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Thread: How to crimp .32-20 brass for Nagant revolver

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    How to crimp .32-20 brass for Nagant revolver

    Greetings:

    I worked up a bunch of .32-20 brass for the Nagant and left them long. Seated bullets deep and crimped in front of the bullet ogive to get workable ammo but itís not really what Iím after as the bullets arenít crimped enough to keep from falling back in the case.

    Iím using .32-20 to Nagant Lee Dies.

    This morning I tried to trim some cases back and be able to crimp in the front grease groves of the 78 grain LRN boolits Iím using. And get a nice COAL for my cylinder and decent crimping to eliminate collapsing bullets in the case and uniform resistance/powder burn.

    With my set up the now short brass wonít reach the crimping portion of my die.

    I tried running it through the sizer (decap rod removed obviously) hoping the die might squish the brass acceptable to hold the boolit. No dice.


    I would be pretty happy with a LEE FCD that I could reach the crimping collet on. Would the .32-20 FCD work? Or will I have the same issue in getting the case deep enough in the die?

    Should I take my current die to my machinist buddy and shorten the base?

    I tried taking some meat off the shell holder to allow additional travel up into the crimp die but that little sucker is HARD. May need machinist for that too.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I cut off several dies to be able to reach the crimp. Since they where going to be used for that
    purpose I took about 1/2 the die below crimp ring. When I cut off dies I use hack saw while
    turning and then face and polish, it's easier on bits. I don't own Lee dies but Lyman & RCBS are
    some hard stuff. I've never been able to figure out how to put the 3 point punch crimp that some
    of the Nagant and Lebel ammo has.

  3. #3
    Think the Lee FCD for the 32-20 is their rifle style that is actuated when the die touches the shell holder so a shorter case wouldn't be touched most likely without removing some of the bottom of the actuating portion. Not sure what the upper dimensions are when using 32-20 brass, but I'd be inclined to use as 32 S&W/32 Long crimp die and save the machining effort. IIRC some individuals have used 30 carbine dies for reloading nagant as well.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    When I started loading the Nagant pistol, I began with a set of 30 carbine dies that I acquired off this forum. The RCBS die set came with a taper crimp die, which works fine on those cases. Lately I have been using Starline cases. I wanted to keep it as original as possible, so I didn't mess with 32-20 cases, cylinder conversions and all that. With the carbine dies, it is not appreciably different from loading any other center fire case. I did have trouble with boolets sliding in the case during recoil when I used my home made lube, which is pretty slippery. Now that I almost exclusively use Ben's Liquid Lube (a variant on Lee Liquid Alox) it is sticky enough that I don't have that trouble any more.

    I have used a light charge of 4f black powder with the Nagant, and it works fine; I changed to a more suitable lube for those.

    Wayne
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - or else it gives you a bad rash.
    Venison is free-range, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


    mac60's Avatar
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    I have to admit I'm totally confused. Are you trimming 7.62x38r brass back - or are you shortening .32-20 brass? If you are trimming .32-20 brass back you certainly won't be able to crimp.
    So many guns, so little time
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  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Mac - Shortening .32-20 brass and want to crimp.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    A .30 carbine crimp dies works very well. It reduces the case mouth just enough to slide into the barrel recess easily without over working the brass.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    .30 Carbine FCD or just standard RCBS seat/crimp die from a 3 die set?

    I have 2 Carbines but a **** load of ammo so I haven’t started loading for it yet.

    Sounds like I now have an excuse to buy new dies.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Nagant revolver ammo

    I'm still confused. I apologize. The Lee die set is meant to alter a .32-20 cartridge case so that it can be used in the nagant gas seal revolver. When using .32-20 cases you seat a bullet in a conventional manner - the bullet is not seated below the mouth of the case. The powder thru expanding die and the bullet seat/crimp die are actually .32-20 dies - so if you are shortening a .32-20 case you are just ensuring that the crimping shoulder of the die can't reach the mouth of the case. Maybe it's just that I don't understand why you want to shorten the .32-20 case. On the right is a .32-20 case (starline) with a cast bullet intended for use in .32-20 ammo seated to an oal of 38mm. On the left is a 7.62x38r case with a 71 fmj bullet intended for .32 acp seated below flush with the case mouth.

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    Another view.

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    I have 2 of them.

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    I'm at a loss as to why the need to shorten the .32-20 case. If you are intent on utilizing the "gas seal" feature of the gun - this is pretty easily done with 7.62x38r brass and a .30 carbine die set.
    So many guns, so little time
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    One more question. What diameter bullet are you using? I'm using the same die set as you and get a good deal of neck tension and that combined with a light crimp is plenty. I can put the nose of the bullet on the edge of the bench and push it as hard as I can and it doesn't budge .001".
    So many guns, so little time
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  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Mac - .311 78 grain bullets from the 311252 mold.

    If I load them in .32-20 cases without trimming the case....or ..... seating deep.... the cylinder won’t turn.

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    I understand that. Anything over about 38mm won't let the cylinder rotate. I sized a bullet down to .311" and still get adequate neck tension (combined with a light crimp) to make it work. I'm baffled by the lack of neck tension you are getting on a .311" bullet. blpenn66502 in post #3 has a firm handle on the situation. Do you have a .32-20 FCD? Maybe your machinist buddy could do like blpenn66502 says and have him shorten the part on the die that bears against the shellholder. I find it much simpler to just deep seat the bullet, apply a light crimp and just move on with life. Having ammo that works in the gun and allows me to hit what I'm shootin' at is good enough for me.
    So many guns, so little time
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  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    That’s pretty much my goal too

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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