32 S&W Long to 32 H&R?


May 18, 2008, 06:42 PM
Can you modify the cylinder of the 32 Long to take 32 H&R and do it safely?
I found this piece and would like to know if it’s possible /safe.


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The Lone Haranguer
May 18, 2008, 07:55 PM
Is that the exact revolver? That is a very old one (1920s or 30s) to be putting such a high pressure round in, even if the cylinder were long enough in the first place, which I doubt. Smith & Wesson made a Model 16(?) in that caliber in the 1990s and I would suggest looking for one of those.

May 18, 2008, 08:11 PM
High pressure? The SAAMI limit for the .32 H&R Magnum was 22,000.

May 19, 2008, 01:39 AM
But the limit on the .32 S&W long is 12,000. :what:

The Lone Haranguer
May 19, 2008, 01:55 AM
Whatever the unit of measurement being used, how many 22,000 cup/psi loads were around when the old-timer was made?

John C
May 19, 2008, 02:08 AM
That's a nice pistol. I know you're in Argentina, and I've read your blog a bit, so I know things are different there, but if you were in the US I'd recommend you trade it straight across for a Ruger SP101 in .32 mag, or a Smith .38 and a case of ammo. If that's a K-38, that would sell for at least $5-800, to maybe $1000, in my area.


Old Fuff
May 19, 2008, 02:09 AM
If that is the revolver in question, it's a Smith & Wesson .32 Regulation Police. the cylinder is 1.250" long, which would just hold a .32 Magnum. The model was introduced in 1917, and I'm not sure the cylinders were ever heat treated before World War Two. For what it's worth Numrich-The Parts Corporation ofered rechambered Colt Police Positive cylinders, and Ruger made a version on their .22 Single Six platform. The round was designed to be used in inexpensibe H&R revolvers.

But anyway, while a conversion might work, I'd rather handload the .32 S&W Long cartridge, and not ruin the growing colector's value of this fine little revolver.

May 19, 2008, 09:04 AM
You're kidding. That gun costs 800 USD?
Here it costs 150 USD, a bit less maybe.
Are you sure about the price and built date? This one I held in my hand and looks brand new. The finish is 100%, sharp marking, doesn't look reblued.


May 19, 2008, 01:10 PM
I'm with Old Fuff on this one....spend the money on reloading dies and load for .32S&W Long. You can even load some warm (NOT HOT) loads for occasional use if needed.....

Old Fuff
May 19, 2008, 01:25 PM
I think that there may be some confusion concerning exactly what gun you have. We have to go by the picture you posted, and if that is “the gun” I can say without question that it is a Smith & Wesson Regulation Police .32 revolver. The lack of metal S&W trade mark medallions at the top of the stocks indicate it was made during the 1920’s.

These revolvers are not uncommon, but ones in like-new condition are. Collectors will pay a premium to obtain a “perfect” example. At the present moment the book value for this gun is around $500 or more on the U.S. collectors market, but that’s always going up. When you get away from like new condition the value drops to around $350 or less.

The conversion you have in mind would require a skilled gunsmith with the necessary .32 H&R Magnum chambering reamers. Anything less could result in a ruined cylinder or worse. A replacement cylinder would be hard to find, might be expensive, and would reduce the overall value of the revolver.

A possible solution would be to handload the cartridge to a higher, but safe level. But doing so may not be as easy in Argentina as it would be in the United States.

The following links might help you, relative to information about the classic handgun collector’s market in the United States.

www.armchairgunshow.com is one of our larger dealers in the collectors’ field, with a speciality in Smith & Wesson.

www.armsbid.com is an auction house associated with the above dealer that auctions various firearms in both the collector and shooter markets. The prices realized at these auctions will give you some idea about current prices.

May 24, 2008, 11:54 AM
I thought the main issues with such a conversion were the length of the cylinder (and cylinder window) and the differrence in pressure.

Isn't the diameter of the 32 and 32 H&R mag the same? Would the cylinder on a 32 require reaming?

Thanks for helping with my education.:)

Old Fuff
May 24, 2008, 07:09 PM
Yes, case diameter is the same.

The cylinder in both the S&W and Colt are 1.250" long, and you can just squeeze a .32 H&R Magnum in. The .32 S&W long has always been loaded softly because of the large number of early 20th century top-breaks that were chambered to use it. Hand Ejector (swing out cylinder) revolvers of Colt and S&W manufacturer can handle the .32 H&R Magnum, but not the new .327 Magnum which performance-wise is about the same as a U.S. M1 Carbine.

If you were to use the .32 H&R Magnum in a Colt Police Positive or S&W 1903 Hand Ejector, you would have to rechamber the cylinder. You would have even more room (cylinder length) if you converted a post-war Colt Police Positive Special, or a S&W made on the Improved I or J frame.

May 25, 2008, 01:05 AM

I was considering a similar conversion (almost identical). Oldfuff advised against it. There is no doubting his judgment and expertise.

On his advice I am "rolling my own" instead of looking for a more powerful over the counter cartridge.

In my never-so-humble opinion, I would put the same weight on Oldfuff's advice concerning revolvers as Mario Andretti giving me driving advice.

May 25, 2008, 09:23 AM
Great looking piece. One I would like to have, but to shoot longs out of. ;)

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