My final word on firing .32acp in .32 revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Gordon, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I now know that .32 acp is a 21K PSI cartridge as is the .32 H&R Mag, and the .32 S&W Long is a 14K psi round. I did fire some .32 acp in my S&W 30-1 3" .32 S&W years back as an experiment and it worked , but only a cylinder full. Luckily I never did it in an older top break !I been reading about people doing so in modern .32 Magnum small frame pistols with some misfires ect. and problems from the .010" excessive head space such use MAY create . I decided to do so in both my stout Ruger Single six .32 H&R mag and my new purchased NEF R73 5 shot .32 H&R mag . I wont do it in my older H&R 732 .32S&W which is six shot and with a much slimer frame than the newer R73 ! The R73 is beefy and has a flat chamber entrance that supports the slightly narrower .32 acp rim very well:
    pix285676103.jpg
    Ithe single six cylinder some what more head space and does not support the rim as well, but still does fire with .32acp and of course there is no extractor issues. The rim on the R73 around the cylinder would certainly be nice IF a primer backed out or ruptured on the ,32 acp. but I doubt that is an issue.
    The single six is a little harder to load with the shorter cartridge , compared to the longer revolver cartridges , but the massive single action hammer did fire them all very well , and the rod ejected them ok with careful positioning. I probably will not be using them in the 9" barrel Single six but can, they were not as accurate as my handloads of .32S&W in it.
    rugerhandguncock.jpg
    I used a couple different foreign and American brands for the testing but only a couple cylinders full each as I do no reload .32acp - yet, but I have 600 of them from various makers . I only have a Walther PP .32acp remaining, gave my Keltec .32 to a daughter last year, that's why the test. That and the .32 Silver tip 60 grain open up real well in the Walther PP which has similar barrel length to my R73.
    My NEF R73 gobbled the .32acp up like they were made for it and gave good accuracy hitting just a little higher than my .warm .32 S&W long hand loads. I got 950+- FPS at 10" from the muzzle with the Winchester 60 grain silvertips out of it. Negligible recoil ! The gun is beefy ! pix769954824.jpg
    pix285676103.jpg
    The large hammer and the heavy springs reall smack those .32acp hard . I think that is the problem with firing .32acp in the newer small frame revolvers; the hammers are lighter weight, the springs are weaker and the tolerances are tighter in chambers and headspace and the extractor stars are smaller in contact area to the rims. Currently keeping the NEF73 loaded with the Winchester 60 grain Silvertips I have on hand and I have a nice little leather Lawrence pouch type holster with a Sloan type hammer shroud that goes on a 1 1/2" belt for around the property uses , my 12 year old grand son has claimed it when his dad thinks he is old enough to carry it around their remote property. :) By then I'll load up some 115 grain wad cutters in the large amount of .32 S&W long cases I have. I have been unable to get the .32 mag ammo so far in last year.
    Go ahead and fire the .32 ACP in Ruger single actions and the NEF R73 .32 H&R mag ! certainly safe IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
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  2. jar

    jar Member

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    I did test out 32acp from my H&R 732 but only once and only every other round. It did work but POI was higher than the 32 S&W long and time to return to POA was slightly longer so I gave up on the idea.
     
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  3. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I'm a sucker for .32 ACP. If I came across a 6-shot revolver that was proven to shoot it reliably, I'd probably snap it up.:cool:
     
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  4. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    What a coincidence. Some years back I had some WWB 32acp ammo to use up, and and a few 32 magnum revolvers to try it out with.


    I used a Ruger SP101 in 327, a CA Undercoverette in 32 H&R, (coincidentally) a Single Six in 32 H&R & two different NEF R73's. There was also some other one I don't have anymore.

    I tried at least a few cylinders per revolver, probably of at least a couple of different kinds of ammo.

    Some of the revolvers banged off a few cylinders NP and were afterwards the ones I used up the rest of the WWB with.

    Some of them would fire 32acp sometimes, like a cylinder or two of one ammo but not another, or have one or more misfires per cylinder on a regular basis.

    One or two wouldn't fire off 32acp at all.

    Since then I've sometimes fired 32acp ammo out of the revolvers that shoot it well.

    IIRC, the accuracy in group size is pretty similar to the 32 S&W long I normally shoot out of them.

    I don't recall for sure if the POI is different or not. I'm tempted to say yes, but it's been many naps ago since I tried it.

    Like the OP, I recall the Single Six as being one of the ones that would shoot 32acp NP.

    And oddly enough, one of my two R73's would shoot 32acp just fine, and one would misfire on it a lot.

    Like the OP, I would never try to use 32acp in a 32 S&W long revolver. 32acp is a considerably higher pressure round.


     
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  5. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

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    I really wish their were more modern pistol available in 32 of any flavor!

    Great tests, and really jealous!

    Lefty
     
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  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Amen to that.
     
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  7. Ohen Cepel
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    Ohen Cepel Contributing Member

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    Another .32 fan here! Wish the Charter Arms Pro had correct sights on it but that horse has been beaten I think.

    I also tried .32acps in my .327's. Mixed results, would need to find my notes. One did OK with them, the other had spotty ignition. I think it was the Single Seven that didn't like them which may be due to the lack of the extractor star to hold them up high enough. However, that is a guess from spotty memory.

    I'll just stick with 32Longs unless times get really tough, but is good to know your options.
     
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  8. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    My Taurus M731 shoots the .32 ACP reliably . I have plenty of .32 H&R and plenty of .32 S&W Long. I keep the .32 ACP around for a back up, but will be unlikely to ever need them. I have perhaps 300 to 400 rounds of .32 S&W for my top breaks and will keep them for that usage. All my .32 S&W Long chambered guns are early so will never shoot the .32 ACP ammunition in them. (M1896 & M1903's)
     
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  9. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I would not waste shooting 32ACP in revolvers when I have 32 ACP pistols like my Colt 1903 or my Wather PP and PPK/s.

    But, since I reload, I’m not limited by what is available at the local gun emporium under normal component supply inventories.
     
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  10. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    My experiences have been Ruger .327's don't like the .32 ACP and that .32 Magnums shoot them fine. I don't have much need to keep shooting them tho, better (and easier) for me to load up some .32 S&W Long and shoot them instead.
     
  11. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I once handled a Clerke 1st .32S&W (short only) revolver that someone had fired with .32ACP.
    I could read the headstamp of the .32ACP cartridge impressed into the breechface of the revolver's cast zinc frame.

    Some .32 revolvers should not be fired with .32 automatic cartridges. It's not that I am totally chicken or consumed by common sense. I have locked the bolt of my M1 Carbine open, slipped the rim of a .32ACP under the extractor, eased the bolt closed keeping the cartridge aligned with the chamber, and successfully fired .32ACP. It was minute of rabbit to 25yd accuracy and very very quiet. The fired casings were bulged quite a bit (.30 Carbine is tapered case, .32ACP is straightwall.)

    Even in a modern steel frame .32 magnum revolver I would use. 32ACP as a substitute of last resort.
    .32ACP semi-rim is not as thick as the rim of .32S&W Long cartridge I retained as a momento of my old Iver Johnson revolver. I feel I would be creating an excess headspace condition shooting .32ACP in a revolver.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  12. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I have both 327 and 32acp guns, but when I looked at the relative differences in length between the two cartridges I decided I'd just let the knowledge that I could *probably* fire 32acp in my 327 remain theoretical. Nice to know in case I somehow managed to go out the door with the 327 but only 32acp ammo and just had to shoot it for some reason.

    In one of his YouTube videos Buffalo Outdoors tried just about every 32 pistol cartridge there is in the Henry 327 Magnum lever action. 327 Magnum, 32 H&R Magnum, and 32 S&W Long all fed through the magazine and fired without problem. 32 S&W Short had to be single fed, but it fired as well. He even managed to single feed 32acp and fired it too. I suppose if you just had to it would bag you a rabbit or some such. One of the things that decided me in favor of buying one.
     
  13. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Dont forget you can damage firing pin bushings by doing this as the smaller ACP rim will try to piston it back into the frame......

    I would only attempt it in a zombie apocalypse scenario. :)
     
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  14. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Interesting. There would seem to be a number of factors involved besides the rim diameter , could you expand on this a bit more ? I am thinking along the lines of primer diameter at the FP bushing, cartridge pressure, actual surface difference of the rear of the cartridge, and those sort of factors. Just a guess, but I don't think anyone would be using the .32 ACP in their revolvers on a regular bases, but also the question, of at what point do you think a concern would apply ? (round count)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  15. jstert

    jstert Member

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    when i added a 327mag barrel to my bond arms derringer, i asked b.a. about shooting 32acp. b.a.’s reply was an emphatic no, without further explanation, which struck me as odd given b.a. derringer’s robust build.
     
  16. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    A manufacturer is never going to recommend/bless anything outside of labeling in America’s litigious society.
     
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  17. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    My first time shooting a 32 Long revolver was when my dad gave me all his guns and one of them was a 4" barreled model 31-1. I didn't have any 32 long ammo and had been told you could shoot 32 ACP out of a 32 long gun so I did. And it went off. Made a nice "Bang" noise. Did it everytime too. But I could barely hit the creek bank 25 foot away.

    When I started measuring I found the S&W had a .313 bore and .314 throats. Perfect for .314 lead 32 long loads the gun was designed for but a waste of ammo when you fired 32acp loads with .311 bullets. so next gunshow I bought 32 long brass and found some .314 lead bullets and borrowed my uncles dies.

    You wouldn't believe how well a gun shoots when you shoot the ammo it was designed for. So never again will I waste 32acp ammo in a 32 caliber revolver. Why some folks want to shoot ammo their guns that it was not made to shoot baffles me. If you are shooting 32acp in a 32 caliber revolver because its the end of the world and its all you could find then you planned poorly. Just my thoughts.
     
  18. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I can't think of any time in American history when a manufacturer would have said something like firing 32 ACP in a 32 Long revolver was OK. Using ammunition that kinda-sorta fits is a great way for a revolver to get a reputation as unreliable, inaccurate, and possibly dangerous. Even very old revolver instructions I have seen have been very specific about what ammo should be used in the gun, and in saying to use nothing else. And the word of mouth advice I have heard has always been "Yeah, you can do it if you want to, and you'll probably get away with it, but it's not a good thing to do".

    Lawyers can sue for a lot of stupid reasons, and make lots of stupid arguments. But I don't agree with blaming them for things like this. This is a bad idea to start with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  19. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    If you want to learn a lot more about the history of the 32 caliber revolvers try to find a copy of the article written by Gil Sengal for Reloader Magazine many years ago. I have that issue up in my attic and that article has been read the most of all that ever appeared in the Rifle/Handloader series. I have read mine so much its getting pretty worn. I guess I should scan it and save it to a file to save wear and tear on the magazine.

    And Colt did make revolvers and ammunition that would shoot in different guns. Their favorite trick was to load cases with hollow base bullets so the bases would expand to fit Colt and some of the European made 32 caliber revolvers. And it gave OK accuracy that was good enough for close range SD uses. S&W on the other hand was making guns and ammo that were a proper fit to the barrel and cylinder just like they had been doing with their target 44 caliber revolvers.

    They made cylinders with a step in then to accommodate the inside lubed bullets while Colt was using bored through cylinders and hollow based bullets to seal the loose fit in their guns firing their inside lubed bullets.
     
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  20. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Given the skimpy rim on 32 ACP I would not be surprised if some .32 revolvers or derringers were a sloppy fit (like creating an excess headspace situation) and gave light firing pin strikes.
     
  21. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Hmmm. People in this thread probably already thought of this, but euro .32 ACP* has a slightly thicker rim than USA made .32 ACP.

    I had to deal with this situation with a chamber adapter for a rifle some time ago, because the bolt wouldn't close on the euro ammo until I increased the rim depth in the adapter.

    Would that thicker euro rim help with any light strike issues in a revolver? I wonder.

    *7.65 Browning to be more specific
     
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  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never been tempted to fire .32 ACP in a .32 Long revolver.
     
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