Friday, May 27, 2016

.44-40 Chronograph Results

Today I went to the range with my brother, who has a Shooting Crony Beta Master chronograph. I was able to measure the velocity of three .44-40 loads. Measurements for each load was for a 10 shot string.

All shots were from my Cimarron Firearms Uberti 1873 Sporting Rifle in .44-40 WCF with a 24.25" barrel. Brass was Starline and primers in the handloads were Federal No.150 large pistol primers.

First up were 10 rounds with a ~215 grain cast bullet from my Accurate Molds 43-215C mold on top of 2.2cc (~35 grains) of Swiss 3Fg black powder.

Average velocity: 1329.4 FPS
Standard deviation: 11.6 FPS
Extreme Spread: 42 FPS
Muzzle energy: 843 foot-pounds

These grouped into about 2" at 50 yards.

Second were 10 shots loaded with a Lyman 200 grain cast bullet on top of 8.6 grains of Alliant Unique smokeless powder. The Lyman bullets were from a box I bought years ago. They are pretty good bullets but no longer available.

Average velocity: 1307.2 FPS
Standard deviation: 21.462 FPS
Extreme spread: 82.98 FPS
Muzzle energy: 758 foot-pounds

These printed a somewhat larger group, about 2.5" to 3". They gave noticeably better accuracy than rounds loaded with only 8 grains of Unique. I was not surprised at the much larger SD since I've read that .44-40s loaded with Unique can have wide variations, unless you tilt the muzzle of the rifle for each shot to get the powder back near the primer. In contrast to the largely empty case when loaded with Unique, the black powder loads have 100% loading density, and are in fact compressed loads.

That said, the rounds with Unique performed better than I expected.

Finally, I chronographed 10 Black Hills .44 WCF 200 grain cowboy action shooting loads. As expected, these were a lot slower than the first two loads.

Average velocity: 1123.1 FPS
Standard deviation: 15.358 FPS
Extreme spread: 41.78 FPS
Muzzle energy: 560 foot-pounds

Even though these were more consistent than the handloads with Unique, if you go by SD, they don't shoot nearly as accurately. Just like when I've shot them before groups were about twice as large as the full power rounds. It's also possible that the rifle doesn't like the Black Hills bullet.

I have three more loads that I want to chronograph, all using bullets cast in the 43-215 mold:

(1) 23.5 grains of Alliant Reloder 7.
(2) 2.2cc of Goex 3Fg black powder.
(3) 2.2cc of Goex Olde Eynsford black powder.

I'm expecting the Reloder 7 loads to at least equal but probably exceed the velocity of the Swiss BP loads, the Olde Eynsford to perform similarly to Swiss, and the Goex to tail behind but hopefully shoot accurately.

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