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Old March 24, 2013, 04:38 PM   #1
Seamus Mc
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Join Date: March 24, 2013
Posts: 3
Reloading .32-20 Martini Cadet

Who has experience reloading for a Martini Cadet converted to .32-20?

I have a .310 Martini Cadet “converted” to .32-20. The standard .311 bullets from commercial .32-20 ammo gave terrible accuracy in the original barrel. I obtained some custom ammo using ‘similar to’ the original heeled Martini bullets in .32-20 cases trimmed down to about 1.11” with OAL of 1.58. These produced good accuracy but unfortunately that source is no longer available. I now have both original type .323 lead heeled bullets (.668” long) from Buffalo Arms & some .321 lead round balls. I have .32-20 cases, both original length & some trimmed to 1.11”. All are fire formed from my rifle. I have .32-20 Lee dies. I plan to load some with Trail Boss and some with 3F Goex. My questions are as follows:

I am not set up to trim cases. The shorter cases loaded with heeled bullets have an OAL of .158 but the bullets are seated pretty shallow. Is trimming to less than normal .32-20 case length as my former custom loader did necessary or desirable? I am thinking that he may have also used these in original .310 Cadet rifles.

Can I avoid full length expanding the cases with the .32-20 die as they are fire formed to this rifle? Is there an advantage to expanding? I generally expand when I reload other calibers.

How about seating? Can I just thumb seat or will the .32-20 seating die work? I have heard of folks using other .32 cal seating dies but .32-20 is all I have in this range.

Same with case mouth expansion. I expect the .32-20 die should work fine on these same caliber cases.

What about crimping? I am considering getting the Lee .32-20 crimp die. Will it handle these fatter bullets or would another .323 crimp die like 8mm Mauser be a better choice?

Any other experience or advice on loading for this not uncommon “combination caliber” would also be much appreciated.

Seamus Mc
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