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Old 09-06-2009, 05:25 PM
dkees dkees is offline
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Default 32-20 Ammo for Colt Revolver

I have posted this inquiry on some other forums and received no information........

I have a Colt Police Positive Special revolver (396557) in 32-20. I can find no ammo, even vintage, which does not mention "Rifle" in the description. This gun is in fine shape but I don't want to damage it by using the wrong ammo.

Is there such a thing as 32-20 Revolver ammunition ?
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:44 PM
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from Wikipedia:
Although it is an inexpensive cartridge to reload,[1] care must be taken by the reloader because of the extremely thin walls of the cartridge case. Energy and pressure levels for handloading are determined based on the strength of the firearm action to be used. Because most firearms chambered for this cartridge are older (e.g. early model Winchester model 73 and 92 rifles as well as older Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers) factory ammunition usually has reduced pressures from what can be achieved through handloading. Most factory ammunition exhibits ballistics of about 1,200 ft/s (370 m/s) and 325 ft·lbf (441 J) of energy at the muzzle with a 100-grain (6.5 g) bullet from an eighteen- to twenty-inch rifle barrel. The performance characteristics of the cartridge listed in the sidebar should be considered maximum performance parameters obtainable, and even then only with a modern weapon designed for higher pressure loads. Factory-type loads - and reloads mimicking factory type loads - are the safe maximum loads for use in older weapons chambered for this cartridge, as most of the weapons the cartridge is chambered for are. Few if any concerns still manufacture hunting weapons in this caliber.

This matches my understanding that High power loads are no longer sold by manufacturers and factory loads are safe for pistols that were made for smokeless powder. Black powder age guns did not have heat treated cylinders and should not be used with factory ammo.
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:05 PM
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dkees:
I went out to my stash and found a box of Remington I bought several years ago for a .32-20 M&P that I have.
It is Remington brand, 100 gr. soft point, part number R32202. On both end flaps are the following statement:

FOR USE IN ALL REVOLVERS AND RIFLES

Good luck in your quest. I think the stuff is still out there to be had.

Ed
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:19 PM
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I think that Midway has some cowboy loads but, beware. I think that they are around $30 a box.

Just checked and they are B/O'd.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=490856
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:23 PM
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The rifle load which was the cause of the warning about .32-20 ammunition was the 80 gr. "High Velocity" hollow point load which was intended for the 1892 Winchester and 1894 Marlin rifles. The box carried a warning to not use in revolvers and Model 1873 Winchesterrifles. The bullet looks like a round-nose full jacketed one with a small hollow point in the nose, they are very distinctive.

This type ammunition has not been manufactured since before WWII, (possibly as late as the early 1950s, but I don't believe so), and it is highly unlikely you would find any of it.

All current manufacture .32-20 ammunition is suitable for revolver use.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:09 PM
The Last Standing Knight The Last Standing Knight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
The rifle load which was the cause of the warning about .32-20 ammunition was the 80 gr. "High Velocity" hollow point load which was intended for the 1892 Winchester and 1894 Marlin rifles. The box carried a warning to not use in revolvers and Model 1873 Winchesterrifles. The bullet looks like a round-nose full jacketed one with a small hollow point in the nose, they are very distinctive.

This type ammunition has not been manufactured since before WWII, (possibly as late as the early 1950s, but I don't believe so), and it is highly unlikely you would find any of it.

All current manufacture .32-20 ammunition is suitable for revolver use.
I have one of these rounds as you describe. It is marked "Western 32-20 HV" on the casehead. I've had it since childhood and have NO idea where it came from. I have no idea how really old it is...but before WWII?
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:56 PM
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there is a box on gunbroker its remington 100 grain and it says for use in all revolvers and rifles its $38 dollars mideway also has it cowboy loads but its sold out its $35 on up

Last edited by manny25; 09-06-2009 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:06 PM
dkees dkees is offline
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The consensus seems to be that currently sold 32-20, even if it says for rifles, is okay for this revolver.

I'll let you know

Thanks to all

This is why the majority of my time is spent on this forum. There are guys here who know what's going on!
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:18 PM
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The LSK:
Ray Giles has a pic of a Western box of high velocity ammo for 32-20 on his site Centerfire - 50rd which is probably pre-war. Some of the boxes had a sticker on them which indicated High Velocity.
Ed
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:12 AM
cloyede cloyede is offline
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Hello I am a new user and looking forward to being involved
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:10 PM
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I may be wrong but I believe the Colt Police Positive Special was always intended for smokeless powder. While I’ve could not find a pressure chart that uses the same units of measure for 32 WCF and 38 Special I suspect that both operate in the same pressure ranges using standard velocity smokeless ctgs.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:00 PM
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I like the O.P. got a great deal on a beautiful Colt 1917 Army Special 5" 32-20.Never found any loaded ammo suitable to shoot.It is an fairly easy cartridge to reload for and very inexspensive.Lots of cast bullets available and with a dab of Bullseye they shoot very good.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:43 PM
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Just for reference on prices. A week ago at the OGCA show, I bought 2 boxes of Remington .32-20s for $40 total. One box wasn't full, but missing a couple of rounds (brass there but fired.) This weekend at the show in Lexington, Ky there were 2 boxes (unsold while I was there), priced at $49 a box. If you have and shoot one of the guns, I'd suggest you pick your purchases carefully. There's money to be saved or wasted.

With the ammo shortages we've experienced over the last 3 years, there are factors to be considered. The 32s aren't very well represented. Those who own them don't do a lot of shooting. As a result, the more popular calibers have the advantage of volume sales. We'll never manage to get the per round price even near the same neighborhood. You can often find .38s and 9mms for $10 a box of 50. We'll probably never see that price for .32-20s again. I'd suggest if you see them for the $20 a box I paid, you buy them too. Doesn't matter if you really need them or not, chances are the prices will be going up again in the not to distant future. Get your stockpile while the getting is good.

At the OGCA show I also bought a box of .32 S&W (not longs, shorts) but it doesn't matter. You can reportedly shoot them in .32-20s, too. I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning on testing them. The case is a bit small, but the rim still catches in the right place on the cylinder and extractor. If the case bulges, I'll toss them out.

If you reload, or even just understand the principles, you can reload for a .32 or .32-20 easily. Its not rocket science. You need to decap (remove the spent primer). And you need some powder. In my ill spent youth, my father made a powder measure out of a 22 short case with a copper wire handle soldered on. Then he filed it down to about half the original length, so it would measure about 1 grain of Bullseye. We'd just seat a new primer, toss in the scoop of powder, and seat the "bullet". For indoor use, we'd just shoot a single OO buckshot. Its the right diameter for a .32. At long range, they'll knuckleball. At short ranges, they didn't have time and would just hit the target. A good plinking round.

But remember, I've still got small pistol primers I paid under $10 a thousand for... And I was outraged when I had to pay $16 a thousand back in the early 1990s. Saturday I saw the cheapo Tula and Wolfe brand selling for $29 and the seller not even feeling guilty!
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:20 PM
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I've tried .32 S&W Longs in the .32-20 Hand Ejector. Cases swell and split. Pressures are low so that nothing comes unhinged but it isn't a satisfactory arrangement.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:00 PM
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Glad you asked this question. I am a 32-20 nut and have tried to collect every variety of vintage ammo since the 1930s for this caliber. All 32-20 ammo by Winchester and Remington since the 1970s is
safe in a S&W/Colt or any other original gun in good condition.
The rifle only loads were last loaded in the 1960s and are 80 gr
hollowpoints that resemble a FMJ with a tiny hole in the center (32-20 WHV, 32 WHV,etc were the names).

Nearly all 32-20 ammo will be listed as a "rifle" cartridge because
that is what it originally was and has nothing to do with
whether it can be fired in a pistol or the pressure.

The 100 gr loads or 100 JSP by Winchester or Remington
are all safe in your gun. The rifle only loads are/were rare
and are seldom seen now. They had a warning on the box
cautioning use in M73 Winchesters and pistols.

The following loads are safe:

32-20 Winchester Ammo by Remington : Pistol Ammo at GunBroker.com

32-20 Winchester Ammo, Cartridges, Ammunition : Pistol Ammo at GunBroker.com

32-20 WINCHESTER, NEW WINCHESTER AMMO : Rifle Ammo at GunBroker.com


The following should NOT go in your Colt/S&W

1950s
Western Super-X 32-20 HV Hollow Pt. Full Ctg. Box : Collectible Ammo at GunBroker.com

25-20 but 32-20 would be identical-last hi velocity made 1960s box
Western 25-20 60gr. Hi-Velocity : Collectible Ammo at GunBroker.com


Hope this helps. Please note that modern Remington will say High Velocity but the only loads Remington makes for the 32-20
anymore are lead loads that are like 32 S&W.....quite anemic.
Winchester only loads lead anymore either. Remington
did make a version of the rifle only load years ago and was labeled
HI SPEED not High Velocity and the bullet looks identical
albeit with a bit more point than Win.

The following is in stock and would be great for your gun
Winchester Super-X Ammunition 32-20 WCF 100 Grain Lead Flat Nose Box of 50 - MidwayUSA

Good Luck....32-20s are fun.

Last edited by BreakerDan; 09-26-2011 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:02 PM
ivan quiroz ivan quiroz is offline
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Default i have 32-20 ammo for revolver

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkees View Post
I have posted this inquiry on some other forums and received no information........

I have a Colt Police Positive Special revolver (396557) in 32-20. I can find no ammo, even vintage, which does not mention "Rifle" in the description. This gun is in fine shape but I don't want to damage it by using the wrong ammo.

Is there such a thing as 32-20 Revolver ammunition ?
hello my name is ivan quiroz i live in oklaoma and i purchased 32-20 ammo for a revolver that i had 3 years ago but i dont have it anymore it got stolen .....ammo for revolver is very very very hard to find i have a box of western x centerfire 32-20 winchester 100 grain in original box 50 rounds i might consider selling ive seen that just the emty boxes go fo quite a bit on ebay or you might want to sell your gun!!
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:12 PM
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I have a full box of WW 100 gr. lead 32-20 that says "50 rifle or handgun cartridges". The # on the box is x32201. I'm pretty sure it's out there somewhere to be purchased.
OK, I just checked.... here it is:
Ammunition To Go : 50rds - 32-20 Winchester 100gr Lead RNFP Ammo [X32201] - $40.95

And here: Cabela's: Black Hills Cowboy Pistol Ammunition
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:49 PM
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I have a 1916-vintage Police Positive Special in .32-20, too, and last month for the first time saw a load that I'm afraid of: a 100 gr. JHP from Load-X. When it first appeared at the site below, it was listed @ 1600 fps. That sounds like .327 Mag. territory, so I have to guess that the pressures are considerably higher than the standard 100 gr @ 1200 fps from Remington and Winchester.

I emailed the manufacturer, and got the following response:

"The .32-20 HS ammo is designed primarily for modern production guns. I'm
not sure of the Colt Police Positive. Back then, heat treat and metalurgy
wasn't what it is today.
That much being said, it is not a max loading for the .32-20.
Have a gunsmith check it out and bless it."


How many "modern production guns" are made in .32-20???

If I was convinced it was safe, I would like to shoot small numbers of these (one or two boxes), but I'm not going to do it unless I hear that others have shot them in that gun with no problems.

After the first couple of weeks, the MV figure disappeared from the Ventura site, but now it's back. Why would they play peek-a-boo with the velocity info?

32-20 Winchester 100 Grain JHP High Speed LOAD-X

Last edited by Buck13; 06-29-2012 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:29 AM
Buck13 Buck13 is offline
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Yikes. Having learned a bit more about .32-20, it's clear I was crazy even to toy with the idea of putting those high speed JHPs in a gun designed for lead bullets and less than half the muzzle energy! A good way to lose a couple of fingers.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:10 PM
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The 80 grain winchester hollow points were marked OPE on the box for open point expanding

I just picked some up recently

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Old 10-29-2012, 07:23 PM
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Most comments are correct. You are not likely to run into any high velocity .32-20 factory loads today. Someone said they were phased out in the 1960s, but other sources give 1950s, possibly both dates are true depending upon manufacturer. For sure, if factory ammunition has lead bullets, it is suitable for use in any revolver chambered in .32-20. Best approach is to reload, far, far less expensive if you plan to shoot much. I will shoot several hundred rounds of .32-20 every month, all reloaded. I use 100 grain .313 cast lead bullets from Missouri Bullet Company over 3.5 grains of Bullseye propellant, very accurate, never had a problem with that load.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:21 PM
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Though the Police Positive Special is one of the smallest guns made in 32-20, I would think one in vg-exc. shape, should be able to be shot with the 118gr. and 80gr. Load-X moly coated load, as well as the 115gr. Ultramax, and Black Hills loads, in addition to the similar Winchester/Remington 100gr. loads. These are pretty low velocity all lead loads. So far, I've only used the 118gr. Load-X in a Marlin rifle, and it shoots great.

I don't understand the velocity on the Ventura Munitions site for the JHP load, but in the past, the pictured jhp ammo, was made by HSM, and was loaded at a lot lower velocity (in the 850fps range), though it is always sold out it seems, and I haven't been able to get any. HSM, does have some 115gr lfn available often, and it is about the cheapest 32-20 "factory loaded" you can get, but it is also often sold out. I haven't tried any, but recently ordered some, so we'll see.

I have been hesitant to pick up a Colt PPS in this caliber, because of it's size, preferring the Army Special/Official Police, and the S&W M&P 4th Change revolvers in this cartridge, as they are a little larger and probably stronger guns. When you do fire this cartridge out of a revolver, you do realize that it's a bit more powerful, than you would expect for a 32 caliber, with recoil on par with the 148gr. 38spl. wadcutters, at least for me anyway. I can imagine this loaded with a copper jacketed projectile in a modern rifle, like the Marlin 1894 and the Browning 53 at high velocity to be quite potent for raccoon sized animals.

I don't think there has ever been a 32-20 revolver specific load, BTW, and I don't know why the 32-20 ever got into the double action revolver in the first place.

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Old 11-03-2012, 04:23 PM
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The old high velocity .32-20 loads with jacketed bullets were on a par ballistically with the .30 Carbine military load when fired from a rifle. The original intent was that they were to be used only in the Winchester Model 92 and other rifles designed for smokeless powder, and not for the Winchester 1873. Belive it or not, I ran across a Winchester 92 that was originally a .32-20, but had been modified to shoot .30 Carbine. Side by side, there is little difference in appearance between the two cartridges, except that the .32-20 is rimmed.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:08 PM
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Default 32.20 ammo

Quote:
Originally Posted by weatherby View Post
The 80 grain winchester hollow points were marked OPE on the box for open point expanding

I just picked some up recently

I have 2 boxes of 32.20 Western and one box of ultramax, the westerns are 80 gr and 100gr and the ultra is 115 gr.....looking around I found some as low as 31.00 a box..most are up at the 35.00 box range
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:14 PM
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Years back, I believe the state of Tennessee had a tax on handgun ammunition, but not on rifle. (A surtax, not sales tax.) Some ammunition, and .32/20 was one, had a sticker indication for rifle use, so was exempt from the tax. Once you got the ammo home, who was to say what you shot it in.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigolddave View Post
Years back, I believe the state of Tennessee had a tax on handgun ammunition, but not on rifle. (A surtax, not sales tax.) Some ammunition, and .32/20 was one, had a sticker indication for rifle use, so was exempt from the tax. Once you got the ammo home, who was to say what you shot it in.
That's been discussed here several times previously. Apparently there were several states which levied special taxes on handgun ammunition back in the day. And the gun grabbers are still trying that tactic.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:09 PM
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The .32-20 is a fine cartridge. Reloading is not difficult. It is quite accurate in both rifles and revolvers. Colt chambered several revolvers in .32-20 while S&W did only the one. Colt New Army from 1907, Army Special from 1925 and a Police Positive Special from 1922. The Model of 1902 dates from 1903 while the nickel 1905 dates to 1907. You might say I am a fan.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:19 PM
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Default Rifles in .32-20

You mostly hear the .32-20 linked to Winchester and Marlin lever action rifles but the Marlin 27S and the Remington Model 25 are just slick handling pump rifles that are great fun to shoot. When I was a kid I had a cousin with a bolt action Savage (Model 43 I think) that caused a fair amount of coveting.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:11 PM
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Not too common, but the Colt Lightning rifle was also chambered in .32-20, among others. So was the Winchester Model 43. That's one you never see in .32-20. The model 43 was more famous in the .22 Hornet chambering. There was also the Savage Model 23 bolt action, and another Savage single shot rifle which I do not remember the model number of.

I am sure I once saw a Remington Model 14-1/2 pump gun in .32-20, but I cannot find any information that it was ever factory-made in .32-20. Maybe it was another Remington.

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Old 04-04-2017, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
You are not likely to run into any high velocity .32-20 factory loads today. Someone said they were phased out in the 1960s, but other sources give 1950s, possibly both dates are true depending upon manufacturer.
Catalogs from the major ammunition manufacturers bear out the later date for the discontinuance of the old .32-20 high velocity cartridges: Peters (load #3272) last listed in catalogs in 1964; Remington (load #4732) last listed in catalogs in1965; Western (load #32203) listed in catalogs 1967, not in 1969; W-W (no load number listed) listed in catalogs in 1966, not in 1970.
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