.32-20 WCF Ammo
When discussing the evolution of firearm cartridges, it’s impossible to overlook the .32-20 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) cartridge. Often referred to simply as the “.32-20,” this cartridge has left an indelible mark on the world of firearms and ammunition. Its storied history, unique characteristics, and continued relevance make it a fascinating subject of exploration for enthusiasts and collectors alike.
Historical Context and Creation
The .32-20 WCF cartridge was developed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the late 19th century. It emerged during a time when firearms and ammunition were undergoing rapid advancements, as manufacturers sought to create more efficient, reliable, and versatile options for shooters. The .32-20 was introduced in 1882 as a black powder cartridge, but it later evolved into a smokeless powder version that improved performance and reduced fouling.
The name “.32-20” itself refers to the cartridge’s dimensions: a bullet diameter of .32 inches and a case length of .20 inches. It was initially chambered in the iconic Winchester Model 1873 lever-action rifle, a weapon that contributed to the cartridge’s early popularity.
Versatility and Applications
One of the most remarkable aspects of the .32-20 WCF cartridge is its versatility. Originally designed for rifles, it was soon adapted for use in revolvers as well. This adaptability allowed shooters to use the same ammunition in both their rifles and handguns, making it an economical and practical choice for those who wanted consistency across their firearms.
The .32-20 was not designed as a high-powered cartridge, but rather as a medium-range option suitable for hunting small game and varmints. With relatively low recoil and manageable noise levels, it was an attractive choice for novice shooters and those who preferred a less powerful option. It was often used for hunting small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons, as well as for pest control.
Despite being over a century old, the .32-20 WCF cartridge still maintains a dedicated following today. Its popularity isn’t just a matter of nostalgia; it’s rooted in its practical applications. While not considered a long-range or big game cartridge, the .32-20’s mild recoil and accuracy make it a great choice for close to medium-range shooting. Additionally, the popularity of cowboy action shooting has brought renewed attention to older cartridges like the .32-20, as they are often used in historical reenactments.
Collectability and Rarity
Due to its age and historical significance, .32-20 WCF ammunition and firearms chambered for it have become collectible items. Vintage Winchester rifles and revolvers that use this cartridge are sought after by collectors and history enthusiasts. The scarcity of well-preserved firearms and ammunition has driven up their value in the collector’s market.
The .32-20 Winchester Center Fire cartridge is a prime example of a firearm innovation that has stood the test of time. Its legacy spans from its introduction in the late 19th century to its continued relevance in certain shooting circles today. Its adaptability, versatility, and historical significance make it a noteworthy topic for those interested in firearms history and ammunition development. As long as there are collectors, enthusiasts, and those who appreciate the art of shooting, the .32-20 WCF cartridge will likely continue to hold a special place in the world of firearms.