Pivi - I am at a loss to understand the Barnes entry for “44-40 Extra Long” on page 146 of the current edition of “Cartridges of the World.” He says that it is listed in various publications, but doewn’t say where. I can find nothing on this cartridge in my library. He quotes a source as saying that the Stevens Model 101 “Featherweight Rifle” was chambered for it. Not according to the highly comprehensive and normally accurate “Flayderman’s Guide,” the absolute best all around work on U.S. Antique firearms, which shows the Model 101 Stevens chambered for the .44XL, .44 WCF shot and the .44 Game-getter, all of which are interchangeable and all of which are based on one form or another of the standard .44-40 case (all-brass shot cartridges and blanks in this caliber have elongated cases).
Since the Stevens in question was made in 1914-1916, I checked the Winchester catalogs for those years and found nothing about any extra-long .44-40 (in normal ball form - I have to clarify, which is one of the problems in discussing this caliber, due to the special length cases for blanks and shot loads). While interchangeable in guns like the Marble’s Game-Getter, which used shot loads and a round-ball bulleted load, and the Stevens 101, it is a one-way interchageability. Over all cartridge length is not critical in firearms where the cartridge is loaded directly into the chamber (barrel). However, in lever guns it is extremely critical. In the first .44-40 made, the Winchester Model 1873, the bullet tip is the cartridge stop that prevents more than one cartridge from leaving the magazine tube, into the carrier. The carrier, as it raises to present the cartridge for chambering, becomes the cartridge stop. If a cartridge is too long, it will jam the carrier as the nose of the round will be partially into the magazine tube, and if it is too short, part of the next round can come into the carrier creating the same jamming effect. Some later design tube loading firearms have a true mechanical cartridge stop, but overall cartridge length remained critical in those as well, as the round can’t be even slight over-length.
Blanks and all-brass shot shells have an extended case length but the overall cartridge length is compatible with most lever guns, as is the shape of their necks. Shot loads were used for some of the aeriel shooting stunts, from Winchester 73’s, in the original William F. Cody old-west recreations, for example. (Wild West Show).
Barnes mentions that some think that the .44-40 extra long are shot or blank cases loaded with a conical bullet. That would intimate a “fake” cartridge. I have no opinion on that, as I don’t recall ever seeing any of these long .44-40s that he describes as being “common.” that is not an indication he is wrong. While due to the number of .44-40 firearms I have, a bout a dozen, I accumulate a little “cheat-collection” of these rounds, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them at cartridge shows.
The .44-40 can be a confusing cartridge. The case type is known by so many names, .44-40, ww W.C.F., .44 XL, .44 Game-getter, .44 Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle, .44 Marlin, etc., and even things like the UMC Factory Log devote many separate pages to the same case type, instead of simply noting the data and changes for one cartridge and mentioning specific loads. They even separate the .44-40 Black Powder rounds from the .44-40 Smokeless. However, they do not shown any bulleted “.44-40 Extra Long” with lengthen brass neck. I cannot find mention of such a cartride in any of the very few old Remington catalogs I have either. Admittedly, I have not check Peters, or U.S. Cartridge Company.
I think I will query a top .44-40 collector about this round, and if an answer, regardless of what it is, is forth-coming, I will report back.