Why didn’t Winchester chamber any of its rifles in .45 Colt?
One of the regulars on the True West Forum, Texas author Charley Eckhardt, provided this information: “The .45 Colt cartridge, in the ‘balloon head’ period—before machined cartridges, when they were formed from brass tubes—had a very thin, narrow rim. Since it wasn’t solid but folded brass, it simply didn’t work with the Winchester extractor. The .44 Winchester Central Fire (.44-40) had a much more substantial rim. Today, of course, with web-head cartridges with solid rims, it will work.
“The .44 WCF was, in a sense, a more effective cartridge than a .45 Colt. It had a smaller-diameter slug, only .427″ as opposed to .454,” but with a much broader, flatter nose, which weighed 55 gr. less than the Colt slug (200 gr. as opposed to 255 gr.) but exactly the same powder charge (40 gr.) which gave it considerably higher velocity than the .45 Colt, even in a revolver.”