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Thread: The .32 S&W Long as a man-stopper

  1. #541
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    Gents,

    I haven't taken the time to read this seemingly endless, but interesting, thread in its entirety. So, what I'm about to propose may have already been offered, but it seems to me that the Russkie's extended experience with the 7.62X38R (.30 Nagant) revolver would be pertinent to this topic.

    It's true that the .30 Nagant is, ballistically, more closely related to the .32-20 cartridge, but it's close enough to a heavily-loaded .32 S&W Long to be somewhat comparable.

    My ancient Tula-made Nagant revolver recently propelled a 107-grain FMJ-FP slug from military-surplus ammunition at 938 fps, clocked 10 feet from the muzzle. I've seen other data showing the military load reaching up to 1100 fps, or thereabouts.

    Whatever the precise velocity of the Nagant round, it's clearly in the neighborhood of the .32-20/.32 H&R Mag., if not the .32 S&W Long. And our Russian brothers apparently found the round had enough "man-stopping" ability to carry them through wars and civil strife from 1895 up to the 1950's and beyond. The Nagant revolver was largely superseded by the .30 Tokarev semi-auto pistol in the 1930's, but it remained in production up through WW II, and is likely still in use in some remote haunts of the former Soviet Union.

    So, for whatever it's worth, the Russkies obviously liked the Nagant revolver and it's little .30-caliber round, or they wouldn't have held on to it for so long.

    Happy trails,

    -- Cary Gunn --
    Last edited by Cary Gunn; 10-19-2017 at 05:43 PM. Reason: spelling

  2. #542
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Cary Gunn,

    Thanks for posting the info on the Nagant revolver, I was always curious and had thought it was "close" to the .32-20, but after having chronographed a selection of both vintage and modern .32-20 loads, your Nagant is a bit hotter, and compares well to the .32 H&R Magnum.

    While the .32-20 can be loaded "hotter" in strong, modern revolvers, the following gives some authoritative data as to what it actually did and does with factory ammo. The pre-WW2 ammo loaded with Sharpshooter powder approached 900 fps in the revolver and 1300 fps in the rifle. That level of performance can be very closely approximated using 4.2-4.5 grains of Olin AutoComp or Herco with the Accurate 31-105T bullet, which is safe in the S&W 1905 Hand Ejector and Colt Police Positive. Modern factory lead loads give about the same performance as the .32 S&W Long.

    Velocity Test of Factory .32-20 Ammunition in Rifle and Revolver

    Ammunition Description________Colt Police Positive 5”_____Savage Sporter 25”


    Rem-UMC 100-grain lead
    Kleanbore “Dogbone” box 1930s______898, 44 Sd, 116 ES________1302, 15 SD, 38 ES

    Peters 100-grain softpoint
    Kings Mills, Ohio 1940s______________870, 28, 71______________1150, 44, 137

    WRA 100-grain lead
    Red & yellow box 1950s_____________854, 33, 87_______________1263, 18, 53

    W-W 100-grain lead
    Rounded primer, yellow box, 1970s____800, 11, 31______________1241, 9, 22

    W-W 100-grain lead
    Flat primer, white box, 1990s_________778, 27, 69_______________1172, 18, 65

    R-P 100-grain lead
    Bridgeport, CT 1970s________________780, 24, 67_______________1181, 17, 52

    R-P 100-grain lead
    Lonoke, AR current production________716, 21, 55_______________1140, 12, 35

    Column Mean by Gun___________5” Revolver______________25” Rifle

    Average Velocity of Factory Loads___814 fps.______________1207 fps


    AND, for the curious, here is what a TT33 pistol does compared to a rifle in the same caliber:

    Velocity Test Data for 7.62x25 in TT33 Pistol Vs. 20” Rifle

    Handload assembled in Starline cases with CCI500 primers

    Ammunition Description___________Vel@15ft., Sd, ES n=10

    _______________________________TT33, 4.6”_____________Rem. 722, 20”


    Romanian Type P Ball, Factory 22, 1984____1461 fps, 27 Sd, 76ES_____1903 fps, 17 Sd, 50 ES

    Yugoslav PPU Ball,_____________________1310, 26 Sd, 66ES________1684, 15 SD, 50 ES

    Hdy 86-grain JSP, 7.4 grs. Olin AutoComp__1353, 20, 71_____________1872, 17, 51
    Last edited by Outpost75; 10-21-2017 at 04:43 PM.
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  3. #543
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    Great stuff. My clocking of Fiocchi 7.62 x 38R through my 1916 Tula/1895 Nagant gave 925-950 FPS with its 108 grain bullets. I ran this test to get a baseline for load assembly and powder weight testing with the handloads I put together in Starline brass, which I think the company swore to never make again. The Fiocchi brass survived firing in good order, which was surprising given the exaggerated crimp given the factory rounds.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  4. #544
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    What about the plain old 32 s&w? Lol

    I saw this post and forgot a friend of mine gave me a young America 32 s&w with a 1" octagon barrel about 10-15 years ago. It was really ruff and pitted. I sanded and polished it up and it's been sitting in my safe ever since. I ordered a box of ammo from sportsmans guide today for $20. My guess it has the stopping power of a 22 short?



    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 10-23-2017 at 11:14 PM.

  5. #545
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    The pointy 88 grain 32 Smith and Wesson bullet gets around 660-670 fps as factory loaded in my 4 1/4" 32 Long Regulation Police and 4" Colt Police Positive. If both are fired from pistols the comparison to a 22 short is not accurate in terms of "stopping power" in my opinion. At least from my guns.

    Yes, I know it is not the last word in personal protection. At some time in the past people reckoned that from a handgun it would do its job.
    Last edited by 35remington; 10-25-2017 at 10:55 PM.

  6. #546
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    I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet. I haven't read all the posts. But the .32 S&W first came out in 1878 and the .32 S&W long came out 1896. Up until after WWII we didn't have antibiotics. Thus getting shot would likely result in a slow death for the person who got shot due to infections. If they didn't die right away. Thus people tended to not want to be shot. It wasn't like they show in the movies or TV shows. So these pistols would have been a serious deterrent for the most part. The classic example was the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, who was shot twice in the abdomen and later died from gangreen. The assassin used a .32 S&W Ever Johnson revolver.

    Oops I just saw it was mentioned in Post number 7. I missed it earlier.

    I also liked Tripplebeards post with the vintage H&R advertisement. Where they were targeting kids to get a handgun. Those were the days. They can't do that anymore.
    Last edited by Earlwb; 12-17-2017 at 11:17 AM. Reason: add more information

  7. #547
    Boolit Master Walkingwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earlwb View Post
    I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet. I haven't read all the posts. But the .32 S&W first came out in 1878 and the .32 S&W long came out 1896. Up until after WWII we didn't have antibiotics. Thus getting shot would likely result in a slow death for the person who got shot due to infections. If they didn't die right away. Thus people tended to not want to be shot. It wasn't like they show in the movies or TV shows. So these pistols would have been a serious deterrent for the most part. The classic example was the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, who was shot twice in the abdomen and later died from gangreen. The assassin used a .32 S&W Ever Johnson revolver.

    Oops I just saw it was mentioned in Post number 7. I missed it earlier.

    I also liked Tripplebeards post with the vintage H&R advertisement. Where they were targeting kids to get a handgun. Those were the days. They can't do that anymore.
    You're talking man killing, not man stopping. I don't anyone that wants to get shot, even with a lowly 22 short. Which BTW I have used to kill cows, and pigs for slaughter. It's all a matter of shot placement.

  8. #548
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    All the .32's Were deemed good deterrent for Muggers in times past.
    They also were used for hunting "pot meat" successfully.

    Nowadays it seems "humane hunting" means NOT stalking game to within the Range of YOUR weapon's best 'killing range' but using a MUCH more powerful round to kill at a longer distance, thereby Scaring All other game animals out of the area.

    It seems lazy and counterproductive to me.
    Quiet Kills to allow further kills in the local area would seem better overall.

    Just my opinion.
    Chev. William
    Last edited by Chev. William; 02-09-2018 at 12:53 AM.

  9. #549
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chev. William View Post
    All the .32's Were deemed good deterrent for Muggers in times past.
    They also were used for hunting "pot meat" successfully.
    I think the reason the smaller .22 and .32 caliber revolvers held on so long was the fact that one could use the same ammunition in the handgun as they already had for use in a small game rifle. Or perhaps it was vice versa.
    The .32-20 and .44-40 was the next step up with dual use in rifle and revolver.
    I don't know of any American .38 cartridge game rifles of the era but the .36-.38 was a popular bore size for muzzle loading small game rifles. The British used some .38 Rook rifle cartridges.

  10. #550
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    38-40 wcf.

  11. #551
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    I have commented elsewhere on this site regarding the perceived effectiveness of the 32 S&W Long today vs. 100 years ago. In the era before antibiotics, ANY gunshot wound that was not immediately fatal had a fair likelihood of causing eventual death via infection, and death resulting from such infections was a miserable, slow, agonizing demise. This was common & general knowledge during these times. If a mugger brought a knife or club to oblige victim cooperation during his depredations, and the chosen mark hauled out a small revolver--that predator was in a world of hurt if the victim commenced hostilities. Unlike today, both the chance of infection AND a judiciary that looked upon the strafing of fleeing bad actors as fair social engineering policy created an environment where a small-caliber, under-powered sidearm was a viable alternative to being victimized. We are in a different world these days--our attackers will often NOT be dissuaded by the prospect of being shot, because gunshot wound survival is far more likely in modern times and the wound recipient is likely sedated by some form of pharmacological racing fuel. It is legally unsound to fire upon fleeing unarmed predators, and those we fire upon lawfully these days tend to be up in our face and presenting an imminent lethal threat. The defensive calculus has changed radically, and with this new calculus comes a need for significantly more powerful counter-measures. Our Navy no longer plies the oceans in wooden sailing ships for similar reasons.
    Last edited by 9.3X62AL; 02-09-2018 at 04:04 PM.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  12. #552
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    9.3x62AL,
    Very entertaining explanation, Also I like your 'signature' comments. A California Resident.
    Chev. William

  13. #553
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    We still forget that our culture begets our beliefs.
    A lot of Euro PDs like the 32 because it's small, quiet, and effective.
    With a little- but frequent- practice, shot placement works. Kill 'em or cripple 'em, your choice. Their thinking is to stop the bad guy and take him to court. The bad guys know this, and a warning shot in the leg or torso is usually sufficient.
    *Our* philosophy requires us to kill the perp immediately. Empty the gun. No trial.
    The bad guys know this, and will run and gun at first op.
    On the other hand, coupled with our budget saving lack of training, and stats showing the LAPD misses over 60%, and the LAPD's willingness to empty the mag makes the US a much more dangerous place for a citizen to be.
    * We've all (maybe) been out to the range; how about hunting? I've recently hunted song dogs with a bunch of (under 30) kids- all my shots were one shot kills. (Rem 700) These guys thought nothing of running the AR clip out and watching the dogs run away. And I can't really forgive them for not knowing what they do.
    * I have an old .32 Unique. And I practice. I have no doubt that a few head or upper torso shots will make someone immediately cease and desist. Or that a couple lower torso, thigh or shoulder shots could convince them to do the same.
    Everyone says it: "Shot Placement Is KEY!" Practice with appropriate targets.

  14. #554
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    9.3X62AL: Thanks for the msg. I thought I remembered @ 2/3 being misses, but my memory is just a memory these days. My kids and I go to the Burro Canyon range- get there before 10am on the weekends to get a good bench. We shoot rifles and pistols at the rifle range- and are always surprised at how bad some "pros" shoot. And how often! One cop always doing triple taps- explaining that the muzzle climb was a "2torso 1head" design of the gun. @25 yards he could kinda hit the paper plate sized target @ 25%. Most times only the first shot, but sometimes only the second. We're shooting clays at 100- same 10mm gun! *sigh* And I know you've seen it: "Lady" guns and "home defense" guns- 38+p and 44 rounds in a tiny snubnose lightweight toy frame. If those buyers had actually shot that gun at the range they'd trade for something more appropriate- only the 1st round might be close. My wife can consistently "front sight- fire" the 32 and the 380 rather well- but nothing bigger. I've seen too many "manly" types do way worse than my little woman. And I don't need an elk round to poke the nose of a door buster. Some folk shoot it, many just shoot at.

  15. #555
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    I think most folks would be surprised at how few academy students currently in LE training in this country had any exposure to handgun shooting prior to joining the departments they work for. Some candidates learned the rifle in Armed Forces basic training in varying levels, but prior handgun skills are pretty scarce commodities among that lot. Conditions might differ in more rural areas of the country, but I haven't done much training outside of CA/NV/AZ.

    I believe the return to the 9 x 19 Luger cartridge by a lot of agencies that went the 40 S&W/45 ACP route has to do with 1) inability of personnel to qualify readily with their service arms due to recoil responses and 2) ammunition costs--9mm is cheaper to buy, and if an officer needs 2-3 tries to qualify with the harder-kicking calibers that cost more money--such cost factors give pencil-pushers in the admin cubicle farms the cold sweats. My old shop seems to prefer 40 S&W more than the 45 ACP, and the 9mm sees little love. (Note: All of our autopistols carried by our deputies are personal purchases. There was a move afoot some years ago to go "All Glock/all 40 S&W", but that got kaboshed by the economic downturn c. 2008. I was retired by that time).
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  16. #556
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I have read for years this concealed carry guy, and that self defense guy say that .22lr is worthless.

    Perhaps.
    I have killed a lot of smaller than man sized creatures with a .22lr.
    I have killed man sized creatures with one. Yes Deer, yes with a spotlight, yes one shot, drt. Head shot, close range. Times were hard, I was young. hungry, Mea Culpa

    I throw myself on the mercy of the court.

    I have always felt, that if needed, a .22lr bullet to the offenders eye and he would have bigger problems to worry about than me. If he is still breathing that is.

    So then the ball is in my court, if I want to be able to stop that guy, I need to be able to put it in his eyeball at 20 feet or less. Preferably 5 out of 6 or better.

    I don't have any problem doing that on targets with either .32's or .22's.

    Real world, well has not happened, yet. Hopefully never does.

    My opinon, the lowly .22lr is a good killer for its size. IMO the .32sw long is better yet. A little slower but with 90 gr or bigger bullet compared to 36-40 gr. Means it hits much harder, penetrates better.

    Both of them are easy on old bones, low recoil, muzzle blast. Easier for this old man to keep in a tight group. Or to stick in someones eye if needed.

  17. #557
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    In reading the thread, where it left the rails is in supposing velocities for the 32 Long that never existed. Factory loads and handloads for most 32 Longs and appropriate, actual 32 Long ballistics really don’t exceed 800 fps with 98 grain bullets by much, if at all.

    When nylon bullets and space vehicles speeds entered the conversation things really went south.

  18. #558
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35remington View Post
    In reading the thread, where it left the rails is in supposing velocities for the 32 Long that never existed. Factory loads and handloads for most 32 Longs and appropriate, actual 32 Long ballistics really don’t exceed 800 fps with 98 grain bullets by much, if at all.

    When nylon bullets and space vehicles speeds entered the conversation things really went south.
    Many people who handload the .32 S&W Long for post WW2 strong guns approximate .32 S&W Magnum velocities and in the S&W J-frames you can do this responsibly, but the older I-frames and pre-war Colt don't last long when subjected to such abuse. And nose who attempted to hot-rod the .32 H&R above .32-20 levels weren't doing themselves many favors either.

    A 98-grain SWC like the RCBS with 2.5 grains of Bullseye is about 850 fps and equals what you really get out of .32-20 lead bullet factory loads. A more useful performance envelope that doesn't wreck the revolvers.
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  19. #559
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    I think most folks would be surprised at how few academy students currently in LE training in this country had any exposure to handgun shooting prior to joining the departments they work for.
    I went through the academy back in the mid 80s. There were two of us from my town. The other cop, a Vietnam veteran, had absolutely no handgun knowledge. There were many who did have handgun knowledge but at the end of the 3 week session, the only shooter with a perfect score was the other cop from my town. We had S&W .357s - everyone else had .38s. He listened to what he was taught, he had no ego problem, nothing to prove, and he just pointed and fired. It was kinda funny watching the reactions of those that should have done better.

  20. #560
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    Outpost, no quarrel with any of that. But the conversation started to become more about what only a relative few could do, not about what you could buy or responsibly shoot in probably most of the 32 Longs that are available to us.

    Debating the 32 as a “man stopper” then only talking about hotted up handloads that approximate another bigger cartridge that is loaded to higher pressures certainly answers the question of whether that person thinks predominantly encountered 32 Long ballistics are adequate or not.

    Sorta puts the answer firmly in the No!!!! area.

    At times things got weird subsequent to that in the discussion.

    Speaking for myself and my 1919 Police Positive and my 1924 Regulation Police, I think of the 32 Long as the version that can be safely and at least reasonably frequently fired in those guns like mine produced in their many thousands. I suspect most think the same way I do, but the conversation evolved into something different and, I think, less relevant in most ways.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check