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Another reason could have been to make reloading easier for the Breech-seating and Ball-seating target rifle crowd.38-55 rifle chambers have been modified and changed by experimenters over the years and opening up the chamber is popular even today, however, the factory chambers have not changed in well over one hundred years.Shooters, to this day, are still discussing chamber dimensions and case length.
I was getting good accuracy with smokeless, but never was happy with my groups when loaded with black powder. I have never used black powder in the 38-55, but I have heard that it can be quite accurate.
Years ago I shot a few Winchester factory loads with jacketed bullets in one of my rifles. The few bullets that did hit the target backer were side ways.
It has been reported by some knowledgeable folks that the original chamber for the 38-55 was longer than todays chambers and used the brass that Starline makes that is 2.125 inches in length.
Frank Barnes book Cartridges of the World, 4 edition he corrects the mistake and shows the case length to be 2.082.
Also, I have to use the RCBS Cowboy reloading dies for best results.