Colt Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I like switching out cylinders on my 38-40s and 41 Colts. Gives me lots of options.
I am now wondering if the barrel dimensions for 44-40 and 44 Colt are also the same. I have some extra 41 Colt 1st Gen cylinders that I am hoping can be converted to 44 Colt. Maybe 44 Russian is another option ;)
Any one have any experience in this type of endeavor?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Hi There,

From what I have read, the .44 Colt is a little big for a .429"-.430" groove
diameter. As I read on Wikipedia, the bullet diameter for .44 Colt is .451"

If you are interested in shooting .44-40 (which traditionally was .427"-.428"),
then .44 Special would be the logical pairing (.429"-.430"). I believe (correct me
if I'm wrong), the current groove diameter for .44-40 used in the SAA is .429"-.430"
so using .44 Special is just a cylinder swap. Also, .44 Russian is also .429"-.430"
and is the parent cartridge the .44 Special was derived from and fits those chambers
just fine (akin to shooting 38 Special in a .357 Magnum).

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I think I will go the .44 Special/Russian route.
I can load 2 diff calibers in the one cylinder, plus have the 44-40 cylinder as well.
Thanks for the input.
Now, who can rechamber my cylinder for me?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,551 Posts
As I said, modern .44Colt utilizes standard inside-lubed .427-.430" cast bullets, not .45 caliber heeled bullets as it was loaded originally for converted percussion guns. Been loading it for 10yrs in Open Tops and Richards conversions.

Modern .44Colt can be used in a .44Spl chamber. The only difference is that it's slightly shorter, with a slightly smaller rim.

I use Jack Huntington for all my gunsmithing needs. The cylinder will have to be fitted to the gun, in addition to rechambering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Hi There,

As I said, modern .44Colt utilizes standard inside-lubed .427-.430" cast bullets, not .45 caliber heeled bullets as it was loaded originally for converted percussion guns. Been loading it for 10yrs in Open Tops and Richards conversions.
I'm curious about the revolvers you are using. Are they
original period Colt with Richards conversions? What is
the groove diameter of your barrels?

The original groove diameter of the Colt Percussion era
barrels in .44 is supposed to be .451". Hence the .44 Colt
round was developed for these revolvers and the projectile
was made to fit the barrels.

Now, if you are using soft lead (say 20 to 1 lead/tin mix or
pure lead), I guess obturation of the soft lead would allow
the .430" diameter bullet to "swell" into the grooves. Plus,
I don't know if this person wishes to buy off-the-shelf ammo
or "roll his own?"

Unless the cylinder is already fitted to the gun (with the proper
cylinder to barrel gap) it would be more cost effective to buy
a good .44 Special cylinder and have it fitted than paying the
cost of 6 re-chamberings. Of course, that would depend on the
price the Smith charges for his services.

Also, I hate to see a perfectly good .41 LC cylinder butchered
when .44 Special cylinders are around and probably more
plentiful than the .41 LC ones. This may be my own prejudices
because I like .41 LC and I hate to see them sacrificed but, it
is his cylinder and he can do what he wants with it.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
44-40 Colt barrels to this day are intended to be .427 but are plus or minus + or minus.
Modern 44 spl, 44 Colt and 44 Russian ammo uses .429 -.430 bullets.
Therefore as Craig posted a couple of times, they will all function fine in a 44-40 barrel.

The original 44 Colt used a heeled bullet of ~.451 (same diameter as the case like modern .22s, the only remaining heeled bullet ammo being manufactured) in order to work in converted cap and ball guns. You will not find any of that ammo, so no worries. If you did, it's too old and too valuable to shoot anyway.

So chamber your extra cyl for 44 Spl and shoot all three.

Now DON'T MISTAKE what I'm about to say as recommendations, just facts:

1. But 44 Russian can safely chamber and shoot in your 44-40 cyl. just as it is. It will shoot well but expand the Russian cases a bit more than normal. If you full length resize them, this may shorten case life. But you can neck resize them only and don't plan to shoot them in a 44 Spl, Colt or Russian cylinder, because they may chamber too tight or not chamber.

2. And the 44-40 case neck portion of the chambers can be reamed to 44 spl size and shoot all four cartridges; 44-40, 44 spl, 44 Colt and 44 Russian. The only downside is possible 44-40 case neck life, the necks will over expand slightly.

If you don't want to do those, of course just ignore it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,511 Posts
Colt 44-40 barrels to this day are intended to be .427 but can be plus a thousandth or two.
Colt 44-40/44 Spl convertible SAAs with two cyls, use those barrels.
Modern 44 spl, 44 Colt and 44 Russian ammo uses .429 -.430 bullets.
Therefore as Craig posted a couple of times, they will all function properly in a 44-40 barrel.

The original 44 Colt used a heeled bullet of ~.451 (same diameter as the case like modern .22s, the only remaining heeled bullet ammo being manufactured) in order to work in converted cap and ball guns. You will not find any of that ammo, so no worries. If you did, it's too old and too valuable to shoot anyway.

So chamber your extra cyl for 44 Spl and shoot all three.

Now DON'T MISTAKE what I'm about to say as recommendations, just FYI only:

1. But 44 Russian can safely chamber and shoot in your 44-40 cyl. just as it is. It will shoot well but expand the Russian cases a bit more than normal. If you full length resize them, this may shorten case life. But you can neck resize them only and don't plan to shoot them in a 44 Spl, Colt or Russian cylinder, because they may chamber too tight or not chamber.

2. And the 44-40 case neck portion of the chambers can be reamed to 44 spl size and shoot all four cartridges; 44-40, 44 spl, 44 Colt and 44 Russian. The only downside is possible 44-40 case neck life, the necks will over expand slightly.

If you don't want to do either of those, of course then, just ignore it.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top