Why 32 h&r?

Styx

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Dec 11, 2014
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What's so special about 32hr? I've just watched a few YouTube ballistics and barrier penetration test, and I looked up Lucky Gunner's ammo testing. I wasn't impressed at all and I don't understand why anyone would choose a 32hr over a 38 special especially being that ammo availability and selection with 38 special is more plentiful. It doesn't seem like it makes sense for self-defense or plinking purposes over 38 special.

I don't understand the hype over the new S&W uc 32h&r offering. Is this a case of people just wanting it because it's new or the grass is greener on the other side? Heck, on AmmoSeek.com, the cheapest ammo I see is over $1 per round! It doesn't make sense.
 
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There's a SW j frame we have at work with a 3" barrel (I think, might be 4?). There were cases, powder, primers and we have a furnace and lead. For me, there was no cost.

It's more than a .22. For me it was more fun than a .22. Little more oomph, very pleasant. One of those things where you put a cylinder full through it and thought "I gotta get one"

edit to add- I think ours is a .32 S&W long.
 
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There's a SW j frame we have at work with a 3" barrel (I think, might be 4?). There were cases, powder, primers and we have a furnace and lead. For me, there was no cost.

It's more than a .22. For me it was more fun than a .22. Little more oomph, very pleasant. One of those things where you put a cylinder full through it and thought "I gotta get one"
I almost made up my mind to get one until I seen the ballistics and ammo cost and availability. I reckon it makes sense if you are reloading it.
 
I had a .32 H&R in a Ruger Single Six. I looked on it as a centerfire .22, light recoil, not so much blast, in a small Single Action frame with six shots. Cute, small little Single Action revolver in the manner of the Colt 1849 Pocket Model. Yet it could zing out a pretty snappy pace for small game where allowed. And this was before the introduction of such as the .327 line.

And, at the time, wildcatters were praising the little .25 centerfire wildcats.

And remember there is that class of shooters who are not fazed by the gee-whiz .475s and .500s.

Bob Wright
 
Often get one more round in a cylinder over a .38 in the same frame size. Six 32's in a j frame vs five 38's.

It is currently a handloader's round in my mind. Can load it cheaply as well as hotter if you have a modern revolver to get more power out of it.

Like most revolver rounds it is rather versatile as you can go mild to pretty hot with it, as well as (sometimes) run 32acp in it or 32 Long.

I like it as a small game gun with wadcutters in it.

32 Long was the international competition round for decades (may still be) so it has a lot of accuracy potential.
 
It was the logical extension of .32 in revolvers after .32 S&W Long/.32 Colt New Police, and after .327 was introduced, it was a nice stepping stone in getting new shooters acclimated to higher power cartridges. A friend of mine has an SP101 in .327, and had .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long for his Nagant revolver, and bought some .32 H&R Mag. We shot all 4 in the SP101, as well as his wife trying them, as it was an easy way to get her into shooting the .327. (He had ostensibly bought it for a nightstand gun for her)
.32 S&W: Pop
.32S&W L: mild
.32 H&R Mag: there's some oomph there.
.327 Fed. Mag. : that's a handful!
She settled on H&R loads, then decided a Glock 19 suited her better. Which worked out fine, his bedside gun is a Glock 17.
 
This is an excellent question and this is my ultra long answer.

In my mind .32 h&r magnum is the top of the pile of pocket carry calibers, and .38spc is the bottom of the pile of open carry. So the calculation I am really making is .32 h&r mag./.327 fed. mag. vs .38 spc/.357 mag.

From my perspective the .32 h&r mag./.327 fed. mag. combination gets you the best pocket pistol caliber and a solid open carry caliber, while the .38 spc/.357 mag gets you a open carry caliber forced into a pocket carry capacity and an open carry caliber that is best in a carry weight range that I dont want to mess with while backpacking which is what I do most while open carrying.

For this discussion I consider pocket carry calibers to be .22lr, .22 wmr, .25 acp, .32 acp, and .380 acp. .32 h&r magnum is superior to all of those.

For my own personal situation I feel that a pocket pistol revolver is superior to a pocket pistol autoloader. So the cheap cost and easy avaliablity of .380 does not out weigh the other factors of pocket autoloaders I have already decided against.

Along the same line of thought if I am going to have a open carry pistol I have already concluded that .327 federal magnum is the caliber for me. I hike/backpack/walk around the property a lot in non brown bear territory.
Coywolves and coyotes are my biggest worry. I dont need .357 magnum or greater level of performance, and I dont need to upset my hiking companions sensibilities with a 10mm autoloader on my hip. Revolvers are just more socially acceptable even out in the middle of the woods away from society.

Which is why I am very excited for the Taurus 3 inch 327 Defender T.O.R.O, as well as the new S&W .32 h&r frame. It will be that little bit better of an open carry than my Taurus. 327 2", or my ruger gp 100 in .327, while still weighing roughly the same (24ish ounces) that the 2" model does. In this weight window it provides better performance and sight picture without having to ramp up to my full size gp100 327's which weighs 39 ounces which is a heck of a difference when backpacking.

This leaves the only issue as cost. Lipsey has mentioned working with ammo partners to get some new .32 h&r ammo on the shelves in configurations specifically tailored for this new S&W j-frame. This will help a bit, as will increasing awareness and interest in the caliber. Reloading mitigates some of that as well, and if you are a heavy shooter of anything aside from 9mm, .22lr and .380 acp you should probably get in to anyway.

In addition for me personally during the height of the pandemic when all the regular pistol calibers were unavailable I was able to get thousands of rounds of .32 long, .32 h&r magnum, and .327 federal magnum from a LGS for $.20-.36 a round. This meant that for the foreseeable future for me, cost is not an issue and I have lots of brass for reloading when I start it up.

Tldr: Fundamentally I think people pocket carrying .38spc, 9mm, 40s&w, .44 spc, 10mm, .45acp, and .357 mag. and other such calibers are forcing them into platforms that they do not excel in because people dont know that better options could exist. Luckily .32 h&r mag. is the better option, it does exist, and it looks like thanks to the internet it might finally be getting its chance to shine.
 
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I think it will make an easily viable J frame or LCR for women particularly. The size of the gun is appealing and with the lesser oomp loads, easier to shoot and 6 shoots. That's 2 shots for 3 people, better than the math on 5 rounds. As far as ammo, with new guns from SW, Ruger, Taurus - you can probably bet that major ammo companies were in on it, along with some of the boutique firms for things like SW 32 Long or 32 HR mag wadcutters.
 
What's so special about 32hr? I've just watched a few YouTube ballistics and barrier penetration test, and I looked up Lucky Gunner's ammo testing. I wasn't impressed at all and I don't understand why anyone would choose a 32hr over a 38 special especially being that ammo availability and selection with 38 special is more plentiful. It doesn't seem like it makes sense for self-defense or plinking purposes over 38 special.

I don't understand the hype over the new S&W uc 32h&r offering. Is this a case of people just wanting it because it's new or the grass is greener on the other side? Heck, on AmmoSeek.com, the cheapest ammo I see is over $1 per round! It doesn't make sense.
I prefer 32S&W Long over 38 S&W Special based on increased accuracy and repeatability with similar penetration but see no advantage to either H&R or Magnum 32. I will always give up power for better control, accuracy and faster return to POA.

Plus I already have a surfeit of 32S&W revolvers.
 
.32 HR is the perfect cartridge for lightweight snub revolvers. The bullet achieves adequate penetration and expansion with substantially less recoil than .38 Spl.

Snub revolvers, especially lightweight snubs, are in the midst of a comeback as folks begin to take a deeper look into the circumstances of private citizen DGU incidents and how they're most likely to use a CCW gun in defense, and match that knowledge with a gun that better fills the need.
 
As noted by others, the .32 Mag makes a nifty outdoors / small game cartridge. But my .32 Mag has a 5.5” barrel, and the Blackhawk in .327 Fed is really oversized for the cartridge.

The J-frame snubby would fall into the “neat to have” category, but not something I’m going out of my way to get.
 
Well, since the OP asked.

I fell DOWN to the 32 H&R from the .327FM. I once read somewhere that the .327FM was an answer to a question that was never asked by .357mag owners. If that's true then I guess one could say that the .32 H&R was a thought that was never 'thunk' by them. For me it wasn't so much the caliber (although it has some upsides) as the guns it came in.

This picture encapsulates my journey DOWN to the .32 caliber. I've always been enamored by FAST cartridges in handguns starting with the .30 cal carbine.

yydbc0P.jpg


Right to left:

1: Ruger Blackhawk convertible in .45 Colt/.45 ACP. Back in the 90's I read an article on the BH in .30 carbine and was dead set on getting one. Walked into my LGS with that mindset and after about 45 minutes walked out with the gun in the pic. Darn happy I did as it set me on a path of appreciation for the .45 Colt that hasn't waned.

2: Ruger GP100/.327FM. Got busy with life (wasn't reading gun mags and keeping up with the new offerings/calibers) and forgot about the .30 carbine until one day in the mid 2000's I stumbled onto something in print or the internet about the .327FM. That reignited my interest in the fast handgun round concept. Went looking for months and finally found this one.

Problem then was as it is now...factory ammo selection is scarce and expensive. So, since I was already reloading I invested in the components and started to reload for it.

3: Ruger SP101 in .327FM. This was purchased only 2-3 months after the GP100 at the same LGS. Was traded in because the owner didn't like factory ammo prices or availability. After shooting it I decided I'd like to try .32 H&R Mag in it....bought some factory ammo, liked shooting it and the rest is history...although .327FM dies will work on the .32 H&R brass I didn't want to constantly be adjusting the dies and bought another set.

4: Ruger Single 6 in .32 H&R Mag. I have these reversed in order, it should be the white handled one first. I believe I've mentioned this before on THR but will recap. Was in my boss's office at the end of the workday (Prior Marine Led Sled Combat Aviator in Vietnam) discussing issues that came up. He was thumbing through a gun annual and said he was going to purchase himself a retirement gift (M1A). He and I talked guns occasionally and asked what I would buy for myself if I retired. Looked through catalog and picked out the Ruger Single Six in .32 cal. Tossed back the mag and never thought anything more of it. I'm paraphrasing somewhat....At his retirement ceremony he said the organization has it all wrong. Instead of us giving gifts to the retiree the retiree should be giving them to the people who helped get them to this point of their career/life. Called me up on stage and said I was the last of his 6 Sq SNCO's standing. As such he was presenting the gift for what we contributed to his career to me. Handed me a gift-wrapped box. Told me to open it when I got home. Got home and in it was that Single 6.

5: Black grip Ruger Single Six in 32 H&R: Bought at Priest River, ID gun show held in a school auditorium around 2006 (?). Decided I couldn't put routine wear and tear on the one above.

6: Ruger Bisely Single Six in .32H&R: Bought a few months ago. First gun I've ever bought at a pawn shop.

Long way to get here... the single sixes are just a hoot to shoot in this caliber and don't even get me going on the Henry rifle. The SP101 .327FM is wearing pink grips because it's probably going to be my wife's CCW in a little while (loaded with .32 H&R Mag). I'm in the process of working up some practice loads for her to try out.
 
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What's so special about 32hr? I've just watched a few YouTube ballistics and barrier penetration test, and I looked up Lucky Gunner's ammo testing. I wasn't impressed at all and I don't understand why anyone would choose a 32hr over a 38 special especially being that ammo availability and selection with 38 special is more plentiful. It doesn't seem like it makes sense for self-defense or plinking purposes over 38 special.

I don't understand the hype over the new S&W uc 32h&r offering. Is this a case of people just wanting it because it's new or the grass is greener on the other side? Heck, on AmmoSeek.com, the cheapest ammo I see is over $1 per round! It doesn't make sense.

I can tell you how I got sucked in.

At a certain point in time, I had a Taurus 85UL 5-shot in .38 Special and I still have a Remington RM380 6+1 in .380 ACP. 7-shots is better than 5, right?

Well, my RM380 would occasionally pop the magazine off the mag catch while in my pocket holster. Which would turn that 7 shooter into a 1 shooter.

I was looking for something more trustworthy than the RM, yet had more ammo capacity than the 85UL. Right in between 5 shots and 7 shots is 6 shots, and the .32 magnum can be fairly comparable in power to a .380. Lo and behold my quest for a 6-shot .32 magnum for a small "pocket" carry gun.

At this point I have a Charter Arms Undercoverette that points oh so naturally for me, probably due to my neanderthal upbringing on revolvers.

My wife has a Ruger LCRx 327, but shoots nothing stronger than .32 magnum out of it. The LCR has a smooth trigger pull and the recoil is something she can manage.

And now S&W has rejoined the party. If I see one of those 6-shot J-frames in a gun shop, I won't be able to resist.
 
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It has less recoil than .38 does and that makes a major difference when shooting from a snub, the extra round is a plus.

The unrealized gain from a .32 is you could make a 5 shot on an even smaller frame. Imagine your favorite snub that you carry, you know how wonderful it is to carry? Imagine it being even more pleasant to carry, and light.

Nobody is making a 5 shot 10oz .32 revolver, hence why it's unrealized, but maybe someday.

As to performance compared to .38, both calibers can struggle with hollow points from a short barrel, but the .32 Mag can achieve higher velocities and with proper bullet construction overcome that issue.

Can .38 have low recoil? Sure, but ballistically those loads suck. The .32 Mag has the low recoil and the performance all in one.

ETA: and as far as price goes, during good times .32 Long wadcutters will be about $2 more a box than the cheapest .38 is, so while you won't be shooting full power .32 Mag, you'll have an accurate target load that's very low recoil and is able to meet FBU penetration specs.
 
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