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  1. #1
    Member RandyC is on a distinguished road

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    .44-40 Bullet Size Dangerous?

    I have a 3rd Gen SAA .44-40. .427 size bullets drop through the chambers pretty easily so I got some .429's to see if they might tighten up my groups. They hang in the chambers just a little and pop out easily with just the slightest pressure. So far so good.

    Just out of curiosity, I pressed the .429 to the muzzle. Not even close to going in. I mean -- I didn't expect it to feed in but I expected closer than what I got.

    I pull out my micrometer and the most I get out of chamber or muzzle is .421 so clearly I'm either terrible with a micrometer or I don't understand physics.

    So my question is this: Am I in dangerous territory here over a lousy .002 in bullet size? The rounds are loaded with 8 grains of Unique.

  2. #2
    Banned WIL TERRY is on a distinguished road

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    NO, YOU ARE NOT !!! Also, you CANNOT measure the muzzle as you have done and expect anything approaching the correct ID as you are measuring the lands that way NOT the grooves.
    In my three COLT pistols, the S&W 44-40, and the two CIMARRON 44-40 pistols all will shoot just fine with .428", .429" and .430" [ you can run into chambering problems with this bullet OD..] OD bullets. I might add the CIMARRON '73 44-40 does the same.

  3. #3
    Member RandyC is on a distinguished road

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    Wil -- Thank you, sir.

    No ifs, ands, or buts in that reply. I appreciate it. Now, off to the range.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ShootingMaster is on a distinguished road

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    .429" bullets in .44 wcf are not dangerous at all.

    However, you might experience some troubles when loading the cylinder with .429" rounds.

    I own a couple of New Service models chambered in .44 wcf. None of them would accept any bullet larger than .427".
    Even when .428"/.429" bullets would pass through chambers with a little pressure (just like you said), the rounds loaded with those bullets would not fit in the chambers (brass thickness should be considered).

    I had use .429" bullets in my Colt revolvers only to find out that even when the bullet itself will pass through the chambers, the final round will not.

    .427" bullets or little less (.426") seems to work fine on my .44 wcf Colts.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards.-
    Last edited by ShootingMaster; 09-28-2011 at 09:28 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member peacemaker is on a distinguished road

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    Let's put it this way....

    During the late 1800s the U.S. military had two main side arms, the Colt Single Action Army and the Smith & Wesson Schofield. The cartridges used in both was the .45 Schofield, having a bullet of .450" diameter. The bore of the Schofield revolver was .435". That's a full .015" difference! They were, however, loaded with black powder, not smokeless, if that makes a difference.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1873Bob is on a distinguished road

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    It appears with quite a number of third gen SAA and mine in 45 Colt is no different, that the chamber mouths are in the region of two thou larger than the groove diameter. My 45 chamber mouths are 454 bore slugs at 452. Its an accurate combination and shoots fine. No reason to think your 44/40 would not do well with projectiles from 427 through 429. No worries.

    Similar to WIL TERRY above, I have a Uberti 1873 in 44/40 and she will accept projectiles from 427 to 430 and I cannot see any difference in accuracy. Just have to be a bit more careful in the reloading process with the slightly larger projectiles, little extra bell on the case mouth and seat them gently.

    Now if you owned a SAA with serial number below 200,000 in 44/40 you can expect problems with small chamber mouth and large barrel groove. Nothing makes them shoot well.
    Last edited by 1873Bob; 09-29-2011 at 06:33 AM.

  7. #7
    Member RandyC is on a distinguished road

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    Thank you, gentlemen. Regarding the potential loading issues, the rounds are dropping in fine so I'm good to go.

    There is a lot of experience represented on this forum and I'm thankful for your help.

  8. #8
    Member Ivan is on a distinguished road

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    IMHO,it seems the older guns have a tighter bore than post WWI production. My 44-40 New Services like the .427 dia bullets . Same problem as Shooting Master,the .428 and above will not chamber correctly.Slug the bore with a dead soft piece of lead and measure it.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member ColtStar is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyC View Post
    I have a 3rd Gen SAA .44-40. .427 size bullets drop through the chambers pretty easily so I got some .429's to see if they might tighten up my groups. They hang in the chambers just a little and pop out easily with just the slightest pressure. So far so good.

    Just out of curiosity, I pressed the .429 to the muzzle. Not even close to going in. I mean -- I didn't expect it to feed in but I expected closer than what I got.

    I pull out my micrometer and the most I get out of chamber or muzzle is .421 so clearly I'm either terrible with a micrometer or I don't understand physics.

    So my question is this: Am I in dangerous territory here over a lousy .002 in bullet size? The rounds are loaded with 8 grains of Unique.

    Just a FWIW: Tight cylinder throats may cause serious pressure issues with oversize bullets, more-so than a tight bore diameter.

    Remember, the bullet must pass through the cylinder throat first!

    If it was My gun, I'd slug and measure each and every cylinder throat, because You really don't want to blow up Your gun, and possibly lose Your sight.


  10. #10
    Member RandyC is on a distinguished road

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    ColtStar -- Thanks for the heads-up. I've dropped the bullets through each of the cylinder throats and they seem very consistent in this gun. A little nudge and the bullet pops through so I think I'm okay in this regard.

    Thanks, though, for waving that flag.


 

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