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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of you know I sold the holy grail of 32 Mags as I do not care for the cartridge. First, what is the holy grail of 32 mags? The 4" S&W M631 and I sold it to Terry Murbaugh for his wife. Terry and I have argued the merits of the 32 Mag for years. Terry and his wife love the cartridge due to its light recoil and accuracy. On my side, I do not see a thing that a 32 Mag can do that I cannot do as well and cheaper with a 38 Special. Enlighten me or just let me know how you feel about the 32 Mag. Regards, Richard
 

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....On my side, I do not see a thing that a 32 Mag can do that I cannot do as well and cheaper with a 38 Special. Regards, Richard
Well, the J-frame .32 will fire one more time than a .38 before you have to reload it!


I dunno, maybe the .32 mag makes a less messy killer of small critters for the stew pot?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The rationale for the .32 H&R Magnum in a small, lightweight snub revolver, I have read, is that it is substantially lighter-recoiling than is the same revolver in .38 Special. For most, a .38 Special in a flyweight snub revolver isn't a real problem, but for some it apparently is. That's why we see .32 H&R snubs on the market. I doubt that the .32 H&R is a better "stopper" thant he .38 Special.
 

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I liked the idea of the 32 H&R Mag when it came out. I just couldn't explain why!

I know I didn't consider it for defense.

I figured anything the .32 Mag could do, so could the .32-20...and more. Why one would need more from a .32 is not for me to answer, however.

I mostly thought the .32 Mag would be fun, and wanted a small to medium frame revolver in the round to goof around with. Something handy, but more than a .22. I thought the lead bullet at around 100 grains at around 1000 fps would make a nice bang, use little powder and lead, and be easy on guns.

I felt the S&W 16 (full lug) they made briefly was the finest .32 Mag, but was probably a little heavy for what I had been thinking about with that big ol' barrel lug. It looked nice, but should probably been a little trimmer. Maybe with a lighter K-22 size barrel?

Oooh, idea: A K-frame .32 Mag, with a 3 or 3.5" tapered barrel, and fixed sights. It would be like a mini-Model 21, or M22, or 1917. I'm not sure what it would be for, besides "just because", but that's reason enough sometimes.

Yep, a reintroduction of a K-frame .32 mag might be nice. But a K-frame cylinder is long enough to handle the .32-20, which can outperform the .32 Mag (if one feels the need), so if they made it in one caliber, people would cry for the other.
Of course, twin cylinders is a thought.

But, it's still a plinker, or "trail gun", and I don't think people are knocking down gunshop doors for trail guns.

The Ruger Single-Six 32 Mag is kinda slick. I think I saw more of them than anything. You get the markets of the plinkers and the Cowboys with that. A short-barreled Single Six .32 might be handy.
For something.
 

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How do I feel about the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge?

Well, for starters, I currently own five revolvers chambered for it and have been handloading the round since 1984.

1. Ruger Single Six Magnum (SSM) 6.5 inch barrel
2. Ruger Blackhawk Buckeye Special .32 Convertible 6.5 inch barrel and auxiliary cylinder chambered for the .32-20 WCF.
3. S&W Model 16-4 six inch
4. S&W Model 631 four inch
5. S&W Model 432PD two inch Centennial.

I consider the 631 to be the crown jewel of this group. It makes an ideal trail gun when stoked with my handloaded 90 grain Sierra JHC and 4.5 grains of Bullseye.

The .32 Mag is basically a reinvented .32-20 in a smaller and stronger straight wall case. All thingss considered, the .32 Mag is a better round for most uses. Just my opinion.....


Roadster
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Like BarryinIN, I too have been enamored with the .32 H&R Magnun from its introduction. I have all of the ones that "roadster" has plus a S&W Model 16-4 with 8-3/8" barrel and a H&R with a 4" barrel (but no snubs in the caliber. I consider it a sporting cartridge only.)



I figured anything the .32 Mag could do, so could the .32-20...and more.

But a K-frame cylinder is long enough to handle the .32-20, which can outperform the .32 Mag (if one feels the need) . . . .
BarryinIN: Look again at your reloading references. The only legitimate.32-20 data that exceeds the ballistics of .32 Magnum data is that intended for rifles (much stronger than handguns) like the Winchester Model 1892 and Marlin Model 1894, and is strictly forbidden in most revolvers. Legitimate .32-20 reloading data for revolvers has substantially inferior ballistics to .32 Magnum reloading data. The only source of reloading data that's erroneous on this (insofar as I am aware, there may be others) is the Hodgdon Data Manual No. 26 which lists .32-20 load data for handguns which is clearly too hot for older revolvers on the basis of the velocities for the load data. (They did develop the data using a Ruger SA, but this revolver is much stronger than the jillions of Colt and Smith&Wesson revolvers that exist in .32-20, and Hodgdon made no note that the loads were unsafe for the older DA revolvers. I have at least a half-dozen). (Metallic Cartridge Reloading, All New 3rd Edition also lists the too-hot Hodgdon handgun data.) In their No. 27 handloading manual Hodgdon does rectify the error with much more reasonable (pressure-wise) loads for revolvers.


In my view, the .32 H&R Magnum is an interesting, fun, mild-shooting, small game and medium varmint cartridge. But for the large varmints and personal defense there are much better options.
 

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Nevedaalan;

You may be right about the .32-20 showing up with inferior ballistics in modern loading manuals. I've used data gleaned from manuals that weren't so old when I first handloaded .32-20 thirty years ago. I've had excellent results with some of the warm handgun loads in my 1930's vintage M&P revolver. The old cartridge doesn't take a back seat to the .32 Magnum if carefully loaded and it's easy to achieve great performance in the larger volume case. The tapered case really lets one know when it's being crowded as it backs out and ties up the revolver.

I was pleased when the .32 Magnum was introduced though. It really fills a slot in revolver cartridges and deserves much more popularity than it receives. It's a real shooter's cartridge, just right for the fellow who loves to consume mass quantities of ammunition and also enjoys handloading and tinkering with a cartridge. It can give centerfire satisfaction for scarcely more than a .22 if one casts his own bullets. Alas, too many reach for the big bore or magnum. Sometimes I think they do out of a sense of image as much as anything else. They're missing out on a lot of fun by shunning the .32 Magnum or even the 32-20 or .32 S&W Long for that matter.

I messed up by not getting one of the neat S&W K-models in .32 Magnum when they were current. Now they cost some money. I'll just stay wedded to the .32-20 which is one of the most accurate revolvers in my menegerie.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nevedaalan;

You may be right about the .32-20 showing up with inferior ballistics in modern loading manuals. I've used data gleaned from manuals that weren't so old when I first handloaded .32-20 thirty years ago. I've had excellent results with some of the warm handgun loads in my 1930's vintage M&P revolver. The old cartridge doesn't take a back seat to the .32 Magnum if carefully loaded and it's easy to achieve great performance in the larger volume case. The tapered case really lets one know when it's being crowded as it backs out and ties up the revolver.
O.K. I won't argue with you, as long as you are aware that the reloading manual publishers now consider the rifle-level .32-20 loads of yore to be too hot for revolvers (apparently, even the Ruger SA's) and that you may be stretching the frame or deleteriously pounding the lockwork of your Smith DA revolver by using them.


P.S. There isn't really a Smith&Wesson Military & Police model revolver in .32-20. All S&W Military & Police models are in .38 Special. What you have is a ".32-20 Hand Ejector." I have 3 or 4 of these. The M&P and the .32-20 Hand Ejectors are identical except for the chambering.
 

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Mornin'

I used handgun data as presented in an older Lyman manual when exploring the upper ranges of the .32-20's capabilities. The .32-20 rifle data was in a separate section and featured a warning against use in handguns or weak rifles such as the Winchester Model 1873. Since having the initial round of fun playing with the cartridge I've settled on a moderate charge of Unique with lead SWC's for handgun use. Handloading manuals' data seem to become more watered down with every edition. Sorry about the M&P terminology. It is incorrect.

A look at the .32-20 as posted on Handgunplace.com;

http://www.handgunplace.com/forums/index.php?topic=365.0

Regretfully I didn't get on the .32 Magnum bandwagon as I had firearms, equipment, and experience in shooting the .32-20 and couldn't see the need in tackling another similar cartridge for my purposes. The .32-20 cartridge is in my top five favorites but I should have used the introduction of the .32 Magnum as an excuse to get new guns and handloading dies. The .32 Magnum is a more practical design for handgun use than is the .32-20. As BarryinIN says the .32 Magnum would be great to "goof around with". It's a shame that people aren't knocking down gunshop doors for trail guns in .32 Magnum. They don't realize what they are missing.

The reintroduced Model 16 would have been just right in my view if it had the traditional barrel configuration of the original K-32 instead of the clunky full-lugged barrel.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
O.K. I've got Lyman manuals going back to the 1950's so I'll have to take a look. (For curiosity. I just don't feel comfortable using hotter than contemporary revolver .32-20 data in the fine, old pre-war Smiths and Colts.)

Of the small flurry of revolvers introduced shortly after the appearance of the .32 H&R Magnum, the Smith Model 16-4 with the heavy underlug barrel was probably the biggest flop. It was in Smith's catalog only one year. Probably only a single production run of a few hundred hanguns were made. Didn't sell, didn't make any more. They are a rather rare handgun on the used market. A service-type barrel would have probably been a better seller, but probably not by much. Taurus and Rossi made such revolvers or a brief time, but they are rare. The main problem was the little cartridge just didn't take off and within a few years almost all revovlers for it had been discontinued.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't claim to be much of a reloader. But the best way to get power out of a 32-20 is the same way they did yr's ago. w/o excess pressure.

Just fill er up with fffg.
 
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