44/40 cylinder to use in New Model Blackhawk 44 mag

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chilcotin

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
52
Location
Kentucky
A friend gave me a 44/40 non fluted cylinder that works perfect in my 10 1/2 in new model super Blackhawk, timing and lockup perfect. The diameter of exit of the chamber measures .422 in all six chambers while my 44 mag cylinder all measure .429. I remember reading on the forum what to do but cannot seem to find how to correct this on the 44/40 cylinder, maybe someone could recommend how to do this or a gunsmith that they would trust to do it. I am planning on reloading for 44/40 as I am already reloading for 44 magnum. Any help or recommendation would really be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help.
 

Hashknife Hartley

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Messages
359
Location
Dewey, Arizona USA
That's really small cylinder throats even for 44-40, which should be .427", but in your gun they'd be good at .429", just like your magnum cylinder. Any good gunsmith can ream them out to the bigger size, plus Brownell's sells kits for doing this if you're a do it yourself kind of guy. Used to be and may still be a guy that did this that was on this forum, but haven't seen his posts for a while. I had a 30 Carbine cylinder reamed out for 44-40 with .429" throats for my .44 Flattop and it works great, especially with black powder loads.
HH
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,741
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
If you need it reamed,,, go to the cast boolits forum, and look up "DougGuy". He does a lot of nice work, at a very reasonable price. Our own "cas" has retired from doing cylinders.
 

Enigma

Hunter
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
2,142
Location
Houston metro area, TX
contender said:
If you need it reamed,,, go to the cast boolits forum, and look up "DougGuy". He does a lot of nice work, at a very reasonable price. Our own "cas" has retired from doing cylinders.

DourGuy is a member here, as well.
 

DougGuy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
171
I would suspect the throats closer to .425" which has been typical of the 44-40 cylinders I have seen so far. The issue with reaming these cylinders is the necked down portion of the throat behind the ball seat chamfer. This necked down area usually prevents seating .431" or .432" bullets because the outside of the brass case is then too large to enter this necked down part. 44-40 brass is notably thinner, and it will allow you to use a larger bullet in the 44-40 cylinder than you could use with the thicker .44 magnum brass.

John Taylor specializes in reaming 44-40 cylinders to accept larger diameter bullets but he has a long backlog and is not accepting new work at this time. Basically, you have to ream the cylinder throats, AND the necked portion of the cylinder to be able to use larger bullets in the 44-40.

I recently reamed a 44-40 cylinder for a customer to .4325" at his request so he can fit .432" bullets into the chambers but I have not heard from him yet as to the outcome, and also the diameter of the largest bullet he is able to load.

There really isn't anything fundamentally *wrong* with the 44-40 cylinder, but it does need to be reamed to at least groove diameter of the bore and preferrably a thousandth to two thousandths over so the bullet can be presented to the forcing cone and bore at a diameter sufficient enough to make a good seal once it is into the rifling. The 44-40 case is quite thin, and must be handled carefully. It is also a possibility that some brands of reloading dies will be too small to accommodate .432" bullets so this is yet another obstacle to contend with.

If the throats can be reamed to .4315" and you can load .431" bullets in 44-40 brass and they will chamber and shoot, you should be good to go. I would not imply that you should load 44-40 brass as hot as even a standard pressure .44 magnum load, but in the Ruger it can certainly be pushed into the 25,000psi range which is +P pressure for a .44 Special cartridge. If you need any more horsepower than that, simply use a .44 magnum and git er done..

There is nothing special about the 44-40 that can't be done with the .44 magnum, and smithing this caliber is nearly always more trouble than it's worth in the long run. Get it to shooting .431" cast bullets and quit while you are ahead..

Edit: In closing there is always the obturation factor. You can shoot a smaller bullet in softer alloy, such as 50/50 wheel weights/pure lead and once fired, *IF* there is sufficient pressure, it will push the bullet through a tight cylinder throat and once it enters the bore, it will "slug" up and form a nice seal in the bore. The same holds true if you ream a 44-40 cylinder throat to .4315" or .4325" an cannot chamber ammo with .431" or .432" bullets, if you load the largest diameter bullets that will fit in the necked down chamber, and you are pushing these into the +P levels in a Ruger revolver, once fired, the bullet will bump up to fit the cylinder throats before it even gets to the forcing cone. This is one way to work around the boogerbear and have a nice shooting pistol to boot. Ruger .44 barrels take to softer cast bullets with soft lube like a duck to water. I don't even clean mine anymore, there is no need to, they shoot great and the only thing left in the barrel is a bit of powder and lube residue, the bore is basically "seasoned" between rounds, and this is about the best you can hope for in shooting cast bullets in the Ruger revolvers. This and a filled big game tag every season!!
 

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