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Author Topic: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering  (Read 405 times)

Online Yoder409

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Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« on: March 28, 2024, 10:22:31 PM »
Posted this elsewhere.   But it definitely needs copied & pasted here.


Been wanting to try this for a couple years.

I picked up a shotgun 10 or so years ago that, even, shotgun guys don't know exists.  It's an Iver Johnson Champion single barrel..........which is not at all uncommon.  What IS uncommon is that it's in .44XL chambering.   The gun is (near as I can figure from the serial number) 105-110 years old.  The .44XL was marketed as "the farmer's gun" and came with 2 choices of loadings.  One load was either a paper or wooden capsule with 3/8 ounce of #8 lead shot.  The other was a .43 caliber round ball.  Theory being if a farmer had this gun on the tractor and a few of each shell in his pocket he could shoot whatever he saw.

So, after a bunch of research.......and some very uneducated guessing......... I learned how to handload for it as original shells (if you can find them) are collector's items at $10-$15 EACH.  I obtained 1/2 pound of 19 g/cc #10 TSS and loaded some plastic, .44 caliber Speer shot capsules.  The HTL shot ends up with right at 1/2 ounce of shot paylod.  Yesterday, I loaded up one round with my best guess for recipe (load data is basically non-existent) and went to the patterning range (my back yard).

Knowing this would be a short-range deal AT BEST........ I set up shop at 17 steps (50-ish feet) and had at it.  Chronographing shotshells is an inexact measure with the chrono I have.  So, as a semi-scientific "test" of velocity/lethality, I clipped a Bush's Beans can to the back side of the target to gauge penetration.

To say I was amazed would be the understatement of the year !!!!  This gun is VERY mild to shoot.  Basically zero recoil.  A VERY subdued report.   The tale of the paper was........Almost the entire pattern was inside an 18" circle !!!!  It was pretty darned uniform throughout..........and printed EXACTLY to point-of-aim !!!   Approximately 60% above..... 40% below.    A base-of-the-neck hold will be perfect.   The Bush's Bean can was full of entrance and exit holes with not one pellet held inside of it.

I'm ready !!!!   I'm fully fixing to fill my first tag with this gun.  Again......  Gonna be a close-range proposition.  I'm certain I could stretch things to 20 yards if need be.  The .410 guys can kiss my butt !!!    :TooFunny:


The gun:



.44XL handload on the right     3" .410 on the left



The tale of the paper:

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Offline Happy

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2024, 07:38:12 PM »
Pretty cool, Yoda. I hope you get to put it to good use. Just don't load it too hot!

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Offline Spring Creek Calls

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2024, 08:02:49 PM »
Very cool, now you'll need to have Sumtoy cut it down to a 20" barrel and tube it ;)
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Online Yoder409

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2024, 11:34:58 AM »
Very cool, now you'll need to have Sumtoy cut it down to a 20" barrel and tube it ;)

 :TooFunny:

I don't think William is currently offering any tubes for .44 caliber shotguns.   Besides.......... I wouldn't want to have a golf ball-sized pattern at 15 feet that'd cause me to miss.    :toothy9:
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The good Lord ain't made a gobbler I can't kill.  I just gotta be there at the right time.....  on the day he wants to die.

Online crow

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2024, 01:43:53 PM »
Very cool old gun, would be slick to get a turkey with it

Offline Greg Massey

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2024, 03:54:11 PM »
Very nice. Don't you dare do anything to that old gun. Just kill a turkey with it like you have it set up..

Online Tom007

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2024, 03:58:41 PM »
Unique there Don…good luck with it
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Online Yoder409

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2024, 05:58:43 PM »
Very nice. Don't you dare do anything to that old gun. Just kill a turkey with it like you have it set up..

It's dialed in JUST PERFECT as-is. 

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The good Lord ain't made a gobbler I can't kill.  I just gotta be there at the right time.....  on the day he wants to die.

Offline btomlin

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2024, 09:33:12 AM »
I've got an old H&R 410-44cal.  Bought it for $30.   I haven't found much info on it, but it sounds like it may have been an old blackpowder round.  It is in my "display" gun case.  I was never sure if 2 1/2" 410 would be safe or not, so I've never fired it.  The old guy that I bought it from said he had fired 2 1/2" in it.  Gave me the box that had 2 rounds missing.  Wasn't going to see if he was "lucky" or not.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2024, 10:17:41 AM by btomlin »

Online Yoder409

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2024, 02:05:16 PM »
Here's some info you may find pertinent to your H&R:

https://www.shotgunworld.com/threads/identifying-an-old-h-r-top-break.543331/
PA elitist since 1979

The good Lord ain't made a gobbler I can't kill.  I just gotta be there at the right time.....  on the day he wants to die.

Offline btomlin

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2024, 03:59:15 PM »
^^^Thanks!

Looks like mine is from 1915-1920s and 2 1/2" chamber in the 410-44cal.   Good to know.  Mine has a previously repaired buttstock so I'll probably still not shoot it.  :)

Online crow

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2024, 04:23:04 PM »
That time period for American guns would be for smokeless

 strap it to a truck tire, tie a string to the trigger and shoot a couple shots thru it

Online Yoder409

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Re: Iver Johnson Champion in .44XL chambering
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2024, 05:04:53 PM »

 strap it to a truck tire, tie a string to the trigger and shoot a couple shots thru it

^^^^^^^^^

This.

Remote fire it a few times, OR run.it by a qualified gunsmith for an inspection.

At least, in the case of my Iver Johnson........  It may be over 100 years old.   But it's built VERY well.
PA elitist since 1979

The good Lord ain't made a gobbler I can't kill.  I just gotta be there at the right time.....  on the day he wants to die.