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Converting a .32 Rimfire Rolling block to .32 Centerfire.


H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

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Is it possible to convert a .32 Rimfire Remington Rolling Block to a .32 centerfire cartridge?  I assume .32 S&W, or .32 S&W Long, but I don't know.  It seems to me that simply replacing the block with a centerfire one is all you need to do.  But does such an animal that would actually fit, exist?  And what are the case dimensions of the .32 RF?  Are the same as any CF cartridge, or would rechambering also become a needful thing to do.   I figure that if the RF used a heel based bullet, I can always use hollow base bullets in the theoretical CF cartridge that'll bump up to engage the rifling.

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There is several ways to shoot these old rifles.  I have done it 2 different ways but have used #2 and larger actions.  You can do the smaller rifles but they cannot handle much pressure.  One way is to convert to center fire and find colt cases that fit the rifle and reload with heeled bullets that you can buy on GunBroker or cast yourself.  You can also ream the chamber to use a 32 long center fire case and use normal lead bullets.  The other way to shoot these rifles without altering the rifle at all is to buy swaged down cases that fit the chamber and uses heeled bullets and 22 power load.  This is the way to go if you just want to occasionally shoot it with no alteration of the rifle.  Here is the kit to buy https://www.gunbroker.com/item/1019864038 I have made my own cases like this kit has and if the rifling is half good it shoots really well.  There are videos on YouTube that describes everything you need to know to shoot these rifles this is one of many videos he has posted 

 

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Well, here's an update.

 

I have obtained the rifle in question, after speaking with a local gunsmith who has done some other work for me.  He has converted "several" rimfire rolling blocks to centerfire.

The "easiest" thing of course, is to just change the block to a centerfire one and then shoot .32 Colt ammo in it.  Getting brass for .32 Long Colt is difficult, but not impossible.  Dies exist, and you can get bullets.  So that's one option.

The other is to admit that while there is still rifling, it is very faint.  I may have him reline the barrel and chamber it for .32 S&W Long.  This will be determined by a conversation when I take him the rifle in a week or two.

 

I know once in a great while someone makes a run of .32 Rimfire, but I don't think I wanna go THAT route.
 

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By the way what size of action is it, that would determine what to do with it.  Do not give up on worn rifling.  If there are no pits in it I would give it a try.  I have several rifles with faint rifling that shoots acceptable.  I have a 32 and 25 that shoot 2 inch groups at 100 yards with good handloads.  Charlie

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7 hours ago, Cheatin Charlie said:

By the way what size of action is it, that would determine what to do with it.  Do not give up on worn rifling.  If there are no pits in it I would give it a try.  I have several rifles with faint rifling that shoots acceptable.  I have a 32 and 25 that shoot 2 inch groups at 100 yards with good handloads.  Charlie

 

It's a Number 4, and the exact same size as my .22.  After church today, and after reading an article that reminded me about leading, I scrubbed to bore.  That very faint rifling is now much less faint.  Worn, but much more clearly there, and down the whole length of the barrel.  So, unless there is some other issue that I am not yet aware of, I will likely go with just the CF conversion and do what I can to find .32 Long Colt brass.   They are out of stock, but Buffalo Arms does list it, made from something else, on their website, so that's an option as well.  Sure, I'd prefer a proper headstamp, but if I have more than a couple others with "incorrect" ones that work just fine.

 

 

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If it is a takedown model it will not take much pressure before it shoots loose.  I use conversion brass I machined myself.  Primed with acorn blanks and loaded with black powder.  I have not shot it much but the last time the take down screw seemed loose when I cleaned it.  I think I may loctite the barrel in the action to take some of the pressure.   The rolling block is one of my favorite actions but they are not as strong as they appear to be.  They are plenty strong for black powder pressure they were designed for.  Have fun and use common sense when reloading.

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It's not a takedown, so I guess that's a plus.  A dual block?  That's...  really nifty sounding!

 

I've done more research, and among other things, I've discovered that .32 Colt and .32 S&W do have the same size bore.  Given that, and given how some of the components for reloading the Colt are essentially unobtainium, I made have have it rechambered.  Would greatly simplify things that way, I think.

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Generically, what I call the "short and stubby" cartridges, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .38 Short Colt, and especially .38 S&W have always intrigued me.  Among other things, I have a Colt Police Positive that is stamped, ".32 Police CTG."  I've always assumed that it is a .32 S&W Long, but which Colt called .32 New Colt Police.  I am waiting on a letter for it, and based on some reading, I wonder if it might be a .32 Long Colt.  I suppose I should just go and see if the S&W round will chamber in it.  Depending on what it is, that may have bearing on my choice to rechamber the rifle.  In either case, it'll be nice to have a rifle in one of the short and stubby calibers.

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17 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

It's not a takedown, so I guess that's a plus.  A dual block?  That's...  really nifty sounding!

 

I've done more research, and among other things, I've discovered that .32 Colt and .32 S&W do have the same size bore.  Given that, and given how some of the components for reloading the Colt are essentially unobtainium, I made have have it rechambered.  Would greatly simplify things that way, I think.

Being a solid frame is a big plus as far as strength.  If you stay with 32 Colt you will need to load Heeled bullets.  I chambered mine so 32 S&W long will not chamber all the way.  I chambered it so only a case as long as 32 rimfire long will chamber and load with black powder to duplicate original cartridge power.  Did not want someone to shoot a S&W long factory cartridge in it.  I much prefer the larger action rifles to convert and shoot.  Good luck

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