New Purchase... 44 Henry

Thought I would share a recent find with the forum.

Tony–That is absolutely the finest New Haven Arms Co. .44 Henry box I have ever seen. Are you sure it is an original and not a reproduction?

I’m envious. Now tell us that you found the proverbial crate of these, and that all of us will be able to get one at a rock bottom price. I’ll bet John Moss would even want one, in spite of his insistence that he only collects auto pistol cartridges.

If original, (am not judging - don’t know a thing about these or of any replicas of them) I would like one, but only if someone would give me the Henry to go with it. I always wanted a Henry Rifle, but they have always been beyond y means. Sort of like the Borchardt Pistol and Luger Carbine when I was collecting auto pistols. But then, if I had an original, it would frustrate me, because I would want to shoot it!

John Moss

Is the box open, and are there any of the cartridges with it? If it is still sealed, there are a couple of regular contributors who will probably try to talk you into carefully opening so we all could take a peek at the contents.

It is 100% real, correct, and full. Some of you already know, I’m a 44-40 and 44 Henry ammo box collector, so there is no doubt as to it’s authenticity. It is not sealed, as these early NHA boxes were not factory sealed, but I do have it sealed in high quality shrink wrap for protection. I have a few other Henry boxes in my collection, if there is interest, I’ll post pics of them too.

On a funny side note; I have over 70 different WRACO 44-40 boxes in my collection, yet Guy still has a simple non-loaded, primed shells box I am in need of. Perhaps the forum can help convince him to share it with my collection! ha ha

John, let it out, we know there’s 44 Henry cartridge in one of those drawers. Didn’t I trade one to you for a 44 blanks box when I brought you that sight a couple of years ago? ha ha


Tony - I guess that .44 Henry is still here. Don’t remember where I put it. Not many visiting fireman here in the last few years, so probably still here. I tend to give things like that away when friends are at the house and go gaa-gaa over them.

Maybe one of these days, If I get back to lots of cowboy shooting (not likely, unfortunately), I will buy myself a Henry replica in .44-40. Combine two of my favorite things.

John Moss

You should just shoot an original, it won’t hurt it a bit as long as your careful at the range and give it a cleaning an oiling afterward. I’ve shot most of my originals at least once. With all the high condition originals I have, I still have one brown 92 rifle with no finish that makes a great shooter. Remember, all my 44-40 and 44 Henry ammo collecting started with me being a Winchester collector! Merry Christmas!

I have original Winchester .44-40s I shoot, as well as a Marlin Model 94 made in that year. That particular gun was used by me for two years in Cowboy Action Shooting, for a total of probably about 500 rounds put through it including during practices. It shoots great. I use modern guns now for CAS, but still shot an original 73 and two original 92s (one a .32-20) from time to time.

I don’t have an original Henry to shoot and never will have. Can’t afford one. If they made a replica in .44 Flat Henry RF I would buy it in that caliber if someone made the ammo, but they don’t, so for me, .44-40 would be the obvious.

The .44-40 is a great cartridge, deespite all the silly myths about how hard it is to reload the cases. It is a very easy cartridge to load, as it is very accurate and functions well with a very wide variety of powder charges and bullet weights. I even have a little 50-round accumulation of .44-40s just for collection purposes. Nothing rare - just stuff that has gone through my hands for one reason or another. It is a really good cartridge for collection though - lots of variety of loadings and headstamps, and lots of nice boxes.

John Moss

The irksome aspect of shooting the .44-40 is the remarkable variation factory ammunition bullet diameters and in groove diameters of rifles produced in this caliber. Some factory loaded cartridges employed .424 in. diameter bullets which in late Winchester rifles and carbines (which regularly ran .429 in. groove depth and perhaps more on occasion) may produce patterns rather than groups. This matter is discussed in J.R. Mattern’s little gem of a book, Handloading Ammunition, Samworth’s earliest pubishing effort (1926). My own limited experience has been that .38-40 ammunition and arms are more likely to be compatible without recourse to selective bullet fit. Jack

Yes, they are fun to shoot! The 44-40 and 44 Henry have both been fun to collect for me. I’ll hopefully be at it for many more years. I’m always chasing that box I don’t yet have!


I don’t shoot factory ammunition - too expensive. I use a flat base, relatively hard-cast 200 grain tradition shaped .419" bullet. I have used it with a variety of loads and velocities, in three different SAA Colts, two Japanese-made 1892 Winchesters (the ones that were on the market about ten years ago), an original Model 92 SRC, an Original Marlin Model 1894 rifle first year of production and a third model Winchester 1873 rifle, original, as well as a Italian replica Model 1866 “short rifle” (I like the length and weight, but unfortunately, they never made a real “short rifle” in the Model 1866 - the Model 73s were the first ones). They all shoot well with it. The two Japanese-Made Winchesters are the most accurate (and by the way, better made and better finished than my "too-good-to-shoot original Model 1892 .44-40 rifle. I also don’t shoot my original Colt lightning rifle from San Francisco Police Department - too valuable, tood good condition and a weak action that probably should only be shot with black powder, which I do not use. In the lever guns, the rounds feed and extract great - not case sticking and not hang-ups unless Colma Johnny Slogun short-strokes the action trying to go too fast.

I know, though, that there are bullet diameter considerations with this caliber. I find just using a “full diameter” 0.429 to 0.430 cast lead bullet takes away all the problems.

Just my own experience with the round - can’t speak for others with other guns.

John Moss

I think I"ll stick to collecting the boxes. Less work. Anyone else want to show off a nice 44-40 box?

It’s not generally well known but the Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn had at least one Winchester 73 and a supply of factory cartridges. There have been approximately 20 of the fired cases found. I was skeptical until I found one myself. They are 44 WCF, BTW, not 44-40.


Ray, I’m not sure of the details in regard to how many 1866 and 1873 winchesters may or may not have been at big horn; but to clarify… 44 WCF is the same thing as 44-40; just different nomenclature. 44 W.C.F. was the headstamp for 44-40 at that time. They are the same thing.


My comment about the Little Big Horn was meant as a tidbit of trivia, and not anything in particular about the 44WCF cartridge.

I’m not the expert on the 44WCF but I always thought it was more correct to say that the 44-40 is the same thing as the 44WCF. The ones in my collection, in order of age, are headstamped:

WRA 44-40 WIN

Do I have them in correct order and labeled right?


You are correct. Don’t forget;

WRA Co. 44 G.G. (game getter)
WRA Co. 44 M92 WHV (high velocity)

Yes, I have those plus the 44 CLMR. Is it correct to Id those three as 44WCF or 44-40?


I use the terms interchangeably since they are in fact the same loading and same 100%. Most collectors I know do the same thing. Notice the side label of this box says 44-40 W.C.F. while the top says 44 cal. It’s all the same thing. Either one, or both, are correct to me.

Interesting thread on my second favorite centerfire caliber (.30 W.C.F. / .30-30 being my first.) Actually, there was a bit of a difference between the .44 W.C.F. and .44-40 early on.

Cartridge casings were the same dimensionally, but the standard bullet weight for the .44 W.C.F. was 200 grs. and for the .44-40, 217 grs. in lead, jacketed and full patch offerings. Eventually the .44-40 bullet weight standardized at 200 grs.

A few years ago, based on my research, I did a short story on the history of the two cartridges entitled:
Two Peas In A Pod Winchester’s .44 W.C.F. & Marlin / U.M.C.‘s .44- 40

Thankfully, I have an example of most of the bullet weight offerings.

Merry Christmas,