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Thread: 32-20 revolver loads

  1. #41
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    If you really feel the need to make your hand sting and your ears ring, just get a .30 Carbine Ruger of late production which you can use the Starline 1.285" .32-20 brass in, straight up.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  2. #42
    Boolit Master

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    I had a Police Positive Special and currently have an Army Special in .32-20. But as far as I am concerned, the cartridge doesn't really sit up and talk until it's in a .45 frame like the Single Action Army. In the smaller frames, IMHO, the full potential can't be exploited in smokeless loadings.

    Elmer Keith mentioned ten grains of 2400 behind the 115gr boolit for a ".32 Magnum" load. I chickened out at 9gr behind the 115gr Keith Group Buy boolit of a few years back. I wouldn't dare use it in the Army Special, and the PPS is long gone, but it really shines in my Cimarron Uberti 7-1/2" SAA and my heavily modified Bisley Colt.

    Funny; I've never gotten more than mediocre accuracy in rifles with that boolit, but for a revolver, it's the Ace.

  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy
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    My OP hasn't had any jacketed, but have pushed lead pretty fast and accurately. Also, my 94 CL has been accurate from <1000fps to close to 1900fps with both cast and jacketed. One of my favorite cartridges.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    I thought I'd ressurrect this old thread.

    Lately I've been wanting a period .32-20 revolver to go along with my #2 rolling blocks in .32 Ballard extra long and .32-20. Well, today at a local gunshow, I found this beauty. It's a .32-20 Colt Army Special, made in 1916. It has about 85% of its original bluing and an excellent bore.

    I have a good bit of .32-20 rifle ammo loaded. But I'll load up some appropriate handgun loads for it. There is good info in this thread, but hoping to see more. Please share your vintage revolver loads.
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  5. #45
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    For the Colt Police Positive and Army Special use 3.2 to 3.4 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup with Accurate 31-105T cast 1 to 30 tin-lead, or 4 grains of 231 or WST, 5 grains of AutoComp, 7 grains of #2400 or 9.5 grains of 4227.
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  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    I have two Dan Wesson mod. 15 frames with three cylinders, one cylinder is a 32-20. I have an 8" .308 barrel and I use bullets sized to .311 and .312. I am having another barrel made it will be 4". I have shrouds in 4, 6 and 8 inches but I don't have a blank to make a 6" barrel right now. I have a friend who can do the machining.

    I have been shooting mild loads with the 86 gr. Lee round nose. Something like 4 gr. of green dot. I have not crono'd them but they are more accurate than the .357 loads I was shooting in the same guns. I have someone's magazine article with three levels of loads for different strength guns but I can't put my hands on it right now.

    I have not pumped up the loads because I don't need more power and if I did I could switch to .357 and if I need even more power I could break out the Super Mag in .357 Max.

    My 8" .308 barrel is a 1x12 twist but the new 4 inch barrel will be a 1x20 twist.

    Tim
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    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have the Accurate 31-105T mold. But I have an Ideal 3118 and original Winchester .32wcf mold, both about 115gr. Appropriate powders on hand I have are Unique, Trail Boss (?), 2400, 4227, Titegroup. I haven't slugged the bore yet, but it seems people are doing well with .312" or .313" sized bullets.

  8. #48
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndnchf View Post
    I don't have the Accurate 31-105T mold. But I have an Ideal 3118 and original Winchester .32wcf mold, both about 115gr. Appropriate powders on hand I have are Unique, Trail Boss (?), 2400, 4227, Titegroup. I haven't slugged the bore yet, but it seems people are doing well with .312" or .313" sized bullets.
    Those loads I quoted should be OK with #3118 if cast in soft alloy and you seat bullets out and crimp in the top lube groove. You might need to trim cases a little to clear the cylinder in doing so.
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  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    I made up two loads, both with a 115gr. Hunter Supply flat nose bullet. The first was with 2.4gr of Trail Boss. The second with 3.0gr of Titegroup. They both shot well, right to point of aim at 8 yards. The TB load was pretty light. The Titegroup load a little stronger, but it just felt "right". The Colt has nice, crisp trigger pull and really feels nice. I'm very pleased with it.
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  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    I have settled on the 4.5 grains unique as quoted from older Lyman manuals with the 115 grain bullet. It’s pretty flat shooting. Again it feels like shooting a standard 38 special round and out of the army special, mild recoil. I have both a police positive special and army special 5” like yours. If I recall, it shoots really close to the sights as well. Because I have the police positive special as well, I have ammo that is fine for both.
    Last edited by smkummer; 03-22-2020 at 09:38 AM.

  11. #51
    Boolit Man
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    The following are lower loads for my Uberti SAA 5.5" clone in 32-20:
    RCBS 32-098-SWC in range scrap, 3.6 gr. W231, COAL: 1.550", 783 fps, ES 62
    RCBS 32-098-SWC in range scrap, 3.7 gr. W231, COAL: 1.550", 882 fps, ES 45

    I took the RCBS up to 7.8 gr. 2400 but don't have the chrono data on hand. There were a few flakes of unburnt powder that didn't go away until I loaded over published max for handguns. 32-20 is a very versatile cartridge. Good for plinking cans with old guns or running with the 327 crowd if you have a modern example.

    ndnchf, that is a sweet shooter you have. I've been eyeing a minty S&W 1905 hand ejector in 32-20 at my local shop for 2 years.

  12. #52
    Need to go thru this as I start casting for a pair of 32-20s.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue32 View Post
    The following are lower loads for my Uberti SAA 5.5" clone in 32-20:
    RCBS 32-098-SWC in range scrap, 3.6 gr. W231, COAL: 1.550", 783 fps, ES 62
    RCBS 32-098-SWC in range scrap, 3.7 gr. W231, COAL: 1.550", 882 fps, ES 45

    I took the RCBS up to 7.8 gr. 2400 but don't have the chrono data on hand. There were a few flakes of unburnt powder that didn't go away until I loaded over published max for handguns. 32-20 is a very versatile cartridge. Good for plinking cans with old guns or running with the 327 crowd if you have a modern example.

    ndnchf, that is a sweet shooter you have. I've been eyeing a minty S&W 1905 hand ejector in 32-20 at my local shop for 2 years.
    Do you consider your Uberti SAA as being modern because of age and materials or antique because of design aspects?

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  14. #54
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
    Do you consider your Uberti SAA as being modern because of age and materials or antique because of design aspects?

    Froggie
    I would treat the Uberti clones the same as I would my 1905 Colt. Their metallurgy is similar, plain carbon steel quenched and tempered about Rb80-90. But a .32-20 is sturdier than a .45 Colt or .44-40 of the same model simply because it has "more meat on its bones." Just don't get stupid.

    Smokeless loads which equal the full-charge black powder ballistics are best. About 1000 fps from a 5-1/2" gun with cylinder gap of 0.006-0.008" firing 115-grain bullet similar to #3118 is as high as you should go. Blue32's loads are where I would start, then work up cautiously for best accuracy. No more than 3.5 grains of Bullseye or TiteGroup, 4 grains of 231 or HP38, 4.5 of Unique, 5 grains of AutoComp or Herco, 10 grains of IMR4227 or 7.5 grains of Alliant #2400 which are all max. for the Colt SA, Army Special and Police Positive. In heat-treated S&W Hand Ejectors produced after 1918 and the Colt Official Police, you can go more, but I really don't see the need.
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  15. #55
    Boolit Master
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    I'm pretty satisfied with 3.0gr of Titegroup and a 115gr bullet in my Army Special. It shoots great, no need to stress the old boy.

  16. #56
    Boolit Man
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    The following load data is beyond any published max loads I've found printed or otherwise. They were worked up carefully in my revolver.

    For my clone, I've taken the RCBS as high as 10.0 gr 2400, 11.5 gr H110, and 13.5 gr. H4198 (compressed). The 2400 load is the only one I shoot with regularity in my Uberti. I wouldn't try these loads in any other revolver.

  17. #57
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thirty Two Twenty

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check