.32 S&W Long Effectiveness

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mr_Flintstone, Jun 10, 2021 at 3:33 PM.

  1. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,358
    Location:
    Missouri
    Now you are just being a dang enabler!!!!!!!!!!!! :rofl:

    I'll take a Ruger in 327 too. I have been looking for close to a year now and haven't found a 32 H&R Magnum or 327 Magnum without paying outrageous prices for them.
     
    Monac and Buckeye63 like this.
  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,259
    Location:
    "Land of (dis)Enchantment"
    Looking for .32s? All of these have been purchased in the last year.
    Fedora_and_32s.jpg
    Charter_Snubby.jpg
     
  3. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,358
    Location:
    Missouri
    It's pretty bad when I live within an hour of 2 Academy Sports, 2 Bass Pro Shops, a Cabelas, Midway USA and 20 minutes from Graf and Sons Reloading supply and a Rural King. Plus all of the small shops within an hour drive and have yet to find any 32 caliber revolvers in stock.
     
  4. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    9,509
    Location:
    WNY
    The local Cabelas has a Ruger LCR 327 mag in the case for $609. Erie County.
     
  5. George P

    George P Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2018
    Messages:
    7,552
    In the current panic what did you expect? Folks want 9mm, ARs, and 38 snubs
     
  6. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Kentucky
    GOOD post Monac. Pretty much my thoughts as well. And like you, I find that a well built .32 revolver is a real joy to carry afield...A Colt, two Rugers, and a Smith grace my safe and distract me from the bigger cannons when it's just a fun day out in the woods...but none of them are a good choice for CC, IMHO. Best Regards, Rod
     
    Monac likes this.
  7. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,324
    Location:
    Freeport, IL
    Every cartridge is capable of killing when the target is hit in a vital spot.
    From the lowly 25acp all the way up to the 500S&W Magnum.
    Center mass - ah not so good with a 25, but hit 'em in the eye...

    Pretty much everywhere in the CNS (central nervous system) would most likely be effective.

    My friend's brother almost died when hit by a 22 LR.
    Loss of blood came within minutes of being fatal.
     
    cfullgraf likes this.
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    10,482
    Location:
    East TN
    On my hobby horse farm, I’ve been using a 22 RF revolver (Single Six and S&W M317) to dispactch ground hog, opossum, and racoon sized critters with less than spectacular results. It generally takes several hits to stop the animal.

    I’ve recently got out my 4” SP101 chambered in 327 Fed Mag to use on the critters. As a handloader, the loads I have currently on hand are between 32SWL and 32 H&R Mag. I’m going to be interested in their effectiveness on the critters. We have a ground hog we see around one of the barns that I need to stalk.

    I am comfortable carrying 380 ACP pistols. I’d probably be comfortable carrying a 4” 32SWL j-frame with the appropriate ammunition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 11:01 AM
    Monac, LeftyRed and wcwhitey like this.
  9. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,316
    I would love to see someone get creative and come out with a modern Velo-Dog type of pocket revolver. Lighter but not so small as to not be practical. Smith I Frame size in a modern alloy that would not be overpowered by a old low pressure cartridge like the .32 Long. I man can dream.
     
    Boarhunter likes this.
  10. Alte Schule

    Alte Schule Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    East of the Brazos and West of the Navasota River
    Never considered a .32 Long but I was introduced after I bought a Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum. Light shooting, minimal recoil and accurate makes it a fun round to shoot. My wife, who doesn’t care for revolvers, and my 21 year old granddaughter think it’s the perfect round for a wheel gun.

    So begins my affection for all things .32. I never shot anything in .32 ACP so I took a chance on a CZ Model 50 and Model 70. Both sweet shooters but my favorite is the surplus double stack Beretta Model 81in .32 ACP which is now in my CC rotation.
    Accurate and Beretta cool I load it with 14 Hornady 60 gr Critical Defense.

    98C0A385-03A0-43E6-AA55-61E9CBD266BB.jpeg
    48BC06AD-4D85-43AE-879E-F2670FF8573F.jpeg
     
    LEP, Roknstevo, chicharrones and 5 others like this.
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,094
    Location:
    Land of the Pilgrims
    Howdy

    I have no opinion on the effectiveness of the 32 S&W Long as a defense cartridge, because despite my extensive pistol collection, I actually do not carry.

    But perhaps I can help with the historical aspect.

    First, let's look at the ancestor to the 32 S&W Long, the 32 S&W.

    The 32 S&W (sometimes erroneously called 32 S&W Short) was developed by the Union Metallic Cartridge Company as a Black Powder cartridge in 1878 for Smith and Wesson's little Top Break 32 Single Action revolver, which was also introduced in 1878. This example of the 32 Single Action shipped in 1889.

    pn8aSIGPj.jpg




    This little revolver was a five shooter.

    pmU7cT8Mj.jpg




    The 32 S&W cartridge was very popular in the little Safety Hammerless revolvers (sometimes known as lemon squeezers because the grip safety had to be compressed to pull the trigger). This little five shooter shipped in 1905.

    pmyDmOxTj.jpg




    The 32 S&W Long cartridge was introduced in 1896 with Smith & Wesson's first revolver with a cylinder that swung out to the side, the 32 Hand Ejector 1st Model, sometimes known as the Model of 1896. Pictured with this Model of 1896, which shipped in 1899, are six rounds of 32 S&W Long on the left and six rounds of 32 Colt New Police on the right. The two cartridges were identical, only varying by about 2 grains of bullet weight, and the Colt rounds had a flat nosed bullet.

    pnh9Qfnqj.jpg




    Here is a photo comparing the 32 Colt New Police round to the 32 S&W Long. Note the slightly different bullet shape, and the 2 grain difference in bullet weights.

    poocpfOnj.jpg




    This is probably the time to mention that in 1896, while he was police commissioner of New York City, Theodore Roosevelt selected the 32 Colt New Police revolver as the first standard issue revolver for New York Police Officers. Prior to that time there were no standard issue revolvers for NYC cops, they supplied whatever they wanted.




    Sorry, I do not own a 32 Colt New Police revolver, but this little Colt 32 Police Positive shipped in 1917.

    pmk4QBifj.jpg




    Not to be outdone in the law enforcement market, Smith and Wesson introduced their I frame 32 Regulation Police, chambered for 32 S&W Long, in 1917. This one shipped in 1924.

    pnFIVLLSj.jpg




    To illustrate the relative size of a 32 Regulation Police, this photo shows one under a standard K frame 38 Military and Police. Clearly the I frame 32 was more easily concealed than a K frame revolver.

    pnRmx1slj.jpg




    I would be remiss if I did not brag a little bit and show my K frame K-32 Masterpiece, which shipped in 1954.

    pmLHRNCtj.jpg




    Getting back to the cartridges, here is some data I lifted directly from Wikipedia. I cannot verify how correct it is.

    32 S&W:
    85 grain lead, 705, fps, 93 ft lbs
    98 grain lead, 705 fps, 115 ft lbs

    38 S&W Long:
    98 grain lead, 718 fps, 112 ft lbs
    90 grain lead, 765 fps 117 ft lbs
    85 grain lead, 723 fps, 99 ft lbs


    poGF4OyWj.jpg




    So to conclude, clearly early in the 20th Century, the 32 S&W Long cartridge was felt by some law enforcement agencies to be suitable for a police revolver.
     
  12. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    11,479
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    My wife likes her small 2 1/2" six shot H&R .32 S&W Long with the wadcutter loads I put in it better than any other pistol I gave her. She can put those wadcutters quickly into a shilo at 50 feet on demand . I think the Buffaloe Bore wad cutter is by far the most potent defense load for that little .32 S&W Long.
     
    LEP, Leon tP, qwert65 and 1 other person like this.
  13. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    5,715
    Location:
    Ca.
    You beat me to it about size.
    In reading a biography of Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger who was in on the Bonnie and Clyde capture/killing.
    He was considered a giant in his day at 6’2” and 230 pounds.
    Seeing as airlines now have to recalculate passenger numbers because people weigh so much today, Hamers size isn’t all that big anymore.

    As for the .32 H&R, I got mine as a packin’ pistol. The barrel is a tad long, but the Bisley grip helps me to put the bullets where I want it.

    33499A6C-4908-484E-BE2F-764E47F9BD27.jpeg

    Stay safe.
     
    EMC45, Gordon, LeftyRed and 3 others like this.
  14. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Messages:
    726
    Location:
    Noo Hamsher
    I think the early popularity of cartridges most people today consider to be under-powered for defense purposes may well have been that it was thought unnecessary to carry heavier artillery. Just to present a .32 was enough to give the bad guy pause. No, it probably wouldn't be immediately fatal, but in the days before antibiotics the little slug could carry a painful dose of slow death via sepsis. President Garfield hung on for two months.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021 at 3:20 PM
    DR505, chicharrones, LeftyRed and 2 others like this.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    67,442
    Location:
    Alabama
    No ambulance to get you to the hospital in a hurry and no ER/surgery to patch people up back then either.
     
  16. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    1,971
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I like that idea, but I think I would want the size taken down to a 5-shot 32 Long. Something like a scaled down Ruger LCR (with external hammer standard) would probably make the most sense now. But it would probably have to be a 32 Magnum to sell well, and that increases the size and weight. But it would also give it the cylinder length for a 22 Magnum version.

    You could be right for wanting it to be I-frame size though; nobody has made a sub-I-frame double action revolver in a long time. Maybe the parts for the trigger mechanism would be too small for durability or economical assembly.
     
    wcwhitey likes this.
  17. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    1,971
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I had one just like yours very soon after they came out. It taught me several things:

    A) Ruger revolvers are built like bank vaults. I had never owned one before, and I was very impressed

    B) Long barrels and I do NOT get along. I was used to 4-5 inch barrels mainly, and the extra wobbling I seemed to do with this gun was off-putting.

    C) I hate Colt SAA style ejecting and reloading, at least in this gun and caliber, especially the ejecting. It seemed like I had to get the cylinder in exactly the right place to get the spent case out. Life, or at least range time, is too short for that kind of thing, IMO. (BTW, there is a thing the Eurp

    I found I was not shooting it much because B and C made it too much of a hassle. Eventually I sold it, probably for half or less of what it would go for not.

    But it made me really understand Ruger quality.
     
    Riomouse911 likes this.
  18. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Yep, that's my experience as well....if you hit them in the head they're DRT. But body hits. not so much. Possums and racoons both are bothersome in my son's chicken coop and the horse feed bins on both our places...for the most part we use a bigger gun....38/357 etc. And for putting down large stock, we always use a .44. The point in both cases, small critter or big, is to make a humane, immediate kill...anything less is contemptible. Regards, Rod
     
    qwert65, cfullgraf and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  19. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2020
    Messages:
    2,047
    Great round for vermin and varmint smaller than forty pounds. For anything bigger, shot placement is everything.
     
    ThomasT, Leon tP, Monac and 1 other person like this.
  20. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3,039
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    38 Spl is my minimum but I can’t say what your minimum should be. The video early in the first page was interesting and 98 grs at 750. FPS may be “enough”. Lots of cool old revolvers in 32 S&W, that’s for sure.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  21. danez71

    danez71 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,074
    Location:
    CA,AZ,CA,TX
    Not to be Debbie Downer... but...
    My (step) brother did die. Quickly. Single .22lr at close range.

    To the OP's question....
    I think this question comes down to not just what round is considered effective, but what round is he most effective for the shooter.

    To support that concept, lets take the FBI and various LEO dept as an example. They have a definition and that definition has changed over time and they round they have chosen has changed over time; from 9mm to 10mm to .40 and back to 9mm for example.

    Part of why they did that is because they also have a definition of physical and skill abilities in order to be hired.

    Suffic to say, my 70 something 5'1" mom doesn't meet those requirements so it not very pragmatic to apply a FBI standard to her. If fact, it's counter productive to do so, imo.


    I believe that you should shoot the appropriate round that you can shoot well (within your abilities) and accept the effectiveness of that round as the best you can get based on your abilities.

    (to a point, I guess; a .50 cal may be a bit much even if you can shoot it well)

    My 5' 1" 70 something mom is not interested in semi autos. She has the Ruger .327 LCR and shoots. 32 longs comfortably. She may be able to handle .32 H&R mags but never tried.

    Currently, and like the FBI it could change, that is the most effective round for her. A .22lr may or may not be better for her in the future and if it is, I wouldn't hesitate on getting her the best caliber option for her ability.
     
  22. ontarget

    ontarget Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    2,909
    Location:
    Michigan (Gods country)
    @danez71 makes possibly the best point I've read in regards to cartridge choice for SD. Absolutely true.
     
  23. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2020
    Messages:
    620
    Great comment. Sorry to hear about your brother.

    I can’t imagine being able to say, “My mother prefers 38SW Long out of her 327 snub nose.”

    MY mother once had to pick a snub nose up off the floor and set it on a table, and just about had a breakdown over it.”
     
    GeoDudeFlorida and danez71 like this.
  24. danez71

    danez71 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,074
    Location:
    CA,AZ,CA,TX
    I don't want to over sell my mom. She can barley hit anything past 10-15ft except the barn. I've taught her about using the doorways & hallways as choke points to intruders and not try to shoot across a room and dont ever go looking for that 'bump in the night'. That's best left for internet people and cops to do.

    That helped her feel more comfortable too as she knows she's a bad shot.

    Mom story - She once told someone to be careful about coming on her property unannounced because she's a bad shot and might hit him. Lousy shot but a tough old broad willing to fight if needed (old broad is her term, not mine)


    Thanks. I've mentioned it here before but not something I bring up often. It's been about 35 yrs & still think of him everyday. RIP .
     
  25. Sarge7402

    Sarge7402 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    Virginia
    I'd say it is equally as effective as a .32 ACP. So if you are comfortable with a .32 ACP then the .32 S&W long should be in the same category. Also I know a lot of old timers know this but many of you young whipper snappers don't, but you can shoot a .32 ACP in a solid frame (only excepted top breaks would be the webley's) .32 Long. Done it any number of times in the past.
     
    Gordon and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice