GUIDE: Winchester 44-40

While looking for some load information for the 44-40 I found this website that covers just about everything related to the cartridge and guns in this calibre. It covers reloading to the point of which brand of die does the best job for each action. Being an old chambering there are a lot of inconsistencies so no one dies set is really going to cover all the actions as others have found out with other odd ball or old chambers.

A really good site that is very informative


Thanks for the support sungazer!!!

I just updated the pressure testing page this morning.


First of all welcome to the forum. This is a great bunch of guys here from a very varied background in shooting disciplines and backgrounds.

Well that is amazing just goes to show you “You never know who is reading on the internet”

That is a fantastic website from my point of view I like it because it covers so much detail in so many areas it gives an overall picture as well as diving into all the intricacies of each topic.

I am not a great follower of the SAAMI specs I understand the need for them but in a lot of cases they are just outdated and dont get the most out of a lot of cartridges.


Thank you and I whole heartedly agree on issue SAAMI issue.

I am currently making my 44-40 Pressure Tests into videos. This has been added to the 44-40 website here: Chasing the 44-40 - Pressure Trace Videos

The purpose is to compare pressure curves from one powder/charge to the next for this great cartridge.


Well I have done a bit of reloading for this and thought someone might find the information useful in the future. I started using the rifle with Factory loads and in particular the cheapest which were the Magtech Cowboy Loads. These were very tame and when fired went off with more of a whoosh than a bang definitely subsonic. Running them over the Chrono showed 960 f/s.

Then I tried the closest powder to what is listed in manuals that I had on hand which was AS50N
I started at 6.5grn and got 1070fps 7.0grn gave 1141fps and 7.5 1180fps
I tried some Trail Boss and a full case (room for proj avail) with just a slight touching of the powder gave 1092 fps Then I switched to Pyrodex again a full case with the recommended small amount of compression gave very consistent results with a ES of just 4fps over 5 rounds at 1133 fps.
I still thought there was more velocity I could achieve given the reading on past history of the cartridge. So I tried the fastest rifle powder I had which was BM2 at 10grn I only achieved 600fps and results varied a bit too much.
Then I bought out the big guns and used the original Black Powder using FFFg I started with a load of 35grn this gave me 1117fps and a fair bang and some recoil. then working my way up the next load was 37grn which moved the velocity up to 1170 fps then finally onto the namesake of 40grains or 2.592 gm this was nearly a full case and needed some compression to seat the bullet it produced 1210 fps.
I only shot 6 rounds of the black powder and thought I will put it all away before I make to much mess. thinking only a few rounds down the tube wouldnt be too hard to clean up. NOT
I could not believe how long it took me to clean up the bore and its still not really clean. I need to get a new cleaning rod to take larger brushes and jags which are also on the shopping list.

Uhhhhh cleaning BP guns :face_vomiting: