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Thread: .32 Short Colt

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    .32 Short Colt

    I've come into a Colt revolver chambered in .32 Short Colt.

    I has 8 rounds of ammo with it. I really wanted to shoot this revolver but at over $1 a shot I've decided to just safe queen it.

    I did lots of research on the .32 Short Colt. Interesting round, but one that fell by the wayside.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Guesser's Avatar
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    I have 2 Colt revolvers chambered in 32 Colt, Long. They handle the 32 Short Colt cartridge very well. 32 Short Colt ammunition is found irregularly at gun shows around the intermountain west. Winchester last did a production run in the gray boxes shortly after the opening of the 21st century, even when in production it was going for 30$ a box. Search "The Old West Trader/Scavenger," "Classic firearms & Parts" and any fired brass dealers. Hit the gun shows for the classic ammo dealers. It's a fun cartridge, both short and Long.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Years ago, before I started reloading - I was given a vey nice H & R "Police Special" (I think hat was the model) that was chambered in .32 Colt Short. With the revolver was a very old box of ammo - maybe 30 rounds. I didn't want to shoot the ammo so began looking for some .32 Colt Shorts - which proved to be a major PIA. I went to the bigger gunship in a nearby city and showed them the revolver as well s the old ammo and they assured me that they could get ammo for me. O.K. . . . . order a box please. When it came in, it was .32 S & W Shorts. I pointed out the difference in the two cartridges and after THREE times of them assuring me they could get it - and them sending back the S & W .32 Shorts - each time the supplier sent S & W ammo. i finally gave up on it. I later sold the revolver to a fellow - warning him that it was .32 Colt and not 32 S & W but he wanted it anyway. I sold the old ammo box and ammo to a guy who liked to collect old ammo/ammo boxes. If I had thad the revolver today, I would put more effort into finding brass to reload for it as it was a very nice revolver but at the time, I wasn't interested in reloading.

    I'd put a WTB in the WTS/WTS section and see if anyone has any brass or even old cartridges that you could pull down and reload if they didn't go bang. I haven't thought about it in years so don't know if Starline makes .32 Colt Short brass or even what the specific specs of the casing are that maybe you could transform another casing in to that would work. I[m sure there are those much more informed on it than I who will possibly come along and be able to help. Good luc!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Guesser's Avatar
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    Just for the sake of keeping this thread alive: You can load the 32 SC using a grain of Trail Boss under a .311 round ball. Don't bother sizing the case, it doesn't swell when fired with current factory ammo.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a box of Winchester 32 short colt ammo if you are interested.

  6. #6
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    You can make brass from 32S&W brass. What I did was drill a hole in a half inch steel plate and then polish it out to.319” Then all I did was hammer the brass into the hole until the rim touched the plate, then flip it over and knock it out with a 1/4” bolt. Use plenty of case lube and its no problem.
    Actually, I think I did have to slightly crimp the S&W brass to make it start easier in my “sizer.” But it has been thirty eight years, or so, and my rememberer isn’t what it used to be.
    Last edited by rintinglen; 12-14-2019 at 12:48 PM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    rintinglen has the right idea... make loading as simple as possible by altering readily available cases... you might even go with sawed-off cases from 32 S&W L for ease of finding them. If you make 100 or so, you will have a lifetime supply.

    As Guesser said, reloading is just a push fit. These cases won’t swell much, if at all from the loads you will be shooting. Accuracy may be a little sketchy with any of the reloads described though. The original leadings were “outside lubricated” (look like a 22 RF bullet) so the bearing surface of the (heeled) bullet was the same diameter as the outside of the case body.

    Sounds like a fun project though.

    Froggie
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  8. #8
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    rintinglen's Avatar
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    I think you could use 32 ACP brass, if you modified it as I did with the 32 S&W brass. I have long since parted ways with that gun, but I think I may still have that piece of steel with the hole in it. I don’t throw much stuff out.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I shoot a Marlin Model 1892 Chambered in 32 Colt.

    The rifle will shoot both 32 Short and Long Colt cartridges and I handload both.

    I use a heel based bullet that’s cast by a gentleman who offers them for sale on Gunbroker (he makes 32 Long Colt brass out of 32 S&W as well).

    Finding 32 Colt dies can be a chore (and expensive when you find them) so I initially did my handloading for this round with dies I had cobbled together/laying around the shop.

    The 32 Colt rim will fit a 223 shellholder just fine so I was good there but I wanted a re sizing die and ended up having a letter “O” drill bushing pressed into an old die body I had hogged out to fit by a local machinist.

    To flare the case mouths a used the sharply tapered “peen” side of a small brass gunsmithing hammer and seated the bullets with an RCBS 32 acp Bullet seating die.

    To crimp the Bullets in the case I bought a 32 Colt heel based crimp die from Old West Bullet Molds which works fantastic.

    Figure I was into the whole set up to load 32 Colt for right around a 100 bucks. ($10.00 bucks for the drill bushing, $25.00 to have the old die body hogged out and bushing pressed in and $50.00 for the crimp die).

    Homemade 32 Colt sizing die



    A few handloads


    Heel based Bullets are no more difficult to handload than any other round.

    You may need an extra die for crimping but other than that they’re the same.

    Gratuitous rifle pics:


    Last edited by ATCDoktor; 12-14-2019 at 04:06 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I had a Marlin like yours many years ago, ATCDoktor. I'm sure I was ecstatic about selling it for $25 or $50 more than I had paid for it, never dreaming that the price I got for it then would be about a tenth of what it would cost to buy now. "Ve grow too soon oldt, und too late schmardt!"

    Froggie
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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I am meeting a guy today to (hopefully) purchase a 1892 Marlin in .32. It supposedly has a mint bore, a Lyman tang peep sight and a beech/Lyman front sight all in excellent original condition. I'm pretty excited about it. I hope it works out.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim338 View Post
    I am meeting a guy today to (hopefully) purchase a 1892 Marlin in .32. It supposedly has a mint bore, a Lyman tang peep sight and a beech/Lyman front sight all in excellent original condition. I'm pretty excited about it. I hope it works out.
    Mine came to me with the second firing pin stashed under the butt plate, IIRC. It took about five minutes or so to switch back and forth between cf and rf. At the time, one of the local hardware distributors had new old stock Winchester cartridges in both 32 Colt Long and Short packed in the old yellow boxes. At the time there were no new 32 rf cartridges available in either link and the half box or so of originals were duds (at least the half dozen or so I tried.) This was all about 45 years ago, and I didn’t know then what I know now about “non-standard” reloading... if I had, perhaps I would still own that old Marlin. It was a doll baby!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    A very interesting read. Thanks to all who contributed.

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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