32-40 cast receivers

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Jim D
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32-40 cast receivers

Post by Jim D » Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:42 pm

There are two 32-40 Ballards, one of which has definately been rebarreled, for sale on GunBroker.com at the moment. I am somewhat of a novice as far as ballards go, but it seems that a 32-40 in a cast receiver is asking for disaster. I was under the impression that Marlin limited the cast actions to rimfire calibers from .22 to .38. Did Marlin produce any 32-40's in a cast receiver?

-jim

h_m_pope
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cast frame .32-40?

Post by h_m_pope » Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:31 pm

In an old issue of "Shooting and Fishing" from about 1893 or so they said that Marlin did not make such centerfires on the cast action, so I doubt if you will find an original in that configuration.
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Post by Jim D » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:11 pm

h_m_pope:

That's kind of what I thought. The folks at Ballard in Cody told me that they've seen cast receivers shatter if they were dropped, and wouldn't recommend one for anything hotter than a .22LR. I'm guessing that both of these rifles have been shot at least some in their current configuration,
with apparent success so far. I hope whoever buys either of those rifles doesn't plan on running any smokeless loads through it.

Thanks for your response!

-jim

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marlinman93
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Post by marlinman93 » Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:16 pm

Marlin did also chamber the cast receiver #2 Ballrd in both .44 Ballard Extra Long, and .44-40. Not a lot of these around, so I'd guess they figured out it was a bad idea early on, and dropped the .44-40.
I've got a #2 in .44 BXL, but still looking for one in .44-40!-Vall
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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by .22-5-40 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:15 am

Hello, I asked the fellows over on the ASSRA forum about this cast iron business..I have always had doubts about the use of "regular" cast iron on a firearm produced by a major American firearms corporation. This stuff is fine for plows and toy cap guns..The answer was as I expected...It is a form of cast steel..somehow the term cast-iron came about. The No. 3 Gallery was chambered in .22-10 45 and .22WCF.

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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by Parley Baer » Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:41 pm

This is a touchy subject regarding the #2 cast receiver. So I am just throwing some thoughts out there. One thing for sure is smokeless powder is out of the question unless .22 long rifle. If you go back to the Civil War Ballards some were chambered for the .56 Spencer caliber. Maybe the earlier cast receivers were of different construction and could possibly handle a little more black powder? I would think whether rim fire or center fire the question would be the amount of black power and the weight of the bullet. Maybe the cast receiver is more rigid and does not flex as much as a forged steel receiver and therefore will shatter if flex to much.

The .44-40 cartridge was loaded with a 200 grain bullet and 40 grains of black powder. The .32-40 was loaded with 40 grains of Fg and a 165 grain bullet. So would the .32-40 be easier on the cast receiver than the 44-40? With modern .32-40 cases I bet you would be lucky to get 35 grains of Fg in them. The .44 BEL was loaded with a 218 grain bullet and 46 grains of black power. The .44 long had a 210 grain bullet and 28 grains of black power. The .38 extra long had a 148 grain bullet and 38 grains of black powder. IMHO on the surface the .32-40 does not appear to be out of line if loaded with a 165 grain bullet and 35 grains of Fg black powder. I would not use FFg or FFFg and surely not FFFFg. One would want to keep the pressures down if doing this.
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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by marlinman93 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:59 pm

Parley,
The .44-40 and .44BXL #2's can be fired safely with those cartridges, and even the .32-40 if someone was to take the chance and rebarrel for it. You could even use a .357 maximum case if one was careful with loads. Afterall, the .357 Max. is dimensionally the same as the old .35 Maynard.
The only drawback to chambering these cartridges in a cast #2 is of course the idiot factor. Those who would get their hands on one and shoot it with modern ammo, or worse yet hopped up loads.
The reason there are so few #2's found in .44 BXL, .44-40, and .32-20 (all factory chamberings at one time) is Ballard quickly realised the action wasn't strong enough and dropped those chamberings. I've got #2's in all 3 of those chamberings and their good tight actions. I fire them all and never worry about them, but my loads are really anemic plinker loads that would wear out the riflings many times without harming the actions.
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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by Parley Baer » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:46 pm

"Those who would get their hands on one and shoot it with modern ammo, or worse yet hopped up loads."

That is the problem.
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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by piutesteve » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:22 pm

I recently bought a ballard No 2 in 38 long caliber. It is a cast action with the hollow under the barrel and the 3 line address. I got the gun for $500 it has double set triggers and a reversible firing pin. The bad thing was some idiot hammered the receiver like they were trying to open the action but missed and hit the receiver. SEVERAL TIMES!! Much to my surprise it was mushroomed like mild steel. I was able to take a smooth faced hammer and I cold forged it back in place. I am referring to the corners of the octagon top. With a little draw filing and finishing it looked as good as new. This is not regular cast iron. It acted like cast steel. I have been a gunsmith for 40 years or more and have worked with all sorts of actions cast forged and machined. Everything I read says cast Iron but my experience says cast steel. Everybody has a friend who saw one break or even shatter but does anybody have a picture? The only broken ballard I have ever seen was a modern made ballard action that was over hardened. I am not making a statement here I am just trying to learn something. Anybody have any thoughts on this. Regards steve

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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by Jim D » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:01 am

Steve,

You are probably correct that it is some form of cast steel. The things that could make it not as stong as a forged receiver are:

1. Forging aligns the grains.
2. It may have a higher carbon content making it prone to brittleness when hardened, especially at a higher temperature.
3. There may be casting imperfections, voids and non-uniformity.

Forging was done for a reason.

Jim

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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by marlinman93 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:56 pm

I often refer to Ballard actions as "cast", but never refer to tyhem as cast iron, as this is false. The cast action is the same metal as the forged steel action. The difference is the forged action takes that same cast chunk of steel and forges it to remove any air pockets or defects prior to any metal shaping, while the cast action was simply machined into shape.
The cast action isn't a time bomb waiting to break when used with proper calibers, but it's still not forged steel so it is a weaker action, and since Ballard actions aren't known for their strength anyway, why push a cast action?
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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by piutesteve » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:34 am

Ok I agree they are cast Steel. But doe s anybody have a broken one? Or a picture of a broken one. I own a blown-up O3A3 and a blown-up colt. I have seen hundreds of blown-up guns at gun shows over the years but never a blown-up ballard. The cracked ballard I mentioned in the previous post was cracked in the hardening process. I wonder if anyone has ever done any explosive testing on a ballard. My partner, Also a gunsmith believes that the ballards reputation for being week comes from shooting loose rather than actually blowing up. I talked this over with an engineer and he said he would worry more about the split breech than the cast receiver. He also suggested an X ray of the cast action. You can get this done for around $100. He believes a ballard without casting voids would be at least as strong as a maynard or an early trapdoor springfield. Regards Steve

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Re: 32-40 cast receivers

Post by marlinman93 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:40 am

I don't blow up Ballards, or buy them with cracked receivers, but I have seen a few that had cracks and one that actually broke. They always crack at the hard transition point where the receiver has a sharp corner from the octagon portion where the barrel screws in, to the wrist area where the block rests. That sharp internal corner is one of the weak points. If that internal corner had been shaped as a rounded internal corner it would have been much stronger. The cast steel action has added loss of strength, as it's hollow under the barrel, where the forged action is not. The hollow was done as a weight saving, and the forged doesn't have it simply because it would have been more work to mill out that area and it saved money not to make that hollow.
The other weak point is the breechblock portion that is above the receiver. The block is totally unsupported behind the chamber, so it carries all the pressure with no extra support from the receiver. The rearward thrust from cartridge pressure on firing can cause excess headspace, and if high enough it could shear the block.
Why anyone would want to chance ruining such a beautiful gun as the Ballard just puzzles me. I'd rather push a modern replica rifle, and not abuse any of my Ballards and take a chance on hurting one, or worse.
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