Winchester Model 94 in .32 Winchester Special

.32 Winchester Special Not Quite Obsolete


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.32 Winchester Special in 165 Grain Hornady FTX (Left) and 170 Grain Remington SP (Right)

Q: I recently acquired through a trade, a pre-64 Winchester Model 94 carbine in .32 Winchester Special. I’ve had trouble finding information on the .32 Winchester Special cartridge. Has it been discontinued? Can reloading make it suitable for sambar?
David Kennedy

A: No rifles are presently chambered for the .32 Winchester Special, but Winchester manufactures factory ammunition for it loaded with a 170gn bullet at 2250fps. But it is expensive. It was introduced in either 1895 or 1902 depending on which source was right. In the same class as the .30-30, it’s purpose was to deliver accuracy when reloaded with black powder as the 1:16 rifling twist of the .32 Special barrel would stabilise the heavier bullet and would also be better with cast bullets because of less rotational torque. It is puzzling that Winchester lists unprimed brass for the obsolete .32-40 and not the .32 Special.

Winchester Model 94 in .32 Winchester Special
Winchester Model 94 in .32 Winchester Special

Editor’s Note: With well-placed shots at relatively close ranges, the .32 winchester Special will be adequate, but by no means overpowered for sambar.


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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