.32 S&W Long Effectiveness

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mr_Flintstone, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    "She has the Ruger .327 LCR and shoots. 32 longs comfortably. She may be able to handle .32 H&R mags but never tried."

    I'm only 55, but the 32 H&R's don't feel any different than the longs to me. H&R developed the round so that it could be shot out of their old weak revolver frames. It's not exactly a powerhouse.
     
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  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have one 32 S&W Long and with the factory ammunition I purchased, it would not rock my gong target at 25 yards. I was not impressed with the power of the thing. I did bump up the charges a little bit, but I have to keep in mind, this is an early revolver, I think the cylinder is heat treated, by the frame is most certainly not.

    yVNHAks.jpg

    In terms of self defense, it has to be in the 22 lr class. It will make a hole, don't know how deep, nor how wide.

    I have seen the 32 S&W Long used by shooters in Bullseye Pistol. It is rare when someone shoots a 32 S&W Long, but, they are out there. Generally these guys have Pardini pistols and the changeover from calibers is easy to make. By using the same lower, the trigger pull and econometrics is the same between stages, and that is a real advantage for consistency. They use the 32 S&W Long because it has a very low recoil, and yet, is superbly accurate out to 50 yards. For a game where the shooter is simply punching holes in paper, it is a great round.

    The 32 S&W Long would be better than nothing in a self defense situation, but only by a little bit. It is a great target round and the recoil is so slight anyone can shoot it well.
     
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  3. Mr_Flintstone

    Mr_Flintstone Member

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    In my experience, the big difference between longs and magnums in short barrels is the loudness. Magnums are LOUD from a snub nose. Hand loads can increase the effectiveness of the .32 H&R Mag somewhat. Most of what you can buy commercially though are 80-85 gr hollow points which typically don’t have enough velocity (around 900 FPS from a 2” barrel) to expand properly under many conditions. On the other hand, you do typically get good penetration; but not anything significant over the .32 S&W Long.

    I recently tested some .32 S&W Long hand loads with 77 gr and 95 gr cast bullets from my Charter Undercoverette using data from Lyman’s Cast Bullet Handbook #4. Since this was a .32 H&R Magnum revolver, I felt confident in using the maximum loads of Unique for each bullet. The 77 gr bullet had an average velocity of 945 FPS, and the 95 gr bullet had an average velocity of 751 FPS. That’s right in the neighborhood of the commercial magnum rounds, and just a tad under the energy of standard pressure .38 special from a comparable length barrel.

    I usually keep .32 S&W Long loaded in my Undercoverette in the nightstand drawer beside my .38 Special in case my wife needs to use it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  4. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    My mom carried a .38 Colt Automatic in her purse. It gave the purse a nice heft and provided a solid contact point when she got to swinging. I got a taste of it to the back of the head more than once.
    She could shoot that old .38Auto fair enough but from what I was told never had to. Would’ve but managed to not need to. A police officer who was a family friend told her she needed a permit to carry once. She ended up asking him - with a smile - if he would care to try to disarm her. He didn’t.
    Mom was 4’ 11-1/2” and all of a hundred pounds sopping wet. She could handle a gun just never seemed to need to.
     
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  5. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    When they get back in stock, try the Meister Bullets 115gr cast WFN using the Lymans #44/45 data for mold #3118 and Unique. Put a few through the old water jugs test and be ready to pick your jaw up. Solid frame revolvers only please and I highly recommend a 4” or longer bbl
     
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  6. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Most of us know Elmer Keith's preference for large caliber six guns. In his memoir books he mentions the .32-20 with respect, seemingly out of context, as a choice many experienced old timers made for their six gun. I recently sold my .32-20 Colt Bisley from 1909 for a goodly sum (in 2019 right before the plague) and my Army Special in the same caliber before that. My remaining six gun in .32-20 is a 7 1/2" "Hartford Model " Uberti that is slicked up for SASS and shoots like a rifle from it's 7.5" barrel. I load the 115 WFN bullet above at just sub sonic velocities and it flattens those WFN to .50 on a sick large billy goat I had to put down a few years ago. I was gonna use a .30 Carbine on it but grabbed the .32-20 instead as I was practicing with it on a home range I had when I was raising live stock . A .32 acp makes an excellent slaughter gun on animals that are penned and you can get a shot behind the ear. On ranging animals you need a little more, the power factor for that seemed for the ones under 200 pounds to be a 9mm out of a carbine or a .30 Mauser or a .30 carbine . Just saying and was probably well known among the olden days ranchers and why the .32-20 was a favorite in the 1900s.
     
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  7. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Remember Paul Kersey used. 4” Nickle Played Colt Police Positive in .32. It was good for Deathwish
     
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  8. Monac

    Monac Member

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    And nothing less than a 44 Magnum would do for Dirty Harry. Where does that leave us?
     
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  9. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Watching old movies, I suppose.
     
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  10. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Harry used .44 Specials
     
  11. Monac

    Monac Member

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    A) I have never heard that. Why do you say so?

    B) Are you really trying to make a point about 32 Long effectiveness, or are you kidding around? Maybe I'm obtuse today, but I can't tell for sure. "On the Internet, no one can tell your tone of voice."
     
  12. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    My post was about the .32 being used in the Deathwish Movie. In 1972 the caliber was much more common. I posted earlier that I would have no problem with the .32 in a small lightweight revolver but it was dependent on decent ammo. I believe there lies the problem with most of the old revolver cartridges. .32, .38 and .44 Special have been severely under loaded by the factories due to all the old guns out there. Ergo the .32 Mag and .327 Mag. And the Harry reference is true, he states that what he shoots is a Special load like .38 wadcutters in a .357.
     
  13. George P

    George P member

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    with the .357 of course
     
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  14. Leon tP

    Leon tP Member

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    A) Trivia, Harry talks about using Light Special for his duty load in the movie Magnum Force (Dirty Harry sequel).


    B) I think he was just kidding with the other members and not making any statement of 32 effectiveness but I'm only guessing.

    As for the 32 long, it wouldn't be my first choice but with Buffalo Bore loads... Now it's a contender.
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=search_list&s[title]=Y&s[short_desc]=Y&s[full_desc]=Y&s[sku]=Y&s[match]=all&s[cid]=0&s[search]=32+s%26w+long

    With standard 32 long loads, shot placement will be that much more important. Just my 2 cents.
     
  15. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Yes, I know your post was about the Deathwish movie. I was asking if you were trying to make a serious point by mentioning it. I guess you were. I do not take firearms advice from movies without a very good reason, but I guess we differ there.

    And thanks, Leon tP, for clearing up the Dirty Harry quote. I have not seen the movie in decades, and that scene was completely gone from my memory. So how much more powerful than 32 Long is a 44 Special wadcutter?
     
  16. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Sorry, I am not sure where you are getting at. Feel free to see the previous post where I opined on the .32’s effectiveness. But for brevity I will do my best to explain. A old .32 Snub nosed revolver loaded with an old box of round nosed lead is pretty far down the scale of things I would want to bet my life in. A newer .32 Mag or .327 loaded with good bullets, modern pressures are a not bad way to go in a small light snub. But that is the problem with the .32 Long, ammo! Who other than Buffalo Bore makes a viable round. Most makers load anything that originated as a black powder cartridge very lightly. That box of RNL .32 long would be lucky to do over 700 FPS for that reason. A RNL at 700 FPS is an ice pick. Now if you could get a good bullet design with just a little more velocity like a good flat sharp SWC or Swagged soft SWC-HP you would have something. Hope this helps!

    Sorry typed on phone not going back to fix all the typos
     
  17. contender

    contender Member

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    The older i get the more i appreciate the 32 H&R magnum and the Ruger LCR.. Give it another decade, and i will probably be singing the praises of the 32 Long.

    Some folks age well. Some don't. But the 32's have put a lot of fun back into range practice for me.
     
  18. Leon tP

    Leon tP Member

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    Depends on who makes the 44 Special ammo. The usual target fodder runs about 700 fps (feet per second) for 200 grain wadcutters but Buffalo Bore and Underwood Ammo run 200 grain hardcasts up to 900 fps from a 2 inch barrel. These rounds can hit 1000 fps if the barrel is long enough.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/100151850?pid=513688

    So to answer your question about how much more powerful, we have to settle on two loads for an impromptu comparison.

    32 S&W Long with a 100 grain LRN at 700 fps (108 fpe)

    44 Special Target load with a 200 wadcutter at 700 fps (216 fpe)

    Of course, Buffalo Bore offers a 32 S&W Long load of a 100 grain wadcutter at 900 fps (180 fpe) so now we have something that's a bit more better. It'll probably be around or above 850 from a 2" barrel but should be more effective than a standard load. Safe to use in any solid frame revolver chambered in 32 S&W Long (solid frame meaning No Breaktop Revolvers).
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=345

    And they seem to be available, if you can believe that :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  19. LEP

    LEP Member

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    Took my newly acquired '51 S&W 2" HE to the range and blew a box of 50 initial shots with some normal lead rounds for practice. Then I tried out the Buffalo Bore flat nosed wadcutters (mentioned in the earlier threads) and found the perfect combination for CC. A small, well made all steel revolver and a very loud and powerful round. I can shoot 6 rounds very quickly. Really amazed that with all the great firearms out there, I settled on a 70 year old firearm with a light trigger (lighter than the J frame 32s). Didn't experience the heated cylinder and wait for a while before it cools to eject issue I have on a model 63 stainless steel. I really don't need more as I can't imagine someone not being affected by 6 rounds of that stuff.
     
  20. Monac

    Monac Member

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    wcwhitey, when I read your post, it seemed remarkable to me that you would be trying to make a point about the effectiveness of a pistol cartridge by pointing out its use by a fictional character in a movie. It seemed so remarkable to me that I was not sure if you were kidding or not.

    I am sorry it did not occur to me to go back through a 3 page thread to see what else you might have posted on the subject. I guess it would have inclined me even more to the idea that you were being humorous, and may have saved us all this trouble.

    I also apologize for not being able to get my point across. So let me make try again to make it: I was not trying to find out what you thought about 32 Long. I was trying to find out if you thought being used in "Deathwish" was a real point in 32 Long's favor.

    Finally, I am (seriously, not sarcastically) impressed you could make such a reply on a smartphone. I cannot get the hang of those things at all. I can scrape by with a tablet and stylus if I have to, but send a written message on a smartphone? I really do envy that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  21. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    FWIW, I've been a LE firearms instructor for 45 years. Been trained by the best. Foremost, Jim Cirillo. Retired now but do quals for guys for carry permits and private instruction.

    Whilst I would carry at a minimum a j frame (loaded with wadcutters btw) I feel confident carrying a Smith Model 30 with 32 S&W Long or a 32 ACP semiautomatic. Look at the figures, both calibers give adequate penetration. I'd feel comfortable with this 99% of the time for what I may encounter. The other 1% of the time I'll carry something else.
     
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  22. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Cop vs Assassin. Big difference. Polar opposites, in fact.
    The.32S&W Long/New Police was adequate for a day when policing was more highly respected and any internal injury was feared.
     
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  23. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I have a S&W 431PD that is an Airweight J-Frame in 32 mag. It feels smaller than the typical J-Frame for some reason. And it only weighs 15oz loaded so its no problem to have in your pocket. It stays in my night stand drawer loaded and ready to go. When I bought it I paid $330 for it and thought that was a little high. Now it would sell for double that but it will never be for sale.

    If you tried some of my 32 mag loads you might change your mind. No its not 357 power level but they are a step up over the original factory loads. Like 1305fps from a 5.5" Ruger with the 85gr XTP or 1250fps with the 100gr XT.

    Your mom is about the exact same size as Bonnie Parker and not many would attempt to disarm her either. She and her Paramour were killed from a hidey hole because facing them was just too dangerous.
     
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  24. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    The revolver in your post looks like a 32 Regulation Police which was an I frame. 31-1 is a J frame. Not picking nits but I had to say something.
     
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  25. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe that the 31-1 was a Regulation Police I frame.
     
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