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Thread: 32-20 vs 38 spl for small game/plinking

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    Default 32-20 vs 38 spl for small game/plinking

    Okay, so...here's the deal. I have an old Colt revolver in 32-20 that was my Dad's. I've been wanting a matching Winchester Model 92 in 32-20 for years. Those don't come any cheaper than $1300 and up. I suspect one that has a good enough bore to be an accurate shooter will be closer to $2k.

    There are some reproductions out there of Model 92's and 73'a (Uberti I think) that are also....$1300.

    I'd like to have a matching rifle to carry out in the woods, maybe shoot a hare or grouse (like I could ever find one in the first place lol) and maybe my kid would like to shoot it. To that end...I also have a Rossie 92 in 38/357 it's darn near my favorite gun and is my "don't leave cabin without it" gun.

    Would I be better served just loading a light 38 spl load for the Rossi 92 (I think I used to load something like 3 or 4 grains of I forget the powder in a 357 case and the rifle literally didn't recoil.) or stick with my search for a rifle in 32-20?

    In other words, which is the better cartridge for target practice and small game?

    I think I brought this up a few years back and never did decide.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Get a old H&R for a hundred bucks and have Jess reboring make it a 32-20 for hundred fifty bucks.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Well for practical I think the down loaded 38 is a better option, Bullseye would have been the powder you forgot. But there is much to be said for having what you want too. Only you can answer your own question here, it comes down to what you want.
     
    I can re-barrel a Rossi 92 38/357 to 32-20 if you want, I’d need to price a blank to price it but you’ll be under a grand for a new bore that way. If you get one of the older pre-lawyer button they are just like the old Winchesters inside just metric threads, funny but they are more Winchester 92 than the Winchesters are cuz they copied off Browning’s original design.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    ...just loading a light 38 spl load....
    You said the magic word in loading. If you didn't reload the 32-20 would break your bank in a hurry if you did a lot of shooting. Assuming your Colt has fixed sights, you might have a lot of load development ahead of you, finding a load that performed well in both the revolver and your eventual rifle. But it would be worth it in my book, for the pure "culture" of putting your dad's revolver to work on hunts. Add the Marlin 1894 to the list of possibilities, probably at prices down in the range of the Rossi's but a whole lot more gun in my experience.

    Cheapest of all would be to load light 38's for your existing Rossi. That's a very viable approach too, but not nearly so "cultural" as putting the Colt to work with a matching rifle.

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    Unless you are stuck on a Winchester, here is a Marlin, http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=375947968, or a beater Winchester, http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=375916159 . I have a Ruger Blackhawk with dual cylinders, one in 32 H&R, the other in 32-20, I cast a 100gr SWc that makes a hell of a plinker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBman View Post
    Unless you are stuck on a Winchester, here is a Marlin, http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=375947968, or a beater Winchester, http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=375916159 . I have a Ruger Blackhawk with dual cylinders, one in 32 H&R, the other in 32-20, I cast a 100gr SWc that makes a hell of a plinker.
    Hmmmm. I had never even heard of a Model 53 until today. And being the Winchester fanatic I am, that's embarrassing. Looks like it is essentially a Model 92 with a half magazine and forearm that fully covers the magazine tube.

    Oh, and I read an article about boring out Ruger cylinders to make them into 32-20, but I already have a revolver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You said the magic word in loading. If you didn't reload the 32-20 would break your bank in a hurry if you did a lot of shooting. Assuming your Colt has fixed sights, you might have a lot of load development ahead of you, finding a load that performed well in both the revolver and your eventual rifle. But it would be worth it in my book, for the pure "culture" of putting your dad's revolver to work on hunts. Add the Marlin 1894 to the list of possibilities, probably at prices down in the range of the Rossi's but a whole lot more gun in my experience.

    Cheapest of all would be to load light 38's for your existing Rossi. That's a very viable approach too, but not nearly so "cultural" as putting the Colt to work with a matching rifle.
    I know, factory ammo in 32-20 is $1 a round-as much as any 30-06 or other rifle ammo. I have about 300 rnds right now; some is store bought and some is hand loaded. (Another forum member here let me use his reloading gear a year or two back. I could probably continue that for a while, but wouldn't want to abuse or take advantage of his generosity.)

    Yeah, the Colt has fixed sights. Probably what I would do is either find yet another 357 Rossi and hand it over to ADfields or find another pre lawyer safety Rossi in 44 Mag, and then hand my current Rossi 357 over to ADfields. I carry that Rossi everywhere with HSM Bear loads (I know, not ideal, but it's essentially the biggest carbine type gun I have. (My 12 ga shotguns all have full chokes and 30" barrels, so not very good for slugs and my 243 is, well, a 243.) So before I go to an even lighter cartridge in that gun, I have to find a replacement "bear gun/woods carry/cabin gun." Rossis in 44 Mag are pretty much made of unobtainium these days.

    But, yeah, you're right, converting a Rossi, buying a Uberti (I don't really see that as an option at the current price point-I would spend that money on an original) are not quite the same as having a "matching" rifle to go with the old Colt.

    *sigh* SO many guns. So little time left and even less money.

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    Something to watch for while you're gandering around:

    Some time ago Marlin did a run of ther 1894's in 25-20. I picked mine up when they first came out, but I doubt they were around for more than 3 or 4 years. If you come across one, GRAB it. It's my pick of the littler for small game guns. So good in fact, that I traded off my 32-20 since I simply wasn't using it after getting the 25. Wish someone made a revolver in 25-20, because that would be a pair to draw to. But in the meantime, don't overlook the 25-20 if you come across one. Mine is more accurate than any 32-20 I've ever owned, and other folks tell me the same about theirs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    finding a load that performed well in both the revolver and your eventual rifle.
    And that's a whole other discussion for a future day. There used to be two different factory loadings for the 32-20. One was a "high velocity" "Rifle Only" cartridge that would damage handguns with continued use and then there was a "Standard Velocity" safe for use in both. I believe that, today, all factory ammo is of that "Standard Velocity" class. (At least the one each offering from Winchester and Remington is. I don't know for sure what Black Hills and...there is a fourth, smaller manufacturer, I forget their name...are making, but as they market specifically to Cowboy Action Shooters, many of whom shoot original guns, theirs is probably of the Standard Velocity type ammo, too. (And priced at a quite a premium over the Win and Rem stuff.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Something to watch for while you're gandering around:

    Some time ago Marlin did a run of ther 1894's in 25-20. I picked mine up when they first came out, but I doubt they were around for more than 3 or 4 years. If you come across one, GRAB it. It's my pick of the littler for small game guns. So good in fact, that I traded off my 32-20 since I simply wasn't using it after getting the 25. Wish someone made a revolver in 25-20, because that would be a pair to draw to. But in the meantime, don't overlook the 25-20 if you come across one. Mine is more accurate than any 32-20 I've ever owned, and other folks tell me the same about theirs.
    If I'm not mistaken, Browning also made a copy of the Model 92 about ten years ago, on a limited run, and I think they were available in both 32-20 and 25-20. But finding guns like that is, like I said earlier, unobtainium, Especially up here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Hmmmm. I had never even heard of a Model 53 until today. And being the Winchester fanatic I am, that's embarrassing. Looks like it is essentially a Model 92 with a half magazine and forearm that fully covers the magazine tube.
    Model 53 and 65 are both just model 92s with just slightly updated outward lines, same-same on the inside.
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    FL2AK
    Here is a deal for you. I have an original Win 92 in 32/20 that I would swap for your Rossi. Before you say I'm crazy you need to look at the rifle I have. It is definitely a beater. The action is pretty tight but the stock has been replaced with a piece of pallet wood and the barrel was replaced with an octagon off of I don't know what. And you can still use my loading equipment whenever you need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    FL2AK
    Here is a deal for you. I have an original Win 92 in 32/20 that I would swap for your Rossi. Before you say I'm crazy you need to look at the rifle I have. It is definitely a beater. The action is pretty tight but the stock has been replaced with a piece of pallet wood and the barrel was replaced with an octagon off of I don't know what. And you can still use my loading equipment whenever you need to.
    I've seen that rifle, and wondered if you would part with it. I might be interested in buying it from you, but I wouldn't want to part with my Rossi (It was actually my Dad's.) Besides, those Rossi's are pretty hard to find.

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    I understand completely. I'm going to turn this one into a 256 win some day and dress it up. The Rossi would be less work to change as the bolt face and lifter are already correct and it's probably made from better steel. But yeah, the guns I got from my dad mean a whole lot more to me than money or a different caliber.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I've seen that rifle, and wondered if you would part with it. I might be interested in buying it from you, but I wouldn't want to part with my Rossi (It was actually my Dad's.) Besides, those Rossi's are pretty hard to find.
    You could buy this one ($10 for me to transfer, dirty, needs some cleaning but should be fine) and give Rbuck your 357 or have me rebarrel it.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=376312751
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    Well. I think you guys have probably come up with a solution. I dislike buying through auction sites, but gunbroker might be the only option there. I need to plan it all out to figure which is the the lowest cost option. I do like that this could kill two birds with on stone. I could finally get a gun in 44 mag AND get one in 32-20. Although, it might be cheaper to just buy another lever gun in 357 expressly for conversion. But in either caliber, those guns have gotten pretty pricey. My dad paid $150 for the one I have now; the average on gun broker look to be close to $500.

    ADFields, when you have time (no hurry on this I doubt I'll move on it before mid Jan.) figure out an approximate idea on what it will cost to purchase the right barrel, ship it up here, blue it and put it on my Rossi 92, plus whatever else will needed to finish a conversion, and then send me a PM.

    From there I'll decide whether to buy another in 44 or 357, and then compare that to buying an original Winchester 92 already in 32-20.

    The downside of this is, if I convert my only 357 to 32-20, I'll be stuck with 6 boxes of HSM bear loads in 357 and no 357 caliber gun. I just bought all that last month, too.

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