December 5, 2011

Ruger SP101 KSP-3231X .32 H&R Magnum

Gun Tests magazine recently examined a .32 H&R Magnum revolver in response to a fresh interest in the snub-nosed revolver. The Ruger SP101 SP-3231X was chambered for .32 H&R Magnum. However, the six chambers of the SP101 KSP-32731X provides about one-eighth inch of additional space to accommodate .327 Federal Magnum ammunition. This is a new cartridge developed by Federal and Ruger that seats a 0.312-inch diameter bullet atop a taller, stronger case that they measured to be just less than 1.2 inches long.

Accuracy tests were performed from a sandbag rest from a distance of 15 yards. Two different loads in each caliber were fired single action only. The .32 H&R Magnum ammunition was Federal Champion 95-grain lead semi-wadcutters and Federal Personal Defense 85-grain jacketed hollowpoints. They had difficulty locating any .327 Magnum ammunition. Fortunately, they were able to locate American Eagle 100-grain jacketed soft points and Federal Premium 85-grain Hydra-Shok JHP rounds at Tomball Pawn in Tomball, Texas, (www.TomballPawn.com). Retail price was $23.95 for a box of 50 rounds of the American Eagle and $18.95 for the Hydra-Shok ammunition. The Hydra-Shok was packaged in plastic 20-round display boxes. The Hydra-Shok packaging looked great, but as usual they found each box difficult to open.

They wanted to know if the creation of a new cartridge was worth the trouble. Was it more accurate? Did it offer a desirable increase in power yet still avoid the loud noise and harsh recoil of .357 Magnum ammunition. Was the .32 H&R Magnum still viable, or would the .327 Magnum make it obsolete?


This gun is ideal for those who prefer to avoid the recoil of bigger-bore snubbies. It is also a lot of fun to shoot.

The magazine found, in terms of construction, that everything they had to say about a similar .327 Magnum model held true for the .32 H&R Magnum SP101. However, this gun was more forgiving in terms of shooting alternate ammunition such a .32 S&W. The lower pressure helped make it less sensitive to debris building up in the chambers. Firing the H&R Magnum ammunition, they were reminded why this caliber is still hanging on. The recoil was pleasant, and accuracy did not depend largely on recoil control, a characteristic common to snub-nosed revolvers of more powerful calibers. Velocity of the more powerful rounds, the 85-grain JHPs, was closer to 1100 fps and produced about 211 ft.-lbs. of energy.

In the August 1999 test of .32 H&R Magnum snubbies, the SP101 KSP-3231 produced more than 290 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy firing 50-grain MagSafe Defender ammunition. This is one of the top-selling frangible rounds. The low bullet weight helped contribute to less muzzle flip. For those with less hand strength or a touch of arthritis, or even shooters with less time to practice, the appeal of .32 H&R Magnum is obvious. A 4-inch-barreled SP101 chambered for .32 H&R Magnum was recently discontinued. They would have liked to know how much added velocity and punch was available from the 4-inch barrel.

As noted, the double-action trigger on the .32 H&R revolver was lighter than the one found on the .327. The difference was only 2 pounds but it seemed like more. The 12-pound DA trigger found on the .32 H&R is generally accepted as the ceiling. They think 14-pound DA triggers are excessive. They found it much easier to replicate rapid fire strings dry-firing the .32 H&R model and then perform such drills live.

From the bench they were happy to find that the hollowpoint ammunition was not only stronger but more accurate. They didn’t have any trouble at all printing 1-inch-wide groups. The average for five five-shot groups was a measurement of 1.2 inches across at a distance of 15 yards, and they think this figure is wholly representative. They found this gun to be a pleasure to shoot, and only wished a wider variety of .32 Magnum ammunition was available.

Ultimately Gun Tests concluded that this gun is ideal for those who prefer not to deal with the recoil of bigger-bore snubbies. It is accurate, and strong, and a very good match for frangible ammunition that can add formidable power. They also found that it is a lot of fun to shoot.

Comments (9)

Since Ruger introduced the 101 I have been playing with one in in.22LR. I quickly found that it had a very heavy trigger so I changed the springs so I could benefit of a better trigger pull. I personally did some very judicious polishing of the internals and right now I enjoy one of the strongest training tools I own. for those who are not bitten by the auto-pistol bug the 101 is an excellent training and defense tool. Ruger revolvers are extremely strong and reliable. In calibers like 32H&R Mag. or 327 Mag. at typical defense distances you need no more, taking in account the excellent accuracy a revolver of this quality provides.

Posted by: Firemouth | December 21, 2011 8:45 PM    Report this comment

Pachmayr grips are available for the SP101. I have a set that I tried when I had just purchased the gun. They are the compact model, and they work fine, but I prefer the feel of the Hogues.

Posted by: canovack | December 13, 2011 10:19 AM    Report this comment

I have the 2 inch .357. I also switched to hogue grips but that wa only because of thee protruding scrwq on the original grips. i actually shoot well with both grips, maybe better with the originals where i can get some Pachmyers?Hogues are too slim and finger groovs do no t quite fit my smaller hands.computer is messing up xcuse spelling ?

Posted by: daniel boone | December 13, 2011 1:49 AM    Report this comment

I have the 2 inch .357. I also switched to hogue grips but that wa only because of thee protruding scrwq on the original grips. i actually shoot well with both grips, maybe better with the originals where i can get some Pachmyers?Hogues are too slim and finger groovs do no t quite fit my smaller hands.computer is messing up xcuse spelling ?

Posted by: daniel boone | December 13, 2011 1:49 AM    Report this comment

I also own one of these nice little guns in 357 mag. and I really like the weight of it because you know you have a good gun in your hand. So far I haven't had any complaints about a Ruger Revolver that I have owned. Like canovack I might have to change the grips on it if the other half doesn't steel it for her colection, God love her. God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future. Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | December 9, 2011 2:39 PM    Report this comment

The Ruger SP101 is a fine little revolver. I have owned a two-inch snub in .357 Magnum for several years. I found that the factory grips were not to my liking, so I installed a set of Hogue rubber grips, and that resolved all of my concerns.

Posted by: canovack | December 9, 2011 11:09 AM    Report this comment

Generally I don't favor anything smaller than .357 for a defense piece (and that only for the smaller hand). However, if this were to have sufficient stopping power in the magnum round, it might be a good piece for the ladies to carry. Have such tests been done or would this be best reserved for plinking and such? Women and smaller men need a reliable STOPPING pistol for social work and normally do not have hands capable of using my preferred tool for social work, the .45 1911.

Posted by: dcwusmc | December 9, 2011 1:33 AM    Report this comment

The SP-101 is a nice little gun. I've had my eye on one for a while now.

Posted by: david b | December 8, 2011 8:37 PM    Report this comment

I enjoyed the report on the Ruger SP101 .32 H&R Magnum pistol. Question: Can the .327 Magnum ammo referenced in the report be safely used in a model 1895 Russian Nagant pistol (7.62 mm Nagant pistol ammo)? The Nagant safely handles .32 S&W Long ammo and also .32 H&R Magnum ammo (so I have read).

Posted by: Pookie | December 8, 2011 3:22 PM    Report this comment

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