44-40 Winchester Ammunition
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History of .44-40 Winchester Ammunition
The .44-40 Winchester is known by several different monikers, the original name: .44 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) and .44 Winchester and also .44 Largo. It was introduced by Winchester in 1873 in the new Model 1873 lever action rifle. It wasn't long before this rifle and cartridge took the shooting community by storm, what helped carry it to the pinnacle of late 19th century gun culture was that Colt introduced its Frontier Six-Shooter, a revolver based on the Single Action Army chambered in the .44-40. This allowed for the transient people of the Westward Expansion to carry only one type of ammunition for their rifles and handguns. This made the logistics of having firearms much simpler.
Union Metallic Cartridge was the first company to introduce the 44 WCF cartridge under the name .44-40. This new name reflected the caliber of the bullet, .44, and the powder charge, hence the .44-40 designation. UMC refused to accept the Winchester name in the description of their products and Winchester did not want to change the name of a cartridge that their company developed. Eventually the .44-40 descriptor became the more popular version of the names and Winchester conceded, somewhat. The company now refers to the cartridge as the .44-40 Winchester.
Performance is respectable among today's standards for handguns as a 200 grain bullet will generate 688 foot pounds of energy and has a velocity of 1245 feet per second at the muzzle. This cartridge has taken many deer and similar sized game over the past 100 plus years and will likely continue to do so. However, if one were to see a .44-40 cartridge in use today, it would most likely be found in the hands of a cowboy action shooter. Here the .44-40 has had a resurgence in popularity as the heavy 225 grain bullet load, specially make for cowboy action shooting easily makes the minimum power factor.
Whether reliving the Old West, or having a great short range hunting cartridge, the .44-40 Winchester still has what it takes to serve its shooters well.
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