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32-40 Rechamber?
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January 19, 2024 - 3:26 pm
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This may be a dumb question, but can a Winchester 1894 with nickel steel barrel in 32-40 be rechambered to 32 Winchester Special? Exploring options vs reloading.

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January 19, 2024 - 3:44 pm
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pine_worker said
This may be a dumb question, but can a Winchester 1894 with nickel steel barrel in 32-40 be rechambered to 32 Winchester Special? Exploring options vs reloading.

  To answer your question (and don’t take my word as definitive) you should be able to just run a chambering reamer or finishing reamer into the chamber and you should be set.  But, let others here confirm this.

My next thought is why?  Given my great fondness for the .32 Special, it sounds odd for me to say this as I well appreciate the desire for the .32 Special.  It sounds like you want to avoid reloading.  That means factory ammunition.  I just did a search on ammoseek and the cheapest you will find a box of factory .32 Special ammo is $50 (plus tax and shipping).  I almost never see a box of .32 Special on the shelf somewhere.  Here’s another idea – see if you can find a used .30-30 barrel.  That way you would have something for which factory ammo is available and much less expensive.  And, you could keep the original barrel and the rifle could be restored to its original state whenever desired.  I’d like to hear more details about the date of manufacture, configuration, alterations and condition of your rifle.  

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January 19, 2024 - 3:51 pm
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Pretty sure the answer is yes.  It seems there was a discussion on the forum quite a few years back regarding an individual that acquired a pretty high condition 1894 in 32-40. However, after shooting it the first time, his 32-40 spit out fire-formed 32 Win. Special brass.  Ever since, when evaluating an 1894 in 32-40 for purchase, I always check to make sure a 32 Win. Special round does not chamber.  Probably a more common alteration than one would think–even back in the day when the 32-40 was becoming more and more obsolete and new/improved chamberings with smokeless powder became available.

Don

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January 20, 2024 - 2:06 am
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Sounds like a pretty cool rifle! I’m nearing the end of a long-term 32-40 project and it has been a bit of a challenge even for an experienced reloader and bullet caster. The 32-40 got a bit of a boost a few decades back with the popularity of the John Wayne commemorative. Story I hear is that one of the Duke’s descendants wanted it chambered in an obsolete cartridge and the 32-40 was chosen. I think the cartridge got a bit of a bump as a result but it’s safe to say shooting the 32-40 today is best accomplished by a hand loader. I like the 32WS but I can safely be described as the Will Rogers of cartridges, I’ve never dabbled with one that I didn’t like. I think it’s sad that so many awesome old rifles are being sidelined by the current ammunition situation. Many collectors don’t shoot the guns they love because they don’t reload. 

 

Mike

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January 20, 2024 - 2:20 am
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TXGunNut said
Sounds like a pretty cool rifle! I’m nearing the end of a long-term 32-40 project and it has been a bit of a challenge even for an experienced reloader and bullet caster. The 32-40 got a bit of a boost a few decades back with the popularity of the John Wayne commemorative. Story I hear is that one of the Duke’s descendants wanted it chambered in an obsolete cartridge and the 32-40 was chosen. I think the cartridge got a bit of a bump as a result but it’s safe to say shooting the 32-40 today is best accomplished by a hand loader. I like the 32WS but I can safely be described as the Will Rogers of cartridges, I’ve never dabbled with one that I didn’t like. I think it’s sad that so many awesome old rifles are being sidelined by the current ammunition situation. Many collectors don’t shoot the guns they love because they don’t reload. 

 

Mike

  

I got lucky at a small local gun show about a month ago.  Managed to strike a deal to buy 6 full boxes of factory Remington / Federal 32 Winchester Special ammo for $120.  That will never happen again… Can’t hardly even find spent brass at that price.  Stock up when you see them!

Don

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January 20, 2024 - 2:06 pm
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TXGunNut said
Sounds like a pretty cool rifle! I’m nearing the end of a long-term 32-40 project and it has been a bit of a challenge even for an experienced reloader and bullet caster. The 32-40 got a bit of a boost a few decades back with the popularity of the John Wayne commemorative. Story I hear is that one of the Duke’s descendants wanted it chambered in an obsolete cartridge and the 32-40 was chosen. I think the cartridge got a bit of a bump as a result but it’s safe to say shooting the 32-40 today is best accomplished by a hand loader. I like the 32WS but I can safely be described as the Will Rogers of cartridges, I’ve never dabbled with one that I didn’t like. I think it’s sad that so many awesome old rifles are being sidelined by the current ammunition situation. Many collectors don’t shoot the guns they love because they don’t reload. 

 

Mike

  

This is an important point, but I don’t think about it much.  I can’t imagine not being a reloader.

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January 24, 2024 - 1:50 am
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pine_worker said
This may be a dumb question, but can a Winchester 1894 with nickel steel barrel in 32-40 be rechambered to 32 Winchester Special? Exploring options vs reloading.

  

Not much to look at but here is an example of your question. A 32-40 reamed to 32special. IMG_0552.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0553.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0554.JPGImage Enlarger

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