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Old April 8, 2011, 04:22 PM   #1
ZVP
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.32 Short vs .32 Long?

Met a guy at the gun range who was shooting a .32 H&R. He was shooting a short cartrige.
Are the .32 short and Long the same size or is the .32 short iszed like a .38 S&W and as different as a .38 S&W and a .38 Special?
Is one of the .32's based on an outside bullet size and the other sized to a barrel dimension?
Please forgive my description as I am not a handloader. I am just intrested in the .32 caliber for CAS shooting events
Thanks
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Old April 8, 2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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The 32 S&W Short, Long, Colt New Police, H&R Magnum, and 327 magnum all share the same base and case diameters. The S&W offerings can be fired in an H&R and the H&R and S&W's can all be fired in the 327.

The 32 ACP has a much smaller rim but the same case diameter but with a
.001 taper at the neck. Though SAAMI says don't there are people who fire 32 ACP in H&R guns.

The 32 Short Colt and 32 Long Colt were originally heel based outside lubricated cartridges. They have a smaller case diameter and would rupture their cases if fired in a S&W / H&R chamberd gun.
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Old April 8, 2011, 06:17 PM   #3
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If you are going to be firing the shorter cartridges in the longer chambers--for instance firing a .32 long in a .32 H&R mag--which I believe is allowable in CAS as the .32 H&R mag emulates the old .32-20?----then you should be prepared to do some very thorough cleaning of the cylinders of your revolver since you will get a radical build up of crud at some point between the case mouth and the end of the cylinder.

A better idea is to use a powder like Trail Boss to load the proper cartridge for which the revolver was built. This will give you the advantages of the milder cartridge without the need to hire help to clean the gun after a match.
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Old April 9, 2011, 01:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
The 32 S&W Short, Long, Colt New Police, H&R Magnum, and 327 magnum all share the same base and case diameters. The S&W offerings can be fired in an H&R and the H&R and S&W's can all be fired in the 327.
That is incorrect. The .32 S&W ("Short") uses a different body diameter, case wall thickness, rim thickness, and has a mild body taper.

Some .32 S&W Long chambered revolvers cannot reliably set off the .32 S&W, due to the thinner rim.

The difference in rim thickness and body diameter are the reason .32 S&W ("Short") is not considered a safe cartridge to shoot in firearms chambered for any of the larger .32s (.32 S&W Long, .32 H&R, .327 Federal).


My brother's SP101 in .327 Federal cannot set off .32 Auto, and suffers from light strikes on .32 S&W - due to short firing pin protrusion and the thinner rims. However, my .327 Blackhawk has absolutely no issues with either cartridge, and I size them to .32 S&W Long body diameter for hand loads.

Quote:
If you are going to be firing the shorter cartridges in the longer chambers--for instance firing a .32 long in a .32 H&R mag--which I believe is allowable in CAS as the .32 H&R mag emulates the old .32-20?----then you should be prepared to do some very thorough cleaning of the cylinders of your revolver since you will get a radical build up of crud at some point between the case mouth and the end of the cylinder.

A better idea is to use a powder like Trail Boss to load the proper cartridge for which the revolver was built. This will give you the advantages of the milder cartridge without the need to hire help to clean the gun after a match.
While Trail Boss is a perfectly acceptable answer to keep charge density as high as possible, I have no problems with my Blackhawk. As mentioned above, I shoot .32 Auto, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R, and .327 Federal. It has not been cleaned in over 800 rounds. Extraction has not been affected by the carbon rings and lube rings (lead bullet lube) left in the chamber, even though those rings are very easily seen with the naked eye.

Three reasons extraction is not a big issue:
1. .327 Federal is a very high pressure handgun cartridge. It suffers from stiff extraction by default. The carbon rings and lube rings don't make a difference.

2. .32 H&R brass is only readily available from Starline. Several other companies do make it, but Starline is, by far, the most popular. Starline's .32 H&R brass has thick case walls, which give the brass a lot of spring-back after firing. They pull themselves off the carbon rings and lube rings in the chambers.

3. .32 S&W Long would only have to deal with a carbon/lube ring from .32 S&W (you really shouldn't be shooting .32 Auto in CAS). With both cartridges being low-pressure and the S&W Long having a much shorter body than .32 H&R and .327, extraction should be a non-issue. (Even with the carbon rings, my Magtech brass often still falls right out of the chambers.)


However you want to view my arguments.... If it was me, I would just stick to a single cartridge, to simplify things. I'd probably just throw Trail Boss in .32 H&R with a 94 gr Meister LFP if I wanted a light/moderate load with no leading. For a hotter load, I would actually step back to the .32 S&W Long - loaded with a moderate burn rate pistol powder. It would make for a load that wasn't position sensitive, but had more velocity than the Trail Boss .32 H&R loads.
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Old April 9, 2011, 11:54 AM   #5
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More .32 questions

OK let me see if I got this right?
The 32 S&W is a cartrige unto itself? The 32 Colt by another name.
However, the .32 long and the following Magnums are a "family" unto themselves?
So if I were to buy a .32 topbreak revolver, it'd likely be a .32 S&W caliber and I should not try to fire S&W Longs in it.
Just trying to get these points straight before I waste money on a topbreak that I may have trouble finding ammo for...
Thanks guys!
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Old April 9, 2011, 03:04 PM   #6
FrankenMauser
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There were many chamberings for the turn-of-the-century top-break revolvers.

They could be .32 S&W Long (.32 Colt New Police with a different bullet), .32 S&W, .32 Colt, .32 Colt Long, and a few other cartridges.

If the revolver is chambered for .32 S&W, do not shoot any other cartridge in it.

.32 S&W is NOT the same as .32 Colt.

If it is chambered in .32 S&W Long or .32 Colt New Police, you can interchange the two.

.32 Colt can be fired in guns chambered for it, and the .32 Colt Long. .32 Colt Long cannot be safely fired in guns chambered for .32 Colt.


Avoid all "Colt" chamberings (except for the .32 Colt New Police), as ammunition availability is essentially zero.
Don't let anyone tell you the ".32 Colt Police Positive" or ".32 Colt Police Positive Special" are cartridges, either. Those names refer to a series of revolvers that fired .32 Colt New Police / .32 S&W Long.


And, one MAJOR thing to be aware of:
Some of those top-break revolvers may only be rated for black powder loads, not smokeless powder loads. Make sure you are getting a model that can handle what you intend to shoot.

There is no easy approach to your goal. It requires a lot of research, double checking, and gunsmith inspection.
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Old April 9, 2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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As mentioned it's a good idea to use the cartridge for which the revolver was designed--although no extraction problems may be noticed--you may want to go back to the longer cartridge at some time in the future, or trade in or sell the gun--then the crud build up may become a real problem, even if not noticed before. This is especially true if you shoot unchecked lead bullets.
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Old April 10, 2011, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
FrankenMauser Quote:
"The 32 S&W Short, Long, Colt New Police, H&R Magnum, and 327 magnum all share the same base and case diameters. The S&W offerings can be fired in an H&R and the H&R and S&W's can all be fired in the 327."

That is incorrect. The .32 S&W ("Short") uses a different body diameter, case wall thickness, rim thickness, and has a mild body taper.

Some .32 S&W Long chambered revolvers cannot reliably set off the .32 S&W, due to the thinner rim.
I am looking at the SAAMI registered drawings for the 32 Colt New Police [32 S&W Long] and for the 32 S&W.

The former has a rim thickness of .055 -.010" and the later of .054 -.010".

Measuring brass:
32 S&W Peters .050"
32 S&W WW .051"
32 S&W Long RP .051"

So, Frankenmauser, you have corrected someone when YOU were wrong.
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Last edited by Mal H; April 10, 2011 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Snarkiness removed
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Old April 10, 2011, 01:28 PM   #9
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark
I am looking at the SAAMI registered drawings for the 32 Colt New Police [32 S&W Long] and for the 32 S&W.

The former has a rim thickness of .055 -.010" and the later of .054 -.010".

Measuring brass:
32 S&W Peters .050"
32 S&W WW .051"
32 S&W Long RP .051"
You are correct. SAAMI drawings do put the .32 S&W rim thickness at 0.054". However, more than one manufacturer uses a rim thickness more appropriate to the .32 Auto (which has a maximum thickness of 0.045").

.32 S&W CBC (Magtech) - 0.043"
.32 S&W S&B - 0.041"

You can easily say that is a problem with bad brass, and not representative of the cartridge. However.... that's what you have to work with. So, it has to be kept in mind, while dealing with these cartridges.

Either way, the rest of the statement still holds true, and differentiates .32 S&W from .32 S&W Long:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankenMauser
That is incorrect. The .32 S&W ("Short") uses a different body diameter, case wall thickness, rim thickness, and has a mild body taper.
You, of all people, should be aware of the reasons to keep your eye on the actual components on the market - especially the components being used for these old revolvers. You destroy firearms for a living!
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Last edited by Mal H; April 10, 2011 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Removed quoted snark
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Old April 10, 2011, 01:41 PM   #10
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Gentlemen, let's keep the snark out of the reloading forum, alright?

Several posts have been edited removing the original snark and a few quotes of it.
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Old April 14, 2011, 08:15 AM   #11
SHR970
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In answer to the original question posted by ZVP, I submit the following:

Source:
Lyman Reloading Handbook 49 th ed.
Copyright 2008
Pg. 334

Section 32 H&R Magnum

" Revolvers chambered for this cartridge will also fire 32 S&W, or 32 S&W Long ammo. However the reverse is not true."


As to FrankenMauser's issues with a specific weapon firing or not firing the cartridge, with all ammo types that have been around for a very long time, there are manufactuers variations and these can cause FTF in some weapons. Example, I measured the base diameter on a round or Western head stamped 32 S&W last night and it was .371". However, the rim thikness was .055"; right where it is supposed to be. My calipers are Brown & Sharpe, not some junk Harbor Freight specials so take tool error out of the thinking. Also, there are weapon maker variations in manufacturing so there could be some of the reason that your example 327 does not hit good on 32 S&W. Ruger QC has been a bit lax in the last two years from example weapons I've seen and handled.
We read on forums quite routinely of light firing pin strikes. Judging by the number of posts between the two senior members answering this chain, I'm sure we all agree that there are many reasons for these. A major contributor being ammo or weapon manufacturing tolerances.

As such, I still stand by my assertion that a 327 will SAFELY shoot 32 H&R Mag, 32 S&W Long, & 32 S&W. A 32 H&R will SAFELY shoot a 32 S&W Long, and 32 S&W. And Lyman agrees with me on the H&R...they don't just post data for the 327 YET...lets see what the 50th ed. says.
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