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Reb,

I am always amazed that no-one seems to be able to pin down the correct answer to questions such as this one! A '94 Winchester requires a rimmed cartridge, period. The mechanics were designed for the rim and it is necessary to feed. That is the principal reason that Winchester developed both the .307 and .356 which are identical to the .308 and .358, the cartridge needed to have a rim to function!!!!
 

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Reb etal,

If you look atb the rails of the '94 Win, you will see that there is an angled groove in them. The purpose of this groove is to lift the rear of the cartridge by engaging the rim. It needs the rim to function!

So far as the .356/.307 are concerned, the excessive length is a self limiting caracter of the cartridge. Since the .308/.358 are to long to function in the action there is no problem with anyone loading the gun with them. The only way that it would be possible to get in trouble would be to load the the chamber, then the magazine, and you would be able to fire only one shot! The gun would lock-up on the over-length cartridge on the carrier and the gun would have to be dis-assembled to empty the magazine. Of course, on this one shot the gun might dis-assemble itself if one or more cartridges fired in the magazine.

The whole point of the above paragraph is that the length isn't an issue. If the existing cases would work in the action then Winchester would have merely changed the bullet style and the headstamp to indicate it was a different cartridge. Adding a rim wasn't necessary to make these changes, but it is for any cartridge to feed in this action as it was designed. The diameter of the breech face for the .30-30 determined the diameter of the rim.

Yes, Winchester could have re-designed the action to accomodate rimless cartridges, but why would they want to do this for what would likely be a limited production item. By adding the rim and changing the bullet to create the .307/.356 this is only a straight forward change in barreling with no other changes necessary to be made in the action.

So far as the question of why Winchester did what they did, the answer simply is $$$$$$$$.

This isn't merely opinion, but information discovered from years of experience. Among many things I have done in my life I am a school trained gunsmith and have worked as such for several years.
 

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Reb,

So far as the "re-design" of the receiver for thr Big-Bore series, that is a very simple-to-do re-contour of the exterior of the receiver which is much simpler than changing the basic interior dynamics of the action. Likewise, the Angle Eject change was relatively simple and since it applied to the entire line would have been economically cost effective.

I am aware of the use of the .358 case. If memory serves, this was referred to as the .356 Rimless. It was also done in a Marlin 336. If you are willing to make compromises in function to use a more readily available case, that is your prerogative. Yes, you can, usually by some degree of jiggling be able to use either the .308 or .358 case in a '94, but, the factories need to ba able to realize 100% functioning with standard parts. Since they are guaranteeing the operation of all guns they produce, it could be very expensive to them to make repairs to a large per-centage of their production because 95% of their clientele are not inclined to tolerate less.

Remember, reloaders and people who shoot frequently as do most, if not all, who read this forum, are a relatively small part of the sporting firearms purchasing public. These people don't, and won't tolerate a gun which does not function 100% of the time or needs to be treated in a special way. They will drive the compny or warrantee stations crazy until they are satisfied.

In short, and as I believe I said before, yes, in can be done. Yes, the action could be re-designed to allow this. No, it would not be economically feasible for Winchester to have done it. For Winchester, and all manufacturers of all products, manufacturing a product strictly depends on the ability to make it a paying proposition for the man mufacturer. No matter what we are talking about, if a company cannot make a profit, or initially believe it can, no product will be manufactured merely because a few people say they want it!
 
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