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Hey Guys,

A while back Ruger came out with a nifty little bolt rifle for the .44 Mag cartridge.....model M77/44 I believe. I've kind of waited to see if they would bring it out in .45 Colt since I have .45 Colt firearms, but no .44 Mags.

Do you think this rifle could be reworked to .45 Colt with the intent of using some of the stout ammo that Linebaugh and Bowen use in their five shot handguns??

Just thinking out loud....

Lobo in W.Va.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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I'm not sure about the conversion, but I know Mr. James Gates was having wonderful results in his tests in Ruger with the 44 Mag chambering. I have a copy of his preliminary tests and can post those (upon approval from Mr. Gates) if anyone is interested.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I doubt that it would work, because the .44 mag rifle uses a rotary magazine (which is pretty slick) but cramming a bigger case into those dimensions could be a problem. Remember to do this in a rotary magazine you have to increase the width on both sides, and also around the outside of the 'circle' that the cartridges form.

Also it has been reported that those mags won't feed anything longer than SAAMI spec. So that removes one of the .45's strong points, keeping the pressures down by loading long-nosed bullets.

I would suggest that the ideal bullet for that rifle may be the BTB 280gr. WFNGC. It can be loaded to an OAL of about 1.610", which should work in the mag, and is a pretty devastating bullet even at revolver velocities. Rifle velocities are probably in the 1600-1700fps range, depending on barrel length.

Yes it is a shame that Ruger didn't make that rifle in .45 Colt, as I'd love to have one.
 

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Alyeska,
I would for one, would be interested in the Ruger test results. I have been dabbling with the idea of a 77/44. If James Gates o.k's it, by all means post it. Hopefully other people will find it of interest.
Thanks
Scott
 

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I like this idea a lot. How about a 45 Colt/454 Casull chambering? A bolt gun is not likely to be finiky about the .10 inch difference in case length, and the flexibility would sell more rifles. The range of bullet weights in .451/.452 is better than .429/.430, all the way from 155 to 400 (if you count LGCs).

The 18 inch bbl would drive the tough FA 260 grainers to 2200 fps and 2800 fpe at the top end, and all that great 45 Colt ammo would be plain fun to plink with. The darned thing would also shoot sabots, either .451/40 or.451/357&9MM, giving access to all those hand gun bullets. A 1 in 16 inch twist rate would stabilize everything.
 

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Let's not give up because of the Magazine. It's nice and wide, and a simple task to design around it. The rim of the 44 is actually larger than the Colt and Casull, while the body is only .024 smaller. COL needs to go up to 1.75 inches for the Casull, and this may be a problem as the 44s are generally 1.6. The Colt COL should be OK, however.
 

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Mr. Gates' Summary

I got the approval to report some info that James passed along to me. He's extremely busy testing 357, 44 and various shotgun loadings. He's doing what he loves and sharing hard facts with those of us who request it. Here's a summary he sent me, verbatim:

"I have been very involved in hard cast hunting bullets for .357 Mag, .44
Mag., and .45 Long Colt for John anderson, owner of Rock Island
Ballistics. As for the Ruger 77/44....it is one of my best test guns and
I have killed 3 large hogs with it using our .431" 265 gr. Truncated
Cone Wadcutter. I find it will feed and shoot about any bullet design,
unlike the other two test guns (Remington 788 and Marlin 1894P)."

"I am more more concerned with the Terminal Performance of a game bullet than I am of its Ballistic Efficiency. My good friend Bill McConnell does all the work on developing efficient loads and I will continue to rely on his expertise.
With this in mind, I will state that the single most important factor in Terminal Performance is the Velocity and Meplat Area (whether a hard cast bullet or an expanded jacketed bullet! Next in importance is the weight, which gives the penetration one wants on the game hunted. If too much weight is added to the bullet, velocity falls, as does the volume of the Permanent Wound Channel.
If a group of bullets have the same Meplat Area and Velocity, there is little difference in the PWC...regardless of caliber. If the PWC exceeds 36" the heavier bullet will destroy more tissue toward the rear of the penetration.
Now, for the .44 Magnun.......We use three test rifles..(1) Marlin 1894P, (2) Ruger 77/44, (3) Rem.788. Accuracy Tests..(2)-(1)-(3).....Feeding Tests..(2), (3), (1)..Best Handling Various
OAL..(2), (3), (1). All three fed factory 240 gr. jacketed loads. The absolute most friendly with reloads using various bullet designs is the Ruger 77/44 (even with OWC designs). Of all three, the Marlin 1894 points best (with receiver sights)
Best Hard Cast Bullets....Two hard cast bullets, the Beartooth 265 gr and the Rock Island Ballistics 265 gr are head and shoulder above the rest! The Marlin needs the R.I.B. 265 gr Truncated Cone Wadcutter ( designed for this rifle) in order to have absolute positive feeding. The BTB 265 gr is the single best hard cast bullet in the Ruger 77/44. Both of the bullets have the same Meplat Area. We have a new line of bullets coming the first of the year called Xtreme Meplat Cast......265 gr. in the .431" that should be even a better game bullet than the before mentioned bullets.
We have found that, with the lube used by BTB & RIB, that the hardness can go down to 18 bhn with no leading up to 1800+fps and does give some expanded Meplat Area. Both the BTB and RIB lube is same, except color.
Serious consideration should be given to the statement concerning Velocity and Meplat Area!!!!!!!
This should resolve some of the arguments concerning the .41 Mag., .44 Mag., .45 Long Colt, and maybe even the .357 mag. My suggestion is one should shoots which one likes best. "
 

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alyeska,
Thanks for taking the time to posts those test's. I'll probably give that Ruger a close look. Also, thank you James Gates!.
Scott
:)
 

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A lot of simple, complete facts in that (and a lot of pork, too.). That was a goody.

I have the 265s, 280s and 300s and the 265s seem like they're more than enough in weight to drive thru anything. I'll be sticking to those.

Thanks,

- Charlie
 

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Converting 77/44 to 45LC and 454 Casull

Id' really like to know if the 77/44 would handle the 454's higher pressures. I wonder because I read somewhere that the 77/44 is basically the same action as the 77/22. Dimensionally it seems like the magazine and action could handle the bigger cartridge. I want to have one built. Any ideas on who would do it?
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Relocated to this forum - realize it is a resurrected old thread, but more appropiately belongs here.
 

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There is a **** of a good market for a compact bolt 454...I have it in the Puma, and it does generate 2600 FPE with ease. Once you go to the strength of a bolt, I personally would rather go to a 2.8 inch action and the 450 Marlin. Even at lever action pressures, this one will make 4000 fpe in a 22 inch bbl with AA 2230, yet needs only 44 grs of XMP 5744 to launch a 300 gr bullet 2121 fps for 3000 FPE and 26 FP of recoil in an 8.5 lb rifle.

In this action, the 300 gr Barnes X will do 2450 fps at 40,000 CUP, affording a BC of .340 and will be only 2.7 inches high at 100 and 11.4 inches low at 300 yards, sighted zero at 100 yards. Out at 300 yds, we still have a bit over 2000 FPE. In close, the 400 gr Woodleigh at 2100 fps has 20% more knock down than the 300 gr 375 H&H (BC .420). All velocities are from AA's 2002 loading manual.

The rifle for this is a Savage Hunter chambered for the 300 WSM and rebarreled to 450. The magazine and feed ramp will work as is as long as one uses spitzers. I plan to build one on my 300 WSM Savage this year.
 

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Lobo:
In the Ruger Blackhawk, the 45 Colt has to be kept to lower pressures than the 44 mag, because the 45 takes up so much more space, you end up with thinner chambers. Considering the 77/44 is built on the 77/22 frame, the chamber thickness is probably maxxed out by the 44, so even if you could get a 45 in it, you would have to load to lower pressure, whereas the 454 uses higher pressure.

Darrel
 

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Tio said:
Lobo:
In the Ruger Blackhawk, the 45 Colt has to be kept to lower pressures than the 44 mag, because the 45 takes up so much more space, you end up with thinner chambers. Considering the 77/44 is built on the 77/22 frame, the chamber thickness is probably maxxed out by the 44, so even if you could get a 45 in it, you would have to load to lower pressure, whereas the 454 uses higher pressure.

Darrel
Would expect that the new barrel in 454 would have a thicker chamber to match the new caliber. The question is what wouold the thickness be at the thread in portion at the receiver. Is there enough left. Additionally, does the 77/44 bolt have enough strength in the locking lugs for the 454?
 

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Hello Friends.....Since the original post, there have been numerous kills made with both the Ruger 77/44 and my little Marlin 1894P. There is little to add, except I am more convinced than ever that the meplat, either the expanded meplat on jacketed bullets or the meplat on cast, is the single most important factor in wound channel. I also believe that an ideal weight is in the bracket of 265 gr to 280 gr, eregardless of whether it's .44 Mag or 45 Colt. This may be cross grain with the hand cannon boys, but is based an alot of gutpiles.
Over-penetration is just as bad as under-penetraation! In the late 50's and early 60's. We killed alot of game with Elmer's load for the #429421 at 1200'/".........but, we trailed up alot after being shot with our dogs! It was a simple matter of over-penetration from too small a meplat! You could have added more weight or more velocity......the results would have been the same! What was needed was more meplat........period.
Therefore, I think the single most important factor is not weight and velocity.......but meplat and velocity. So far, the old tired, but tried, .44 Magnum has given all the gun we needed. Now, you boys can have at me!
Best Regards, James Gates
 

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OK James, as usual you have got me thinking again and that is always a bad thing. I am stuck this year with my current H-110 load for hunting. I have got the 240 gr Mid Kansas WFN shooting really good out of my 20" 1894. I will be shooting deer and maybe a hog or two. Sice MK is out of buisness I will probably be getting new bullets this summer and start development for the following season. I will go up into the wt range you recommend. As usual I will slow the SBH rounds down enough so I can shoot with reasonable accuracy. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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Chief......For clarification before the bomb goes off! In no way am I saying the .44 mag. is better than any of the super 44' or 45's.
I will say that.......if the weight is the same, the meplat is the same, and the velocity is the same.......the diameter of the wound channel will be the same no matter what the caliber is.
If the velocity is the same and the meplat is the same....the heavier bullet....the wound channel will be the same diameter ,but longer.
So.......there is a balance of weight, velocity, and recoil needed in a game bullet.
Therefore, since the 265 gr (44) to 280 gr (45) bullet has been proven to have more than the needed pentration in even heavy game, one should then concentrate on meplat and velocity for diameter of wound channel.
The .432" 265 gr TCW on top off 24.5 grs of WW296 will clock at 1830'/" +/- a few '/" out of my Marlin 1894P. On the other hand there are loads like 12.5 grs of AA5 with the same 265 gr bullet that will clock 1250/1275'/" out of a 7 1/2" barrel that has killed mucho hogs and deer quick and clean. Here again it was meplat and velocity combined to make a load the is easy to hold!
I have no problem with the hand cannons, if one can control the recoil and be accurate! But like Col. Whelen once said, "You can't kill something over 100% dead!"
Have at it boys! Best Regards, James Gates
 
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