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Thread: 32-40 win in 14'' contender

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    32-40 win in 14'' contender

    Looking at a 32-40 in contender. Anyone have one and your thoughts. Don't need it as I have several but don't have a true 32 caliber as my 32-20 and 327 federal are 308 bore. Thought it would be interesting with 170 gr cast.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Unless you want to deal with a $500 custom barrel and unobtainium brass what is wrong with the 30-30? Used contender barrels will be much cheaper and it works great for cast. If you don't mind forming brass the 30 and 35 Herrett would be another good option. It has slightly less capacity as the 30-30 and the barrels are among the cheapest you can get.

    But I do understand wanting a 32-40.......just because.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    The 32-40 is a awesome cartridge , mine is a falling block but I'm sure that the contender will be a great performer as well. I shoot a 210 grain paper patched bullet and form my cases with starline 38-55 long brass very easy to do with RCBS cowboy dies. And on a side note if you get it and don't like it i will take it off your hands you won't lose anything but time.

    James

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I already have the mentioned calibers. The barrel is used although a custom barrel. Just trying to make up my mind about it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    As a plaything, a 14 barrel in 32-40 might be fun. Brass, if you dont already have some is easily made by forming 38-55 brass (now available from Starline) using a standard set of RCBS dies, no form dies needed. I speak from experience because when I first started shooting the caliber in high wall Winchesters back in the 1990s, no new brass was available until the short run of John Wayne ammo came out.
    From a practical standpoint, the load data commonly found is for barrels from 24-30 long, so youll get to do some experimenting to find efficient loads for that short barrel. Of course in a Contender, the strength is adequate, so it will come down to what gives you your desired accuracy. If it were me, Id probably start with either the original 165 gr RNFP in medium soft lead or the currently popular 185-200 gr lead bullets (same alloy - I use 25-1 Pb - Sn) and 4227 if I could find it.
    All in all, it sounds like an interesting project. If you do decide to buy it, please give us a range report (or two! )
    Froggie
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tctender View Post
    Looking at a 32-40 in contender. Anyone have one and your thoughts. Don't need it as I have several but don't have a true 32 caliber as my 32-20 and 327 federal are 308 bore. Thought it would be interesting with 170 gr cast.
    My brother has an SSK 14" listed for sale on GunBroker https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1049696556

    wcp

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I might play with it some but will also deer hunt with it. Definitely will not be a long range hunting barrel but have some for that. Probably 100-125 yd load.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by wcp4570 View Post
    My brother has an SSK 14" listed for sale on GunBroker https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1049696556

    wcp
    Contender barrel prices skyrocketed in the last few years and that barrel at $350 would be a deal. SSK makes some excellent custom barrels. Not sure if the barrel the OP is cheaper but who made it counts.



    Edit: And he is selling the most impressive collection of Contender barrels I have seen in decades.
    Last edited by Delkal; 05-14-2024 at 04:46 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    That's it. I don't need this barrel (but want it) as I have a large number myself but none for sale. Greg Ritz has bought Thompson Center back from S&W and saying to start back production in 2025. We will see what becomes of this. And yes tc products have gone up as everything else. I have slowed down buying lately as I have plenty to keep me busy when I get time.
    Last edited by tctender; 05-14-2024 at 06:24 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well I bought it. Anyone with load data can pm me if they don't want to put it here. Probably be using 170 gr cast to start. Thanks for any replies. A question about the 38-55 brass will the short or the long work best ? Fitz said he used the long but I have saw where some used the short.
    Last edited by tctender; 05-14-2024 at 07:47 PM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Long cases if you can get them. They may be a touch long,but will clean up easily. The short cases will always give you a short product.
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for everyone's replies.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Many moons ago when I was starting out with the 32-40 I was told to use IMR 4759 powder and a 165 grain +/- bullet weight. If you can find that powder, PM for further instructions. Also, one of my other discoveries was a 185 gr bullet over a charge of 13.6 gr of IMR 4227. I had that in some fixed rounds I got with a custom Ruger #1 rebarreled to 32-40. I generally shot breech seated, but that fixed round was scary good! I wish we were closer and I could give you some more one-on-one time!
    Froggie
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    When I first started reloading in the late 1970s, a big "plus" was assembling ammo for my Dad's Winchester model 94 in 32-40. It allowed me to shoot that old gun which was not going to happen without home assembled ammo. I think my Dad had only a handful of factory rounds and no replacements were available.

    I recall using either H335 or IMR 4895 and Speer 170s. I just used 30-30 brass.

    Here is a Quickload run to help you pick a powder to use. I cut the list down to only include the top velocity powders that are currently available on-line. I can run specific stuff on request.

    For a Contender, your loads should be safe up to the 30-30 pressure limit, 42,000 psi. I ran the table at 35,000 psi which is just over the Quickload limit for 32-40.

    Code:
    Cartridge          : .32-40 Win.
    Bullet             : .323, 165, LYM LRN LOV GC 323470
    Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 2.500 inch = 63.50 mm
    Barrel Length      : 14.0 inch = 355.6 mm
    
    C A U T I O N : any load listed can result in a powder charge that falls below minimum suggested
    loads or exceeds maximum suggested loads as presented in current handloading manuals. Understand
    that all of the listed powders can be unsuitable for the given combination of cartridge, bullet
    and gun. Actual load order can vary, depending upon lot-to-lot powder and component variations.
    USE ONLY FOR COMPARISON !
    
    Powder type          Filling/Loading Ratio  Charge    Charge   Vel. Prop.Burnt P max  P muzz  B_Time
                                          %     Grains    Gramm   fps     %       psi     psi    ms
    ---------------------------------  -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Accurate 2015                      102.5     28.2     1.83    1933    91.8    35000    7967   0.996  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Accurate 2460                      100.7     31.2     2.02    1923    83.8    35000    8036   0.995  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Hodgdon BL-C2                      104.3     32.8     2.12    1922    80.1    35000    8275   0.983  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Hodgdon H335                        95.2     29.9     1.94    1919    85.7    35000    8018   0.984  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Winchester 748                     100.5     31.2     2.02    1914    81.5    35000    8131   0.983  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Accurate 2520                      105.0     31.9     2.07    1912    83.1    33078    8264   1.007  ! Near Maximum !
    Vihtavuori N120 *C                  94.0     24.7     1.60    1909    98.6    35000    7207   0.992  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Shooters World AR Plus              98.5     30.4     1.97    1908    83.6    35000    7814   0.993  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Vihtavuori N530 *C                 100.6     29.2     1.89    1903    81.9    35000    7812   0.986  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Vihtavuori N130 *C                  99.8     26.9     1.74    1894    92.6    35000    7425   0.996  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Accurate 2230                       99.1     30.9     2.00    1893    80.7    35000    7653   0.992  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!
    Last edited by P Flados; 05-20-2024 at 12:29 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with everything Green Frog has said . I followed a lot of his suggestions regarding the 32-40 when I first started shooting them. When you find the right bullet they are extremely accurate with low velocity cast loads. Certainly a minute of angle at 200 yards is not hard to achieve.

    Chris.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    tctender, what powder(s) do you have to start your load development, or which do you plan to get? I’ve used or seen used 4759, 4227, 2400, and Accurate #9. The folks at Accurate also tried to convince me that 5244 was the way to go. But I was having such good luck with other powders, I never got around to trying that one.
    Today I would go into my stash of 4759 by default, but if it weren’t available I’d resort to 4227, but they are both old IMR powders I’ve used a lot in the past. They might not be easy to obtain today.
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Just got the barrel today. Got to get my bullets. Planning on starting with a 170 gr rnfp coated lead bullet. Got imr 4227,aa#9,h110,aa2520,h335,h322,re7,blc2,w748 and some more right now.May be a few days before I can get started with work. Bad to be retired and still working 2 jobs.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    tct, with what you’ve listed, I’d start with the first two powders, 4227 and #9. Both of these should give you very fine results. Keep us informed of your results. Feel free to drop me a PM any time to discuss what is my all time favorite rifle cartridge.
    Charlie the Frog
    "It aint easy being green!"

  19. #19
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    Late last year I bought a Browning 1885 in .32-40. Been loading a 170 grain FN from an Accurate mold over either 5744 or BP. I scrounged up a couple hundred .32-40 cases, another hundred of the .38-55 in 2.125" Starline and a couple of 20 packs of the Quality Brass in .32-40 that Midway has from time to time... tho' that's pretty expensive. I don't know that either 5744 or BP would be very efficient in such a short bbl. Although QuickLoad indicates that it's only a 120 or so fps drop from 26" to 14".
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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