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.32-20 in an old Colt

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JustinL, Mar 12, 2008.

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  1. JustinL

    JustinL Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Orlando, FL

    I recently purchased a mechanically sound 1919 Colt Army Special. After having a gunsmith examine it (I had originally purchased it in a pawn shop) I then fired it using Winchester Super X 100 grain lead rounds (X32201) without incident.

    My question is if there is any kind of ammunition should I avoid in this gun given its age?


  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    Any factory ammo for this cartridge would be safe. The SAA, while weak in large calibers, has impressively thick chamber walls in smaller calibers. (Whoops! You did say "Army Special." No matter, it will be safe with modern ammo.)

    If this was my revolver, I'd get a Lee mould, TL314-90-SWC. This will drop an approximately 90 grain bullet. You can lube with liquid Alox -- just dump the bullets in a plastic cottage cheeze container, squirt in a little Alox, and shake until they're a golden brown, then spread them on waxed paper and let them dry for 24 hours.

    A charge of 6.2 grains of HS-6 should give you 950 to 1000 fps, and be a great plinking and small game load.
  3. Shoney

    Shoney Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    The 32-20 is an interesting cartridge. It is chambered in both pistol and rifle. The CRMP (Canadian Mounties) issued some troups with that rifle/pistol combo.

    Since I have and have had several rifle/pistol combos, I am familiar with the cartridge. In some of the older literature there are listings for seperate rifle and pistol loads. In case you run into these texts, be sure to know which is which and use the appropriate loading.

    I found that the Lyman mould 311008 being a 115 gr bullet was an excellent choice.


    Again notice that this mould is listed under the rifle moulds.
  4. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    With your gun you can go higher than standard pressures with it but you have to be careful.


    That has some good info on the 32-20. He used some Accurate 2015 to make a good load with fiarly low pressures but still good velocity. You can always get a can of 2F blackpowder if you want to go old school.

    If you want to make some varmint loads get os 60 grain 32 acp bullets. I bet you could make them scream.

    I am thinking about getting a lever action in 32-20. If that happens a pistol is soon to follow.
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    I have been loading a 114 grain cast bullet over 4.5 grains Unique in my Colt SAA. Give about 1,000 FPS.

    Shoots real good, and not too unpleasent a muzzle blast like the slower powders.

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