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Old July 22, 2009, 12:52 AM   #1
Aristides
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Shoot 32acp in 32 H&R Revolver...?

I have a Beretta Tomcat 32 acp and plenty of 32acp ammo. I also have a S&W 431PD 32 H&R Magnum Revolver, but I'm down to a just few rounds of 32 H&R ammo, and can't find any more of that or the 32 S&W long. I'd like to shoot my plentiful 32 acp in my 32 H&R Magnum revolver. I also want to get the S&W 327 Magnum when I can find one, and may want to shoot the 32 acp from that revolver, as well. Any reason not to do this?

I've seen some posts that suggest that "you can even shoot 32 acp" in the 32 H&R revolver. But in some of the posts I've found on this subject, the attitude is that you would only shoot the 32 acp as a last resort; but others seem to suggest it should shoot just fine in the 32 Magnum. Can anybody give me a good reason not to shoot my 32acp in my 32 Magnum revolver?

Last edited by Aristides; July 22, 2009 at 09:43 AM.
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Old July 22, 2009, 01:35 AM   #2
rc
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It can work...

The .32 acp is the same diameter as a 32 S&W, 32 Long and .32 mag. The thing that is lacking is as large a rim so the extractor doesn't work as well with the ACPs. It is discouraged in .32 Long guns because the ACP is higher pressure than 32 S&W or 32 long. In the magnum however, it is a viable option. I've done it in an SP101. I've heard in the single action it doesn't matter at all because they have the ejector rod. Just expect having some extraction problems in your S&W. Bring a pencil! In a last ditch effort this is viable, but if you can find the correct ammo, that would be preferred. The best way to get .32 mag ammo is to reload! Few places carry it regularly in my area. Even with today's prices you can load 50 rounds of .32 mag for under $12. I would say about $2 for primers, $7 for bullets and $2 or less for powder. Starline sells brass directly to the public and you can find better deals on bullets if you look for bulk magtech. You can also use .32 acp dies to load the .32 mag but the roll crimp revolver dies are better for bullets with a crimp groove. Oh, and if you reload for a strong .32 mag revolver you can up performance considerably from published data. rc
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Old July 22, 2009, 03:14 AM   #3
jason hammac
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I do it all the time with my 631's. It is cheaper to shoot and will make coke cans dance in the dirt!!
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Old July 22, 2009, 12:35 PM   #4
ChiefTJS
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I've done it quite a bit. The .32cap is "semi-rimmed" so it will work, but on a double action gun there is a tendency for a round to slip past the extractor star. For range or plinking use it's a complete non issue but I'd avoid it for defensive use as a reload could be a problem. For a single action gun it's never a problem.

I had several .32acp guns and got rid of most of them before my huge stash of ammo was used up. I'm down to one acp now but several H&R mags.
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Old July 22, 2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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It has been done and is being done. Nothing unsafe about it, you have to be careful on the extraction if you have a " star type extractor. And before the experts start in, American Rifleman's " Dope Bag " states it can be done safely.
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Old July 22, 2009, 06:16 PM   #6
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I picked up an old H&R 732 for $99 a few months ago. I was able to find 2 boxes of fiocchi WC .32S&W longs and 4 boxes of aguillia .32 acp... I have gone through 2 boxes of .32acp and a box of fiocchi w/o a problem.
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Old July 22, 2009, 07:44 PM   #7
Aristides
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Misfires...?

I'm the Original Poster. I went to the range today to try shooting the 32 acp in my S&W 431PD. I had no problems at all with extraction. But...my first shot fired, then my second shot just "clicked", then my second shot fired, then my next three just clicked. I continued to pull the trigger multiple times, allowing a couple of full cycles through the cylinder, to see if additional hammmer drops would fire the rounds. Nope. So, only 2 out of 6 cartridges would fire. I was using Federal American Eage FMJ. Didn't think at the moment to try other brands (I have some Magtech, S&B, and Fiocchi). Do you think the misfires are due to ammo brand, or something else?
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Old July 22, 2009, 08:55 PM   #8
ChiefTJS
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That would normally be considered an ammunition problem but the J frames are known for light strikes and if you combine that with hard primers you'll have problems.

I personally have a S&W 432 (Shrouded hammer version of your 431) and the first several rounds of the cylinder produced light strikes that were failing to ignite most rounds. I called S&W, sent it in and since it's been back it's not failed to ignite anything.
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Old July 23, 2009, 12:42 AM   #9
Aristides
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Is that light striking problem a thing I can have adjusted by my local gunsmith, or do you think it's necessarily a "send it back to S&W" issue?

And, is this light striking related to using 32 acp instead of 32 H&R Mag or S&W 32 long? Or is it just coincidence that the problem showed up while testing the 32 acp idea?

Thanks!
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Old July 23, 2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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IMO, it's not coincidence and it's due to using .32 ACP ammo in the revolver that isn't expecting it. You might correct the problem by sending it to S&W, but I wouldn't tell them that you were shooting the wrong caliber ammo in it, no matter what the cheap NRA magazine says you can do. I can't see S&W wanting to hear another warranty question from you if you tell them that you aren't using the proper ammo in it.

And yes, there isn't a pressure problem using .32 ACP in a .32 H&R Mag gun.
.32 Mag-- 21,000 CUP
.32 Auto-- 20,500 PSI
However... shooting .32 Auto in revolvers chambered in .32 S&W Long is putting OVER PRESSURE AMMO in those guns.
.32 S&W Long-- 15,000 PSI

Can you do it? Can you get away with it? Sure, to both. Most decent firearms are made to have a bit of a safety buffer, but in the end, you are asking it to do something it was not designed to handle. And it's a bad idea, especially when you are talking about a revolver made in the 1950s or 60s.

I'll repeat-- you can probably shoot .32 Auto in a 30 to 50 year old .32 S&W Long revolver and never see it give up the ghost, but it's not a smart thing to do.

Learn to reload and everything will work better!
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Old July 23, 2009, 09:46 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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Absolutely DO NOT try this in any of the old breaktops chambered for .32 Smith & Wesson.

At best you'll spring the gun, at worst you could pop the cylinder open.
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Old July 23, 2009, 10:00 AM   #12
Aristides
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I asked my local gunsmith about the misfires. He said the problem is not because my hammer is giving light strikes. It's because the 32acp has a smaller rim, which makes the cartridge rest further into the cylinder that it was designed to do, causing missed strikes. He couldn't explain why other people said they are doing this without problems...he just said that is why it's happening, and that's why I shouldn't use 32 acp in my 32 Mag...(sigh...)
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Old July 23, 2009, 10:37 AM   #13
Cosmic Zamboni
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I had the same problem with ACP ammo misfiring about 1/3 of the time in my H&R .32 revolver. As it turns out, the rim depth of the two cartridges is different, and sometimes the pin does not go far enough in to ignite the primer. Not reliably. There is nothing unsafe about it that I can tell, other than the general safety issue with a misfired cartridge. The primer looked dimpled just like the rounds that fired, but it just wasn't enough. But it is too annoying to put up with. That's why I got rid of the H&R. The ammo is considered obsolete and it's hard to find even at some fairly large gun stores in my area.
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Old July 23, 2009, 11:07 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
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Ah, of course.

The rim on a .32 ACP is .045" thick.

The rim on the .32 S&W, the .32 S&W Long, and the .32 H&R Mag. is .055" thick.

Just enough of a difference that it could result in misfires.
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Old July 23, 2009, 04:29 PM   #15
ChiefTJS
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Never considered a rim thickness difference. My light strike problem with the 432 was on standard .32H&R cases but I've been shooting acp's in it as well with no problems since I got it back.

The H&R magnum is an all around superior round anyhow and much more fun to shoot. A basic reload setup is cheap and makes it much cheaper to shoot as well, give it a try. Just because a local store doesn't stock something doesn't make it obsolete, just a little harder to get.
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Old July 23, 2009, 07:39 PM   #16
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While you can futz around with ammo that sorta fits and probably survive, I always shoot ammo in the gun that it was made to shoot.

If you are having a hard time getting ammo, then buy the empties and the bullets and an inexpensive reloading rig and make your won. After you've ruined a few cases, it's easy to do. Use Unique or maybe 2440, that way you are less likely to blow your brains out...Bullseye can do that.

I used to buy old Lee Loaders when they made every caliber under the sun, but now they don't. Dies are cheap and a Lee loading press is too.
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Old July 23, 2009, 10:24 PM   #17
rc
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The difference may be cylinder type related. Some have a recess and some have a flush cylinder. Maybe the ACP works better with a flush cylinder type. rc
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Old July 24, 2009, 12:31 AM   #18
Mike Irwin
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I know of no .32 caliber revolver that ever used a recessed cylinder.

Smith & Wesson only recessed magnum revolvers, and stopped that practice around 1983.

Even so, it shouldn't make a difference as the thickness of the rim for the primary chambering determines the headspacing adjustment and the amount of firing pin protrusion. A cartridge with a thinner rim will create an artificial headspace issue, which could lead to the firing issues that others have reported.
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Old July 24, 2009, 11:43 AM   #19
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I own a Smith and Wesson model 1917 that was made to take the .45 ACP round with the half moon clips. Mine was made in 1937 for export to Brazil. It head spaces inside the cylinder, lust like the 1911 headspaces at the breech end. So I can drop in .45 ACP rounds and they don't fall through and they shoot great! The case head protrudes enough for me to jerk out the empties with my finger nail.

And man, does that gun shoot! I've got target pistols that shoot no better! Those old Smiths had very light triggers, you know; when they still understood how to make triggers.
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Old July 24, 2009, 12:55 PM   #20
Mike Irwin
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"the 1911 headspaces at the breech end"



The 1911 headspaces on the case mouth, not at the breech face.

The S&W 1917 also headspaces on the case mouth if clips are not used, which are primarily to faciliate extraction.

However, some early Colt 1917 revolvers did not have shoulders in the chambers and cannot be used with loose ammunition.
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Old July 24, 2009, 08:35 PM   #21
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Mike Irwin has explained the reason most experts discourage the use of .32 ACP in revolvers - the old breaktops and other old revolvers just won't handle it. .32 S&W runs about 14k psi pressure and most of the old cast iron guns will take that. But when you up the ante to the 21k and full jacket of the .32 ACP, the old guns literally get bent out of shape.

Jim
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Old July 25, 2009, 11:24 AM   #22
Logjam
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Mr. Irwin; Yeah, when I wrote that I knew that I wasn't saying it right. The 1911 does head space at the end of the chamber at the end of the case. You were right, of course.

What I was trying to communicate was that the shells loaded into a later Smith Model 1917 are bored as is the barrel of a 1911, so the round doesn't drop all the way through the cylinder as do some other revolvers made to take the 45 ACP round that requre the half moon clips.

Thank you for your clarification.
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