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?
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.