There is a saying that the “devil made me do it”. What does that saying have to do with this topic? Well, most newbies are tempted to try out different ammunition on their weapons. Even when the weapon doesn’t have a chamber for the ammunition they are planning to use.

That’s not always a good idea. Often, it will come back to bite you and destroy the gun chamber in the process. Just because your gun can shoot it, doesn’t mean you should. You are here to see if you can shoot a 30-30 in a 32 Special. Stick around, you might get more than you bargained for.

32 Special Vs 30-30

If you are interested in the ballistics difference between the two, this part of the guide will entice you.

Muzzle Velocity

32 Special has a muzzle velocity of 2280-2440 ft/s.
30-30 has a muzzle velocity of 2496 ft/s.

Muzzle Energy

32 Special has a greater muzzle energy than 2100 ft-lbs.
And 30-30 has a greater muzzle energy than 2046 ft-lbs.

While it’s clear that 30-30 is the more powerful among the two, it’s not as powerful as black tip ammunition for example. But you cannot forget that 32 Winchester Special fires a flatter trajectory than 30-30 in 200 yards and beyond.

Can You Shoot 30-30 In A 32 Special?

Long story short, yes, you can shoot a 30-30 in a 32 Special. But do I recommend it? No. Why? It can damage the weapon you are using and it will affect your accuracy quite a bit. You will feel like it’s a “you” issue. But it’s really not.

It’s obvious to think that the 32 Winchester relates to 30-30 so the chambers should be able to hold both styles of ammo. Right? How about, no? If you continuously use a different ammo that is not meant for your chamber, you can permanently damage the gun.

What Makes The 32 Special “Special”?

While the 32 Special is originally inspired by the 30-30, it’s not an exact 1:1 clone. Winchester made this 32 cartridge to cater towards a specific crowd. There weren’t many calibers that were larger than .30 win but also smokeless powder cartridges. This is what makes the 32 special and also a crowd-pleaser.

Pros Of 32 Special

  • Smokeless cartridge.
  • It’s larger than .30 Win. And you might know larger calibers have better stopping power.
  • Good for flat range over 200 yards.
  • It’s one of the easiest Win ammo to reload.

Cons Of 32 Special:

  • Very hard to find.
  • Less powerful than the .30 Army.

Can I Deer Hunt With 32 Special?

Yes, sir. The 32 Special has a pretty good range and speed to shoot from afar. And it’s also good for deer hunting at a medium-range distance. If you love old-school weapons for deer hunting and are quite accurate with the 32 Special, then you can land yourself with some good games.

Will A 30-30 Kill A Bear?

Yes, it can kill the black bears that you see in the woods. But if you are planning to kill a grizzly, for example, you will need to get yourself some 300 Blackout or 6.5 Grendel. The 30-30 isn’t strong enough to lay a grizzly flat.


And there you have it. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Both of these ammunition are quite good on their own and can be used one instead of the other. Then again, they will leave a permanent scar on the gun.

So, my recommendation would be to use the ammo that is assigned to your gun. Instead of using a different one. With that said, I hope the confusion between 30-30 vs 32 Special is clear now. I hope to see you again soon. I will be back with more information for you guys soon.

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