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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at getting a 44-40 cowboy limited, but have never shot or reloaded the cal. before. I read that there can be some issues with the 44-40.

What is the general opinion of the cal.?
How is reloading for it? Are the components readily available (Brass & Bullets)?

Thanks,
Lunarphase
 

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I use the 44-40 as my main go to rifle around here and have killed several deer with it.

For a Marlin 1894 Cowboy, it's pretty straight forward. With other makes of guns, you can run into bore problems, but Marlin followed SAAMI specs with their 44-40 barrels. With mine, bullets up to .429 will chamber. .430 won't. The brass is pretty thin so care must be taken or you'll crush a bunch of it. I use a Lyman die set with the M expander and a Lee Factory Crimp Die. By usin the FCD instead of crimping with the Lyman die, I solved most of the case crushing problems.

I've used Winchester, Remington, Hornady and Starline brass in plain and nickel and I like the Starline best. For bullets, I've used a homecast Lee RNFP 200gr for my cast bullet needs and in jacketed 200gr Hornady XTP, 200gr Speer Gold Dots and 210gr Winchester Silvertips have worked out well for me. Some of the jacketed come in .430 diameter and I run them through a .428 Lee bullet sizer to get them to fit the gun. Just spray case lube on them and squeeze them through. If it's a .429 bullet it'll work fine. The standard 44-40 jacketed bullet is .427 so it's no problem. But using 44 Mag/Special bullets give a much better selection. But I stay close to 200gr on my bullets as that's what most of the loading data available is for. The Lyman manual is my preference for data on the 44-40.

Powders, I use Unique and 2400. Unique for mild cast bullet loads and 2400 for the faster loads.


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Discussion Starter #3
Willy,
Thanks for the detailed info on the 44-40.
I'm tworn between the 44-40 and the 44 Mag now.

Lunarphase
 

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The downside to the 44-40 is that ammo is hard to find and usually expensive. And the bullet selection is just about not there. That's why I load for it.
 

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I shoot 200 grain xtp's out of my Century Limited and my Vaquero. Had the cylinder throats opened up on the Ruger, Marlin used the same bore as the .44 mag on the 44-40. I can load them into the lower .44 mag range using high speed data.
 

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mike m said:
Marlin used the same bore as the .44 mag on the 44-40.
That's odd, I've measured the Cowboy Limited and the CCL which mine is and the groove diameter follows .4285 which is SAAMI spec for the 44-40 and a bit smaller than a 44 Mag. Is yours one of the hard to find micro-groove barrels?
 
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