuracy than those chambered for .45 Colt but he was using 250 gr. bullets. Individual rifles are more accurate as some of you have stated. The heavier bullets do give an edge to the .45 colt for better accuracy in my experience.
I like both cartridges. The .44 W.C.F. is an historical lever action cartridge. That's what I like about it.
The .45 Colt, is also historical, but not in a rifle. In the Marlin Cowboy it becomes a miniature .45-70-350. That's what I like about it.
Can't speak for the 44-40, but I'll echo J Miller in saying my 94 ae Trapper with it's 16" bbl will hold 1.5"to 2" groups from a rest at 100yds.
I'm using 250 fmj leads that are then copper-clad from Berry's mfg. they give me 1.5" at 100 the load is H110-21gr. and CCI magnum primers.
The other load is 20gr.of H110 under marshall's 265Keiths. Again Magnum primers.
I have not yet loaded for the 300gr.'s I got from BB yet, but anyone who has a load for them, I'd appreciate it..
Your loads sound a little light for H110/WW296. I use more 296 than that, several grains more, with 300gr. WFNGC loads to get it to burn properly in my Rugers. Have you chrono'd them?
For load data for the 300's, there is quite a bit of 30,000CUP load data published by Speer, Hornady, Sierra, probably Nosler, Lyman, and especially Hodgdon. The jacketed data should be fine for a good cast bullet, and in fact is usually on the light side for an LBT design.
Yea, I know it's kinda light, but it groups well. Now that I've got Marshall's bullets, I'm gonna work up some more stuff. Any recommendations from the 16" bbl. for the 300's????
Thanks and be well,
Thanks John... I kinda thought so. Why such a fat bullet anyway? Is the chamber kinda wide or are the grooves on your Marlin really that deep? If the grooves are normal for the .45Colt and the chamber is kinda wide, are you getting any lead fouling near the chamber as a result of swaging the bullet down that much prior to its trip through the rifling?
Regarding your earlier post: miniature 45-70-350 indeed! I believe a modern .45Colt rifle duplicates the old 45-75 load T.R. was fond of for hunting American plains game.
My .45 Colt Cowboy has a .4525" groove diameter and fired cases measure .460-.462" i.d. at the mouth. Based on that, I decided to try .457" bullets to help seal things up better, and, as it turns out, they give very good accuracy as well.
I get no leading whatsoever using w.w + 2% tin alloy.
Yes indeed, the .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy with a 350 gr. bullet and smokeless powder can ballistically duplicate the .45-75 (350 gr. bullet @ 1,343 f.p.s.) black powder cartridge of 1876. Neat!
I will be sending those bullets to you this week. Sorry for the delay.
i load for a win. 1892 rifle and a rem 14 1/2 carbine in 44-40, in the win i load 23grs imr 4227 and a 200gr hornady hp bullet for hunting and in the rem 14 1/5 i use 17 grs imr 4227 with the same bullet . the win. will shoot into 2-3 inches at 100yds,the rem will go 3-4 inches. i have a navy arms 92 short rifle in 44-40 and its my main 44-40 shooter now,and it runs well with the same loads. eastbank.
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