A Game-Getting Evolution

I’ll drop the subject of ARs now. I know little about them except they’ve now been made available in calibers as large as .50. What I do know quite a bit about are the more powerful cartridges Winchester developed in the late 1800s for truly big game. Back in those days, deer were at the bottom of the list. Hunters wanted Winchester to bring out big-bore repeating rifles for elk, moose, bison and grizzlies.

“Big bore” is a subjective term. Consider the .44 WCF’s big bore but relatively puny power level. Some of Winchester’s first attempts at really powerful rifles were silly. Take the .40-60 WCF in the Model 1876 as a prime example. A Model 1876 weighs 10 lbs. and hardly a more ungainly hunting rifle was ever offered to the public. In that behemoth, Winchester felt a cartridge holding a 210-gr. bullet propelled by 60 grains of black powder was suitable for big game. I have a friend who tried it; seven shots were required to get a moose to lie down and stay down.