I receantly aquired a 1892 Winchester 32-20 and am not at all familar with this weapon. Could someone tell me what are the best cartridges to use.
It came with about 100 rounds of Federal 32 WW specials. Can I also use the shorter 32-20 pistol cartridge and what is your advise on hand loading the cartridge?
Welcome to the Forum! Great first post to bring up Winchester Model '92s and the .32-20 cartridge!
If by "Federal 32 WW Special" you are intending the .32 Winchester Special then those cartridges aren't appropriate for the Winchester Model 1892 rifle which was chambered for the smaller .32-20 cartridge. Neither chamber or action dimensions of a '92 will accomodate the larger .32 Wichester Special cartridge which is very close dimensionally to the .30-30 cartridge. Both the .30-30 and the .32 Winchester Special were introduced in the Winchester Model 1894 rifle.
Here's a link to a narrative previously posted about the delightful .32-20 cartridge, one of my personal favorites.
Bryan has provided the definitive information on the .32-20!
(And Bryan, a belated yes, it would have been cool to see the Win 1890 grow into a .32-20!)
Thanks for the reply. Let me provide a bit more info. It is a Winchester model 1894 32WS S/N 553676. I am not sure if the stock or foregrip are original as the band on the foregrip is at the tip and the stock has what looks like a cheek or arm rest on the right side. I first thought is was a left handed stock. I have enclosed a picture of the rifle and the ammo that came with it. I have found 32-20 cartridges that looked like they were for a pistol. Would these also work in the rifle?
Attachment 64409Attachment 64410
That is distinctly a Winchester Model 1894 rifle. Those cartridges give the appearance of being .32 Winchester Special rounds in the photo provided. The .32-20 cartridge would be completely swallowed up by the rifle's chamber, falling deep inside the chamber. The rifle couldn't be induced to fire a cartridge as small as the .32-20 but would give perfect satisfaction with .32 Winchester Special cartridges with are very similar in appearance, but not interchangeable with the common .30-30 round.
According to a copy of "The Winchester Book" by George Madis kept on hand, your rifle was produced in 1911. It either possesses some "extra cost" features or has been customized after leaving the factory, the features being the checkering and the red rubber butt pad. I'd vote "customized" but sure could be wrong.
The barrel length, front sight, front band, and rear sight all indicate a standard 20-inch barreled '94 carbine. The fore end with blued steel fore end cap and the configuration of the comb on the butt stock both look appropriate for a longer barreled '94 rifle. The red rubber pad could have been ordered in 1911 but was a very uncommon factory-provided option at that time.
There were some so-called short rifles produced which were special order only. These could feature other Winchester "extras" in any combination. Such a find would be uncommon.
Here's a crummy photo of a later vintage Winchester Model 94 carbine kept here. It was produced in 1941 and is also in .32 Winchester Special. It's taken five whitetail deer since I've had it. Ballistically, the .32 Winchester Special is effectively the same as the .30-30. I once chronographed fresh factory Winchester .30-30 170 grain ammunition and fresh Winchester factory 170 grain .32 Winchester Special ammunition side by side in pre-war Winchester rifles, both featuring sparkling clean 20-inch barrels.
The .30-30 loading clocked 2102 fps and the .32 Winchester Special clocked 2112 fps. This seems to belie the old timers' claim that the .32 Winchester Special was usefully more powerful than the .30-30. Deer won't know the difference. I've also taken five whitetail with the .30-30.
I handload for both cartridges and the powder which provides the best velocity/accuracy efficiency in my opinion is IMR 3031. I prefer 170 grain flat-nosed bullets in both. Consult data in loading manuals for suitable powder charge weight ranges.
I appreciae the info. Looks like I picked up another hobby so I will need some recomendations on where to go to start learning about realoading and such.
I am the kind of guy that likes to take things apart and in most cases I can get them back together without having a lot of parts left over.
Can you recomend a good book for beginners?
The NRA Firearms Disassembly Guide is a great place to begin if your intending to detail strip classic firearms.