As always, our cartridge guru Federico Graziano (Fede)kindly give me some information on the background of the .44 center fire cartridge.
I do my best to translate it, so forgive my bad English.
Brazil buyed the first Winchester 1866 chambered for the .44 rim fire ctge. In 1872, they were distributed in 1874, in Brazil they are known as “Modelo 1872”.
During the third term of Minister Caixas (22/03/1875 to 05/01/1878) an order was issued to transform Spencer, Roberts and Winchester rifles and carbines to centerfire, such modification was made in 1876 by the Arms Factory of Conceicao (Fabrica de Armas da Conceicao).
The Winchesters were modified with parts of Winchesters model 1893 (Cal. 44 WCF) previously acquired by Brazil, and they were produced two different models, being named by the Brazilians as “Modelo 1872/76” and “Modelo 1874/76).
The first cartridges made for this weapons are of the coiled type, and they were manufactured in Brazil in 1876, certain Brazilian papers referred to them as “Boxer”, but they were not made it this way, the cartridges does not work properly either in the carbines or in the Nagant revolvers (they use the same cartridge).
There was a variant of the cartridge with copper case, that use a Bachmann type double disc primer, they were crudely made, and maybe they were manufactured in Brazil from rim fire cartridges.
The first French cartridges were made by Gaupillat, and they have a reloadable primer, they were pre-1886 (they bears no head stamp or they came with the head stamp Gaupillat Paris).
Exist some cartridges made in Austria in 1889 by Keller & Cie. (hdst. 44 89 K&C) but there is no documentation to prove a relation with the Brazilian carbines or withn the Nagant revolvers, no specimens of the were found in Brazil, Federico Graziano think they were a Turkish contract for Winchesters transformed into center fire.
Cartridge use in the Nagant revolvers
This cartridge was always meant to be used in carbines and Nagant revolvers (those last ones issued to the Brazilian navy under the name “Modelo 1833 manufactured by Simpson & Co., Suhl, Germany).
Only one specimen of this revolver was modified to properly function with the “coiled” ammo, according to some papers, in the test was only used “imported ammo”.
Because of the obsolescence of the Winchester ctge., when Eley decided to produce the cartridge, they made it under the name “.44 Nagant”, it does not appeared in the Eley catalog of 1908/09, but yes in the ones of 1910/11 and 1914/15.
Also was commercially made in Brazil by FNCM and C.B.C. under the name “.440 Nagant”.
The blueprints and notes from the factory denotes that there are no differences between the carbines and revolver loadings since they employ the same powder charge.
About the Winchester “contract”
The modification to center fire was a Brazilian initiative in 1876, and had nothing to do with the Winchester company, so the weapons were not transitional to the Winchester model 1873, because in 1876, they already exists.
The specific contract of Winchester 1866 carbines for Brazil was from 1892, in Brazil those weapons are known as “Modelo 92”, such denomination cause confusion with the U.S. denomination.
The center fire cartridges made by Winchester in 1900 were loaded with black powder, 200 grains lead projectiles, and they are not a center fire version of the rim fire .44 Henry Flat, but a later version of the same cartridge with an improvement of the Stetson Patent of 1871, the case is longer and covers an extra cannelure of the bullet for a better hold. The case is 22.5 mm long, with no head stamp.
And there is known an inert specimen with a hollow brass jacket bullet known in the U.S. as “Durable Dummy”.
The original Brazilian “Boxer” cartridge was used in the “Herval pistols” designed by General Manuel Luis Osorio (Marquis of Herval) which are shortened Winchesters 1966 in the Conceicao Arms Factory.
There are around some pictures of the Gaupillat and S.F.M. cartridge boxes, Federico Graziano said to me that no specimens of the W.R.A.C.O. boxes were seen ever in Argentina or in U.S.A..
Fede thank you so much for share this information !!!