1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Recoil 32HR vs. 38 SPL?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Bob79, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. Bob79

    Bob79 Well-Known Member

    I sold my 342PD because the recoil was just too much for me to become a decent shot with it. I used to have a 642 that I now regret selling, so I'm in the market for another revolver from S&W in the "Airweight" class.

    I am considering a 431/432 possibly and was curious about the recoil out of this gun. I know that recoil is a somewhat subjective thing to judge but, I need opinions, preferring to hear from those who have shot both. And when I say both I mean, an Airweight with .38's and the S&W .32 HR mag.

    And yes I understand the .32HR is slightly less in performance than the .38 and more espensive as well, but you get 6 instead, and if the recoil is less thats another positive. Again I may just go with the .38 for simplicity of ammo.

  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Well-Known Member

    I've shot both, though the 432 only once. My recollection is that it was quite tame by comparison to a 38+p. It was another guy's gun and ammo, though, and I don't know what load I was shooting exactly. Something factory.
  3. nero45acp

    nero45acp Well-Known Member

    I have a S&W 432PD and a 640 (sorry no .38 special Airweight). I've found that the felt recoil of Federal's Hi-Shok 85gr JHP out of my 432PD (Airweight) is comparable to shooting standard pressure .38 specials out of my (all steel) 640. Which is to say, the recoil of the Federal ammo thru the 432PD is quite managable.

    The biggest drawback to the 432PD that I've come across is availability and COST of practice ammunition.

    Hope this helps.

  4. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Well-Known Member

    I find the .32 H&R (I have a 332, precursor to the 432) in mine to be a little snappier than the .38 Spec. The right round out of my snubbie will outperform .38 Spec, at least on paper. I do know it will knock down the steel targets that a .380 could not. If you go to www.georgia-arms.com they have a round there that is much better than what federal has to offer. It's a 100 gr SJHP that left my 1 7/8" barrel at 977 fps. That translates to better than .38 spec and only slightly less than .38+p. I opted for it after firing the 340 PD with some hot .357. I'll never do THAT again :eek: I did like the extra shot you get with the .32 as well and that is what sold me on it. It is small and light enough that I carry it unholstered in my strongside front pocket. Baggy jeans.

    I recently shot a S&W 500 Mag with some hot stuff in it and found its's recoil to be less painful than that lightweight .357.

    The GA round is also a bit cheaper (even with shipping) than federal's hy shoks.

    Oh, GA advertises the round at 1100 fps. That is out of a 7" barrel FYI, I called and asked.
  5. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    That's good for a handy little pocket sixgun. It clearly bests the .380 ACP for energy, even though most .380s are larger and heavier weapons than the 332 or 432PD.

    Thanks, 280PLUS. I'm a fan of the Georgia Arms .32 H&R Mag hollowpoints and have been looking for chrono data on them. Based on your number, I reckon they're good for 1000 fps out of the 3 1/16" barrel of my Ruger SP101. Recoil of the "hot" .32 H&R Mag load in my 28 oz gun is, naturally, a cream puff.
  6. gunfan

    gunfan Well-Known Member

    I regularly shoot a H&R in .32 S&W Long...

    and I can't see how ANYONE could percieve the recoil of a .32 H&R Magnum, in a S&W "J" frame revolver to be "snappy." It makes little, or no, sense!

    I'm telling you right now that the .32 S&W Long, in its stoutest loadings, is a PUP! The only thing that would make a .32 H&R Magnum revolver's recoil "nasty" would be a poorly designed grip! The "J" frame is more than adequate to tame the "Minimum Magnum's" recoil, even in a Scandium frame.

    Freedom Arms has it's CA 2000, a double-action, eight ounce, stainless steel revolver chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum! What, in the name of all that's holy, would lead you to believe that the "J" frame cant "tame" this "raging powerhouse?" :neener: :confused:

    Get a grip and buy the darned thing! You can shoot .32 S&W's, .32 S&W Longs and .32 H&R Magnum cartridges through the thing! It is a very versatile cartridge... far more versatile that you could guess!

    Get over your fear and enjoy the inherent accuracy of the .32 cartridges. They can be a real gas, if you give them half a chance!

  7. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    Agree -- if you're really worried about recoil in your little Smith, you might start with the Fed or Black Hills 85 gr JHP .32 Mag rounds and then move up to the hotter Georgia Arms stuff.

    Black Hills 90 gr FPL cowboy ammo is your factory practice load. Or .32 S&W Long, if you can find 'em cheaper.

    Some say the Longs gunk up the little cylinder chambers fast. Dunno; so far I've only shot .32 Mags in my gun.
  8. gunfan

    gunfan Well-Known Member


    the .32 S&W Long has put many a miscreant in the ground! Ask any septugenerian NYC Police Matron! They carried either the "I" frame S&W Model 31 .32 Regulation Police or the Colt Police Positive, chambered in .32 Colt New Police (read:.32 S&W Long.) A pair of double taps from these revolvers, usually "settled their hash" in a heartbeat!

    Don't bull$#!t yourself... the darned things worked!

  9. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Well-Known Member

    Steel yes, a cream puff but aluminum? I actually didn't notice much difference between the federals and the GA until I went BACK to the federals. They seemed milder then. Anyhoo, I'm not trying to give the impression that the.32 H&R in the lightweight has a "nasty" recoil. I just think it's noticably snappier than the .38 lightweights I've shot. I think the .38 lieghtweights are not bad at all, I just liked the extra shot. I've shot .32 S&W longs out of mine but had trouble with the chambers fouling so I couldn't get the longer magnum rounds back in after a session. I stick with the .32 mags now. Besides I think the GA is cheaper than those too. One thing about the ammo, it is pricey.

    I have had people who try it raise their eyebrows a little saying things like "WOW!!" the general consensus is nobody wants to get shot with it.

    There are those that won't shoot it after the first time too. But they are lieghtweights of a different kind... :D
  10. gunfan

    gunfan Well-Known Member

    They are just like .38 Specials out of a .357 Magnum...

    The "Minimum Magnums" require a thoroughly judicious cleaning after shooting .32 S&W's or .32 S&W Longs! Simply take care of the little buggers as you would any centerfire revolver! That's why they make stainless steel chamber brushes! Problem solved! :rolleyes: :D

  11. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Well-Known Member

    Yup, I just had to learn the hard way... :rolleyes:

  12. gunfan

    gunfan Well-Known Member

    Dear 280 PLUS: I am the son of a Pearl Harbor Survivor and Navy Rifle Team member. There was no insult intended.

    Please forgive me,

  13. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Well-Known Member

    The Navy has a rifle team?

    Absolutely no insult was taken!! I truly DID have to learn about .32 long vs .32 mag length fouling the "hard way" when I couldn't reload my .32 mag rounds after shootin' off some .32 longs. It was quite the surprise. My little rolleyes smily was for learning the hard way not your comments.

    How IS the Navy BTW. Has it recovered from my stint yet? :evil:

    I had an uncle who spent 36 months in New Guinea incidentally. Seems we have a few things in common...

  14. mfree

    mfree Well-Known Member

    I've shot a 432PD and IIRC a 342, an early titanium S&W 38+p. Well, that's a misnomer, I *own* a 432PD, but anyways...

    Even GA Arms 100gr hot stuff in the 432 is decent. The recoil is "smacky"... it stings, stings bad sometimes if I'm not careful with the grip. But the gun doesn't move a whole lot.

    With the 342 and a pack of 148gr wadcutters, the gun didn't smack or sting, but it sure shoved itself out of the way.

    EDIT: See picture for evidence of fast energy disposition :)

    That was with the federal 85gr JHP.
  15. gunfan

    gunfan Well-Known Member

    Dear 280 PLUS:

    I have been out of the service since 1975. My father was the Navy rifle team member.

    During WWII, Dad killed a Japanese soldier with a 5-shot, folding-trigger, Italian-manufactured revolver, chambered in .32 S&W Long. Granted, he did so at two paces catching the sniper by surprise while checking his "kill". Dad planted five .32 S&W Long wadcutters in the man's chest, killing him instantly.

    Don't ever let anyone hand you that bullsauce about those "ineffective" smallbore handguns! Properly placed, the .32 S&W Long works very well, and the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge works even better! :D I wouldn't want to be on the "business" end of one! :uhoh: :eek:

  16. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Well-Known Member

    There's a somewhat interesting profile in the new American Handgunner of the carry guns preferred by each of the mag's regular writers. (Executive summary: Mostly 1911s, some Glocks, lots of snubby revolvers as BUGs).

    Charlie Petty, whose down-to-earth writing I like better than most, had a surprising rig. He totes a pocket S&W J-frame snubby in .32 H&R Mag, loaded with the Federal 90 gr semi-wadcutter target load. Petty said he knew this was no powerhouse, but it was so soft-recoiling, even in the small, light gun, that he could place all six rounds in a tight group as fast as he could pull the trigger, and he figured that would do the job.

    Not saying he's right. If I'm carrying a .32, I'd want to use the GA hollowpoints. Just an interesting approach to the .32 Mag from a shooter who certainly has seen a lot of guns come and go.
  17. 71Commander

    71Commander Well-Known Member

    This thread needs pic's.

  18. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Well-Known Member

    Okie dokie...



    Attached Files:

    • 332.jpg
      File size:
      24.6 KB
  19. Bob79

    Bob79 Well-Known Member

    Well it seems I received some differing opinions on this one.

    First though, the 431/432 twins are 13.5 ozs each and made of aluminum alloy and carbon steel. I'm 90% sure they are 1.5 ozs lighter than the "airweight" 642/442 twins because the 32HR gun's barrel is an insert into alumunium alloy shroud, vs. the .38 which is all stainless/carbon steel.

    I understand that the 32HR out of a all stainless gun is going to have almost zero recoil (like a .38 non +P).

    I got rid of my 342, which was only 11 ozs because of the recoil being just too much for me to get good with it. I'm not saying it wasn't controllable, it was just a little too much. And it seemed even with standard pressure .38's it was bad, the load that actually was the most comfortable for me in it was the Speer Gold Dot 125 grain +P (NOT the 135gr new short barrell stuff).

    So yes this gun is 2.5 ozs heavier, which is what I want, but I'm unfamilar with how .32 HR mag recoils which is why I'm posting this thread. I have shot a 642 with +P ammo, and that had what I'd call acceptable recoil for me, so if the 431/432 guns with 32HR are about the same as +P with a 642 then I'm good to go.

    I like the 431 because its black, and only costs about $325 without shipping, and I know I can get a 642 for about the same, but I prefer the 442. And a good price on 442's (new) seems to be about $400. Plus you get a 6th round, and if the performance is similar then I'm good to go. Also it does have some cool factor because of the unique caliber, and GA ammo is only about $13 for a box of 50, which isn't cheap, but its not that bad either.

    So does anyone else have info/opinions for me on comparing recoil??
  20. 71Commander

    71Commander Well-Known Member

    Mine is 10ozs. (From post 17 above)

Share This Page