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Old 12-14-2011, 08:07 PM
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Default Model 30 .32 S&W long revolver, ammo question

My wife has inherited a model 30-1 .32S&W Long revolver from her mother. It has fired very few rounds and looks practically brand new. The serial # places date of manufacture in the mid to late 1960s according to someone on another gun forum who claims to know that sort of thing. My wife intends to keep it as her "house gun", but I have been told that the only factory .32 Long ammo that is now available is loaded down to a very low pressure level so it won't blow up any of the many thousands of 19th century vintage El Cheapo .32 hinge-frame revolvers that are still in use.

I bought dies for reloading .32 Long and have ordered some 65 grain Gold Dot HP bullets to load in new brass for her little gun. I also have a Handloader's Digest that gives updated loading data for .32 Long ammo intended only for use in modern quality-built guns in good condition that can safely handle more pressure and deliver much higher velocity than generated by the .32 Long factory ammo that's available today. According to the data the .32 Long can be safely loaded to a level not far behind the .32 H&R but it's only safe if fired in a modern steel frame gun. Speer also gives data for loading the 65 gr Gold Dot bullet in .32 Long cases to produce higher velocity loadings for that cartridge.

However, I have read elsewhere that .32 Long cartridges loaded with a heavier than normal propellant charge should not be used in modern .32 revolvers unless the gun has a heat treated steel cylinder. Therefore my question is this, does anyone reading this post know whether or not Model 30-1 revolvers were heat treated at the time this revolver was manufactured? I would like to load several hundred rounds of higher performance ammo for my wife's gun so she can practice with the same ammo it will be loaded with for serious use , but I want to make sure that it's safe in her gun. Thanks in advance for any reliable info from anyone on this matter.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:05 PM
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Your right on the downloading of factory 32sw long rds. As late a production as your model 30 is it should be safe with any loads in the new manuals. I had a colt detective spl from the same time frame and shot lots of what would be considererd +p loads before the 32mag and never had a problem. Sixgunner john
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:18 PM
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You can also shoot 32 ACP out of your model 30. Several good HP's available for ACP.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:23 PM
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Lots of people have the chambers lengthened just a tad to allow the use of .32 H&R Magnum rounds with no ill effects.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:01 PM
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The "model numbers" were started in 1957, and heat treat was started long before that. I wouldn't try to go to magnum pressures, but +P shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:37 PM
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Thanks for all the info guys. I was pretty sure that even if it doesn't have a heat treated cylinder any modern steel Smith in good shape could safely handle quite a bit more pressure than the weak-sister .32 Long factory ammo that's loaded to be safe in ancient pot metal revolvers. When my ordered bullets arrive from Midway I'll go ahead and handload 20 or 30 rounds using data I found in my Handloader's Digest and try them myself before letting my wife fire it. I don't have data for the 65 grain Gold Dot bullets I have on order, but the data for 71 grain FMJ bullets should work OK for the Dots too. She has bad arthritis in her hands and can't tolerate much recoil so this little Smith will probably be all the gun she can handle. She previously had a H&R .22LR with a 2" barrel, but she now realizes that it was not adequate for stopping a deadly threat, and even the 5' rattler she killed with it while I was on the road took a long time to give up the ghost. Even a .32 Long revolver loaded with the best ammo available is still not a good manstopper. But a lot of LEOs carry little Keltec, Ruger, or Beretta .32 semiautos as BUGs, and according to my cousin's LEO husband when loaded with 60 grain Silvertip ammo they're proving to be more effective than anybody expected them to be.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:43 PM
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Default Heat treated S&W cylinders

Source: Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 3rd edition. The government contract for S&W to build 1917 45 ACP revolvers for WW I stipulated heat treated cylinders. By c.1920 S&W heat treated all of its revolver cylinders.

Therefore your 30-1 is heat treated and more than sufficiently strong for the "modern revolver loads". I use them in my 1966 vintage 30-1 with absolutely no ill effects. Feel comfortable to proceed with no reservations.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiram2005 View Post
You can also shoot 32 ACP out of your model 30. Several good HP's available for ACP.
What about extraction of the rimless .32 acp cases? What keeps them from slipping through the chambers to where the firing pin won't reach the primer? I hear that .32 acp Silvertips are used by quite few LEOs for their semiauto BUGs so they must be adequate for that role, but I haven't seen anybody loading those in a revolver. I appreciate your suggestion and I'm not doubting the information, I just don't quite see how it would work.

Anyway, I think I still have an old stash of GECO .32acp empty cases hiding out somewhere around my bench, and I'll try loading and extracting them in my wife's revolver. If they work OK that would open up a whole new bag of possibilities. Thanks again.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:05 PM
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The story of .32 S&W Long being loaded down is a bunch of hooey, the cartridge never was particularly powerful. It started out as a Black Powder cartridge for the .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1896, and is still loaded to pressure levels appropriate to guns of that period.

The tale about being loaded down for early top-break revolvers is also baloney, there never was a top-break revolver made for this cartridge. All S&W, H&R, I.J., Hopkins & Allen, etc. .32 caliber revolvers were chambered for .32 S&W, which is not the same cartridge as .32 S&W Long.

.32 ACP. Yes, you can shoot this in .32 S&W Long revolvers. In spite of being called "rimless" it is not. .32 ACP is a semi-rimmed cartridge.

Other cartridges which can be used are .32 S&W, .32 Short Colt and .32 Long Colt, although any of these will be both more difficult to find, and more expensive than .32 S&W Long if you do, so there would be no point. These are all documented in S&W advertising and box lid information, so if you are tempted to argue don't, you will lose.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Richard View Post
The "model numbers" were started in 1957, and heat treat was started long before that..
Thanks so much Richard, that's just what I was hoping to see. I can now feel much better about handloading the old blackpowder round using updated loading data without being afraid I might lose a couple of fingers, or much worse an eye. Thanks also to all you other folks who responded to my questions. I'm learning more about the Smith and the round than I thought I would, you folks are a wealth of information.

OK, it's gettin on toward bedtime here in the GA mountains for old folks like myself, I'll check the thread again tomorrow to see if there's more good stuff for me to learn about.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
.32 ACP. Yes, you can shoot this in .32 S&W Long revolvers. In spite of being called "rimless" it is not. .32 ACP is a semi-rimmed cartridge.

Other cartridges which can be used are .32 S&W, .32 Short Colt and .32 Long Colt, although any of these will be both more difficult to find, and more expensive than .32 S&W Long if you do, so there would be no point. These are all documented in S&W advertising and box lid information, so if you are tempted to argue don't, you will lose.
I know the .32acp case is semi-rimless, but It seems to me that it would still seat so far into the chamber that the firing pin might not reach far enough to fire it reliably. But since you're a gunsmith who ought to know all about these things I won't argue about it. Because like you say I would no doubt lose, and I'm just glad to learn how the acp round can work in a revolver. I have owned several Colt .32acp pistols and one Nazi war trophy .32 over the past 56 years since I became old enough (18) to buy guns in FL without a parent's written permission, but I never learned anything about using the acp round in a revolver until now.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:16 AM
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Here is some data on using the Speer 60gr GDHP in the .32 S&W Long.
https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=449e5...14A97DD6FE!172 About as good as you can get for the .32 S&W Long round.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm3rd View Post
I know the .32acp case is semi-rimless, but It seems to me that it would still seat so far into the chamber that the firing pin might not reach far enough to fire it reliably.
The chamber is just big enough for the cartridge case body to fit in. So if the rim is even only .005" larger in diameter than the case body it still won't go in the chamber any further than if the rim was an 1/8" larger.

As long as the rim is any amount larger than the case body, it will seat in the chamber to the same depth as a .32 long.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:12 AM
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Thanks Hondo, looks like my ammo problem has more than one solution. I now have data for a modernized and more effective .32 Long round and can also use .32acp factory rounds such as the 60 grain Silvertip which has a good reputation with many LEOs according to a couple of local LEOs I have talked with. I'm beginning to like this site, lots of helpful people here.
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:46 AM
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Alk8944 You are wrong sir I do have a near mint 6 shot H.&R. auto ejector top break that is chambered for .32 S&W long & short !!!
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Old 12-15-2011, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
Here is some data on using the Speer 60gr GDHP in the .32 S&W Long.
https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=449e5...14A97DD6FE!172 About as good as you can get for the .32 S&W Long round.

That 231 data looks promising. I think I'll start with 10 % less than max and work up to the recommended charge if I don't find any signs of excess pressure in my particular gun. I have used 231 for quite a few years and found it to be a very good propellent for .45acp and .38spcl handgun ammo, so it should also be good for modernized .32 Long. I have plenty of it on hand so I may try it first when I get the bullets I ordered. I know that there are many new propellants on the market nowdays that I haven't used, but I stocked up on my old standbys when Obama was elected and they still do the job for me.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sureshotbob View Post
Alk8944 You are wrong sir I do have a near mint 6 shot H.&R. auto ejector top break that is chambered for .32 S&W long & short !!!
That's a fact!
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....so if [he is] tempted to argue don't, [he] will lose.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:00 PM
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Here's some informal testing I did with Sellier & Bellot 32 S&W Long (aka 32 Colt New Police), and some Remington 32 Long ammo recently.

Here's the results for a 5 shot group of Remington 98 gr. and a 5 shot group of Sellier & Bellot 100 gr.

Remington 98 gr. lead round nose
Muzzle Velocity/ Ft. Lbs. Energy
652 f.p.s./ 93 ft.lbs.
689 f.p.s./ 103 ft.lbs.
678 f.p.s./ 100 ft.lbs.
677 f.p.s./ 100 ft.lbs.
703 f.p.s./ 108 ft.lb.s
Average muzzle velocity (5 shots) - 680 f.p.s.
Average foot lbs. of energy (5 shots) - 101 ft.lbs.


Sellier & Bellot 100 gr. lead flat point (round nose)
Muzzle Velocity/ Ft. Lbs. Energy
763 f.p.s./ 129 ft.lbs.
798 f.p.s./ 141 ft.lbs.
766 f.p.s./ 130 ft.lbs.
804 f.p.s./ 144 ft.lbs.
846 f.p.s./ 159 ft.lbs.
Average muzzle velocity (5 shots) - 795 f.p.s.
Average foot lbs. of energy (5 shots) - 140 ft.lbs.

I did some informal researching in various older reloading manuals that were hand-me-downs from my friend, including Speer, Hornady, etc., and the tables in the classic Smith's "Pistols and Revolvers of the World". The average/standard listing for the classic 32 Colt New Police and the identical S&W 32 Long rounds with 98 gr. bullets are 705 f.p.s. delivering 108 ft.lbs. of energy. Pretty anemic.

The S&B round was the highest velocity and ft.lbs. advertised anywhere on the internet compared to Remington, Winchester, Magtech, etc. The 2nd hotest performing brand advertised was the Magtech which one of our members recommended, but I did not purchase any of it.
Neither the Remington or the Sellier & Bellot shot quite as fast or delivered quite as much energy as they advertised at (which I expected). The Remington advertised at 705 f.p.s. and 115 ft. lbs. The Sellier & Bellot advertised at 886 f.p.s. and 174 ft.lbs. I expected both brands would chrono at a little less than advertised claims. My main interest in doing these tests were to see if the S&B ammo came close to their claims because the f.p.s. and ft.lbs. they claimed made the round a little more viable as a close range self defense rd. to me. After all, standard 38 Special goes at about 780 f.p.s. and gets about 195 ft.lbs. But, the 38 Special does have an advantage in a larger cross sectional density.

I am happy to report that the Sellier & Bellot ammo is indeed much "hotter" than any other brand's advertised claims, and is a better self defense round in this loading than the other ammo makers offer.
The figures I reported from the S&B ammo are definitely higher enough compared to the standard offerings citing well established averages for this old chambering. Therefore, to me it is worth buying instead of Remington, Winchester, etc. I initially ordered two boxes of 50 rds. I think I will order two more to make sure I have a good supply of it. It also has the added feature of having a flat nose for us Colt fans instead of the round nose profile of the S&W 32 long lead round nose that everybody else makes. But that adds nothing to performance, of course.

Tenths of decimals were rounded off from f.p.s. and ft.lbs. of energy for this casual report.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:39 PM
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I tried the Sellier & Bellot and found it to be very inaccurate. I was all over the place on the target. The Remington shot much better for me and was much cleaner. The S&B is some dirty ammo. I would love to find someone to custom load about 100 rounds of good .32 S&W L for self defense.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:48 PM
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Hornady custom loads.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hearsedriver View Post
I tried the Sellier & Bellot and found it to be very inaccurate. I was all over the place on the target. The Remington shot much better for me and was much cleaner. The S&B is some dirty ammo. I would love to find someone to custom load about 100 rounds of good .32 S&W L for self defense.
I guess every gun is different. I had no accuracy problems with S&B ammo.
I found it a little dirtier than any other brand I shot.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:53 AM
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just based on advertised fps/ fpe the top four commercial brands i could find were

Sellier and Bellot 100 gr. 886fps/174 fpe
Georgia Arms 85 gr hollow point 850 fps / 136 fpe
Federal 98 gr wadcutter 780 fps/ 132 fpe
Mag Tech 98 gr hollow point 778 fps/ 132 fpe

of course as malysh point out these numbers will vary significantly from what you will get depending on gun, barrel length and even from round to round.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyJoe View Post
just based on advertised fps/ fpe the top four commercial brands i could find were

Sellier and Bellot 100 gr. 886fps/174 fpe
Georgia Arms 85 gr hollow point 850 fps / 136 fpe
Federal 98 gr wadcutter 780 fps/ 132 fpe
Mag Tech 98 gr hollow point 778 fps/ 132 fpe

of course as malysh point out these numbers will vary significantly from what you will get depending on gun, barrel length and even from round to round.
Joe, that is precisely how I started my "research".
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:44 AM
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•Caliber: 32 S&W Long
•Bullet Weight: 98 Grain
•Bullet Style: Lead Round Nose
•Case Type: Brass

Ballistics Information:

•Muzzle Velocity: 705 fps
•Muzzle Energy: 115 ft. lbs.
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Old 12-16-2011, 10:47 AM
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32 S&W Long Winchester Super-X Handgun Cartridge, 98-grain Lead Round Nose Bullet 705 fps.
Use for plinking and target shooting.

Features: Accurate, Sure Functioning, Controlled Recoil
Description: Excellent Accuracy, Lubricated Bullet, and Sure Functioning

115 ft/lbs. energy muzzle
670 fps at 50 yards
98 ft/lbs. at 50 yards
635 fps at 100 yards
88 ft/lbs. at 100 yards
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:56 PM
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I still have a few rounds of Fiocchi .32Long 98 gr FMJ that is at least 25 years old. The box says 830 fps. European .32 Long seems to be loaded a tad warmer than US ammo.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:39 PM
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Fiocchi advertises for the 97 gr fmj 800 fps which would result in 138 fpe.

it hasnt been in stock anywhere for a while.
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:14 AM
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Hondo 44 and sureshotbob,

The question was regarding S&W revolvers, there was never a S&W top break in .32 S&W Long.

There may be some .32 S&W Long top break H&Rs from the 1950-60s, hardly the period usually associated with this frame style, and far stronger than the early black powder era guns.

Early, at least some, H&R and I.J. revolvers chambered and marked for .32 S&W were bored straight through and will chamber the .32 S&W Long, but that doesn't mean they should be used with that cartridge.

If you can come up with a photo of any pre-1940 top break revolver of any make which is marked on the barrel for .32 S&W and S&W Long, I would be interested in seeing it, please post! Otherwise we will have to assume you are merely speaking of early guns that will chamber either, not intended bu the manufacturer to be used with both cartridges.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hearsedriver View Post
I tried the Sellier & Bellot and found it to be very inaccurate. I was all over the place on the target. The Remington shot much better for me and was much cleaner. The S&B is some dirty ammo. I would love to find someone to custom load about 100 rounds of good .32 S&W L for self defense.
I suspect that some lots of the S&B .32 NP ammo may have crimping issues. I bought two boxes last year from J&G Sales, and both boxes have given me problems with bullets jumping crimp. In the larger guns is isn't a functional issue, but I suspect that it has to impact accuracy and velocity. When fired from a Colt Pocket Positive or an I-frame Terrier however, the jump is so bad that it will bind up the gun after 2-3 rounds are fired. The bullets can then be 'snapped' back into place with finger pressure and then fired normally. This was disconcerting to be because it is the first time that I have ever had this problem with factory ammo in any of my guns.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
If you can come up with a photo of any pre-1940 top break revolver of any make which is marked on the barrel for .32 S&W and S&W Long, I would be interested in seeing it, please post! Otherwise we will have to assume you are merely speaking of early guns that will chamber either, not intended bu the manufacturer to be used with both cartridges.
That would be like looking for a revolver marked "For 357 magnum and 38 Special Ctgs". Take a look at old advertising from the pre WW2 era, especially catalogs. It was not unusual to show revolvers with pictures of the intended ctgs. The smokeless era large frame, 6 shot H&R and IJ revolvers were intended for 32 S&W Long. Heck, most of the old top brake revolvers made before WW2 have NO caliber marking on the barrel. Maybe they were not intended to be used with ANY cartridge since they were not marked with a caliber. ;-D
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