View Full Version : 32-40 Winchester Stevens 44 Adventure

08-07-2010, 11:44 AM
Started reloading and casting handgun bullets back in 1964. Have never cast bullets for a rifle nor worked with the 32-40 WInchester cartridge. Bought a Stevens 44 in 32-40. This rifle is the early 44 model not the 44 1/2 action, so my loading for it will have to remain at the pressure levels of the old black powder loads. Have been using IMR 4227 powder and the old Lyman cast bullet 319427. It is shooting well. However I have some SR4759 powder and would like to give it a try. Problem is that I can not find load data for this powder that would be in the right pressure level for the low pressure cast bullet loading that I wish to use. If you have any suggestios I would like to hear from those in the know. Also I'm shopping for a lead pot. I have been told that casting bullets from a laddle is the better method for making rifle bullets that are more accurate. All the pistol bullets that I cast for so many years were made from a bottom pour pot. I'd like to hear what you rifle shooters think of this. What method will produce the better bullet for my rifle laddle poured or bottom pour. I'll bet it is the laddle cast that produces the better bullet. OK, then what lead pot should I look into for purchase? Also what would be the most user friendly laddle to use? I'm not looking to mass produce 10,000 bullets, but would like to make precision bullet that I can shoot accurately in the old Stevens. I have also been told of a powder that is in use with plain base cast bullets in the old black powder cartridges called AA5744. Again I need load data for this powder in the low pressure loading of the 32-40. Some of the Cowboy action loads look a little too hot for the Stevens 44. Being new to the rifle aspect of cast bullets in an old black powder cartridge rifle I need your guidance, and would like to hear from those of you in the know about this so that I do not make purchase of the wrong casting equipment and use the wrong power/charges. Your suggestions and comments will be helpful. I can also be contacted at my email address, jads@citlink.net Thanks you, Sendaro

08-07-2010, 06:28 PM
Welcome to the Guide.

I have never loaded the .32-40, so you better get advice on that from others here, and you should also ask and Search next door at CastBoolits.

The casting question I can answer. Certain moulds I have, especially very large cavity ones like Minnie and MaxiBalls for M/L's and very long heavy large diameter target and hunting bullets, sometimes need to be ladle cast for good fillout, but all of my other rifle bullets (99%) get cast from a bottom pour. I cast, load, and shoot several thousand rifle bullets every year from .22-.35cal and have been at it for over thirty years. While not primarily a target shooter, they all need to be tested and loads worked up for them in each rifle, so I do spend a lot of time at the bench. I have absolutely no complaints on the accuracy or performance on game of bullets whose moulds I have filled from a bottom pour pot. None of the deer in our freezers nor varmints shot in the garden have ever complained, either. While it is true with a very few certain specific moulds like those mentioned above, I do not believe a competent caster will get any better bullets using most common steel or aluminum moulds by ladling than by filling them from a bottom pour. For the most part I think those who propound it either do not know how to do it properly or are simply repeating what they have heard and have never actually tried both ways to compare. I have, and as far as I'm concerned the idea is a load of fertilizer most of the time.

Honestly, I think it has more to do with the consistency and rhythm of the caster than how the moulds are filled. Each mould does best with a slightly different combination of alloy, temperature of melt, and optimal operating temperature (determined by the size and material the mould is made from - how fast or slow it sheds heat - balanced by the speed and rhythm of the caster to maintain that temp). Some moulds do work better if their sprue plates are not held in contact with the spout while filling, and some of those like to have the alloy slowly swirled into them with careful spout control. If you have a mould that prefers the latter method, I can see as anyone who doesn't understand the technique would assume that they needed to use a ladle for good results, but an experienced caster would know to vary his fill technique to compensate when bottom pouring.

I have one mould in particular, a .54cal MaxiBall mould with very deep, square lube grooves that absolutely will not fill out unless the lead is ladled in very slowly when the mould is hot. I have never been able to get it to work bottom pouring without forming rounded corners and internal voids in the huge slugs. When I do need to ladle cast, I always use a Lyman ladle as they are the best design I have found, with an integral pour spout that is very easy to control. Don't waste your $ on a Lee ladle or any other that pours from a groove. I started out with the ladle and used it exclusively for several years until I got my first 6cav mould. Lee has the best deals in ladling pots - I have the 4lb version (32yrs old and still working perfectly) and I keep it full of pure lead for M/L balls and bullets, and they also make a larger version for those who do more volume.

11-15-2010, 12:21 PM
Sorry that it has taken so long to get back to you after your reply. Have made purchase of a Lyman Big Dipper pot, and a Lyman 319247 DC mould. The lead that I have is pure and I need to get some tin to get things going better. I started out using carb cleaner to remove the oil from my new mold, and stured the pot well to bring the junk to the top. Fluxed the melt and started casting. Tried several ways of pouring the melt into the mold, and I'm not pleased with the results yet. I do believe I had the melt hot enough but there is no tin in the melt. Maybe with some tin it will fill out the base better. Will continue to test and explore methods of casting. Much to learn, but that's the fun of it.

11-16-2010, 01:52 AM
Sendaro yes you will find that tin will help with your fill out.
You will really notice the difference in the sharp edges bottoms, grease grooves.
Good Luck Ken.

11-16-2010, 10:59 AM
Plan to add some tin to the lead this weekeknd and give it another try. Hope that this will do the trick. Thanks for the advice.

11-20-2010, 02:32 PM
Made a mix of 1 part tin to 25 parts of lead and cast up some Lyman 319247 bullets. They were lighter then I had expected dropping from the mold at 158 grains. Compaired my new bullets to an old one and found that the Lyman 319247 that I have has a thinner base band than the old ones. Maybe this accounts for the lighter weight. Made a bullet lube of equel parts of bees wax, pariffen, and Crisco, and added three table spoons of bear oil I rendered down from a fat black bear shot a week or so ago. Bullets were loaded as fixed ammo in contact with the lands and grooves at +.015" contact over a powder charge of 12.2 grains of IMR4227 and a Federal Std 210 primer. First 3 shots fired from the benchrest at the 100 yard target grouped verticaly into .987". The rifle was not fired for another 10 minutes and two more of the same rounds were fired at the same target at 100 yards. They struck the target 3/8" to the right of shot #1 and both went into one hole! I was delighted. Next the powder charge was upped to 13 grains and the results were poor. At a charge weight of 14 grains the 5 shot group opened up to nearly 5". The testing then went back to the 12.2 grain load and cases were prepared with out sizing, partial sizing and bullet seated with the fingers long so as they would seat when chambered to touch the lands. Loaded in this manor there was less accuracy then when the cartridges were full lgt sized and the bullet seated to .015 land contact (no crimp applied). I will load more test ammo with the cases fl sized and as they were in the first test firing where they shot a good 100 yard group. As for the bullet lube I found that there was no leading or caked fouling in the barrel at the end of the test shooting. Before a cleaning rod was passed through the bore I inspected it with a Hawkeye bore scope. There was simply no leading or cakeing from the powder. However the IMR4227 powder is leaving small grains of unburnt powder residue in the bore. It looks much like one would expect to see in the bore of a 22 rimfire shooting target loads. It has been suggested that I try some SR4759 powder. I have the powder but no loading data for it. The rifle is a Stevens 44 and not the 44 1/2 that is a stronger action, so the pressure levels have to be kept down to that of a blk powder cartridge. If any of you have a suggested powder charge weight to start with I'd like to hear from you. Also any suggestions to a powder other then the IMR4227 that would be suitable for my rifle with cast bullets. please feel free to contact me at jads@citlink,.net. Sendaro

11-21-2010, 12:12 AM
For powders you could try
IMR 4198
AA 5477
Trail Boss by IMR.

The later two are the bulkiest and the 5477 is not position sensative.


d garfield
11-21-2010, 02:37 PM
Sounds to me like your lead is to soft. try putting a pound of solder in it and try it.

John Boy
11-29-2010, 09:25 PM
Also any suggestions to a powder other then the IMR4227 that would be suitable for my rifle with cast bullets.
SAMMI Pressure, 32-40 ... 30,000CUP
Lyman 319247
16.5gr RL7 - 1476fps - 14600 CUP
20.0 RL7 -1725fps - 19900 CUP
Lyman Cast Lead Handbook, 4th Edition

12-21-2010, 04:02 AM
I have been reloading 32-40 using commercial Meister 170 gr bullets with 15 gr of IMR 4227. If you really want some good info on this cartridge I suggest you go to ASSRA forum. They cover everything from casting to breech loading.
Good Luck