Others, like 10mm Auto and .45GAP, didn't live up to their initially-predicted sales success, but continue on as niche cartridges, with fans that cling like grim death.
And then there are the ones that sank without a ripple: .357 Maximum, .41 Action Express, 9mm Federal... Other than the occasional dusty box of ammunition at a gun show, or fanatical handloading crank in the dank corners of some internet forum, these cartridges are hardly even remembered except for a "I wonder why the ______ never caught on?"
Well, if it's the 9mm Federal you were wondering about, Grant Cunningham brings the answer.
For those unfamiliar with the chambering, 9mm Federal was basically a rimmed 9mm Parabellum round to be used in snubnosed revolvers that would be produced by Charter Arms. To say that it "never really caught on" would be a kindly exaggeration; it was a flop, and is mostly useful as a Trivial Pursuit (Category: Firearms History) answer these days.
But why did it flop? Not being much of a Charter Arms aficionado, this was a question I hadn't exactly spent a lot of time pondering until I read Grant's post, quoting a friend of his who had been an engineer at Ruger:
Had some India Ordnance Factory revolvers in .380/200, copies of No. 2 Enfield which were provided as government furnished material on India contract. When 9mm Federal ammo arrived Roy Melcher was curious as to whether rounds would enter .38 S&W chamber and we didn't have any US made guns, so tried in the ROF No.2...Click through to read the whole 'splodey story.
My mind suddenly pictured a wobbling, elderly hand dropping a cylinder full of 35,000psi Federal rounds into an antique .38 S&W Iver Johnson "Owl Head" top-break pulled from the sock drawer before heading off to investigate a bump in the night, armed with what was, in effect, a handheld pipe-bomb.
I'm pretty sure that lawyers had been invented by 1989, but all the ones at Federal and Charter Arms must have been on vacation the week that proposal got through the front office.