The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 21, 2008, 01:25 PM   #1
woohog1
Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2008
Location: arkansas
Posts: 19
.32 smith and wesson long

what is the general opinion of the .32 s&w long?
Would most folks say that it should only be used as a backup round, or could it actually be considered a man stopper.
The way I see it, six shots of .32 is better than nothing, and it would primarily be kept in my wifes nightstand for the nights that im not home. She is not able to rack the slide on my colt defender .45, but she can pull the trigger on the little revolver.
I just think that no matter what weapon is used, as long as it can be gotten into action quickly and with effencicy. Just wanting some differing opinions.
__________________
"keep the booger picker off the bang stick"
shoot straight and keep em in the 10 ring
woohog1 is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 01:37 PM   #2
44 Deerslayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 335
The .32 S&W long is roughly the same as the .32 ACP as far as stopping power goes. It's an accurate round and if she can shoot well, it beats a .22 or .25 for sure.

If you can get something besides round nosed lead it will be more effective too. There is better self defense .32 S&W long ammunition available but not easily found. I have seen some at gun shows from time to time.

Many people are not aware that .32 ACP ammo can be fired in a .32 revolver if it's all you can find. The .32 ACP has a rim which is why it works. Pressure wise it's about the same and is not dangerous to do. I've done it many times and over the years there have been many posts on gun forums about using .32 ACP in a revolver.
__________________
Ron
NRA Life Member
44 Deerslayer is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 01:49 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,313
Anymore the .32 Long is a target round.

Finding actually ammunition that's not target ammo is getting to be very difficult.

Would I carry a .32 Long? Yes. I have, on more than once occasion.

Is it optimal?

Lord no.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 03:08 PM   #4
woohog1
Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2008
Location: arkansas
Posts: 19
Why would you say that its not optimal?
if she feels comfortable, then wouldnt taht be the main thing?
I also never realized that the .32 acp would work in the revolver, would there be more options as far as a self defense rounds available in the .32 acp than the .32 sw long?
__________________
"keep the booger picker off the bang stick"
shoot straight and keep em in the 10 ring
woohog1 is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 03:37 PM   #5
PigPen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 28, 2000
Location: CSA
Posts: 230
May I take a swing at answering that please. No the main thing is not that she feels comfortable with it. That might be the case for a firearm that she plans to shoot quite a bit. In a drawer beside the bed, I assume you intend it for self-defense. That means that the main thing is stopping the advance of or running off and intruder.

I figure that anyone stupid enough to break and enter while you (or your wife) are home, is a potential threat to persons living and at home. In self defense, bigger is more lethal. Yeah, the sound of gun fire will probable scare the intruder away but what if it doesn't? Most any woman, especially with a little range time, can handle a 38 Special. Buy a 38 special, load it full with +P LSWCHP. Let her practice with standard loads. Yes, I know some here will disagree and say practice with what you shoot but A. She will likely fire only one shot at an intruder and B. adrenalin will keep her from noticing that she isn't firing what she fired in practice rounds.

No adrenalin will probably not compensate for the deafening report, blinding flash, heavy pistol when loaded, over penetration and other features of the 357.

No, a semiauto is in my opinion not well suited to the needs of occasional shooters....especially if they are not very mechanically inclinded. I know that it has more rounds but they are seldom needed in a real-life gun fight. If the piece lays in the drawer and the slide drys out it may misfire.

It's hard to beat a 38 special--especially for beginners and women who are not frequent shooters. YMMV.

PigPen
PigPen is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 03:39 PM   #6
BillCA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,089
The .32 S&W Long (aka the .32 Colt New Police) Cartridge is not a serious man-stopper. The cartridge is, however, very accurate out of a quality revolver.

The mild recoil and modest report makes shooting these for sport & target shooting a lot of fun. They're economical to reload too.

Most factory ammo today is a 98gr RNL at 700 fps for about 115 foot pounds or a little over half of a .38 Special. Fiochhi makes the only wadcutter round I've been able to buy and it's also pretty light.


S&W Model 31's in .32 S&W Long

On the positive side, if your wife can shoot it accurately and rapidly, there's little reason not to use it. Given that in 90% of encounters, merely having a gun persuades the bad guys to go elsewhere her odds of actually using it are low. If she does need to use it, being confident of her ability and being able to score hits will be a significant factor. The low recoil is condusive to fast follow-up shots too.

Have your wife fire "controlled pairs" (double taps) at her targets rapidly at 7 yards (household distances). Check her accuracy. If she can keep two shots inside the 9-ring in 1 to 1.5 seconds she should feel fairly confident.

Would my preference be to give her a .38 Special? Sure. But if she isn't able to make hits confidently with a larger caliber, she's better off with the .32 Long.
__________________
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
BillCA is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 03:40 PM   #7
45_Shooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 11, 2008
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 1,050
Quote:
Why would you say that its not optimal?
if she feels comfortable, then wouldnt taht be the main thing?
It is quite limited for power compared to many other options out there. Since handguns are rather underpowered self defense devices anyhow you really want as much punch as you can shoot accurately. If that is a .32 then so be it; but she should look at a .38 or 9mm as what is considered to be the minimum for self defense cartridges.

I have an eleven year old sister that can handle a Colt Gov't .45 better than some of the gangbanger types I see; the key is getting a large gun in an intermediate caliber, whether auto or revolver.
45_Shooter is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 03:43 PM   #8
PigPen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 28, 2000
Location: CSA
Posts: 230
May I take a swing at answering that please. No the main thing is not that she feels comfortable with it. That might be the case for a firearm that she plans to shoot quite a bit. In a drawer beside the bed, I assume you intend it for self-defense. That means that the main thing is stopping the advance of or running off and intruder.

I figure that anyone stupid enough to break and enter while you (or your wife) are home, is a potential threat to persons living and at home. In self defense, bigger is more lethal. Yeah, the sound of gun fire will probable scare the intruder away but what if it doesn't? Most any woman, especially with a little range time, can handle a 38 Special. Buy a 38 special, load it full with +P LSWCHP. Let her practice with standard loads. Yes, I know some here will disagree and say practice with what you shoot but A. She will likely fire only one shot and B. adrenalin will keep her from noticing that she isn't firing what she fired in practice rounds. No adrenalin will probably not compensate for the deafening report, blinding flash, heavy pistol when loaded, over penetration and other features of the 357.

No, a semiauto is in my opinion not well suited to the needs of occasional shooters....especially if they are not very mechanically inclinded. I know that it has more rounds but they are seldom needed in a real-life gun fight.

It's hard to beat a 38 special--especially for beginners and women. YMMV.

PigPen
PigPen is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 04:17 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,207
You could cock the .45 and put the safety on.
The little .32 would be an OK round-as long as she can shoot it. Way too much is made of "stopping power."
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 05:25 PM   #10
woohog1
Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2008
Location: arkansas
Posts: 19
BillCA,
the smith with the short barrell on the bottom left side of the picture is the one that I have. Its not much, but she likes it.

I had not thought about getting her a 9mm, but I would still like to go with a revolver, not sure if there any specific brand that most would recommend.
Are the options on the .32 acp any better for a self defense round? because all I have are remington lead nose. I know that those are not the best for defense, but still better than nothing. Im just wondering if the .32acp would have any advantage over the .32 long
__________________
"keep the booger picker off the bang stick"
shoot straight and keep em in the 10 ring
woohog1 is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 05:32 PM   #11
44 Deerslayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 23, 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 335
Woohog1 said "I also never realized that the .32 acp would work in the revolver, would there be more options as far as a self defense rounds available in the .32 acp than the .32 sw long?"

While there are a variety of self defense rounds available for the .32 ACP, in my experience they are not as accurate when fired out of a revolver. Couple of reasons: Long bullet jump from the short casing before it reaches the barrel and it has a thinner rim so the the headspace is larger allowing the cartridge to slide back and forth slightly which has an effect on accuracy.
__________________
Ron
NRA Life Member
44 Deerslayer is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 06:07 PM   #12
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,651
I don't have any problem with a .32 because it is a very accurate round and shot placement trumps power. The big if, is whether or not your wife practices and whether she has or will take firearm classes.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 06:54 PM   #13
woad_yurt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2008
Posts: 1,206
About your ammo....

Federal makes a wadcutter in .32 Long rated at 130 ft lbs, the most powerful .32 Long factory ammo I could find after quite a bit of looking. That bullet is the shape of a soup can with sharp edges and would probably tear someone up quite a bit.

My girlfriend has a double action Iver Johnson 55A Cadet in .32 Long. She's a really good shot with it and is very comfortable with that clunky, old revolver. I would think it a giant mistake to mess with her and that gun.

If she likes a .32 Long, let her get good with that. Chances are she'll be fine. It's better that she's at ease with the .32 than ill at ease with something else.

Check out the ammo I mentioned. $16/box of 50. Not too bad.
__________________
A Makarov? Simple, easy and works perfectly every time. ¡Vale!

Last edited by woad_yurt; August 22, 2008 at 02:08 AM.
woad_yurt is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 07:13 PM   #14
Bear Claw Chris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 25, 2008
Posts: 145
I developed a liking for .32 short & long messing with old S&W top breaks years ago.

Does any company make .32 long revolvers these days?
Bear Claw Chris is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 07:56 PM   #15
woohog1
Member
 
Join Date: August 17, 2008
Location: arkansas
Posts: 19
Quote:
Federal makes a wadcutter in .32 Long rated at 130 ft lbs, the most powerful .32 Long factory ammo I could find after quite a bit of looking. That bullet is the shape of a soup can with sharp edges and would probably tear someone up quite a bit.
Where did you find those at? I think that for some practice I may go with some .32 shorts, just for sheer practice.
I thank all for the advice.
__________________
"keep the booger picker off the bang stick"
shoot straight and keep em in the 10 ring
woohog1 is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 08:41 PM   #16
noelf2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 14, 2008
Location: Stafford, VA
Posts: 1,813
Funny coincidence, I picked up an H&R Model 732 at a pawn shop a couple days ago for $85, probably all it's worth. It's also chambered for 32 swl. Outside is a bit rough in spots, some pitting, good bluing, was obviously someones toolbox / tacklebox / truck gun, but the bore is perfect and so is the cylinder and cylinder chambers. Was probably not shot much. I didn't know about using 32 auto in it either, but that sure is an interesting option. Seems to be a tough little revolver. If it tests well at the range, I would feel comfortable carrying it now and then.
noelf2 is offline  
Old August 21, 2008, 09:11 PM   #17
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,651
Quote:
Does any company make .32 long revolvers these days?
Ruger has a .327 that will shot .32 short or long. Not sure if there is a dedicated .32 long being made.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 12:59 AM   #18
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,313
Let's see...

Not optimal in the sense that:

1. Defensive ammunition is virtually non existent.

2. Most ammunition that is available is target wadcutter-style ammunition.

3. The ammunition that is out there tends to be expensive.

4. Power is very low.

That said, does the phrase "not optimal" equal "useless for self defense"?

No.
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 04:32 AM   #19
BillCA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,089
The .32 Long is not a very powerful cartridge, as I mentioned before. Will it kill someone? Sure. Will it drop that 250 pound, crack-using gorilla of a man with one shot? Probably not. Though we are fortunate that those kinds of contacts are fairly rare. (It's debateable that almost any handgun could perform a reliable one-shot stop on a drugged attacker).

You might want to ask around your local gun shops or dealers to see if they can find you one of these.


S&W Model 432, .32 H&R Magnum

Up until not long ago, both Ruger and S&W had backlogs of .32 H&R Magnum revolvers. They did not sell as well as expected. The .32 H&R Magnum is a slightly more powerful round than the .32 Long, but still has low recoil - it's just a bit noiser. Typical loads push an 85g Hydrashok bullet at about 1100 fps/220 ft-lbs (4") or a 98 gr LRN at about 1000 fps. Charter Arms may also still sell a .32 H&R revolver in their lineup.

Ruger and Federal Cartridge have introduced a new round called the .327 Federal Magnum. It's a slightly longer .32 H&R but with significantly more gee-whiz. This new cartridge is still hard to find and no doubt expensive comparatively. But it sends a 115g Gold Dot downrange at 1330 fps (452 ft-lbs) and a 100gr RNL at 1400 fps (435 ft-lbs) out of a 3-inch Ruger SP-101 revolver. Ruger and Charter Arms are currently the only options for this round.

Another option, if your wife's hands are not on the small side, is something like a Model 625 revolver in .45 ACP. The sturdy large frame dampens the recoil significantly and these make excellent self-defense guns. Taurus made a 5-shot .45ACP snubby that recoils a bit more, but is still controllable.

Take your wife to a gun shop and let her handle a few pistols. One that I'd suggest she try is the Beretta 92FS/M9 pistol. Usually the slides are lighter and easier to operate than a 1911. This gives her a 9mm with 10/15 rounds in the magazine depending on your state laws.

If money is a consideration (and it frequently is) you can find a nice "pre-owned" S&W Model 10 Military & Police revolver in .38 Special that will serve nicely, for well under $350.


Ammo is easy to get, reasonably priced and the manual of arms is the same. It's probably the most commonly used type of home defense revolver.
__________________
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
BillCA is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 07:04 AM   #20
woad_yurt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2008
Posts: 1,206
woohog1:

I got the Federal wadcutter ammo from my local store, which stocks Federal products. I told the owner what I read, he looked it up, saw it listed, and ordered me some. MSRP-wise, in the book, it was normally priced, too. I consider myself fortunate in that I have a great store with a great owner right near me, none of this "it's a special order and it's $31.00/box" nonsense.
__________________
A Makarov? Simple, easy and works perfectly every time. ¡Vale!
woad_yurt is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 07:24 AM   #21
shurshot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2006
Posts: 761
I have an old H&R Premier .32 SW (short) that I have had since I was a kid. Those little 88 grain lead pills are only going about 500FPS or so, so slow that you can glimpse them in midair on the way to the target. A fun old gun, but a weak load. Not a self defense load IMHO, however I would not want to stand in front of a couple of those little lead balls flying in my direction...
shurshot is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 08:05 AM   #22
Tom2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 23, 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5,647
Maybe a step up to the H&R .32 magnum would be something to try with her? Bit more oomph than the long. Not as hot as the new .327. Supposedly pleasant to shoot. You could get a used H&R small revolver in that cal. or get one of the new Rugers in .327. Then presumably it can shoot 32 short, long, H&R, and .327 ammo. As for the long wadcutters, well, presumably a .32 long hollowpoint would not expand much at the low MV, if any, therefore the wadcutter might have the most impact in a non magnum load. I think that in a 38, given the choice between lead round nose and a wadcutter at the same velocity, the WC would win out for me. And it might be pretty accurate too! I suppose she should aim at the upper body or face with the standard 32 ammo, if close, as I can imagine a big fat burglar soaking up some hits from a low velocity 32 with possibly no profound immediate effect, except perhaps suprise.
__________________
Your gun is like your nose, it is just wrong for someone else to pick it for you!
Tom2 is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 09:58 AM   #23
OldMarksman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2008
Posts: 2,030
I think BillCA is spot on on this.

When I was a child, my maternal grandfather, who lived on a two-lane highway just inside a very small country town, kept a Smith .32 Regulation Police on the night-stand. He wold me he had acquired it in a trade with a policeman, immediately after the shaken policeman had almost been killed by a thug who had taken six shots from the .32 before going down, and my grandfather decided that the policeman had greater need of his .41 Colt than he did!

After I ended up with it I happened to shoot a couple of shots at a board. I was surprised to see the bases of the bullets sticking out at me!

I decided it was better than nothing, but I moved up to something bigger as soon as I could.

If I were to choose a .32 for serious use it would be at least the .32 Mag and probably the .327, but I have no doubt I would use longs for practice and for fun.

I remember that a friend's father used a Smith K-32 for target shooting in the later 1950s, along with a K-22 and K-38.

I have read that in the early 1900s, police departments routinely issued revolvers chambered for the .32 long. They were no doubt much more effective than the pocket guns of the time that used the .32 S&W (often referred to as the "short").
OldMarksman is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 10:05 AM   #24
45_Shooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 11, 2008
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 1,050
Quote:
Those little 88 grain lead pills are only going about 500FPS or so, so slow that you can glimpse them in midair on the way to the target
Wow; my compound bow will do about 300 FPS and that arrow weighs a heck of a lot more than 88 gr. I bet heavy clothes would protect you against an 88 gr. round at 500 FPS!
45_Shooter is offline  
Old August 22, 2008, 09:18 PM   #25
porkskin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 17, 2005
Posts: 335
my take- my wife can shoot two calibers enjoyably, .22 LR and .32 S&W. If it keeps her into shooting and she can confidently grab it in an emergency, then I can justify paying for the round. Also my beloved Sweetmama left me the model 31 in her will, so it ain't going no where soon.
porkskin is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:37 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12988 seconds with 9 queries