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.32-20 Revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by macavada, Dec 7, 2003.

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  1. macavada

    macavada Member

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    I'm thinking about getting a revolver in .32-20. What are your opinions on the .32-20 in a revolver? What about in a rifle?

    I'd like to buy a single action revolver to carry as a side arm while deer hunting. No bears in South TX, just need a side arm to finish a wounded deer, feral hog, javalina, etc. I like interesting/different calibers, thus the interest in the .32-20. I might even like to buy a lever action rifle in .32-20 for plinking.

    Any opinions?
     
  2. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Fun caliber in a revolver, but something of a bear to find loading information for that isn't for a rifle.

    I've got an S&W Hand Ejector Model of 1905, 4th change.

    It's currently soaking in mineral spirits trying to cut through about 70 years of accumulated crud...
     
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The .32-20 is indeed a fun cartridge, but they are sometimes hard to find, and expensive when you do find them. One solution is to reload the brass, but because of it's bottlenecked shape, cases tend to split at the neck after a few reloadings. You didn't say, but I presume you don't have a .32 rifle you want to match the revolver too as of right now.

    In place of the .32-20 I suggest that you consider a revolver chambered in .32 H&R Magnum. This cartridge has a straight case, is easier to find in most places, is easy to reload, and can duplicate 32-20 performance when the latter is fired in a handgun rather then a rifle.

    As for a revolver, take a look at Ruger's .32 version of it's Single Six in Vaquaro garb. Also the SP-101 in .32 Mag. If you prefer an older gun in .32-20 like Mike's S&W 1905 Hand Ejector be sure to check the bore. Guns are relatively easy to find, but ones with good barrels aren't.
     
  4. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    I have a Colt 1892, the predecessor of the Police Positive, in 32-20. It belonged to my great grandfather, complete with the handmade leather shoulder holster of a real cowboy that actually worked horseback and carried a handgun. It is loose as a goose, but should shoot fine. I have not shot it yet but I plan to.
     
  5. J Miller

    J Miller Member

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    I've owned one rifle chambered for the 32 WCF (32-20). A well used old Win. Mdl 1873. It was a blast and I wish I still had it.

    I've fired one revolver in this caliber, a Colt SAA with a 7.5" barrel. A gunsmith friend had just repaired it for a customer and I got to help him test fire it.

    I'd love to have a pair. They are fun, easy to shoot, and something out of the ordinary.
    The cases are available if you look for them and not at all hard to load for.
    Yes they are a slight bottle neck, and you have to lube them, but so what?
    Some times you just gotta step away from all the modern stuff like carbide dies and just slow down and take things in stride.
    As for the cases splitting, well anealing them will increase case live a lot. Load data is there, and there are enough books available to find it. Plus a lot of shooters on the net that load this round and will gladly share their pet loads.

    Like I said, I'd love to have a set.

    Joe
     
  6. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "Load data is there, and there are enough books available to find it. Plus a lot of shooters on the net that load this round and will gladly share their pet loads."

    Joe,

    Care to point me towards something suitable for use in an 80 year old revolver?

    I've got the Winchester and Accurate pamphlets, and manuals by Lyman, Lee, Hornady, and a couple of others, and only Lee has a little bit of information for older revolvers.

    I've got a box each of Winchester and Remington loaded ammo, but I'm leery of shooting it in case it's loaded for rifles, and e-mails to BOTH Winchester and Remington have been met with complete silence.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mike:

    I've got some Lyman data for .32-20 handgun loads. Do you want the whole thing or do you have a particular bullet in mind?
     
  8. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Fluff,

    I've got I think a box of 115-gr. lead flat nose bullets. Any data for that?
     
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mike:

    Oh, the things I do for you ......

    But then, someone that likes (and has) "older" S&W Hand Ejectors can't be all bad - even though I deserve to have them more then you do.

    See if any of the following will help - after you take off you're hip boots:

    32-20 Handgun Loading Data. Test Gun: Ruger Blackhawk 6 ½â€

    Hornady 85 grain JHP Bullet 1.535†OAL

    Powder Starting Load Velocity Max Load Velocity

    231 3.2 grains 745 FPS 4.7 grains 1022 FPS
    Unique 4.1 grains 742 FPS 4.8 grains 967 FPS
    AA-5 4.2 grains 554 FPS 5.7 grains 948 FPS
    SR-7625 3.3 grains 703 FPS 4.7 grains 987 FPS
    SR-4756 4.5 grains 748 FPS 5.8 grains 1101 FPS


    Sierra 90 grain Jacketed Hollow Cavity 1.535†OAL

    231 3.4 grains 679 FPS 4.5 grains 937 FPS
    Unique 3.6 grains 639 FPS 4.8 grains 864 FPS
    AA-5 4.7 grains 697 FPS 5.4 grains 875 FPS
    SR-7625 3.7 grains 716 FPS 4.5 grains 845 FPS
    SR-4756 5.2 grains 791 FPS 5.5 grains 928 FPS


    100 grain #313631 Cast Lead Bullet / #2 Alloy 1.550†OAL

    231 3.2 grains 793 FPS 4.1 grains 990 FPS
    Unique 3.5 grains 689 FPS 4.3 grains 888 FPS
    AA-5 4.2 grains 650 FPS 5.0 grains 891 FPS
    SR-7625 3.5 grains 654 FPS 4.2 grains 843 FPS
    SR-4756 4.3 grains 763 FPS 5.0 grains 971 FPS

    115 grain #311008 Cast Lead Bullet / #2 Alloy 1.530†OAL

    231 3.1 grains 782 FPS 3.8 grains 905 FPS
    Unique 3.2 grains 684 FPS 4.0 grains 835 FPS
    AA-5 3.8 grains 649 FPS 4.5 grains 825 FPS
    SR-7625 3.2 grains 642 FPS 4.0 grains 837 FPS
    SR-4756 4.0 grains 735 FPS 4.7 grains 896 FPS

    Lyman Pistol & Revolver Reloading Handbook (Second Edition)

    I can't seem to get the columns to line up right. I can send the data as an e-mail attachment if you want.
     
  10. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Thank you, Fluff.

    I said I had a Lyman manual, but it has nothing on the .32-20. Of course, it's a 45th edition, from 1970...

    "even though I deserve to have them more then you do."

    You don't want this one. It's a true beater. I think I paid $170 for it. Rusty on the outside, but surprisingly good bore. Mechanically it needs a little attention.
     
  11. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Just got the e-mail. Again, thanks.

    The columns came out absolutely gorgeous in the e-mail.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Well now I learned something .........

    As for the 32-20 S&W - - If it has a good bore and chambers it's well worth fixing up. I've seen what looked like almost mint guns with bores that looked like sewer pipe.
     
  13. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Would one of you mind sending me the email loading data as well? My data is almost all rifle type. My email is available on this board with the button under this post. I would appreciate it much. Thanks.
     
  14. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    HSmith,

    Wanna bet?

    You've got your e-mail set to this...

    "Sorry! That user has specified that they do not wish to receive emails through this board. If you still wish to send an email to this user, please contact the administrator and they may be able to help."


    That's what I get when I click your profile button (there's no e-mail button), and then click on "e-mail HSmith..."

    Redo your settings...
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mike:

    I sent him the data in a "Personal Message" and explained that if it came through messed up He would have to send me his e-mail address so I could answer in a reply. Now I'll wait and see what happens. Obviously e-mailing it to you worked fine.

    I also found a bunch of OLD data (1940's era) that contained some chamber pressure data. Apparently the loads I sent you are in the 12,000 to 16,000 PSI range. Also some loads worked up by P.O. Ackley. If you want more data (Mostly using Bullseye or Unique) I can send it. What you have is much newer though.
     
  16. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Sorry Mike, so many gun boards and only so many settings.......... I was wrong but now all is right in the Universe, my settings have been modified. I hope you will forgive and forward LOL!!

    Thanks for the PM Fuff, the data is there and useable even if not in the perfect format Mike teased me with;) ;) . I appreciate much the info, and will be sure to let you know anything I learn in loading this cartridge. A scholar and a gentleman you are.........
     
  17. Chuck Dye

    Chuck Dye Member

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    Nose around enough, and you may find a Ruger special edition done for, I think, Buckeye Sports some years ago that has interchangeable cylinders and handles both .32-20 and .32 H&R mag. The one I shot (just a couple of cylinder's full) was set up for the H&R mag and was great fun.
     
  18. Josey

    Josey member

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    IIRC, EMF and Navy Arms both are producing 32-20 single actions. Cimmaron has a dual cylinder set uo for 32-20 and 32 H&R Magnum available. I also have a 5" round butt Model of 1902 in 32-20.
     
  19. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    HSmith,

    Check your e-mail...



    Fluff,

    No, I don't think loading information that old is viable for use anymore, but thanks for the offer.

    I learned my lesson about that using data for .32 Long that was approximately 40 years old when I loaded 50 rounds with modern Unique for use out of my I-frame .32 Long.

    Luckily I was shooting over a chronograph.

    As I recall, a middle of the road load with Unique in the old book that SHOULD have produced about 725 fps with an 85-gr. lead bullet chronographed at an average for a 5-shot string at just under 1050 fps.

    That's ABOVE .32 H&R Mag. stats for the same bullet weight.

    And it wasn't the chronograph, either.

    A box of Winchester loads chronographed right at 700 fps, where they should, with very mild recoil.

    Recoil on my handloads? Bordering on severe.
     
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mike:

    I agree with your observations and experience using old handloading data. The only reason I offered it was because the listed powder charges were in line with the newer data I sent you. I suspect that the charges you used in that poor little I-Frame (that stood up to them anyway) were for use in late model Winchester or Marlin lever action rifles. I did come across some of those, and they were in the velocity range you noted.
     
  21. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "I suspect that the charges you used in that poor little I-Frame (that stood up to them anyway) were for use in late model Winchester or Marlin lever action rifles."

    Fluff,

    You're reading too fast again. :)

    Smith & Wesson never chambered an I-frame in .32-20 (to the best of my knowledge).

    Neither Winchester or Marlin ever chambered a lever rifle (to the best of my knowledge) in .32 S&W Long.

    I was shooting Unique handloads out of an I-frame S&W in .32 Long, NOT .32-20 loads.
     
  22. V-fib

    V-fib Member

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    What does the 20 stand for in the .32-20?

    I like to listen to Robert Johnson. He has a song called .32-20 blues. In the song he says he’ll “cut her (his girlfriend) “half in two†(with the .32-20) He also says that “she got a .38special but I believe its much too lightâ€

    What is the difference between the two calibers?

    :cool:
     
  23. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    V-fib,

    The original load was roughly 20 grains of black powder, hence the name.
     
  24. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mike:

    Oh shucks - I knew that.

    Sure you weren't using 32-20 data in a .32 S&W Long?

    Anyway, if you pushed an 85 grain lead bullet out of a little 1903 Hand Ejector at over 1000 FPS you must have established a record of some kind.

    Don't think I'll try it though .....
     
  25. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "Sure you weren't using 32-20 data in a .32 S&W Long?"

    Positive.

    I've still got the manual, and IIRC it didn't have any handgun info on .32-20 handgun loads.
     
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