Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Ozark Okie

Looking for Advice - .32 Caliber

Recommended Posts

In my 2nd year of cowboy shooting (@78 yrs), my rifle and pistols are feeling a bit heavy and cumbersome in my hands (.357/38 Uberti Model 73 and Ruger New Vaqueros). Recently shot a friend's Ruger Single Sixes in .32 H&R magnum and they felt great. Same friend also has a Marlin Cowboy .32 H&R magnum which I have not yet been able to shoot. I'm now wondering about a change to .32 caliber....wish list might be 1) rifle and pistols in 327 magnum, which would allow me to shoot down to .32 H&R magnum, 2) .32 magnum, or 3) 32-20...I like the historical aspects of the 32-20 but would have a little concern about reloading the necked cartridge. All of this may be moot...there don't seem to be many (any) .32s around for cowboy shooting. I'm sure a lot of pards out there have been down this trail before...maybe even had .32s and put them aside in favor or 38s, etc. So, I'm looking for some shared experience, advice, suggestions....does it make sense for me to consider a move to .32....any suggestions about availability....any other considerations? Thank you for any feedback. 
Ozark Okie    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife has both single sixes in .32 H&R mag and a Marlin in the same caliber.  She now keeps the Marlin as a backup since she prefers a '73 in .357 mag.  This is fine with me since I don't mind losing a few once-fired 38 Specials in the props and .32 H&R mag brass isn't cheap.  You can find .32 Single Sixes for sale on auction sites.  Just shop for awhile and some will come up for sale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I broke my neck and back many years ago and heavy shooting of my full power WW2 rifles became painful. I discovered that softer recoiling rifles were my answer. If the .32s are your answer to keep doing what you love, go for it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My grandson is using my 32 single sixes. I use 32 s S&W long brass with 100 grain bullets. Not much recoil and he was knocking down some plate racks that some were having trouble with using 38's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okie,

Just a word of caution about the single six models:   those that are out there have been made in 2 different grip sizes.   So be sure

to get the grip sizes you prefer.

 

Personally, I shoot the Ruger single sixes (with the short grip frames) and a Marlin 1894 in .32 H&R mag.

They are great guns and will serve you well.

As for the Marlins in .32 H&R, there were only about 600 or so of them produced and because of that, they can be 

expensive in comparison to other 1894 rifles.

Good luck.

 

..........Widder

 

Edited by Widder, SASS #59054
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been shooting 32 rugers with adjustable sights before the fix sight guns were made.  Mine were made in the 1970s.  I use 32 longs and use them still today.   I also had one of the marlin 32s and don't have it today.   They are getting 1500 to 2000 for one now and you need to shoot one before you buy.   They are not light rifles and the balance is front heavy with the oct barrel.   If light is what you are looking for one of the short 73 carbines or the marlin 20 inch barrel carbines.   Parts for the 32 marlins are also very difficult to come buy if it breaks down.  Bullett 19707

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ozark Okie said:
In my 2nd year of cowboy shooting (@78 yrs), my rifle and pistols are feeling a bit heavy and cumbersome in my hands (.357/38 Uberti Model 73 and Ruger New Vaqueros). Recently shot a friend's Ruger Single Sixes in .32 H&R magnum and they felt great. Same friend also has a Marlin Cowboy .32 H&R magnum which I have not yet been able to shoot. I'm now wondering about a change to .32 caliber....wish list might be 1) rifle and pistols in 327 magnum, which would allow me to shoot down to .32 H&R magnum, 2) .32 magnum, or 3) 32-20...I like the historical aspects of the 32-20 but would have a little concern about reloading the necked cartridge. All of this may be moot...there don't seem to be many (any) .32s around for cowboy shooting. I'm sure a lot of pards out there have been down this trail before...maybe even had .32s and put them aside in favor or 38s, etc. So, I'm looking for some shared experience, advice, suggestions....does it make sense for me to consider a move to .32....any suggestions about availability....any other considerations? Thank you for any feedback. 
Ozark Okie    

 

 

A .38 Marlin will probably be just about as light as a .32 & a whole lot easier to find.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:ph34r:   Marlin in .38/.357 will likely be lighter.  Using the same barrel blank as the .32, it has a larger diameter hole.  I have both.  The .32 is heavier and as has been mentioned, it balances differently.  I have massaged the rifle so that it will shoot .32 S&W long as well as the H&R magnums, and will do so interchangeably as fast as I can operate it.    SWC and RN bullets work just fine, and weights range from 78 gr. to 125 gr.

Just takes time, patience, and thought. 

Many thanks to the efforts of Widder and Marauder which they have so unselfishly shared online.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Marlin 1894s or 1894cs would even be lighter still, having an 18" round barrel.

 

952487151_Marlin1894cand9438WCFJuly2020.jpg.b5b5a33577e369ff97b6b53ec19b4ec6.jpg

 

The 1894cs in front of early 94 in 38WCF with 26" barrel. 

 

Also, the Ruger Single Six is not the only small frame around.   Uberti makes a small frame single action in several calibers - including the 38 Special.  They come in three grip frame configurations, standard plow handle, birdshead,  and a lightning. And they are in prod production and available. 

 

https://taylorsfirearms.com/hand-guns/stallion-standard-grip-rev.html

 

They are marketed thought Uberti,  Taylor's and Company,  and Cimarron. 

 

 

 

Edited by Warden Callaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.32 SW, .32 SW Long, .32 H+R Magnum, .327 Magnum.   Same family.   In revolvers, you can run the shorter ones in the longer ones no problem.   With rifles, it may be more problematic.  .32-20 is a completely different animal, as the OP noted with it's bottleneck configuration.  

 

As far as the 32-20 being hard to load, it's really not.   Yes, you do have to be a little more attentive to what you are doing, but not so much that it is nerve wracking.  I would strongly recommend seating with one die, and then crimping with a Lee Factory Crimp Die.   When I was trying seat and crimp with the same die, it led to difficulties for me.   Switching the the LFCD solved my problems.   Others will tell you that if you are careful enough, you don't need the FCD, and that may be true.  I'm just saying it worked for me.   About the biggest problem you have with .32-20 is the need lube the cases that does not exist with straight wall ones.

 

That being said, you can find guns for .32-20 if you don't mind going the used route.   A Curio and Relic FFL will go a long way to helping you find them, and yes for an affordable price.

 

As of this writing, I have a First Generation Colt that was born in the 1880's and started life as a .44-40.  It was redone in the smaller caliber sometime in the 20's according to the gunsmiths who have looked at at.   I also have a Third Generation Colt that I was able to get new, and a original 1860 that was converted to this caliber at some point.  The new pistol was the most expensive of the lot.

 

For rifles, I've got a 24" octagon Winchester 73, a 20" Winchester 92, and a Colt Lightning, 24" octagon.   The 92 is by far the most light weight, and is a handy handling little carbine.   The 73 is the heaviest, but I don't find it to be overly so.   The Lightning is in the middle, and well, it's a Lightning.   I love Lightnings....

 

The 92 I got for a few hundred dollars, a real bargain.   So things are out there for a reasonable price.    Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ozark Okie said:
In my 2nd year of cowboy shooting (@78 yrs), my rifle and pistols are feeling a bit heavy and cumbersome in my hands (.357/38 Uberti Model 73 and Ruger New Vaqueros). Recently shot a friend's Ruger Single Sixes in .32 H&R magnum and they felt great. Same friend also has a Marlin Cowboy .32 H&R magnum which I have not yet been able to shoot. I'm now wondering about a change to .32 caliber....wish list might be 1) rifle and pistols in 327 magnum, which would allow me to shoot down to .32 H&R magnum, 2) .32 magnum, or 3) 32-20...I like the historical aspects of the 32-20 but would have a little concern about reloading the necked cartridge. All of this may be moot...there don't seem to be many (any) .32s around for cowboy shooting. I'm sure a lot of pards out there have been down this trail before...maybe even had .32s and put them aside in favor or 38s, etc. So, I'm looking for some shared experience, advice, suggestions....does it make sense for me to consider a move to .32....any suggestions about availability....any other considerations? Thank you for any feedback. 
Ozark Okie    

Ozark, my wife who is 2 years younger than you, starting having difficulty holding, aiming and firing her new model Vaqueros due to their weight and her age related loss of hand and arm strength.  We started looking into finding her a pair of Ruger 32 single sixes. We were able to locate and purchase a pair of stainless steel ones on Gunbroker after a period of time.  They are not cheap but worth the price. She has no trouble shooting the guns and is able to carry them holstered all day without them making her back hurt. They are much lighter than the Vaqueros. She also shoots a Uberti 1873 Trapper in 357 caliber that we purchased from Cody’s Cowboy Shop. If you google Cody Conagher you will find his website. He is a great gunsmith and will stand behind his work. The barrel is 18 inches long and is light weight. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another option would be Uberti Stallions in .38. They are essentially the same size as single sixes, but you can use your .38 loads and not change your reloading set up. A Marlin in .38 will be easier to find than a .32 or look at the Uberti 73' trapper with a 16 1/4" barrel in .38. My wife uses a trapper, they are very manageable weight wise and easier handling than the longer barrel 73's.

 

I know this wasn't the question you asked, just adding another perspective.

 

Tully

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love my .32 H&R Rugers.   Well worth the money to get them.  I've enough beat up parts that the lessened wear and tear is noticable.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

With due consideration for "Weight" and "Recoil"  my personal opine is for Uberti/Cimarron "TRAPPER" with 16 inch barrel.  Either an 1866 or an 1873.  Chamber in 45 Colt.  Add a "Smith Shop" custom carrier and load with Cowboy 45 Special cartridges.  Light weight and Light recoil in the same package.  Also, looks absolutely TRIX.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 75 and lucky as I had a young lady 16-23 that shot with me that I got .32's and let her use them.  I shoot my Navy .36 cap and balls and a lighting in .44-40.  If I wear my Navies out I will go to the .32's as recoil hurts my hands any more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ozark, my wife has had the Uberti Stallions and the Ruger 32 Single Sixes. She likes the balance, weight and feel of the Rugers much better. They will cost more but are worth the expense. 

Edited by Sandhills Slim, SASS #22998

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up three Ruger .32 H&R's in March, and lemme tell ya, they are some right handy little pistols for one handed shooting. I haven't been able to find a reasonably priced Marlin yet, but I've got a CCLTD .32-20 if I want to go all .32's. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/880727187  Here’s a pair on Gun Broker. One day & 19 hrs left on bid. Consecutive serial numbers. 

Edited by Sandhills Slim, SASS #22998

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sent him a message asking, if by some divine cosmic coincidence, they were consecutive to any of my three. Nope. :P

GoodBuy.jpg

Edited by Three Foot Johnson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate all the feedback you folks have sent...sharing experiences, information, alternatives and suggestions. Its clear that a lot of you like the H&R magnums...single sixes and Marlin 1894; I think that's where I will  focus my search.  Looks like it will be a piecemeal effort; I did see the pair of H&Rs on gunbroker (thanks, Slim)....but need to know that I'll be able to find a complementary rifle.  I will also keep my eyes and ears open for the 1873 trapper possibility...and stallion pistols. When I get some guns in my hands, I'll concentrate on the loading information....brass length, bullet weight, etc. Each of you has provided me with useful information....thank you again.

OO    

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you wait till they are both available at the same time, it probably won't happen.  I suggest going after the pistols first.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shoot a 73 in 44-40 and 32-20 in black powder. My go to 73 is the 44-40. It's much lighter than the 32-20. Recoil with a replaced shoulder joint and BP hasn't been an issue. I do shoot Uberti Colt clones in 32-20 and they are great.

Ike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.