Best .32 S&W Long for Defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by HGM22, Jan 14, 2016.

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  1. HGM22

    HGM22 Member

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    Anyone have any recommendations? Not looking at carrying a .32 or even having one for backup, but just kind of curious what round is best in this sub-optimal caliber. LRN for deeper penetration, wadcutter or SWC for crushing, or go with hollowpoints? Does anyone make a FMJ in this caliber? I was kind of thinking the hollowpoints and FMJ/LRN in a 3:3 mix makes sense (same weight), as the hollowpoint will cause the most tissue destruction and the FMJ/LRN will cause the most penetration.

    Also, if anyone has any info. on gel tests for this caliber I'd be interested.
     
  2. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I use a lead round nose but always purchase my defensive ammo. It is my understanding that a hollow point requires velocity to expand effectively, so it might not be much advantage in the 32 SWL, which might explain the dearth of ammo like that.
     
  3. lincen

    lincen Member

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    Fiocchi makes a FMJ in 32 S&W long. You can find at Military Shooters. I think Buffalo Bore makes some rounds for that caliber in hardcast wad cutter and flat nose, either one would be an improvement over stock ammo. Folks that reload say that is the best route to go.
     
  4. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Due to very limited power of this cartridge, whatever shoots closest to poa/poi, and is available, and practice to be able to hit what you aim at.
    Practice " failure to stop drill" (two shots to center of mass, one to crainial vault).
    You'll need it, guaranteed!
     
  5. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Buffalo Bore has a warm 32 Long listed in their product line.
     
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have a 32 S&W Long and it is my opinion that the best self defense load is a cartridge loaded with a powder that created a lot of blast and noise.

    That way it would confuse the attacker and allow you to run off.

    Now a 32 S&W Long fully loaded would make a better throwing weapon than one that was empty, just due to the weight of the bullets. In fact, now that I think about it, throwing a 32 S&W Long would be more deadly than shooting it.
     
  7. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Weight of the bullets is on par with the 380, but the velocity isn't however. I own two, one is an H&R Shopkeeper and the other an I-frame S&W. Both use somewhere about 2.5 grains, so powder goes a LOOOOONG way - great for plinking (and cheaper than .22) since I bought bullets way back when
     
  8. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    I'd personally say LRN. Lead bullets don't expand quite as much as a hollowpoint, but they do so at significantly lower velocities.

    While it wouldn't be my first choice, out of handgun length barrels it's still about twice as powerful as a .22LR, and people occasionally carry those.
     
  9. TimSr

    TimSr Member

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    I hear those rounds are deadly when fired from a Wrist Rocket slingshot.
     
  10. 45Frank

    45Frank Member

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    WOW LOL I used to use small ball bearings in my wrist rocket, had enough power to go thru a galvanized garbage can and pretty accurate.
    The straps on the it dry rotted over the years and the new replacements kind of stink.
     
  11. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    Fiocchi's FMJ round is a nice shooter. I've used it as an outlaw in IDPA and it was easy to shoot and accurate. Knocked down steel without problems. Haven't tried the Buffalo Bore.

    Mixing ammo type - one might argue for the most penetration. More tissue damage that isn't deep isn't that worthwhile. You need to get to major structures to stop someone physically. Meaning disrupting blood or CNS.
     
  12. lincen

    lincen Member

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    I avoided any and all 32 caliber handguns for over 40 years. BUT, as my collection grew I added a few vintage 32acp's, Colt 1903, Walther PP, and others. Then bought some old Colt and Smith 32 revolvers. Now have a couple revolvers in 327 Federal and three in 32H&R magnum. The later round is my favorite and I do carry one sometimes.

    There is a true account of a shootout in the late 1920's in WV where a man was shot by two guys with 32's. He was able to kill both of them with his more powerful 38 special. He did die later that day but was not truly "stopped" by being shot from a couple 32's.
     
  13. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    There's an account of a guy being shot full of 357 by an officer and then killing said officer with a 22 Mag.

    Hard to get much from single anecdotes. A SW 432 with 32 HR mag or a LCR with 327 is nothing to sneeze at.
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    It's all about where the bullet goes in the body. More power increases the odds of damaging something critical, but people survive .44 Mag and die from .32 ACP sometimes.

    Mindset, shot placement, luck.

    Get something that shoots straight to POA from your gun, will penetrate deeply and hope for the best. This comes from someone who has carried a .32 Long a bit and a .32 ACP a lot.
     
  15. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    32 long is weak, but it is by no means as puny as people make it out to be. It was very common in turn of the century police department issue guns. It stayed common on the market for years. It is not as powerful as 38sw, 38spl, 32acp, 380, or 9mm but it is leaps and bounds ahead of 32sw, 25acp, 22lr, and 22 short. If you look at the list of calibers often carried concealed it is right in the middle of the list. Sure there are others like 40sw and 45acp, but realistically how many of those are carried?

    For effective defense ammo, I would look to hard cast lrn bullets with a fairly hefty load of powder under it. I would only consider this on top - end guns and even then I would be picky. I wouldn't do it in a model 30 (I frame) or a topbreak, but I have no reservations about loading peppy rounds in my 30-1 (j frame). Likewise I would similarly look at colt police positive guns.
     
  16. TruthTellers

    TruthTellers member

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    I don't like hollow points in this slow, diminutive cartridge, so I recommend wadcutters. There's no need to worry about heavy clothing stopping expansion or over-penetration and a hardcast wadcutter can do some good damage to tissue and bones.

    Buffalo Bore makes a 100 grain hardcast wadcutter that allegedly hits 1100 fps. This is a good load for carry and the nice thing is that .32 Long wadcutter target ammo is quite plentiful so you can practice with the soft shooting target loads and carry the hot BB stuff.
     
  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Definitely semi-wadcutters or full wadcutters for penetration and tissue disruption. LRN or FMJ is the worst choice, regardless of chambering. A JHP needs velocity to work well and the .32S&W has very little.
     
  18. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Speer has load data for the 60gr gold dot HP that is rated for around 1000+ FPS but they don't show what barrel length. I am getting 850fps from a 30-1 with a Lee SWC 90gr bullet and a 2" barrel.

    I have no problems with a 32 long for self defense. I just made two new holsters for a couple of my 32s last night.

    Read the last paragraph. http://www.gunblast.com/WBell_SW32s.htm

    Most likely his bullets were round nose lead.
     
  19. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Semi-Wadcutters and LRN and FMJ-RN all make the same size hole. Bullet weight and velocity will make the difference, but in that range I doubt if one should expect much expansion.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Sorry but this is pure, unadulterated hogwash! The flat nose of the SWC, wadcutter or LBT style bullet makes a HUGE difference. A LRN or FMJ will just slip through flesh with little to no tissue disruption and the hole will be smaller than the bullet. A good wide meplat can make a nasty wound channel reminiscent of a JHP. The wound channel will be significantly larger than the bullet. This is well proven fact.

    Try that theory on a few hundred critters and get back to me. :rolleyes:
     
  21. 45Frank

    45Frank Member

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    You can get one of these and shoot 32H&R Mag, 32 Long and Short.
    I love mine and little kick and very comfortable.
    3_pistols_fsft_ruger_stainless_birds_head_single_six_.32_hr__74804.jpg
     
  22. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    This goes a long way on why I prefer lrn in weaker rounds. The lack of expansion and relatively low deformation mean that the bullet is penetrating more easily, therefore more deeply. With the low mass of a 32 coupled to fairly low velocity you don't have a whole lot of room for error, so if you hit a rib or anything else for that matter the bullet will likely not penetrate into the chest cavity. This is one of those areas where there is a ton of argument which sums up to a bunch of hot air, but you have a given number on energy of the round. You make the call on what to use that energy for based on what you want the bullet to do, or rather how you want to dissipate that energy. In this case you pretty much have to pick between tissue damage and penetration. I pick penetration, but there is sound reasoning for picking tissue destruction. What is really nice in larger and longer cartridges is that there is enough energy available to have a bit of both worlds. You can have expansion along with penetration, but with the 32s shorter than 32 mag you simply have to pick one in spite of the other if you want your given result to be supremely reliable.
     
  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    And yet that's exactly why .38 roundnose has been such a dismal failure as a manstopper and the military returned to the .45.
     
  24. TfflHndn

    TfflHndn Member

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  25. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Craig's on point. LRN is a terrible idea. Perhaps you've heard the .38 Special 158gr LRN called a "widowmaker"? It isn't the bad guy's wife they are talking about, it's the officer's widow.

    I'd get those Buffalo Bore wadcutters. Wadcutters actually crush tissue rather than just have it stretch around the bullet and shrink back. The BB load has respectable SD and velocity that will give you plenty of penetration.
     
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