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Old December 25, 2007, 06:36 PM   #1
Handyman
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32 vs. new 327 mag vs. 38spl.

Your opinions ???
How do the 32 & new 327mag stack up against the 38spl as a defence/carry revolver ?
I just got through reading about Ruger's new 327 mag revolver . IMO , this looks like it would be the perfect little carry revolver .
I know many out there think anything less than a 38 or 9 mil are poor choices for sd . I also think that the 38 is probably at the low end of good defence calibers but wouldn't the new 327 , being a magnum , be just as good or better than the 38 for sd ?
Right now I have a SP101 357 for my carry gun but I only had to shoot 1 round of 357 through it to know I would not be using any more 357 in this gun . I now load it with 38 +p but I don't really like shooting +p either .
Would I be losing much sd effectivenes if I switched from 38 to 32 or the new 327mag ? Isn't shot placement more important than caliber anyway ?

[ I can't buy the new Ruger 327mag revolver because it is not " Massachusetts approved " yet - and might never be approved . MA. isn't as bad as some states when it comes to restrictive gun laws but some of the MA. laws are so rediculous you just have to LOL !!! ]
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Old December 25, 2007, 10:55 PM   #2
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Shot placement, by far, is the most important factor involving any small arms weapon. As far as defensive weapons go...a side arm is a pretty poor man stopper. Of the three calibers mentioned...the .327 mag is far superior to them all...the 38 special would be the next choice...32 comes in last.
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Old December 26, 2007, 12:01 AM   #3
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Short answer?

The .38 Special has been here for a century and is still going strong. The .327Mag will be gone before you can blink. I wouldn't touch one with a 10' pole. For that matter, get a .357Mag and load it with .38s for practice. Yes, I know you can use .32S&Ws in .327Mags, but they're more expensive and much harder to find. If you decide to go that route, you've been warned.
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Old December 26, 2007, 01:39 AM   #4
BillCA
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Gee Skeeter, thanks for being open minded about the possibility that a new cartridge might actually prove to be effective.

Quote:
How do the 32 & new 327mag stack up against the 38spl as a defence/carry revolver ?
At this stage, since the new Ruger .327 Mag isn't yet available, there isn't much info except the press releases from Federal and Ruger.

Ballistically, the round looks pretty good. With over 400 ft-lbs of energy driving an 85-grain to 115-grain bullet at nominally 1300-1400 fps from a 3" barrel, it surpasses the .38 Special +P in energy. Federal's ammo is supposed to perform up to the FBI standards for penetration as well.

The good side is that the light bullet, even with a pretty stout charge of go-bang powder behind it, should have moderate recoil. The down side is I expect the muzzle blast to be on a par with the .357 Magnum's bellowing roar.

Shooting my S&W Model 432PD in .32 H&R Magnum produces little recoil, but that bullet is moving a good 300fps slower than the .327 Mag. Even still, I'm estimating that the .327 Mag won't jar your bones like a heavier .38/.357 will.

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

Quote:
I also think that the 38 is probably at the low end of good defence calibers but wouldn't the new 327 , being a magnum , be just as good or better than the 38 for sd ?
The fact that it's a "magnum" cartridge has little to do with its actual performance, per se. Though I would think that this round would be about as effective as the .38 Special +P (based on energy levels) it remains to be proven as a hard hitter.

The smaller diameter (.311 vs. .357) means that the .32 round can easily miss vital structures that a larger diameter bullet would hit. But at the speeds given for the new round, I suspect it'll be about as effective as the larger .38 Special +P.

The real advantage will be the ability to cram 6 shots in the same space occupied by only 5 .38 Special rounds. And if the recoil is more manageable, shooting it out of an airweight gun may not subject the user to physical punishment.

Another advantage is the number of cartridges you could fire in the same gun... listed in order of increasing power...
.32 S&W -> .32 S&W Long -> .32 H&R Mag -> .327 Magnum

I'd be interested in seeing if S&W makes an airweight version, since the working pressures of the .327 are reported to be at 40,000 psi - about 5,000 psi higher than the .357 and .41 Magnums.

Quote:
Would I be losing much sd effectivenes if I switched from 38 to 32 or the new 327mag ? Isn't shot placement more important than caliber anyway ?
If you were shooting a .32 H&R Magnum vs. a .327 Magnum, you'd be losing about 200~250 ft-lbs. The difference is even greater between the modest .32 S&W Long (127 ft-lbs) and the .327.

The .327 Magnum produces more ft-lbs than the .38 Special +P 125gr JHP or 158gr LSWC-HP (250-280 ft-lbs). So you're actually gaining about 180-200 ft-lbs with the .327 Mag.

In contrast, the "gold standard" .357 Magnum 125-gr JHP produces 585 ft-lbs. With the .327 producing energies in the 400-450 range, there's still gap, however the .327 fills that void between .38 & .357 pretty nicely.

Only time will tell if the .327 Magnum turns out to be a man-stopper or not. I'm hoping the recoil is mild enough that double-taps will be easier, faster and more accurate than either the .38 or .357.
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Old December 26, 2007, 01:48 AM   #5
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I'm personally hoping that now that ruger has brought back the 32 mag Sp101 and the 327 that the 22 or a 22 mag SP101 will not be far behind. Still regret selling mine....

As to 327 mag vs 38 in the form of say speers excellent 135gr snubby load, at best I could be convinced that the two were equal.

When we factor in the added cost of the 327, ammo availability (my standard travel gun is a 357 Sp101) and so forth the extra round in the cylinder is not worth it to me at this point.

Maybe I could be convinced if the recoil was that much less, or maybe folks will go nuts over it in ultralight guns.....
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Old December 26, 2007, 03:16 AM   #6
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Personally I think they should have simply reintroduced the 32 H&R. However I think that the 327 will find a place. The one problem with the 38 Special is that even with modern HP bullets, expansion is still a problem at times. Plus you have a 5 shot vs 6 shot.

Here are some things that I think the industry should do to help support the 327 Federal.

1. Ruger should make a Blackhawk and Vaquero convertible for the 327 Federal and the 32-20. CAS is a thriving industry and many people would love the thought of a gun that they can use for CAS as well as other shooting activities like target shooting, small game hunting or even home defense. (Yes people will bash the use of a single action for PD, but many people, myself included, have chosen a single action revolver for a bedside gun or a car gun on occasions.)

Ruger should have done the Blackhawk convertible with the 32 H&R and the 32-20 twenty years ago. I own a Single Six in 32 H&R and while I like it I think Ruger should have also chambered it in the Blackhawk as well. CAS wasn't as big back then so mabee they didn't see it comming.

2. Marlin should chamber their regular 1894 in the .327 Federal, NOT the cowboy model. Marlin really screwed the pooch when they chambered the 32 H&R in their cowboy model. People who wanted a modern version of the 32-20 didn't want it in a long, heavy and expensive cowboy model. They wanted a trim and lightweight regular 1894 with an 18" barrel and a full length magazine. I wanted to buy a 32 H&R Marlin about two years ago, but did not like or want the cowboy model.

At the very least New England Firearms, a subsidiary of Marlin, should at least offer barrels for their Handi-Rifle line of guns. It would require a minimum of investment yet open the door for people to own a 327 Federal rifle with minimum expense.

3. Introduce more ammo for the 32 H&R. Yea the 32 H&R is older and not very popular, but its relatively small base of guns is still far larger than the 327 Federals base of guns chambered in it. People who don't reload have either put those guns in the safe or sold them to other people who have put them in their safes.

Use the base of 32 H&R guns to remind people of the good points of the 32 cal handgun. Have people say, "Wow, this hardly kicks at all and longer shots are much easier than with my 38." Get them out to the range so people will ask them what they are shooting, give it a few rounds, and say "neat" and have the idea planted in their heads.

4. See if Ruger can convert the 77/22 action to shoot the 327 Federal. Heck, they could shove the 44 Mag and the 22 Hornet into that action so I see no reason why one could not be made in the 327 Federal. The case head diameter of the 22 Hornet and 327 Federal are only different by .025". While the SAAMI max operating pressure is 9,000 PSI higher then the 44 mag, the case head is much smaller. So the bolt thrust will be more than the 22 Hornet, but less than the 44 Mag.
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Old December 26, 2007, 05:26 AM   #7
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For right now it's difficult to find .32 hr and almost impossible to find .327.

If they were readily available I think they'd be fine for self defense. I also think a .32 long is fine for self defense as well.

That being said I personally prefer the .38 for smaller revolvers. A .38 Special throwing a 158gr round nose at 700 to 800fps will do great at the ranges a short barreled revolver is meant to handle. Recoil with that set up shouldn't be a problem.
The popularity of the .38 means there's lots of different loads to choose from.
I don't have to tell you about the variety of revolvers that are chambered for the .38. A bunch of them are great CCW revolvers. The tendency to make .38/.38+p/.357's instead of straight .38's has given us some pretty darn bulky concealable weapons.
That's where the .32 H&R and .327 have the edge. They can be placed in a smaller package.

Now I'm going to write something very unpopular. Putting a .38 +p or .357 in a light frame snub nose is just silly. The disadvantages caused by recoil far out weigh any energy advantages.
If you have recoil problems with the .38 +p then don't use it.
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Old December 26, 2007, 08:23 AM   #8
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I also have a S&W Air Weight in 32 H&R Magnum... personally I fee the H&R is adequate for self defense, while I'd also be the 1st to say, it's one of the easiest rounds to shoot out of a snubbie, is not too loud, & is plenty accurate...

in the SP-101 Ruger I'm guessing the heavier gun with the 327 will equate to the Air Weight with the H&R... I'd also be curious if some of the medium framed snubbie revolvers will be chambered in 7 or 8 shots ???

for me, I don't like my carry revolvers as heavy as the SP is, but the ability to chamber 4-5 different cartridges ( I think you can also shoot the semi rimmed 32 ACP in them, though I've never shot one in mine ) is a very good option... if they hang around for a year or two ( the length of time it'll take me to purchase things already on my "must have" list ), I'll likely pick up a 327, though I'd likely prefer a 6" tubed revolver to the snubbie for that cartridge...
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Old December 26, 2007, 12:34 PM   #9
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It irks me that they lie about the caliber of this cartridge. Like your other nominal .32s, it's actually a .31. And then to extend the lie by calling it .327 so it will sound like a .357? How honest is that?

Rants aside, though:

I'll be surprised if this cartridge does especially well, regardless of how good it may be. It has an uphill battle for acceptance just because it's a .32, and for decades the press has been damning .32s as ineffective. Second, it's another in a recent avalanche of cartridges designed to duplicate the power of a long-time favorite in a slightly different platform. There have been a lot of those. They generally sell well in the first month or two and give the gun writers something to swoon over the way gun writers do. But in the end it's very hard to compete with a cartridge that has been well-known and established for a hundred years, even if you do offer some small technical advantage. People know it, trust it, and the guns and ammo for it are already available everywhere. That's tough to beat.

And then, of course, the .32 H&R Magnum was supposed to do for .32s what the .327 says it will do now. That didn't quite work out either.

Prove me wrong and I'll be perfectly happy, but I'm not optimistic about the .327's chances.
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Old December 26, 2007, 12:40 PM   #10
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I'll be honest, I don't think it matters.

I'll bet the use of most snub-nosed firearms is across a room, at best. Perhaps contact distances.

Second, a short barrel will not burn any powder as efficiently as a longer barrel.

Finally, shot placement is a major factor.

If I hit the perp, close up and accurately with any of these calibers, my guess is that he's going down.

I mean, if I tossed you a .327 in the heat of a fight I doubt you would pitch it back for a different handgun.
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Old December 26, 2007, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Marlin really screwed the pooch when they chambered the 32 H&R in their cowboy model. People who wanted a modern version of the 32-20 didn't want it in a long, heavy and expensive cowboy model.
Maybe you should look a little closer. The .32H&R was introduced in a Cowboy model with an octagon barrel, yes, but it was a 20" model that is just as light and handy as comparable 20" round barrel models. Apparently the CAS crowd has a larger crowd interested in such things than the sporting crowd so it's to be expected.


Quote:
Introduce more ammo for the 32 H&R.
The .32H&R faded away for the same reason the .327 is catching flak now. People have been unwilling to give it a chance and let it shine in its own right. Preferring to deride it as useless because some other cartridge 'can' be used for the same purposes. The H&R is a great cartridge but the .327 is a different animal entirely. Same bore diameter but over twice the pressure (21,000CUP vs. 45,000psi) and running 400-500fps faster. In fact the .32H&R might 'need' the .327 to lure more shooters into the .32 caliber.


Quote:
It irks me that they lie about the caliber of this cartridge. Like your other nominal .32s, it's actually a .31. And then to extend the lie by calling it .327 so it will sound like a .357? How honest is that?
"Lying"??? I would never call it "lying". Cartridge nomenclature has always been subject to marketing and "what sounds best". Would it make sense to call the .38-40 the .40-40? Or call the .44Magnum the .43Magnum? It makes as much sense as getting bent out of shape because percussion revolvers with .451" bores and .454" roundballs were called .44's. With so many cartridges in existence it would get extremely redundant to name everything explicitly according to its bullet or bore diameter. They've been doing it since the end of time, get over it. There are better things to spend you mental bandwidth on.
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Old December 26, 2007, 02:11 PM   #12
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if youthink shooting sports stretch the bore... try looking at the displacement of ATV & similar powersports engines... Polaris's "800" cc machine is infact only a 720 cc displacement, which is a 9% exageration...

although... the .311 stretched to .327 is the same "exageration"

just have to get used to it from a "marketing" point of view... (although some, like the 44 Special / Magnum, come from older cartridges where the 44 was seated like the 22 LR Rim Fire, & the same diameter brass was used when making the switch to the current bullet seating method
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Old December 26, 2007, 02:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Maybe you should look a little closer. The .32H&R was introduced in a Cowboy model with an octagon barrel, yes, but it was a 20" model that is just as light and handy as comparable 20" round barrel models. Apparently the CAS crowd has a larger crowd interested in such things than the sporting crowd so it's to be expected.
Very true, but the problem with the cowboy model is that it was much more expensive compared to a regular round barrel 1894. All Marlin had to do was have a cheaper round barrel on the gun and make the barrel 2" shorter and price it the same as the .357 1894. They could cater to both markets.
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Old December 26, 2007, 04:04 PM   #14
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The new .327 Magnum is what the .32 H&R Magnum should have been in the first place. Unfortunately, H&R had to stay within their own manufacturing limits which precluded a seriously powerful cartridge.

Quote:
For right now it's difficult to find .32 hr and almost impossible to find .327.
Since Federal and Ruger have announced a release date in January 2008, I don't doubt you're having trouble finding anything in .327 Magnum. Wait a couple of months.

The .32 H&R ammo is readily available and my local FFL says he can still get Ruger and S&W models that are slowly selling out of the distributors' warehouses.

Quote:
Second, a short barrel will not burn any powder as efficiently as a longer barrel.
From my understanding, the Federal load was designed for a short-barreled revolver. This may or may not make its use in a rifle problematic...I doubt it will as long as the rifle is properly designed for the pressure.

The .32 H&R Magnum was an attempt by H&R to market a small revolver with enough power that it would be an alternative to the .38 Special. In that regard, they succeeded, at least on paper.

The .327 Magnum exceeds that and puts the round squarely between the .38 Special and .357 Magnum in power (energy). Their 115-gr bullet at ~1300fps is equivilant to the 9mm round.

Crosshair - while I don't doubt your thoughts would help popularize the .327 (and maybe the .32 H&R), I also think that some lightweight 2.5" snubbies would be fairly popular in this chambering. I'd see a 15-19 oz .327 as an excellent choice for a police back-up revolver. Heck, maybe a 7-shot K-frame or 8-shot L-Frame with 5"-6" barrels for varmint hunting would prove popular too.
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Old December 27, 2007, 08:49 AM   #15
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Gunblast are touting the .327 as the best thing since sliced bread.

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-SP101-327.htm
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Old December 27, 2007, 11:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Very true, but the problem with the cowboy model is that it was much more expensive compared to a regular round barrel 1894. All Marlin had to do was have a cheaper round barrel on the gun and make the barrel 2" shorter and price it the same as the .357 1894. They could cater to both markets.
I agree, an 18" carbine would've been a great addition. I'd actually like to have seen them squeeze it into the 1897/39 platform. Still, I have a 'thing' for octagon barrels so the Cowboy .32 really appeals to me. Guess I need to seek one out while I still can. They definitely cost more than their round barrel counterparts. I paid $325 for a brand new round barrel 1894S several years before I paid $600 for a Cowboy Limited .44.
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Old December 27, 2007, 12:51 PM   #17
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I think I'll stick with my proven Colt Dick Special in 38 Special caliber.
Loaded with Speer 135gr JHP +P, I have 6 rounds of potent bullets that will expand and penetrate.
I bet my package is about 1 1/2" shorter and 3 oz. lighter too.
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Old December 27, 2007, 02:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
I think I'll stick with my proven Colt Dick Special in 38 Special caliber. Loaded with Speer 135gr JHP +P, I have 6 rounds of potent bullets that will expand and penetrate.
That's your call 1tfl, but you'll be depending on a lower powered round. Your Dick Special with six rounds of Speer 135gr GDHP-SB ammo will deliver only 222 ft-lbs per shot. The .327 Magnum will deliver about 430 ft-lbs per shot. In total, that's a difference of 1,248 ft-lbs if you use all six.
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Old December 29, 2007, 02:12 PM   #19
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Agreed...the .327 mag would be a far better self-defense round then the "widow maker" .38 special...I don't care what you load in it. I mean, I do carry a 642 in a Mika pocket holster...but heaveans, it is a "last resort" use only when you cannot run/hide/seek cover weapon. Build a better mouse trap and I'll be in line to replace the 642 in an instance...besides, it really would make an awesome paper-weight.
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