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Thread: I am working on my third .32 H&R Magnum handload....

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Omaha, NE
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    I am working on my third .32 H&R Magnum handload....

    My very first .32 Mag was a S&W Model 631 Super-Kit-Gun. I originally (about 20 years ago) worked out a Unique load that duplicated the factory load (I did not want to go any higher pressure than factory with the little J-frame), but Unique does not meter well making reloading slow. I tried WW540. It worked well and metered great. Then 540 was dropped. I went to HS-6 (which was reportedly a duplicate of 540). It seems like it really is a duplicate. I dropped down and worked up again to exactly what I was using with 540 (5.6gr with an 85gr Hornady XTP or a 98gr RCBS RNFP). It matches the velocity of my factory 85gr jacketed load, but it less than what is published by Federal.

    Later on, I bought a Ruger Super-Single-Six. It can take a lot more pressure than the S&W. I worked up to 8.5gr of 2400 with an 85gr XTP (remember this is MORE than factory pressure and needs a solid gun). I later reduced it to 7.5gr to make ejection easier. A very accurate load that is actually higher velocity than factory loads and about equal to published loads. Later on, I came across a Ruger SP-101, dropped down the 7.5gr 2400 load and worked up again for it. It can also take the load. The only problem is that with a 3" barrel, it can double as a flame thrower. It burns the HS-6 much more thoroughly, although a little slower.

    I recently bought a S&W Model 331 ti, titanium cylinder, 2" barrel, aluminum frame, DAO. The 5.6gr HS-6 was as accurate as could be expected, but the titanium cylinder got VERY dirty, VERY quick. Within two cylinders full, I had to pry the cases out. I sent it back to S&W to have the chambers repolished and recoated. That helped a little bit. I could get to about 30 rounds without it getting too dirty. Better, but not good enough.

    I am now working with WW231 powder. I remembered that it was the cleanest powder I have ever used. However, it was never better than my other powders in any other way, and cleanliness was not all that important with steel cylinders, so I quit using it. Still kept the bottle around, though. Started with 3.6gr of 231 and have since worked up to 4.0gr. It is a great improvement in cleanliness. I could probably shoot up to 50 rounds with 231 before it got too hard to eject. Accuracy is as good as can be expected with a 2" barrel and a DAO action. Next to try is 4.2gr. If it works well, that will probably be my maximum, based on loads I have collected from all over.

    Here are a few of the .32 H&R Magnums I am working with.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    P.S. The S&W 331 is a great concealed carry gun. Even with the dirt problem, I have been carrying it for a while with two carry strips. There is no problem with 18 rounds tying up the gun since S&W polished it. It is small enough to hide in a pocket easily and is light, light, light. I can also shoot it more accurately than my 642 (same size) in .38 Special. Also, the S&W Model 16-4 shown above has since been rechambered to 32-20 WCF.
    Last edited by Harry O; 08-08-2018 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Rocky Mountains
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    6
    You should have rechambered the S&W to .327 Federal Magnum. I picked up a 4 inch 16-4 a few weeks ago because I had a brand new 16-4 cylinder I bought years ago. I had the extra cylinder rechambered for .327 by Hamilton Bowen. It still shoots .32 mag very well along with .327 magnum, and I can return it to factory condition if I ever want to sell it. If I hadnít had the spare cylinder I would have had a .22 lr cylinder rechambered. Love the .32 revolvers.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    The .327 Magnum did not exist when I rechambered it to 32-20.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Nov 2012
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    Central Virginia
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    Thank you for that good write-up Harry O.

    It has been many years since I last played with the 32 H&R Mag but it was a fun cartridge. I sold off my guns and gear for that cartridge years ago to fund something that I just had to have and now I can't even remember what that must have thing was.

    The 32 S&W Long is a great little target round but unfortunately guns chambered for it tend to be either outstanding or horrible. In a good gun it can be a fantastic target round. When the 32 H&R magnum was introduced I hoped that we would see more good guns chambered in 32 H&R mag but it just never really took off.
    When the 327 Federal came out, the flickering flame of the 32 H&R magnum got a little brighter. I think people "rediscovered" the good attributes of the 32 H&R Mag.

    The 32 H&R Magnum is a great cartridge !

  5. #5
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    East Central Illinois
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    I must agree the 32 H&R is a great little round. I shoot a pair of old S&W's and love them. Low recoil, great hand feel and accurate as can be.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Nov 2008
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    HarryO, i expected Dale53 to stop by and chat with you about his pet loads for the 32 H&R... he has both the unaltered Model 16-4 and the Model 631 in that caliber and loads for them extensively. In fact, he frequently tells me that he feels the H&R is superior as a revolver round to my favorite, the 327 (but that is another LOOOOOONG discussion requiring much time and many adult beverages! ) I do know that he tends to stay with bullets in the 100 grain +/- 10 range, and with scope or red dot and off the bags gets truly impressive results.

    Sorry your Model 16-4 can't be used as a 327 Fed Mag, but a truly modern revolver (with modern, strong steels) in 32-20 must be a joy to behold. I've even considered having a 32-20 cylinder cut for my Stainless "Project 616" but I'm thinking that at my age I need to finish some of my other projects and stop dreaming up new ones.

    I have one question for you, though. If I am reading your posts correctly, it seems you are using some speed strips to carry 32 H&R, which would also work for S&W L and 327 FM of course. Am I reading correctly, and if so would you be willing to share a source? I would spring for a bunch of those since I could use them across the variety of guns and frame sizes for which I have 32s.

    Regards,
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Southwestern Ohio
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    Green Frog;
    I just did a quick search - I haven't used these (my EDC is a 642) but here are two links for the speed strips:

    https://www.amazon.com/Tuff-Quickstr...peed+strips+22

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...ack-of-2-black

    Harry O:
    I bought a Ruger Single Six in .32 H&R, a S&W 631, and a 16-4 (6") as soon as they hit the market. Later, I bought a Ruger SP101. I have shot my .32's a LOT!

    I quickly realized that I desired a comfortable, ACCURATE, and EFFECTIVE range and small game load. I found that I was happier with 800-1000 fps. I found that with a 100 gr. Group Buy Keith SWC from this forum . My load of choice became 3.5 grs. of Win 231 with either the Group Buy Keith of the RCBS 98 gr. SWC (and absolutely EXCELLENT bullet for the .32's as Al has suggested) in the .32 Magnum case. The RCBS bullet will handle a bit heavier powder charge as it has more of the bullet outside the case. The strength of the various revolvers has varied depending on make and size.

    These loads should work well in any S&W and Ruger revolver chambered for these rounds. Here is data from Hodgdon;

    BULLET WEIGHT
    100 GR. SPR JHP
    Starting Loads Maximum Loads
    Manufacturer Powder Bullet Diam.
    C.O.L. C.O.L.: Cartridge Overall Length Grs.
    Vel. (ft/s)
    Pressure
    Grs.
    Vel. (ft/s)
    Pressure
    Winchester 231 .312" 1.345" 3.3 860 15,600 CUP 3.7 947 19,400 CUP
    Hodgdon HP-38 .312" 1.345" 3.3 860 15,600 CUP 3.7 947 19,400 CUP

    Todays HP-38 and Winchester 231 are the same powder. In the past, HP-38 was non-canistered powder and reportedly some lots were faster than canister grade Win 231. A chronograph can be very helpful in determining such as that.

    At any rate, Harry O., your choice of 231 ranks with my opinion as a GOOD choice. I have done some chronograph work with H-110. Hodgdon shows no data for H110 in this caliber with a 100 gr. bullet. I have a custom barrel for my TC Contender and those rounds were shot in that pistol.

    Your loads are in agreement with the RCBS #1 Manual (max of 4.0 grs with 231, 3.9 with HP-38 giving in excess of 1100 fps). The stronger guns can use a bit more giving some faster loads but you are on your own, there.

    At any rate, 231 and HP-38 with a proper bullet give me all that I need with this VERY fine cartridge - ACCURACY, SHOOTING COMFORT, and EXCELLENT, edible small game performance.

    Froggie, I am REALLY looking forward to our next ".32 Caliber North/South Skirmish!

    FWIW
    Dale53

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Froggie: The speed strips were at Midway. They have a lousy search function, but I was finally able to find them. They work well. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/51...ack-of-2-black

    The first handgun I ever shot was a 32-20. There are several in my possession now (and a rifle). I have spent a lot of time with the .32 Long and moved into the .32 H&R Magnum as soon as it came out. I did not move big time into the .32 H&R until Starline started making brass. I had to shoot the S&W 631 most of the time with .32 Long brass because the Federal .32 H&R brass split so quickly. After Starline, I started laying in other .32 H&R guns. Also have a couple of .32 Colt and several .32ACP guns. .32's are like a grown-up .22LR,

    I agree that a modern gun in 32-20 is great. It is one of my favorites -- and very accurate, too. PS, I use 100gr bullets in the 32-20 (or heavier). 85gr ones work well in my .32 H&R handloads. Lead only in .32 Long or .32 Colt.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Michigan
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    590
    The lgs has a Henry golden boy in 327. It has been haunting me since I first picked it up. It is indeed a cool and wicked little round.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Mar 2005
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    The velocity variations when then 327 is in anything other than flame thrower and “render you deaf” mode are troubling. If 32 Long or 32 H and R loads are most shot I would suggest buying one instead.

    Failing that, make a very conscious effort to orient the powder to the rear before shooting the shot.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Update: I have tried the 4.2gr W231 load and have decided to stick with the 4.0gr load. The 4.2gr load impacted higher than the point-of-aim and a little to the right. Group size was just a little bigger, but a couple of targets is not really enough to tell for sure. The 4.0gr load is right where the point-of-aim is, so it is probably very close to the factory load -- probably. It is FAR cleaner than the 5.6gr HS-6 load and totally ends the dirt-tying-up-the-gun problem. I will be loading up a bagfull of 231 loads soon. When I get to the outdoor range next, I will chrono the load.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    North central Ohio
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    I've used 3.7 grains of 231/HP-38 for years in the .32 mag. If you have access to any, 3 grains of WST is another load to like. Very clean, easy to meter.


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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