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Why no small viable DA revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Onward Allusion, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    They need to be led more than "dictated to", which I don't believe anyone proposed. They know what they want, maybe, but probably not what they need for the application they had in mind.
     
  2. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Here is a rather contrary example - an NEF Model R73, a 3" barrel 5-shot .32 H&RM. Considerably clunkier - and heavier - than my 2 1/8" 632 Pro, a 6-shot .327Federal Magnum, shown with it:

    004-3-1.jpg

    It looks and feels like it was made in a HS shop class. Only an idiot would buy one - yeah, it's mine! It's an example of the kind of .32 H&RM that was made for the lower end of the .32 market, the S&W 631 & 632 holding down the fort on the upper quality end. None were really 'small', although the J-frame 331, 431, & 432 were better examples. Still, that cartridge, introduced in 1984, was on life support when the .327 Fed Magnum was introduced. While the newer cartridge seems to be dead, the .32 H&RM still lingers - at least in the CA Undercoverette - still not a teeny revolver.

    My wife wanted something more potent than the .25 ACP Beretta her dad had given her. She decided a .32 ACP would suffice - despite my pleas for her own 642. Several relatives and 'friends' loaned her their K-T .32's - none would fire, save one - and it stovepiped. She is a healthy 5' 10" gal - but doesn't want to 'carry' a revolver, due to their thick cylinders, so I bought her a new Seecamp .32 - 100% reliable with three ammo's. Neither of us could hit a bg torso at 7yd reliably. She finally found a belt holster gun she wants - and could shoot well - a Walther PPK/S LE (Yeah, she picked it out - fancy carving & engraving.). Post break-in (and cleaning) it is 100% reliable. Her house and car gun remain my beloved 2" 10, with which she is an unreal shooter, plinking away with my +P FBI loads. I mention her - a non-gun person - for a reason. She would never pocket carry anything larger than that .32 Seecamp - and tired of it's inaccuracy, she sold it. I don't think a teeny .32 revolver would entice her at all. A resingled gf of hers carried a .22 WMR NAA for years in her car - for 'protection'. She was shocked when it ftf at the range. Cleaned and with fresh ammo, she couldn't hit a bg target sheet at 4-5 yd. She loved my wife's 2" 10, of course... a steal for $280 new 9/03 from CDNN (A 10-11.). I wish I had bought several!

    My wife - and her gf - are typical 'non-gun' types. Their previous exposure to firearms was limited - and they would forgo caliber and effectiveness for relative size.
     
  3. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Member

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    The problem here locally is that the people that "non gun folks" would normally go to for leadership tell them emphatically that a .380 is absolute minimum and anything smaller is intolerable as it is simply not going to be effective.

    90% of the LGS counter guys will tell them that, 90% of the folks at the range shooting will tell them that, and the local range/CCL instructors will tell them that. It is "Common Wisdom" kinda like the "Law of Supply and Demand".

    So they buy/try a small Ruger LCR in .38 Special because they find them everywhere and .38 Special is the way to go for a pocket gun....they go to the range with a more knowledgeable friend and stoke that gun with whatever is on the shelf and available. They shoot 5 rounds and give up on ever learning to use a handgun for self defense.

    It's even worse here locally - they go to a CCL class and ask the instructor who tells them "minimum .380 auto or .38 Special revolver" and they rent a Ruger LCP or LCR as this is the smallest gun (it is concealable) in the minimal caliber allowed. They shoot it, it hurts and frightens them, and they are done. Lot's of them. Luckily I have friends at the local LGS and they recommend them to our support group and we save them by nurturing them and informing them and giving them more options in CCL pieces than "go big or stay home on the porch".

    I find that once we establish some credibility with many of these folks we can convert and enlighten them and help them....more than many times my Wife and I have watched a Husband/Boyfriend introducing his significant other to shooting/SD/CCL with a large caliber gun. Usually his carry piece or a similar "mans" gun. She gets knocked around and frustrated and watches my Wife hammering targets and makes eye contact. Kelly introduces her to a smaller caliber gun and gives her options and ammunition and invites her to a meeting where we discuss this stuff. More than once we have used range credit that we have paid for to allow others to shoot our guns. We supply the ammunition and targets and let them experience something they may not have been given as an option. You can't believe the number of new shooters we have saved with a 97 year old Colt 1903 and half a box of hand loads after they have been alienated by shooting a rented Springer XD-S in .45! :eek:.

    In fact, my Wife is today at the range with her G42 and one of our Colt Model M's and her Ruger LCR with a new friend who actually *has* her CCL but does not carry because she is afraid of the gun she qualified with. She won't /can't carry it and saw Kelly shooting he G42 2 weeks ago at the range. They talked for a bit as she is a petite female like my Wife.

    She has her CCL...now we'll introduce her to guns she can handle and actually carry for the day she needs it. With confidence and not fear about what the recoil will do to her. I guess I'm dragging this off topic so I'll leave this line now. I just think there needs to be more options in smaller revolvers in calibers other than .38 Special. I'd think .32 revolvers would be the ticket for many even if they had to go to 5 rounds.

    VooDoo
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Smith & Wesson's little .32 Safety hammerless (5-shot/.32 S&W) is noticeably smaller then anything proposed or illustrated so far. In terms of size, rather then design that's what I am proposing. Iver Johnson's and Harrington Richardson's made during the same time period (1905 - 1941) are about the same size, with either conventional or enclosed hammers. Most had 3" or longer barrels, but if one with a shorter length - original or converted - comes up up at a gun show or in a retailer's used gun counter they go fast, even if overpriced.

    I don't believe that anyone can make a 6-shot .32 revolver that is enough smaller then a J-frame to make a meaningful difference. With a 5-shot cylinder they could.

    Next time any of you go to a larger gun show make a point to look for and at these little guns - not because you want one, but simply to get an idea of the size.

    And maybe you shouldn't bring any ladies along... :uhoh:
     
  5. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

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    It seems like too wide of a gap between .22 cal and .32 cal as far as ammo suitable for defensive purposes. Why isn't there a centerfire handgun cartridge in the .26 - .28 caliber range? Call it a .27 Special. You could have a cylinder and frame smaller than a J-frame yet still have 5 shots in a DA revolver. Or fit 6 or 7 of them in a J-frame cylinder.

    I looked at options and ended up with the NAA Black Widow. Not ideal by any means, but it's a lot of firepower in a small package, and with regular practice, is pretty darn accurate. Carries like a dream, of course, and no wardrobe change needed.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The cartridge you propose would be entirely new and require a case and bullets that don't now exist. I don't think any manufacturer would take the risk and investment involved without a sure market.

    If the E&A (Experts & Authorities) condemn anything below .380/9mm/.38 Special, what would they have to say about a .27 Special?

    The real question here is between .380/9mm/.38 Special platforms vs. .22 RF/.22 WRM ones.

    Again notice the thread title:

     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I guess it has all been said, but just for some data points...
    I am prone to dropping a Keltec .32 (Mine works.) or an elderly S&W Model 38 Airweight Bodyguard in a pocket for casual carry. I feel no need for a pocket .380 or a dwarf .357. If I want more power, I put on a holster, as I did yesterday.

    A friend's husband considerately provided her with a small .38 revolver, I think a S&W 642, so as to not burden her pretty little head with the complexities of an automatic. She turned it in on a Ruger .380 and considers herself better off. She is now shooting IDPA with us, using a full size steel 9mm P.

    Another friend is a member of the gun of the month club and may be found with about anything. But he will always be found with his NAA .22 WMR mini-revolver, either as backup or as his "twenty foot switchblade." And he can get hits with it. He practices, though.

    Re post #109, I got out my .32 Colt auto and looked and looked. I do not know where Mrs da Vinci is finding a slide lock lever to be confused by; and my magazine catch is way down on the bottom of the butt out of the way. No other external control but the safety catch.

    Re post #102, the gunboards are not as well traveled as we would think from the volume of posts. There are relatively few of us putting up a lot of stuff. But I do sometimes hear "I saw your post on Thus&Such.com." But then I am one of the very few to post under his own name.

    To paraphrase Jeff Cooper, a tool steel Safety Hammerless would seem to be the optimum pocket revolver. S&W thought so, and kept them on the market from the 1880s til WWII. But I doubt they would find a strong market now, however updated with better materials and night sights.

    Maybe the Glock 42 is The Answer.
    It isn't a DA revolver, which may be the reason it is catching on.
    Everybody seems to like it except the experts clamoring for a Glock Single Stack 9mm.
     
  8. GEM

    GEM Member

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    Experience with 32 Mags?

    I have a 632 SS Comp'ed version. I put fiber optics on it. It's a sweetheart to shoot with SW Long for practice and easy with 32 HR Mags. It's not a pocket gun but I load it with Buffalo Bore HPs for carry (which is rare) but that should do it for most evil.

    It's J frame grip is fine for folks with small hands. I missed the 632 Pro's that Stainz has and don't want to pay the premium now.
     
  9. Swing

    Swing Member

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    I suspect there is a lot of truth to that.
     
  10. JSH1

    JSH1 Member

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    NAA made something for that purpose but not quite what you imagine. The .25 NAA is a .32 ACP necked down for a .25 ACP bullet. It didn't really take off, their 32 NAA has done better.

    I really think we need more guns between .22 LR and 380 / 38 spl. While many don't like 32's for self defense the lack of guns in these calibers leads to people carrying .22's. Manufactures market these .22's as trainers for the larger calibers but many people carry them. I'm thinking of guns like the Ruger LCR in 22, Ruger SR22, and Sig Mosquito.

    Ruger made the .32 H&R Mag version of the SP101 with a 4" or 3" barrel. They are the same size as the .38 special version but weigh a little bit more. The .327 Fed Mag version was only offered with a 3" barrel.

    I took my SP101 to the range again yesterday and fired 6 different types of ammo. There was a noticeable step up in recoil as I went from:

    1. Fiocchi .32 S&W Long (LWC)
    2. Magtech .32 S&W long (SJHP)
    3. Hornady .32 H&R Mag Critical Defense

    I loaded two each into the cylinder so I could compare. The Magtech SJHP surprised me the most. It is noticeably hotter than the other types of .32 S&W Long I have tried. (Magtech LRN, Magtech LWC, Aguila LRN, PPU LRN, and Fiocchi LWC)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  11. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Here is a solo shot of the 32 S&W Hand Ejector. A 6 shot revolver on the old I frame.

    001_zps4bc4b50a.gif

    I bought it because it looked tiny sitting in the case next to the K frames and the Detective Special. Tomorrow I will get a shot of it next to my 36-1.

    Will I carry it? That is a definite maybe. First I have to work up suitable loads for it and that reqires a new bullet mold.
     
  12. ZVP

    ZVP Member

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    you can only have the revolver so small to maintain control of an adequate cartrige
    ZVP
     
  13. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    That quote should hang above every gun sales counter and in every men's casual clothing department.
     
  14. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Whatever works for you, man, but I am thinking that you can't do that in the middle of a gunfight.
     
  15. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Having a little spare time last night I ran some numbers;

    22 Magnum;

    Speer Gold Dot 40 gr. 1150 fps 99 foot lbs

    Hornady 45 GR. Flex-Tip Expanding; 843 fps 70 foot lbs


    25 AUTO;

    American Eagle 50 gr. TMJ; 753 fps 65 foot lbs

    Winchester 45 gr. Expanding Point: 816 fps 70 foot lbs


    32 S&W:

    Magtech 85gr. LRN 680 fps 87 foot lbs


    32 LONG:

    Magtech 98gr. LRN; 705 fps 108 foot lbs



    32 AUTO;

    Cor-Bon 60 gr. JHP; 944 fps 120 foot lbs

    Federal 65 gr. Hydra-Shok 805 fps 98 foot lbs

    Winchester 60 gr.Silver Tip 787 fps 80 foot lbs



    32 MAGNUM;

    Federal 85 gr. JHP; 845 fps 135 foot lbs

    Hornady 80 gr. Critical Defense; 1150 fps 235 foot lbs


    380 AUTO:

    Buffalo Bore 90 gr. JHP +P; 1052 fps 220 foot lbs

    Cor-Bon 90 gr. JHP; 926 fps 170 foot lbs

    Winchester 85 gr.Silver Tip 813 fps 130 foot lbs


    9 x 18 MAK;

    Hornady 95 gr. JHP 831 fps 145 foot lbs


    I based my numbers out if 2" barrel as much as possible. It is clear that with the exception of the 32 Magnum there is little difference in their foot pounds. In fact the 22 Magnum compares very favorability with them.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  16. JSH1

    JSH1 Member

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    Ammo's muzzle energy can vary quite a bit even from the same manufacturer. As an example Magtech loads 3 different types of bullet for .32 S&W Long:

    LRN - 98 gr - 705 fps - 108 ft-lbf
    LWC - 98 gr - 741 fps - 119 ft-lbf
    SJHP - 98 gr - 778 fps - 132 ft-lbf​

    I have shot all of the above and can feel the difference in recoil

    When comparing the same type of ammo in different calibers from the same manufacturer there is a clear difference in energy.

    For Hornady Critical Defense:

    22 WMR - 45 gr - 1000 fps - 100 ft-lbf
    25 ACP* - 35 gr - 900 fps - 63 ft-lbf
    32 ACP* - 60 gr - 1000 fps - 133 ft-lbf
    32 NAA - 80 gr - 1000 fps - 178 ft-lbf
    32 H&R - 80 gr - 1150 fps - 235 ft-lbf
    380 ACP - 90 gr - 1000 fps - 200 ft-lbf
    38 spl - 110 gr - 1010 fps - 249 ft-lbf
    9mm - 115 gr - 1140 fps - 332 ft-lbf​

    *25 ACP and 32 ACP are Hornady XTP
     
  17. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Thanks GEM for affirming what I suspected about lack of recoil with J-frame 32 Magnums.

    JSH1 thank you for your data. I tried to publish the weakest and strongest loads in each caliber. As our data shows there is no "gap" in power amoung the small rounds. In fact there is a lot of overlap eliminating the need for a "27 Special."
     
  18. PistolPete45

    PistolPete45 Member

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    OK I love my revolvers carry a heavy gun compared to a lot of people ..I bought a Taurus 441 back in the 90's 5 shot 44 special >> made well in the mid 90's then ... Quality seemed to drop like a rock >>> 3 inch barrel steel revolver . The light guns today kick Or the PC term snappy . This gun is a pleasure to shoot and yea a 200 Gr bullet at about 950 fps hits things hard . I worry a bit less about a criminal jacked on crack or whatever with a 200 grain 44 instead of a 124 9MM . I do hit what I aim at and 5 of these will stop a threat ..If not I have a NA 22 mini mag for a get off me gun .
     
  19. Anmut

    Anmut Member

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    I carry and shoot (weekly) my 642 - I absolutely love it. And I can shoot it as accurate as any of my glocks.
     
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