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Gunblast Reviews the S&W 431PD/432PD and .32 H&R Mag Ammo

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by P. Plainsman, Dec 6, 2005.

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  1. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    Very timely review by Bill Bell. I was just about to email the Quinns and request a test of the little .32 H&R Magnum Airweight J-frames. Voila. The article includes chrono testing on several different defense loads.

    http://gunblast.com/WBell_SW32s.htm

    A few highlights:

    * Black Hills 85 grain JHP: 870 fps from the snubbies, yielding 143 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. A little light (that's vanilla .380 territory), but Bell reported perfect expansion in water from the round's Hornady .32 XTP bullet.

    * MagSafe 50 gr "Defender" frangible: explosive fragmentation, low penetration, 1151 fps.

    * The scarce, in-and-out-of-print, 100 gr Georgia Arms .32 Mag JHP is indeed a bad little mother. Bell chronoed it at 1002 fps from the 1 7/8" Smith barrel -- that's listed as 270 ft/lbs of energy [EDIT: Might be 223 ft/lbs instead, see other posters' comments below.]. Bell got good penetration from the GAs with significant fragmentation. A 13.5 oz 432PD loaded with six of those rounds would be stiff competition for any lightweight .380 ACP pocket pistol.

    Now I'd like to see snubby chrono tests for the 85 gr JHP that Georgia Arms is currently selling.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
  2. Rob1035

    Rob1035 Member

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    Slightly off topic: how does .32 compare to .38/357 loads? It seems that they (the .32) are "weak" compared to other calibers (my uneducated observation), if that is the case, what is the draw of the cartridge?
     
  3. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    You can fit six .32s in a small light revolver like the 432PD that would hold only five .38s. Also, .32 Mag tends to be milder in recoil than .38s (let alone .357s!). It's a trade-off, and I do lean toward the five-shot .38 for my own pocket carry.

    That 100 gr GA round shows that the .32 Mag can be loaded to the energy levels of a fairly warm .38 Special, and the recoil is still no big deal.

    It's also a very accurate, fun round for sporting purposes -- of course, you need a longer-barreled .32 revolver for that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
  4. Rob1035

    Rob1035 Member

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    great, thats the kind of info I didnt know and now I do:cool:
     
  5. SnubbyMan

    SnubbyMan Member

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    I have the 332, discontinued awhile back. It is a nice 6-shot alternative to the .38 snubby.
     
  6. Bob79

    Bob79 Member

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    Wow this is cool. If the 100 grain went just over 1000FPS, then I guess it would be a pretty safe assumption that the 85 grain ammo travels at least a little faster?

    Good post!

    Edited to Add:

    I just did the math on their posting of the 100 grain GA round at 1002 FPS (velocity x velocity x mass/450,200) and I get 223 Ft lbs of energy. The ft lbs of energy they listed was comparable with Speer's new 135 gr .357 short barrell ammo, I knew it didn't look quite right. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this.
     
  7. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

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    The folks at Georgia Arms have told THR members that the company's .32 H&R Mag. 85 gr JHP round moves faster than the 100 grain version.

    Their 100 gr round lists 1100 fps on the label and, as we've seen, clocks around 1000 fps from a snub. The label for the GA 85 gr rounds lists 1150 fps, if I recall. So it seems reasonable to hope for c. 1050 fps from the 85 grainers in a snubby barrel.

    Moreover, Georgia Arms uses the same 85 gr Hornady JHP bullet for its .32 Magnum defense round that Black Hills does. Bell reported "perfec[t]" expansion from the Black Hills JHP ammo, which operates at a milder 870 fps, so we might expect good hollowpoint performance from the 85 gr Georgia Arms round too.

    I'm a S&W 642 fan; I prefer the wider, heavier .38 bullets to stop a deadly assault. But the above data makes the 431PD or 432PD not a bad proposition for a reliable, six-shot BUG or pocket gun that weighs around 15 oz fully loaded.

    EDIT TO ADD: Thanks for checking the math behind Bell's published figures, Bob79. I have edited my initial post. 223 ft/lbs is still well into .38 Special territory.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
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