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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.32-20 Winchester / .32 WCF (SSP loads) (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce
Date: Sep 15 2022

The .32-20 WCF (.32-20 Winchester) was originally a black-powder cartridge that first appeared around 1882 in the Winchester Model 1873 rifle. It became widely popular for a variety of purposes that included defense, small-game hunting and ever deer, though it was certainly light for the latter application. Many competing manufacturers soon offered guns, and it even became popular in revolvers such as the Colt Single Action Army, Smith & Wesson K-frame Hand Ejector and others. As smokeless powders became available, as well as stronger guns, factories began loading the little .32-20 with special “high velocity” jacketed bullet ammunition that reached around 2,000 fps muzzle velocity. Due to the liability of those loads finding their way into guns designed for black powder, they have long been discontinued. Winchester and Remington currently list a 100-grain lead bullet at a leisurely 1,210 fps (from a rifle).

In the 1980s, with growing interest in handgun hunting, the NRA Hunter’s Pistol competitions and the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association Field Pistol competitions, Thompson/Center Arms began chambering the .32-20 in its Contender single-shot pistol. However, rather than using the standard .312-inch barrel groove diameter that is most common with the .32-20, the company chose a .308-inch groove diameter. The intent was to permit the cartridge to be used with a wide selection of .30-caliber spitzer profile bullets (for a higher BC) in various competitions.

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