A Pair of 32s

I would have love to have written “A Brace of 32s” in the title, but I can’t because they’re not exactly alike. They’re close, however. I’m referring to a couple of Ruger Single Action Revolvers that have made their way into my collection. One is a Ruger Single Six .32 H&R Magnum and the other is a Ruger Single Seven .327 Federal Magnum.

Ruger Single Six and Single SevenKind of look alike, don’t they? It really is hard to tell them apart, but one does hold six rounds and the other seven. Up to a point, they both shoot the same types of ammunition. They both shoot .32 S&W Short, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, but only one of them, the Single Seven, also shoots .327 Federal Magnum.

I took them to Mississippi recently and thought they would be part of my family shooting adventure back on my grandparent’s farm. But rain shortened our outing and these never got fired. I really wanted to compare them, so I took them to the range last Sunday afternoon and put them through their paces, which for me simply means running a target out to 10 or 12 feet and punching holes in paper.

I didn’t have any .32 Short ammo on hand so I started with the .32 S&W Long. With that ammo you couldn’t tell a bit of difference in the two guns except for the fact that one shoots seven rounds before reloading while the other only shoots six. As far as shot placement, recoil (or lack thereof), sights, grip, etc. I could tell no difference.

Then I loaded them with .32 H&R Magnum cartridges. Still, there was no discernible difference. You can’t shoot .327 Federal Magnum in the Single Six, so I set it down and loaded the Single Seven with some Gold Dot .327 Federal Magnum. Loud – it’s loud! And the paper goes flying back when it is struck by one of the bullets propelled by that cartridge. That’s always fun to see, because even my .357 Magnum doesn’t send the paper swinging like the .327 does.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Just what are these guns good for? I could probably crank up a Earth, Wind & Fire record for you and let them declare “Nothing! Absolutely Nothing!” and you might agree. But – they really might have some use. For me, it’s just fun, or perhaps the fun of letting someone else have some fun while I watch. But  there was a day when I’d have used either one for rabbit or squirrel hunting. Or to keep the critters out of the hen-house. These days I don’t have a hen house, but I do have snakes and the .32s make a pretty good snake gun.

Way back before we knew better, cops in Europe considered the .32 enough gun. Even Teddy Roosevelt had some on the force when he was Chief of Police in New York City. But these days, we all pretty much understand it’s not such a good self defense caliber.

That’s not true of the .327 Magnum, however.  Here’s a little ballistic chart for you:

Cartridge Bullet Wt. Muzzle Vel. Ft./lbs Energy
.32 S&W Short 85 680 87
.32 S&W Long 98 778 132
.32 H&R Magnum 80 1150 235
.327 Fed. Magnum 100 1500 500

How about that .327 Federal Magnum? Not, too shabby, huh? It’s actually a favorite caliber of mine for personal defense, but of course these guns are little larger for daily defensive carry. But for a packing gun, on the trail or camping out, either would be ideal. And for just plain plinking fun, the .32 ammo isn’t very expensive and is still readily available. So, two Rugers for fun, that will belong to some of my grandkids someday.

Author: David Freeman

Professional dedicated to training and equipping people to live safely in a dangerous world.

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