40-60 Winchester

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Green Fox
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40-60 Winchester

#1 Post by Green Fox » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:47 am

Long time Cowboy Silhouette shooter. Finally decided that 40-60 Winchester was the caliber for the 200 yard rams. Several guns around but having a lot of trouble finding loading data, cases, and bullets. Does anyone have (1) a location of such information, (2) data they would be willing to share and (3) experience with different brand of guns.

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#2 Post by kimwcook » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:17 am

I can't answer your questions, but I can welcome you to the forum. Welcome aboard.
Old Law Dawg

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#3 Post by KirkD » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:35 am

I do not own or shoot the 40-60, but I do know a bit about some things, mentioned below:

Cases: Rocky Mountain Cartridge http://www.rockymountaincartridge.com/ makes cases with the proper headstamp. They are pricey, but will be the proper dimensions and headstamp. If you want to make your own, get some 45-70 brass and re-form it in some 40-60 dies. Hint: Use a mixture of 40% Castor Oil and 60% lanolin, both available at the local drugstore, for lube ..... it's the best lube I've found for serious re-sizing. Another hint: anneal the case necks before sizing. The rims may be too thick, however, if you are using an original Winchester 1876 and the lever will bind up way to soon, so you may have to thin the forward edge of the rims. Stick the neck in a chuck and hold a small file to the forward face of the rim, taking care not to cut into the actual case while doing it. If the neck wall thickness is too thick to chamber your cartridge when loaded with the bullet, stick your case in the chuck again base first and hold a fine file to the outside of the neck. Works very well. You will also have to shorten the case. Making your own brass is a lot of work; I've done it for the .45-60, which is why I just laid down $104 bones to buy 40 cases from Rocky Mountain Cartridges. I've used their brass before and it is nice.

Bullet Mould: Can't help you here, other than suggest a custom mould once you've slugged your bore.

Loads: 55 grains of FFg or 57 grains of Goex Cartridge (Mike Venturino's published loads). If you want smokeless, use 5744 (burn rate slower than black powder and lower peak pressures for the same velocity and bullet weight). Start with 17 grains of 5744 or IMR SR4759, which is an extremely mild load and chronograph it. Then increase your load, chronographing as you go, to arrive at a load that will give you 1,533 fps, the original black powder velocity. DO NOT use this method for powders faster than 2400, as the peak pressures will exceed BP pressures for the same velocity. This is a safe method to use only for powders with a slower burn rate than Blue Dot. I'd stay with powders like 2400 (the fastest), IMR 4227, SR4759 (my favourite), and 5744. Using fast pistol powders like Unique will give you a too high peak pressure for original BP velocities, and using too slow powders like IMR 3031 will fail to seal the case and result in excessive bolt thrust, which you don't want with the '76 action. I'm assuming you will be using a Winchester 1876. If you've got soot coming quite a ways down the outside of the case, your pressures are too low, so go with a slightly faster powder like 4759. My experience is with the larger .45-60 Winchester '76 and I've learned not to trust published smokeless loads without carefully working up to them myself, measuring each increment with a chronograph to see if it correlates to the published load data.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#4 Post by Gun Smith » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:32 am

Hey KirkD, Wonderful explanation and detail!

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#5 Post by KirkD » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:41 am

Thanks, Gun Smith. Glad you enjoyed it. I really like the old cartridges, especially if they are obsolete.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#6 Post by hondo1892 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:09 pm

Hey kirk what kind of load do you use for the 45-60 with sr4759? I'm planning on getting a repro uberti. Also have you tried Trail Boss powder?

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#7 Post by KirkD » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:52 pm

I haven't tried Trail Boss powder. It is a very fast powder, so to give original black powder velocities, the pressure spike will be much greater than black powder. Trail Boss is better for mild loads in order to keep the pressure down.

I'm still experimenting with SR4759 in the .45-60. I've tried 22 grains under a 300 grain cast bullet with good results (5-shot group of 1 & 7/16" at 50 yards, with 4 of the shots going into 7/8" and a velocity of 1,337 fps. My next load is only 21 grains to see how much below original ballistics it gives.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#8 Post by hondo1892 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:47 pm

Kirk are you shooting an original 76? Keep us posted on your 4759 loads.

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#9 Post by Green Fox » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:23 pm

Thank you for the information it is of great help. Was thinking about cutting a 45-70 case, running it through a 45-70 to 40-65 case forming die, trimming for length then 40-60 die for final fit. Rockey Mountain may be a lot better choice. Sounds like a lot of work for a old man.

Will call RCBS but to date none of my catalogs show a 40-60 die set.

One of my friends told me, oh my you should be careful, that the .405 winchester 300 grain jacket bullet would work well in the 40-60. My best understanding is that the bore, subject to slugging, is suppost to be .408. Any information along this line. I noticed that Hunters Supply Hard Cast Lead Bullets list .405 cast bullets in .406, .408 and .412 diameter for the .405. The .41 mag is the .410 in the group.

Thanks again for the information....... GF

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#10 Post by KirkD » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:49 pm

Lyman makes reloading dies for the .40-60 for $60 (see http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/dies ... y-dies.php ).

With the old 40 cal Winchesters, you never can tell what the actual groove diameter will be. It's hard to say how a 300 grain bullet would do in a gun designed for a 210 grain bullet. It depends upon the twist rate. According to Mike Venturino, the .40-60 bores typically run a groove diameter of .406 to .410, so slugging will pretty much be necessary. For cast bullets, Venturino used a Lyman 410610 that gave a 215 grain bullet. It is a semi-wadcutter, however, so it's not very traditional. He also used a DKT 210 grain jacketed soft point bullet.

Hondo: Yes, it has and will be an original '76. I sold my last one and will be getting another one next weekend. I'll be sure to post a range report at some point.
Kirk: An old geezer who loves the smell of freshly turned earth, old cedar rail fences, wood smoke, a crackling fireplace on a snowy evening, pristine wilderness lakes, the scent of
cedars and a magnificent Whitetail buck framed in the semi-buckhorn sights of a 120-year old Winchester.
http://p2c.com/students/blogs/kirk-durston

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#11 Post by Buffboy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:29 pm

I was starting to wonder if anybody else shot the 40-60WCF. I'm using 3031 at black powder velocity and getting good case seal with my 40-60WCF Chaparral(very little airspace, I like that and the rifle apparently does as well). I get wonderful accuracy and it's very consistent over the chronograph. Not quite to the consistency of Pyrodex P which was the best I've ever seen in any cartridge. I had no luck with 4198 or 2400 working at an accurate load, I gave up on both early on but that doesn't mean you won't have better luck. I bought some 5744 after I worked up the 3031 load but haven't worked up anything with it. I have 2 loads that are more accurate than me (and I still shoot irons pretty well) so I'm in no hurry to try something new.

I've used this 245gr bullet (some call it a 240gr) sized .406"
http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,253.htm
Which is from this mold
http://www.buffaloarms.com/browse.cfm/4,1547.htm

There are several casters of this bullet using that Lyman mold that I've used when the BA bullet wasn't in stock including Montana Bullet Works and Montana Precision Swaging. They all worked well. As long as it's kept under BHN of 15 and lubed with SPG it will work just fine with either Black Powder/Pyrodex or smokeless. This bullet runs about 1350fps in my 26" Chaparral with 36.0gr by weight (50gr BP measure) of Pyrodex P (very compressed) or my load of 28.0gr of 3031(if you try this smokeless load, reduce, then work up, as I consider it a max load, and it ain't in any books, so like me, you're on your own), WLR primers. Overall length needs to be 2.160" and you won't be crimping in the crimp groove(why I bought the FCD). I don't use a wad as I have doubts about it staying in place in the tapered case.

Don't be afraid of BP or pyrodex in this cartridge. You'll likely get an accurate load right off the bat. It's not that hard to clean up, just have a can or bucket of water to drop the cases in right away. It's more of a cleanup problem with the cases than the rifle.

I'm using Starline 45-70 cases cut down to a rough length(I cut about .240" with a tubing cutter) before sizing then trimmed to final length(1.870") after. Starline (generally) have the thinnest case rims out there for 45-70 cases. Bear in mind even that might not be thin enough for your rifle(they work fine in my Chaparral unmodified), so you'll have to check. Your rifle may require the rim trimming like Kirk suggested.

This is important, lube well, then make the size in one continuous pass. If you try to do it in stages, you'll get dents. This is not a huge thing as they will still load and shoot ok. After their first firing most of that denting is gone but why make them in the first place. After the first firing, the case necks are annealed or they WILL crack a couple shots down the line. Starline brass is pretty hard to start with and work hardens a LOT in this size operation. After annealing it's quite soft but work hardens on its own to normal after a couple firings. I haven't cracked any since I started annealing.

I've got both C & H(4D) and the Lee dies. Both have their good and bad points. I'd recommend Lee(much less $), but the C & H work ok too.

I had a Lee Factory Crimp Die custom made for this and love it. Worth the $25, even with that and the regular Lee set, you're less than the cost of C & H dies. You don't "need" it but it's nice for piece of mind with the tubular magazine.
"People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically 'right.' Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work."

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#12 Post by hondo1892 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:39 am

Kirk if your original handles smokeless without a problem the the new ones should have no problems. Thats good to here that the old ones can stand up to smokeless. I think I'll get some 4759 for sure now. I have been thinking about getting it for my 32-40 1894 winnie.

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Re: 40-60 Winchester

#13 Post by Buffboy » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:00 am

I probably should have mentioned in my long rambling post that the bore of my Chaparral slugged .405".
"People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically 'right.' Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work."

- L. Neil Smith

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