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Reloading for 32-40
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May 2, 2014 - 9:18 pm
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25-20 said
Gary some nice single shots there & Good progress with your range report. looks like your gun likes the bullet just fine . What mold # ?. A great cal for target shooting , and it dosnt kick you too much. You may find you can tighten groups with just another gr or two of the 4198. Im sure you;ve noticed no pressure signs yet and recoil being very mild

The bullets are Hunters Supply .322 from Midway. I don’t know what mold they use. And yes, it was very mild recoil. I will probably play with the powder charge a little at a time and see if the groups tighten up.

Bert – thanks for the idea for the front site.

                                                                               ~Gary~

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May 4, 2014 - 10:09 am
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Bert Gary’s nice gun and results have me fancying one too , so have a couple questions , what pull weight is the standard trigger in the later Hi-wall ? Can it be worked on fairly easy ? ,and is there a certain year near the end of production that Nickel steel barrels were used as standard for the black powder Cals such as 32-40? Is front sight dovetail 3/8 ?

Thanks

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May 4, 2014 - 9:16 pm
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25-20 said
Bert Gary’s nice gun and results have me fancying one too , so have a couple questions , what pull weight is the standard trigger in the later Hi-wall ? Can it be worked on fairly easy ? ,and is there a certain year near the end of production that Nickel steel barrels were used as standard for the black powder Cals such as 32-40? Is front sight dovetail 3/8 ?

Thanks

The standard (non-set) trigger pull weight varies moderately from one rifle to the next, but is generally very good on all of the rifles I own. There is no adjustment on them per se, but they can be worked on to lighten them up. Any skilled gunsmith should be able to work on one.

No, there is not a year or time period when nickel steel barrels were standard for the older black powder cartridges. Nickel steel was always a special order option for the non smokeless powder cartridges, and is rarely encountered.

All sight dovetails were 3/8" for the Model 1885 rifles.

Bert

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May 5, 2014 - 7:11 am
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Thanks for answers Bert. I dont know much about the Winchester Single Shots, being mostly interested in the Levers.I got out the Madis Book and am reading the Single Shot chapter and realized that it is probably the only section that I have not completely read. I do have a Browning BPCR in 45-70. It is generally a nice gun . The biggest fault was the trigger , like most modern guns. Now with the JB trigger kit it is about 2 lbs, but not completely consistent. The other fault is that the 45-70 kicks way too much to justify for paper punching . I think they only offered it in the 45-70, 45-90 and 40-65 because the main target market was silhouette shooting , and they couldnt offer a target trigger for the serious 32-40 shooters (wish I had got the 40-65, as it probably has better potential for reduced loads) sorry to get off topic and dont mean to hi-jack Garys thread

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May 5, 2014 - 7:59 am
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Because we are still talking about the Model 1885, I doubt that Gary feels we hi-jacked him 🙂

I own high-walls in many different calibers/cartridges (from 22 Short up to 50-95 WCF), and they are all fun to shoot (except the 405 WCF…. it kicks like a proverbial mule). I really enjoy shooting the 40-70 Ballard and 40-70 Sharps Straight. Both are loaded identically, with a 330-grain cast bullet, and 24-grains of IMR 4198. My 40-70 Ballard high-wall has a 32-inch No. 3 octagon barrel, and my 40-70 Sharps has a 30-inch No. 4 octagon barrel, which makes both of them a bit heavier than standard.

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May 5, 2014 - 7:14 pm
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Nope, I don’t mind at all……….its all good conversation. Talking about triggers, I was really happy with the set trigger on my 32-40. When I first got the rifle I had the stocks pulled off to do a little cleaning and found the set trigger wasn’t working very well with a snap cap I had. I was spooked to take it apart so I kept working it while flushing it with Kroil . Eventually it cleaned up and I found the sweet spot on the adjustment screw. It really doesn’t seem like there’s much adjustment to it. At one extreme, it wont stay set, and if you go too far the other way it wont release. There’s a nice spot in the middle where it functions perfectly and the weight is just right.

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May 5, 2014 - 7:56 pm
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Gary,

So when will you have it ready for shooting a few P’Dogs?

Bert

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May 6, 2014 - 8:58 pm
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Bert H. said
Gary,

So when will you have it ready for shooting a few P’Dogs?

Bert

I need to build up a load for the 25-20 SS for those varmints………that’s another item on the to-do list.

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May 9, 2014 - 10:35 pm
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Gary,

I loaded some 32-40 for my father-in-law and tried a number of powders and charges. We are using the Hornady FTX 165 grn bullets, .321" diameter. In his 32-40 carbine we found that 22 grns of IMR 4895 seemed to work the best with 2-2.5" groups at 100 yards. 23 grns of the same came in just about as good.

Good luck.
Chris

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July 25, 2018 - 11:47 am
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OK I know this is an old post but having acquired a 32/40 John Wayne comm. rifle last year I am still working but have found ADI powder Benchmark 2 works well with up to 26 Grs. pushing a 170Gr gas check and it’s accuracy even makes me look good . The bullets are casting by Hawkesbury River Bullet company here in Australia . I believe your equal powder would be 3031 . 

Iaan.

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July 3, 2022 - 9:04 am
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pdog72 said
Fellows,

I am looking for some recommendations on reloading 32-40 in an 1885 high wall. This will primarily be target shooting and in the process of looking for some cast bullets to order online, I see there are quite a few choices. I’m not sure if I should get plain base or gas checked and I need some schooling on the different alloys. I’m guessing a round nose lower weight like 165 or 170 gr.? I have a few powders already that might work well if someone has a good load to share. IMR 4198, H4895, H335, IMR 3031, and a few others are in my powder supply.

  

Hi PDOG72, stick to soft lead cast bullet. with any other (gas check, hard jacketed bullets) you with wear out the rifling. 

Wink

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July 3, 2022 - 4:58 pm
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As far as barrel wear, I’d like to talk with someone that has actually done that.  I do have a 25-20 that is worn out but I believe this was a target gun and used a lot.  No info on what loads were being used though.

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July 3, 2022 - 9:26 pm
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Thanks for resurrecting this old thread!  I acquired a Winchester 1885 in 32-40 a few months ago and have been looking for brass and bullets to reload.  I have has some success finding both and now trying to find a load the old girl likes. 

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July 4, 2022 - 2:45 am
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Chuck said
As far as barrel wear, I’d like to talk with someone that has actually done that.  I do have a 25-20 that is worn out but I believe this was a target gun and used a lot.  No info on what loads were being used though.

  

Barrel issues I’ve seen are due to pitting (neglect), erosion (hot gases) and land wear-especially at each end (poor cleaning practices), pretty much in that order. Lead, copper and paper are softer than any steel Winchester has used for barrels. It can be done but I’d love to live long enough and shoot enough GC and “hard” lead bullets to wear out a barrel. 

 

Mike

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July 4, 2022 - 7:49 pm
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Chuck said
As far as barrel wear, I’d like to talk with someone that has actually done that.  I do have a 25-20 that is worn out but I believe this was a target gun and used a lot.  No info on what loads were being used though.

  

Ive got a 38-55 carbine (1914 vintage) that I have been using for 15+ years and have probably shot 300-400 jacketed bullets, 800-1000 hard cast gas checked bullets, and close to another 1000 rounds of soft cast gas check bullets and cant tell there is any wear to the bore, its still bright and shiny and remains the best quality of the gun, in addition to the factory sling eyes. 

Poor care, neglect, and improper cleaning as Mike said above I think are the bigger factor regarding bore condition.  

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August 16, 2023 - 6:26 pm
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On the topic of wearing are old Winchester barrels out with jacketed bullets, Bert has clarified that as long as you stay under 2000 fps, there is nothing to be concerned about.  I note that my Lyman Loading manual does have a .32-40 section. They do not include any cast bullet data.  All of their data is built around the 170 grain JSP.  Of note, they list seven different maximum loads, and not a single one breaks 1900 fps.  Some don’t break 1400 fps.  Again, these are their max loads.  

By the way, they indicate their most accurate load was 22.0 grains of IMR4198 (their max load for this powder) with yielded 1680 fps.

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August 16, 2023 - 7:47 pm
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Steve-

Tell Santa Claus you need Venturino’s “Shooting Leverguns of the Old West. He lists 170gr CB loads for the 32-40 using XMP5744 that run a little over 1400fps. My loads generally run about 1500fps but I’m still working on that. 

 

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