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Loading The .44-40

Qa I have an Uberti Colt Single Action Army repro chambered in .44-40 I'd like to reload for. I have looked in several manuals and they very loosely cover the subject as being a little trickier to reload than normal straight wall cartridges. I am sure your great magazine has covered it in detail at sometime or another, but don't know when that would have been as I have only recently become a subscriber. Can you tell me any special details?

James Tryon

A via e-mail

■ You'll have little trouble loading for one gun. When you have two or more .44-40s, things can get funny. Just remember to load a dummy round first and see if it chambers freely before you make up a batch of reloads.

My Cimarron has .430" chamber mouths, somewhat large, but it allows me to use more common .429" bullets rather than the standard .44-40 size of .427" or .428" bullets. Just be careful crimping.

Seat the bullet first, then crimp and check the first round off the press in the cylinder (remove the cylinder from the gun). The necks of the .44-40 are so thin, you can easily crush the case during crimping and bulge the brass

Be careful adjusting the crimp. The case on the left has the crimp applied in the bullet's crimp groove while the round on the right has bulged from the an improperly applied crimp. The Colt Bisley .44 /background) is holstered in an Old West Reproductions rig.

slightly so it won't chamber. The brass can bulge if you try and use bullets larger than .429", too, and in that case you should acquire a bigger case neck expander.

Once you add a rifle, see if your dummy round chambers. If it does, then resize brass fired in the rifle and see if it freely chambers in your pistol. If it does, then you don't need to segregate your brass. You still may need to work up individual loads if top-notch accuracy is important to you.

For more information, see the November 2003 issue. John Taffin's "Levergun Loads" covers reloading the .44-40 pretty extensively. More recently, Duke Venturino wrote about shooting and handloading the rifle and pistol in .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 in the April 2008 issue. FÎTO

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