Several years ago at a gun show, I purchased a 10" contender barrel factory marked .32 H&R Mag. and discovered it was indeed chambered in .32 Mag. but the bore is .308" . It won't shoot for beans with .312" bullets. Does O.K. with jacketed 39 gr. JSP ".308 Mauser" bullets but they're hard to find and .308 bullets fall out of the sized cases. I made a "neck sizing die by cutting off an old .30-30 die just below the neck and made a "bottle neck" out of it.. a chamber cast revealed a short throat and it seems to lead with cast bullets. I don't know whether to have it re-throated at 11 degrees or so for cast bullets or just re-chamber it for ???. I emailed T/C as their Phone 866-730-1640 seems to be a fax line and they replied to my email stating they assigned my query a case number last Tuesday. I wonder what they were thinking. I tried 90 grain .312" bullets over 2.7 grains of Unique and it stuck in the bore and again with 2.1 grains of Bullseye (in .32 S&W cases) and they were all over the paper. Any suggestions?
small bore .32 H&R Mag
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- Last Post 12 August 2020
I also have a 10" TC Contender 32 H&R barrel. It , and the 32-20 barrels, do have .308 groove diameters and 10" twists. That was done for the silhouette shooters who wanted to use heavy .308 bullets. I've tested numerous cast and jacketed bullets intended for the 32 caliber handgun cartridges. I have a TC scope (2.5X) on my barrel and it shoots .309 - .312 sized cast bullets quite well. The .308 - .309 jacketed bullets also shoot very accurately, especially the 90 gr Hornady .308 XTP.
Concealment is not cover.........
As Larry states, the original TC .32 H&R barrels were .308". I decided that I wanted my TC to use the same ammo my other .32 H&R handguns use. I chose to buy a custom SSK barrel that used .313" or .314" cast bullets. I have been more than happy. I have several TC frames and barrels. Over all I have been more than happy with my TC's. But-t-t, I would NOT be interested in an original TC barrel in .32 H&R Mag. My several SSK barrels are absolutely excellent.
I had the pleasure of meeting J.D. Jones of SSK Industries a number of years ago. He wrote extensively of using the TC's in the field, taking all manner of game. Good stuff, indeed!
The American Rifleman did a "road test" of TC's, back in the day, and they were quite specific in TC's inconsistent chambering of various calibers.
I re-checked the throat with chamber cast and it is not as steep as I had thought and leading was not the problem. It doesn't like the Lyman #311410, the 311410 W/0 gas check is a little better (3" to 4" @ 50 yds) Both sized .309". The best bullet so far, is a gas checked Lyman #311291 cut off at the crimping groove which makes it a 100 grain wadcutter and gave a 1-1/2X1-1/2" five shot group at 50 yds but that's a lot of trouble. I did manage to find some 110 grain Hornady spire point bullets which I have yet to try and further test the 311410 WITH gas checks. I never did hear back from T/C. I consider the PROBLEM SOLVED.
The Lee 32-20 dies are set up to use .308-.309 diameter bullets for TC 32-20 barrels. I have a Lyman die set I use for my other 32-20's, and a separate Lee set for the TC (which I've labelled 30-20 so I don't forget).
Hmmm. My TC 32/20 barrel would chamber anything you could load with 32/20 dies, as throat was .314". Didn't shoot well at all like that. So I put a .30 caliber rifle 1 1/2* throating reamer in it till it hit maximum diameter. Throat is very long, but gentle and will shoot 125 grain cast bullets within the X of the cross hairs at 50 yards. More than one way to skin a cat.
Pertaining to Thompson-Center service, I would like to add my two cents worth. Years ago, before they were purchased by Smith & Wesson, they were one of the best companies that I ever dealt with in the firearms industry. After Smith & Wesson took over they became one of the worse companies that I ever dealt with. I don't know if S &W still owns them or not. I have been shooting 32-20 firearms since I was very young, and that I certainly am not anymore.
I have old 32-20 dies made by RCBS and I have new 32-20 RCBS dies. When TC started the .308 barrels and you ordered dies a 32-20 TC set was available with the 308. expander, and their normal 32-20 dies labeled as 32-20 had the .311 expander. I have a new set and it says 32-20 but has the .308 expander. I don't know if it was a mishap or all of their newer 32-20 dies are .308 I also have a 94 Marlin in 32-20 with Ballard rifling and it slugs a very tight .308 and I can not get it to shoot cast and it doesn't shoot .311 jackets worth a heck either. It shoots .308 jackets pretty well.
David a. Cogburn
hi ... i bet some contender guys will have some ideas ... but meanwhile you should give us more information on the throat ( diameter and length ) and how abrupt is beginning of the rifling... as is it a smooth cone or does the bullet run into some square ridges suddenly ...
normally for cast bullet a 3 degree per side or 3 total is better than an 11 degree throat for a non-revolver throat.
good luck and let us know how this is progressing.
wiakid many years ago when the original Thompson Center was making and chambering their barrels in a long list of calibers, I saw this same question come up on another forum, only referencing the 32-20. At that time it was posted that their .32 caliber barrels were actually .308. So those barrels were in actuality 30-20's instead of 32-20's. Since then I have seen the same comment again over the years.
I have never had TC Contender 32 cal. barrel so this is second hand info. But the best place that I know of for TC Contender information is the - Specialty Pistols Forum. Or maybe an e-mail to the "new " TC. Or Bellm TC.
This is why I sold My T/C .32-20 bbl.
Didn't want 2 different loads for Rifle/Revolver & T/C.
Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.
I have a T/C contender with 10" bull barrel chambered in 32-20. This barrel was obtained after reading an article in the October 1985 "American Rifleman" by William C. Davis, Reloading the 32-20. it describes the developing and testing of the T/C contender with 30 vs. 32 caliber barrel. The author mentions that C.E Harris and Ellis Lea contributed to the project.
The shooting results along with load data were compiled and showed impressive accuracy with both lead and jacketed bullets. I believe the best groups were with an 85 gr hornady jacketed hp and averaged about 3/10 inch at 25 yes for five five shot groups. Almost all the loads shot under an inch at 25 yards.
There s a mention of trying 32 H&R mag with 30 caliber barrel.
Thanks for that reference. I finally heard back from T/C. That .32 H&R chamber with a .308" bore was made many years ago in their custom shop. No reason why,there is no loading data available. I'm still going to try different loads.
...light 30 cal bullets ... reminds me of the 93 grain Norma soft point ... we loaded up a caseful of Ball-c behind those in a 30-06 for walking the Iowa cornrows for jump-up jackrabbits .
they shot well and held together at those speeds ... didn't have a veloc-ometer, but must have been fast ... about 60 grains of push as i remember ... gave those rabbits a quick painless death too ...
I have a 32 H&R Barrel than I hadn't had out for years and decided to play with it a little bit. I shoot some Woods walks where they have heavy hanging steel targets and it is hard to tell if you hit them some time with the light .32 caliber bullets. Just for grins I loaded some 170 grain LBT 311 bullets and shot them at a hundred yards I was amazed at the accuracy. This is a 10 inch barrel with iron sights and 10 shots went into 2 in. 7.5gr of Reloader7
I forgot to add, I need taller front sight. 6in. High at 100 bottomed out.
My 3 cents worth. I routinely shoot both the Accurate Mold 313110B and the 313120B bullets out of my 32-20 and 32 H&R Mag barrels. Accuracy is outstanding with these cast bullets. My bore on the 32 H&R Mag is .303 with a groove diameter of .308 as alluded to in the previous replies. Not only will the barrels shoot cast bullets well, they digest factory fodder quite well. I used the 32-20 primarily for shooting sod poodles on horse farms in Virginia and with the 110gr .308 Hollow Points the load was devastating for the little rascals. Over a stiff charge of H110, it got the job done. Here is a video of that load in the .32-20 10" bbl.
As you can see from the images, I slugged the bore of the 32 Mag with a Accurate 313110B bullet. You can see the engraving quite well and notice no compression of the longitudinal axis. This bullet shoots exceptionally well in the 32 Mag barrel with typical velocities. I would not worry one bit about the smaller bore diameter and simply go ahead and cast "correct" sized bullets for your tube. By correct, I mean .312 or .313 bullets. Enjoy the barrel! It has excellent potential.
I have had the 32-20 barrel for decades and purchased a used 32 Mag barrel 15 years ago. T/C was genius when choosing both the twist rate and bore size for these barrels.
With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.
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