.44 Henry Cartridge variations


Stu Miller wrote the Cartridge Collecting column for Shooting Times back in the 60’s. Here is information on the .44 Henry from the August 1962 issue that I ran across not too long ago.

1.) .44 Henry pointed
2.) .44 Henry Flat, long case
3.) .44 Henry Flat, short case
4.) .44 Henry blank
5.) .44 Henry Shot
6.) .44 Henry, brass case, centerfire

[i] "New head stamps were showing up in the .44 Henry cartridges, made by most of the American companies. With a bit of hunting, you can secure the following raised markings: “A”, “P”, “U”, “US”, and “H.” Lately I have seen this caliber with a raised “C” that is said to have been of early Canadian manufacture. These, along with the new head stamp type, and the later impressed “U”, “H”, and “US”, make an interesting, historical set.

The new Winchester company was quick to realize the possibilities of the '66 as a military gun. The U.S. Army was not interested, so Winchester sent salesmen all over the world to sell the rifle. The new South American countries proved to be a good market. Turkey, then at war with Russia, purchased some 50,000. While ammunition was sold with the guns, it seems probable that at some time the Turks must have made some of their own ammunition, but who has seen any?? Eley Brothers of London, seems to have turned out quite a quantity of this cartridge rather early, marking them with a large raised “E.”

There were few variations of the .44 Henry and there must have been some dummies made for demonstrations, but aren’t often seen. The most common is the shot cartridge. These are found in both the long-formed case, and regular length case, and the shot in a wood container. One of the selling points of this last type was that the shot didn’t come in contact with the rifling of the barrel, eliminating leading. Actually neither was effective except at very short range.

The long-formed case is also found in the blank cartridge. Recently I had a report of a round ball gallery load in this same type case. These were said to have been made on special order for Ira Paine, world famous pistol shot of the last’ century. In these, the round ball is seated deep inside the case and covered with a cardboard wad.

Long after the '66 was discontinued, there was one final type of gun and cartridge brought out. In 1891, Winchester, using parts on hand, assembled some 1,020 Model 1866 carbines which had been converted to centerfire. These, along with the proper brass-cased centerfire cartridges, were sold to Brazil. Such was the “one night stand” of the .44 Centerfire Henry Flat.

There were two drawbacks to the .44 Henry rimfire ammunition. Because of the soft copper case, it was impossible to load it to the power desired. Then, once the cartridge was fired, it could not be reloaded, So, the company decided the next Winchester was to use a reloadable brass center fire cartridge with more power." [/i]

Enter the '73 Winchester …