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Here is some info from old books of Mine:

From "Rifles and Rifle Shooting" by Askins, 1912:

When speaking of 30 30, 32spl, 32 -40 and 303 sav _-"These cartridges are so similar  in all esential properties that if all but one were done away with the others would be hardley missed."

At page 87 he says: "the 32 40with its straight tapered case and s;lower twist of rifling lends itself to a variety of loads....and many believe  that it is the best of the lot"

In his 1937 "The Rifle in America" Phil Sharpe comments that: "The cartridge had been on the market but a short time when both Winchester and Marlin adapted it to their lever action rifles and it immeadiatly found popularity amoung huneters.... for game up to and including deer. This author does not classify it as having sufficient power for this purpose today, except at the shortest ranges"

Elmer Keith in his 1946 "Keiths Rifles for Large Game" does not even consider it.

You can load a strong gun up to 2000 FPS with a 165 gr bullet I guess and that makes it a short range deer rifle.  Frank Barnes agrees in his "Cartridges of the World" 3rd ed 1972.
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