She got a .32/20 built up on a .44 frame


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Keith
January 22, 2003, 03:31 PM
She got a .32/20 made up on a .44 frame
She got a .32/20 built up on a .44 frame
She can't miss a man because she got a baaaaad aim!
I used to get loaded, but now I stay straight all the time
I used to get loaded, but now I stay straight all the time
I feel so fine since I got that little girl of mine!

"She Got A Little"
Taj Mahal version of the Robert Johnson classic: ".32/20 Blues"

So, what kind of handgun was Mrs. Johnson actually using to keep him on the straight and narrow? I think this song would date back to the 1930's.

Keith

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Keith
January 22, 2003, 05:53 PM
Oh, come on now!

Somebody must know what this song refers to! My Hodgdons book shows the .32/20 as a pretty hot little number, getting velocities as high as 1600 fps. And Mrs. Johnsons gun was built on a .44 frame, presumably for such hot loads. It sounds like Mr. Johnsons decision to "stay straight all the time" was very wise under the circumstances.

So, did S&W build .32/20's on .44 frames at some point? Was this combo the .357 mag of its day? The whole thing sounds pretty cool, something along the lines of a .30 Mauser for revolvers.

Keith

Keith
January 22, 2003, 05:58 PM
Oops! It looks like it wasn't Mrs. Johnsons gun after all. I just found the original lyrics and it seems Mr. Johnson may have been a reloader!

32-20 BLUES
(Skip James)
Robert Johnson - 1936


If I send for my baby, and she don't come
If I send for my baby, man, and she don't come
All the doctors in Hot Springs sure can't help her none

And if she gets unruly, thinks she don't wan' do
And if she gets unruly and thinks she don't wan' do
Take my 32-20, now, and cut her half in two

She got a .38 special but I believe it's most too light
She got a .38 special but I believe it's most too light
I got a 32-20, got to make the caps alright

If I send for my baby, man, and she don't come
If I send for my baby, man, and she don't come
All the doctors in Hot Springs sure can't help her none

I'm gonna shoot my pistol, gonna shoot my gatling
I'm gonna shoot my pistol, gotta shoot my gatling gun
You made me love you, now your man have come

Aha, baby, where you stayed last night
Aha, baby, where you stayed last night
You got your hair all tangled and you ain't talking right

Her .38 special, boys, it do very well
Her .38 special, boys, it do very well
I got a 32-20 now, and it's a burning

If I send for my baby, man, and she don't come
If I send for my baby, man, and she don't come
All the doctors in Wisconsin sure can't help her none

Hey, hey, baby, where you stayed last night
Hey, hey, baby, where you stayed last night
You didn't come home until the sun was shining bright

A-ho boy, I just can't take my rest
A-ho boy, I just can't take my rest
With this 32-20 laying up and down my breast

Mike Irwin
January 22, 2003, 06:07 PM
Well, there would have been three main possibilities, S&W N-frame, Colt Single Action Army, and Colt New Service.

The N-frame was never made in .32-20, so that's out.

The SAA and New Service were made in .32-20, but weren't called .44 frames, I don't think.

Colt and S&W both made .32-20s on smaller frames, S&W on the K-frame, Colt on what I think was the O frame.

I recently picked up a K-frame .32-20.

Keith
January 22, 2003, 06:45 PM
Well, I don't know my K's from my N's, having never been a big revolver guy.
So, a S&W .44 would have been on the N frame? And if so, might that commonly have been called a ".44 frame"? If the Taj lyrics have any validity, the pistol was "built up on a .44 frame", so maybe we're talking a custom job...

Of course the original Robert Johnson lyrics just refer to a .32/20, even though he does "got to make the caps" for it.

At any rate, it sounds like an interesting caliber. Light bullets at high velocity way back in 1936!

Have you shot your K frame .32/20 yet?

Keith

Gordon
January 22, 2003, 09:12 PM
What a great song! we need a Dylan or Hank Williams Jr. version. Who else is pro gun and killer on the Blues? I think he was talking about the Colt O frame. Pretty big, is actually a .41 frame.:D

Keith
January 22, 2003, 10:02 PM
Actually, the Taj Mahal version is done finger-picking style. I'm sure any country or bluegrass fan would like Taj's version.

Keith

Mike Irwin
January 22, 2003, 11:53 PM
Anything is possible. Personally I'd LOVE to have a .32-20 on an N-frame. And yes, the N-frame is probably most closely associated with the .44 Special in the 1930s, but since the 1930s it would be more associated with the .357 Mag.

And no, I haven't shot the .32-20 yet. It's still soaking in mineral spirits. I'm going to the range next Friday, though, so I need to get it cleaned up and rustle up some ammo for it, which ought to be a REAL treat...

Gordon
January 22, 2003, 11:57 PM
I been thinking about this and 32-20 was VERY popular chambering for SAA Colt which IS, in effect , a .44 frame.:D

Mike Irwin
January 23, 2003, 12:17 AM
Except that the SAA was first chambered for, and probably most identified with, the .45 Long Colt cartridge...

Jim Watson
January 23, 2003, 12:29 AM
I 'spect it was just that "thirty-two/twenty" and "forty-four frame" scanned right in the rhyme scheme of the song verses. I wouldn't count on it for firearms information. Kind of like learning shooting from action movies.

EJ
January 23, 2003, 07:29 PM
As Keith said in the second post--
The 32-20 is "a hot little number" -- Kinda obvious
As is the "Built up on a 44 frame"

A hot "tight" 32-20 on a Big "44 Frame"--
covers the top and bottom of a "Hot" big breasted woman-- Using the revolver as a Metaphor--


;)

Gordon
January 24, 2003, 01:34 AM
WOW 44-20-32!:what:

mete
January 24, 2003, 08:20 AM
Check ELmer Keith's book "Sixguns " for a description . Yes hot loads are possible but the hot 32-20, the 30 carbine and the 32 Mag all suffer from extreme muzzle blast. Not for me.

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