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Thread: Problems with 1930 S&W 32-20 HE

  1. #1
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Problems with 1930 S&W 32-20 HE

    I got this pristine 32-20 HE from a member here. It is a 5" blue made in 1930. Probably a solid 95% gun
    I assembled the brass, bullets, mould and dies.
    I started testing my first loads (115gr cast w/ 3.6 gr ww231).
    The bullets sized are .313"
    Using Lee dies and not my favorite dies.
    Using Dillon 550 to load on.
    The WW brass is 1.28" trimmed to uniformity. ( I have RP brass and Starline also but I am starting with the WW).
    Seated right to the crimp groove.
    The empty sized brass is tight going into the cylinder. Sometimes it will not seat fully unless I give it a push.
    Once loaded, the rounds are even more difficult to seat fully in the cylinder.
    They need a REAL push to seat in the cylinder.
    Once seated into the cylinder they shoot just fine.
    There is no indication of leading after a dozen test rounds.
    Extraction is not easy but NOT because of over pressure, that's for sure.
    I have never had these kinds of issues with any revolver I have ever owned.
    Care to advise on how to start attacking this problem?
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



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    Do you have the same problem with sized brass from all three brands of brass? If you have the same problem with all three brands of brass, my guess would be improperly adjusted dies or out of spec dies. Is it possible your dies are not setting the shoulder back far enough? Try sizing your brass on a single stage press instead of the Dillon and see if you have the same issue. Does your sized .313 bullet pass through the through the cylinder throats easily by itself, or is there resistance? It would help to know your cylinder throat diameters. Will a factory loaded round chamber more easily?
    Last edited by square butte; 07-25-2021 at 04:57 PM.
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    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Also check chamber neck diameters with soft lead buckshot and compare their diameter to your loaded rounds. If you seat bullets and crimp in the same operation, with the thin .32-20 brass you might be forming a slight bulge of the case mouth at the crimp. Try seating and crimping separately.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I have a S&W 3rd change 32-20 and a Browning 53 also 32-20 and they are not compatible. The S&W's chambers are quite a bit bigger than the Browning. Sizing Starline brass in Hornady dies (with a 550B) didn't size the cases enough to fit the Browning. I went to RCBS Cowboy dies and now cases get sized enough. The loads are set to the 1905's un-heat treated cylinder pressures. The chamber dimensions for the 32-20 seem to be all over the place. Finding a set of dies that match your chambers may be the biggest hurdle.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Oh man.....lots of things to check here.
    FIRST I will check the brass. I have trimmed RP and WW and new Starline.
    I will try all three. I know the WW is not great so that leaves two.
    I found a set of Lyman 3 die dies.
    Lyman seem OK?
    RCBS is out of stock everywhere in the world it seems.
    I'll check the brass and report back.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    OK....loading NEW Starline brass is only just a tiny bit better in terms of seating on the rim of the cartridge properly in the cylinder. I still have to give it a push about the last .17".
    The mouth of the cylinder measures 3.10-3.11" so that tells me something has to happen with .002" since the bullets were sized .313". Now, bear in mind my calipers are RCBS case Length calipers so they are not within NASA tolerances. The bullets fall through the cylinder except for some very minor tightness at the very end with the bullet sticking out of the chamber - hardly any at all.
    Am I missing something here?
    Next try? How about new dies?
    I really have the hots to shoot this gun. It is uber cool and just a terrific quality gun like S&W made in 1930.
    32-20 is a neat little round in between 22 and 38 and is very pleasant to shoot.
    I don't have a single stage press to try out so I have to work with what I have.
    Likewise I don't have a factory round to compare it to either.
    There is no reason the Dillon shouldn't work just as well.
    I have never been a fan of Lee dies except for their Factory Crimp dies.
    Next? Dies maybe?
    Last edited by FISH4BUGS; 07-25-2021 at 07:32 PM.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Silly question, is there anything under the cylinders ejector star?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david s View Post
    Silly question, is there anything under the cylinders ejector star?
    Not a silly question at all.
    I just checked the gun and the ejector star and cylinder rebated area where the ejector star goes in is clean as a whistle.
    I thought about the dies, but they are down as far as the sizer/decapper can go.
    Like any press, you can only go so far on the upstroke to force the case into the die.
    I pull the handle down, come up just a hair, then just a hair further down with the die so there is just a little resistance at the top of the stroke.
    You really can't get that case into the die any further than that.
    I am really stumped.
    If I had to theorize, it is the dies at this point.
    But hey ---- I am still open to suggestions.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Did you try unsized new Starline brass - or sized Starline brass. Try em both ways. Same with the RP. If your .313 bullets slide through the cylinder throats with just a tad bit of mild pressure, they should be about right for your cylinder. Seems like something is not in spec with your sized case dimensions - either at the shoulders or at the necks. Since you don't have a factory round to compare for chambering, you could look at a case dimension spec sheet for 32-20 and compare measurements with your sized cases. I wonder if your Dillon shell plate has enough play in it to affect the location of your case shoulder location? You are gonna get it figured out . . . Seems like dies or die adjustment.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm having exactly the same problem with the two I have. I have been sizing my bullets to .313 and that is too big in both. There jamming to a stop about .090 from seating, and hanging up on the neck. I'm going to size the next bullets to .311. That should solve that problem! The necks are just a bit too big with the .313 size. The toolman.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    I suspect your Lee dies are a large part of the problem. There is nothing about the Dillon press that could be causing your problem, especially since you have the problem with new, unsized brass. Smoke a case with a candle and then chamber it and see where it rubs. I had similar problems with my 1920 Colt Army revolver and a new Uberti 1873 clone. I had to size the bullets to 311 and seat them deeper than the crimp groove on my bullet.
    Last edited by Dan Cash; 07-26-2021 at 10:09 AM.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Removed by poster.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I only have a few sets of Lyman dies, but the set I have in .25-20 seem fine to me. They size the cases enough to easily chamber in my Husqvarna single shot rifle.

    I would rather have Lyman than Lee loading dies in most cases. Not sure they will totally solve your problem with your .32-20, but they might.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Well, now I guess I will focus on the dies.
    Good suggestion on the candle thing. I will do that.
    That should produce some good info.
    The .313" bullets DO go through the cylinder as I said earlier so that is probably not the problem unless they fatten the case at the neck when loaded.
    Unfortunately I need to work this week so I may not get back to this until the weekend but I will certainly post the results.
    Thanks to all for the suggestions.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Interesting fact: the Starline NEW brass fits into the chamber perfectly. I really DO think it might be the dies.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    You might try making a dummy round with the Starline brass, but only bell the case mouth, seat and crimp one of your boolits. If it doesn't fully chamber your boolits might be just that much too big. GF

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I'd try a different sizing die. Screw it all the way down until it contacts the top surface of the shell holder, then raise the ram a bit and screw the die in just a smidge more. Also, a different brand of shell holder may help, as it sounds from your description of having to push the last .17" of the case into the cylinder is just about the amount that would be slop between a shell holder and a die not screwed in far enough. You may be able to find a thinner shell holder. I have two SAA-type revolvers in .32-20 for which I used Lee dies with great success.

    DG

  18. #18
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    I'd try a different sizing die. Screw it all the way down until it contacts the top surface of the shell holder, then raise the ram a bit and screw the die in just a smidge more. Also, a different brand of shell holder may help, as it sounds from your description of having to push the last .17" of the case into the cylinder is just about the amount that would be slop between a shell holder and a die not screwed in far enough. You may be able to find a thinner shell holder. I have two SAA-type revolvers in .32-20 for which I used Lee dies with great success.
    DG
    That is exactly what I have done. I THINK it is in the dies. The Lee just can't quite get there to properly set back the shoulder on fired brass, and it doesn't do the shoulder properly with the new brass, thus leading to the failure to seat properly.
    I will try the dummy round with the new Starline just to eliminate another variable.
    I have a set of Redding dies on the way courtesy of another member here.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Fox View Post
    You might try making a dummy round with the Starline brass, but only bell the case mouth, seat and crimp one of your boolits. If it doesn't fully chamber your boolits might be just that much too big. GF
    Maybe so, but they slide through the mouth of the cylinder just barely snug.....hardly any resistance at all.
    Collector and shooter of guns and other items that require a tax stamp, Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by FISH4BUGS View Post
    That is exactly what I have done. I THINK it is in the dies. The Lee just can't quite get there to properly set back the shoulder on fired brass, and it doesn't do the shoulder properly with the new brass, thus leading to the failure to seat properly.
    I will try the dummy round with the new Starline just to eliminate another variable.
    I have a set of Redding dies on the way courtesy of another member here.
    Does the shell holder contact the die? If so, file .020" off the bottom of the die. I have a set of Lee dies sold to me as 40 cal but they were 10mm and wouldn't seat/crimp the 40. Bench grinder and file solved that problem for me.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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