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Thread: .32-20 advice?

  1. #1
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    May 2007
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    Default .32-20 advice?

    I have a few hundred 90 & 100gr jacketed hollowpoints (.312) that I'd like to use in a pair of .32-20s. One's a SAA Colt, the other a Model 92. Both have family history, and are the better part of 100y old, but in solid condition, and built for smokeless. Been fired over the years with same or similar bullets.

    Looking for advice on a light plinking load with Unique or 2400 that would work in either gun. Pistol or small rifle primers? I'm planning to move to a 100-115gr cast, but figured I'd clean out the closet first!

  2. #2

    Default 32-20 plinkers

    I have used several loads with a 100 grain jacketed bullet that I got from Ken Waters Pet Loads which proved to be accurate and useable in pistol or rifle. 8 to 8.5 grains 2400 with a 100 grain bullet with the CCI small pistol primer. They were quite accurate is my Colt small frame revolver.

  3. #3
    Member
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    May 2007
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    Default

    Thanks! I'll keep an eye out for the Waters book, too.

  4. #4

    Default

    Though built for smokeless, the old models often have very shallow or worn rifling. Not a rule of thumb, but I've seen lots.

    If you're not satisfied with the accuracy of your jacketed loads for plinking, clean the bores really thoroughly and try medium-soft cast bullets instead. Something on the order of Lyman #2 alloy. Gas checks will help if you want to push things a bit, say to 1500 fps or so in the 92. With that soft alloy and moderate plinking velocities (1200-1300 fps in the 92 and 750-850 fps in the SAA), accuracy should be pretty fair even in older, worn barrels. In my experience it may be better to use a medium-fast powder like Unique rather than the slower 2400, too. Evidently the steeper pressure spike on the faster powders upsets the bullet base better, or at least sooner, for better contact with the rifling and better accuracy than the slower powders.

    I've only loaded for a handful of older model 32-20's, but if the rifling was impaired in any way, they only delivered suitable accuracy with these types of loads. The rifling had to be pretty pristine to do well with jacketed bullets and slower powders.

    I have a lot more experience with the 25-20 Win and 25-20 SS, and they both are even more finicky than the 32-20. I'm betting with only a little load tinkering you will have a couple of real shooters. Congratulations, and nice to hear someone keeping the family heritage alive and well!

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