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S&W 1903 .32 Hand Ejector Range Report

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Michael Tinker Pearce, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    181
    So, just before Christmas we came across a S&W I-frame .32 for $125. It was cosmetically pretty rough and there's some pitting in the bore, but for the price why not?
    [​IMG]

    So I detail stripped it, cleaned a century of accumulated gunk out of the action and refinished it with Van's Instant Blue. Since I have big hands I made a grip-adapter to improve the gun's handling.
    [​IMG]
    Looks pretty good, and cleaning out the mechanism improved the already good trigger. But I still hadn't had a chance to shoot it until today. I was able to get a box of Magtech .32 S&W Long for about $25 from Surplus Ammo and Arms In Tacoma, WA. These fire a 93-grain LRN bullet at about 750 fps. A couple blocks up the street from there is the Bullseye indoor shooting range, and tuesdays lanes are $3 for active duty military and veterans.

    Previously I had a 'Victory' M&P in .38 S&W. It had similar pitting in the bore and had issues with accuracy and key-holing, and I was worried this .32 might have the same issue. No such problem fortunately.

    I ran a couple of casual cylinders at seven yards just to get to know the gun, then settled down to see what kind of precision I could wring out of the gun. I fired single-action and took care, but the results were disappointing- the gun shot to point-of-aim but produced a 3" group at 7 yards. Next I tried a group double-action, again taking my time. Another 3" group. Huh. OK, time to put some wheels on it. Six rounds rapid-fire. Guess what? 3-inch group.

    OK, that's kind of weird. I suspect I need more rounds through the gun before I can really find out what it can do. So aside from the Operator Headspace and Timing issues how is it to shoot? In a word- sweet. The trigger pull is excellent, everything locks up tight and recoil is light. I'm looking forward to shooting this little gun more.

    Future plans- looking into picking up a Wondersight- a vintage bolt-on adjustable sight or old S&Ws. Also planning a pair of custom stag grips; this one is a keeper.
     
    cal44mag and Dave Markowitz like this.
  2. eastbank

    eastbank Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    2,561
    i bought the top revolver at a auction and as some one put adjustable sights on it i got it at a good price. it shoots like a dream, 3" groups at 25 yards are the norm. the colt .32 does not shot quite as good. eastbank. Picture 798.jpg
     
  3. cal44mag

    cal44mag Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    Northern California
    Nice 32 OP

    This is my updated version of the 32 hand ejector. From the model number era.

    Model 31-1.

    This snub in good for 3" groups at 10 yards.

    You might try some target wadcutters in yours. They seem a bit more accurate. There are several companies that make them, but most likely you will have to order on-line.

    I really like the looks of those 32 acp Colts too.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  4. Blacksmoke

    Blacksmoke Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Location:
    North central New Mexico
    Nice resurrection, OP!
     
  5. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    570
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    MagTech was never my first choice for 32 Long, nor was RNL, actually. I like wadcutters better, by Federal (although they are probably priced to the moon now) or Fiocchi. That German brand, RWS, I think, also made a good wadcutter load with very high quality brass, but try finding any now. Fiocchi makes a round-nose FMJ load I had good results with years ago, but I haven't fired any lately.

    That J-frame 32 Smith with adjustable sights is a very lucky find, eastbank. You are to be envied.
     
    Michael Tinker Pearce likes this.
  6. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    181
    Unfortunately Magtech was the only thing available. With any luck I'll be loading my own this spring; interested in a 100 gr. Semi-wadcutter. After the first shot I was wondering when Magtech started loading black-powder...
     
    Merle1 likes this.

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