October 14, 2008, 07:04 PM
Anyone know anything about this cartridge? My friends new wife has one that was given to her father, and she would like to take her first deer with it. Can anyone recommend A grain weight and brand of bullet? Thanks.

If you enjoyed reading about ".32-40?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 14, 2008, 07:09 PM
Doesn't sound like a good idea.


dagger dog
October 14, 2008, 07:25 PM

I found the 32-40 (32-40 Ballard/32-40 Winchester in Cartridges of the World under obsolete American rifle cartridges.

Looks like hand loading is the way to go with this older number. But they do show a Winchester factory load in165 gr. soft point a 1440 fps with 760 ft lbs energy.

The book also states that brass can be formed from 30-30 32 Winchester special or 38-55 cases. A note of caution reads do not use high velocity loadings in old Ballard or Stevens rifles. It also states in strong actions it can be loaded to equal the 30-30.

A couple handloads read:
165 gr lead bullet 16 grs H 4895 at 1410 fps@ 729 ft lbs ok for old rifles

165gr lead bullet 22 grs H4895 at 1890 fps @ 1275 ft lbs NOT OK FOR OLD RIFLES.

The factory loads are very anemic for deer size game but have no doubt taken untold numbers !

With modern action 1894 Winchesters and Sharps single shots can use the higher power loads.

Make sure to have the old gun checked thoroughly to avoid any potential problems!

The hand loads loads listed are most likley MAXIMUM LOADS and should be reduced by 10 % to start.

Seems there were some John Wayne Commerative 1894 Winchester rifles in 32-40 produced as late as 1980.

October 14, 2008, 07:27 PM
165gr lead bullet 22 grs H4895 at 1890 fps @ 1275 ft lbs NOT OK FOR OLD RIFLES.

That's nowhere near .30-30.

dagger dog
October 14, 2008, 07:32 PM
Didn't mean to be confusing, but that load was not intended to replicate the 30-30. the statement was that stronger single shot or modern rifles can be handloaded to replicate the 30-30!

October 14, 2008, 07:36 PM
If it is an older gun the safe loads for it will be more or less on a par with a .357 magnum revolver - which is to say it's limited to a humane range of 100yds at most.
Personally, I would clean it up and hang it on the wall.


October 14, 2008, 07:39 PM
Thanks for the quick replies. It is aparently a tradition in her family to take your first deer with this rifle( for better or worse) I'm just looking for info to make it as easy as possible on them AND the game they are after. I will look into the handloads.

Mr. 16 gauge
October 14, 2008, 08:26 PM
Found this and thought I would throw it into the mix as well.


October 14, 2008, 09:29 PM
In the mid 1960s I hunted (as a youth) on a friend's family farm in central Pennsylvania. One of the older family members (he was 76 in 1965) on the farm used a Winchester Model 94 derivative chambered in .32-40. There was a "Hi-Velocity" (labeled such on the ammo box) offering from the ammo manufacturers that he used in his rifle. His hunting consisted of hiding in the barn and shooting a deer 10-50 yards out in a little orchard behind said barn. For the several years I hunted there as a high school kid, he always got a deer, doing so with one shot. So, if your wife will be shooting at close range and the factory loads approximate the old "Hi-Velocity" loadings (if .32-40 ammo is still available) I would think the cartridge will perform as I saw it do 43 years ago.

October 14, 2008, 10:21 PM
Winchester makes new brass from time to time. I stocked up a couple years ago. The cartridge is great, M94's were chambered for it until after WW1, lots of them still out there. I load a cast bullet to approx. 1250 FPS from a 20" carbine. Will do deer out to 100 yds if you are careful. Good shooting.

October 15, 2008, 12:42 AM
Something to note. "40" means "40 grains of black powder". That's not a whole lot.

This is different from the "30" in .30-30, which means "30 grains of smokeless powder," which is a lot hotter than 40 grains of Black. Nowadays, of course, there are more powders than you can shake a stick at, but back then I think smokeless was limited to one or only a few types.

That said, a well-placed shot from close range should work.

October 15, 2008, 02:13 AM
Never say never! The huge Jordan buck, taken so long ago in Wisconsin (est live weight 400lbs) fell to a 25-20....great story and worth a Google/read!

October 15, 2008, 10:48 AM
The 32-40 responds well to judicious loading using smokeless powder if your rifle is a later model. This and 38-55 were the first 2 chamberings in the '94 and were black powder rated. Only with the advent of 25-35 and 30-30 did it become a smokeless rifle. 32-40 is a great cartridge with a lot of history. Study it and you will see what it can do and be safe even in the older firearms. Good shooting.

If you enjoyed reading about ".32-40?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!