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Cypress Sam, SASS #10915

32-20 reloading problem Need advice

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Just some things I have heard & or seen............. 

 

Years back when the Contender crowd complained that 32-20 Win brass was failing after a couple firings R-P made theirs a little thicker.  

This helped the TC shooters as they were using .308 FMJ bullets & dies came in  boxes that said " 32-20 For TC Contender" & were setup for that combination.

I believe the dies were marked "TC" also.  This was not helping anyone trying to reload for old guns.  (or even new non-TC guns)

 

Today when wanting to shoot a larger dia. bullet do to wanting to mach bore size +.001 it is a ?? as to how to get it right sometimes.

The size of the finished cartridge is determined / restricted by the die & the thickness of the brass & bullet size.

Just for fun pull a bullet & see what size it is.  

 

Sizes are approx (from memory)

Example cast bullet .314 (trying to get to work in old Colt)

Pull loaded round, bullet is only .311 loaded in R-P brass

Winchester brass is thinnest  allowing the net dia of the bullet to increase.

Starline was in the middle for thickness.

 

This brass thickness difference would cause crimps to differ a;so, (providing R-P was trimmed to Winchester length so cases are equal length).

 

By the way the Wilson gage is a "case gage" not a "cartridge gage"  they say so in the instructions that it is not for loaded rounds.

Example, new factory Winchester ammunition falls into the gage as the shoulder is set way back so as to chamber in "any" firearm in that caliber.

No  spec for 32-20  (& 38-40 Win) etc so nobody makes a cartridge gage that I am aware of.  (hence the practice of using a tight revolver cylinder to gage rounds.

There is a company making one for 44-40 that seems to work for my applications at least, but when I spoke with them they were not planning any in 32-20 or 38-40.

 

Oh what fun.  Hope this helps or at least was interesting.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Then that would say that folks loading .32-20 for 73's ought to be holding the longest OAL they can, to prevent any amount of "cartridge return".   So, load to a 1.550" or longer OAL, right?  <_<

 

Right :)

 

I just measured 6 different '73 lifters.  One old Winchester and 5 Ubertis.  All run edge to edge  1.59+ to 1.60.  The Winchester is off a 1880's ' 73 in 32-20.  It was 1.57".

 

The ramp cut on a '73 is a new thing invented to allow "short" 38 special ammo in a '73 instead of  the traditional cartridges that all ran 1.59"+/-  OAL.   If you have been around long enough you know we use to long load 38 Special to make the 1.59 so it would run through the early 73/92 conversions.   The angle cut allows 44 Special, 44 Schofield and 45 Cowboy (with and insert) and the 38 Special loaded short.   So lets not get confused where the ramp cut on the elevator actually came from.  It wasn't Winchester's idea.

 

Photos below are the lifter in that 1880's '73 and no ramp cut.  Just the elevator feed side rounded some to make the rim of the case feed into the elevator easier.  And a couple of photos showing a Uberti 32-20 lifter with the ramp cut.   Another photo comparing a Uberti mag tube and a original Winchester mag tube.  The Uberti OD is .64".  The WInchester is .52".   It is a big difference.    

 

FWIW the 110 gr bullet that was suggested previous with the driving band in short Starline brass loads to a OAL of 1.603" if crimped on the crimp groove.  My Uberti 32-20 elevator is 1.595.  Imagine how that works running a fast 10 rounds in a '73?!   It don't.

 

The 115gr traditional Winchester bullet I use with Starline brass measures 1.56"+.

 

Original 32-20 Winchester elevator

IMG_2912 (3).JPG

 

 

ramp on a Uberti 32-20 (or 38) elevator

IMG_2917 (2).JPG

 

Uberti on top.  Original Winchester 32-20 below

IMG_2919.JPG

 

What I have learned from my adventures with a 32-20 and a Uberti is  simple really.  Just do everything Winchester did with their '73.....including the original ammo of the day.   Move on up to the '92 and things changed some :)   But the gun basics stayed the same.  What really changed with the '92 besides going smokeless was the ammo got faster with more pressure.   But a '92 is only about half the fun of a '73 :)

 

Edited by levi littleton

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Sam,

I kinda feel your pain. I bought an original '73 in 32-20 back in 1966. $65.00 ( just thought I"d throw that in :D) I started reloading in '69. Never reloaded for the '73, just 38/357. I didn't shoot it that much, until about 2000. I'd bought about 8-9 boxes of ammo for it over the years. All different headstamps, whatever I could find, Win, Rem, UMC and others, saved the empties. Finally decided to reload 32-20, ordered a bag of Starline, grabbed a handful of the other brass and Starline and reloaded a batch and went to the range with some of my other guns. 32-20 up,,,,, maybe a full mag , some had turtleing , just about every mag had a turtle. Gave up,,, went home. Measured a handful, checking OAL ,,,, all good. I'm stumped. Hummm, measure case lengths huh?? Each headstamp was a different length. XXX ! When I set my dies up, I must have set the seating/crimping die to one of the longer ones. Sooo, Starline was the shortest , so trim everything to them. I've got a handcrank case trimmer,,,,, that's a lot of brass,,,, e-bay to the rescue. Used motorized Lyman case trimmer about $50.00 including shipping ,,, a little cleaning and mounting. I was in business. Spent the whole weekend trimming cases, not a problem since. I readjusted my seating/crimping die. Oh , I use .313dia. ,,, 113 - 115gr. bullets. B/P or smokeless. And yes ,,,,, I seat and crimp with one die,,,,,,,,,,,,,, "everything".

YMMV,

Isom

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Thanks Isom.  I did learn early on that I was going to have to either trim 32-20 brass or separate headstamps because of the extreme differences in case length.  I have a power trimmer but didn’t want to get into trimming brass that I use in such quantity.  So, I just use the separation method.  

 

I shot a hundred rounds rounds each of R-P brass and a hundred rounds of Starline yesterday.  The R-P brass was fired brass of mixed vintage and the Starline was new, unprimed brass.  The loading was done on a Dillon 550 with a 115 gr bullet sized to .313” over 3.0 grains of Titegroup and a less rite crimp with the Lee FCD.

 

 Two rounds of the R-P brass that had the bullets back into the case and none with the Starline.  Examination of the two cases that caused the problem revealed a split case mouth in both instances.  I examined the remaining R-P cases under a magnifier and found another 20 or so cases with small cracks in the case mouths (ranging from 1/32” to 1/8”).  The splits on the two failed cases were in the 1/8” range.   The new Starline brass had no case mouth splits.

 

For information, I measured the brass thickness on both brands and found that both measured .006”.

 

I now think that my problems were from sloppy loading technique in not inspecting all of my fired brass.  Next project is to go through 4000 fired R-P cases and dump any with case mouth splits, no matter how small.  I also reduced the amount of crimp that I will be using.  It would probably help but I’m NOT going to trim 4,000 cases to length!

 

Thanks to all who posted positive comments.  Even those of you who so succinctly points out my intellectual deficiencies.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Cypress Sam, SASS #10915 said:

I have a power trimmer but didn’t want to get into trimming brass that I use in such quantity.  So, I just use the separation method.  

 

Examination of the two cases that caused the problem revealed a split case mouth in both instances.  I examined the remaining R-P cases under a magnifier and found another 20 or so cases with small cracks in the case mouths (ranging from 1/32” to 1/8”).  The splits on the two failed cases were in the 1/8” range.   The new Starline brass had no case mouth splits.

 

I also reduced the amount of crimp that I will be using.  It would probably help but I’m NOT going to trim 4,000 cases to length!

 

Trimming?  Separation?   When you separate your brass do you also change  the depth on your both your seating and crimp die to match brass OAL?   Different length brass would require it to load reliable ammo.

 

If brass is the same thickness I would have to wonder about the difference in annealing processes.  Harder brass cracks easier.  Work hardened brass  cracks very easily.  Crimping and shooting both work hardens the brass to eventual failure.

 

Reducing crimp?  Reducing the crimp will work your brass less and stave off brass failure/cracks.   What I found is that 32-20 brass wears out pretty quickly compared to other caliber cowboy brass.  But all WCF brass gets worked pretty hard with the tapered case shape.  I suspect the higher pressure of the 32-20 by comparison to the others makes it even worse.   I have a lot of 32-20 brass.  But I shoot it in 500 round lots.  When that lot of 500 starts cracking or as common splitting at the neck base I put it aside for practice and it is now a batch to sort through and see what is cracked.  

 

I suspect my attempts at humor wasn't appreciated prior.  My apologies.  Just my opinions on what it takes to get a Uberti 32-20 to be reliable.  Hope some of the info helped.

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Levi, since you’re into horse analogies:  This ain’t my first rodeo.  Yes, I change the seating and crimp settings on dies when loading different lengths of brass.  Using a Lee FCD makes the crimp setting a little more forgiving, but not enough for the routine .040 to .050” differences found with 32-20 brass.

 

The reference made by several of the responders abour reducing the crimp makes good sense from the metallurgical perspective that I had not thought of.  Lead alloys have a yield point (the stress at which metal deforms and not return to it’s original shape) of around 1,500 psi.  Brass has a yield point of around 20,000 psi depending on alloy.  That and the fact that that the case mouth expands and contracts as a ring or circle and the lead bullet expands and contracts as a solid (the same reason heating a stuck screw will often release it when it is expanded through heating) makes it so that a heavier crimp can loosen the bullet.  When a bullet is crimped in the case, both the lead and the brass case contract.  The brass springs back more than the lead leaving the bullet loose in the case.  Try resizing a loaded round sometime and see how it loosens the bullet.  

 

Heavier crimps also also stress the brass more as you said, so less crimp beyond what is needed is a double win.

 

Interesting that you are in the business of raising horses.  My dad was in the cattle business so I too was raised around horses and cattle.  Dad also raised horses and sold those that we didn’t need on the ranch.  My job was breaking the colts, which was much better than building fence or planting grass.  Matter of fact that ranch life in my early days inspired me to pursue a career in engineering.  Much less work!

 

Anyway, thanks for your perspective on this.  I have learned a lot from this thread.  Oh, and no offense taken.

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Posted (edited)

Hahahah :lol:   Not a day goes by here that I don't do some or forget something  that causes me more work than required.

 

Some times  it is the simple things that are easy to miss that make a big difference in the end result.  Nothing proves that more than loading and  shooting 32-20  in  a Uberti '73.  :blink:

Edited by levi littleton

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Posted (edited)

And here's a caution from the Lyman die set instructions about overly-hard crimping that seems relevant:

 

Quote

Caution: A reduction of case mouth diameter greater than .003" may cause bullet deformation and often results in a loose bullet.

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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Been gone a while. Sam, I didn't have THAT much brass, I don't think I'd do that much trimming either. I only had about 400 or so to do. I'm glad you've got it straightened out. 

Isom

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