32-20 and RL-7
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Thread: 32-20 and RL-7



  1. #1
    Marlin Marksman
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    32-20 and RL-7

    I picked up a Winchester 1892 in 32-20. The rifle was made in 1911 so it's 108 years old. Neat little rifle. When I got it I knew it was dirty...as in hasn't see a cleaning rod since 1912!! I dissembled the entire rifle....it had 1/4" of what I can only describe as "crud" inside the receiver. Anyway....I cleaned it up and first loaded some mild Trail Boss loads for it. The rifle shot well using those. The rifle has the factory rear buckhorn sight, but the front sight is a Lyman "flip" sight. Flip from hooded post to a white bead.

    I use LoadData to obtain loading information and LoadData shows that 12.4gr RL-7 is the minimum start load....and it states the velocity should be 1,038 when shot from a 14" barrel. My rifle has a 24" barrel. So, I loaded up a batch and the average velocity from my rifle is 1,350fps as measured with my Chrony ten feet (about) from the muzzle. I am getting a 100 yard pattern of about 6"....but that's with my 63+ eyes and that buckhorn sight. I figure I'll pick up a rear tang sight soon enough.

    I was going to start with the 12.5gr under a 115gr. cast bullet (which I did) and then see how it shoots. Then work up towards the max of RL-7 (which is 15.5gr) and see how "more faster" would group. I'm not interested in more speed for just more speed. And the rifle is 108YO so it's going to get used as a pop-can target rifle.

    LoadData shows that the max load is 16,000 CUP which is fine for this old rifle, but I'm a little concerned about increasing the charge to much more than 14.0gr as I don't want to beat up the rifle.

    Any thoughts on this load increase thing??

    Pic after my cleanup.
    GuJHpmA.jpg

    Some of the crud on the lever part inside receiver:
    vqqwYah.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    I shoot all my rabbits with Hornady's dangerous game bullets.
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    I got lot's more in the back.....

  2. #2
    Wrangler
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    What are you trying to do with it? Just to shoot to make it go bang? I would put a minimum load of Unique or Trail Boss in it - work until it sealed the brass off without sooting up the sides of the brass and if it shot a decent pattern I would put a huge grin on my face and say Looky Looky at my cool as hell toy!

    Just me.

    Dave that rifle is way to cool for school!
    I like it. I love it. Can't get enough of it.

    Lever Action Silhouette Rifle - You get more clang for your bang with lever action silhouette.....



  3. #3
    Marlin Marksman
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    RL-7 won't hurt it if you stay below recommended. Work from the lowest looking for accuracy only. Shoot for effect. Have fun doing it.
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  5. #4
    Deadeye
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    Unique is another good powder in the .32-20. My 1889 likes about 4.5 grains for 1300fps.
    Zingger, Davetm, OLSKOOL and 3 others like this.

  6. #5
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    RL7 can be loaded to full case capacity with compression in the same manner as loading black powder in the .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 cartridges and will approximate the velocity of the original black powder load with the standard weight bullet with pressures which won't exceed the SAAMI MAP for the cartridge. In the .32-20 with 100-grain bullet you cannot get enough RL7 into the case to get into trouble shooting a sound 1873 Winchester. Velocity will be more uniform and accuracy better using a case full of powder sufficient to provide base suport to the bullet in the same manner that black powder does, so that bullets cannot telescope deeper into the case under compression of the tubular magazine spring. The Hornady .312" diameter 100-grain XTP performs well at .32-20 rifle velocities of around 1250-1300 fps. A lubricated lead cast bullet such as Accurate 31-105T cast 1:20 tin-lead is a good hunting load and will give a bit higher velocity than a jacketed bullet due to lower bore drag.
    1Merlin and Davetm like this.
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  7. #6
    Marlin Marksman
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    I purchased 500 115gr. bullets from my Pennsylvania caster (Moyers) and he always comes through with a good product. I've got them for my 38-55, 32-40, 30-30, 44mag, and now the 32-20. Odd thing about these old calibers is the 32-40 is sized .321 but the 32-20 is .311 to .313. The lead bullets I get are lubed.

    For sure it's a load up the mag tube and plink away. The current speed is just fine and I only want it faster if it's more accurate. I loaded a bunch of Trail Boss at 2.3gr. but the accuracy is not as good.

    Using the min RL-7 does fill up the case....not to a compressed load....and at the minimum charge recoil is like a flea bite. Fun to hear that bullet whizz downrange and whack the paper target!!! It may go hunting for squirrel. Maybe......I haven't hunted tree rats for 40 years. This may "force" me to go!!!

    Thank you for your post. They all help.

    Dave
    I shoot all my rabbits with Hornady's dangerous game bullets.
    Team Winchester #101
    Team 32 Special #149
    Team 38-55 #3
    I got lot's more in the back.....

  8. #7
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    Not long ago I came across a 92 rifle round barrel 32.20 made in 1911 also! it loves Acme 115 gr powder coated bullets 5 gr unique. mine has a multi leaf rear sight 50. 100 and 150 yds my load matches the sight perfect!. I know where some real dumb squirrels live, and towards evening some bunnys under bushes along an old RR bed. cant wait for fall.!

  9. #8
    Sidewinder
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    I was out with my 1906 vintage Marlin 1894 to finds some sub-25 kpsi hunting loads for it using the Speer 115 GDHP bullet.
    Today's results were:
    115 Speer GDHP 10.0 H4227 Rem 5 1/2 Starline 1.580" 1083 fps
    115 Speer GDHP 15.0 WC-680 Rem 5 1/2 Starline 1.580" 1546 fps
    115 Speer GDHP 10.0 Lil'Gun Rem 5 1/2 Starline 1.580" 1491 fps
    115 Speer GDHP 10.0 WW 296 Rem 5 1/2 Starline 1.580" 1292 fps

    I'll try Rl-7 on my next venture to the range.
    Savage303, Davetm and 1Merlin like this.
    John in Oregon

  10. #9
    Gunfighter
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    Quote Originally Posted by davemuzz View Post
    I picked up a Winchester 1892 in 32-20. The rifle was made in 1911 so it's 108 years old. Neat little rifle. When I got it I knew it was dirty...as in hasn't see a cleaning rod since 1912!! I dissembled the entire rifle....it had 1/4" of what I can only describe as "crud" inside the receiver. Anyway....I cleaned it up and first loaded some mild Trail Boss loads for it. The rifle shot well using those. The rifle has the factory rear buckhorn sight, but the front sight is a Lyman "flip" sight. Flip from hooded post to a white bead.

    I use LoadData to obtain loading information and LoadData shows that 12.4gr RL-7 is the minimum start load....and it states the velocity should be 1,038 when shot from a 14" barrel. My rifle has a 24" barrel. So, I loaded up a batch and the average velocity from my rifle is 1,350fps as measured with my Chrony ten feet (about) from the muzzle. I am getting a 100 yard pattern of about 6"....but that's with my 63+ eyes and that buckhorn sight. I figure I'll pick up a rear tang sight soon enough.

    I was going to start with the 12.5gr under a 115gr. cast bullet (which I did) and then see how it shoots. Then work up towards the max of RL-7 (which is 15.5gr) and see how "more faster" would group. I'm not interested in more speed for just more speed. And the rifle is 108YO so it's going to get used as a pop-can target rifle.

    LoadData shows that the max load is 16,000 CUP which is fine for this old rifle, but I'm a little concerned about increasing the charge to much more than 14.0gr as I don't want to beat up the rifle.

    Any thoughts on this load increase thing??

    Pic after my cleanup.
    GuJHpmA.jpg

    Some of the crud on the lever part inside receiver:
    vqqwYah.jpg
    Dave,

    Very good first step, giving it a good cleaning. Congratulations on the acquisition. Attached is the best reloading article I have found about the 32-20. You will find everything you need within.

    Mine likes a 112-115gr plain base cast bullet and between 14.5 to 15.0 grains of AA-1680. It moves out at 1,720 fps from the 24" barrel.

    32-20 WCF
    HerrSchutz
    NRA Life 1974
    40 gr to 535 gr, all moving at the most accurate velocity!
    Darwin was right, when left alone, nature has very efficient and effective ways of strengthening the gene pool​.

  11. #10
    Wrangler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herrschutz View Post
    Dave,

    Very good first step, giving it a good cleaning. Congratulations on the acquisition. Attached is the best reloading article I have found about the 32-20. You will find everything you need within.

    Mine likes a 112-115gr plain base cast bullet and between 14.5 to 15.0 grains of AA-1680. It moves out at 1,720 fps from the 24" barrel.

    32-20 WCF
    Dave may I inquire as to what kind of rifle you are shooting?
    Thanks!
    Herrschutz likes this.
    I like it. I love it. Can't get enough of it.

    Lever Action Silhouette Rifle - You get more clang for your bang with lever action silhouette.....




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