Winchester's 44-40 Smokeless Powder Transition

Applies to other cartridges as well…

By 1895 Winchester offered the 44-40 cartridge chambered with a JSP bullet and the new smokeless powder. The powder being used was Dupnt No.2. Although this was a smokeless powder, it produced less pressure than black powder and was loaded by weight BUT occupied the same “Volume” as black powder. While 40gr of black powder filled up about 42gr of H2O volumetric area, compressed about .17" (probably didn’t say that correctly), 17gr of the new smokeless powder occupied the same area.

Winchester first offered this new loading in 1895. This new offering was packed in the same ammo boxes but was capped off with a RED label. On this label, same design as the black powder label, specifically called out the Winchester Model of 1873’, busting the myth that the early black powder loads were only for the Model 92’. The Model 92’ was only noted on the side of the box in small print. However, within a year, it was also noted on the box that they should NOT be used in PISTOLS. Winchester did not want to be responsible for their new loads being used in a handgun of which they did not manufacture. Meanwhile, Colt did not recommend smokeless powders to be used in their revolvers until 1909, six years after Winchester introduced the 44-40 High Velocity loads in 1903.

1895
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I was able to acquire two boxes of the new powder offering using lead bullets dated 1914.
Below is what I documented.

1914

“Lead”
15gr Dupont No.2
200.6gr
Dia. - .425"
Bullet Length - .610"
Seating Depth - .325"
Case Length - 1.305"
AOL - 1.592

Comparing Winchester’s 200gr Lead (right) and my custom ordered 215gr 43-214A (left)




Winchester advertised 1,300fps with a 200gr bullet by Jan 1913. Call-out on the side of the box, again, shows NOT FOR PISTOLS but was dropped/replaced by either “JSP” or “Lead” by 1909.

For more details, photos here:

and here:

Smokeless Powder Transition Details Can Be Found Here:

Although Dupont No.2 was used by Winchester well into the early 1920’s, an acquired Dupont No.1 load data “wrapper”, shows information about Dupont No.2 loads…and addresses the 44 cartridge as a “44-40-200”. The form date is 1899, but may have never been updated through its years of use.

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