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Uses for .32 cal rifle?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Guvnor, Mar 18, 2010.

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  1. Guvnor

    Guvnor Member

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    I always wanted a "Pennsylvania" flintlock and Pedersoli makes a nice looking one in both .32 and .45 cal.

    I think a .32 would be neat, but what can you do with it besides punch paper? What sort of game could you hunt with a .32 round ball? I assume there are no .32 conicals. Anyone know what kind of ballistics one could expect from a .32 rifle?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  2. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Might be possible to use lead bullets for the .32-20 Winchester, if you patch them. The recommended ball size is .314, while .32-20 bullets are around .311-.312. You wouldn't be able to stabilize a very long bullet with the slow twist on a PA rifle, though.

    40 gr of BP is the max recommended charge for those, which should get you pretty close to 2,000 fps with a patched round ball (or is it close to 2,100? I forget). Should be good against anything you'd shoot with a .22 magnum, though with a slightly shorter effective range.

    .32 caliber also isn't too bad of a "survivalist" caliber, as most 12 gauge 00 buckshot shells are actually loaded undersize shot, closer to .315-.320, instead of .330. You may need to roll the shot a little between two flat objects to make it fit down the barrel with a patch if it's closer to .320, but it would be workable. And you'd be able to reload the 12 gauge shell with birdshot or dimes or whatever.
     
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Folks can take just about any small game with the .32 since as RyanM mentioned it's capable of pretty high velocity.
    Squirrel, rabbit, fox, coyote, woodchuck, raccoon etc... and maybe even rifle turkey hunting where it's legal.
    And there was a popular TC mold for a .32 caliber Maxi bullet that's now discontinued but some casting outfits do sell them.
    The shorter .311 bullets are usually used with the .36 caliber plastic sabots.
    Here are 2 bloody and graphic picture links of damage inflicted on a small red squirrel that was shot at close range with a round ball from a .32 rifle.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95102&d=1238132894

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95101&d=1238132728
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  4. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    I was told that the 32cal was primarily used for hunting small game to put meat on the table. Squirrels were not shot directly but "hence the term BARKING" but by shooting the tree limb just under the squirrel and letting the bark act like flack to knock it out and off the tree limb.
     
  5. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    They sure are accurate. My neice has a Navy Arms .32 side hammer that'll dot yer eyes.
     
  6. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I'm not sure that barking a squirrel is as routinely done with a .32 as much as by using the larger caliber round balls like from a .45 Kentucky rifle, or with a .50 or .54 round ball which would be even more destructive to the meat if hit directly.

    To not ruin meat, I think that the .32 is more commonly used for head shots. That is unless someone really likes to eat their brains which some folks do I'm sure.

    http://forums.basspro.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=17;t=000144
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  7. andy*

    andy* Member

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    .32 is a great caliber for small game. Just be sure to have a good supply of ramrods as anything smaller than a .36 caliber is pretty thin and prone to breaking. Andy
     
  8. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    I've got a TC cherokee in 32 and it is a great squirrel gun. My best memory of shooting for bragging rights is centered around that gun.
     
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I was warned that .32 tends to foul quicker and that .36 is preferred by many smokepole types.
     
  10. messerist

    messerist Member

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    There isn't a treebear safe in the wood from my .32! It works on any small game/varmits.
     
  11. depcon3

    depcon3 Member

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    I've read posts on a muzzleloading forum where a member uses a .32 Crockett rifle on smaller hogs. It's accurate and his confidence level is high enough that he stalks within bowhunting range and puts a patched round ball behind the ear.

    I have an acquaintance who has a little .32 rifle and both of his daughters used it to take Texas Hill Country deer when they were small and needed an easy to handle, easy to shoot rifle. Close range, careful placement of bullet, quartering in angle behind shoulder. It worked for them.

    I'm only illustrating that it's capability goes beyond paper punching and sniping "limb bacon", not suggesting it's all you need for medium and large game. Besides, I'm a firm believer in having a gun for every occasion, real or perceived! I'd like a couple of rifles in .32, .36, .45, .50, .58 and then there is the mandatory smoothbore.... :banghead:
     
  12. depcon3

    depcon3 Member

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    Treebear!!! I like that one.
     
  13. LoneCoon

    LoneCoon Member

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    I don't think hunting kolas is really that sporting.
     
  14. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    I eat the squirrel brains if I'm making dumplings....
     
  15. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Koalas are mean! They may be sluggish most of the time, but if you manage to get one riled up, they're almost as mean as groundhogs.
     
  16. paducahrider

    paducahrider Member

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    Howdy!
    Grew up next door to an old (to me) gunsmith who regularly hunted squirrels with a .32 caliber FLINTLOCK, trying for head shots only.
    He let me shoot it a couple of times and I still remember my first shot.
    I was strugglin' to keep the barrel horizontal enough prevent shooting my own foot, when, as I pulled the trigger, heard a loud 'CLICK!",,, waited,,,,saw everything disappear behind a cloud of white smoke,,,,waited some more,,,,the rifle discharged with a surprisingly sharp "WHOOSH-CRACK!!".
    I have no idea where that round ball went, but it sure wasn't where I wanted it to go.
    I couldn't hit doodly with that smokepole, in the few times I shot it, but he sure could. He had larger caliber percussion rifles (which he explained, he would "bark" squirrels with), and a big old double barreled percussion shotgun, with which he would occasionally hunt birds.
    To RyanM: If you can get close enough to rile groundhogs, then rope and hogtie them varmits, you may be the guy who's been rustlin' my herd of earthpigs, and yore as sure as shootin' a'lookin' to get yore neck stretched.
    Keep offn my range pard'! (just funnin'!)
    Thanks for your time.
     
  17. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    So much for the legend of gentle woodland creature (see Bullwinkle). I always suspected that those cute little furballs had an explosive temper, but will they rip your head off like the killer rabbit? :uhoh:

    BTW, I've seen pictures from Australia of Koalas drinking water from people. They're desperate because of the drought in down-under.
     
  18. higene

    higene Member

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    .32 crockett

    I shot this rat at 25 yards. The other side is gone. In keeping with the customs of political correctness the critter is posed to look as if he is just sleeping next to the gun.

    I have tried .32 hollow base wad cutters in the hope that the base would expand as desired and produce a working conical. They failed miserably (key holing and inaccurate), I also tried a .30 cal 100 gr Speer and an X patch with the same result. There is a .323 Martini cadet mold on one of the mold producers sites which was recommended when I did the search for an effective conical but they wanted $85 plus handles and shipping and I could not see it.

    In the Crockett I get 1800 fps with 35 gr Goex fff and a 40 grain prb. That is above .22 Mag specks and after having shot the rat with the rifle, I plan on just shooting PBs. If stuff starts getting away I will just go to triple 7 or more powder.

    Higene
     

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  19. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    nice.Are you going to get the matching pistol for the ''coup de gra''?
     
  20. higene

    higene Member

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    Crockett Pistol

    I did build the Crockett pistol kit. Mine proved to be inaccurate at any range. I could not get a 6" group at 50' with any load.

    So rather than junk a good project I indulged the addiction and poured more money in the project.

    I noticed that a Traditions Deerhunter had a similar action so I adapted the hooked breach .32 Traditions Deerhunter to the Crockett pistol. I had the barrel bobbed to 14" and am fitting a new breach plug.

    I have high hopes. The 32 Deer Hunter was real accurate.
     

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  21. DrLaw

    DrLaw Member

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    'barking' and animal

    I just wonder if the phrase about barking an animal would just have come about from people who weren't that good of shots and came up with an explanation as to how they shot a squirrel or whatever without a bullet hole being in the critter. :rolleyes:

    Not that I have ever come up with excuses. :rolleyes:

    BTW, the answer that I have seen on these forums is that if it is raccoon size or smaller, a .32 will work on it. So that means rabbit, squirrel, etc...

    The Doc is out now. :cool:
     
  22. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    Guvnor, Early on in this thread there were suggestions of using different type bullets in the "Pennsylvania". As you probably know the rate of twist would determine what you could use. My Pedersoli flinter is a slow twist and strictly a round ball gun.
    One other thing about the 32 and 36 that hasn't been mentioned is economy of shooting.
    Can you imagine how many 32 RB you can get out of a pound of lead and at 25-30 gr. of powder per shot a pound of powder lasts a long time.
     
  23. Al LaVodka

    Al LaVodka member

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    As far as I know a Squirrel Gun is the definition of the accurate .32. And I always thought barking was related to their warning when one was stand hunting as they hid, only to come out 10 minutes later, or our call to encourage them to do so.
    Al
     
  24. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    "Barking" is a traditional squirrel hunting technique when using a caliber that would destroy the edible meat of a squirrel.
     
  25. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    During the 70s I built a 32 flintlock. I have used it to take squirrel and rabbits. Also groundhog any vermin bothering my garden. I did try it in competition but prefer larger bores for target shooting. (At least 45 if not larger).

    If you plan to bark squirrels, something most don't consider is where does the bullet go after it goes under the squirrel. Make sure the bullet hits something solid after it hits the tree limb.
     
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