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Kind of off-topic, but the .414 super mag is very close to the old .401WSL in size. OF course the .401WSL uses a .406" bullet, but the 1.5" case and 2.0" OAL is not too far off.

Can make .401WSL cases from 7.62X39 brass...some lathe and die work to make it semi-rim, but it blows out to very close to 1.55" (timmed to even, it's right at the 1.5" spec. for the .401WSL).

So..in 1910 could buy a Semi-auto that tossed .406" 200gr. bullets at 2100fps or 250gr. at 1850fps 9and this from a non-locked breech blow back). Not a **** of alot of Winchester 1910's around(I like mine fine, but it took a bit of looking to find one) but am working on a project to convert a Mini-30 to .410"X1.5".

Know a semi-auto is a far cry from a lever gun, but think that a 10 or 20 round mag. of 210gr. .410" bullets exiting at 2000 fps wouild get to be fun (and probably could increased the locked breech action to surpase the blow back ballistics).

They are right, the action length is kind of odd...the pistol caliber rifles are all too short, and the rifle-length cases come in actions a bit long. Too long is easier to fix than too short.
 

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Guess it starts with the 1903 .22 Win. Auto (not .22LR) semi-auto. The first centerfires were the 1905 in .32WSL and .35WSL. Were pretty weak, so in 1907 there was a .351WSL whicih tosses a 180gr. .351" bullet out at 1850-1900fps. That last was not great chakes, but makes an adaquate deer rifle for short yardage (think in te4rms of what hadgunners use)...but found a home as a prison guard gun (they made ammo into the late 1970's and the one I owned had a 10round mag. and Angola State Prison markings). The big boy of the group showed up in 1910, the .401WSL (by the way...WSL stands for Winchester Self Loading). For what it is worth, it was Babe Ruth's favorite deer rifle (or Winchester paid him enough #$ to make him say it was).

Same basic design for all from .22 to .401...and pretty drastic rounds for a blow back action. They got away with it by using a hollow fore end that hid a breech block extension weight....a WHOLE LOT of weight is in the breech bolt...and this does odd things to recoil. One friend expresses firing one as turning a blender with 7pounds of BB's in it on for a fraction of a second.

Gues sone of the neat things that can be done when you design a new case from the gound up is to pick easy to remeber numbers. the .401WSL is a 1.5" case and 2" OAL...easy to remenberm no little left over fractions.

So what they had before WWI was a striaght blow back rifle, in .406" bore, that could toss out a 200gr. bullet at a bit more than 2050fps and a 250gr. bullet at 1850fps.

The question becomes why did .44mag. carbines sell so well in modern times, and Winchester only produce a bit less than 30,000 .401's over 26 years?

BTW: a simple set of swage dies lets me take Hornady XTP 210gr. bullets down to .407" (wich is actually a better fit than the factory .406's)...launched at 1970fps, they do the job just fine.
 
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