Loading the .32 Win special


April 30, 2013, 04:53 PM
I have a chance at a 1951 Win model 94 in great shape in .32 Win special. The price is right, IF I can be sure of ammunition. I have a source for the dies, but I don't know about boolits (yes, boolits) or brass. Any help? I suspect brass can be shaped from some other cartridges, and perhaps bullet size is close to something else, but I don't have the reference material handy.
I'm excited about the prospect of getting into a (fairly) unique piece, and the resale value is guaranteed if I have dies and molds, but without those, maybe not.
So how 'bout it, folks? Do I give up and get another 30 WCF?

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April 30, 2013, 05:43 PM
I've had the same thoughts when a 32 special showed up at a local pawnshop. Speer makes a flat nose .321" 170 grain bullet. Hornady makes both a flat-nose and FTX bullets for it also. What I had decided to do was to cast bullets for it. But when I went to get it, it was gone.

Federal, Winchester, and Remington all still have factory ammo for it. RCBS makes a 170 Grain gas check mold for it. New brass is available from Hornady and Winchester, but could probably be reformed from 30-30 or something else. If you already have 30-30, I'd be hesitant to have loads around with the wrong headstamp on them.

Components are a little harder to find than for the 30-30, but they're still out there.

I'd go for it.


April 30, 2013, 05:49 PM
Yeah, I hear ya, Matt, but "still have factory ammo" doesn't say what it's going to be like six months or five years from now. Even the bullets, if I could find them, are no guarantee of a continuing supply. I'll probably do it anyway, 'cause I love a challenge, but I REALLY need to find some molds and a good recipe for recycled brass.

April 30, 2013, 06:00 PM
Brass (sorta) :) :


It might be too much working on the neck to go from .257" to .321" ID, but the headstamp wouldn't lead to load in the wrong rifle. Unless you have a 25-35. :) And it's in stock.


April 30, 2013, 06:31 PM
They have been around for close to 100 years. Will they be here for 5 or 10 more? Who knows and right now I am hoping I am! I have two from the early 50's. One is a Marlin and the other my fathers first rifle a Winchester from 1949. I like them both and reload for both all the time. You mentioned good condition and the right price. If I found that combination I could fit another in my life.

Jesse Heywood
April 30, 2013, 07:53 PM
According to Lyman Cast Bullets the case is a 30-30 necked up to .321. RCBS die #32-170-FN sized to .321 with gas checks. Powders are Red Dot, Unique, SR-7625, SR-4759, IMR-4895. The rifle has been on my wish list.

April 30, 2013, 11:58 PM
I'm about 90% buying the gun. But I need to find a mold. I know lots of places that sell molds, and lots of companies that make molds, but I need to find one for sale that I can buy.
As for brass, my uncle tells me we can neck up 30-30 brass, of which I have a metric buttload, so I'm good there.
When I'm through assembling my stuff, I'm going to spend some time loading .32 Win special, then I just might advertise a "survivalist special" Winchester with dies, molds and brass, readymade for the zombie apocalypse.

Jesse Heywood
May 1, 2013, 02:58 AM
Midway shows them ready to ship.

May 1, 2013, 03:14 AM
And now that problem is solved. You guys do good work. In one night, I've gotten dies, molds and a recipe for recycled brass. Now all I gotta do is go down tomorrow and buy the piece.
I'll keep you posted on the reloading effort and the first range day.
Thanks for all your help.

May 3, 2013, 11:59 AM
Lee carbide dies arrived today, just re-sized my first .32 WS case from 30-30. The carbide makes it really easy. This is going to be fun!

May 13, 2013, 09:32 PM
30-30's brass will work fine for 32 Sp. I have been loading 32 Sp since 1968 at that time the only lead bullets were my own hand cast and Crisco lubed, jacked bullets were available from several big name makers. Today I am shooting Beartooth Bullets 170 LFNGC. These are Lead Flat Nose Gas Check sized to .323" setting over top of a full charge of WW748. Barrel slugs .321 Never shows signs of high pressure and very accurate, 1000's of rounds fired. Big fan of LEE "Factory Crimp Die". Have fun, contact me if you have problems.

May 13, 2013, 11:04 PM
Be VERY careful with any .32 Winchester Special cartridge made from .30-30 brass, lest it find its way into a .30-30.
Plenty of the older .30-30s have chambers worn enough to accept the case with a .321" bullet in the case mouth.
The consequences of sending a .32-caliber bullet down a .30-caliber bore are never good.
The first cartridge I ever reloaded, about 1970, was a .32 Winchester Special in a Lee Loader, for the Winchester Model 94 my Dad bought new in 1941.
I still have that rifle, and plenty of cartridges (factory and reloads) for it.
A fine cartridge for deer and black bear.
If you use cases that have 30-30 headstamped on the base, you need to make them immediately recognizable to you and others. I'd suggest you degrease the loaded cartridges with a little lighter fluid on a rag, then use a black or red indelible marker to write 32 WS prominently along the side of the case.
You'll have to rewrite this after each reloading, as resizing and passes through other dies will likely remove it, but it's a small price to pay for being safe.
Mark the box prominently, too.
A year ago, I saw .32 WS empty brass, made by Winchester, regularly at gun stores in Salt Lake City. Of course, that was before the hoarding mania struck. I'm unsure if it's so readily available now, which forces you to use .30-30 brass.
Incidentally, the best powder I've found for the .32 WS and jacketed bullets, for hunting loads, is still IMR3031. I tried others but they weren't as accurate, so I returned to IMR3031.
Besides, its scent of ether brings back some fond memories of my first reloading experiences.

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