Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I should have thought this was rather self-apparent.

Huh. It had not occurred to me to think that this would even be a question.

The .32 acp (7.65 X 17mm Browning) is a .312 caliber bullet, traditionally of 72 grains, at about 905 f.p.s. for a whopping 129 foot-pounds of energy.

The .380 acp/9mm Kurz / 9 X 17mm / 9mm Corto / 9mm Short is a .355 caliber bullet, traditionally of 95 grains, at about 955 f.p.s., for a more considerable 190 ft/lbs of energy.

Let's see: Bigger bullet? Check. Heavier bullet? Check. Faster bullet? Natch.

But what really seals the deal in favor of the .380 acp as a better round is the absence of the completely befuddling semi-rim on the base of the .32 acp. While the .380 has a "rimless" style cartridge case that does not project any rim beyond the line of the case walls, the .32 acp has a very tiny rim protruding out beyond the case walls-- on the order of .0105" beyond. This surely was to aid in headspacing and extracting, but also can interfere in functioning, causing rim lock, occasionally, when not loaded carefully.

The .32 is available in some amazingly tiny pistols, and that's really its greatest claim. It is quite a bit more powerful than the anemic .25 acp, but despite the popularity of the James Bond flicks, the .32 is no powerhouse.

The thing that makes me scratch my head is: how the HELL could anyone consider the .32 acp as a better cartridge?

Maybe they were thinking .32 H&R Magnum?

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At Thursday, May 01, 2008 5:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your points about rimlock potential are valid. However, I think the .32ACP is largely underestimated and -appreciated. (It was J.M.Browning's favorite cartridge, by the way.)

The .32ACP penetrates far better than its paper ballistics would suggest. Hell, ask Archduke Franz Ferdinand about it. Oh, can't. He expired from a single hit by a .32 that went through 1914-era automobile steel on its way to the target.

It's no powerhouse, but it's really not a bad cartridge, and it's very pleasant to shoot out of the slightly bigger Euro-guns. There are some guns where I prefer the .32 to the .380 because the smaller cartridge works much better...the Walther PPK comes to mind. It's reliable and easy to shoot in .32, and iffy and less than reliable in .380, and you know what they say about hits with a smaller bullet beating misses with a larger one.

At Thursday, May 01, 2008 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Yes, my wife owns a nice mid-sized Beretta .32 that was her father's, which is a pleasant shooter, with its post '68 import "target stocks".

And I have produced penetrating (through-and-through) shots twice through a deer's head with the .32 with ball ammo-- it will penetrate.

But while you hate the PPK in .380, I've enjoyed it and the 1908 in the caliber, quite a bit. I also have had very good experiences with my P3AT, and have seen the design do not so well with .32 in the P32.

But disregarding the pistols that shoot the rounds-- the .380 flat out has it, head and shoulders abouve its sad little cousin.

At Friday, May 02, 2008 1:49:00 AM, Blogger KD5NRH said...

Maybe he was thinking .32NAA; 1200+fps from a 2.5" barrel is pretty darn good for such a little round.

IMO, if they'd make the KelTec in .32NAA they'd have one heck of a hot seller.

At Friday, May 02, 2008 4:27:00 PM, Blogger JPG said...

.380 ACP vs. .32?

Clearly, no choice there - - at first glance. Figure the .32 ACP, sure. Or the .32 S&W, either short or long, right. The .380's head and shoulders above any of them.

The .32 H&R Mag? I have no personal experience with that load. I am fairly certain that it should make a great small game getter and trail gun. I think it's being misused, though, with two-inch pocket revolvers being chambered for it. I don't buy it as a "reduced power loading for those unable to handle the .38 Special." The report and muzzle blast of the H&R Mag are surprisingly vicious. I'm willing to bet that 90 per cent of these "ladies' guns" end up being shot --and carried-- with the .32 S&W ammo. Besides, for the recoil sensitive, a full weight .38 Spl J-frame is easily handled with full wadcutter target ammo. And that flat-faced sharp-edged slug, even at moderate velocitiy, is really quite effective.

Nope, most of the .32-bores don't even approach the .380 ACP in efficiency for personal protection. But wait - - There IS one that is a viable option. If one can locate a good S&W 4th model Hand Ejector round butt, in .32 WCF, aka .32-20 - - Now THERE is a real defensive .32. A mite bigger than a flat little automatic, sure, but far more accurate and harder hitting.

At Sunday, May 04, 2008 4:04:00 AM, Blogger Bunnyman said...

The Archduke took a few days to die. I believe the issue is with stopping, not killing (the numbers suggest even .22 is plenty effective at the latter).

It seems that just about every gun available in .32 is later released in .380. The only niche .32 really fills is .25 sized guns that need to be more powerful (The NAA autos come to mind).

Let's see where .327 Federal goes...people have been bouncing .32s around for a long time, and this is the ne plus ultra of .32s.

At Sunday, May 04, 2008 9:35:00 AM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

Good points, all. And one would naturally assume that the question between the two would suggest that we're talking about autoloader cartridges.

But if'n we dare into the wheelgun world, there is a quite viable option out there now (if someone would stock the bloody thing): the .327 Federal Magnum.

I still haven't shot one yet, but every review I've read about the cartridge (which is, literally, a .32 H&R Magnum Magnum) is true. American Rifleman even had the .327 hitting harder than some (factory) .357 Mag loads, all with significantly less felt recoil.

(I'd likely go for a scandium Smith in .327, until I realized that for the price I could bring home a nice Officer's 1911 or some such.)


At Tuesday, May 06, 2008 2:31:00 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

I've got a few .32 pistols. They are great for carrying in shorts or when it's too hot to wear my normal rig.

Placement is of utmost importance when using these little mouse guns.


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