In 1873, Winchester introduced the gun that would be known as “The Gun that Won the West”—the Winchester 1873 lever action rifle, chambered in .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire.) The same year, Colt introduced the 1873 Colt SAA revolver in Colt .45 and the US Army introduced the .45-70 Government.
Colt, realizing that western settlers wouldn’t want to carry different types of ammunition for their rifles and side arms, decided to chamber their 1873 SAA revolvers in .44 WCF—though they renamed the .44 WCF to .44-40 (.44 caliber and 40 gains of black powder) in order to prevent giving Winchester free advertising.
Winchester never reciprocated by chambering any of its guns in Colt .45.
Today, most lever gun reproductions are chambered in the Colt .45 for two reasons. First, the rims on modern Colt .45s are stronger than their 19th Century counterparts; and second, .44-40 Winchester ammunition is rather scarce.
If you have considered buying or reloading the .44-40 Win, here are some helpful recommendations from my experience.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARTRIDGE… Out of dozens of good ones! (Craig Boddington)
“Which cartridge for me?” is a question I’m often asked. It may come from someone looking for a first centerfire rifle to get a youngster or spouse started, but just as frequently I am asked, “What should I get next?”
These are altogether different questions. In both cases, it’s essential to know the intended purpose; for the second question, obviously, I also have to ask what that person already has. Either way, we have so many great cartridges today that’s it’s a bewildering mess! The good news is that there are few wrong answers—no “bad” cartridges make it to factory production, and there’s all manner of overlap and redundancy in power requirements. There are dozens of good “deer cartridges,” only slightly fewer great “elk cartridges,” and so forth.Continue reading →
North American hunters enjoy an amazing bounty of both wildlife and opportunity, but things almost didn’t turn out this way. By 1900, most of our large game species were in serious trouble. Protection and management brought them back, some to incredible plenty, such as our 35 million whitetail deer. Along the winding road to recovery, a unique system of wildlife management developed that we call the North American Model.
The North American Model is said to have seven tenets:
Wildlife as a public trust resource
Elimination of markets for game
Wildlife allocated by law
Taking of wildlife only for legitimate purposes
Wildlife considered an international resource
Science as the proper tool
Democracy of hunting
Implicit in the model is the principle is that hunters and anglers provide the primary funding. The first and the last tenants—which hold that we believe wildlife belongs to everyone, not just private landowners or the government—are almost unheard of elsewhere in the world.
The last tenant, democracy of hunting, holds that all citizens in good standing may hunt—subject to seasons and licensing requirements, of course. Due to scarcer resources, both science and law dictate that not everyone can have a license every season. We have a system that allocates permits by a public drawing, a system that serves as one of the very best examples of the democracy of hunting that we enjoy.
I have used many rifles scopes over the last 46 years. My favorite brand has always been Leuplod. They and vary greatly in quality according to the price. But generally you can’t go wrong.
I know have a new favorite the Weaver Super Slam scopes and especially the Euro series with 30 mm tubes and First Focal Plane optics.
I have two 1-5 power scopes one on my .460 Wby magnum and one on a 416 Rigby where I have used both of these on dangerous game i Africa. This version has outstanding very long eye relieve and I don’t have to worry about getting a scope cut. They are super clear and reliable. I have used them on shots from 15 yards to 200 yards. For your big bore DG bolt rifle, it’s hard to beat these scopes at any price.
But my most favorite Weaver Super Slam scope is the Euro version 4-20X50. I have replaced all of my Leuplod scopes with this. I use this scope on a 204 Ruger Varmint rifle, .223 AR Varmint, a 22-250 Varmint, a 300 Win mag , a 257 Wby Mag and a 50 BMG target rifle.
The Colt 45 also known as 45 Long Colt, 45 LC is one of the original center fire cartridge still in production and going strong.
The 45 Colt came in to being when the US Army put out for bid a new revolver that would use a 45 caliber bullet at 250 grains over 40 grains of black powder. It is said the requirement was based on the desire to have a revolver that could drop an Indian War pony at 100 yards.
Colt beat out Smith and Wesson with their now famous Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolver and the cartridge got it’s first name the Colt 45. However good the revolver was difficult to reload on horse back. The Army then ordered some break open design pistols from Smith & Wesson known as the Schofield revolver. These guns proved to be very popular and successful however they were not strong enough to fire a full power Colt 45 cartridge. They were chambered in basically a shortened version of the Colt 45.
Now that the Army had two 45 caliber revolver cartridges in inventory and they both could be fired in the 1873 SAA revolver, the name 45 Long Colt started to be used to avoid confusing with the Schofield cartridge. It is a fun cartridge to shoot and reload but caution must be used when reloading because with many smokeless powder there is a danger of double or triple charging a case. That’s why we recommend using Tin Star powder.
Try using Tin Star powder for your Colt .45. This powder will fill the case completely like black powder but it is a smokeless powder that has a light bulky density for use in old black powder cartridges like the Colt 45 and give you the pressure and velocity as the originals. Most people shoot the Colt 45 in Cowboy type guns like the 1873 SAA Colt revolvers or reproductions. I would strongly advise to stay with loading cast lead bullets. The original lead alloy for these bullets was 20 parts lead and one part Tin. This alloy will give you the best performance and the least leading problem.
Quality Cowboy bullets are made by Missouri Bullets. A charge of Tin Star powder that nearly reaches the bottom of a 250 grain Missouri Bullet from a 7 1/2″ barrel will give you a velocity of 930 FPS. LG Outdoors has a good supply of this hard to find reloading powder..