I found this 2 year old thread over on Shooters.com.
"I have been a 32 mag fan since it first came out. I have never owned or even fired a 32-20. I recently accqured a blackhawk convertable 32mag/32-20. I only shoot cast bullets. Can anyone give reasons why I should buy dies, molds and brass for the 32-20?
There's no good reason. That round is pretty hard to reload for. The Ruger may have a .308 bore diameter, so i'd check that out since you cast bullets. This also affects the 32mag resizing die. Paco Kelly has a good article on the 32-20 in the past issues at sixgunner.com. It's under the heading MegamagnumII. He's a shooter, not a gun writer. You might check it out.
I reload both and have to agree on what was posted before. There is nothing that the 32-20 can do that the .32 Magnum cannot do. I started loading the 32-20 (and hunting with it) in the mid-1960's though, and got my first .32 Magnum in the early 1990's, so I have a lot of history with the 32-20. In fact, earlier this year I finally found a S&W NewModel 16 in .32 Magnum and had it rechambered for 32-20. It works great. I have a S&W Model 631 J-frame for the .32 Magnum. The 32-20 is definitely harder to reload than the .32 Magnum. Not impossible, but there are a couple of more passes through dies and a lot more cases lost during reloading. It is also extremely finicky about powder type, charge, bullets, etc. The .32 Magnum is childs play to reload and is extremely forgiving. The only thing about it is that the Blackhawk is a lot bigger and heavier gun than is needed for the .32 Magnum.
Thanks for your answers. In the 50's I owned a k-22 & a k-38. About the time I decided I wanted a k-32, they stopped making them. I thought I would one day find one but never did. Left a void in my life. When Ruger made the 32mag, I jumped on a single six 4 3/4 and a small frame bisley 6 1/2 and order was restored to my life. In 85 I retired and moved to South Ga to small (27 houses) farming community with a lot of pecan groves whose owners were happy to have the bushy tail monsters elimated from their trees. They ate or stored 50-55 lbs of nuts a year each and at a loss of 75 cents to $1 per pound it really ads up. 32mag works great on them. 86 walked into gun show and found M16 83/8 and didn't know they were being made. Later on found 4" 16 on and 631 4". Few weeks ago I found unfired blackhawk convertable. Only a few were made on special order and I should have kept it as a collectable but if I own it I shoot it. Just didn' know if there would be any reason to start loading 32-20. I know I have more 32mag's than anyone needs, but I had to wait over 30 years for my k-32.
From your wealth of .32's I know you were joking about having more .32's than anyone needs. I don't have that many .32 Mags, but do have .32 Longs, 32-20's and .32 ACP's. I read people posting about the .454,.476, or even .500 handgun rounds and there is usually a lot of talking back and forth about it. I have NO doubt that I shoot my .32's a whole lot more than they do their guns. As you note, it is a perfect size for hunting squirrel and rabbit. I moved to a .32 when I found out that a HV .22LR could not be counted on to anchor a squirrel or rabbit with a chest shot from a 4" barrel (this was before hypervelocity rounds). The .22 is great in a rifle, but that was absolutely no challenge. If I could see it, I could hit it with my Marlin 39A with a Williams peepsight. I quickly moved to a handgun and shortly after that moved to a 32-20. A handgun is much more interesting and a .32 is just right for small game.
These pecan groves were located near a fairly swamp that had an unlimited supply of squirrels due to an unlimited food supply of nuts. At first I hunted them with a scoped Remington XP-100 221 Fireball and you could shoot from a distance, but it was not as much fun or as satisfying as open sights. Usuall you had to walk around the tree several times so the squirrel would get high enough on a smaller limb so you could get a shot. 22 just did not do the job as well as the 32M. When you retire, if you have not already, I hope you get a chance to return to your boyhood and roam the woods like I was lucky enough to do
Oh boy, I recently found an unfired bicentennial 30 Carbine Ruger (dot get excited, it aint unfired anymore) but I was wondering if the bore was suitable for 32-20 and 32 mag? One of yall mentioned that the others may have a 308 bore? How does this work? I am interested in additional cylinders if this works? I know that a lot of .312-4 rifle bores shoot .308 real well but this is in reverse? And those rats with furry tails cleaned out every one of my peach trees this year, been hammering them with a 12 gauge but I forget to lug it with me when I need it most. Am afraid to do a lot of banging around with that 30 carbine nowdays cause of the noise. I know the 32-20 doesn't make near as much racket, does the 32 mag?
The .30 Carbine bore is supposed to be 0.308". Paco says he has rechambered a couple of them to 32-20 with no problems. I once had a Thompson Contender barrel in 32-20 that had a 0.308" bore. It was indifferent as a shooter. Not downright bad (no better than my 1931 Colt PPS), but it was not nearly as good as the same gun in other calibers. The .32 Carbine started out as a 32-20 that was made rimless and had heavier case walls. Why don't you download that instead of changing it over.
The blackhawk has a slow twist true 32 cal bore. It is designed to use normal 32-20 or 32 H&R bullets, max 115gr. The Contender has a .308 bore, 1:10 twist and is designed to shoot rifle bullets. I have both the 30-20 and 30 H&R mag Contender barrels, and both of them will easily shoot 5 toughing at 50 yards and consistantly group under an inch at 100 (using a rifle scope of course). Normally they are fed the RCBS 165 silhouette bullet. But with the stubby 115gr. bullets they will do maybe 3 inches, not much better. Just gotta feed them what they like. Oh, BTW the 32-20 in a Blackhawk can be loaded to much higher velocities than a 32 H&R can, using the published HV92 loads in the back of the Accurate load book. But the brass doesn't last long at this level. H&R brass from Starline lasts forever as long as you don't get too carried away.
The bore and twist on the Contender barrel explain why it was best with heavy loads of slow burning rifle powder and heavy 0.308" pointed bullets (150gr plus or minus). Unfortunately, I like the 32-20 and have others in that caliber. You cannot use a "30-20" Contender cartridge in a 32-20 rifle (pointy bullets and overlength) or in a 32-20 revolver (overlength and too high a pressure). I think that Contender should have advertised it as a wildcat based on the 32-20 brass case. That would have been more honest."