.32-20 WCF Starline To .25-20 WCF

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  • Last Post 11 March 2020
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BudHyett posted this 29 February 2020

Background: This is for information only. There is a shortage of .25-20 WCF brass and neither W-W or R-P will answer queries as to planned production. Having some extra W-W .218 Bee cases, I first tried ti size up these and split some necks.

Next step was to size .32-20 cases down. Trying to size my last lot of .32-20 Starline, I lost seven of the first ten cases when they collapsed folding inward. I then talked to Starline while at the CBA Nationals about annealing.

Buying the Anneal-Rite setup, I worked a ten cartridge sample running them six seconds in the flame to bright cherry. Three of the cases collapsed; one on the shoulder and two folding inward. Running the next ten-case sample four seconds in the flame just to dull cherry, no cases collapsed. Another ten-case sample achieved the same result.. 

I then run 310 cases using the four-second dwell in the flame. I lost a total of fifteen cases by collapsing. Slight resistance when sizing and a dab of Imperial Sizing Wax works well. There are now enough cases to shoot a Regional or National Match weekend. 

The lesson is to experiment, the dull cherry works far better than bright cherry. 

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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tony1960 posted this 29 February 2020

Can't even help you from down here Bud, Aus is cleaned out of any 25/20 cases. All brands.

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BudHyett posted this 29 February 2020

Can't even help you from down here Bud, Aus is cleaned out of any 25/20 cases. All brands.

Thanks for the thought. I have enough cases now to get by this season with the necked-down Starline cases. The freight from "Down Under" would probably be the cost of another barrel in .25-35 (which may also be in short supply). 

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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beagle6 posted this 01 March 2020

Buffalo Arms has 25/20 brass ( formed from 32/20 ). Cost about 50 cents each.

beagle6

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M3 Mitch posted this 02 March 2020

Bud, you didn't say, but are you just running the 32-20 brass into a 25-20 full length sizing die?  When annealing, are you water quenching or allowing to cool in air? My understanding is that copper based alloys anneal "better" with a water quench, in direct contrast with steels. If I knew more about it, I would post up why this is, but I don't know why, I just know that it is true.  As a kid I made a little toy anchor out of copper wire, and decided to try to "temper" it to make it harder.  The more furiously I heated and quenched, the softer it got.

Does anybody make a set of forming dies for doing this conversion anyway?  I would think at least one intermediate step of about 7mm or .270 might be useful.  There may be some small wildcat sizing dies that could be useful for this.

I was asking about this and then found some 25-20 Winchester brass that I had pack-ratted away about a decade ago.  There are advantages in being a pack-rat, although I would recommend people be more organized about it than I have been. 

Starline did note (on their website) that the spec for 32-20 case diameter at the head, just beyond the rim, can be larger than the 25-20, so it makes sense to form a few rounds and make sure they will chamber in *your* particular 25-20 rifle, before you spend a weekend making up brass that won't actually fit.

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BudHyett posted this 03 March 2020

Bud, you didn't say, but are you just running the .32-20 brass into a .25-20 full length sizing die? - Yes, this is after some experimentation with an intermediate die. The technique of mild anneal, Imperial Sizing Wax and steady push worked well. The bright cherry anneal caused shoulder collapse. 

When annealing, are you water quenching or allowing to cool in air? - Water cooling. The production engineer at Starline was firm in recommending water quench since it is uniform and repeatable. 

My understanding is that copper based alloys anneal "better" with a water quench, in direct contrast with steels. If I knew more about it, I would post up why this is, but I don't know why, I just know that it is true. - Hardening and tempering qualities differ with the alloy content of steel. Think of this as freezing all the molecules in suspension at the moment rather that allowing them to agglomerate into dendrite trees and lose the alloying characteristics as tehy cool slowly. 

Does anybody make a set of forming dies for doing this conversion anyway? - I do not know. The only forming dies I own are for the .17-.221 Fireball. 

I would think at least one intermediate step of about 7mm or .270 might be useful.  There may be some small wildcat sizing dies that could be useful for this. - There could be, but none that I could easily find. I once owned a .50-110 which required forming .348 Winchester brass up. .348 to .375, anneal, .375 to .408, anneal, .408 to .429, .429 to .458, anneal, .458 to .510. This cured me of wanting any rifle that I could not make brass in one move.

Starline did note (on their website) that the spec for .32-20 case diameter at the head, just beyond the rim, can be larger than the .25-20, so it makes sense to form a few rounds and make sure they will chamber in *your* particular .25-20 rifle, before you spend a weekend making up brass that won't actually fit. - Yes, we are good. I ran ten cases and checked both rifles. Sometimes I luck out.

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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argie1891 posted this 06 March 2020

I have form dies to make 25/20 and 218 bee out of 32/20 I think they are redding  but will check and let you know in a few hours. so far I have not had to anneal the cases and have not lost any cases. if I remember the dies were just under $100 for the 2 dies and you would only need one.  Midsouth shooters supply has 25/20 form trim die for 56.71.

joe g. 

if you need me I will be at the range

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GWarden posted this 09 March 2020

System I use for turning  32/20Starline brass into 25/20WCF is  start with 25/20WCF seater die, take out seater stem. Full length size case with this die(use Imperial sizing die wax)

Go to 25/20WCF Full length size die, remove the expander stem and run case through die.

Lyman neck expander "die" last.

Works great and no loss of cases.

bob

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beltfed posted this 10 March 2020

bob,

did you anneal before your process of forming to 25-20?

beltfed/arnie

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ten-mile posted this 10 March 2020

I have made some thousands of formed cases using Starline brass, including 25-20 and 218 Bee.  I find that all Starline brass forms far better when properly annealed. The only downside to 25-20  formed from Starline is that it comes out a bit short.  This is mainly because the parent 32-20 case is already short.  I use an induction annealer for all my annealing and believe that it or some form of machine using a flame is the only way you can expect to get any uniformity in your work.

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GWarden posted this 11 March 2020

belted

I did not anneal the brass before reforming.

bob

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