anyone know load data for old .32 H&R

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by dartswinger, May 26, 2012.

  1. dartswinger

    dartswinger Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    SE Pa.
    I have a H&R six shot rev. probably 1st mod. auto-ejecting ID'd on this site as circa 1890-92 in .32 cal. It has the long cylinder so was chambered for the .32 H&R (long) which I also found mentioned on previous posts on this site. The cyl. perfectly accomodates the .32 S&W Long ctg. tho I certainly won't shoot that in a BP gun! The .32 H&R must have had a similar long case. In BP longer case = more powder = more power. So the H&R round should have had noticably more punch than the anemic .32 S&W (short). I load the .32 S&W with 6gr. 3F BP and 78gr. bullet. At 15 yds. this load will noticably dent an upright car hood and maybe tear the metal, however; that same load in a .32 S&W Long case, where the bullet is much closer to the bbl. when released; will punch a hole in the same hood! The H&R load should therefore be substantially more powerful than the short .32 S&W. I'd like to shoot in this pistol what it was made for. Yeah, the .32S&W (short) will fit and fire, but its sort'a like firing a .38 Sp. wadcutter in a .357 Mag., it'll work but it's almost an insult to the gun. The S&W round fired in this chamber has an extra 1/4"+ of empty cylinder to go thru before entering the bbl. thus, IMO losing substantial pressure/energy, No ???
  2. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Black powder should not have an air space between powder and bullet, that could be catastrophic. It needs to be compressed. Fill the case to within 1/16 of the case mouth and you shouldn't have any problems. If you want to duplicate the old powder charges you will have to use a drop tube.

  3. dartswinger

    dartswinger Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    SE Pa.
    Uh, just so there is no misunderstanding, when I said I used the same 6gr. BP load in a .32 S&W Long case; I did add a filler to fill the case so the bullet would somewhat compress the load. I am aware of the no air gap rule!
  4. Hawg

    Hawg Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Good deal but a lot of people don't know that.
  5. 32HR MAG

    32HR MAG New Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    I think you may have the ..32 caliber cartridges mixed up . The .32H&R Magnum is a longer case and cartridge length than the .32 S&W Long . Or . Maybe I'm mixed up reading the post .
  6. According to U.S. Cartridges & Their Handguns by Charles Suydam, your revolver takes a long-obsolete cartridge, not made for about 100 years: The .32 Merwin, Hulbert & Company Long.

    Suydam gives .32 M&H Long cartridge dimensions, measured from old cartridges, as:

    Rim: .374 to .375 inch
    Head, ahead of rim: .338 to .339
    Case mouth, below crimp: .309 to .339
    Bullet diameter, maximum over rings or belts: .309
    Case length: .874 to .890
    Overall cartridge length: .1.206 to 1.236

    Bullet weight: 88 grains
    Propellant: Black powder, 15 grs. (grade not mentioned, though I'd use FFFG).

    Interestingly, Suydam reports that no headstamped cartridges have been seen, although it was made by Winchester Repeating Arm, American Metallic and Union Metallic Cartridge.

    The late gun writer George Nonte, in the March 1961 Shooting Times (p. 20) has an article on forming obsolete handgun cases. To create this the .32 M&H Long case, trim the .32 S&W Long case to .890 inch, he wrote.

    Suydam reports that .32 S&W Short cartridges will fit in the M&H revolvers. As you noted, I'd be leery of using smokeless powder in such an old revolver.
    Stick with black powder loads, a soft lead bullet and SPG or Lyman Black Powder bullet lubricants, designed to be used with black powder.

    I'm not sure where you'd find 88 gr. .32 caliber bullets. I wouldn't use the common .32 S&W Long bullet, because it's 10 grains heavier -- a 9 percent heavier bullet. Even when new, many of these old revolvers were not particularly strong. I recall seeing an old Forehand & Wadsworth pocket pistol with steel between each chamber not much thicker than construction paper!

    Sounds like you have a fun project ahead of you. Hope the above helps.
  7. dartswinger

    dartswinger Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    SE Pa.
    Great! Finally an actual answer and one that seems correct too. I have 3 old 1890's vintage revolvers chambered for this as they all have 1 1/4" long cylinders. The modern .32 S&W Long fits in them perfectly, tho the S&W Long is smokless and not even invented back then I certainly will not shoot them in an old black powder gun but I can imagine the confusion and possible mishaps this resulted in in the early 20th century!! The regular .32 S&W (short) performs quite poorly in these guns, however; I load S&W Long cases with 7 grs. 3F, some filler so the load compresses and a 78gr. lead bullet and they make a serious threat! Your info of 15gr. 3F, I don't think I'll try that much tho I'll bet it'd be a butt kicker! Just like the .38 S&W in full black powder load is nasty. I've talked to lots of people who poo-poo black powder as old fashioned and ineffective---not so, I wish they could talk to some Civil War vets!!
  8. Well, anyone who discounts black powder as a lethal propellant probably also believes:
    1. A hit with the .45 ACP on the tip of the finger will spin a man like a top.
    2. The M16 bullet tumbles in flight.
    3. Bullets fired straight up return to Earth with enough velocity to kill.
    4. The .44 Magnum can shoot through a car's engine block.
    5. The Revolutionary War was won by backwoodsmen with long-barrel rifles.
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