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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I am getting a bit confused as I have been reading up on the Stetson .44 cartridge and am getting some mixed messages.

Where it started was when I read that the Colt 1871-72 Open Top may have been calibered in .44 Henry to allow Westerners to carry one type of ammo for their Winchester 66s and Colt 1871-72s.

However I read that the 1871-72 will only accept the Stetson version and not the earlier .44 Henrys so you would need a stockist of that readily available. This casts doubt on that reasoning.

I would appreciate your input please. My questions are;

(1) Could the Winchetser 66 use both the .44 Henry and the Stetson cartridge?
(2) How available was the Stetson cartridge out West?
(3) Would a Stetson be useful in a Long Cylinder Conversion of an 1860 Colt .44 seeing it was .45+ in bore?
(4) Was the orininal .44 Henry .443 in bullet diameter and the Stetson .429?

Thanks in advance

· Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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I show the Open Tops as chambered for .44 Henry, which used a nominal .446" heeled bullet (dimensional data from Barnes).

Appears Winchester Model 1866 rifles and carbines, Smith & Wesson No. 3 Revolvers, Colt Model 1860 Army Long Cylinder Conversions and the Colt Model 1871/72 “Open Top” used the same cartridge. From 1875 until 1880, Colt produced 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolvers in the Henry caliber to accommodate the owners of Henry- and Winchester Model 1866 rifles and carbines. The handguns could, of course, use both the .44 Henry Flat and pointed bullet loads as there was no concern about rounds tilting in the magazine 9as a rim-fire, the Henry did not suffer from the potential for a tube magazine chain-fire when a sharp=pointed bullet initiated a primer under recoil as the CF lever guns did).

Stetson apparently (per article in Wiki, not sure of source) took out a patent in 1971, assigned to Winchester. it dealt with bullet production, shape and lubrication:

The .44 Henry cartridge was perfected by George R. Stetson’s U.S. Patent 120403, assigned to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company on October 31, 1871. It has as its object the use of swaged and lubricated projectiles of greater perfection in shape

As best i can tell, the .44 Stetson WAS a .44 Henry (and would have been so marked - ammo boxes perhaps, if from Winchester, marked "Stetson's Patent" somewhere on the box). I suspect whoever claimed the OpenTops will "only accept the Stetson version" is - as full of it as Rahm Emanuel.
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