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Old 02-23-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default reloading 32-20

I just got a 32-20 Smith and could use some help on reloading for it. I have a bunch of 90 gr. LSWC and would like to use them if I can. Does anyone have any data using this type of bullet? Also, do you use a rifle or pistol primer? I would like to use Unique powder or whatever.

Thanks for any help

John
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:36 PM
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Hornady markets a 90 gr. SWC and publishes load data for it in 32-20. Check any of the last 4 or 5 Hornady manuals. The annual Hodgdon load magazine also has data.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:43 PM
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Go to this site and look it up, plenty of data. Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:56 PM
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I use 5.0 grains of Unique behind a 115 grain cast SWC, so that should be good for a 90 grain bullet also. I shoot this load in an older S&W .32-20, a Winchester Model 1892, and a Marlin Model 1894, with good results.

I will also be shooting it in an S&W Model 16-4, that I had Hamilton Bowen make an auxiliary .32-20 cylinder for.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:10 PM
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Default 32-20 loads

I thank all of you for the help. I'm in the loading mode now.
Will be using this in a 1905-4th change

Thanks again

John
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:17 PM
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I've worked up to 5.5 grains of Unique behind the Hornady 90 grain semi-wadcutter bullet.

My Smith & Wesson .32-20 Hand Ejector really likes that bullet. 5.0 grains of Unique is great for general purpose use.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:55 PM
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The .32-20 can be a difficult one to reload. I'd advise you to check all the cases for the same length before you start. The cases are long and thin and tend to crumple pretty easy if you get a long one. They're hard enough to get that there's no reason to waste them. If you trim them to length you should be OK. If all the empties are from the same lot of new ammo, you also should be ok for a few reloading cycles.

Use small pistol primers. You're firing them in a handgun, and you don't have the hammer fall to crush the harder rifle primer. With the low pressures you'll be running it won't be a problem.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:10 PM
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Thanks VRAY and RBURG

John
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:38 PM
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When the 90 grain Hornady lead semi-wadcutter is used with 5.5 grains of Unique, velocity is 969 fps from my revolver's 4-inch barrel. There is no leading from these bullets even though velocity is fairly high. The revolver's bore is smooth and mirror-bright.

Dropping the charge weight of Unique to 5.0 grains brings the velocity down quite a bit to 822 fps in my revolver. It is still very accurate and easy on revolver and cases.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rburg View Post
The .32-20 can be a difficult one to reload. I'd advise you to check all the cases for the same length before you start. The cases are long and thin and tend to crumple pretty easy if you get a long one. They're hard enough to get that there's no reason to waste them. If you trim them to length you should be OK. If all the empties are from the same lot of new ammo, you also should be ok for a few reloading cycles.

Use small pistol primers. You're firing them in a handgun, and you don't have the hammer fall to crush the harder rifle primer. With the low pressures you'll be running it won't be a problem.
rburg:

I was getting crumpled cases once in a while, so I bought a Lee Factory Crimp Die and the problem was solved.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:00 PM
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Agree with Dick about those cases. Those darn things are as finicky as 32 Long. Need to be the same length for uniform crimping. Also be very careful when sizing, belling and seating. Easy to wrinkle a case at the mouth or neck. Brass is thin. I have owned three or four of these darnn things and never got any decent accuracy. Just bought a Target version and waiting to get it. When responding to this thread, can you guys tell what accuracy you're getting with your loads. I am looking for something that makes tiny groups. It does not have the heat treated cylinder so mild is the way to go. Please excuse the added input about accuracy but hopefully it will benefit the OP as well.
Thanks
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:23 PM
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As a previous poster mentioned I also use a Lee Factory Crimp Die and so far no problems. I find the 32 Long an easy one to reload and have never had an issue. The first caliber I reloaded for was 32-20 and perhaps it was a case of "fools rush in where brave men fear to tread" when I started I did not realise it was a challenge to reload.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsguy View Post
As a previous poster mentioned I also use a Lee Factory Crimp Die and so far no problems. I find the 32 Long an easy one to reload and have never had an issue. The first caliber I reloaded for was 32-20 and perhaps it was a case of "fools rush in where brave men fear to tread" when I started I did not realise it was a challenge to reload.
I agree completely. The first cartridges I ever loaded were .45 ACP, .38 Special and .32-20, all within a few months too many years ago to want to remember. Back then no one made any remarks about how "difficult" the .32-20 was and I went along blissfully for years reloading it just like a .38, and with no more problems.

In 50 years loading the .32-20 I have damaged maybe 15-20 cases, and without exception it was my fault for not paying close enough attention.

I'm sure glad the internet wasn't around way back then so I didn't know how hard it was to load .32-20!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:26 PM
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I also have loaded the 32-20 for years without much thought to it. Then, I bought a chronograph and the woe began. With this cartridge it's hard to find a consistent load. i.e. a load that has an acceptable standard deviation. Factory loads (lead and jacketed) run around 30-40 S.D., which I think is a little high for non-magnum handgun cartridges. Some of my reloads at factory velocities were running 80-110 S.D. I thought the chronograph was malfunctioning. No, it was OK.
I would be interested if anyone has found a respectable 32-20 load.

My best factory duplication load from an 1905 H.E. 4th Change so far is 3.5/231 and a .313 lead semi wadcutter. Averages around 750 f.p.s. with a S.D. of 35.
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16-4, bowen, cartridge, chronograph, crimp, ejector, hand ejector, hornady, model 16, primer, wadcutter, winchester

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