In 1873, Winchester introduced the gun that would be known as “The Gun that Won the West”—the Winchester 1873 lever action rifle, chambered in .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire.) The same year, Colt introduced the 1873 Colt SAA revolver in Colt .45 and the US Army introduced the .45-70 Government.
Colt, realizing that western settlers wouldn’t want to carry different types of ammunition for their rifles and side arms, decided to chamber their 1873 SAA revolvers in .44 WCF—though they renamed the .44 WCF to .44-40 (.44 caliber and 40 gains of black powder) in order to prevent giving Winchester free advertising.
Winchester never reciprocated by chambering any of its guns in Colt .45.
Today, most lever gun reproductions are chambered in the Colt .45 for two reasons. First, the rims on modern Colt .45s are stronger than their 19th Century counterparts; and second, .44-40 Winchester ammunition is rather scarce.
If you have considered buying or reloading the .44-40 Win, here are some helpful recommendations from my experience.
I have used many rifles scopes over the last 46 years. My favorite brand has always been Leuplod. They and vary greatly in quality according to the price. But generally you can’t go wrong.
I know have a new favorite the Weaver Super Slam scopes and especially the Euro series with 30 mm tubes and First Focal Plane optics.
I have two 1-5 power scopes one on my .460 Wby magnum and one on a 416 Rigby where I have used both of these on dangerous game i Africa. This version has outstanding very long eye relieve and I don’t have to worry about getting a scope cut. They are super clear and reliable. I have used them on shots from 15 yards to 200 yards. For your big bore DG bolt rifle, it’s hard to beat these scopes at any price.
But my most favorite Weaver Super Slam scope is the Euro version 4-20X50. I have replaced all of my Leuplod scopes with this. I use this scope on a 204 Ruger Varmint rifle, .223 AR Varmint, a 22-250 Varmint, a 300 Win mag , a 257 Wby Mag and a 50 BMG target rifle.