It still seems to me that by the time you get to sinter-point, some proper work has been done to the glaze, and real irreversible changes have occurred, which makes a (theoretical) difference to the amount of heatwork you need to finish the job off. (It's entirely possible I'm wrong in both fact and terminology - what a surprise that would be...)
I'm thinking you could test that theory by placing some witness cones in the kiln during your sinter-firing, then put the same cones back in the final firing (as close as possible to original location) along with a fresh set of the same cones. Then compare the two sets and see if the sintered cones bend noticeably farther than the un-sintered ones.
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