32-20 advice wanted


Jesse Heywood
January 29, 2010, 06:30 PM
I have been loading 32-20 for use in revolvers, a SAA clone and a Colt Army Special. New Starline brass, 100 gr. Magnus lead flat nose. Powder has been 3.3 gr. Titegroup or 4.1 gr. W-231. I also have some Unique but haven't loaded it yet. No chrony in the near future for me.

My question comes with loading for a rifle. Marlin 94 made somewhere around 1920. I made some dummy rounds seated to 1.603 OAL, same as for the revolver. They cycled with no problem. Should these loads work in the rifle? Most of what I have found is for loading revolvers. Thanks.

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January 30, 2010, 10:53 AM
I can't see why these revolver loads shouldn't work in your 32-20 Marlin. Go ahead and try a few watching for the usual signs of pressure or excess headspace.

January 30, 2010, 12:31 PM
You might want to ask here http://www.leverguns.com/My Lyman 45th edition has this to say about the 32-20 winchester.:scrutiny: NOTE: Do not use these loads in rifles which were designed for Black Powder or in Handguns. :confused:This note may mean Winchester rifles, looks like no Marlins make for black powder.:confused: An Alliant Unique load is listed for a 115gr cast w/ gas check bullet # 311359 #2 alloy. Start 4.0 gr 1175 fps. Max is 5.0gr 1385 fps. Data for 2400 and IMR 4227 also. Found this at http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/marlin_3220.htm Lymans test gun was a Savage Sporter. Bullet diameter should be .312" But slug barrel to know for sure.

January 30, 2010, 12:43 PM
Your two loads should work fine in a rifle.

The only problem you "might" run into is differences in old chambers and new reloading dies.

I don't know about Marlin, but Winchester & Colt could never agree on what a WCF chamber was supposed to look like in 32-20, 38-40, and 44-40.

It seems Winchester won out in the long haul, and modern WCF dies follow that chamber shape.

The problem arises when you shoot WCF in a rifle, resize them, and try to use them in an old Colt revolver. They won't fit!

I have had to grind off the bottom of my sizing dies in order to push the shoulder back where it started out before firing in a Winchester WCF rifle to get them in a Colt chamber.

Just something to be aware of, IF you run into it with your Marlin/Colt combo.


January 30, 2010, 01:05 PM
Your loads are maximum by whats posted on Hodgdons site. http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp Or if not maximum, loads that are safe in old guns. ???

January 30, 2010, 01:21 PM
Good read here. Click Link (http://www.sixshootercommunity.com/articles/harry_o/reloading_32-20.html)

I found it when I bought my second 32-20 revolver a few months back. I had traded my other one off years ago and needed to refresh my memory.

Wil Terry
January 30, 2010, 02:27 PM
I use 32-20 loads straight from the manuals in my 32-20 rifle that take 115GR LFN bullets up to 1500fps . I shoot the same loads in a 7 1/2" SAA with absolutely no problems.
The AA#2 loading manual has some truly excellent loading data as does the HODGDON LOADING MANUAL.

Jesse Heywood
January 30, 2010, 09:41 PM
Found this at http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/marlin_3220.htm
So many cats, so few recipes!

Great link, Walkalong. WOW!

My thanks to all. So I need to keep the fired cases separate, and to add some more books to the library.

January 31, 2010, 02:21 PM
So I need to keep the fired cases separate,Not necassarly.

I said it might be a problem, but that I was unsure if it would be with the Marlin or not.

Just try sizing some out of the Marlin and see if they will go back in the Colt.

If they won't grind a little off the bottom of the sizing die until they will.

Or send it and some fired cases back to whoever made the die and ask them to make it work.

Bottom line is though, you may or may not have a problem, and there is no way to know until you try it.


Jesse Heywood
January 31, 2010, 03:17 PM
Once fired, unsized brass. These were factory loads that I had fired in the Marlin. They failed to seat in both revolvers. This is a random sampling of 6 rounds in each revolver.

In the Uberti SAA:
WW brass short chambered by .162-.250. RP brass by .065-.074

In the Army Special:
WW brass short by .095-.103. RP brass by .040.

This is unsized, but it appears I will need to keep the brass separate. For dies I have the RCBS Cowboy. I and going to have to spend some time setting the resizer

January 31, 2010, 03:30 PM
Just screw the sizing die down until it bumps the shell holder, and lock the lock-nut.

Size some cases, and see if they will fit the revolvers.

If they won't, you will have to modify the base of the sizing die enough so they will fit if you want to have "universal", fits all three guns ammo.


Jesse Heywood
January 31, 2010, 09:33 PM
Chalk one up for the Cowboy dies. Resized, the cases drop into all three guns. Thanks for the help.

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