44 WCF at The Battle of the Little Bighorn


John Moss, I am in the process off adding those specific dates in John Korts article. Would the below be an appropriate change?

Early Differences between the .44 W.C.F. and .44-40 cartridges

Until 1885, both cartridges were dimensionally the same and both used a 200 gr. bullet over 40 grains of black powder. However, from [January 2] 1886 until [April 7] 1904, the .44-40 cartridge would carry a heavier 217 gr. bullet at 1,190 f.p.s. The .44 W.C.F. cartridge on the other hand, would continue to be offered with the 200 gr. bullet at a slightly faster 1,245 f.p.s. Both Winchester and U.M.C. loaded both versions of these cartridges with their different bullet weights. (Note the drop in catalog velocity from 1875……no doubt due to the improvement in chronographs during that period of time.)

In [April 7] 1904, U.M.C. changed the bullet weight of their .44-40 cartridge back to 200 grs. but Winchester continued to offer the 217gr. bullet in their .44-40 cartridge for several more years until they also standardized on the 200 gr. bullet for both the .44 W.C.F. and .44-40 cartridges.


Guy, back up in the UMC 1905 catalog there are three pictured offerings for the 44-40. All three seam to be 40gr powder, a 200gr bullet and No1 primers…as well as 101lbs case gross weight. Why three offerings if they are all the same? Adapted to different firearms…was this just an advertisement to satisfy certain customers?


At the point where all three were identical, I assume it was just a marketing thing based on brand loyalty (Winchester vs Marlin) among shooters. I find it interesting that the description for each of the three in the catalogs indicates they are adapted to Winchester, Marlin and Colt rifles.


Savvy Jack - I am no expert on the .44-40 cartridge. I don’t seriously collect them, nor have I studied them much. I simply like the caliber very much and enjoy shooting it. So, it is hard for me to judge what is written about it. Your comments on the John Korts article, which I don’t recall ever seeing, seem to be fine.

The question of multiple catalog entries for the .44 WCF, .44-40 Marlin, .44 C.L.M.R. is interesting. So, I should mention that the UMC Cartridge History Log has Nine separate categories for this cartridge case type. Yes, that is not a typo - Nine different entries:

.44 Winchester & C.L.M.R.
.44 Winchester Blanks
.44 Winchester Blank Smokeless Reduced
.44 Winchester Shot
.44 Winchester Shot Smokeless
.44 Shot Long Shell (First entry dealing with load says ".44 Winchester Blank Shell.)
.44 Shot Long Shell Smokeless
.44 Winchester Smokeless
.44/40 High Velocity (Assume this is the load for the Model 1892 Winchester, etc.)

This are all handled separately, sometimes with other calibers interspersed between them. I have list them in the order they appear in the Log.

John Moss


Thanks Guy…
John, I did notice that but my brain got over loaded so I put it down for a while.

It always was a complicated cartridge. I don’t collect them either, can’t afford it but I love learning the true history about it as well as shooting that cartridge!!!


Were there ever any copper case 44 CF cartridges?


Probably not, as brass is a better material for cartridge cases, especially in strength and its ability to more nearly return to original shape after the round is discharged. For many years copper was virtually a necessity for rimfire cartridges as the priming compound was typically mercury fulminate, which tends to combine with the zinc part of the brass alloy and weaken it. Eventually non-mercuric priming compounds were evolved and it was possible to use brass in rimfires also. Copper rimfires were seen in this country until after WW.I. Jack


I saw this and was just wondering.


U.S.C.Co. often used a “red brass” case material which can often appear as copper. Can’t see the head on this so no idea about the one you show & the link wouldn’t work for me.


The add said no hs, copper primer copper case. That one too looks like the bullet base has corroded and pushed the bullet up out of the mouth a little.

Maybe rather, if at all…It should be Bloomfield Gilding metal?


Seeing the primer sure would help. Can we be sure this isn’t some version of the family of Montenegrin revolver cartridges? Just a thought. Jack


Oh great, google here I come again!


SavvyJack: I let you down on the proper spelling of Montenegrin and have corrected my post. Those Gasser revolvers and similar light carbines used by the Austro-Hungarian army used cartridges very similar in appearance to the .44-40. The fact the cartridge shown in the photo has no suggestion of a shoulder makes it look even more Gasser-like. Jack


Very interesting revolvers.I actually some some cut down 44-40 cases with a .450 healed bullet…now I know a little more.

I have several unheadstamped cartridges that have very little, practically unnoticeable bottle necks. I think I got at least one from Guy.pix407150377


The proclaimed Bloomfield Gilding metal or just Red Brass case? Keith called it copper
Sorry, I got the case heads out of order…duh!

49351462_1081464565367459_5179160539506409472_n 48421661_1081464528700796_9202239290224934912_n 49213015_1081464508700798_8189902991612968960_n 49342347_1081464548700794_7353627422622744576_n


Is the base seen at the bottom that of the coppery looking round? The United States Cartridge Co at one time produced cartridges made of a very red alloy, but USC used the Farrington primer which ordinarily can be identified by its characteristic ‘pressed in’ appearance not seen here in any of the rounds. Also some brass responds to aging and environment by turning various shades as times goes by. Thanks for showing the specimens. Jack


Yeah Jack…every time I would try to caption the photo, it messed up the link or something. Bottom photo is the cartridge base and in the lower line-up, it is the second from the right. It is definitely the reddish alloy if nothing else. This bullet too is being push out of the case from the bullet base corroding.


Jack, Keith said it was a no headstamp copper case copper primer. That’s all I know. He is or was on this forum. Looks more like a reddish brass to me but has definitely aged to a distinctive color rather than the dull brass we typically see.


Better late than never; here’s some info on those Montenegrin cartridges:



Thanks Guy!! Great information. I’ll take some measurements later. So it could possibly be a Montenegrin 44-40.
44-40 gasser