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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm gearing up to load for a 1893 32-40 and I'm seeking recommendations.
1. Best dies? Do I need cowboy dies?
2. Best mold or bullet choice? While we are here, do these typically have a avg groove diameter that's consistant?
3. Recommended powders?
4. Any quirks for loading for a takedown? Tricks or things to avoid about takedowns in general?

Any input greatly appreciated.
Sparky
 

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Sparky,
Having never owned one or reloaded for it, only tip I can offer is to have fun and enjoy shooting that fine looking rifle. I had it bookmarked on GB, but got sidetracked until after the end. Glad you were able to get it and not end up separated into parts bins somewhere. I have an old Ruger #3 in 22 Hornet that refuses to shoot well, so am thinking it should be rebored to 32-40 (to go along with my #3 in .375 which shoots very well) so I will be watching for chronicles of your adventure and experiences!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks miljimbob. I'm looking forward to it. Would that be a 375 winchester by chance? I've been itching for a single shot one of those for awhile now. I'm wondering have you tried tuning on that #3 any? The fella that sold me my 32-20 has had good success getting those Rugers to shoot.
 

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Thanks miljimbob. I'm looking forward to it. Would that be a 375 winchester by chance? I've been itching for a single shot one of those for awhile now. I'm wondering have you tried tuning on that #3 any? The fella that sold me my 32-20 has had good success getting those Rugers to shoot.
The #3 is a 375 Win and just a delight. Also had a 30-40 Krag that is a shooter, but grandson got that for a graduation gift and is still killing deer with it. The Hornet just seems to be obstinent with anything except 40 gr bullets (hard to find) so I was thinking 32-40 would be lots more fun (32-20 also entered my mind :biggrin:!)
 
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Sparky, I load for two 32-40's and nothing but cast bullets. If you are going to load cast bullets you will need something to flare the case mouth so you don't shave lead off the bullet. I have no experience with RCBS cowboy dies but I believe they include a neck expander and case mouth flaring die. I use a Lyman 310 expander in an adapter bushing in my RCBS press. I have loaded brass that was original factory load and has a cannelure at the base of the bullet. Both old Rem-UMC and the John Wayne and those stretch a lot since the cannelure flattens out and eventually cracks at the cannelure. I have been reforming Starline 38-55 brass to 32-40. This does not have that cannelure and I have no problem with case stretching. I use an Old West gc mold that was originally designed for the 32-40 and also a Winchester 32-165 plain base mold. Lately have shot a lot more of the plain base bullet since gc's got high priced. I should add that if you size down 38-55 brass for 32-40 you should check chamber and loaded round diameter to insure you have clearance enough so the case neck can expand enough to release the bullet.
 

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Sparky, I reload for an 1894 Winchester in 32-40 with a Lee 324 175 mold and the Lee Pacesetter die set. I load them over 5 grains of Trailboss which works out fine for us. I also use Winchester brass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks fellas, I hadn't thought about reforming starline or winchester 38-55 brass. I actually just won a few on broker so no worries there. So dies are next and I have some 170 gas checked on hand for the 32 special so I'm nearly there. :biggrin:
 

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Sparky civil - I load for a 68 Marlin 336 that has been bored and lined as a 32-40. I shoot cast bullets sized 322. I shoot the same 180 grain bullets sized 324 in my 8x57 Mauser. I use Cowboy dies as the original set I had was a real old set made by Behr and they were more trouble than they were worth. I used 2400 powder or IMR 4198 (now H 4198) in W-W brass, using W-W primers. My rifle and a copy of the second place 2011 postal match target, are shown in the postal match posting, under the 2011 heading posted by myself.
I have no experience with a take down rifle and think the bore diameter would depend on who and when the rifle was made. Like a lot of older model rifles the bore diameter can vary quite a bit. Once the bore is slugged you will be on your way. A long journey, but like a lot of them well worth the trip. I really enjoy my 32-40 and I know you will like yours too. Best of luck. Shenandoah
Note: Tried to edit three times, can't seem to lose the smiley face. Should be H 4198.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey CS, gotta love those 1885's I just stumbled across a load for mine in 38-55 that's not quite that good but close. I plan to wring that one out a little better. Thanks for the input! Great shooting!
 

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hey sparky
i dont have a 32-40 (wish i did), but just last week i helped a friend load his first 40 rounds lee dies (all he could find) forty new remington 30-30 cases (again all we could find) annealed them sized them in the 32-40 fl die (hard work) loaded 170 cast over sgtdogs pet load and they shot great 93 marlin .3175 groove dia. some of his groups were way less than one inch at 50 yards (sgtdog witness) all with open sights (i was impressed) its one of the best old rifles i have seen condition is almost perfect
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey GL, thanks for the report. It appears 32-40 brass in any quantity is going to be a trick for sure. My plan is to just get enough on broker to get me up and going and then just keep my ear to the ground for awhile. When my uncle (gunsmith) gets back to anchorage ak, he assures me that he has some to mail down to me. He has a pretty good stash of oddball stuff that he's hoarded for 40 years of trolling shows and garage sales. I'm thinking after my 1893 30-30 chamber episode that I'm going to do a chamber cast right away to have a look. And proceed with mold and sizer after a good looking over. What powder were you using if I may ask?
Thanks
 

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i may have to ask sgtdog, but i think it was 2400 and they were plain based so it was a light chg 10.8 i think they were around 1200 fps very accurate with zero leading
 
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sparky
the 30-30 brass worked much better than we were expecting, i thought they may even need fire forming, but they didnt they came out looking like 32-40s
 

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Hey there Sc - With all these older rifles, bore diameter will basically determine accuracy. The older 32-40's have a fairly wide bore diameter spectrum - maybe even greater than the 38-55. The only new brass available is from Winchester to my knowledge. It too seems to be a seasonal thing. The older Winchester brass had a cannelure in the case, but this is kinda a moot point now is there are no jacketed bullets produced currently that have the canelure in the right place to work in conjunction with 32-40 brass.

Most of the old reloading manuals used 165 grain as the base for lead bullets, as that was the original loading. Most of the newer ones seem to be using 170 grains. Aa nose to crimp groove length of .460 or there abouts will usually get through a levergun action. I've been using a RCBS 170 grain bullet from their 82024 mold. Whilst this is a gas checked design, it works great in my rifle so I've seen no need to change. My rifle requires a .324" diameter.

View attachment 104330

Pretty much everyone around here probably knows where I stand on Cowboy dies by now...

There is nothing that needs beating on with take down rifles. You should be able to just untwist the rifle to take down. I do give the cam lever a light tap with my cute little brass gunsmith hammer on reassembly to make sure it's snug. It should not look like this after going together or taking down...

View attachment 104331

Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
 

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wind
this was a weird bullet mold, when i first got it i thought it was defective, 165 but 170 with my alloy five lube grooves, first drive band .315 each band getting larger, the base band is .322, we shot some as cast and some sized to .320 seemed to make no difference on the target it is a saeco mold. we even shot some of johns bullets that were gas checked and sized to .323 not sure but i think it is an lbt
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the input fellas, once again I greatly appreciate every bit of it. All good stuff. Looks like I better keep my cerrosafe handy. I have been concerned about the takedown feature as nearly every one I see looks like they've been hammered on and a few severely. This one appears well cared for all around. The only knock I can see are initials that were carved/stamped in it but I think those will give me something to ponder over while I enjoy what he passed along.
 
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