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Old October 13, 2011, 06:18 AM   #1
Savage32-20
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Older Load data

I'm kinda starting to think this is a "hen's tooth" and that I may never find what i'm looking for.

I know that shorter barrels (like pistols) use a faster burning powder (typically) so they can build up the pressure quicker to expend the bullet from the barrel. Rifles (typically) use a slower burning powder and take the time to build the pressure (the optimum pressure being reached at the end of the barrel) - this is part of the reason some ammo is labeled for certain gun lengths and some will say (handgun only or rifle only) on the box.

This being said - I have an old Savage 32-20 rifle - the problem I run into is that I can not find any load data for a "rifle" cartridge. Most do not differentiate at all and the few that do are using almost the same data as the handgun data.

An example of this would be the hodgdons website where they do not even have the 32-20 in the rifle category. It's listed as a pistol and the loads are very small and of the fast burning powder type.

I have been using unique powder for this gun but would like to know if someone has an OLD load manual that differentiates between the pistols and rifles and what powders it lists for the rifle. Also any load data that could be shared for the rifle would be greatly appreciated. I understand you may not want to post it here in the open so please feel free to PM me if you have something. I'd even be willing to buy that old out dated load manual from you if it has what i'm looking for in it.

The reason for wanting the powder change is that using the unique I've maxed out what should be loaded and i'm starting to see pressure signs. I figure going to a slower burning powder that is for a rifle may help me get a more accurate load without going higher in pressure.
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Old October 13, 2011, 06:25 AM   #2
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For a first stop, try Cartridges of the World. I'm at the office right now, but I'll check this evening and see what my various issues say.

Generally, though, I think you're going to have this problem in finding data for rifle rounds for the .32-20. It's not really a popular cartridge anymore, and concerns about putting souped up .32-20s into an old Colt or S&W probably is the biggest reason for this, especially after the bad experiences with the Winchester High Velocity ammo,
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Old October 13, 2011, 07:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response -

Quote:
Generally, though, I think you're going to have this problem in finding data for rifle rounds for the .32-20. It's not really a popular cartridge anymore, and concerns about putting souped up .32-20s into an old Colt or S&W probably is the biggest reason for this, especially after the bad experiences with the Winchester High Velocity ammo,
This seems to be the problem that I'm running into - Since it was used in both rifle and (later) hand guns most of the load data I'm finding has been tailored to the handgun market. I guess it's to err on the side of safety so that someone doesn't go putting a rifle load into a revolver and blow it apart. This is why I figured if someone had an older loading manual they may be able to help since it may differentiate the load between the two types or even just give the rifle information (if it's that old).

After reading about the book on Amazon I'm thinking it may be a good buy. The question I have (if someone has it) would be does it show the rifle loads or just the handgun loads. I have no problem buying the book if it has the information that I seek, I just don't want another dust collector if you know what I mean. Everything I've found so far has been for the handgun.
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Old October 13, 2011, 07:22 AM   #4
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Look for Hornady 5th Ed....they have a section on hotrodded 32-20 for the T.C. and silouette shooting. They warn that these are absolutely not for use in older weapons. Figure the starting loads would be a good MAX load point for older rifles or a work up spot for a more recent Marlin (80's-90's production).
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Old October 13, 2011, 08:27 AM   #5
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From Speer 13:
.32-20 Rifle (Strong Actions Only)

100 Grain JHP
.312” Diameter

I’m showing MAX loads.

296 13.0 1,881

H110 13.0 1,858

SR4759 12.0 1,735

H4198 15.0 C 1,679

IMR4198 15.0 C 1,678

VVN110 10.5 1,667

AA1680 14.5 1,636

Re7 16.0 1,634

2400 9.0 1,583

VVN120 13.0 1,583

AA2015BR 16.5 1,462

IMR4227 11.0 1,447
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Old October 13, 2011, 09:06 AM   #6
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How far do you want to go back?

I'm looking at "The Complete Guide for Reloading" By Phil Sharpe. He shows two loadings for the 32-20, one for the Rifle and one for the Pistol. The round was originally produced for the rifle but Colt and S&W started offering chambering for it in their heavy revolvers.

According to Sharp, the rifle loading should not be used in the revolvers.

An Example:

Rifle- The max Unique load shown for the 100 Grn Metal Cased is 6 grns giving the velocity of 1260 w/22,000 pressure reading.

Pistol-The max Unique load for the 100 grn MC bullet is 5.5 grns at 1065 FPS w/15500 pressure reading.

Thats quite a jump in pressure for only 1/2 gr. of powder.

This is just to give you an ideal, I haven't personally loaded for this cartridge.
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Old October 13, 2011, 09:11 AM   #7
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Looking at the list provided by colt 45 (thank you) I'm getting much closer to the powder i'm using for my other guns (30-06 & REM280) - Based on the powder burn rate chart at hodgdon's site.

I was using H414 in these guns and Unique for the 32-20 - These two powders are at opposite ends of the spectrum on the chart (unique is 31 & H414 is 109). I'd never consider making this jump on my own to this powder since it may provide some unwanted and devistating results.

I'm going to be switching the 30-06 and 280 over to use H4895 to try that powder out. Since Accurate Arms 2015BR is listed at 75 on the list and H4895 is 89 on the list they are much closer to the same burn rate. I'm toying with the idea of trying a few loads of H4895 in the 32-20.

But the question would be where to start with a load for this. I don't want to blow the gun apart but also don't want to squib it either. I realize we are getting out of the norm on this one but i'm really looking for a powder i can use universally with all 3 guns (in different amounts) so I don't have a possible mix up of powders and have less "inventory" to try and explain when the wife comes snooping.

Quote:
How far do you want to go back?
I'm looking at "The Complete Guide for Reloading" By Phil Sharpe. He shows two loadings for the 32-20, one for the Rifle and one for the Pistol. The round was originally produced for the rifle but Colt and S&W started offering chambering for it in their heavy revolvers.

According to Sharp, the rifle loading should not be used in the revolvers.
Rifle- The max Unique load shown for the 100 Grn Metal Cased is 6 grns giving the velocity of 1260 w/22,000 pressure reading.
Pistol-The max Unique load for the 100 grn MC bullet is 5.5 grns at 1065 FPS w/15500 pressure reading.

Thats quite a jump in pressure for only 1/2 gr. of powder.
I'd like to find some load data using a rifle powder rather than unique - like I've said above i'm trying to get to a 1 powder household. I've gone slightly above the 6g listed in your examples above but started to see some high pressure signs (primers backing out a bit) and backed it off but this was with a load above the max listed.
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Old October 13, 2011, 09:23 AM   #8
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The only Rifle powder listed by Sharpe, (that's still found today) is 4227 & 4759.

The 32-20 isnt a round that can use normal rifle powders however there are lots of loads listed for Unique and 2400.

Maybe talking to some Cowboy Action Shooters will get you closer to what you're looking for.
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Old October 13, 2011, 11:11 AM   #9
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Out of a 1915 ammo catalog, it shows Winchester loaded the rifle ammo to 1290'ps with 3 different bullets, a Lubaloy, FP, and SP, all weighing at 100grs. That might give you a target to hit if you have a chrony. Out of an Ideal Loading Manual #8, for rifle cartridges in 32-20 they give the following as max loads:
Cast bullets
85 grs-10.0 grs 2400=1600'ps
100 grs-10.0 grs 2400=1475'ps
111 grs-5.5 grs Unique=1500'ps
111 grs-11.0 grs 2400=1670'ps
111 grs-11.0 grs SR4759=1575'ps
115 grs-10.8 grs 2400=1555'ps
115 grs- 11.0 grs SR4759= 1575'ps

Jacketed bullets
80 gr- 12.0 grs SR4759=1605'ps
80 gr- 13.0 grs 2400=1845'ps
80 gr- 17.0 grs IMR4227=1975'ps
115 gr- 10.8 grs 2400= 1555'ps
115 gr- 11.5 grs SR4759= 1636'ps.

Remember this is from an old loading manual and I would be doubtful as to the actual test methods. I'd consider these loads as something you'd want to approach cautiously but most apparently they were safe for the materials available at the time. This manual is from the 1920's, use at your own risk. But if it were my shooter and an old rifle, I'd be looking at 1290'ps loading and skip trying to make it into a hot rod. Might take a look at the 100 gr Remington bullet for your jacketed loads as it looks like it's made just for this oldie.
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Old October 13, 2011, 11:17 AM   #10
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This is all very helpful - thank you all very much for your replies - now i have something to work with!
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Old October 13, 2011, 01:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
I'd like to find some load data using a rifle powder rather than unique - like I've said above i'm trying to get to a 1 powder household.
I hate to be a wet blanket, and you've possibly already come to this conclusion... but...
Trying to be a "one powder" loader for the three cartridges you mentioned is probably going to be very difficult, if you want "good" results from all three.

You have what is essentially a pistol sized cartridge (whether it's fired in a rifle or not) and two rather large rifle cases. The 32-20's case capacity is about 1/3 of what the '06 and 280 (same case) are. Finding a powder that will give good load density and consistent results in all of those is probably going to be an impossible task.
You can either use a faster burning powder and get good results in the 32-20, and mild results in the two rifles, or use a slower burning powder for good results in the rifles and lower speeds in the 32-20.
I don't think you can GET there from here...
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Old October 13, 2011, 02:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
I hate to be a wet blanket, and you've possibly already come to this conclusion... but...
Trying to be a "one powder" loader for the three cartridges you mentioned is probably going to be very difficult, if you want "good" results from all three.
I figured this would be the outcome - Basically I've gotten off to a good start getting closer and closer to the information I want. Since i'm working with a more outdated caliber on the 32-20 I'm hoping i can find something that will give me a middle ground on that one.

It's going to be a bit of trial and error (1 or 2 loads) with the slower powder at very low levels just to see if i'm on the right page. If no suitable solution can be found then I'll just wind up using the unique and being a two powder household.

I'm not planning on doing any hunting or anything with the 32-20, it's just a paper puncher for me(but maybe someday). Same with the 280 since it's semi-auto and can't be used for hunting here in PA. The 30-06 was purchased specifically for it's ability to be used for hunting but also to go to the range with.
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Old October 13, 2011, 02:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Rifle- The max Unique load shown for the 100 Grn Metal Cased is 6 grns giving the velocity of 1260 w/22,000 pressure reading.

Pistol-The max Unique load for the 100 grn MC bullet is 5.5 grns at 1065 FPS w/15500 pressure reading.

Thats quite a jump in pressure for only 1/2 gr. of powder.
..... because the rifle had more barrel to develop that pressure in, no?

I surmise that the rifle would develop higher pressure and velocity with the 5.5 grain load, too.
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Old October 13, 2011, 02:56 PM   #14
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The Lyman Handloading book, 49th edition (latest version), on page 250 shows the rifle loading recommendations for the 32-20 (aka 32 WCF). It suggest IMR 4198 as the best choice for the jacketed 100 gr HP. For 115 grain cast #2 alloy, it has recommendations for Unique, 2400, Reloader 7 and a few others. Looks like RX-7 gives the highest velocities for both the cast lead and the jacketed bullet. Still, you were asking for old loads, and the Lyman 46th edition shows much higher velocities with the 100 gr jacketed HP and IMR 4227. And PO Ackley's book, volume 1, shows loads very similar to the Lyman 46th edition. And it gives load data for 80, 90, 100, and 115 gr bullets and Unique powder. It doesn't say if the bullets are cast or Jacketed. So there's data out there for you.
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Old October 13, 2011, 03:11 PM   #15
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Look for .30 Carbine data for powder choices and to sanity-check the load data, but DO NOT just use .30 Carbine data in a .32-20 cuz it's too hot, and I can't tell you how much to back off.

2400 ought to be a good powder. And maybe AA4100 or W296 or Lil'gun, but those might be too slow or need higher pressure to burn right.

I remember reading an online article by Paco Kelly or Chuck Hawks or one of those guys years ago that had lots of .32-20 data of various power levels. Maybe I still have a link somewhere...

ETA: This might be it: http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/3220wcf.htm

Last edited by zxcvbob; October 13, 2011 at 03:17 PM.
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Old October 13, 2011, 04:09 PM   #16
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Velocity yes, pressure, no.
Maximum pressure occurs with the bullet very close to the chamber, it does not continue to rise for very far at all. Just that a longer barrel lets the pressure act on the bullet for longer.

Quote:
I'm toying with the idea of trying a few loads of H4895 in the 32-20.
Quit toying. That would be a waste of powder, bullets, and time.

The loads posted above show about the slowest powders that would be at all effective. And that Savage is not a "strong action" by recent standards. Load it for accuracy, not velocity.

If you could find a copy of Ken Waters' "Pet Loads" or just a reprint of the May 1989 Handloader Magazine, he did an article on the .32-20 rifle, with a Savage 23C. Is that what you have or a break action 219?

Are you shooting cast or jacketed bullets?
I'll copy a couple of loads for you but am not going to key in two pages of tables.

Quote:
i'm trying to get to a 1 powder household
That is just not feasible with cartridges as far apart as a .30-06 and a .32-20.
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Old October 13, 2011, 10:11 PM   #17
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If you have a rare Savage 32-20 Sporter or 23C Bolt action prepare to be very impressed. Find a Lyman 44th edition manual for starters. They used this rifle for thier load data workup. As it is a bolt action the cartridge can be loaded quite a bit hotter than the generic saddle rifle data published. You may want to slug the bore as well as Savage made these in an undersized for calibre .310 diameter bore. They even had Remington build some special jacketed soft point bullets that went out of production many years ago in a .310 diameter. I had one of these rifles if havent guessed . I will try also to find an old issue of Handloader Magazine where they used this and a couple of other rifles and segregated the load data for those guns capable of using the hotter loads . If I find it and if you PM me I will try to photo copy the load data pages and mail them to you ... Nice guns and tons of fun ..

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Old October 13, 2011, 10:58 PM   #18
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Again - Thank you all for your help it is greatly appreciated!

Quote:
Still, you were asking for old loads, and the Lyman 46th edition shows much higher velocities with the 100 gr jacketed HP and IMR 4227.
I guess I wasn't really looking for old loads. I just figured that would be the best way to find what I was looking for. What I am looking for is a rifle load for the 32-20 and since it was ported over to a pistol caliber it's been my understanding that the higher/hotter loads are harder to find published.

Quote:
I remember reading an online article by Paco Kelly or Chuck Hawks or one of those guys years ago that had lots of .32-20 data of various power levels. Maybe I still have a link somewhere...
I've actually read this quite a few times by happening across it looking for other things. But thank you for the link (last time i was there i wasn't looking for load data so didn't even notice those parts).

Quote:
The loads posted above show about the slowest powders that would be at all effective. And that Savage is not a "strong action" by recent standards. Load it for accuracy, not velocity.

If you could find a copy of Ken Waters' "Pet Loads" or just a reprint of the May 1989 Handloader Magazine, he did an article on the .32-20 rifle, with a Savage 23C. Is that what you have or a break action 219?

Are you shooting cast or jacketed bullets?
I'll copy a couple of loads for you but am not going to key in two pages of tables.
I wasn't actually looking for a change in velocity - the idea was to get down to a single powder if possible. Velocity change would just be a side effect -

I'm actually not sure if the Gun is a 23C or a Sporter (is there a difference or are they one and the same). I've been told (on this forum) that what I have is a 23C (my serial number is 5 digits long not 6 like the more recent versions) - the gun also says "Savage Sporter" on the top and "32-20 safe" on the side. So I'm a little confused as to what it is - But I know it's a 32-20 savage sporter that I shoot regularly.

I'm shooting cast bullets - but if I need to change to accommodate a where i'm trying to get to then I'll do it willingly.

It's all about building that bridge to go from here to there! I'm getting much closer than I thought I would - I'm just looking for the last few trinkets of information that will tie it all together and make it all work.

Quote:
If you have a rare Savage 32-20 Sporter or 23C Bolt action prepare to be very impressed. Find a Lyman 44th edition manual for starters. They used this rifle for thier load data workup. As it is a bolt action the cartridge can be loaded quite a bit hotter than the generic saddle rifle data published. You may want to slug the bore as well as Savage made these in an undersized for calibre .310 diameter bore. They even had Remington build some special jacketed soft point bullets that went out of production many years ago in a .310 diameter. I had one of these rifles if havent guessed . I will try also to find an old issue of Handloader Magazine where they used this and a couple of other rifles and segregated the load data for those guns capable of using the hotter loads . If I find it and if you PM me I will try to photo copy the load data pages and mail them to you ... Nice guns and tons of fun ..
So this brings up the question of being able to tell the difference between the "sporter" and the 23C - The most recent date on the top of the barrel on mine is in Nov of 1917 - Like I said - it's a savage Sporter.

I did check the barrel (didn't slug it just stuck the dial caliper in the end of it) and we came out at .285 - I thought maybe my caliper was screwed up so I measured a bullet .313, then a 30 cal bullet .308 then a 7mm bullet .284 - So Unless i'm missing something this barrel is .285 and I may actually want to go to a much smaller bullet than the .313's i've been using.

I would really appreciate the information if you can copy it. I'll PM you now!



Again - Thank you very much everyone for all your help!
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Old October 14, 2011, 03:51 AM   #19
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I will offer you one important caution.Looking for ideas and comparisons in old load books is fine,but do not use old data,such as you will find in PO Ackley.
Your choice of H4895 is a great example.When the PO Ackley book was written,H4895 was GI surplus powder tha Mr Hogdon was kindly selling us.It ran out,and a new formulation of H-4895 was created,but the data is not interchangable.The PO Ackley data would be an overload in H-4895 today.I have seen blown open primer pockets because an older gentleman loaded some ammo for his old elk hunting buddy's son,to use the old man's rifle.I pulled bullets weighed charges,and referenced it back to a standard,safe load of surplus H4895 in the PO Ackley book.

Load with modern data .

I have a Lsaer Cast first edition load manual.Its somewhat old,but I'd use it.
With their 115 gr RNFP,loaded to 1.545 length,Unique they said 5.0 gr start for 1283,5.5 max for 1392.
With 2400,8.5 gr start for 1289,9.0 gr for 1379.They do not spec brass or primer.

The red Accurate book,#1,also sort of old,has a obsolete cartridge section,and lists "HV92" loads.

I won't list them all,but with HDY 100gr HPT 14.7 gr ,start,gave 1738,and 15.5 gr max,gave 1849 using their 1680 powder.Pressure on the max was 23,600 cup.Primer,cci 400.case,Rem.Length 1.565
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Old October 14, 2011, 06:47 PM   #20
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Ok - I did slug the bore tonight and got a .308 - so at least now i know what the bore of the gun is. Don't know why sticking the caliper down the bore didn't give me the same result last night - BUT - the slug can't be lying since it was in there.

Anyway - I'm still not sure if that makes it a sporter or a 23c or both or neither -

my newest question now is - since the bore is .308 should i get smaller bullets than the .313's I've been using (to make the barrel last longer) or should I just keep going with what I've been using. If I should be using smaller bullets - what would you recommend.

Since the 30-06 (also slugged tonight) is also a .308/.307 bore - should I just get lead .308's for the 32-20?
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Old October 14, 2011, 07:46 PM   #21
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I have loaded 32-20 for years. I have two original Marlin 1889 LA rifles. My best load for them is 8 gr AA9 and 110-115 gr cast FN bullet. Very accurate and clocks at 1270 fps from my chron. Same load in Ruger SA hits 1060 fps. I have also used 4227 but AA9 is much easier to use.
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Old October 14, 2011, 11:35 PM   #22
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I have such a rifle!

Savage bolt gun, the locking lug is the root of the bolt handle. In .32-20.

I found, based on chronograph results and ability to extract and such, a 115 grain lead bullet and somewhere around 10 grains of something like 2400 powder gives about as much as can be safely derived.

The load I used was actually a surplus powder designed for the .30 Carbine bullet, which is why I used the wording I did in the previous paragraph. I'd suggest you start with 8.0 grains of 2400 and find an accurate load under 11.0 grains at the most.

Again, as all firearms - rifles - are different, your results may vary. Stay cautious; no point in beating that dandy little rifle into early retirement. It will never be a .30-30, so live with it as a pest control round.
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