.38 vs .32


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camacho
August 29, 2006, 09:07 AM
Hi Folks,

I am looking for a snubbie and had decided on a Taurus ultra-lite .38, however, they have .32 model which according to this Jeff Quinn at http://www.gunblast.com/Taurus_UltraLite32.htm is a very nice little gun with less recoil but with still decent power at the same time. The issue with recoil is a concern for me because of my wife who will handle this gun. What is your opinion of the .32 caliber?

Thanks!

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carlrodd
August 29, 2006, 09:33 AM
i like taurus guns, generally, and have an 85ss. i've heard from a number of different people that have experience with the ultra-light guns that they have problems with sturdiness....i.e. revolvers should be made of steel, not of strange steel alloys. but as to your question, the .32 will have considerably less recoil than the .38 coming out of a 2 inch barrel. i made the mistake of letting my fiancee shoot that 85 during her first handgun experience. the muzzle flip and flash were apparently intimidating.

Lucky Derby
August 29, 2006, 10:26 AM
The .32 Should only be considered if A) the weapon will not be used for defensive purposes or B) the shooter is recoil sensitive. You will have a harder time finding good defensive ammo for the .32.

Old Fuff
August 29, 2006, 10:34 AM
On the plus side:

The .32 H&R Magnum is an excellent choice for use in an ultra-light revolver if the user is recoil sensitive, and it also won't beat up the gun either. It does far better then the .32 ACP in pistols, which many consider to be the minimum for self-defense use. It is also easier to make accurate, fast repeat shots then a similar gun in .38 Special. Last but not least, you get 6 shots, not 5.

On the negative side:

The ammunition is sometimes hard to find, and expensive when you do. For practice and play you can save some money by buying .32 S&W Long or .32 S&W ammunition, (even less recoil) but they are sometimes hard to find too. The ideal solution is to reload your own ammunition, but you may not want to get into that

weregunner
August 29, 2006, 11:50 AM
Some of the 32 mag bullets weigh as much as.380s do.85 and 95grains beat 60gr. in 32ACP. One of the ammo companies loads 100gr JHPs.Name escapes me at the moment.6 shots from a Ruger Sp101 is in the same league as the .380s and some .38Specials.The Rugers come in 3 or 4 inch barrels.One could hide these as easily as the 5 shot version of the other snubbies.Yes Rugers are a wee bit larger than Smiths but can still be holster or pocket holster guns.Recoil and muzzle blast would be much less.Terminal ballistics would be maximized.She well may shoot better with the 32mag. As has been endlessly stated and rightfully so is that shot placement is one of the most important criteria.Better than the .22 rimfire or the .25.That was my two rubals worth.

B.D. Turner
August 29, 2006, 12:11 PM
I know the Taurus Ultralite.38 will hold up without a problem as I have fired several hundreds of rounds without any problem of any kind. While I was a LEO I used it as a backup pistol and for off duty carry. I could qualify with an above 95% score so it is plenty accurate. The Taurus can also handle .38+P that is close to .357 magnum level of power.
My best advise for a person looking for a personal weapon is to select the largest caliber that they can shoot accurate. Frame size for a given caliber is no problem these days because you can get a .45 ACP as small a frame as a .22

the naked prophet
August 29, 2006, 12:29 PM
I think that the .38 spl has too much recoil in an ultralite frame. This is from me, who on Sunday put 50 buckshot shells through my PGO 12 gauge.

I think that where the .32 H&R magnum excels is in the ultralight snubs. For frequent practice... not so much. It is great for someone who is likely to not shoot a whole lot (ie not a gun nut), who may have arthritis or other muscle/joint conditions, who is elderly, or even a gun nut who wants an ultra-light pocket backup gun (and can reload ammo for practice, or keeps up on practice with other guns).

For my mother in law, I think it's an excellent choice. We can't find one to rent, so I might just buy it and if she doesn't like it... ;)

cookekdjr
August 29, 2006, 03:15 PM
Now for the shameless plug department. I'm selling my S&W 431PD soon, which is the S&W .32 mag version of the Taurus camacho mentioned. If anyone is interested, pm me. BTW, it shoots great, I'm just the only person who can't shoot it well.
-David

camacho
August 29, 2006, 04:25 PM
Thank you all for the wise words!

Some of you mentioned 6 rounds advantage for the .32 Mag vs 5 rounds for the .38, however, according to the Taurus web site they have the following .38 model: ULTRA-LITE MODEL 817BUL which has capacity of 7. In this case wouldn't it boil down just to recoil and caliber size?

B.D. Turner
August 29, 2006, 04:31 PM
Of the shooting incident I was involved in I can tell you nothing about the recoil, muzzleblast, site picture or how loud or quiet the pistol was.
Some guns are a pleasure to shoot all day no doubt. That first well placed shot at close range does not call for a great amount of skill. Most shootings occur from five to seven yards with one to three shots fired. Based on this the .38 and .32 would each do well and the .32mag really looks better than either given a good bullet. There is no magic bullet. Sometimes they work with one shot and sometimes they don't. Looking at real life shooting incidents will give you a good idea about what does work.

tuna
August 29, 2006, 04:33 PM
I don't currently own a .32, but from what I've seen they are pretty good.

What I'd like is for the snubbies to be scaled down, and a 5 shot .32H&R snubbie to be available.

That would give a "decent" sized bullet in a very concealable package.

ugaarguy
August 29, 2006, 05:15 PM
Some of you mentioned 6 rounds advantage for the .32 Mag vs 5 rounds for the .38, however, according to the Taurus web site they have the following .38 model: ULTRA-LITE MODEL 817BUL which has capacity of 7. In this case wouldn't it boil down just to recoil and caliber size?

Look at the dimensions. Interestingly 85 variants in 38 special with 5 round capacity are 4.28" tall x 1.346" wide x 6.5" long. The 731 in 32 mag is 5.10" tall x 1.346" wide, length not listed. Finally the 817 variants in 38 special w/ 7 round capacity are 5.10" tall x 1.531" wide x 6.625" long. Going to the 7 round .38 capacity you give up width which is generally the most critical dimension carrying a gun. It looks like the 6 shot 32 and 5 shot 38 use the same overall width cylinder, but the 32 apparently uses the newer frame of 7 shot 38 based on height. If you go with one of the 7 shot 38 variants make sure you can get holsters for it. The Taurus 85 variants will fit S&W J frame holsters, so make sure the 817's extra width still fits. If a J-Frame holster wont work perhaps look at the holsters for a Ruger SP-101.

DWARREN123
August 29, 2006, 06:17 PM
I have a RUGER SP-101 in 32 H&R magnum w/4" barrel, great revolver. As for ammo it is sometimes hard to find and is expensive . Federal makes the best in my opinion (20 round box,$10 for 90gr LSWC, $12 for 85gr JHP).
I got a Marlin 1894C32 to go with it. This round caused me to start reloading and they are some good bullets for self defense and plinking.
If loaded hot it can equal a 38 spl and then some. Felt recoil for me is easy and the round seems inherently accurate.:D

gazpacho
August 29, 2006, 06:58 PM
For recoil intollerant people, I usually recommend a steel revolver like the Taurus 85 CIA (concealed hammer) loaded with Federal 110gr PD 38sp. It's a borderline standard pressure load with a light expanding bullet. Not the best choice, obviously, but a good one, especially considering recoil concerns.

weregunner
August 30, 2006, 02:15 AM
The reason I mentioned the 6 round Ruger was not a round count advantage issue.I was showing that the Ruger is in a snub frame vs the six shot K frame types of Smith.Just meant there was a more compact form.If the 32 is carried for CCW then the difference is in size comes into play.Suppose I could have clarified that better.And yes the 38 would serve better in many ways.The shooter has to make the final decision or start somewhere.If smaller gets them into the shooting fraternity I'm all for it.There would at least be a versatile cartridge for with low recoil and is better for self defense than the less potent cartridges.Hey the 32 could be used for light hunting small game or just plinking.Thems my two francs worth.

ugaarguy
August 30, 2006, 04:15 AM
The reason I mentioned the 6 round Ruger was not a round count advantage issue.I was showing that the Ruger is in a snub frame vs the six shot K frame types of Smith.Just meant there was a more compact form.If the 32 is carried for CCW then the difference is in size comes into play.Suppose I could have clarified that better.

To clarify, the 6 round 32 Mags Fuff & others referred to are on a S&W J Frame and Taurus' equivalent size frame, both of which are smaller than a Ruger SP-101. In 38/357 the J frame (and Taurus equivalent) goes back to 5 rounds, as does the SP-101. If I was looking for a smaller 357 Mag snub I'd want the slightly larger size and additional weight of the SP-101. For 32 Mag I'd prfer the smaller size of the S&W or Taurus. On the other hand if I were trying to help a recoil sensitive shooter pick a gun the extra weight of the SP-101 combined with the 32 Mag's lighter recoil would be a very good combination.

camacho
August 30, 2006, 09:31 AM
On the other hand if I were trying to help a recoil sensitive shooter pick a gun the extra weight of the SP-101 combined with the 32 Mag's lighter recoil would be a very good combination.

This could be a nice option, however, the RUGER website does not list SP-101 in .32 Mag. Have they been discontinued?

camacho
August 30, 2006, 11:24 AM
I think I found the answer to my question. The 2006 Firearms PDF catalog on the Ruger web site lists the SP101 in .32 mag. However, in the products section there is no one to be found. Go figure!


Anyways, thank you all for sharing your knowledge with a newbie. It is truly appreciated!

ugaarguy
August 30, 2006, 02:43 PM
The 2006 Firearms PDF catalog on the Ruger web site lists the SP101 in .32 mag. However, in the products section there is no one to be found. Go figure!

Camacho, as far as I know Ruger dropped 32 H&R mag early this year. S&W dropped it some time ago, and Taurus still offers a few wheelguns chambered for it. But don't worry, take your time and look around and you should be able to find a good used S&W or Ruger. You should also still be able to find a new SP-101 in 32 H&R Mag; it's a niche caliber that has only recently been discontinued so there is a good chance your local dealers or their distributors still have a new one available. If there isn't a new one on the dealer shelf ask them to call the distributor and check. That should help in finding a new Ruger. If you end up buying used that's a good thing as well. By buying used you've let someone else eat the depreciation of the gun going from new to used. There are some great deals to be found on used guns with a little looking around. To know what to look for in a used revolver go the revolvers section of THR and see the thread "Jim March's Used Revolver Checkout" that is stickied at the top. Print that out and take it with you as guide and you're sure to find a winner.

camacho
August 30, 2006, 03:51 PM
I see. That's why it was not on the web site. Well, as you said there should be good used ones around as well as some brand new ones. I will definetely check the used revolver thread. Thank you for pointing it out. You guys on the THR are great!

MCgunner
August 30, 2006, 04:02 PM
If you don't reload, you'll find .32 magnum lacking in load selection and availability. .38 special is everywhere and there are tons of effective loads for it. No brainer IMHO, in a snub for self defense, .38 Special.

Jeff Timm
August 30, 2006, 04:25 PM
Consider that the .38 Special is available in loads from 148 gr target wadcutters, to 158 gr. hollow point high velocity. I have a J frame 5 shot S&W, I practice with 130 gr WW jacketed and carry 110 gr. WW Silvertips.

If you start with the wadcutters and SLOWLY work up to more powerful rounds, and work to find a set of grips which match the persons hand, I believe the .38 Special is a better choice.

Geoff
Who can't recall the last time he saw a box of .32s of any sort on the shelf. :rolleyes:

camacho
August 30, 2006, 04:39 PM
Who can't recall the last time he saw a box of .32s of any sort on the shelf.


Well, the availability of .32 or lack thereof is a factor that ought be considered and I am considering it. Since my issue was my wife's handling a recoil, what would be the recoil for a .357 revolver (such as the SP101) loaded with .38 Special?

ugaarguy
August 30, 2006, 05:36 PM
Well, the availability of .32 or lack thereof is a factor that ought be considered and I am considering it. Since my issue was my wife's handling a recoil, what would be the recoil for a .357 revolver (such as the SP101) loaded with .38 Special?

Recoil is pretty subjective, but as far as guns in that size class - SP-101, S&W J Frames, etc - the SP-101 is the heaviest & is slightly larger than the J frame sized guns. The weight will definetly help soak up recoil. Most ranges that rent guns have an SP-101. So, if you can, find one that does and let your wife try it with light 38 target loads. If there isn't a range near you that rents guns ask your friends or ask for folks here on THR who live near you. Somewhere in the mix you'll be able to find someone that has an SP-101 for her to try. If she can handle even light 38 loads go that way for ammo availability. If those are a bit much for her then find an SP-101 in 32 H&R Mag to get the best defensive round that she can handle. The fact that 38s are easier to find is useless if she cant hit the target with them. Just because the local Wal-Mart or small gun store doesn't have 32s only means you'll need to plan more carefully. Order a couple boxes of good defensive ammo and a good supply of target ammo online or thru a bigger retailer like Cabelas, Bass Pro, Sportsmans, Academy, etc. As you use up your target ammo be watchful so you know when to order more. If the 32 Mag is the best defensive round she can handle then I think it's worth a little extra effort to find the ammo for it. Hopefully she'll be ok with a 38 though.

Alan Fud
August 31, 2006, 08:36 PM
While round for round, a .38special is significantly superior to a .32mag; on average six rounds of .32mag sends 10% more energy downrange than five rounds of .38special. Recall seeing comparison charts which stressed that point.

http://fud-files.netfirms.com/image/private/guns/f125.jpg

That said, I still feel more comfortable with five rounds of .38 over six rounds of .32

GEM
August 31, 2006, 09:30 PM
I have a SW 432 that I got because ...

It's very light and not recoiling much. The trigger pull is very stiff - going to get that worked on.

It's a casual light weight pocket gun or a BUG. I do have a 642.

About ammo - I found that Sportsman's Warehouse had the best price on the Federal ammo. I did get 100 rounds from a reloader for a great price but they do it only once in awhile.

XLMiguel
August 31, 2006, 11:11 PM
OK, let's remember that the whole point of having a gun here is self defense and it's real important that it be a tool you can handle effectively. Shot placement is what counts. Period. Pick what you can shoot well and practice (a lot).

But one must also remember that the sight on the front of a snubbie really isn't a 'sight', but rather a hook used to snag the barrel securely in the BG's nostril, ear canal, or belly button, thus insuring proper shot placement. As long as you're pumping lead into one of these orifaces with alacrity, the BG will likely get the hint that he/she/it should leave you alone :neener:

40jjb
October 26, 2006, 01:21 PM
I just did some test with cor bon in 32 acp, 380 acp and winchester soft point, The 38 spl. only penetrated 4"-5", and the 32acp & 380 penetrated 10"-13" all expanded. I think there is youre answer. the 380 acp, 32acp are better than the 38spl. when using the right ammo.:uhoh: :what: :) :confused: :D

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