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Range report: 1885 in 32-40
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December 9, 2020 - 2:44 am
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rwsem said
So I dug around…  I have .321″ 170 gr FNGC (RCBS #32-170-FN) and some cast bullets from Hunters Supply that are 323″ to .324″- (they’re suppose to be .324″) 8mm, 170 gr FP.  If you want to give either of those a whirl, then just drop me a PM with your address.   

Thanks, Ronald. I’ve looked pretty hard at the RCBS bullet and I may take you up on your generous offer if my current direction doesn’t work out. 

I’m looking at Accurate’s 32-190D and possibly his 32-185H. 

 

Mike

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December 19, 2020 - 6:03 pm
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clarence said

The crimp increases pressure, but before I did that, I’d use a faster burning powder.   

I’m still thinking about what you said about powders, Clarence. This morning I was reading what Ken Waters had to say about the 32-40 and he had good results with 4227 and 4198. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few pounds each of the IMR 4227 and 4198 on my shelf and even a bit of Hodgdon 4198. Apparently I was dabbling with the IMR powders back in 2010 and picked up a few additional pounds in 2016 and 2017 after the last “shortage”. High time I got some use out of these!

Any experience with these powders or suggestions?

 

Mike

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December 19, 2020 - 7:10 pm
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TXGunNut said I’m still thinking about what you said about powders, Clarence. This morning I was reading what Ken Waters had to say about the 32-40 and he had good results with 4227 and 4198. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few pounds each of the IMR 4227 and 4198 on my shelf and even a bit of Hodgdon 4198. Apparently I was dabbling with the IMR powders back in 2010 and picked up a few additional pounds in 2016 and 2017 after the last “shortage”. High time I got some use out of these!

Any experience with these powders or suggestions?

 

Mike  

Yes, really like 4227 because small grains don’t cause that horrible grinding in the measure of the larger grains.  Can’t remember about 4198, except having used it.

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May 16, 2021 - 8:02 pm
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Range trip rained out today, decided some loading room therapy was due. Last range trip with the Single Shot was pretty much a bust; Waters’ 4227 load for a heavier bullet didn’t work out with my lighter bullets but I got a few cases fireformed and some trigger time. Went back to 5744 and loaded 20 rounds to confirm my earlier good results. 5744 is a bit dirty in this load but I wanted to look at it again.

Then I saw the other new undersized cases still waiting patiently in the loading block for their chance to be fireformed. Recalled I had some undersized bullets cast from an antique Winchester 32-40 mould and came to the obvious conclusion. I extended my loading room therapy session by running a few of those beautiful bullets through my lubesizer and dug out some leftover WLP primers and a jug of 4227 powder. Before long I had 30 rounds of 32-40 plinking rounds loaded up!

No, Steve, I don’t know what I’m going to do with those 32Spl cases lurking behind the 32-40 rounds. Maybe after my nap.

 

Mike

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May 30, 2021 - 9:21 pm
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Well, I’m getting closer. Went back to my original load for confirmation. It definitely likes the load I tried earlier with .8 grains more powder. Other than the vertical stringing I’m pretty happy with this group, can only imagine how well this rifle could shoot with someone who can see! I’m thinking if I bump it up a full grain I may have a nice round group somewhere around 1.5”. That’s better than the tacticool guys were doing a few benches over with young eyes and several hundred dollars worth of glass.

Also fireformed the brass I loaded with those undersized bullets from the old Winchester mould. I banged away at the 200 yard gong, seemed to be hitting it more than not. Pretty good for a load that won’t stay on paper at 100.

Oops, pic got rotated 90 degrees. 

 

Mike

 

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May 30, 2021 - 11:24 pm
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TXGunNut said  I’m thinking if I bump it up a full grain I may have a nice round group somewhere around 1.5”.
  

If you achieve that, treat yourself to a double Martini!  When John Campbell wrote that any SS with a good bore & the “right” load should shoot 1 MOA, I wanted to laugh; TOTAL BS!   

Did Townsend Whelen know a thing or two about shooting & handloading???  Far less than Campbell, evidently, because he reported 4 MOA from his .45-70 HW, 2.5 MOA from his .38-55 HW, & only achieved 1.5 MOA with his .30 US using jacketed bullets.  (Think he was probably shooting BP in the first two.)  Best he got out of his .22LR HW with DST was 2 MOA.  Also had a .25-21 LW that shot 3 MOA with BP. 

I’d have to check back in his descriptions to figure out which of these rifles were scoped, but I’m sure several of them were, as he was an early & avid promoter of scopes, & for many yrs used one of the first A5s produced.

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May 31, 2021 - 3:04 am
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I think 1.5 MOA is do-able, Clarence. I’ll break out the good bourbon, tho. Never developed a taste for martinis. If I was a proponent of three shot groups I could probably print an MOA group now, as a matter of fact the first three shots in today’s second group (above) were easily inside an inch. First two were the two touching between 2 and 3 o’clock and the third was slightly below them. Took me awhile to find that second shot, may be time for a new spotting scope.  I’ve ticked off a few people when I say three shot groups lie, but there’s my proof. I won’t consider less than five shots a measurable group and I prefer ten. I can learn more from ten shots when developing a load. It also helps identify fliers.

Quite honestly if I can get that vertical stringing down to two inches and keep the width at 1.5 I’ll be pretty pleased. I can barely find the bull in my peeps so I’ll probably never know what this rifle can do. I learned to shoot with peeps as a Boy Scout nearly 50 years ago and I’m trying to learn how to shoot them again. Much of my trigger time is with a well-used 87 and I don’t think I’ve found a load that will get it down under 2 MOA. Funny thing is that after getting my 1885 cleaned up it feels very much like my 87. I think that will help me get to my goal with the 32-40. This isn’t just any SS, Clarence. Somebody ordered it with serious shooting in mind; it has a 32” #4 barrel, “light” trigger and IIRC a midrange tang sight. I just want to make him proud 100+ years later.

 

Mike

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May 31, 2021 - 4:39 am
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TXGunNut said  I won’t consider less than five shots a measurable group and I prefer ten. I can learn more from ten shots when developing a load. It also helps identify fliers.

Whelen always shot 10-shot groups.  It was the standard of his time, until modern gunwriters decided it was too labor-intensive.

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May 31, 2021 - 5:11 am
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I have one exception to my five-shot minimum: a Contender in 35 Remington Super 14 with a muzzle brake. It is VERY accurate but brutal to the shooter and anyone on adjacent benches. The pistol can put five shots into the same group size as three but a flinch will ruin any group before most shooters get much past four shots. 

My observations on groups is that almost any decent rifle can put three shots into an inch, just not every time or even often. Five shots is a bit better but a flier or two can be easily discounted as shooter error. Ten deliberate shots with a good shooter (and repeated on another day) tells me what I need to know about the rifle and load. 

OTOH I had an exceptional hunting rifle (Elli Mae) for many years. I would confirm the zero by posting a business card at 100 yards in what we call the “portrait” orientation. I would fire one shot and if the bullet struck just below the center line of the card I went hunting with no further expenditure of ammunition. Elli Mae is a Winchester M670 and sadly a bit of rifling let go after several thousand rounds of teaching me to shoot and reload. She is now a 35 Whelen after being re-bored but I haven’t been able to duplicate the performance of her younger years. 

 

Mike

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November 26, 2021 - 12:46 am
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Well, loading room report anyway. Too windy for any serious rifle testing today. I’ve confirmed the chambers in at least two of my rifles are too tight for my .323” bullet. Case diameter at the mouth of my loaded rounds is .342” and nominal published diameter Is .3388”. (Case wall .010”) The rounds almost chamber so I’m inclined to try a .322” sizer. Hadn’t realized the neck tapers from the neck to the case mouth. Apparently these rifles have chambers a bit on the tight side. 

Just figured out a .322” die may be a custom job. 

 

Mike

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November 26, 2021 - 6:21 pm
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Mike, Lee makes parts to swedge the bullet down to the desired diameter.  I can’t remember the exact name of the parts.  I use these to reduce some .452″ down to .445″.  Or you can make a hole in a piece of metal the desired diameter and then force the bullets through the hole.

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November 26, 2021 - 7:15 pm
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Chuck-

I sometimes use Lee sizing dies but they don’t list a .322. I suspect I could open up a .321 but BAC has custom diameters including the .322 in stock. I can’t remember if I slugged the bore of my Single Shot, will need to check my notes. My 32 Spl’s seem to need a .323 bullet but I don’t know for sure if my 32-40’s will require one. My recently acquired 1894 (CA 1905) has the same chambering issue with this bullet so I’ve realized it’s not an isolated issue. The 32-40 is a relatively new endeavor for me and so far much of what little I know about the 32 Spl has not been helpful. 

 

Mike

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November 26, 2021 - 11:08 pm
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Why not ream or turn the necks enough to seat the bullet you want to use on a few cases?  Then you can find out whether the larger bullet improves accuracy enough to be worth the trouble.

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November 27, 2021 - 1:02 am
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clarence said
Why not ream or turn the necks enough to seat the bullet you want to use on a few cases?  Then you can find out whether the larger bullet improves accuracy enough to be worth the trouble.  

I’m glad you asked, Clarence. The neck of the 32-40 appears to be tapered; can you turn them? I’ve always avoided brass that needed turning for initial loading and discarded cases with a tendency to “flow” forward after a few loadings. I never got set up for neck turning, that may be why a pretty awesome 22-250 went on the trading block a few decades ago. I’m also wondering if going from .323 to .322 will be enough. I think I’ll enjoy a cocktail and dinner while I study on it and hopefully get a little feedback from the learned folks around here. (I’m not allowed to work on guns or even venture into my loading room after I pull a cork.) I know my way around several (relatively) modern rounds but the 32-40 is a relatively new adventure for me. Other problem is I get interrupted during a project like this and my note-taking is sometimes spotty at best. At one time I didn’t need much in the way of notes but each year that passes makes that harder. Earlier in this project I went out to test some ammo only to learn (after finally reading my notes) the loads were assembled solely to fireform the brass. Embarassed

It turns out I did indeed slug the Single Shot early in this project; lands are .315 and the grooves are a bit over .321. Good thing I wrote it down! Easy (cheap) way out would be to order a .321 sizer and hope my alloy is soft enough to bump up to fit the grooves. Custom sizer In .322 is only $20 more. I’m tight, just not quite that tight. Alloy is wheel weights and at the pressure I’m working with I don’t expect a .321 bullet to bump up enough to get the performance I’m hoping for. I could sacrifice some of my precious 20-1 alloy for this project but again, I’m tight.

 

Mike

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November 27, 2021 - 10:14 pm
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Here is the part to reduce the diameter.  A kit will include the other parts to hook up to your press.  In my case I had to buy a new insert for my rock chucker because the Lee dies have a different thread pitch.  They sell this too. You unscrew the RCBS one and screw in the Lee part.

https://leeprecision.com/breech-lock-bullet-sizing-kit/

https://leeprecision.com/bullet-szr-punch-.321.html

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November 27, 2021 - 11:00 pm
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Chuck-

Below are the Lee sizers I’m familiar with, they utilize a conventional single stage press. I prefer a lubricator/sizer die for this bullet as it has conventional grease grooves. I generally use these Lee sizers for tumble lube design bullets and Lee Liquid Alox.  Great system for large quantities of pistol and sometimes rifle bullets. 

 

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1018523537?pid=982621

 

I think I’ll give Buffalo Arms custom sizer a try. I prefer “grease lube” (White Label’s BAC or SPG) for most grease lube bullet designs. I have better luck seating gas checks with this design in addition to using conventional lube. 

 

https://www.buffaloarms.com/322-custom-sizing-die-f-lyma-bac322.html

 

Mike

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November 28, 2021 - 5:53 pm
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Mike, the Lee products I showed are not really sizers.  These are used to reduce the diameter of a bullet beyond what a normal sizer will.  In my case a .452″ for a 45 Colt to a .445″ for the Henry.

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November 28, 2021 - 11:06 pm
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Chuck said
Mike, the Lee products I showed are not really sizers.  These are used to reduce the diameter of a bullet beyond what a normal sizer will.  In my case a .452″ for a 45 Colt to a .445″ for the Henry.  

True, I understand the difference. The standard Lee sizers generally swage the bullets but will only reduce the diameter a few thousandths, in my experience. I’m only looking for a very small reduction in diameter. Swaging like the system you linked to is a bit more of an undertaking than I’m looking for.

 

Mike 

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December 10, 2021 - 1:01 am
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Amazing the difference .001” makes! Sized @ .323” with minimal crimp I struggled to chamber a loaded round and my 1905 vintage 1894’s extractor was unable to remove an unfired case. Sized with the custom .322” die from Buffalo Arms and the same crimp the loaded rounds were snug but the tired old extractor had no issues. Chambered and fired fine in both the 1894 and the Single Shot. Another member had to come check out my 1885, apparently he was watching my target through his spotting scope. Had no idea what I was shooting but was impressed. He said lots of shooters can’t do that well (with a modern scoped rifle). I wonder what he’ll say when I get some new glasses. Good day at the loading bench AND the range!

 

Mike

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