Let's bring back the .32 rimfire

This isn’t strictly related to ammunition collecting, but since this group is the most ammunition-oriented one I know of, I’m posting an appeal for help in getting .32 Rimfire brought back into production.

As we all know, the .32 RR is one of several rimfire calibers that were “casualties” of the Second World War when ammunition makers tooled up to fill contracts with the government for vast of small arms ammunition, and brass and lead were strategic materials that had to be allocated to other calibers. By 1942 the civilian market for the larger rimfire calibers was going soft due to improvements in the performance of .22 Long Rifle. While ammo companies had acceptable reasons to discontinue production even after the war production was never resumed. Existing quantities fed the civilian market for a while but eventually dried up. The last .32 RF made was the batch that CBC produced under contract with Navy Arms Company. It was made only for a short for a short time; prices for a box of this excellent stuff—when you can find it at all—have skyrocketed. CBC’s product was very accurate and excellent for small game.

There are thousands of high-quality firearms chambered for .32 RF sitting in closets or safes or hanging on walls gathering dust. Adapting them have to shoot .32 centerfire calibers is unwise: altering them hurts their collector’s value and inevitably someone will load ammunition far too hot for relatively weak actions, destroying not only the rifle but possibly also the shooter. It would be far better to provide new ammunition and let the old guns “speak for themselves” in the field. And that is my point: there are no better small game rounds than the larger rimfire calibers, including most especially the .32 Rimfire. The cross section of the .32 bullet, coupled with its mass, makes it a very, very effective killer on small game, without excessive meat damage. The old saying “You can eat right up to the hole,” applies.

I suppose there has to be some obligatory “ammo collection” content to this appeal, so I’ll point out that if it’s re-introduced, new variants and boxes will appear and can be added to personal collections. So here is my proposition: I ask that all members of the Association contact the ammunition makers, especially Navy Arms and/or CBC, and ask them to bring the .32 Rimfire back onto the market, even if only in one or two batches per year.

Navy Arms LLC, 54 Dupont Road, Martinsburg WV 25404
(302) 274-0004


I hope some savvy marketing executive will take notice that a market exists for cartridges to be used in the guns that served our fathers and grandfathers well.


It is an interesting and commendable topic, and hence is at least as good as any other on this forum for a newbie to delurk. Some of you may remember my screen name and my former ID (C96) from Gunboards, and before that, from rec.guns and rec.hunting on Usenet.

When I visited the Swiss cartridge factory in Thun some 16 or 17 years ago, I also brought up the topic of the .41 Vetterli rimfire cartridge, since so many of these guns survived. I was told - though it was only by the sales manager of the time, who might not have known each and every basement closet and cavern - that the old toolings and drawing sheets had all been destroyed. This is, alas, common corporate policy in many areas of life.

Now concerning the .32 RF, we do know that RUAG produce various rimfire power tool cartridges, e.g. on behest of Hilti. Those blanks have approx. 6,75 mms “calibre” (rim diameter is 8,30 mms), so I think that “tooling up” and drawing new rimfire cases might be possible, but forbiddingly expensive because of tooling costs?

Regards to all,

Brings up a good point. The 25 Stevens is another cartridge for which many guns are still around, and in use when one can make up some ammo. Seems someone did do a run a few years back, but I don’t find anything now. Ah, well…

It would perhaps be worth a try to contact RUAG and ask: might be a profitable side-line for them. There IS a market.

I wonder if CBC still has the tooling?

If I could find ammunition for .25 Stevens I’d buy a rifle in that caliber. But I have enough bother feeding my .32 RF now. See:


Why did .22 survive? Why not to eliminate all RF calibres? Why did ammo industry decide to save .22 after WWII? What makes .22 special?

The .22 rimfire took off after WW1 because building shooting ranges for this little cartridge was most simple and extremely cheap compared with fullbore cartridges. The ammunition itself was also cheap in comparison. The low recoil made very high scores possible, compared to fullbore. A most important factor for those who competed.
A modern example is the change of Biathlon from military rifle calibers to .22 lr. This was crucial in making possible the popularity of Biathlon as we know it today.

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.22 survived because billions of rounds were made for Army training; and because the performance of smokeless powder compared to black powder was a factorvin greatly improving the ballistics, especially the .22 Long Rifle. That round was already popular in civilian use and when the war ended the companies were tooled up and ready to serve a pent up demand.

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I converted my .32 Flobert to use .32 Smith and Wesson long but my drill bit “chambering reamer” left the fit too loose - time to size down 32-20 brass for my first wildcat!

A Flobert in .32-20! You’re likely to kill yourself trying that trick. BAD idea.


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But you didn’t read my post - I will size down .32-20 brass (and shorten) to .32 S&W long length, with an appropriate powder charge for a pistol round. The parent cartridge will not be able to chamber…

Some shooters use the appropriate RUAG power tool cartridge cases for their .25 rimfires. It works, provided you have the right type of cast bullets. Might RUAG make something that fits a .32 RF?

Still, there is the danger that someone not familiar with how weak the
Flobert action is might “upload” the cases in the future. I don’t doubt
you know what you’re doing but in time the gun may pass into the hands
of someone who doesn’t.


Along with the other previously mentioned uses, the 22 survived because it has MANY uses, hunting small game without spoiling a lot of meat, it’s CHEAP, accurate, fun to shoot, great for training to shoot with low or almost no recoil, CHEAP, good to carry when hunting or trapping & administer the coup de grace, Oh yeah did I mention it’s CHEAP & lots of firearms are chambered for it?
So demand for use is why it’s here today, it wasn’t the ammunition industry who decided to keep it. it was shooters. The other RF case types have been replaced & improved by modern smokeless CF cartridges, but not so much with the .22.

Last spring, a fellow shooter and I tried out a Flobert intended for .22 BB caps or maybe CB caps with a standard velocity CCI Target Short. We fastened the little gun down with sandbags, being suspicious types. The other guy pulled the trigger. It worked, for one shot. The power of the Short cartridge blew the “breechblock” open and the ejected case hit the wall on the opposite side of the shooting house.