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· Registered
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I also posted this in another Thread, because I am not sure which is the proper place to ask the question, However, I need to know if using the .311 lead bullet in an H&R .32 Magnum revolver will cause any problem. My reloading manual call out a .311/32.


· The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
39,009 Posts
You should slug it first, if the bullet ends up being undersized it will probably lead the bore quite badly. Not unsafe, but potentially a pain to clean up.

Drive a soft lead bullet through the barrel and let us know what the measurements are. Also measure the cylinder throats the same way.

You don't have to do all of this, but it can save you some grief. The loading manual gives you some variance, because different guns will shoot different diameters better, due to manufacturing tolerances, etc.

· Banned
71 Posts
More important than barrel groove diameter in a revolver, is to have the bullet fit the ball seat ahead of the chambers of the cylinder.

In a single-action revolver, remove the cylinder and drive a pure lead slug through each chamber, from the chamber end and out the front of the cylinder, then measure it with a micrometer. Size the bullet 0.0005" less than the biggest slug of your six chambers. Don't be surprised if not all chambers may measure the same. A variation of .001" is normal.

In a DA revolver you need to disassemble the cylinder from the crane or yoke assembly to do this, so that you don't damage the cylinder alignment trying to force the slug through with the gun assembled.

If you don't know how to do disassemble the gun to measure it, use either a graduated set of machinists plug gages, or a selection of ball bearings or jacketed bullets of known diameter which you have checked with a micrometer, preferably once which is of known calibration.

A bullet of correct diameter should not fall out the front, when dropped into the rear of the cylinder, wiggled and allowed to drop of its own weight. A proper bullet SHOULD be capable of being pushed clear through the cylinder from the chamber end and out the front, easily with light hand pressure using no more than the eraser end of a pencil.

If you must pound the bullet through, it's too tight and won't shoot. If it just falls through, it's too loose and probably won't shoot worth a darn either, although soft alloys, such as wheel weights, using with fast burning powders, such as Bullseye or W-W231, may obturate well enough to give reasonable grouping.

The best loads in the Ruger Single Six should shoot within an inch at 25 yards if you can see the sights well enough. Anything which shoots over 2" in a Ruger single-action .32 should be considered "poor." The double-action SP101 is not particularly accurate, only "combat accurate." If you get better than 2-1/2" to 3" at 25 yards consider yourself lucky.

S&W .32 revolvers may have huge cylinder throats of .314" or more, and need to be slugged to be sure of any reasonable grouping. Pre-war Colts are almost all .312-.313". As a rule most older .32 S&W and .32 NP revolvers shoot well with .313" bullets if they aren't cast too hard and you don't try for "magnum" ballistics. A charge of 3.5 grs. of W-W231 and the Saeco #325, 95-gr. SWC is as heavy as you should go in the Colt Police Positive Special, Officer's Model or S&W K-32, and is a dandy, flat-shooting small game load, approximating the .32-20 for about 1000 f.p.s. in a 6" barrel.

Early Ruger Single-Six revolvers in this caliber had cylinder throats typically .311-.313", whereas later ones have tighter cylinder throats of .309-.311" to give better accuracy with jacketed bullets. In my Rugers I use the Saeco #325 95-gr. SWC plainbased bullet cast of wheelweights, sized .312" in both old and newer model Rugers, as well as a custom S&W. In .32 S&W Long cases my most accurate load is 2.5 grs. of Alliant Bullseye. This also works well in older solid-frame, swing-out cylinder guns such as the Colts. I prefer Winchester WSP primers, and expect a velocity of around 855 f.p.s. in a 4-5/8" barrel, inm my Single Six, which has a .004" cylinder gap. If you have an S&W with a gap as large as .008" you will get about 50-70 f.p.s. less. Get over it.

In .32 Magnum cases I use 3.5 grs. of Bullseye, 4 grs. of W-W231 or 4.5 grs. of PB, which all approximate factory lead bullet loads, at about 1000-1050 f.p.s.

The best jacketed bullet in this caliber is the 85-gr. Hornady XTP. In the Ruger revolvers only you can use 4 grs. of W-W231 in .32 S&W Long cases for 1030 f.p.s., or in .32 Magnum cases 4.5 grs. of W-W231, to approximate factory magnum loads.
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