View Full Version : What can you do with a 32 rimfire?

gary c coffey
September 20, 2006, 08:11 PM
I have a friend that has offered to sell me an old Stevens "favorite" model 1915 at what I think is a very reasonable price. ( $175.00 ) It is marked "32 long" but he has told me that it is a 32 rimfire cartridge. I really don't need another wallhanger and seriously doubt that this is a collector gun. SO.... Is there a source for 32 rimfire ammo without selling the barn OR can a 32 rimfire be converted to 32 S&W center fire or 32 long centerfire. You guys have been a great help in the past and I appreciate your input.

Bill DeShivs
September 20, 2006, 09:47 PM
Reline it to .22lr. You may have to move the firing pin a little.

Jim Watson
September 20, 2006, 10:07 PM
I have read of them being converted to centerfire. You have to be very careful with the loads, this is not a strong action. The article I recall, the guy was after a smallbore black powder rifle anyhow.

Bill's idea is probably better, but you would be horrified by the cost unless you could do it all yourself.

gary c coffey
September 21, 2006, 07:53 AM
Both good ideas. I may check to see what my GS would charge to reline to 22. In the meantime the posts made me curious. Would the 32 S&W cartridge be the same case diameter as the 32 long rimfire? Would the action withstand the presure of a 32 S&W cartridge? Do you think there is any potential that one of the foreign countries will produce 32 rimfire cartridges? Thanks all.

Jim Watson
September 21, 2006, 08:28 AM
As I recall, .32 S&W and S&W Long are larger than .32 rimfire and would require rechambering. Then there would be the matter of bullet vs barrel diameter between outside lubed .32 rf and inside lubed .32 S&W. There were a few convertible .32 rimfire - centerfire rifles, Marlin made them, and the centerfire cartridge was .32 Long Colt.

Frank DeHaas said you could rechamber the .32 rf Favorite to .32 S&W "short" along with firing pin relocation and that was about the maximum.

James K
September 21, 2006, 05:20 PM
The Stevens Favorite was a moderately priced rifle to begin with and most have had the heck beat out of them. There is some collector interest, but only if in practically new condition and, of course, any relining or rechambering or work on the breech block destroys the collector value regardless of condition.

.32 rimfire ammo can be obtained sometimes at gun shows and Navy Arms had a batch made sometime back, but it is catch-as-can.

FWIW, the .32 rimfire base diameter runs about .318 vs. .335 for the .32 S&W. The rimfire case diameter is the same as the old .32 Short and Long Colt which are a heckuva lot harder to get than the rimfire round.

The price is OK for an 80-90% gun; for any lesser condition, it is too high.


September 21, 2006, 07:52 PM
On most, if you have the firing pin moved to centerfire, it works with .32short colt....32SW will need a rechambering as it's a larger diameter case (becasue the old .32SC is a helled bullet round and the .32SW is the more modern bullet-seated-in-the-case round).

Even that isn't 100%, but so far the .32SC cases have worked. Doesn't help a whole lot as .32SC isn't the most common round at a typical gun shop.

I have seen a talented lathe operator lathe a .22 barrel off center, making an off center liner...makes the firing pin line up with the smaller .22RF rim. Will need a new extractor, but the original can be welded up and re-cut.

Have to mention here that the old Favorite isn't the best rifle for wrm smokless loads...isn't a true falling black, is a "tipping" or "rocking block"...there isn't any metal behind that breech block, it just tips up and down. IF pushed too hard will either (1) stress crack the frame and the piviot pin (2) stress crack the breech at the pivot pin (so far, haven't seen both happen...but would guess it could).

gary c coffey
September 21, 2006, 09:52 PM
Gentlemen: You have all been of great help and have my deepest gratitude. I have decided to let the favorite pass since the condition at best would be about 60%.I have come to the conclusion that any type of re-line, re-chamber would be significantly more than I would want to pay. I thank each of you for saving me what I am certain would have been a great headache and hard earned money lost. Many, many thanks.

James K
September 22, 2006, 08:06 PM
Concerning nothing much, but do you folks know where the term "white elephant" comes from?

It seems that in old Siam, white elephants were sacred; they could not be harmed or made to work. So when the King wanted to destroy a "friend" he didn't like, he gave the guy a white elephant. The poor slob couldn't refuse the King's gift, couldn't sell the animal without earning the King's fury, couldn't kill the beast, and couldn't get any work out it. And he went broke trying to feed it.


March 31, 2007, 03:19 PM
You can use 32 RF reloadable H&C cartridges...

Just see at www.hc-collection.com

Best regards.

March 31, 2007, 04:06 PM
Where can I get some information on these in English?

OK, found a translation. Next question. Where can I get the crimped type of .22 RF blanks that are required for this system. (In the US)

March 31, 2007, 09:27 PM
First, you should have made sure it is not a .32 long. I've never seen a .32 rimfire marked as .32 Long.

James K
April 1, 2007, 12:07 AM
This is an old thread, but yes, guns chambered for the .32 Long Rimfire were marked ".32 Long." There were .32 Extra Short (for the squeezer type "palm pistols"), .32 Short, .32 Long (the size Navy Arms had made), .32 Long Rifle, and .32 Extra Long. The latter two, AFAIK, were used only in rifles. The .32 Short and .32 Long were used in both rifles and revolvers.


Snow Dog
April 1, 2007, 01:31 AM
Apparently, Old Western Scrounger will be bringing in some .32 rimfire soon: http://www.ows-ammo.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/1003

April 1, 2007, 01:48 AM
"OK, found a translation. Next question. Where can I get the crimped type of .22 RF blanks that are required for this system. (In the US)"

You can find them at:


And you can ask your gun seller.:)


April 1, 2007, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the links.
Is there anyplace in the States that carry this system or would I have to order directly from France?
Also, do I have the prices correct? ~$190.00 (US) for the dies, 25 pieces of brass and 25 bullets? (including shipping) Then $65.00 (US) per 100 for bullets? The blanks seem to be around $5.00 per 100 here in the States.

April 1, 2007, 09:29 AM
Hello Deadin,
Yes you have to order directly from France.

32RF dies: 95.00€
25 bullets: 13.50€
100 bullets: 34.00€
12 brass reloadable cases (32rf long or 32rf short): 24.00€

Shipping: 1kg: 21.00€
2kg: 28.00€ (you can see the pound of each item on our website)

1€ = 1.3192 USD

If you return us this mail, will have the pleasure to offer you the shipping cost.:) :)

If you pay by bank card, you'll save banking expenses.


[email protected]

April 1, 2007, 05:17 PM
For what it's worth, Southern Ohio Guns (SOG) is currently advertising a new production run of 32 rimfire ammunition.


April 1, 2007, 05:31 PM
Black powder or smokeless?

April 2, 2007, 12:57 AM
Smokeless (Navy Arms .32 cartridges).

April 2, 2007, 10:12 AM
I think for me it would probably be wiser to buy a box of the Navy arms stuff, pull the bullets, recharge with BP and reseat the bullets. I only want a few to try out an old S&W 1 1/2. If I were going to do a lot of 32 RF shooting, the H&C dies would be the way to go, but in my case I can't see where it would be cost effective.

Mike Irwin
April 2, 2007, 11:32 AM
Why recharge with black powder?

After about 1912-1915 many ammo companies began to switch over to smokeless powder, or smokeless/black powder blends (think Lesmoke) in many of the older cartridges.

Depending on when it was made, your rifle may well be able to use smokeless powder loads.

April 2, 2007, 12:23 PM

Pocket pistol made 1870. Don't want to take the chance even with reduced smokeless loads.


April 22, 2010, 10:06 PM
Dug out this old topic on reloading 32RF and was surprised to see they could be relined to shoot .22LR. Could anyone explain me what relining is all about ? I just bought an old 1871 32RF Long Hopkins & Allen handgun and I would much prefer converting it to .22 instead of reloading the H&C way with acorn blanks and BP.
Thank you,

James K
April 22, 2010, 10:28 PM
I have fired the Navy Arms .32 Long Rimfire cartridges in S&W No. 1 1/2 and No. 2 revolvers with no apparent damage or harm. I wouldn't fire a ton of them, but if the gun is in good shape, I don't think a few would hurt.

BTW, the old guns shoot pretty well, though the sights are very hard to use.


As to relining, it just means drilling out the old barrel to a given diameter and inserting a liner (a thinner inner barrel) that has the rifling cut into it. After the liner is installed, it is chambered. Done well, the liner is almost invisible and can renew a worn out barrel. For several reasons, conventional lining will work only with low pressure cartridges like those being discussed here.

Liners can be obtained for .22, .25-20, .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40, and maybe others, but those are the ones Brownell's has.


April 22, 2010, 10:54 PM
Thanks a lot for your input. It really helps me decide to go with H&C reloading kit for .32RF; cheaper option I guess.

April 28, 2010, 07:35 PM
Forgot to say, we don't have any Navy & arms 32RF ammo for sale up in Canada.

May 28, 2010, 09:30 AM
I have a S&W Number 2 pistol that is chanbered for 32 rimfire cartridges. I do not want to shoot the gun but would like to get some cartridges to add to the display of the gun. Any idea where I can find some??

May 28, 2010, 12:39 PM
Most gun shows will have a collectible cartridges dealer or two, manning their respective tables - one of them is sure to have singles available.


November 29, 2010, 04:23 PM
I recently inherited a bunch of old stuff, including 5 never opened boxes and two partly used boxes of Winchester 32 short rimfire ammo. See attached photo. Also, I recently started a thread called "Winchester model 1885" in which I describe and show a gun that can shoot these. I haven't decided what to do with the ammo or the gun. Can anyone give me an idea of what this ammo might be worth? By the way, these cases contain black powder.