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Old March 11, 2006, 04:53 PM   #1
dbuffington
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Winchester 1885 32 WCF Rebored?

Hello!

Today I looked at a pre-1900 Winchester 1885. The barrel is marked "32 Cal WCF" and it will chamber a 32 WCF (32-20) cartridge.

However, it definitely looks like it has been rebored. Any thoughts as to what it might have been rebored to?

Thanks!
Dave
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Old March 11, 2006, 05:07 PM   #2
mete
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Rebored or rechambered ? The best thing to do is to take a chamber cast and check both chamber and bore dimentions. The 1885 was made in a huge number of different cartridges so reboring/rechambering was always a possibility.
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Old March 11, 2006, 09:26 PM   #3
James K
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Many of those rifles were also sleeved (lined) to other calibers, including the original. So a brand new looking bore could still be the original caliber.

Jim
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Old March 11, 2006, 10:50 PM   #4
dbuffington
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Rebored, I'm sure. A 32-20 bullet fits VERY loosely in the bore.
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Old March 13, 2006, 09:10 PM   #5
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Do the chamber cast. Don't overlook the possibility of a pistol cartridge, as a lot of the old SS rifles were converted to rounds like the .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt.

Jim
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Old March 13, 2006, 10:29 PM   #6
Unclenick
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If the .32 is loose, the next logical thing to expect to find, given its age, is a .36 of some kind. The .38 Special came to mind right away, as Jim suggests. It is a bit shorter than the original cartridge and a little fatter, having another 30 mils in the case body and rim diameter. The 32-20 rim is just big enough that it wouldn'f fall in, but if its case didn't rattle loosely in the chamber, I don't know of anything with a bigger bullet and a case that narrow? Perhaps someone wildcatted the 32-20 up to 38-20? Since the .32-20 case diameter is O.D. is only .354, this would involve a special bullet with a rebated tail, like a .22 rimfire bullet. You could try dropping a .38 special dummy in the thing see if it fits? Unfortunately you will need to do the casting to learn anything more?

The other odd possibilities that occur to me would be the chamber left in 32-20, but the bore opened up for the 32-40 Ballard bullet. At .321" that bullet is just enough over the 32-20's .3125" that you could drop the latter into the bore diameter of the former. You might be able to seat without case mouth expansion. Short case life, but not entirely out of the question.

It could be opened up for a .338", for that matter, but you would have to expand the cases to seat them, for sure. Be about as much fun as the theoretical .38-20 I mentioned earlier, but avoiding the custom bullet mould.

I think I've talked back around to the casting.

Nick

Last edited by Unclenick; March 13, 2006 at 11:08 PM.
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Old March 14, 2006, 08:35 AM   #7
dbuffington
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> I think I've talked back around to the casting.

Indeed. Although I'm going to take it to a gunsmith tonight to check the possibilities of relining the barrel to the original 32 WCF specifications. That makes me nervous, but the smith claims it can be done without being apparent to the casual eye.

Thanks to all!
Dave
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Old March 14, 2006, 04:54 PM   #8
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Yeah. The Redman liners for 32-30 are .5" O.D., so if your 32-20 case didn't fall into the chamber, the liner is going to fill any gaps and support the new chamber.

Nick
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