32-20 pistol ballistics

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Old Savage
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32-20 pistol ballistics

#1 Post by Old Savage » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:32 pm

I am interested in anyone's experience with loading for the 32-20 in a pistol.
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Tycer
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#2 Post by Tycer » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:42 pm

I’ve only had a Colt Police Positive. Beautiful gun. Had to use different loads than my rifles. Did not shoot where I pointed and didn’t like having to shoot different loads.
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#3 Post by JimT » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:32 pm

colt3220 (1)a.jpg
Ist Generation Colt SAA 32-20 .. about 1907 if I remember correctly. Someone had cut the barrel off .. cut right down through the ejector rod housing next to the screw! The bore was pretty non-existent and it was missing some parts. it had been buffed until there is no letter on the side of the frame. I cleaned it up, got a period correct barrel from Eddy Janis and the parts that were needed. Made a decent shooter. I used it in cowboy action matches with my 32-20 Marlin levergun.

I ran standard velocity loads most of the time. Experimented with the AK47 bullet and a fairly heavy load of H110 ... but only fired a few. The heavy loads worked better out of the rifle anyhow. The old gun is still working ... still a good plinker ..
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#4 Post by Sixgun Sr » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:38 pm

Fred,
Your soon-to-have 32-20 compared to any 32-20 revolver, with the exception of the single action Colt is like comparing Volkswagens and Corvettes.

The Ruger can easily handle any sensible load that a rifle can use. An ear splitting load with 2400/4227 with an 85-115 gr. jacketed or cast will shoot like a bolt of lightning while a load of 3 gr. Of Bullseye or 4 gr. of Unique with a 115 cast will provide an afternoon of pleasurable plinking with the accuracy that will not be matched by much of anything else. 5 gr. Of Unique will drill beer cans easily out to 100.

I suggest you start with a no brainer...3 of Bullseye or 4 of Unique with any 32-20 bullet.

The below pictured ' Smith 32-20 was shipped to the Belknap Hardware Co. in Louisville, Kentucky August 2, 1906 and presently is my only 32-20 revolver. I shoot this with 3 grains of Bullseye and a 115 Lyman....only.....the steel predates the later hardening techniques.------6

(When you get it tomorrow, can I have it? :D )

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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#5 Post by AJMD429 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:40 pm

For years I used a Lee Classic 'mallet' Loader and since the operation is so deliberate, I never lost any cases due to accidental crushing. Some eventually split because the guns I was loading for were older and had oversized chambers. I don't remember any of the loading data, but it was probably off the little card that comes with the Lee Loaders, and I might have used 2400 for it since I know I had that powder back then. They would have been very light loads though due to the vintage of the guns.

When I got a modern Maryland 1894-CL I reloaded some rounds on a RCBS press with RCBS dies, with much more intense loadings, and I shot them in a Buckeye Conversion Blackhawk as well, but it's been so long I don't have any of the data.

The reason I answered the question even though I didn't have any reloading data was to comment that the reputation of the cases being fragile due to the thin mouth is true, because when I started using a reloading press and conventional dies with the more modern loads, I lost a lot of cases. Eventually I learned to be more careful than I had to be with the thick and strong 44 Magnum brass that I also reloaded.

A few years back I got some Starline brass and it does seem to be a little sturdier.

32-20 is a wonderful little cartridge though, filling the gap between 22 Hornet and 357 Magnum quite nicely.
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#6 Post by wm » Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:54 pm

I've been around guys who have been serious about the 32 WCF and had pistols and carbines. About the two most cogent things I can add to this conversation is my observation that the 32 WCF often out performs its on paper ballistics and the difference between shooting the 32 WCF out of a pistol and a rifle is analogous to what you see when shooting a 22 magnum out of a pistol and rifle. The difference in performance is almost like two different cartridges.

Wm

P.S. SO what are you looking at? S&W hand ejector? Colt SA? Or?

One of the best 32 WCF pistols I ever saw was a beautiful, engraved, silver accented Spanish made double action revolvers that came over to Cuba between the world wars and ended up in Florida in the 50's. Really a nice looking and shooting gun. It wasn't mine, belonged to a neighbor of my parents who had a place in Florida for a few years. The neighbor was a beautiful elderly Cuban American lady, a bit of cougar, she liked to flirt with me.

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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#7 Post by Old Savage » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:38 am

My interest is across the range. The pistol is a Ruger 32-20 Convertible with 32 H&R and 32-20 Win cylinders. I think the capability velocity wise runs from the 800 fps target load up to about 1650-1700 fps.

Taffin did some tests you can read with what he called 30-20s produced by Bowen and TC. I will likely try some hot loads but most will be in the lower end. I already load for the 32 H&R and the 327. The 327 factory loads run about 45.000 PSI. I load those down as I usually do the 32 H&R.

The Ruger 32-20 Convertible is a full size Blackhawk and so is very strong.
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#8 Post by Sixgun Sr » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:53 pm

OK...got here as fast as I could...let down....pics?--6
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#9 Post by Old Savage » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:20 pm

Separate topic ;-)
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Ray
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#10 Post by Ray » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:26 am

I read that Mister Keith used the ideal 31008 and 10 gr. 2400 in his colts.....

I wonder if this load is still "ok" ?

I don't think I'll try it in my 1918 hand ejector.
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#11 Post by BenT » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:52 am

I use AA5 in all my standard pressure 32 caliber loads. 32 ACP, SW long,H&R, 327 Fed. For the 32-20 - 4.5 to 5.5 grains of AA5 with 115 gr bullet is a pleasant load. The accuracy is good ,nothing awesome, good for plinking. I will be trying Six's load of 4 grains of Unique and compare accuracy. I haven't shot my Marlin in a while but I was using H4227 for a hotter load in a rifle.

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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#12 Post by Ray » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:05 am

Somebody just told me that 4 gr. of green dot and something called a "soup can" is what they use......i'm gonna have to look into that......
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Re: 32-20 pistol ballistics

#13 Post by Sixgun Sr » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:01 am

BenT wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:52 am
I use AA5 in all my standard pressure 32 caliber loads. 32 ACP, SW long,H&R, 327 Fed. For the 32-20 - 4.5 to 5.5 grains of AA5 with 115 gr bullet is a pleasant load. The accuracy is good nothing awesome, good for plinking. I will be trying Six's load of 4 grains of Unique and compare accuracy. I haven't shot my Marlin in a while but I was using H4227 for a hotter load in a rifle.

Ben....Your load of A.A.#5 is an excellent choice....I've used up many pounds of it......it burns a tad slower than Unique...for instance....4.5 grains of #5 will give about the same velocity as 4 of Unique. As always, the proper sized bullet is more important than small variations in powder charges....slug those cylinder throats! :D

You ever hear the old saying "what comes around goes around?".......In 1972 when I started loading, Unique and Bullseye were the top choices of powder for light to midrange handgun loads...that's what I used.....THEN....these other powder companies wanted a piece of the pie so it's natural to try them all. Guess what? Yea...you know...back to buying 8 pounders of Bullseye and Unique.

With those powders ......like 3031, 4895, and 5744, I don't even need a manual......I can look at a case and the gun it goes in and pull a load outta my head. :D ---6
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