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Thread: Update on forming .32 Long Colt cases from really old .32 S&W Long cases....

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Update on forming .32 Long Colt cases from really old .32 S&W Long cases....

    A while back, I mentioned using some folded-head (sometimes called balloon-head) .32 S&W Long cases to make .32 Long Colt cases. There were some advantages. They sized down a LOT easier than solid-head cases. so that there was very little filing needed on the outside of the sides, very near the base.

    I have formed many of them and shot them since the last post. I have found that there are also disadvantages. I am thinking this is a dead end for getting .32LC cases. One of the problems is after sizing in the tightest resizer (0.314"). Originally, I used a steel rod the size of the inside of the case to drive it out. It often damaged the primer pocket. I drilled a hole in the end of the rod that was just larger than the primer pocket. That way, the rod would rest on the bottom/inside of the case and not touch the primer pocket. Unfortunately, the bottom of the case (the folded portion) would often separate from the rest of the case, leaving the rest of the case stuck in the sizer. Removing the rest of the case was difficult without damaging the sizer. About 15-20% failed. If they did not fail the first forming, they rarely failed after that (but occasionally did).

    After shooting some reformed/reloaded cases, I found that the primer pocket enlarged fairly rapidly with use. After about 3 or at most 4 shots, the primer pockets were too loose to hold a primer. I thought about resizing the primer pocket, but decided that this (balloon-head cases) was no longer a quick & easy solution.

    But, I have another wild idea. I will put it out here to see if anyone has tried it. I will be looking for some .22 Hornet cases at a gunshow this weekend. It is just a bit smaller in diameter than the .32LC case. I could make a full length inside resizer that would make the .22 Hornet case the same outside diameter as the .32LC case. The sides near the base would not be full diameter. They would "neck-in" near the rim. This should be no different than the 41LC cases I made from .38 Special cases before Starline started making them. It was the easiest case I ever reformed and I never had a case failure at the "neck-in" near the base. I showed it to a number of other people and some of them said I was stupid for shooting the case with the "neck-in". They figured it would eventually explode, but it never did.

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    The .22 Hornet path sounds promising; and if the "neck in" actually did pose any issues, the Manual of Cartridge Conversions discusses slipping a collar around the base just to support the case and the blown out brass at that point.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    I got this revolver made in 1893 in 2014 in 32 Colt for $275.
    Brass was problematic. I can make dies. Dies are not going to cut it.
    I found Jack Harrison in WI on gunbroker that converted the larger 32 S&W long brass with rollers.
    Now I see it is for sale
    https://www.buffaloarms.com/32-long-...ses-32longcolt

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoastBigBore View Post
    The .22 Hornet path sounds promising; and if the "neck in" actually did pose any issues, the Manual of Cartridge Conversions discusses slipping a collar around the base just to support the case and the blown out brass at that point.
    It does, and also the extension of a case head with brass tubing. Thin walled 8mm. might be ideal, at .315in., but I don't think you would have any problem with K&S 5/16in. with a 9/32in. ID, freely available from model-making shops and from eBay. Cut off the Hornet case about3/8in. from the rim, and turn it down until the tubing is a close fit. You could use epoxy or Loctite, but in such a low-stressed case I don't think would excessively anneal that thick rifle brass with the lowest melting-point soft solder you could find.

    There are two kinds of .32 Colt, heel-bullet or with a .299 inside-lubed and hollow-based bullet. I don't know if they changed the bore dimensions in the revolvers, and if they didn't, the former of these seems the better bet to me. You could adjust the thickness of that tubing neck, with a neck turner or lathe, to suit your mould.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    It looks like this will work for me. Attached are some photos.


    Looking at the brass, from left to right: .22 Hornet case; Hornet case with neck expanded; Hornet case full length expanded; Hornet case trimmed to .32 hollow-base case length; fire formed case; loaded case with hollow-base bullet.

    Looking at the tools, from left to right: Broken decapper that I tapered a bit to expand the neck of the .22 Hornet case; the full length case expander, tapered slightly to clear the thickened brass at the base; an old 44-40 sizer that I put the case expanders into; a .308 case that I reworked for pan lubing hollow-base bullets; at the bottom is a scoop for 2.0gr of Bullseye, which is what I use for this cartridge and bullet.

    Looking at the gun, the cases in the cylinder are reworked .22 Hornet cases loaded with an 80gr hollow-base bullet and 2.0gr of Bullseye. A loaded cartridge is standing below it. Even though the rim is smaller than a standard .32LC, it is still big enough to be ejected. Note that the .41 Long Colt also has a very small rim.

    A few notes: The broken decapper was too small in diameter and too short to go all the way to the base. However, it was needed to expand the .22cal neck. Even then, I had to taper the nose some more to get it to work. The full length expander was made out of a 5/16" steel rod, hardened after forming. It had to be narrowed slightly at the base to keep from getting stuck in the thickened brass at the base of the case. A lot of lube is needed, regardless. Then I roughly shorten it with a tube cutter. Then fine trim it with a Redding case trimmer. Then I load it with standard .32 Long Colt dies.

    I formed 18 cases to start with. It appears that there is little or no difference between the taper at the bottom after forming and the taper at the bottom after firing. There were no splits for other failures in firing them. I have no fear of the taper, since I used .41 Long Case cases for at least 10 years with a similar taper. They were .38 Special cases expanded to 41LC size. I never had one fail at the taper.

    It appears that this is much easier to form than using .32 S&W Long cases, which I have done, also. I intend to form the rest of the .22 Hornet bag and use these instead of real .32LC cases.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hi Harry, Interesting way to solve the problem. I am curious, do you have a source for the mold for those hollow base bullets? Or a source for the bullets?

    Thanks,
    Dennis

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    It does, and also the extension of a case head with brass tubing. Thin walled 8mm. might be ideal, at .315in., but I don't think you would have any problem with K&S 5/16in. with a 9/32in. ID, freely available from model-making shops and from eBay. Cut off the Hornet case about3/8in. from the rim, and turn it down until the tubing is a close fit. You could use epoxy or Loctite, but in such a low-stressed case I don't think would excessively anneal that thick rifle brass with the lowest melting-point soft solder you could find.

    There are two kinds of .32 Colt, heel-bullet or with a .299 inside-lubed and hollow-based bullet. I don't know if they changed the bore dimensions in the revolvers, and if they didn't, the former of these seems the better bet to me. You could adjust the thickness of that tubing neck, with a neck turner or lathe, to suit your mould.
    Yes I've tried that method using case heads turned down from .223 brass; I've also made offset case heads this way (for .32 RF with .22 blanks) and it does work (5/16" tubing). The only issue I have with the hobby store tubing is getting it to accept bullets reliably, it's a little stiffer. But it does work. I'm loading the heeled bullets in mine, and that is the right dimension.

    Harry O thanks for that follow up; now I've got a new method to try as well. I've used your instructions on swaging down the .32 S&W long with great success, yes a lot of work but mine are into the third loading now. Great fun.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootne View Post
    Hi Harry, Interesting way to solve the problem. I am curious, do you have a source for the mold for those hollow base bullets? Or a source for the bullets?

    Thanks,
    Dennis
    The hollow-base mould I have is an old Lyman/Ideal single cavity that I bought it on GunBroker several years ago. I do not know where to get a new one. There is a guy that sells heel-base bullets on GunBroker. I don't know if he would be a source for hollow-base bullets. You might try there. If you just want a few bullets to experiment with, I can supply heel-base bullets.

    However, there are several places that provide new heel-base moulds. Old West and Buffalo Arms are two of them. The case seen here is 0.912" long for the hollow-base bullet. The same case is shortened to 0.860" when used with the heel-base bullet. The Short Colt case is 0.780" long and can also be used with the heel-base bullet. I have not tried shortening these below 0.912" yet (and probably won't), since I have too many real .32 Short Colt cases (Short Colt cases are MUCH easier to find) and a bunch of 0.860" cases made from .32 S&W Long cases. I have a 3-cavity heel-base mould from Old West. It works great. If you use heel-base bullets you will also need a collet bullet crimping die from Old West.

    The .32 Long Colt cases for hollow-base bullets (0.912"), the .32 Long Colt cases for heel-base bullets (0.860"), and the .32 Short Colt cases (0.780") are identical except for the case length.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master corbinace's Avatar
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    Thank you for the great tutorial on 32LC.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Here are some more pictures. The first one is the rest of the converted .22 Hornet cases. They are MUCH easier to convert than .32 S&W Long cases. The second picture is of my hollow-base bullets, pan lubed. What you see in the box took about 10 hours over two days to make. It is single cavity, must be run as hot as possible, and there is a base plug that must be removed and replaced for each bullet. The third one is the loaded, converted cases with the excess lube wiped off. The next photo is my heel-base bullets. I can cast about 3 to 4 times as many of these in the same amount of time as the hollow-base bullets. The last photo shows loaded heel-base bullets in converted .32 S&W Long cases. The bullets of these are dipped in Lee Liquid Alox and hung upside-down to dry. These look a lot nicer than the .22 Hornet cases, but are MUCH more time consuming to make.

    I have done a lot of measuring on the fired .22 Hornet cases. They don't look like they changed where they neck down near the base, but there are small changes. A freshly converted case is full diameter in the front half of the case. After firing and resizing, the full diameter portion is approx the front 2/3 of the case. I will be reloading and firing some of the first formed ones to see what happens when they are fired multiple times. From past experience with the .41LC, I don't think much will happen, but we will see.

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    One hopes there wonít be expansion of the primer pockets after a few reloads. Not a lot of web on Hornet cases, and if there is an opportunity for the base to expand under pressure, that may well happen. But that is an interesting way to go about making .32 Long IL, and thank you for doing it and writing it up.

    I fully sympathize with your travails with the Ideal 299155. A FOAF with a Marlin .32 rim-or-centerfire offered to trade me a Mannlicher action for 500 cast, sized and lubed 299155s. Donít remember exactly how long it took, but it seemed to go on and on like a life sentence. I didnít cast another boolit, of any kind, for six months afterwards.

    I mostly shoot the 299155 in rifles, and havenít gotten the accuracy that the heeled .32s offer. The best powders Iíve found for the hollow based slugs are Pyrodex and Triple 7, which have the blasting power of black on the skirt without the quick fouling buildup.

    Of course, the most fun way to make .32 LIL or .32 Long Rifle cases is to shoot a rifle in .25-20 Single Shot. As those cases develop neck cracks and splits, they are trimmed down to .32 LR length and recycled. I keep the Large and Small primer pockets separate.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Bent Ramrod: I have no idea if the Hornet cases will function in a Marlin rifle. They do have a different shape, diameter, and rim size down at the base. I have a couple of Colt revolvers and they work in them. However, even semi-rimmed cases work in revolvers (I used to use .32ACP cartridges in .32 S&W Long revolvers, whenever I could get the cartridges cheap).

    I have both hollow-base and heel-base moulds for the .32 Long Colt. Interestingly, there does not seem to be much difference in accuracy between the two of them - but keep in mind that this is offhand from a 4" barrel handgun, not a rifle. They do shoot to different points, though. I played with the sights of one gun for the hollow-base bullets and played with the sights of the other gun for the heel-base bullets. Now, both hit close enough to the center with their specific load. One never knows about the primer pocket until you have shot them a while, but the only cases that I have had consistent problems with is folded-head (also known as balloon-head) cases.

    When I was working with the 41LC, the two hollow-base bullets I have were more accurate and more consistent than several heel-base bullets I tried. However, I eventually stumbled across one particular heel-base mould that was much more accurate than my other heel-base moulds and was even slightly more accurate than my hollow-base moulds. By that time, I had been using the 41LC in CAS for a while and was happy with it. I have not bothered to change over. I am still using my modified Rapine mould for CAS shooting and will probably continue to do so.
    Last edited by Harry O; 03-06-2018 at 01:13 PM.

  13. #13
    I'm a newcomer to the boolit place as I have been spelling it different over on th other forum for a few years.
    I have an affection for the 32 s&w and it's friends that won't quit.
    I also am a spaz for single shots, absolute spaz.

    I also shoot 25-20 SS.

    What does all that mean......

    The 22-3000 is the parent for the 25-20ss, or was and well Jamison and Bertram (forget I said Bertram) are still in biz and maybe folks haven't paid attention to the dimensions of the 22-3000 and of course the current production..... 25-20SS.

    .381 rim, .315 body.
    Or .378, .315 depending on who you ask.
    Colt, .381, .320

    Rim thickness is easily dealt with by seating OUT, .015-017 thinner than colt, at lest no machining is needed. Better thin than too thick.


    What more do I need to say........ that should maybe make someone out there smile! I haven't posted here but been a member for a few years,
    Have been bored ona few other forums and decided to look at this one tonight.
    Saw this thread and the great work and new direction this hornet forming has taken.

    Hit like a load of bricks, the epiphany struck literally as I ready Harry-o last post.

    May I suggest Jamison 25-20SS, when they come back online producing this spring, ( I bought their last batch direct in 2017 on shelf for low walls). Some live Ammo avail at Natchez and a few other places.
    I buy and hoard small lots of 32 LC and Shorts as well, at some point it's nice to have some Ammo on hand. I usually rechamber 32 RF and LC to s&w in CF and fix a rifle proper. Most of my rifles have mediocre bores and when I get a 9/10 32 LC I'll not rechamber but use the hoarded Ammo. Until then, I have a choice and it's easier then

    Or..... I'll join the effort here to make brass, I'll start with 25-20ss.

    Hope this helps your efforts. Maybe it's already been done but a finer substitute or donor you will not find. Not as cheap as hornet but waaaaaaaay less work. Cut to size, expand, load. Expect long bras life and more shooting, less cutting!

    Best regards
    Mike

    Ps... demand drives production. If 25-20ss demand is high enough, you can bet starline or Jamison will not hold out as long as usual. Forcing a new parent to form a new use is what will drive demand beyond single shot shooters and folks with extinct rifle cartridges who don't run a lot of brass.

  14. #14
    Actually I have a 32 RF low wall that I replaced the block on to convert w/o metal removed to CF. I also last week picked up a 25-20ss low wall that came with 18 pieces of g&h 22-3000 mostly with destroyed necks. Wondering what to do with destroyed necks, I just had epiphany 2 for the day, cut 5 down to 32 short colt (as he 32 RF low wall is a short chamber) and load up some 32 colt short! I'll then report on performance here on another thread...... please let me know if I've high jacked this thread and I'll promptly delete. It is not my intentions. I don't have heeled bullet mold.... I'll need proper bullets for 32 short, so I'd like to participate .... I'd be glad to pay a stipend for a handful for testing. I'll only cut 5 at short length. I'd trade 5 pieces of brass if someone can use them for long testing.
    Mike in West Tennessee

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    corerftech, if you don't mind a long read, http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-rimfire-brass
    no need to mess up breech blocks, rim fires work just fine.
    and I am sending you a pm re; bullets

    Dennis

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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