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.44-40 Brass shotshells


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Evening, all.

In my never ending quest to do things the hard way, I'm half interested to purchase an Uberti Winchester smooth bore chambered in .44-40. Has anyone here had any experience in reloading the brass shells? The gun is a three shot lever action with a tube magazine. I'm assuming that the finished 'cartridge' should be same length as a conventional round to cycle the next shot, thereby requiring a shot capsule ( much like the .22 shotshell) to hold the shot ? Any thoughts/ experience much appreciated. Many thanks.

Regards, Rob.

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My initial thoughts would be you would load them like a .410 brass case and glue/seal in an over shot card.

A bit of a curious google proved me wrong and shot capsules do seem to be used. I'd be concerned of getting hold of them in the UK as they seem very rare.

These links any help:

https://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=41648.0 

http://www.fourten.org.uk/mwpre410.html

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The issue with the .44-40 is getting something that gives the extra length as well as the base, rim (thickness and diameter) being the same. In a .44 Magnum you could use .444 marlin cases cut down. In a .38 Special or .357 Magnum could use .357 Maximum cases cut down. You would just as with any shotshell need a driving wad below the shot. In a .44-40 you may need to use "shot capsules" such as were made by CCI-Speer. These were available in .38 and .44 and the base plug acts as the wad.

https://youtu.be/7xDyxe8_iYU

https://youtu.be/5LgRExRRQJY

 

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Does anyone know if the .44-40 case is necked at all? I'd be happy to find a suitable (longer) brass case, and load it in the same way as reloading the fireformed .303 brass cartridges, with an overshot card bonded into the end. I think I need to research chamber length, and suitable cases.

Rob.

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Was this a purpose made smooth bore or one that was smooth bored later in its life to render it legal to be held on a sgc by a re-enactor or a western enthusiast/collector? They were around a few years ago.

Also used by people like Conjay Arms who supplied guns to the film industry.

In both instances several decades ago it made them much easier to own and transport

If it was you will find that effectively it was intended to be a blank firer And the bore may be oversize

Edited by Vince Green
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3 hours ago, Vince Green said:

Was this a purpose made smooth bore or one that was smooth bored later in its life to render it legal to be held on a sgc by a re-enactor or a western enthusiast/collector? They were around a few years ago.

Also used by people like Conjay Arms who supplied guns to the film industry.

In both instances several decades ago it made them much easier to own and transport

If it was you will find that effectively it was intended to be a blank firer And the bore may be oversize

Interesting stuff, thank you very much. As far as the seller has told me, it was one of a small batch made, but I've no idea what for. To be honest, it's a good looking thing, but I don't want a paperweight. If I could actually use it to any degree, I'd buy it. I've emailed a couple of Uberti distributors to see what they know about it. Just waiting for a reply. Many thanks.

Regards, Rob.

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On 02/02/2022 at 16:15, Fenlandbob said:

Does anyone know if the .44-40 case is necked at all? I'd be happy to find a suitable (longer) brass case, and load it in the same way as reloading the fireformed .303 brass cartridges, with an overshot card bonded into the end. I think I need to research chamber length, and suitable cases.

Rob.

The .44-40 case is very slightly tapered

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28 minutes ago, Andy H said:

here you go.44 WCF / .44-40 Winchester Loads

Evening, mate. 

Well that's an eye opener. The finished length of the complete round is extremely short. Would I need the extra length of the 'bullet' to feed correctly, I wonder? Many thanks.

Regards, Rob.

6 hours ago, Vince Green said:

The .44-40 case is very slightly tapered

Isn't that typical? Just to make things even more difficult!

Regards, Rob.

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7 minutes ago, Fenlandbob said:

E

Isn't that typical? Just to make things even more difficult!

Regards, Rob.

It's very typical of a cartridge that started life as a black powder load.

.44 is the calibre, 40 is the charge in grains of black powder

The taper is to mitigate against the effects of chamber fouling 

Edited by Vince Green
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5 minutes ago, Vince Green said:

It's very typical of a cartridge that started life as a black powder load.

.44 is the calibre, 40 is the charge in grains of black powder

The taper is to mitigate against the effects of chamber fouling 

Going to show my ignorance, here. Is the cartridge now a smokeless load?

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Finished length matters on old marlins as they do not have what I would call a bullet stop so when the lifter is in action it relays on the round being the right length and not letting the next round onto the lifter and jamming it, some winchesters had this addition but I cannot remember when they put it in. 
 

a look in the action may yield the answer if there is a mechanism to stop the next round getting onto the lifter and if so the finished length is less important but it still may not cycle every time as there would not be a nice shaped bullet in the end of the case to guide it into the chamber. 
 

sounds like a fun project anyway and would be interested in finding out if you get it working. Out of interest is it held on s2 or s58 and going to put it on s2 if you get it working? 

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I have an Uberti 1860 henry in 44wcf , (44-40) and the cartridge stop is the lifter , If the cartridge is too long then the lifter will jam as the cartridge end is still in the mag tube and too short it will jam as it will try to lift part of the next cartridge still in the mag tube , All bullets need to be round head or flat point round head to feed at all even a semi wadcutter will jam on the small ridge at the base of the bullet ogive.

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5 hours ago, Andy H said:

I do not know if you have seen this catagory on Cast Boolit's,

https://castboolits.gunloads.com/forumdisplay.php?253-Shot-Shell-Loads-For-Pistols

That is very interesting. Cracking looking finished product with the use of the milk carton. Cheers for the heads up, mate.

Regards, Rob.

5 hours ago, rovercoupe said:

Finished length matters on old marlins as they do not have what I would call a bullet stop so when the lifter is in action it relays on the round being the right length and not letting the next round onto the lifter and jamming it, some winchesters had this addition but I cannot remember when they put it in. 
 

a look in the action may yield the answer if there is a mechanism to stop the next round getting onto the lifter and if so the finished length is less important but it still may not cycle every time as there would not be a nice shaped bullet in the end of the case to guide it into the chamber. 
 

sounds like a fun project anyway and would be interested in finding out if you get it working. Out of interest is it held on s2 or s58 and going to put it on s2 if you get it working? 

 

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5 hours ago, rovercoupe said:

Finished length matters on old marlins as they do not have what I would call a bullet stop so when the lifter is in action it relays on the round being the right length and not letting the next round onto the lifter and jamming it, some winchesters had this addition but I cannot remember when they put it in. 
 

a look in the action may yield the answer if there is a mechanism to stop the next round getting onto the lifter and if so the finished length is less important but it still may not cycle every time as there would not be a nice shaped bullet in the end of the case to guide it into the chamber. 
 

sounds like a fun project anyway and would be interested in finding out if you get it working. Out of interest is it held on s2 or s58 and going to put it on s2 if you get it working? 

The gun is currently held on section 2. As has been suggested previously, you have to wonder if it was previously converted/or produced to fire blanks for film/ reenactment purposes? Nice looking bit of kit. And possibly a good excuse to hide in the shed of an evening.

Regards, Rob.

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5 hours ago, Andy H said:

I have an Uberti 1860 henry in 44wcf , (44-40) and the cartridge stop is the lifter , If the cartridge is too long then the lifter will jam as the cartridge end is still in the mag tube and too short it will jam as it will try to lift part of the next cartridge still in the mag tube , All bullets need to be round head or flat point round head to feed at all even a semi wadcutter will jam on the small ridge at the base of the bullet ogive.

This is my concern with regards to consistent feeding. I've got a couple of bolt action guns converted to .410 with 2 +1 on shotgun certificate. But these refuse to feed due the flat front of the cartridge, so are single shot by default. Again, something else to have a look at.....,

Regards, Rob.

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Bob you can buy plastic shot caps for 44-40 in USA.

not sure if they will post from a us suppliers due to paperwork, but private US citizens can post them to uk

Bob you can buy plastic shot caps for 44-40 in USA.

not sure if they will post from a us suppliers due to paperwork, but private US citizens can post them to uk

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2 hours ago, Modafinale said:

.

not sure if they will post from a us suppliers due to paperwork, but private US citizens can post them to uk

Oh no they most definitely can't. American anti terrorist legislation requires an export licence ($250) to ship any ammunition or components out of the USA to an other country. And its a federal offence so jail time for who ever gets caught trying to do it.. Being a private citizen has no bearing on whether its legal or not.

Having lived in the States and in the past imported thousands of pounds worth of items the only advice I can give you is you don't mess with US Federal Laws, they have absolutely no ability to say OK we will let you off this time with a warning.

If the OP can get them from Italy then go there

Edited by Vince Green
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The issue is that the cartridge will need something that is frangible but won't break when it isn't meant to but will when it is meant to. So what's the answer? The plastic phials used for premeasured blackpowder charges are too strong. As would be a reversed plaswad used in a .410" shotshell.

What to do?

Frangible yet also strong. That suggests plastic. My advice see if you can get someone who does vacuum forming to make round ended deep drawn "cups". That look in effect like a letter "U". These should resist the magazine operation yet on firing break apart and release the shot. Plastic sheet such as used by plastic aircraft or railway modellers will know. About 20 thou will do. Maybe 30 thou? 40 thou will be too thick.

And a GOOD model shop will likely have a contact for one off bespoke vacuum moulding. Seal the base with a standard .410" shotshell fibre or felt wad. This will also function as your driving wad.

Or be really old school and draw them yourself. Not vacuum forming but good enough for small batches maybe?

How? Here? Which I did as a boy in the 1970s making plastic Porsche turrets for model King Tiger tanks.

Make a board with a hole in it. Get a dowel and round the end. The gap between dowel and the hole in the board will be the diameter of your plastic sheet. Use a heat gun such as used for paint stripping to warm the plastic to a point where you can push the dowel into the sheet and through the hole to make the "cup".

Let the plastic cool and then and only then cut it free from the sheet.

 

Edited by enfieldspares
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The old shot cartridges for pistols often used a papier mashe type capsule to hold the shot

Fiddly to make but possible

The American plastic capsules have fracture lines moulded into them and need to go through a rifled barrel to initiate the cracking process and then spin them apart after they leave the barrel using the centrifugal force 

The concern I would have if the rifling has been removed what diameter is the bore now? If they were just doing it to make a blank firer they wouldn't have cared

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