America and the .32 Revolver

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jski, Sep 21, 2022.

  1. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    . Good points.
    I mentioned earlier it’s a 20,000 psi ACP vs. 15,000 psi Long, .3125 vs. .312 and then a jacketed bullet which should increase pressure over lead. .32 ACP won’t be seeing the inside of my S&W Model 1903 anytime I can say that for sure. Would not hesitate in my .32 H&R though. I guess the way to put it to a real test is to shoot the ACP In a test barrel. Don’t really have a need though. Other than to be able to go bang in an emergency don’t really see the point.
     
  2. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    I'd really like to know who is finding this oasis of .32 ACP ammo that is priced below that of .32 S&W Long to the extent that it becomes worth considering shooting it in a chamber it was never designed to be shot in a revolver chambered in .32 S&W Lg?
     
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  3. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I bought a bunch of WWB 32acp once because it was on sale. Like 200 rounds or something. It was that stupid flat-nosed stuff and it gave my Beretta and FEG fits when I tried to use it (constant malfunctions).

    So I shot almost all of it out of 32 magnum revolvers. It worked just fine in a couple of them. I don't recall the accuracy as being worse than any other 32 rounds I normally shoot out of them. Most of them were shot out of my 6.5" Single Six, which is a very accurate revolver.

    IMHO, nothing is more over-thought than the supposed loss of accuracy when shooting 32 S&W out of a 32 magnum revolver, or 38's out of a 357, or whatever. Just hanging around the range, shooting with my friends, none of us notice any difference in practical accuracy. Maybe we're just not good enough shots to notice the difference, but I suspect the "shorter round accuracy problem" is theoretical rather than practical.
     
  4. cal44mag

    cal44mag Member

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    I have two 32 H&R mag revolvers.

    In my 431pd, 32acp doesn't work well. I get one or two ftfs with light strikes.

    In my 331ti, 32 acp works 100 percent. Accurate too. Nice solid strikes.

    I think the problem with the 431 is a shorter firing pin. The rim on 32 acp is thinner than the rim on a 32 long cartridge.

    I have a good stock of real 32h&r ammo so I don't carry 32 acp for defense. But if I run out of 32 H&R I would have no problem carrying 32 acp in my 331.
     
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  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    The S&W M frame revolvers, commonly known as Ladysmiths (not to be confused with the J frame Lady Smiths) were made from 1902 until 1921. These tiny seven shot revolvers were chambered for 22 Long. It is not recommended that they be fired with 22 Long Rifle ammunition, they are not strong enough. The three Ladysmiths in this photo, left to right, are 1st Model, 2nd Model, and 3rd Model.

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    Regarding a previous comment, I suspect a Ladysmith is too small to be chambered for a 32 caliber cartridge.

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    A number of years ago I believe it was Rossi that made a modern knock off of the S&W Ladysmiths. Those were strong enough to fire 22 Long Rifle ammo.




    For a size comparison, the tiny revolver at the bottom left is a Ladysmith, directly above it is an I frame 32 Regulation Police. On the other side, top to bottom is an N frame Triple Lock, K frame 38 Military and Police (think Model 10), and a J frame Chiefs Special.

    pnfU3Fdij.jpg




    There has been a myth going around for many years that when Daniel Wesson learned that Ladysmiths were the favorite guns of ladies of the evening, he halted production. Cute story, but Daniel Wesson died in 1906 and Ladysmith production continued until 1921.
     
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  6. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Getting back to 32s:

    Smith and Wesson #2, Old Army Tip Up, with 32 Rimfire copper cased cartridges. This one shipped in 1863. Popular with Union officers during the Civil War. While not as powerful as the 44 caliber Cap & Ball revolvers of the day, it was much quicker to reload.

    plS1uHScj.jpg




    This photo illustrates how the Tip Up revolvers worked. Depressing a latch at the bottom of the frame allowed the barrel to rotate up. The cylinder was then removed. Spent cartridges were poked out with the rod under the barrel. Fresh cartridges were loaded into the cylinder, then the cylinder was popped back in place on the frame, and the barrel lowered down and latched in place, ready to fire. Although S&W experimented with a 44 caliber design, they decided the relatively weak frame of the Tip Ups was not strong enough for a 44 caliber version, so the 32 caliber Tip Ups were the largest of their type.

    pnyiKQo5j.jpg




    A couple of S&W #1 1/2 Tip Ups. The one at the bottom is the first version, the nickel plated one with the fluted cylinder is a later version. Still 32 Rimfire, but smaller than the #2, and only five shots. This model came out after the #1 and #2, and since the numbers 1 and 2 were already taken, this one was designated the # 1 1/2 because it was bigger than the #1 and smaller than the #2. The nickel plated one shipped in 1873, the blued one in 1865.

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    S&W 32 Single Action. Produced from 1878 - 1892. Five shot, chambered for the 32 S&W cartridge. This is the revolver that the 32 S&W was developed for. Some refer to the cartridge as 32 Short, or 32 S&W Short, but I prefer what S&W called it, simply 32 S&W. This revolver shipped in 1889.

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    S&W 32 Single Action with ammunition. Notice it is a Top Break as opposed to a Tip Up. The barrel rotates down for loading. This model is a little bit unusual because it had a rebounding hammer in an attempt to make it safe to carry fully loaded with cartridges in all five chambers.

    pmU7cT8Mj.jpg




    S&W 32 Safety Hammerless Model. Often known as Lemonsqueezers because of the grip safety. These were very popular and were made in both 32 caliber and a larger version chambered for 38 S&W. This one shipped in 1905.

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    S&W 32 Double Action, 4th Model. Five shots. The best I can do on a ship date on this one is somewhere between 1883 and 1909.

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    S&W 32 Safety Hammerless Bicycle Revolver. A variation on the regular 32 Safety Hammerless with a two inch barrel for easy concealment to protect Daisy from ruffians while pedaling on a new-fangled bicycle. This one shipped in 1908.

    pl4IjBYuj.jpg




    Smith and Wesson 32 Hand Ejector, 1st Model, also known as the Model of 1896. The 32 S&W Long cartridge was developed for this model. This was the first revolver S&W made with a swing out cylinder. Colt had been producing a 32 caliber revolver with a swing out cylinder since 1899 and S&W needed to produce one too. This one shipped in 1899.

    pmIxhSf7j.jpg




    S&W was a little bit rushed getting this model to market, the mechanism was very different than any of their swing out cylinder revolvers that followed. This model reverted to the hammer and bolt design of the old Tip Ups. The bolt on this model was above the cylinder, rather than below it. The bolt pivoted on a pin set in the frame as seen in the above photo. A split spring under the bolt kept the bolt down, locking the cylinder in battery. As seen on the blued Model 1896 on the left in this photo, a rounded, wedge shaped cam on the top of the firing pin controlled the cylinder lock up. When the hammer was cocked, either single action or double action, the rounded portion of the cam rotated the bolt up, withdrawing it from the locking slots in the cylinder. When the hammer fell, the wedge shape at the front of the cam forced the split spring open without withdrawing the bolt from the cylinder. This was the only swing out cylinder revolver S&W made with this design. In 1903 the 32 Hand Ejector 2nd Model reverted to having the bolt under the cylinder.

    pmdFkViUj.jpg




    A pair of S&W 32 Regulation Police revolvers, chambered for the 32 S&W Long cartridge. One shipped in 1924, the other in 1925.

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    There were several I frame Smiths that had the wood grips extended about 1/4" below the steel grip frame. The 32 Regulation Police was one of them.

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    Because the bottom of the grip was covered, the serial number of these revolvers was stamped onto the front of the grip frame.

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    S&W obtained a patent on this style of grips in 1917.

    posL0yndj.jpg




    A Colt Pocket Positive 32 that shipped in 1917. This model was built on a smaller frame than the 38 caliber Police Positives.

    pmk4QBifj.jpg




    Colt did not want mark this revolver for the S&W 32 Long cartridge, so they marked them for Colt's version; 32 Colt New Police. Identical to the 32 S&W Long except the bullet weighed two grains more, and the bullet had a flat nose.

    pny3Sx6Oj.jpg


    pnrl36iKj.jpg




    A Colt Police Positive Special chambered for 32-20 at the top of this photo. It shipped in 1926. A Smith and Wesson 32-20 Hand Ejector at the bottom of the photo, that shipped in 1916.

    pnkKD23nj.jpg




    Last, but not the least, a Smith and Wesson K-32 Masterpiece that shipped in 1954.

    pnL9b0hDj.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2022
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  7. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    jski…thanks for the heads up on this article. After getting some things done around the place this AM I rode down to the local Cabelas and picked up a copy.

    I tried to get one at Sportsmans this past weekend but it appears they no longer sell magazines… well at least my local one doesn’t.

    Might sit in the fire pit this evening and read the .32 article while nursing a dram of single malt. Good way to start off an extended weekend.
     
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  8. VMC

    VMC Member

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    I love my 32-20 Colt Army Special handed down to me by my grandfather. I reload for it and was fortunate to buy lots of brass, lead and primers before they got scarce. I like walnut grips and found these at Numrich but still have the originals in great shape. I have shot reloads and factory ammo in this medium frame gun but was told not to shoot any older rifle only factory cartridges in it. The boxes of modern Winchester ammo I have all say for rifle or handgun cartridges. I hope to one day get a Ruger Single Action in 32 H&R Magnum. IMG_E2371.JPG
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2022
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  9. jski

    jski Member

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    It would be nice if S&W would offer these two 32 H&R J-frames again:
    32S&W.jpg
    32.jpg
    Scandium frame and titanium cylinder and stainless steel barrel.
     
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  10. Old Hobo

    Old Hobo Member

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    Had one of these S&W 32 Safety Hammerless Model. Bought it because it was just too cute. When out firing my .32 long Hand Ejector this past weekend, I fired some .32 shorts through it and they were so much fun to fire. They won't go through a 2"x4", nevertheless they are more than just a little "popgun". Lord knows I'd not want to get hit with one.
     
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  11. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Getting any ammo on a sale for a lower than normal price is worth doing, especially when it's in a caliber you can shoot. I rarely buy .25, but there have been times where I've thrown it into an online order and it cost me $11 a box. If I could get .32 ACP for $10 now and didn't have the .32 Autos I have, I would shoot it from whichever revolvers I have it shoots best from.

    That situation aside, if I'm paying full price for ammo or reloading it, I'm not going to bother with .32 ACP in a revolver. What I've noticed with the .32 ACP from a revolver in .32 Mag or .327 is the velocity is seriously low to the point it would be less powerful than a .22 LR. Accuracy was fine, but velocity was under 500 fps because the long chamber allows a lot of gas to blow by the bullet before it reaches the throat and there's also an issue in some revolvers that the .32 ACP case will be blown back against the recoil shield because the rim is thinner than proper .32 revolver brass. That causes more pressure loss and can cause the primer to wedge onto the firing pin locking up the cylinder.

    It's a lot of wasted energy and is akin to shooting .22 LR in a .22 Mag chamber, but it can be done and done safely.

    So, it's less a loss of accuracy problem for me and more a this is a waste of good ammo. It was fun to do and see what worked when I got my .32's and every new to me .32 revolver I get that has magnum in the name I do test to see how well .32 ACP shoots from it as it does seem that every revolver will shoot .32 ACP differently.

    I agree with you tho that shorter cases in a revolver do not mean loss of accuracy, I'm finding .45 Schofield to out shoot .45 Colt frequently and always shoot as well as .45 Colt does.
     
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  12. jski

    jski Member

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    Have you tried?
     
  13. Old Hobo

    Old Hobo Member

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    Have I tried what?

    I tried shooting through a 2"x4"? Yes. They won't go through (round nose lead). We're talking soft pine / non-treated 2"x4".

    A regular target "mid-range" wadcutter .32 long won't go through the plank either; however, I had a round splinter the far side of the 2"x4". The latter does make me fear the little cartridge. We're talking a broken rib and a lot of bleeding.
    .
     
  14. jski

    jski Member

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    Well, I was shooting 100 gr XTP bullets on top of 11 gr of H110 getting 1200+ FPS with my 32 H&R Blackhawk. I think they'll go thru your 2X4 and will do more than crack a rib.
     
  15. rdinga

    rdinga Member

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    Years ago when .22 LR was hard to find, I was loading .32 wadcutters cheaper than than rimfire.

    Been through several S&W J frames and find them easy to load for.
     
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  16. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    One of the appeals for .32 for me was I felt it was the best centerfire alternative for .22 given it was a small caliber that didn't use much lead and was much easier to reload than .25 is.

    Now we're in year 3 of primer shortages and I'm shooting more .22 than ever.
     
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