.32 S&W Primer Only?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by grover26, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. grover26

    grover26 New Member

    Mar 24, 2012
    Are any such rounds being produced? I'm aware of the .22's, like Colibre.

    I have a few old H&R five shot revolvers; one solid frame black powder and two top-breaks, one black, one smokeless. All are in apparently good mechanical condition; index well, tight lock-up. Although I've read that most currently available modern .32 rounds are quite lightly loaded and are probably safe to use in the black powder guns, as well as smokeless one, I'd still prefer something a bit 'milder'. Basically, I'm interested in seeing if these guns are operable and plan on firing them only occassionally.
  2. Goody

    Goody Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    I don't think a primer would clear the barrel. Find a local Cowboy Action Shooting club and see if anyone would be willing to load some black powder rounds for you.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    No only would it not clear the barrel, it would most probably not clear the forcing cone. When Aquila made Colibri, they cut the bullet weight in half, from 40 down to 20 grains, and the bullets still got stuck often enough that they doubled the priming charge, to make the Super Colibri.

    I agree. Find someone that will make you some black powder ammo if you wish to shoot them.
  4. 45Auto

    45Auto Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    I have experience from my youth shooting modern ammo through black powder era 32 Premier model revolvers. Most of the time, after 6 to 12 shots, the latch would become rather loose because the latch screw was starting to bend. I had one old Premier that I fired and found that the latch had broken in half. There were no injuries from any of my early shooting adventures. But I did learn alot about gunsmithing!

    Some of the old Premier revolvers will shoot rather well if you load black powder shells for them. Black powder does not cause them any problems.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    AFAIK, you can't buy primed cases any more; the shipping regs are the same as for loaded ammo, so it doesn't pay. You can buy empty cases for SOME calibers, but I don't think .32 S&W is one of them. Basically, you would have to buy live ammo, and either fire it in a newer revolver and reprime or pull the bullets and load with black powder. You might salvage the bullets if you use an inertia bullet puller, but in my experience that is not always possible with heavily crimped revolver ammo. If you just want to fire a few shots, you can load with round balls (.31 caliber), otherwise you might have to find someone who can cast bullets for you.

  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
  7. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Smokeless powder ammo mostly turned out to be a problem in Damascus barrel long guns. It appears that the reason was not higher pressures but the actual pressure curve of smokeless powders (that are progressive burning) and tend to put higher pressures further down a long tapered barrel than Black Powder does.

    Most last half of 19th century and later firearms (with non Damascus barrels) have their pressure containing parts made of ferrous (iron) based metals. Sometimes the metal is correctly called steel, (even "nickle-steel" for the Colt 1860 army Revolver) and sometimes just a variety of iron. The metal in 100 or more year old guns is often interspersed with pollutants from its manufacture process that tend to weaken the integrity of the metal over long periods of time.

    In a pistol or revolver the shape of the pressure curve is not likely to be a problem, if loading manual recommended light (low pressure) load are used that produce less pressure that the typical Black Powder load.

    Some older and valuable antique arms have become notorious for breaking when fired or even cocked. One is ill advised to shoot them with any load unless one does not care about the potential consequences.
  8. Max Donovan

    Max Donovan Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Hi; I shoot old pistols a lot. 1. If you just pop a primer, the cup may set back and jam the cylinder. Pressure inside the pocket on a large rifle primer is around 30,000 PSI, I do not know about pistol primers. 2. S&W introduced the 32 and 38 S&W cartridges for target shooting, as much more accurate than the 32 Colt and 38 Colt because the S&W bullets were not crimped, just held by neck tension. Get an old tong tool and a can of FFFg and have a ball. Wear shooting glasses. Best, Max
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