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.38 vs .32

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by camacho, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. camacho

    camacho Well-Known Member

    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?

  2. carlrodd

    carlrodd Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    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
  5. weregunner

    weregunner Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. B.D. Turner

    B.D. Turner Well-Known Member

    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
  7. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Well-Known Member

    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... ;)
  8. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. camacho

    camacho Well-Known Member

    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?
  10. B.D. Turner

    B.D. Turner Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. tuna

    tuna member

    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.
  12. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  13. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Well-Known Member

    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
  14. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. weregunner

    weregunner Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  17. camacho

    camacho Well-Known Member

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

    camacho Well-Known Member

    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!
  19. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    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.
  20. camacho

    camacho Well-Known Member

    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!

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