Weird old calibres

Cam someone shine some light on this for me. I am seeing a tone of weird old calibres, specifically for old Winchesters. Sort of like 45-90, 44-40, though these are not that uncommon. Then there are a tone of others, last one spotted - 38-40WCF, etc. What’s up with that, seems like there was a habit of creating weird obscured stuff back in the day, tired down to one manufacturer or rifle?

Weight of the projectile and the amount of black powder in the case.
Everyone was trying to out do the others.

G’day juststarting,
In early times everyone was trying different things to see if they could fill a niche and make some money, nothing has changed. Look at JDJ, Chey-Tac, 7.82 Warbird and a plethora of other Proprietary and Wildcat offerings. The 38-40 was a very sensible move as the 44-40 was popular but many folks wanted a 38, so neck down the 44 and you fill the demand with a cartridge you are already making cylinders for. have you got a copy of Barnes? Worth getting one and having a read, just the rimfires alone will mess you up! Cheers.

The 38-40 despite the name actually uses a .401 diameter bullet not .358.

One of the best books for unusual calibres is “The Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversions” by Donnelly and Donnelly, definitely a must have for the library, can usually pickup on Amazon cheap.

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Lock in the money, you sell one gun but LOTS of ammo. Perpetual income stream.
That’s my take on the thinking behind the propriety ammunition in the past.
There are a lot of lever Winchesters in odd/obsolete calibers coming up for sale recently.

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Yeah there’s a bunch of semi collectable levers hitting the second hand market at the moment

That’s exactly what I was thinking, about their rational.

I love that book, one of the best things I’ve bought over the years

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