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The Madis data on serial numbers is often criticised as unreliable, but the 94 Winchester was designed for smokeless powder from the start, and any example should be usable with moderate, not very low, pressures. It would be good if the barrel is stamped "nickel steel", which erodes less rapidly with smokeless powder. But even rifles which aren't can use smokeless to about black powder velocities, with which bore wear need never concern the occasional user.

Custom loaders vary very much in quality, and are all quite expensive. Loading your own is definitely the way to go. It is easy to form .32-40 cases from .30-30 or .32 Winchester Special. I don't know if cases can be formed easily with the really cheap zinc alloy presses, such as the Lee hand press, which are really all the casual reloader of a few cartridges needs. But if that is any problem, all you need is to know someone with a heavier iron press, and when forming is done once, the cheapest press will do the reloading work.

Stories of modern sporting bullet jackets wearing the bore are mostly untrue. It is gas that does that. But there is no urgent reason to use anything but cast lead alloy bullets, possibly with a gas-check base. The commonest bullet diameter is .321in., and you might find an old mould on ebay that you like better than the currently available ones.

If, on the other hand, you could turn Winchester enthusiast, you might wish to lay out serious money on a book, out of print but often on www.bookfinder.com . Clyde Williamson's "The Winchester Lever Legacy" is a huge book for users rather than collectors, very folksy and old-western, but containing an unbeatable programme of load testing and development.
 
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