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Old 12-29-2007, 08:41 PM
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Reloading the 32-20 WInchester

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Does anyone have any experience with re-loading the 32-20 Winchester for use in a rifle, not a pistol? In my copy of the Lee manual, it gives reloading specs for both, but they seem to be very different depending on whether you are loading for a pistol or a rifle. Does it matter which one uses? I am loading for a BSA Martini cadet sincle shot lever action rifle that is chambered for the 32-20 Winchester.

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Old 12-30-2007, 03:04 AM
Gil Martin's Avatar
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Welcome to the Forum

Stick with the reloading manual recommendations and it does make a difference which loads are used. The rifle loads are probably a bit hotter due to the strength of the rifle action and those loads should not be used in a handgun. The handgun loads are usually somewhat lighter and can be used in a rifle. Hope that helps. All the best...
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:08 AM
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The first thing to do is figure out exactly what you have, if you don't already know. I'm not all that familiar with the Martini rifles but I believe they were originally chambered for the .310 Martini caliber. Many of them were rechambered for 32-20 but I think the groove diameter is .323, maybe wrong on this.

Beartooth bullets sells an excellent 32-20 on this website that you can get sized for a .312 or .308 barrel.

I would highly recommend buying Starline brass, it is much stronger than Winchester.

The Speer manual has a seperate section for "high velocity rifle" loads. They also have a section for "Contender Only" loads.
The Lyman book has the most data for low pressure cast loads.

My best accuracy in my Marlin rifle, using the above mentioned Beartooth bullet, is with 14 grains of H-322. Here is a thread where I have discussed it.
I hope some of this helps, Iím a big fan of the 32-20. Sound off if you have some more specific questions.
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Old 12-30-2007, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
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Do as KenK says and get some starline brass. Commercially loaded ammo has extremely thin walled cases that are hard to reload without crushing the case mouth.
The early bird may get the worm but the second rat gets the cheese. (K5JWO)
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
Posts: 9,035
the rechambered versions using the issue barrel wee usually something in the .318-.320" area, at least the two I measured were. Looks like there were at least two versions of the .310 Cadet, one with a heeled .321" bullet and one with an inside seated .316-.318" bullet (with a hollow base)..but those are measurements from beaten up old cartridges and not chambers.

had a freind who shot a re-chambered/original barrel .310 and his ran .318". Looking around, found an old Lyman mold that tossed bullets at .315" as cast...a little lapping and they came out at .319". His might have been an odd barrel, haven't looked at a whole bunch of them. With fast powders anbd soft bullets (factory 98gr. RNL .32SWL bullets) could get it to shoot well so long as the soft/semi-HB, bullet was kicked in the arse hard enough to "bump up" (same basic bullets might still be available from CBC/Brazil). For light loads, he'd shoot 100gr. HBWC .311"s using light loads of fast pistol powders (Bullseye or Red Dot)and get some amazing short range groups.

That lapped out 319" mold (and I can't remember what mold number, other than it cast at 109gr., was a RN, and didn't take a gas check) woulod shoot the best at 100yards. For loading data, he stayed with loads listed in Lyman which stayed around 1500fps as a max.
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