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Thread: 44-40 and Universal Clays

  1. #1
    GunLoad Trainee
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default 44-40 and Universal Clays

    I picked up 400 rds of 44-40 loaded with 8.5 grs of Universal Clays with 200gr Lazer Casts. Is this load safe to shoot thru a Ruger Vaquero?
    I'm thinking of pulling them, due to I'd hate to ruin an old style vaquero and maybe my hand or worse. Thanks for any help on this.

  2. #2
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    New Hampshire


    Welcome to the Guide.

    I think your self-preservation instinct is working perfectly.

    Hodgdon lists .44-40, 200gr cast, Universal, 6.6gr START to 7.3gr MAX.

    Based on that, I do not believe they are safe to shoot and I agree completely - PULL THEM!!! I'd use the powder as fertilizer - there's no knowing if it's what it's supposed to be. (A man that can't read a charge table probably can't be trusted to read the label on a powder can, either.)

    IMO they should never have been sold. I would bet whomever loaded them has no license to sell ammunition, nor the insurance to cover the inevitable lawsuit.

    While a modern revolver might or might not be able to handle that pressure level, I would not want to try it (or even be nearby) as neither the cartridge nor revolvers chambered for it were designed to be fired at those pressure levels. In an older or antique revolver, it would be courting disaster. That's why they came up with the .44mag.

    There isn't a whole lot of data to be had for Universal in handgun cartridges, though it has a good rep as one of the cleanest burning pistol powders in light target loads. I have read a lot of complaints of poor accuracy but have never tried any of it myself.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  3. #3
    GunLoad Trainee
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    After posting this thread, I went to Hogdons website and seen what their max charge was. I then have proceeded to start tearing them apart.
    I bought this ammo from an estate sale. The gentleman who passed away was well known around here for his reloading and being a gun nut. Where he got this load at for the 44-40, I have no clue. I'd loved to gotten ahold of his records, but thats something his daughter did not keep. Just for an idea of what this man was like....lived on his own after his wife died 20 yrs prior, he had a 5 bedroom split level home. Only places in that house that wasn't jammed packed with guns or reloading supplies or equipment was his bed and the 2 bathrooms. Even the kitchen table had a reloader bolted on it. I've gotten alot of good deals on that sale, especially in powder they make no more and cases of bullets. There was so much stuff they was selling it by the room insteads of one big sale. I'm waiting now to see if they finish off selling whats left.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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