Ammo for 1880's S&W

Doug Weiss

New member

I inherited a late 1880's, S&W Model 3, Second American Model, 44 Cal.

I'm trying to find some black powder ammo for this six shooter. One response from my research indicates there are about "about thirty 44 caliber revolver cartridges" ......"send us a chamber cast". ??? I thought all 44 cal 's were standard size??? Is this true?

Red Hat

New member
The round used in your revolver is the .44 S&W American. It's a little different than the .44 Russian and can be loaded with black powder or smokeless powder. The reason they want a chamber cast is because back then there were several types of .44 ammo and may have been rechambered. Also it will give them the correct case diameter that will take in account the wear and expansion of the chambers for them to manufacture a safe load. If it's an actual .44 S&W American and hasn't been rechambered then you can reload ammo using smokeless powder. Midway sells a case forming die that will make the .44 S&W American from .41 mag cases.

Reloading Data:

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Doug Weiss

New member
red hat

thanks for the info. To be on the safe side, I'll make a chamber cast as recommended. This is all new to me and I'm learning.


Red Hat

New member
I'd advise against using .44 Russian in it if it's chambered for .44 S&W American. First of all it won't fit unless there's been an excessive chamber expansion. It's .060 longer than the 44 American and the 44 Russian was designed for higher pressures (12,000 CUP) to be used in a steel frame revolver. The S&W Model 3 can't handle that high of a CUP pressure since it's designed for pressures up to 6-8,000 CUP and is a iron frame revolver.

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