powder for 32-20 rifle.

  • Last Post 13 October 2012
adrians posted this 21 July 2012

Hi i have an 1894 marlin (1901) in 32-20 and the old ideal /Lyman cast bullet books only give data for two powders that i have , unique, red dot, i have tried these with decent results but i would like to try others but i cant find data for any using the ideal 311316 mould


i was wondering if i could use bullseye, W231, rx7 ,,,,which i also have  on hand.

 ,,,oh and anyone use trailboss in this cartridge.?

curious...    :dude:



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RicinYakima posted this 21 July 2012

You can use any data for 311(00)8 for 311316 as the weight is within 2 grains and seating depth is the same to work through the Marlin action. For WW231, 4.5 grains is a good load,quite and usually accurate. That is my maximum load for the 311316 sized to fir the throat and seated in the crimp groove.

I have tried Trailboss in the rifle. It goes bang and the bullet goes out the end of the barrel, that is about all you can say for it. Other than you can load it in old Winchester and Ideal hand tools with a dipper.


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adrians posted this 21 July 2012

thank you ric, i.m glad you mentioned 231 .

what vel does that give you and is it near top end pressure levels ?

i want to keep my oldie well under the 18000 (?) psi level, would 4 grns get it out the other end of the rifle ?

My 231 needs to be used up as i don;t load for pistol/ revolver anymore ( SWMBO  :dude: insists on those coppery colored things with holes in the end for her shooting needs)

I think i'll load some up starting at 4 and going to the 4.5 and see how it performes.



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RicinYakima posted this 21 July 2012

I don't have one of the programs that estimte pressure, but my guess would be that 4.0 grains about 12,500 and 4.5 about 18,000. My older 1889 likes the 4.5 grain load, and I just neck size them in a tong tool. From the 24 inch barrel of the Marlin it is about 1425 f/s (the same as the black powder load) with 311316, 0.313", WW's + 2% tin, NRA lube and Federal 200 primers. HTH, Ric

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docbob posted this 21 July 2012


  Ric always has good information and I'd stick to milder loads for your older Marlin. I have an old Winchester high wall rifle in .32-20 and use either 2400 or 4227 powder for more velocity with my cast bullets.

    good luck,


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adrians posted this 21 July 2012

i think I'll load up 10 with 4gr of 231 just to see how it goes ,at an estimated 13,000 +/_ fs it shouldn't be “overworked” thanks Ric,

Doc i don't have any 4227 but have already got some ready to go using   7.0  ,7.5  ,8.0 grs of 2400 again we'll see how she does.

I'm very wary of having one fail to fall out the end of the barrel :shock: (28” long octagonal).

tricky business this 32-20 stuff but i like it ,it's what makes casting and loading your own very fulfilling and fun,  :hunt::wow:

later adrians,,,,,,,

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RicinYakima posted this 22 July 2012


That is one of the reasons why I got started with the 32/20 to begin with; Ken Waters said it was hard to do right. If the 2400 will ignite, it will clear the barrel. Most smokeless powder makes about the same volume of gases per grain. Once you get above 5 grains in a .30 bore, you are pretty sure of it clearing the barrel. It is the 3.0 grains of Bullseye you have to watch.


PS, I would love to see a picture of the rifle!

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adrians posted this 22 July 2012


 Ric ,so the BE load maybe a tad “iffy' ya think?.

I had it sitting in my cabinet from my handgun loading days and hate to let it sit there ,i need to use it up so i can replace it with some other powder I'll probably not use much of .>.

you mention k. Waters and my better half got me his pet loads book a couple of years ago ( the big 2” thick book ) i think it has all his articles in it .

This Internet gig really makes ya lazy,,,, doesn't it ?.

I NEED TO READ IT,,,,,, again,,,:coffee

When i find my Kodak I'll take a couple of pics and post a couple,,,,

thanks Ric and stay cool......

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rjmeyer314 posted this 26 August 2012

I have one of the newer Marlin 1894 CL's in 32-20. I use a cast 115gr FP bullet from Oregon Trail with 9.0gr of SR4759. This gives me about 2.0” groups at 100 yards.

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adrians posted this 27 August 2012

Here it is Ric.

not a very good pic , the other was my father-in-laws win 94 30-30 born in 1954.

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sharps4590 posted this 13 October 2012

Ahhhh...ya gotta love those old lever rifles.

I believe your 2400 load will be fine. In my heavier revolvers, (Colt SAA 1st gen and a close), and my '92 Winchester, (1913) I have used Elmer Keith's load of 10 grs. of 2400. Great cat killer. I've settled on 5 grs. of Unique for all my 32-20 loads now.

All those loads are under an RCBS 98 gr. SWC.

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