View Full Version : Contender / 32 H&R Silhouette Load?

02-01-2008, 12:38 AM
I'm an NRA Hunter's Pistol Metallic Silhouette shooter and am trying to find a load for a 150gr cast bullet for my 10" Thompson Contender in 32 H&R Magnum. Maximum range is 100 meters, and I am looking for a velocity around 900 fps. I'm shooting using the "Taco Hold", and use a rifle scope with short eye relief, so I need low recoil to keep from getting smacked in the face with my scope.

The Contender barrel is a .308 bore, and I was hoping to use a Saeco 150gr bullet that I already use in my 30-30 lever gun. None of the reloading manuals show data for this cartridge with a bullet this heavy. I'm using wheelweights and 2%tin for my alloy.

Anyone know where I can find some reload data?



02-01-2008, 02:05 AM
Hi. interesting project. The heaviest I have gone in the 32 H&R is 123gr. bullet (3118) over 4.5grs Green Dot. Did not chronograph it. I did chronograph the same bullet over 4.0grs Green Dot from a 3-inch SP101 and it was an honest 1,000fps load. That makes me believe my 4.5gr load was likely close to if not 1,100fps. With an additional 27grains but an added 7-inches of barrel, with ball powders you should be able to get 900fps without any problems using something like Lil'Gun powder, especially if the bullet/throad combination allows you to seat the bullets out a bit. Just an educated guess and not a recommendation.

02-01-2008, 08:18 AM
I can give you some dta on the 30-20 and you can take it from there if you wish.
Have you made up a dummy round? I mean to see if said bullet will chamber ok when seated way out of the case. It should if it is a factory TC barrel with the forcing cone type throat.

02-01-2008, 08:26 AM
A story titled "The 30 Super Slow" by Todd Spotti in the Jan/Feb 1995 issue of "IHMSA News" might be helpful . Todd writes about loading 32 mag cases with 190 gr. j-bullets and getting good 100 yd. accuracy and ram slam energy. Shoud be able to adapt the data to your 150 gr. boolit .

02-01-2008, 01:27 PM
I shoot IHMSA Field Pistol (pretty much the same as Hunter Pistol). I don't have a 32 H&R, but I would save the 150's for your 30-30. Get one of the Lee 32 (.311 dia.) cal. molds, either the 93 or 100 gr. RN. Get some Trail Boss powder, my 357 LOVES it for light loads. Hodgdon shows loads with a 90 LSWC going about 750 fps. (assuming in a revolver). Out of a10" Contender I bet it would be 900 - 1000 fps. With the 93 gr. RN this would probably recoil about like a 22 (good for taco hold), but should have plent of knockdown for 100m rams. With something like Unique you would probably be able to get it up to 1100 - 1200 fps if you needed more knock down or flatter tradjectory. I am assuming your 150 is a GC mold. For these kind of loads it would be a waste of $ to shoot GC bullets.

Don McDowell
02-01-2008, 03:04 PM
I don't know about that heavy of a bullet in the 32 hr, but from the lil single six my wife has, the rcbs 98swc cast from wheelwieghts, weighs in at 100 grs and with 5.5 grs of bluedot goes over the chrony at 1100 + from that little 4.5 inch barrel. I'ld bet that load from the longer barrel and full chamber of the Tc would probably get you to 100 yds with a good bit of umph.

Bluedot seems to be about the slowest powder that works well in that 32 case for me.

02-01-2008, 03:15 PM

If you don't want to get smacked with the scope, look to a lighter bullet. 90 gr XTP (J-words) is what several of us were using before they made the 22 Hornet legal for HP. This was for both 32-20 and 32 mag.

Ideal made a 32 cal roundnose at about 85-95 gr some time ago - they turn up every once in a while (I have not personally tried it yet).

02-01-2008, 03:18 PM
I use the RCBS 30-115. In the 30 carbine. 120 grs. sized and lubed. 4.5 grs. 231. 1080 fps. Shot taco with no problem. It has never rung a ram.

02-02-2008, 10:49 AM
I used to use the 32 H&R for both field pistol and standing big bore. For field pistol I used #3118 115gr. over enough Bullseye to get me to 1000 fps. Super accurate, and plenty of power for 100M half scale rams. For big bore chickens through turkeys I used the RCBS 165 SIL seated as long as possible over a case full of WC680 and a pistol primer. For my ram load I used the big Ideal 220gr. bullet made for the Krag - don't remember its number - with the same powder. Plenty of power, and very light recoil. The ammo looks funny though, the bullet is only about 1/8 inch into the case and is longer than the case. Sure shoots good with the Contender's 1:10 twist though!

02-04-2008, 09:57 AM

Ideal made a 32 cal roundnose at about 85-95 gr some time ago - they turn up every once in a while (I have not personally tried it yet).

I think I have this mold if you want to try some. Let me know.

02-18-2008, 02:55 AM
Thanks everyone for the responses. Sorry for my late reply.

A little more detail. This barrel I'm using belongs to a friend of mine and if I like it, I'll look into buying a 12" Contender barrel from Bullberry in 32 mag. The only reason I was interested in the 150 grain bullet is because the 93gr Lee round Nose plain base bullet I have is performing so poorly. Being a Contender, I slugged the barrel and measured 0.3075". I'm sizing these bullets to 0.309".

I've tried Win231, and Trailboss so far with dismal results. 2.8gr of W231 gives me 879fps but a 6" group at 40 meters. The best group I've gotten with this bullet is 3.4" at 40 meters using 3.4gr W231 and a velocity of 1036 fps. Recoil is very low. I'm using an 18 power scope and a sandbag rest.

Trail Boss powder wasn't any better. I've got some TiteGroup loads to try next. Sounds like Bullseye is worth a look, and Unique too.

I would rather not use a gas check if I don't really need one. So I'll take everyone's advice and stick with a plain base bullet.

I like this 32 H&R mag round if I can get it to shoot. The cases are tough, and being a straight-walled case, should load easily on a Dillon Progressive Press. Easy to load, and cheap to shoot. Just need some accuracy.

I think I'll try a 115grain mould next.

Most of our shooters are using the 22 Hornet. I even made some 60gr cast bullets for a Hornet, and it shot pretty well. But I just don't like loading the Hornet.

Maybe this barrel I'm borrowing has a problem. It's a 10" T/C barrel, with the left hand twist, which is I hear is 1:10. It looks to be in excellent condition and is very clean. I am having some minor difficulty closing the action with this contender. I've trimmed the cases to 1.065", but still occasionally tough to close. I've even seated the bullets 0.025" deeper, and still tough to close sometimes.


02-19-2008, 01:43 AM
Try Green Dot. I am using 4.5grs under a 123gr Lyman 3118 sized to .313 in a Ruger sp101. Accuracy is good, velocity in the 3-inch barrel is well over 1,000fps.

02-19-2008, 07:22 AM
Your loads should slip fit the barrel all the way to the extractor. If they don't you'll have trouble every time. I shoot a 14" 30-30 and found I had to seat deeper than I woud for my 94 to get the action to close.

Too bad that Sierria stopped making the 135 SSP bullet that was a 1 holer at 100 yards out of my barrel.

Good Shooting,


02-19-2008, 05:21 PM
A lot of the folks here are using the 22 Hornet also. I rang a few rams and gave up on it. Btw, those were hand set targets, but I did ring one of the auto resets with it too. They told me to bump my load up. I bumped it all right. Went right to the 30-20 and extrapolated a load for 38SW using BE. I have not shot this over the bags much, but it did well from my standing postion at 50M on paper to make me happy.
The 327 has my interest built up now.

02-20-2008, 12:49 AM
You should slug the throat area and see what size the throat is if it has one at all. Try harder or softer alloy. I looked and I have the Ideal 311227 90gr mold. It drops a little heavier than 90. I can send you a few to try if'n you want.

02-20-2008, 01:10 AM

Found a box of my older 32 mag loads. Take it for what it's worth, your loads may vary, standard precautions apply, yada, yada, yada.

Case: Starline
Primer: WW small rifle
Powder: Win Super Target (used to be 452 AA when I started)
Bullet: 32 cal Hornady 85 gr XTP (the J-Word)
OAL: 1.420" +/_ (always seated to where there was a little engraving on the bullet)
The guys that worked up the load were running up to about 5.0 gr. A main objective was to stay below sonic in order to avoid the trans-sonic zone.

I shot this load for several years until I went to the 270 Ren - never touched a ram that didn't go down (both hand set and resettable). I still shoot it every blue moon just for fun with iron sights. There's nothing like taking down a ram with just your pistol and a blade sight. A ram shoulder or hip shot with the 85's were definitive - down fast.

If you are having trouble closing the action look at either too much bullet pushing into the lands or not full length sizing.

Some day I'll cast up some 32's and see what happens in the Thompson.

If I remember right, the 32 and the Ren seemed to get a little better the hotter they got, but my tolerance for recoil would not allow that sort of activity.

Good luck on the project - as far as NRA HP, the Hornet killed the 32, 32-20, and the 270 Ren. Fine cartridges that work well.

I just noticed you are in Round Rock. Do you ever get to Dallas-Fort Worth? First Saturday is Hunter's Pistol / Cowboy Lever Action at a local range here - 22 in the morning, centerfire in the afternoon.

02-20-2008, 09:21 PM
Second the emotion about the 327. I'm after one in a revolter. However it could be said that the 30 carbine, and 32-20 may still hold more powder.

02-24-2008, 01:10 AM
Hey GSM,

I've shot at the Haltom City Pistol Club, which is between Ft. Worth and Dallas in Haltom City. Its quite an interesting range and they cater primarily to Metallic Silhouette shooters. Targets are resetable. The State Hunters Pistol match was held there last year.

Other than there, I haven't shot much in the DFW area. We usually shoot at the Austin Rifle Club, or the Central Texas Silhouette Association in New Braunfels.

And thanks twotrees, I'll take the barrel off the frame and make sure the ammo slip fits into the barrel. Maybe I'm seating the boolits out too far.

I've never seen a Ram get rung with a Hornet. They usually go down at our range.

And on my alloy, I'm using wheelweights + 2% tin added. I'm dropping them out of the mould onto a folded towel, and then dropping them into a 5 gallon bucket of water. So they should be a bit harder than just an air-cooled wheelweight boolit. Maybe a softer air-cooled boolit would work better. But I better make sure I'm seating my boolit to the right depth first.


02-24-2008, 01:23 AM

You mentioned you used the RCBS 30-115 boolit. Was that the 32-115-FN# 32-20 WCF Gas Check boolit? It casts a 0.310" diameter boolit.