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Discussion Starter #1
So I finally decided to pull my old model 73 .44-40 lever-action out of retirement. I spent the day carefully polishing the brass and cleaning the action and now that I'm sitting here looking at a beautiful shining piece of American history, I want to go out and do some target shooting. Much to my surprise, I can't find any ammo for it....

What's going on with the .44-40 ammo today? Winchester -has- to still be producing these centerfire superX cartridges (right?), so why are they sold out everywhere? A sudden run on old-school rifle/revolver ammo? I've never had a problem picking up a box at a decent ammo retailer, heck, my last box came from a bass pro. I haven't watched the news lately, did I miss the breakout of the second civil war?

I've only found one place -anywhere- that has any .44-40 ammo, and it was a box of magtech, which I'd prefer not to buy thanks to some issues I had with their ammo in the past (they might have corrected things on their end, but I'm holding a grudge).

Anyway, I'd just like to get shooting again and I don't have any of my old brass to reload. A box of 50 winchester superX's would make me a happy man. Am I SOL?
 

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Welcome to ShootersForum, ncinerate. Rules are simple, be nice and join in.

I shoot an old Model '92 in 44/40 and haven't had trouble finding the cowboy action rounds at my local retailers. I needed more power from them to hunt deer, so I'm loading my own, now. I got the brass from Midway, when they still had some in stock and load them with 200gr XTP bullets. Hopefully you'll be able to locate some ammo before too long. Can your local store order you some? Lots of ammo/components have been a bit hard to find since the latest administration took office.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
hmm

I'm having a hard time understanding this whole bullet shortage. I haven't been keeping a keen eye on the news, but last I checked it seemed like the obama and the dems were staying clear of the gun issue. I just don't see any administration taking away peoples right to bear arms and purchase ammunition.

Anyway, my local stores are telling me 3-6 months (ACK). I'm just starting the search however, so perhaps they are misinformed. I'll try a few more gun shops before I give up.

I appreciate the two links - I found those oddball john wayne commemorative winchester bullets but was trying to avoid spending 70$ for the dukes signature. I'm thinking they aught to go to some kind of collector, I want a set of bullets to use - not look at. That said, if I can't find something soon I'm going to be firing dukes.

Everything else is cowboy action magtech, really really really trying to avoid magtech (it's a long story).

Might not have a choice though, given the current bullet situation. I'd much prefer a set of winchesters - much better if I get a wild hair and decide to go hunting.

It looks like I'm definitely going to have to join you in reloading mattsbox, but I'd like to have a factory set of bullets to feel out the gun and see if I want to pursue using it on a regular basis again.


Oh, finally, sorry about posting in the wrong area at first - somehow I didn't realize there was a specific lever-action and cartridge section.
 

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Check that second link again, there is some Black Hills stuff in stock, made right here in the USA - South Dakota. Its annoying to have to order it, but Midway has $10 off if you spend $50, use this promo code at checkout: 223610 its good through June 30.
 

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I am starting to think that some of these "oldtimers cartridges" are not being produced much like they were a few years ago. The price of: copper, lead and other things that go into producing ammo are all up and in tight supplies. Most of the loaded factory ammo is being deverted to more widely used & popular calibers. Here's a weblink to Midway on their .44-40 WCF Winchester brand ammo: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=530044
 

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Dude I hope you've been saving your brass cause reloading is the way to go! Man $1.50 per round oh **** no!
 

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I was in a local gun shop and a gentleman was there picking up some stuff he had ordered, which included two boxes of Winchester 44/40 cowboy action loads. Since I shoot a 44/40, I struck up a conversation with him and found he was actually planning to use them in a rifle to hunt deer with those loads. When I explained how anemic they are, compared to actual hunting loads (~950fps vs. 1600fps) he was pretty surprised. Not as shocked as I was, when I heard how much he was paying for 2 boxes of 50/ea...they were marked at $68 a box! :eek:

At that point I told the guy he could save the brass and reload for a fraction of the cost while getting much better performance from his gun. I even offered to show him how, but he was so embarrassed that he was paying almost $150 for ammo that wasn't really powerful enough to hunt deer at any distance, that he left the store in a huff.
 

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I also saw a few boxes of .44-40 ammo in a nearby town's Gun store. Reloading is the ONLY way one is going too bring the old .44-40 WCF up to Deer Hunting standards. The current ammo is for either Cowboy shooting or loaded for handguns & old rifles. Years ago they did load .44-40's a bit hotter than they do today, but they didn't have as many "Lawyers", back then, as they do now, as the ammo companies don't want to be sued because someone is careless enough to fire HOT factory loads in their firearm. SO it's pistol loaded ammo now in .44-40 WCF's.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks!

It looks like the old '73 is going back in the closet until some higher-velocity superx become available again (cowboy action loads are pretty awful at anything other then a close range target practice session) - and then it's reloading all the way on that old gun. Maybe I'll just bite the proverbial bullet and buy the brass to start loading my own if winchester doesn't start putting some ammo out...

I miss the days of reasonably priced ammo being readily available! Crazy people and their crazy ammo hoarding habits (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, so as not to upset people with lots of fire arms and ammo). Of course lately, it feels like I'm one of those hoarders. :)

Not sure why I'm bitten by the bug again myself. Suddenly I'm trying to find ammo for guns I haven't shot in decades and I feel the need for a home defense shotgun. It seems irrational to me. I don't expect anything to happen, but there has been a noticeable rise in crime around here lately and the wife has been getting antsy... On the same coin, I've always liked the look of those pump action folding stock mossberg 500a's with some shells strapped to it.

Thanks for all the words! Appreciate the help.
 

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It looks like the old '73 is going back in the closet until some higher-velocity superx become available again (cowboy action loads are pretty awful at anything other then a close range target practice session) - and then it's reloading all the way on that old gun. Maybe I'll just bite the proverbial bullet and buy the brass to start loading my own if winchester doesn't start putting some ammo out...

You may not want to fire HOT loaded .44-40 in your Old Winchester Model 73, as it was produced when black powder was used for cartridges. If you decide to load for your '73 you might consider using cast bullets & Unique powder for reloading.

I miss the days of reasonably priced ammo being readily available! Crazy people and their crazy ammo hoarding habits (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, so as not to upset people with lots of fire arms and ammo). Of course lately, it feels like I'm one of those hoarders.

I know exactly how you feel about these "Ammo Horders". We all went through it when Clinton was elected President, but it seems worse this time around since Obama was elected. A lot of businesses have placed limits on purchases of ammo.

Not sure why I'm bitten by the bug again myself. Suddenly I'm trying to find ammo for guns I haven't shot in decades and I feel the need for a home defense shotgun. It seems irrational to me. I don't expect anything to happen, but there has been a noticeable rise in crime around here lately and the wife has been getting antsy... On the same coin, I've always liked the look of those pump action folding stock mossberg 500a's with some shells strapped to it.

Your 12 gauge "Pump" would make an ideal home defense shotgun.


Thanks for all the words! Appreciate the help.

You're Welcome! :)
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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You don't need speed, you need a flat bullet nose. Wider is better, like the old car commercials said. That will kill your critters just fine.
 

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You don't need speed, you need a flat bullet nose. Wider is better, like the old car commercials said. That will kill your critters just fine.
Yes, lead flat nose bullets pushed at moderate speeds killed very well in 1873 the same as they will today. The only thing you give up is those long range shots.
 

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yep a wide 200gr round nose flat point a 950fps will killem dead right there at 50 to 75 yards.
That's the thing though, guys...the same cartridge, loaded to ~1500fps (NOT in a '73!) will kill 'em dead out to 100 or 125 yards. In other words, it can be loaded nearly as hot as a 44Mag, if you're using a stronger action, like the Model '92. For those of us in state with regs that will allow their use for deer season, that extra performance is a huge advantage.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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And if the range is short enough, the deer will be cooked, too!!! :D :D :D

In all seriousness hunting with a black powder cartridge rifle sounds like fun. I wouldn't want to wade into a bunch of hogs and not be able to see due to the smoke, though.
 

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Aw shucks:

And if the range is short enough, the deer will be cooked, too!!! :D :D :D

In all seriousness hunting with a black powder cartridge rifle sounds like fun. I wouldn't want to wade into a bunch of hogs and not be able to see due to the smoke, though.
The smoke just clears out the 'skeeters!
 

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ncinerate,
Sounds like a nice '73 you have. I have found earlier .44-40 produced cartridges that were cataloged at 1,300 f.p.s. that worked fine in my '73.:D
I have purchased ammo at Gunbroker with good results so I decided to check and see if there was anything there of the earlier 1,300 f.p.s. smokeless cartridge. I found three:

I have used ammuition with good results from a box just like this one,
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=175548902

Partial box:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=175581955

Possibly the best option
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=175550611

Good luck,
John
 
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