Savvy Jack - I probably cannot begin to answer all your questions on UMC production, but perhaps I can help a little by recounting UMC’s shop notes on the “.44 Winchester & C.L.M.R. (Colt’s Lightning Magazine Rifle).” Comments are all from UMC’s keeper of the notes, not from me. Uncharacteristically, the first entry is undated, a very unfortunate oversight at UMC at the time:
Undated - Commenced making Shell primed with Orcutt primer.
Mar. 1878 - Changed to #1 Wesson primer.
Oct. 1882 - Commenced using new anvils.
Jan. 1883 - Increased the diameter of min. .515 to .525 (Their is no explanation of what measurement they are talking about. JLM)
Dec. 1883 - Changed to solid head and changed the thickness min .050 to .060 and diameter changed to min. .515 to .527. There are a number of old in the works to come through before the solid head. (Assume the word “cases” is missing from the sentence JLM)
Sept. 1, 1884 - Changed the diameter of cavity to .174 and depth as near as possible to .130
Nov. 6 1885 - From a successful experiment the diameter and shape of the bullet will be changed and the mixture to be 1 to 75.
Jan. 2 1886 - From a further experiment we changed the weight of bullet to 217 grains, 1 to 73 and holding the same profile.
Jan. 5 1886 - From a further experiment we commenced to use a special grade of powder for these cartridges.
Jan. 1887 - Head to be made smooth so as to stamp with sunk letters.
June 1889 - Commenced to stamp heads both C.F.W. & C.L.M.
July 1889 - Stamped some of these “Magic.”
Oct. 1889 - Changed receiving gauge.
Feb. 1890 - Commenced to stamp 44/40 for Marlin Safety.
Apr. 1890 - Commenced using O.E. powder in place of C.L.M. in C.L.M.R. cartridges to reduce the pressure of these cartridges.
Dec. 1900 - Decided to stamp these shells 44/40 for all cartridges made from this shell, labeling as before.
Apr. 7, 1904 - Changed the weight of the bullet to 200 grains. Results are satisfactory. The reason for changing is that our cartridges cost more than Winchester when imported into foreign countries.
Oct. 1904 - Will furnish 44 Winchester with 28 grains of powder.
Nov. 1908 Changed to (somewhat illegible so am copying it as I see it, even if senseless to me - JLM) FF Dead Shot.
Nov. 1908 - Will furnish these with Hollow point bullet.
Sept 1910 - Commenced loading with “Lesmok powder.”
That was the last entry. What you see here is what you get. Some of the entries are quite clear to me, a specialist only in auto pistol ammunition but a big fan of .44-40 for shooting (I have 14 firearms chambered for that cartridge), but other entries I am not sure what they are talking about. I will leave interpretation up to some of the really expert guys we have on this Forum, if the want to do it.
Hope this is of some interest and help to you.