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Our talk about the 356 TSW made me think about other, sometimes spectacular, cartridge failures. Obviously somebody in the industry thought it was a good idea at the time but the buying public just didn’t get on the train.

One of the neat things about guns and ammo is that it really doesn’t cost very much to bring out a new cartridge or firearm… well the new plastic stuff has a very high initial cost for the moulds but the cost per part is small. All the ammo companies make their own tooling for brass and bullets and the stuff really isn’t all that complicated. The presses and stuff are all the same and all they have to do is change the dies.

A modern firearm plant is a marvel of automation and the bulk of the work is in telling the machines what to do to make something different. But once the machine’s memory knows where to go and what tool to use it doesn’t need much help. Oh sure we have to have people to make sure the proper tools are available and to take the finished parts out and put in new work pieces. This may be a bit of over-simplification, but smart machines have reduced the most expensive cost element… labor.

Of course it’s more than just “somebody” because it takes somebody at both a gun and an ammo company to buy into an idea. So we also have a “chicken/egg” question. Was the idea from the gun or ammo maker? To me it seems as if the gun company is the more likely instigator and to this day gun makers like to have their name on a cartridge. Maybe the best example of that recently is the arrival of a number of cartridges bearing the Ruger name. That works because the startup cost for a new cartridge is much smaller so they can gamble a bit on some gunmakers idea because now and then they will get a home run.

It doesn’t take very long to get a feel for the success or potential of a new cartridge by whether or not another company starts making it. If Winchester gears up to make a cartridge Remington introduced last year then it will probably have some degree of success.

I think the notion that some new cartridge does anything better than something we’ve already got is the key and that has far less to do with ballistics than marketing. And this is where Patrick and I have played a part. Speaking only for myself I have certainly reviewed products that I did not think had much chance of success but my job was to test and report and, hopefully, provide enough information for a consumer to make an informed decision and avoid inserting any personal bias either pro or con. But it sure is easier to write up something I like or enjoy and hopefully a reader who is paying attention can figure it out.

As I’ve been working on this I’ve been trying to make a list of cartridges that failed and why they flopped. I know I’ll never get them all but here’s a start…I’ll limit the list to things within the last 50 years or so…

1. 5 mm Remington… I never bit on that one
2. .38 AMU… market simply too small and gunsmiths finally learned how to make .38 Specials work
3. 9mm Federal:… not enough guns
4. .44 AMP (357 AMP)
5. 50 AE
6. The Wildey cartrdiges
7. 356 TSW

Three through seven flopped because nobody cared…

I’m sure y’all will think of more
 

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Personally, I'd like to see a whole lot more flop. You list the handgun cartridges, if we get into rifle cartridges, we could fill volumes. I think the reality is, most shooters aren't reloaders, so ammunition availibility to my way of thinking, trumps all. People want to be able to pick up ammo at the drop of a hat and don't want to take out a second mortgage to do it.

Where rifles are concerned, I've never see a lick of difference comparing the terminal effects of the .257 Roberts all the way up to the .30-06 and everything in between including all the magnums. Given that thought, I'm rather inclinded to stick with a rifle that I can get ammo for just about anywhere, and a cartridge that doesn't assault the shooter. I have no use whatsoever for ANY of the magnums, period. Basically, if a .257 or .270 won't kill it, I'm not all that interested in hunting it. I may modify that if I ever make it to Africa, and if I do make it there, I'll stick with the time tested 9.3x62 and call it good.

But new cartridges will still come around because it's just like I said, gun people are equipment junkies and like to split thin hairs. Really, can you believe that the .270 vs. .30-06 debate still rages on internet forums today?
 

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I know Kevin! Everybody knows the 30-06 is better.

Anyway;
1.).357Maximum
2.)45GAP
3.).22Jet
 

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The .44AMP always interested me. I always wondered why no one ever engineered a semiauto carbine for it--it would seem perfect for Jeff Cooper's mythical "Thumper." Imagine something along the lines of an M1 carbine or Mini-14 cranking out reliable, semiauto .44 Mag fire.

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks it's a good idea. Hasn't Ruger failed with a .44 Mag semiauto carbine twice, now? (Or is the newer version still in production? Hard to keep up with things these days.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Three more good ones sarge...

Snake I never messed with the Ruger .44 but wasn't it a straight blowback design? If so, I imagine that is why it failed and it would cost too much to make a locked breech of some sort.
 

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There often isn't any rhyme or reason one new cartridge will go down like a WWI fighter in flames and another is a roaring success.

The .41 AE failed, the .40 S&W is used by many.
True the .41 AE had the odd rebated rim and the police seemed to be just waiting for something like the .40 S&W.

The .41 Magnum and 10mm limp along.
The .41 Mag was probably done in mostly by the few police trying it buying full Magnum ammo instead of Police loads, and everyone else figuring why not have a full .44 Mag.
The size of the revolvers didn't help the police case.
The 10mm wasn't helped by the wear and tear on the guns it was chambered in.

Some of them you can see coming, as example the .32 Magnum and the new .327.
These just don't seem to have anything definite to offer over the .38 Special.

The .357 Maximum just didn't "fit" anywhere and ate guns.

The .45 GAP was one of those solutions looking for a problem.

The .221 Fireball was only in one specialty gun, in a day before much of anyone wanted such a gun.

There are a number of heavy caliber "Mega-Boomer" cartridges in super revolvers as made by Ruger and S&W, most of which will quickly fade away.

The first Ruger .44 carbine was a great design, a gas operated locked breech design.
I suspect it was done in by the limited magazine capacity and the desire for a more powerful deer gun.
With only a 4 shot tubular magazine and a slow reload it didn't sell as a home defense carbine either, at a time when you could buy M1 carbines and AR-15's easily.

The new Ruger "Deerfield" was limited on ammo to bullets between 215 grains and 255 grains, and mostly by the same limited magazine capacity. Had Ruger offered a larger capacity magazine it might have made it as a defense carbine, but it used a rotary magazine much like the 10/22.
The Deerfield used design elements of the Mini-14 and was a similar gas operated locked breech rifle.
 

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Charlie Petty said:
Snake I never messed with the Ruger .44 but wasn't it a straight blowback design? If so, I imagine that is why it failed and it would cost too much to make a locked breech of some sort.
According to the owner's manual, it's gas-operated (at least the later iteration was).

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28311061/Ruge ... ld-Carbine
 

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Charlie Petty said:
1. 5 mm Remington… I never bit on that one
Me neither, but it might have been way ahead of its time. Look how the .17s took off.

I suspect that if Remington had kept ammo available throughout the years, the 5mm would have had a rebirth about 10 years ago and been "rediscovered." But no one wants to adopt an orphan gun. :(
 

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.256 Winchester. .225 Winchester (oops, that's rifle). 9mm and .45 Win Magnums.

I always liked the concept of a .44 Mag carbine. Trying to figure out how to load the original Ruger was it's undoing, along with lousy marketing. Snake's noted the problem with the execution of the rotary magazine version, which I thought to be a good idea (didn't know about the limitations) but again, the marketing is/was darn near nonexistant. I noticed once that when interviewed about the second version, Bill Ruger commented that in his experience (and I agree), the .44 was as good a killer as the .30-06 within 100 yards with a great deal less recoil and fuss, and in a handier package. Now, why the heck didn't someone in Rugers marketing department grab that and run with it? Admitedly, Pennsylvania is one of the natural markets for the concept and autoloading hunting rifles are verboten there.

I got my oldest grad daughter one of H&R's .44 Mag single shots. The report & recoil are mild, the accuracy outstanding. I'm told H&R has evey one presold before they make the yearly production run.
 

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I've never see a lick of difference comparing the terminal effects of the .257 Roberts all the way up to the .30-06 and everything in between
Absolutely agree! :thumbsup: I've hunted Africa, Canada and Europe and believe most hunters are over gunned, over scoped and under practiced. Or as a wise man once said, the world is full of hundred yard shooters with three hundred yard rifles and thousand yard scopes. :lol:

I have one of the .44 Ruger lever guns, great concept, iffy execution.
 

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Actually, while everyone knows I'm a great fan of the 30-06, my all-time favorite woods and short to med. range caliber is all but dead, the 358 Winchester. Within 200 yards anything you want to hunt, within reason, is your with this cartridge. Ideally, in a Model 88 or 100 Winchester with a 2-5x scope.
 

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The .445 Super Mag - haven't seen one of those in a long time. I don't remember actually seeing a gun chambered for the .375 or .414 Super Mags, either.

IIRC, these were the brainchild of Elgin Gates of IHMSA fame, and I'm not sure whether anyone other than Dan Wesson or Thompson/Center ever regularly chambered guns for these rounds. If IHMSA hadn't faded from popularity (IMHO this was due in large part to politics coming from IHMSA HQ) maybe these rounds would have caught on.

I remember with some amusement that the IHMSA newsletter trumpeted the "originality" of Mr. Gates in "inventing" a lengthened .357 Magnum . . . and the bitter hatred and vitriol the newsletter's editors heaped on a gun writer who documented a virtually identical round coming from a wildcatter in Australia some years earlier.

There were a number of other rounds that came out of the metallic silhouette game - 7mm IHMSA, 6.5mm and 7mm TCU, etc., and though originally developed for competition, they had some potential for hunting. But they seem to have faded - even T/C doesn't even seem to regularly chamber Contenders for these rounds any more.

In terms of more recent rounds . . . how well is the .480 Ruger doing?

**********************
Another round that didn't last long was Remington's 7mm Express. Fortunately, people with rifles so chambered can make .280 Remington ammo work. :lol:
 

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I always liked the .284. Win in the model 88 Winchester.
 

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Is the .350 Rem Mag still around? The .350 in the 660 carbine might have been another one way ahead of its time.
 

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Al Thompson said:
Absolutely agree! :thumbsup: I've hunted Africa, Canada and Europe and believe most hunters are over gunned, over scoped and under practiced. Or as a wise man once said, the world is full of hundred yard shooters with three hundred yard rifles and thousand yard scopes. :lol:
Locally, it's 300 yard rifles (or shotguns they believe will reach that far with buckshot), 75 yard scopes and 50 yard shooters (see comment about shotguns). You might be able to interchange the range capability of scope and shooter, they'll go for anything on sale at Wallyworld or equivilent.

If I had the free use of a pasture a friend has, and an array of deer sized targets, I believe I could make a living betting folks their rifle won't hit a deer at the far end of the pasture ( about 300 yards). The 7mm Remington magnum is locally believed to shoot like a laser.

To return to the original subject, how about the 6.5 Remington Magnum. Snake mentioned the .350, I was going to nominate that also.
 

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My favorite orphan is the .401 Herter's. Died with the company just after GCA '68.

Ballistics similar to the 10mm.

The Ruger .44 Carbines 2nd edition were the straw that broke the family hold on the company and dang near broke the company, at least according to the son of the owner of a local Discount Gun Shop. In the first rush they sold about a dozen and then the market disappeared. Couldn't give the things away.

Since FL effectively bans "assault weapons" for home defense, I thought the .44 Auto would fill a local niche.

Geoff
Who will stick with his shotgun. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Oh, the wonderful .401 Powermag.

Somewhere around here I've got an old Herters catalog and when I need to write something flowery, or bs, I use it as a thesaurus... :wink:

But I'm also pretty sure that, without them, I would never have learned to reload
 

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Herter's....yeah their catalogs were entertaining reading. For all that they had some good stuff. I bought one of their PowerMags (nee J.P. Sauer & Sohn) in .44 just before GCA '68 outlawed mail order. Lo these many years and uncounted rounds it's still good to go, with a few minor part replacements and a recut forcing cone.
 

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I had a .401 Herter about ten years ago, couldn't find ammo or Dies for it. Ended up unloading it.
 
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