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Old 09-11-2021, 01:38 PM
Bastogne71 Bastogne71 is offline
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Default Reloading the 32 S&W long

I decided to work up a good load in my S&W model 31-1. The first problem is the lack of available components so I had to use what I had on hand. The other problem is that there is a lack of reloading data for the 32 long.

First, let me list all the common information for my experiments:
Pistol: 4” model 31-1 J Frame
Bullet: Rainer 100gr plated HP
Case: R-P
Primer: CCI-500
Overall length: 1:24”
10 round strings @ 25 yards from rest
Chronograph: Oehler 35P @ 10 feet

The first try was with Vihtavuoi N-310 using data from their webpage.
First 1.8 gr: 517 fps, awful accuracy, and huge velocity spread. I think it was a problem with inconsistent ignition due to low pressure.
2.0 gr: 629 fps, about 5” group, and again, huge velocity spread.
2.2 gr: This is VV’s max load. 706 fps, 3.8” group
2.4 gr: I felt safe in a modern J frame. 788 fps, 3.6” group
The problem is that Vihtavuori shows 2.2 gr giving 909 fps! OK they used a 7” barrel, probably not vented but I should have been less than 200 fps off. The extreme velocity spread for the last two loads was about 100 fps even though accuracy was good considering the fixed sights on a J frame.

Next different powders. The load data is from Speer #14. I thought that since the pistol is strong enough for standard 32 pressure, I’d use the maximum charges.
Bullseye 2.3 gr: 629 fps, 6.1” group
W231 2.5 gr: 568 fps, 5.3”
Unique 3.0 gr: 632 fps, 4.5”
3N37 3.8 gr, 626 fps, 8.4”
Speer used a 3” model 31-1 in their testing so I should have equaled or exceeded their velocities but I was 166 to 240 fps under their published data. ????

Then, just because I have a good stock of Vihtavuori N340, I decided to give it a try. But since there is absolutely no data for this powder, I just took my best SWAG (Scientific Wild *** Guess). Well I got 739 fps and a 5.3” group. But it I toss out one flyer, the other nine rounds grouped into 2.81” I’ll have to try this one again. I did not post the powder weight because it is unsupported data on a public forum & some idiot might try it in his top break Ivor Johnson and blame me when things don’t go well. PM me if you want to know.

I will be trying the better loads again so stay tuned. Any help or suggestions the low velocities and large extreme spreads will be welcome.
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:51 PM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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I would guess that the number one reason that you are getting lower than expected velocities and poor groups is that you are using plated bullets. Want to duplicate published data results? Use lead bullets like they did. I have no experience with plated bullets and don’t expect to. In many articles in Handloader magazine about loading various handgun ctgs. I have never read anything good about plated bullets.
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Old 09-11-2021, 02:28 PM
rockquarry rockquarry is offline
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Plated bullets may work okay in some instances, but try regular cast bullets of the right diameter for comparsion. Try several different such bullets if available. Refer to a Lyman book; lots of cast loads. You might speed up some of your non-max loads a bit; many of those are too slow and that can be one of many factors that affects accuracy.

Work toward an accurate load first; consider extreme spread next if you consider it at all. Extreme spread and standard deviation indicate consistency only and not accuracy. Many loads with low numbers will not be accurate. Many more factors make up accuracy. That's not to say you can't have an accurate load that has low numbers, because you can, but striving for low numbers first is not the best way to go about this.

It's good you're testing loads at 25 yards. This will save much time and ammo during load development as you can quickly weed out bad loads, something that's difficult to do if you test up close.
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Old 09-11-2021, 03:17 PM
jack the toad jack the toad is offline
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Interesting thread as .32 is becoming one of my favorite calibers to shoot. Not to hijack or drift, but is there a .32 die that loads the gamut of current .32 revolver cartridges, (ie; S&W, S&W Long, H&R mag, Fed mag, etc)???
Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-11-2021, 03:31 PM
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My Hornady set will do the full .32 range. I’m Shute any new set of .32 dies are that way.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:02 PM
Bastogne71 Bastogne71 is offline
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Thanks for the replies. None of my usual sources have any cast 32 bullets in the 90-100 grain range in stock so I plan to spend some time searching for a casting company with something either in stock or a reasonable delivery time. So I used what I had on hand, even if it wasn’t an optimal choice.

jack the toad, my RCBS dies are labeled 32 Long/32 H&R Mag and work fine for 327 also.You will have to readjust the bell & seat/ crimp dies when you change cartridges just the same as as you do for 38/357 dies.

What I’m looking for is a load that will give good accuracy at reasonable velocity for a 32 long. If I want more power, I’ll start shooting a model 631 in 32 Mag or a Ruger SP-101 in 327. I plan to see if the Vihtavuori N310 and N340 can repeat the good results I got the first time.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:58 PM
teletech teletech is offline
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I've found most loads run 3"-6" at 25yds with Red Dot, Unique, Bullseye, Green Dot, and AA#5 all turning in groups at or below 3" depending on charge and bullet (mostly 90gr).

There are several good writeups online on the .32 to be found online. For just a few, try a search for
Tales from the Back Creek Diary
“Cast Bullets Turn the .32 ACP into A Bunny Buster”
"Fun with .32 Popguns"
“The sweetest shooting revolver…I have ever handled…”
Sorry, I don't have links to offer but if you come up empty PM me and I'll send you some downloads.

Most .32ACP/32SWL dies will also do .32H&R at least as well as .32SW. I haven't looked into .32mag but I'd be surprised if it didn't work also.
I happen to be running Lee dies since that's what I got a good deal on.

SNS casting usually has a few options for .32 bullets in stock.
Some of the older manuals have data for heavy (115gr) bullets often seen used in the 32-20 as well.
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:03 PM
mtgianni mtgianni is offline
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I use lead exclusively with the 32 Long. 2.1 gr Bullseye and a 98 gr RCBS swc, cast soft, get me 2" groups at 25 yards when I do my part with the old I frame.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:23 PM
series guy series guy is offline
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Penn Bullets has a nice lead semi-wadcutter. I just bought some last week. Loaded over 2.0gr. of Titegroup. Shot at 20 yards D/A. I have a 4" gun also but haven't had a chance to test it with this load yet.
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Old 09-11-2021, 10:35 PM
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I like my .32 revolvers because they shoot all the .32 bullets except .32 mag. shorts, longs, and acp's. I'll worry about accuracy some day but not today. I haven't used it for hunting yet so that will tell the story. Heck i haven't even used my S&W at the range as of this writing .

Last edited by Llance; 09-11-2021 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:27 AM
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OP Quote - The first try was with Vihtavuoi N-310 using data from their webpage.
First 1.8 gr: 517 fps, awful accuracy, and huge velocity spread. I think it was a problem with inconsistent ignition due to low pressure....

The problem is that Vihtavuori shows 2.2 gr giving 909 fps! OK they used a 7” barrel, probably not vented but I should have been less than 200 fps off. The extreme velocity spread for the last two loads was about 100 fps even though accuracy was good considering the fixed sights on a J frame.

I know it may sound a bit far-fetched but this kind of result is not that unusual when powder charges do not come all that close to filling the case volume. I have had similar results, as have others, that have posted their experiences on this forum.

I have had notable, variable, velocity results due, mostly, to powder placement in the cartridge case. Considerably more consistent results were obtained when the powder was physically closer to the base of the case (primer) accomplished by gently shaking the loaded firearm, with muzzle up, and then carefully returning to firing position. If the opposite operation is performed you may have a difficult time believing the difference in velocity and the far greater standard deviation of muzzle velocities.

My personal experience is that "coated" .32 bullets generally offer the highest muzzle velocities when all other factors are similar. I've compared identical bullets, copper-plated (washed), lubricated lead alloy, powder-coated that were otherwise loaded identically. Powder-coated almost always wins the race.

Congrats on your use of a chronograph. Hard to believe the number of fellas that reload without one and settle for guess-work.
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Old 09-12-2021, 02:05 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Since the 32 family of revolver cartridges share the same diameter and cylindrical shape, unless there is insufficient range of adjustment one should be able to use the same set of dies for any length of cases. I can only speak from experience of Lyman and RCBS die sets and they have worked fine for 32 S&WL up through 327 FM. I did use a Lee set for S&W Long and H&R, but had swapped them off before the 327 came along. I’m pretty sure they would handle it though.

I’m sort of “shaking down” my choices of 32 cal bullets with the goal of picking the most versatile. Currently I’m leaning toward finding a wadcutter around 90-95 grains, a SWC or FPRN somewhere around 105-107 grains and a heavy bullet somewhere in the 115-125 gr range. I’ve standardized on .313” sizing to fit my tight chambered recreated Model 16-3. That should provide a pretty full range of loads for rounds from S&W Long to 327 FM. I really need to make some decisions because I have over twice this many moulds to choose from now.

Froggie

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Old 09-12-2021, 02:25 PM
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Acme shows some 100 gr coated in stock. I just purchased 500 a few months ago.

32 CAL 100 Grain RNFP - COATED
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