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I've seen it frequently, and yes, this is how it behaves, e.g.:

[1]: http://stackoverflow.com/a/579466/94830

[2]: https://issues.apache.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=42040

I imagine the rationale was something along the lines of many servers/apps are written to incorrectly return 200 with a descriptive error page rather than 500 or whatever the appropriate status code would be. And at the time ab was first written, pages were a lot more static than they are now, so a different page would be more likely to indicate an incorrect response.

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