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  #1  
Old 01-24-2011, 06:09 AM
dis360 dis360 is offline
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Default How old? Winchester 32-20 ammo for hand-ejector

I picked up some .32-20 ammo from a local gun shop yesterday and wanted to know how old it is. Looks a bit old. Can any of you professionals tell by looking at this box? 70's, 80's, 90's?






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Old 01-24-2011, 07:03 AM
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The fact that it has a bar code on the side of the box tells me it is less than 40 years old. (The first barcode scanner was put into use in June of 1974)
The cartridges you have laying next to the great looking revolver look in very good shootable condition.

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:56 AM
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That is not old as 32-20 ammunition goes, the white box was introduced in the early 70's as I remember and continued to the late 80's. When I first started buying 32-20 ammo in the 50's it was loaded with 115 gr. bullets, that changed when they went to the white box.
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the compliment on the gun, it is my new favorite piece.

Good call on the barcode info, that makes sense.

One thing I did notice regarding the barcode is that it's a sticker that has been added on the box, like maybe the box was produced pre 1974 and converted over at the factory or the shop it was being sold in.

Any veterans out there with a good memory remember what there winchester box looked like in the mid 70's?

Thanks for the info guesser sounding more and more like a 70's box of sorts. Pretty amazing that was just sitting on the shelf at a local gun shop and I just happen to roll by and there it is after all that time.

I think if it is 35-40 years old I would rather not shoot them since it is a complete box. I may just get a new box of them from another source, a few other places in my area had a box a Remington and some other brand at a different shop. I could always order the 115 gr. Ultramax brand rounds, they are available right now for purchase through their website or learn to hand load the 32-20.

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Old 01-24-2011, 02:09 PM
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Disclaimer: I'm old and grouchy.

These threads are amusing because of the different perspectives we have on the subject. Here we have what appears to me to be a very modern box of ammo. I'd consider it new, or pretty new anyway. It has no real collector value because its so new. Its value is in shooting it, and maybe obtaining the brass.

I tend to agree the box is probably 1970s production. I recall buying and shooting up a lot of ammo in similar boxes (if not all 32-20). Its good ammo, made since they stopped making the hi-speed stuff that had the ability to disassemble weaker revolvers.

I don't shed any tears for the gun store owner. Yes, he's paid storage on the box for a long time. Or maybe he traded for it from another store that had become tired of paying support on it. Some store owners even buy ammo from estates and bankrupt other stores. I'd guess the original price was in the $5 range. How much did it cost the OP?

A lesson for all here, stop at small and out of the way gun shops. No guarantee of getting an owner who just fell off the turnip truck, but sometimes there are bargains the regulars have no interest in buying themselves. Not just ammo, look for guns an grips and other accessories. I just gave my buddy Joe a box of gun cleaning patches I got with the old house. I'm guessing 25 to 30 years old. Good as new.

On the subject of reloading .32-20s.....good luck. Its not the easiest cartridge to reload. Its probably down on the other end of the chart. Its a tall thin case and easy to crumple. Read about it specifically if you can find anything. Try the internet, its your friend! The problem is case length. If you trim them all to the same length before you start, you've got a fighting chance. The cases just aren't forgiving of much abuse. Then the next trick is to start very slowly and set your dies for the reloading cycle. Keep remembering the idea you don't want to ruin brass.

If you decide you have a shooter, start looking for components. I scored big time last year. A reloader, or maybe he was a former reloader had a real bargain on lead gas check bullets. He may have cast them himself. They were bulk, like in a coffee can full and two other cans. I bought them all. I'm thinking I paid $10 for maybe 500 or more of them. A steal.

At another gun show A guy had a pile of .32-20 stuff. He had several boxes of loaded ammo (much older than shown above, probably 1930s or 1940s.) He had a couple of partial boxes of loaded and empties. And he had a single box of jacketed bullets, 50 of them. All orphans from some past owner who didn't use them up. It was one of those negotiations that had us both backpedaling. He wouldn't set a price, I knew I was looking at a few hundred bucks worth of stuff. I refused to make him an offer because I dislike overpaying. Finally I was getting ready to move along and he said "How about $85?" Way low, and in my ballpark. I didn't counter offer, I paid up. And he was right, I was going to walk on (never price another man's goods.)

I felt I got a good price. But I don't feel sorry for him. My guess is he doubled the price someone had in the stuff when originally purchased. It seems the caliber is one where components and ammo never gets consumed fully. Gun nuts seem to have the fault of gluttony. We buy and store more than we need at the present time. Our plans are to eventually use our stock piles up, but we die or get even grumpier and the stuff languishes.

The dark corners of our reloading rooms are interesting places. Just like the corner of the gun shop you discovered the box of ammo hiding in. If you take vacations, you might even want to seek out old gun shops. Most of us vacation and do it in a mad rush. We seek to pack every minute into speed limit breaking travel. But if you find a yellow pages, you'll discover many small towns have gun shops. Mostly on back streets and only known to locals. Probably run as a hobby as much as anything else. No employees, only the owner, and sometimes not open on a real regular schedule. Some only on Saturday mornings!

Unusual calibers and even some odd loadings will sit and age like fine wine. Your job is to find them.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:55 PM
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Ammo came from a newer gun shop that bought stock from a gun shop that closed down a bit ago. So this ammo has been passed around over time, but to be honest the $36.00 I paid for it is the cheapest in town for factory ammo. Online I'm paying $40.00 plus $10.00 shipping, other stores in my area wanted 40 and 45 for their new boxes of remington 32-20.

I may hold on to them, when something like a box of ammo is 11 years older than me I consider it old.

The last poster reported the original price was around 5 dollars, that seems to me that's right on considering,

What cost $6 in 1970 would cost $33 in 2010 according to a number of inflation calculators.

I think I would to try out reloading some ammo for it, i'm always trying new things and like to get as many skills under my belt as I can
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:26 PM
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Get the lot number from the box and call the factory. They should be able to tell you when it was made, if you just have to know.

According to the Winchester web site it is still produced.
http://www.winchester.com/Products/r...es/X32201.aspx
But the design of the current box is different.

Several online ammo sites show it available for about $35
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:06 AM
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It's been my experience that reloading is the way to go on older cartridges. As brass for the .32-20 is still available from several sources this is your best bet. As noted it is a thin case and has a tendency to crumple like the .38-40, .44-40 and several other calibers. If you take your time and follow procedure you should have no major problems (I've been loading this round for years with only a few lost cases).
I would advise sticking to lead bullets though, so as to not put wear on the bore of a nice revolver like the one you pictured. Once you have an ample supply of brass it's a cheap round to load and a lot of fun to shoot. Go ahead and shoot up that box of '70's ammo if you want, it won't have any collectors value for a long long time.

Mark
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:04 PM
dis360 dis360 is offline
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Thanks for info, I will take your advice and shoot them up.

How much of an initial investment would I need to make to get the equipment to be able to reload the .32-20?

What might you estimated the cost per round would be after reloading. I spoke with a guy the other day who said he reloads 9mm's and was able to make 1000 rounds for $80, then he would write it off on his taxes because he owns a gun smithing business
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:33 PM
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When it comes to the .32-20 and the handgun, there is only one ammo you really need to be careful of, and that is the HV stuff. Not the ammo marked high velocity on the box, this stuff has it on marked on the headstamp. This was a factory loaded 85 grain jacketed monster that would shake loose a revolver right quick. That ammo you have is just fine, I have shot older.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:46 AM
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Is there a difference in "hand loading" and "reloading"?

Is one done with a hand tool and dies and the other is a press machine with dies?
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:51 PM
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No, there is no difference between "handloading" and "reloading," which are different names for the same thing.

.32-20 can be a bit problematic to reload until you get the hang of it- it's a very thin case with a long "neck." You might ruin a half dozen cases before you perfect a technique. If you have a .38 Special, I'd suggest starting with that first and then try the .32-20.

The only way to shoot it a bunch is to reload for it- that's why most of these guns are never found worn out. The bore might be pitted on some because of use with corrosive ammuntion, but the actions are usually brand new.

I agree with Dick- that is "new" 1970's vintage stuff. Vintage stuff is pre-WW2. Old stuff is pre-1900. Yes, even stuff that old will still shoot. I guess the oldest factory boxed stuff I have is some UMC in a black gingham embossed slip top box in .38 S&W made with blackpowder.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:58 PM
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I've ordered a press and I'm going to reload mostly 40 S&W and 32-20 Winchester.

I am having trouble in finding the brass
I guess I should have checked that first, does anyone know where I can locate some 32-20 brass?

I did find one source that had 32-20 brass nickel plated but the price is at a premium of 36 dollars for 100 plus 8 shipping.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:28 PM
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dis360, get a Midway USA catalog, everything a beginning reloader will need including 32-20 brass.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:29 PM
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There are several ads for 32 20 brass on Gunbroker. You might look there.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:02 PM
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Looks like Midway has them for $24 per hundred- which isn't a bad price at all- Starline brand which is excellent, consistant brass for handgun use.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:01 AM
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Thanks Andy Griffith but the problem is they are out of stock
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:33 AM
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I would get it from Starline Brass direct, much cheaper.
It is backordered, expected availability: 01/31/2011
Worth the wait if you want to get 500 ($93.65) or 1000 ($163.00)
Those prices include shipping.

Starline Brass - Maker of America's Finest Handgun Brass
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:01 AM
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Thanks Ballistic thats a hell of a tip!
I'm going to backorder from starline for sure.

Is there any downside to using the nickel plated brass? I like the corrosion and hardness advantage if I understood that part correctly.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:11 PM
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Ordered 500 brass at 18 cents a piece, I don't think that could be beat, thanks for the tip. Now I just need to find a good source for the bullets and primers
Anymore tips ??
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:34 PM
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I know this is an old thread but on the inside of the box lid flap is a stamped code in ink. If you can post the code, I might can tell you the exact date. The code may be in different formats but I am looking specifically for the two letters side by side with two numbers. An example would be SD70.
Should be about 1981

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Old 03-16-2020, 11:36 AM
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Both W-W and Remington ammo boxes can be dated easily if one knows the production lot code, which can be located at various places on the box. Inside an end flap is typical. I have the codes, usually alphanumeric which will indicate production date and sometimes the loading line number. At one time Winchester and Western had different code systems but for quite a while they have been the same.
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