.32-20 Revolvers

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

Years ago fooled with a Colt Army Special, which I sold.  

Recently won a GunBroker Auction for S&W .32-20 Hand Ejector 4th Change 6" barrel.

Some of the auction pics:

UPDATE, now that I have the gun in hand I see that the SN 759XX indicates it was manufactured in 1917 so is NOT heat treated.  So will be cautious on the loads.  Those in Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook (2010) which have been pressure tested not exceeding 16,000 cup/psi are OK.  Thinking mostly about Accurate 31-090B and 31-95T bullets and 3 grains of Bullseye, maybe 7 grs. of #2400, or 10 grs. of IMR 4227, if those will burn at the light level.

Maybe with a heavier bullet around 120 grs.? what say you all?

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

I say you send it to me for proper testing. I just happen to have a spot open in one of my safes for it. Enuf said.

 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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JeffinNZ posted this 4 weeks ago

Green Dot works well for me in the .32-20.  4gr would be on the money.

Cheers from New Zealand

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

Maybe this will prompt David, the dealer in Pith Helmets and Zulu Headdresses, to put my 32/20 articles on the blog. Ric

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

Give me an issue #. You ought to buy one, it would certainly improve your outwardly appearance. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

I believe it was run in two parts in 202 and 203 or very close to that.

I have a nice USMC Pith Helmet from the 1930's (but sized too small). Zulu Headdresses are not very flattering to my Scot-Irish face.

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M3 Mitch posted this 4 weeks ago

My limited experience with an old SAA Bisley model in 32-20, 7.5 inch barrel, is that 2400 anyway makes up into a LOUD load, and it spits some unburned powder grains out the cylinder gap.  I think I have mostly used Unique for moderate velocity plinking loads.  Bullseye should work about the same at a lower charge weight.

I think that Smith is probably well worth whatever you paid for it.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

There you go Ric, first part posted on the blog page. Embellished with a few photos. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 4 weeks ago

I have a few .32-20s, but this is my pride. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

That is a very nice Colt!

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

Ric, I don't know how I ever missed your article on the .32-20 revolvers.  I must have been distracted by something else at the time.

VERY timely, and by far the best article I have ever read on the subject.  You could teach lessons to Keith, if he were still around.

FWIW the .32-20 HE I got on GunBroker comes from your part of the country, sure would be interesting to know which PD evidence locker it came out of, wonder who badge #85 was and what the 1974 case number refers to, sure would be interesting if the gun could talk.

And thanks for the info you emailed me, will save lots of time buggering around!

And soon it will have a Savage Model 23D to keep it company! I won another auction!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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BigMan54 posted this 4 weeks ago

 I envy you. Growing up my Dad had a pair of COLT Official Police Revolvers. A 6" in .38spl that was/is my favorite DA Rev. The other was a 5" .32-20, that only my Dad shot. He used a 120gr? Gascheck bullet that was NOT from a LYMAN/IDEAL mold. Over a charge of 2400 that blew a 6ft flame with every shot.  It roasted the big jackrabbits & burned off all the fur & fleas so the dogs didn't have to eat  them raw.

I have that .38, but I REALLY wanted that .32-20. Have fun with it.

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

Picked up the S&W .32-20 HE today.  Serial number 759XX indicates it was made in 1917 so is NOT heat treated. The previous owner shot it quite a bit with hot loads, so I won't have to repeat that experience to find out what doing so does...

The face of barrel extension shows significant "dishing" and heat checking like a well used .357 Magnum.  Cylinder gap has opened to pass 0.010, hold 0.011 and there is about 0.003" end-shake. Timing on a couple chambers is a bit "slow," but the cylinder stop engages as you hold the trigger back, like a Colt.  

All of this is fixable, and I trust Sandy Garrett to do a good job of it.  I got the gun inexpensively enough that putting it right will bring it up to correct market price for a nice 85% "shooter grade" that hadn't been loosened from hot loads and didn't require any gunsmithing in the first place.

I sort of expected this going in, but the gun was I felt worth the investment, because I would have paid twice as much for a tight, clean collector-grade.

I won't do much shooting of it in its present condition other than perhaps to chronograph a few mild, factory lead loads as a "before" velocity benchmark.  I will take it soon to Sandy Garrett at Northern VA Gun Works to have its barrel set back a thread, the crane stretched to correct the end shake, the timing adjusted, barrel refaced and forcing cone recut and lapped, and cylinder gap reset.

Normally this is about a $150 repair if we don't need to replace any parts, or about $200 +- if we do...  

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

Ed, Thanks for the nice comments, it is still my favorite caliber after 50 years!

David, Can't wait to see part 2, as I haven't seen it for 16 years. Hope the data is still good. 

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38splpete posted this 4 weeks ago

Ed--your gun looks a lot like mine, although it looks like a 6" bbl--mine is 5".  I spotted it at a LGS a few years ago--the asking price was $350, but the owner announced it was a 10% off day, so I couldn't resist.  The top strap just behind the barrel extension is dished, which I thought indicated use of hot loads, like your gun, but otherwise it's tight looks good.  That skinny front sight and narrow groove is tough to see with aging eyes, though.

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Dale53 posted this 3 weeks ago

Ric;

I certainly agree with Ed Harris, that is an EXCELLENT article on the .32/20. I have never fooled with the .32/20, but I have certainly been an enthusiastic user of that .32 performance level on target and small game with my .32 H&R Magnums. So, we are kindred spirits even tho' I have had little experience with an actual .32/20.

Thanks for that article...

Dale53

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Thank you Dale. I haven't re-read it for years and that first half has weathered well. The second half has the reloading and shooting data and results. Thanks again, Ric

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hanover67 posted this 3 weeks ago

I have 2 .32-20 Colt Army Specials, a 5" and a 6". My load is the Lyman 3118 bullet, which drops from my mold at 120gr and 3.0gr of Bullseye. I've also used 3.5gr of Unique with a commercial copy of 3118 that weighs 111gr. I like the BE load better. I'd hoped to find a Smith & Wesson but so far nothing in my price range has caused me to bid. Living in California, the transfer cost for an out of state gun is $100, assuming you can avoid the "approved gun list." That adds a lot to a buy...

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delmarskid posted this 3 weeks ago

Ed, I had one like yours quite a few years ago. It may have been in about the same shape. It shot very well. I would have liked to put it back the condition you aspire for yours but i was making 4 bucks an hour and had a wife and 2 kids. This is why I started casting bullets as you can imagine. Mine liked a Lee 120 loaded backwards to make a wadcutter over Unique. I think someone before me had fired a rifle loading in mine as it had had a screwdriver driven into the the seam where the crane meets the frame to pop the cylinder open after jamming it up. I had a lot of fun with that gun and as I said it shot very well. I got a lot of 4" groups with it at 50yds. off of bags. I sent it to my mother for a Christmas present along with about 200 rounds of loaded ammo. She's never fired it. I like 32-20's, have an 89 Marlin in one.  

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

David, thanks for posting the second part of the article.

delmarskid, usually, the ejector rod unscrews, right hand thread on the old ones, and they don't know to turn it back into the cylinder. That is why they changed to left hand thread, so as the cylinder rotates, it tightens. Ric

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

Got lucky again, this one a Colt Police Positive Special 5" .32-20 made in 1924.  A few old rust freckles, but times and locks up tight, cylinder throats .314", cylinder gap pass 0.005". hoid 0.006", bore bright and shiny.  Off to the range!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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GP Idaho posted this 3 weeks ago

I'm so glad to be joining in on the 32-20 fun here soon. Please post up some pics  of your favorite moulds guys. I have three moulds on hand that MIGHT work but would like to see what the old hands with this caliber are using. Thanks Gp

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Left is Lyman 311492, RCBS 98 SWC, modified Ideal 311316 and Lyman 311576. All work well, but the RCBS usually has to be seated deep to clear the cylinders of revolvers in 32 WCF.

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

I got confirming drawing back from Tom at Accurate of the double-crimp groove for .32 S&W and .32-20 which is identified as 31-105T.  It generally resembles the 31-100, with the addition of a second crimp groove 0.3" back from the meplat, adding a 0.03" bevel base to bump the weight up slightly, increasing OAL to 0.585", and enlarging diameters of nose and driving bands to .313", but maintaining the nose tolerance negative.  

The revised drawing is now posted below along with the source bullet 31-100T.

Design concept for is to permit seating the bullet out for longer OAL to increase available powder capacity in the .32 S&W Long, or alternately in the front crimp groove to maintain the shorter cartridge OAL necessary to fit in .32-20 revolver cylinders.

Original 31-100T is of somewhat smaller diameter, being optimized to fit my .30 Carbine Ruger and 7.62x25 TT33.  

The .313 min. diameter of 31-105T is a better fit for .32 S&W Long and .32-20 revolvers as-cast and unsized, casting from wheelweights and lubing with Lee Liquid Alox or LSStuff 45-45-10.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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GP Idaho posted this 3 weeks ago

Thank you Ed and Ric for the replies.  Being kind of an excitable cart before the horse kind of guy I'm putting together a few things  for the 32-20 even if it isn't in hand yet. What I have on hand that may or may not work are these moulds. The Lee Tl314-90-SWC. I've had good luck with this bullet in several 30 caliber guns. I also have the Lee C309-113-F and the Lee C309-120R these being the same bullet with different noses and I use these in 30 carbine. I believe they could be brought up to size with a good coat of powder coating. I have on order the 6 cavity Lee 315-90-WC. Another mould of interest to me is the NOE 315-90-WC which comes with hollow base, cup base and flat base pins. Any thoughts on this one? I'm in the habit of buying my moulds from Al but may look into the ones Tom cuts. I hear nothing but good reports as to their quality. Thanks again Guys. Gp

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Ed Harris posted this 3 weeks ago

I would wait until you have the revolver in-hand so that you can exactly match the mold to fit the cylinder throats with either no sizing or only minimal sizing.

I've no experience with powder coating, and would rather the bullet "fit" in the first place.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 3 weeks ago

Sorry, GP. I have not used a Lee mould for years, and will not again. Can't stand the pain and aggravation. Cast them big and size in a lube/sizer to exactly throat diameter. But them I'm an old curmudgeon and set in my ways.

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GP Idaho posted this 3 weeks ago

Ric: I like old curmudgeons and their opinions and thank you guys for your input. We all have ways and means of getting to our respective goals. I've found Lee moulds to be kind of a luck of the draw sort of thing and have a few from back when I started that are among my favorites, I have also just thrown a couple in the trash as I didn't feel right about selling the POS. I did a run yesterday of the Lee 309s (moulds I've had for years not bought for this project) and with them dropping a tad large with my alloy and a coat of powder coat they're .313 with a few a tic under. I'm up grading my stash of moulds in the last couple of years  I now have mostly NOEs with six Saecos and a lonesome LBT. Thanks again for all the help you guys have been to me and a special thanks to Mr. Dupraz for helping get me in on the 32-20 fun. Gp

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

i just remembered ... for you 32-xx guys ... after some trading i now have an extra  redding saeco  #326    32 S&W   2 cav mold  ... but no 32 S&W !!   pm me if  .

ken

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Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

FYI for folks, the Saeco #326 is a miniature Keith type, which looks like a #452423 which shrunk in the washing machine. It has the  same profile as #325, but with a bevel-base added, which bumps its weight to about 100 grains.  Has a nice, large .25 meplat, great small game bullet and accurate.  A good candidate to have Erik do his inset bar HP conversion on.   Mine I had dropped .314+ in WW

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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GP Idaho posted this 2 weeks ago

PM for you Ken

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Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

Accurate 31-105T mold arrived yesterday and I cast some samples to send out to folks.

Profile is similar to factory bullet for .32 Colt New Police and .32-20 lead loads.  

Here is the critter in the flesh bracketed by the classic factory lead .32 bullets.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 2 weeks ago

That should be a very accurate bullet, I would think.

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Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

Ric, you will have a chance to find out soon, SFRB with 100 of them as-cast WW on the way to you.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 2 weeks ago

Thank you Ed, always a gentleman. My shop yesterday was 118 degrees, and full of smoke from the Canadian fires,  so it may be a while till l get them sized and loaded.

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Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

Had I known I could have sized and lubed for you...

 

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 2 weeks ago

I have the following molds which can work and I have used for the .32-20:

Lyman 313226 93 gr. PB RN
Big Lube 32-80 80 gr. PB FN
Lee TL314-90-SWC PB
Arsenal 314-100 100 gr. SWC PB & GC
NOE 315-89-WC 89 gr. PB  WC

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys & Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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GP Idaho posted this 3 days ago

First off, I'd like to tell you all how pleased I am with my recent purchase of the Colt 32-20 offered by Mr. Richard Dupraz. The revolver certainly shows more potential accuracy than my old hands are capable of. Having no prior experience with the 32-20 round I consulted all the printed information I had on hand. Ken Water's Pet Loads, Cast Bullet Handbooks #3 and 4 and a cowboy action handbook by IMR. Here's how I started using the Lee 311-93-1R and the Lee TL314-90-swc I assembled these first rounds and chronograph in hand headed out to the county range.  3.3 TiteGroup Av 896 sd 24, 3.8 Green Dot av 992 sd 26, 4.8 Unique av 1173 sd 28 4.5 Unique av 1066 sd 14 and Trail Boss 2.7gr. av 735 ad 14. All in all very pleased with these as a first try. The 4.8 Unique is a few fps faster than recommended by handbook #4 and the Trail Boss load has the recoil of a 22rf if that.  I'm looking to add a couple more moulds and will share #s when. Thanks again Richard for a fine shooter grade 32-20. It's going to be a lot of fun. Gp

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Ed Harris posted this 3 days ago

GP Idaho,

Thanks for posting your velocity data.  This is highly useful!

Would be interested to know what the cylinder gap is on the Colt, and the barrel length.  I think 4.5 of Unique should be a winner. In my experience Green Dot tracks very close to 231 so that should be a safe level to try.  I have little experience with Trail Boss but people have told me that weight-for-weight it tracks closely to Bullseye or TiteGroup, and based on Ric's recommendation I'm trying 3.0-3.1 grains of Bullseye as metered by RCBS Little Dandy Rotor #3.  

I may try the same VOLUME of AutoComp in the rifle and the same WEIGHT of Titegroup for comparison.

Been too hot, humid and tropical to put in much range time, but when the weather breaks I plan to run several batches of lead factory ammo through revolver and rifle and try various charges with Accurate 31-105T to attempt a factory duplication load.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 3 days ago

hi gp ... hey you are supposed to include at least a hint of guilt when reporting on your adventures with a new toy ...

maybe make up some kind of setback ... just to keep with protocol ...

ken

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GP Idaho posted this 2 days ago

Ken: Does sound like I've been on a run of good luck lately Huh. No worries I'll do something soon that will wake up the "Fun man" and things will go all to **** laugh out loud. Gp

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R. Dupraz posted this 2 days ago

After all these years, sounds like I did it again, don't it? Oh well it needed some love. 

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