The .32-40 Winchester
By Chuck Hawks
The .32-40 Winchester is an old black powder cartridge that survived the introduction of smokeless powder. In its day it was considered an adequate deer cartridge, but it was superseded by the .32 Winchester Special in the Model 1894 rifle.
At one time Winchester loaded standard and high velocity loads for the .32-40, both with 165 grain bullets. The latter featured a MV of 1752 fps and ME of 1125 ft. lbs. The major manufacturers no longer offer factory loaded .32-40 ammunition.
.32-40 cases can be formed from .38-55, .30-30 or .32 Special brass. According to the 26th Edition of the Hodgdon Data Manual a 170 grain .32 Special bullet can be driven to a MV of 1409 fps by 16.0 grains of H4895 powder.
The maximum load is 22.0 grains of H4895, for a MV of 1864 fps and ME of 1311 ft. lbs. At 150 yards the figures would be 1525 fps and 878 ft. lbs. Using the Speer 170 grain bullet, the trajectory of that load would look like this from a rifle with iron sights: +2.5" at 50 yards, +2.9" at 100 yards, 0 at 150 yards, -6.6" at 200 yards, -17.5" at 250 yards. The .32-40 is about a 150 yard deer cartridge with such a load.
Note: A complete article about the .32-40 Winchester can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.
Copyright 2004, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.