408 Winchester

I was talking with some single shot rifle shooters this weekend and I was asked about the 408 Winchester cartridge. I had never heard of it. All anyone knew was that Frank de Haas mentioned it in one of his books. When I got home, I found that Mr. Single Shot talked about it in his Cartridge Handbook but he had never seen the round, only the SAAMI specs for it dated 1965. He thought that Winchester was developing this round for the m94 carbine but stopped work on it because Marlin entered the market with their 444 in 1964. The Buttweiler collection has a few examples of this semi-rimmed straight wall case identified as an experimental cartridge.

Donnelly quotes Nonte as saying that the 408 was a bottle-necked belted magnum but I think that Nonte was talking about one the wildcats that was based on the 458 Winchester case.

Does anyone have any further information about the Winchester SAAMI cartridge or the Nonte cartridge?

Here is a very little additional information. At least there is a pic. I’m always struck by the way the cartridge and especially the shape of the bullet looks like a longer, rimmed version of the old .401 WSL



What do you need to know about the 408 Winchester? It was, as said, an experimental from the 1950s intended to enhance the performance of the M94. It has a case length of 2.025" and a slightly larger body diameter than the 30-30.

I guess you could call it a “rare” cartridge. At least I’d like to think so because I have one.

Whether or not the Marlin 444 was the cause of its demise is debatable. In my own humble opinion it is more likely that the 307W and 356W cartridges in the beefed up M94 were a better alternative for the big W to pursue.

There are several 40 and 41 caliber wildcats based on the belted magnum case, Nonte’s being but one. I’d guess that it is probably nothing more nor less than the 416 Taylor, a simple neck down of the 458W case.