I have an Uberti 44-40 lever action carbine, with a few Cowboy cartridges. I'm not really a rifle guy, most of my weapons are handguns or shotguns. Is the 44-40 cartridge an acceptable self defense round? Are there non-cowboy loads available that would make it better? Seems I'm limited to flatnose, as the new plastic tips, I don't think come in obsolete calibers.
October 22nd, 2006, 01:40 PM
The 44-40 winchester is pretty much ballistically identical to a .44 mag. So, as a rifle it's fairly underpowered but is definately lethal at household ranges. As for what's commercialy available, I don't know. But I do know that you can reload say a 200 grain speer GDHP at over 1600 fps.
October 22nd, 2006, 05:04 PM
The 44-40 is no where near the same ballistics as a 44 mag, either in a pistol or a rifle.
In a modern rifle the maximum velocity for a 44-40 is about 1600 fps with a 200 gr jacketed bullet that is 1130 ft lbs of energy, as opposed to a 44 mag moving at a tad over 2100 fps and 1950 ft lbs of energy.
From a pistol the 44-40 is going to be about 1000 fps tops with 440 ft lbs of energy, and the 44 mag is almost 1500 fps at the upper end with almost 1000 ft lbs of energy.
If you load a 44-40 as hot as a 44 mag, you will likely blow the cases apart and possibly blow up a cylinder in a revolver, not to mention the damage done to yourself or others.
That being said, there are non cowboy loads for a 44-40 that are good for your uberti rifle. Remington and Winchester both make a 200 gr that comes out at 629 ft lbs of energy and ends up with 449 ft lbs of energy at 100 yrds. You can make up your mind as to whether that is powerfull enough for you for home defense.
The old 44-40 has probably killed more people and animals over the years than any other single caliber in america.
October 22nd, 2006, 06:28 PM
My data is coming from my Lyman 48th edition manual. Are you looking in the pistol section of your manual or the rifle section. There is a big difference between the two.
Hodgdon 110 powder at 28.8 gr, with 200 gr hornady xtp, magnum primer is 2133 fps, on a 44 mag.
Winchester 296 powder at 28,3 gr, with 200 gr hornady xtp, magnum primers is 2129 fps on a 44 mag.
These are both from a 20 in barrel
Your formula is incorrect. it is velocity squared times bullet grain divided by 450400 , not 400450.
Do you actually reload for the 44 mag or the 44-40?
I do for both, and have tried lots of loads and thousands of rounds, there is no comparison between the two.
October 22nd, 2006, 07:16 PM
you are correct about the conversion factor, sorry, my brain flatulated there. And yes I was comparing to the .44mag pistol, I guess I should have specified that in the original post. Yes I have reloaded for the .44 mag pistol, no I haven't reloaded for 44-40, but one of my buddies does, and I've seen him chrony .200 grain bullets at right around 1600 with no pressure signs. Granted, it's a modern action. The factory rounds are still right around 1200fps. So in short, I would revise my original statement to say the 44-40 is similar to a .44mag pistol. Sorry about the confusion.
December 1st, 2019, 12:39 PM
I know I am bad about reviving 20 year old topics but it is my way of learning, searching for information. Sometimes...ok...a lot of times I can't help but reply.
The OP's questions was certainly answered and answered very well but I thought I would add.
Lyman's 49th Edition lists heavy loads for 10 Group II rifles that are considered strong action rifles. There is other load data out there too such as Hornady for Ruger revolvers etc,
If anyone is interested here is a little history on the "High Velocity" loads manufactured by Winchester by 1910.
Winchester manufactured "High Velocity" ammunition particularly for the Winchester model 92'. Starting in 1903 at about 1,500fps and by 1910 at nearly 1,600fps using Winchester's .426 JSP bullets creating 22,000cup. By the 1960's, Remington's "High Velocity" loads were neutered and labeled safe in all firearms...velocities tapered back down to 1,300fps.
Thank's to Lyman's 49th we can still load these great cartridges to near historic velocities and high pressures for Group II strong action rifles.
The 44-40 can't really be loaded to 44 Magnum standards since the 44 Magnum typically uses 240gr or heavier bullets. With that said, Hurcules/Alliant and Lee published loads for the 44-40 using 23.5gr of Reloder 7 using a 240gr lead bullet. These replicate original 200gr velocities at 10% to 20% more power because of the heavier weight. I harvested a white tail at 65 yards with this load a few years back. Hit broadside in the shoulder, turned 90degrees and traveled down the spinal cord, lodging in the hind quarter...obliterating the back strap! The deer never took a step, dropped straight down.
I tested many loads using clear ballistics gel as well as using a strain gauge to measure chamber pressures. If anyone is interested this data and historical Winchester development can be found at the following link.