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Thread: so... i have this old S&W break top.....

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    so... i have this old S&W break top.....

    it's a .32 S&W and over 100 years old.

    but here's the thing....it is as tight as any new one....extremely little end shake at all.
    un-cocked the cylinder has extremely little rotational shake ...and cocked it has even less ...there are very few nicked and scratches on it period.

    now... in my one horse town of 40k people, getting reload stuff for it is zero at best.

    so i came up with an idea that i think will work.

    i knew that .38 super auto has a semi rim ...but still could be shot in a .38 special revolver with no ill effects on the gun or the brass.
    so i did a comparison of .32 A.C.P. auto brass to .32 S&W brass and the difference between then is almost nothing *(except the length of the brass is about 0.070") so i grabbed a hand full of .32 auto brass, turned off the headstamps shortened them to 0.605" and loaded with 1.5 win 231 powder ...inserted a 85 grain boolit and now i gots food for the little guy!

    works like a champ!

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    may we have pic's ?
    Good Judgment comes from Experience, Experience comes from Bad Judgment !

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    soon as i get more than a couple done....working on them right now.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I have heard that .32 ACP can be fired in a .32 S&W Long chamber and works OK. Personally, I'd find some of the .32 short brass, it's not that uncommon and it isn't that difficult to load for. I did this for a little Iver Johnson top break a few years ago.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    If you turned off the headstamps, what kind of headspace does the case have now? The .32 ACP is already thin rimmed, I'd be worried about the case having excessive headspace and slamming back into the recoil shield. You're probably not hot rodding the thing, but still it puts more strain on an old revolver.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadie View Post
    If you turned off the headstamps, what kind of headspace does the case have now? The .32 ACP is already thin rimmed, I'd be worried about the case having excessive headspace and slamming back into the recoil shield. You're probably not hot rodding the thing, but still it puts more strain on an old revolver.
    first ...you get your brass ....put on a jewelers magnifying head set .....inspect your brass ....note that some companies do not stamp there names into the brass with a sledge hammer , find the lightly hit names , that's the brass you use. chucking them up in my clock makers lathe offers me the opportunity to see just how much i can remove to make the letters un-readable (and that ain't much, about 0.002")....next i compared the maximum amount of rim left to a unmolested .25 acp. and it still has more rim on it than the .25 acp.....also there is more metal making up the .32 vs the .25 in circumference so that's a plus, finally the powder loads are so close together from .25 to .32 that i'd doubt very much "slamming" is going on even at 1.5 grains of powder in a solid steel gun.

    really i think i've done my "mad scientist" due diligence. also i noted that there is a point inside that you cannot insert the brass any further and the butt
    of each shell case if accurately cut to 0.605 and NO SHORTER the shells will only go in "just so far and no farther."
    then the back of the shell case will just touch the recoil plate....again at 1.5 grains of powder there is not any "slamming" going on.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozeppa View Post
    first ...you get your brass ....put on a jewelers magnifying head set .....inspect your brass ....note that some companies do not stamp there names into the brass with a sledge hammer , find the lightly hit names , that's the brass you use. chucking them up in my clock makers lathe offers me the opportunity to see just how much i can remove to make the letters un-readable (and that ain't much, about 0.002")....next i compared the maximum amount of rim left to a unmolested .25 acp. and it still has more rim on it than the .25 acp.....also there is more metal making up the .32 vs the .25 in circumference so that's a plus, finally the powder loads are so close together from .25 to .32 that i'd doubt very much "slamming" is going on even at 1.5 grains of powder in a solid steel gun.

    really i think i've done my "mad scientist" due diligence. also i noted that there is a point inside that you cannot insert the brass any further and the butt
    of each shell case if accurately cut to 0.605 and NO SHORTER the shells will only go in "just so far and no farther."
    then the back of the shell case will just touch the recoil plate....again at 1.5 grains of powder there is not any "slamming" going on.


    Thanks for the additional information, it helps me absorb the situation into my pea brain.

    So, you're using brass that requires 0.002" turned off to completely remove the headstamp.....that's some really lightly struck brass, for sure they didn't use a sledge hammer on that lot. Most brass I deal with would barely lose the tarnish with 0.002" removed. I don't turn off headstamps myself, but I would think I'd be looking at at least 0.010" to do anything with "normal" brass.

    After turning the headstamps off, the cases "will just touch the recoil plate"........so in other words, a .32ACP won't clear the recoil shield unless the headstamp is removed......that about right?

    If that's the case, that's one tight lil revolver you have there, considering that the .32 ACP has a rim of around 0.045" thickness, whereas a .32 S&W Short is also around 0.045" thickness, so even to chamber that stuff, you'll have to remove headstamps. I wouldn't even consider a .32 S&W Long, them rims are around 0.055" thick.

    I mean, logic say's that if a .32 ACP case is just clearing the recoil shield after the headstamp is turned off, then a .32 S&W Short will require the same surgery......maybe that's another thing where the sledge hammer comes in handy.

    Strange that S&W would make a revolver that won't accept the cartridge it's chambered for......I guess quality control wasn't in place 100 years ago.....or brass grows.....or something.

    I'm confused as to what bearing the unmolested, or molested .25 ACP has on this matter, but I'm sure there must be a good reason for it. For what it's worth, an unmolested .25 ACP has a rim thickness of around 0.043", so tarnish distance from a .32 ACP.......but, I digress.

    All in all, it appears you have things figured out, so you have fun with that.

  8. #8
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    If you were worried about taking too much off with deeper headstamps just obliterate the markings by making a cut just thru the lettering, just a circle or ring not the whole face. This does not change the rim thickness or the primer pocket depth.

    I don't even do that, I use a Dremel grinder with a small stone and just obliterate the differentiating marking and leave the makers mark. 270 necked up to 30-06 just obliterate the 270 leave everything else. For 32 ACP, just obliterate the ACP/Auto/7.62/7.65 depending on how it was marked.

    Tim
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  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Why not just use the correct .32 S&W brass?

    Starline is readily available from Midway in 100-rd. packages for $20.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Ditto, 32 brass ain’t that hard to come up with. Doesn’t sound like a gun you are going to be running hundreds of rounds through. Buy a couple boxes of S&B ammo and have lifetime supply of brass. My last brass making project was 32 French Long. After that I decided two things. First is the gun worth shooting? Second if it’s available buy it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Rattlesnake Charlie's Avatar
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    Starline has .32 S&W brass. I bought 500. Will outlast me. Now shooting my grandfather's Iver Johnson. Practical? No. Fun? Yes. And, satisfying to get that cute little revolver back into action.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    what's the fun in any of the last 3 posts?
    it's not like i'm gonna blow myself up.
    y'all are nit picking to death 2 freaking thousandths of metal!
    yes i'm making a box of 50 for it because i want to see if it can be done(yes i'm bored)....no i won't be shooting it to death .
    really??????!!!!!!

    i sent dougguy 11 cylinders where most had 3 different size chamber holes in them by .002 or more ....where this outrage?
    and NO they were NOT off of junk guns...i have ONLY s&w,Ruger & Colt
    i know that i can buy the correct brass....if i wanted to do that i would have ....and not posted , what would be the point?
    i was just sharing with whoever ...What could be done if it became hard times -or- you just want to expand your knowledge.
    i'm being "civil" here but please don't read my text if you are offended by trying something different.


    now to address one poster line by line and hope he now gets it....maybe i did not break it down enough for him ....but i'll try
    still know that i'm cool calm collected and most of all civil.

    i Never said...or implied ANYone had a pea brain.

    So, you're using brass that requires 0.002" turned off to completely remove the headstamp.....that's some really lightly struck brass, for sure they didn't use a sledge hammer on that lot. Most brass I deal with would barely lose the tarnish with 0.002" removed. I don't turn off headstamps myself, but I would think I'd be looking at at least 0.010" to do anything with "normal" brass.

    i have over 2000 .32 acp brass at 36 or 37 different headstamps... And YOU'D "THINK" you'd be "looking" at 10 thousandths to mess up a headstamp?
    doesn't sound like you know from experience from actually doing it ....and yes on "normal" brass .....i did it.
    and just so you know R.P. and GECO brass are sometimes so lightly struck that they can be read ....but just barely. they "turn" off with 320 grit paper or holding a pocket knife on it for a few turns.

    After turning the headstamps off, the cases "will just touch the recoil plate"........so in other words, a .32ACP won't clear the recoil shield unless the headstamp is removed......that about right?

    again no.... if you cut the brass down in length too much then yes the brass will go in until the top of the rim is flush with the extractor....leaving 2 or three thousandths gap between brass and recoil plate for this ultra magnum high velocity round to slam into the plate from the 1.5 grains of win231 powder doing all this slamming.................but if you cut the brass down to 0.908 length then it will only go into the chamber just far enough to touch and no more.
    truly this is like shooting a .22 .....almost no recoil.


    If that's the case, that's one tight lil revolver you have there, considering that the .32 ACP has a rim of around 0.045" thickness, whereas a .32 S&W Short is also around 0.045" thickness, so even to chamber that stuff, you'll have to remove headstamps. I wouldn't even consider a .32 S&W Long, them rims are around 0.055" thick.

    I mean, logic say's that if a .32 ACP case is just clearing the recoil shield after the headstamp is turned off, then a .32 S&W Short will require the same surgery......maybe that's another thing where the sledge hammer comes in handy.

    Strange that S&W would make a revolver that won't accept the cartridge it's chambered for......I guess quality control wasn't in place 100 years ago.....or brass grows.....or something.


    i'm confused by all that.... question .....are you sayin that i'm stupid or are you just being mean?(being civil here)are you quoting rim thickness for every run of brass made and every company that made it from real world measuring .....or did you get that from a SAAMI Schematic? ....reloading manual?

    but by the way i did actually measure 24 pieces of brass .25 acp and found that all were in the parameter of .031 to .035 thousandths thick....again saami states .043 but in the real world they vary by as much as 7-8 thousandths ....and i only mention the lowly .25 acp in comparison to show that both the .25 and this .32 S&W load has the same exact primer and same exact powder load ....now why again is this power load too much for a .041 thousandths thick rim on the .32.........but it's not too much for a rim that's .031 to .035 thick?....also i measured all my "turned down brass" ....none exceeded .040

    if you'd had read carefully, you should have gotten the whole .25 to .32 comparison....but alas ...you didn't.

    thank you rattlesnake charlie.......they are fun ....not practical but fun.

    again to all ...i know the brass can be had...i was hoping all the fun wouldn't be sucked out this little underpowered experiment ....but i was wrong, always one who wants desperately to publically imply that another is so wrong that you'd think he was saying that you're stupid...to what end ?....i don't know.
    i thought we were here to learn , bash ideas and just maybe light some areas of the mind that previously might have not been so well lit before. (speaking for me only)

  13. #13
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    Boolit Master
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    you all may call me Mr. Quixote

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    mozeppa,


    "i have over 2000 .32 acp brass at 36 or 37 different headstamps... And YOU'D "THINK" you'd be "looking" at 10 thousandths to mess up a headstamp?
    doesn't sound like you know from experience from actually doing it ....and yes on "normal" brass .....i did it.
    and just so you know R.P. and GECO brass are sometimes so lightly struck that they can be read ....but just barely. they "turn" off with 320 grit paper or holding a pocket knife on it for a few turns."



    I actually do have quite a lot of experience in working to tolerances of 0.001", so I have some idea what 0.002" "looks" like. It isn't much, and I have never seen headstamps that would be removed by taking off that amount of metal......they would basically be stenciled rather than stamped. But you are right, as I said in the previous post, I don't remove headstamps, therefore no experience in doing so.



    "again no.... if you cut the brass down in length too much then yes the brass will go in until the top of the rim is flush with the extractor....leaving 2 or three thousandths gap between brass and recoil plate for this ultra magnum high velocity round to slam into the plate from the 1.5 grains of win231 powder doing all this slamming.................but if you cut the brass down to 0.908 length then it will only go into the chamber just far enough to touch and no more.
    truly this is like shooting a .22 .....almost no recoil."



    The cartridge is supposed to be enclosed as much as possible so as to contain the cartridge in a safer manner than having it hang out of the cylinder. True, the cartridge you're loading is not high pressure, (until it is) but safe practices have to prevail, just habit for me. I also don't use a different cartridge to decide on data for the cartridge I'm working with, again just safe practice.

    I'm not saying you're stupid, overly sensitive perhaps, but surely not stupid. I'm also not in any way a Safety Nanny, but there are some things even I don't do. I like to use cartridge cases that are made for whatever gun I'm working on. Definitely, sometime you have to improvise if what you need isn't available. With a gun such as you're working with, I'd get the proper brass cause it is available.

    I realize this is just a fun project you're doing, and the pressures are low, but things like you're doing jump out like a neon sign when I read them. When you post things like removing headstamps, I see actual metal being removed, not scrubbed off with a wipe of sandpaper. So, if you're gonna post about stuff like this, don't be surprised to see push back from those who have seen what can happen when things go wrong.

    Yes, with the powder charge you're using it's probably like a .22, it's also a very small capacity case, and if a double charge finds it's way into it, then it's not so much like a .22. I fully realize that would likely never happen, it never happens, until it does.

    As I said, have fun with it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    no part of the cartridge is hanging out of the cylinder...i explained my measurements ad nauseum...let's assume all cartridges are perfect (they are not) why would a stock cylinder from lets say any of my 3 brands need the six chambers honed due to them being 3 different bore sizes? go ahead ....p.m. dougguy and he'll tell you horror stories as i've described....where is your motto "The cartridge is supposed to be enclosed as much as possible so as to contain the cartridge in a safer manner than having it hang out of the cylinder." hmmm? we all have stories ,seen unsafe things happen and honestly after 45 years of doing things like this, do you think i only have 3 finger left ...one eye ...peg leg?.... i've been a design fabrication engineer for more than 45 years. and accustomed to look at each prospective end game with a very discriminating eye...i would not do anything dangerous or its scrapped.

    so when someone starts regurgitating chapter and verse from SAAMI exploded view schematic dimensions & measurement without really doing any real world
    measuring. .....well it's like telling everyone out there that i'm telling lies....all you'd need to do follow the steps i did and do your own measurements ...they do bear up under scrutiny. what they print up at SAAMI and what's on the shelves are 2 different things.

    doubting everything i did without any real time shop time on your own with nothing more than what you read off a data sheet that commercial ammo maker cannot ever hope to achieve a uniform continuity of measurement to go with that sheet is staggering. that's when i push back ....you doubt my abilities ...but you've never met me ,observed my protocols for safety. i'm as safe as you or any other top notch reloader here or anywhere else. no hype, just fact.

    in all these years i've never had a double load that was mine (that's a moot point as the charges are weighed first electronically then the charge gets weighed a second time on a tripple beam rcbs #304 scale nothin more accurate).....did have 2 squib loads one from wolf brand and one from winchester white box. 9mm & 44 mag respectively. (exactly why i WILL NOT buy any more factory ammo.) did see 44 mag disassemble with extreme predjudice once and part of a indexfinger.
    i doubt the .32 pistol will be shot the full 55 times in the next 20 years.

    if you really want to set your hair on fire,, buy the the most expensive box of 50 cartridge ammo get a very good set of 1"....2" mic's and a good set of veneers with a dial indicator INSPECT EVERY CARTRIDGE CAREFULLY you get the biggest laugh. they'll be all over the map.

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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