32-20 help needed.

Centerfires, rimfires, pistol cartridges and everything in between.
21step
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32-20 help needed.

Post by 21step »

So I bought an 1892 Winchester with a frosty bore expecting it to shoot as well as my 25-20 that has an even worse bore. So far I believe it's the gun that was in hand when the phrase "can't hit the broad side of a barn" got coined.
115 gr cast (313 diam) and 6.6 gr of 2400.
Does anyone shoot an old worn out 32-20 bore with good results?
I know a lining is probably best but thought I would ask.
Adam

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by ywltzucanrknrl »

My experience with rifles with poor bores has led me to believe that most can be made to shoot decent. Generally, the following works for me.
Use softer lead bullets.
Find the correct diameter the barrel needs. I slug the barrel---both by checking the diameter and by pushing a soft (lubricated) slug through the barrel several times and marking the loose and tight spots. You can also kind of do this with precision gauges to some degree depending on the increments the gauges are made at.

I find that if the barrel is tight at the throat and then is loose the rest of the length, it likely will not shoot well.

Also, if the muzzle is loose, it will likely not shoot well.

If the barrel is loose at the throat and tighter at the muzzle (and even if there are loose and tight spots in the rest of the barrel), I generally have decent luck getting them to shoot well with some tinkering with bullet diameter and hardness plus different loads.

Powder does make a difference. Sometimes I’ve found that black powder works very well while it’s hard to find a smokeless powder that will work.

If you are not really into tinkering with them, it would probably be easier to get a liner put in. Best of luck with it.

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by cedestech »

THAT^^^^

Have a couple rifles that wouldn't shoot then like turning on a switch, bang, good shooters...

I think some center fire guns are as finicky as rimfire as far as wanting a certain canalure to engage the leade correctly.... Some it's the powder.... they just won't shoot with a certain powder... some it's velocity....

If the mechanics of the barrel are good, you should be able to get it to shoot unless you (no offense) are the random variable.

;)
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by SSShooter »

Have you given the barrel a "good scrub" with a bronze-bristle brush and cleaner? Sometimes the crud in an ugly bore gets loose and fills the grooves unequally which tears up the bullet. A good scrub to get everything loose out will often help.

21step
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by 21step »

Alright, I got it to hit paper. A 2' x 3' paper but still paper. At 30ish yards it's sending the bullets through sideways. The barrel has been thoroughly scrubbed with a nylon brush and butches bore shine. I also put some Remington 40x through it with the long jag and military patches. It's as clean as I can get it.

I was thinking of trying some of those fancy metal jacket bullets out of it, maybe it'll spin them?

If I stick with lead what's the biggest diameter bullet I can get for the 32-20?

Thanks
Adam

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by DonM »

You may want to slug that barrel, then have Accurate Moulds cut you a set of blocks for the diameter that the barrel says it needs.

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by cedestech »

21step wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:03 pm


I was thinking of trying some of those fancy metal jacket bullets out of it, maybe it'll spin them?

If I stick with lead what's the biggest diameter bullet I can get for the 32-20?

Thanks
Adam
Didn't realize you were trying to shoot lead....

FWIW, I can't get lead to shoot out of anything I own or have owned..... Some can, I lack that ability for some reason.... all my lever guns shoot 1.5-2 MOA with jacketed... lead, no way.... Clean the barrel and buy a few boxes of jacketed and go down that road. Bet it works. ;)
Emmett Dibble, Rosenberg Texas. All hail Jason, writer of novellas and destroyer of small pieces of paper!!!

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by cslcAl »

Adam,
The solvents you used are not abrasive enough. You need to scrub it with some JB bore cleaner. I have a 25-20 that would not shoot well when I bought it. After a through JB scrubbing it shoots like a new gun. I shoot jacketed Bullets though.
If that doesn’t work it’s time for a liner. Ted Ulmer does a real nice job of lining a barrel.
Al Foust
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by Another Dang 9 »

Adam, I tried lead bullets in my new 32-20 and it would lead up the barrel right to the muzzle. Stick with jacketed and eliminate the problem altogether. And Al's advice about JB bore paste works too.
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by DonM »

Commercial cast bullets with the bevel base can be a bit problematic.
A good cast bullet with a flat base, sized .001-.002 over groove diameter from 16-1 or #2 alloy, lubed with a good lube, should be extremely limited for leading, assuming you have removed all the junk from the barrel that could give a cast bullet a snag trip down the bore.

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by squinty_shooter »

For what it is worth, I shoot a 115gr flat base unsized, tumble lubed over 5.5gr WST. Very accurate and NO leading in my 32-20.
JMHO
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by edgehit »

Keyholing? My guess is your barrel is
1. Fouled to the point rifling doesn’t stabilize the bullet. Or
2. Barrel is so corroded that the rifling is gone

Scrub the barrel as suggested and see if keyholes go away. Shoot jacketed bullets just to eliminate the lead bullet variable.

Otherwise send it off for relining.

My primary suggestion is to skip the above and send it off for relining as most of these old leverguns were shot with corrosive priming and the barrel rifling is damaged. You’ll have hell shooting lead bullets and jackets will never reach their accuracy potential. I sent my rifle to Mark Chandlynn at Rocky Mountain Rifle works. He preserves the barrel’s factory crown and you can’t tell the rifles been relined unless you carefully inspect the crown chamfer or the breech.
- Joe

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by boats »

Softer lead good bullet fit and modest velocity will help poor bores shoot. Best option if the rifle is worth the expense is re-line.

Had a 1894 Marlin 38/40 relined. Transformed it, great shooter now.

Boats

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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by jnyork »

I have a Winchester 25-35 saddle ring carbine with a bore that looks like a old sewer pipe, no amount of scrubbing will help it. Just for fun, I loaded up some 60 grain Hornady jacketed bullets and it really surprised me, with the tang sight and a post front sight I could hit just about as well at 100 yards as I could see. I took it on a prairie dog hunt , two friends and I with our usual varmint rifles. I was the subject of much derision when I pulled out the Winchester, but it soon became obvious that any PD within about 125 yards or so was "meat in the pan" :D

So, maybe you might want to try some jacketed bullets before you give up on that old bore, there might be a rose among the thorns.

21step
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Re: 32-20 help needed.

Post by 21step »

This is all excellent info everyone. I appreciate it a lot. I found Sierra and Hornady. Are there any other 32-20 freindly jacketed bullets available?
Adam

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