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Questions for the 32 WCF (.32-20) shooters out there

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So I have 2 EAA SAA clones, 2 Uberti SAA clones, 1 Colt Police Positive and 1 Ruger Buckeye.

115gr, .313 cast bullets, cartridge sized to recommended OAL and length and, crimped at the crimp groove will not chamber in my SAA clones.

115gr, 311s chamber just fine.

the 115grs I'm having issues with are old Stateline Bullet that I purchased in the 2000s.

Been so long since I short factory ammo out of the SAA clones, I am not sure if I ever had problems with those.

Using a mix of Starline, Winchester and Remington brass.

All brass is w/i tolerance for length.


They do chamber in my Police Positive and my Ruger.

They chamber just fined in the Winchester 73s and my Marlin .32-20s.

I believe that the chambers in the clones are short.


These are for the wife and daughter's competition guys, so I have zero tolerance for error.


The questions:

Anybody else having chambering issues.

Has anybody already sized their Italian cylinders?



Ustas B Slim, husband of Ivana Goodtime, daughter has yet to settle on an alias.


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Chambers of dash calibers vary a lot from different manufacturers.  You might have set the shoulder a little lower when you resize.  I first loaded 32-20 for a 1st gen SAA.  Then when I got an Uberti rifle, I had to adjust the shoulder down to chamber in the rifle.  I use 115gr bullets.  When I got a 32wcf '92, they were fine in that.  If there is enough difference in the chambers from the longest to the shortest neck, then the shortest one will work your brass a little more when you resize it.  But since you said the .311 bullet will chamber, it makes me wonder if the neck is fine.  Maybe just something about the shape of the .313 bullet, like you said.  If so, you could try some other .313 bullets and if they work, then stick with those for the Ubertis.

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It is entirely possible that your chambers may be too tight.

I have never had problems with chambering in the following guns...




Winchester 73

Winchester 92

Colt Lightning.

(I have not yet tried my Marling 1888)


These are all vintage rifles.  The Colt and the Marlin are antiques, so they were probably all "chambered" to original specs for the cartridge.  (Whatever that means.



Colt Bisley #1

Colt Bisley #2

Antique SAA that started life as a .44-40 and was changed.  Likely some time in the 1920's

Notice that everything on this list is over 100 years old.


S&W Model M&P made in 1903, so again, a vintage gun with no problems.


This gun gave me problems...


3rd Generation Colt SAA

Some of the chambers were fine, some were just too tight for my ammo it fit in the chambers.  I took it to a gunsmith and he reamed the chambers for me, now it works just fine.

Curiously, I have have had similar problems with .44-40, older guns just fine, modern guns not so much so.  With the modern guns it didn't matter who made them, Colt or whoever, rifles and revolvers.  It was not a universal problem, but one that recurred with annoying regularity.   I have a feeling that the WCF cartridges are prone to some variation from the manufactures that can lead to problems from time to time.

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Yes it is very possible the Uberti cylinder chambers are not cut to accept a standard full length sized case.


I ran into this on a set of 4 pistols in 32WCF a while ago.


Re-cut with a new reamer and all went better.


OL'  #4

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I know you didn't ask about overall cartridge length, but this is another critical measurement in lever action rifles. I recently got a good reminder that '66s and '73s don't like ammo that is the wrong length. I loaded up a bunch of ammo and just crimped the bullets into the crimp grooves on the bullets. Unfortunately this made the ammo too short to function properly.


I shoot a number of dash caliber rounds (25-20, 32-20, 38-40 & 44-40) and the need to be 1.592" overall length to function reliably in a rifle. (Thanks again for the reminder Boothill Bandit) 


Back to your original topic of chamber size in handguns, Ruger sent out a bunch of 38-40 Vaqueros with undersized cylinder chambers a couple of decades ago and would not resize them. Mine set came with .393" - .397" chambers. The 38-40 uses a .401 bullet, so my ammo would not fit in the chambers. I sent them out to a gun smith to get them corrected after Ruger shipped my guns back to me and told me they "were built to proper specifications". 

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Thanks for the advice @Ethan Cord, @Abilene, SASS # 27489,  @H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619, @Ol Number4.  Will try a couple of different cast bullet profiles and then "cerrosafeing" the chambers - if the .311 115s don't give acceptable accuracy.


Will be range testing the .311s this weekend.

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