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Fed Personal Defense 32 S&W Long ammo any better?

15559 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  bmcgilvray
I have a link from Able's quoting that Federal Personal Defense 32 S&W Long ammo clocks the standard lead RN bullet at 780 fps at the muzzle and 130 ft lbs at the muzzle.

Federal Personal Defense Ammunition C32LB, 32 S&W Long, Lead Round Nose, 98 GR, 780 fps, 20 Rd/bx - Able Ammo

Compared to the standard Remington and Winchester loads (705 fps and 115 ft lbs) there is an increase of 75 fps and 15 ft lbs with the Federal round.

I am wondering if it's worth buying a few boxes? They are sold in 20 rd. packs that actually come out at the same cost or a little cheaper as half a box of 50 Remingtons or Winchesters. The increase in muzzle velocity is greater than the increase in ft lbs using the Federal round. I wish it were the other way around.
I like any increase in cartidge efficiency but I'm not convinced that the increases are enough to bother with buying some of this.

If I reloaded I could probably get a better performing 32 Long round without damaging the D frame, but that's not in the cards.
I also would not consider having the Colt DS converted to 32 mag! I definitely want to keep it as I received it. Colt didn't make a lot of DSs in 32 Colt NP. So it's kind of a scarce variation.

My thoughts are basically to keep this DS as an interesting early 50s Ds to shoot at the range ocassionally. I have no plans to use it for self defense or carry, but I am always considering alternatives.

What say you, gents and ladies?
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After looking at a few different brands of ammo I see there are wild variances in the ballistics claimed for the cartridge.
I think all the published claims are a little higher than what the actual performance would be as we've seen with a lot of ammo claims. That seems to be an industry-wide "B.S." selling point.

1)Midway advertises an S&B round with a 100gr slightly flattened lead nose which mimics the original 32 Colt NP round shape and claims muzzle velocity of 886 FPS and muzzle energy of 174 ft lbs.! It's also more expensive there than anywhere else advertised. If true, this would be probably the best performing 32 round excepting the 32 magnum, which is out of the question for this gun:
Sellier & Bellot Ammunition 32 S&W Long 100 Grain Lead Round Nose Box of 50 - MidwayUSA

2)Cheaper Than Dirt advertised the same round for less money, but shows a photo of S&Bs wadcutter. Figures are the same, but I would have to call them first to make sure they really mean the round nose lead bullet and not the wadcutter.
61902 - Ammo .32 S&W Long Sellier & Bellot Lead Round Nose 100 Grain 886 fps 50 Round Box

3)Cheaper Than Dirt shows a Fiocchi 95 gr round that states a muzzle velocity of 800 fps and muzzle energy of 139 ft lbs.
63056 - Ammo .32 S&W Long Fiocchi Pistol Shooting Dynamics Lead Round Nose 97 Grain 800 fps 50 Round Box

4)Midway also has the Prvi Partizan round in 98 gr. RN which states 787 fps and 136 ft lbs at the muzzle
Prvi Partizan Ammunition 32 S&W Long 98 Grain Lead Round Nose Box of 50 - MidwayUSA

5) Able's has a Magtech SJHP which claims 778 fps and 132 ft lbs at the muzzle
Magtech 32SWLC Pistol and Revolver Cartridge, 32 S&W Long, Semi Jacketed Hollow Point, 98 GR, 778 fp - Able Ammo

These examples tout performance that is considerably higher than the standard figures of 705 fps and 115 ft lbs. at the muzzle. I am sceptical about the claims, however, it stands to reason that they might be a bit higher than the performance norms for the round, even if they are exaggerating a bit. Too bad I can't chrono the stuff as the first example of 886 fps and 174 ft lbs would be a considerable increase in performance for this old cartridge.

I have never been convinced that wadcutters are better for self defense.
I do agree that if one has choices, the round nose lead would not be the best choice. However, the loadings for this cartridge don't seem to justify buying a SJHP. Ideally, a soft lead semi wadcutter like the Buffalo Bore or Nyclad projectiles would probably be the best choice Unfortunately, Buffalo Bore does not make a 32 Colt NP or 32 S&W long cartridge.

Guy, I agree with you that the best you can expect from this little cartridge is trying to find a round with better penetration. I agree that I would not expect much if any expansion given the cartridges limitations.
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I ordered two boxes of the S&B 100gr. .32 S&W Long from Cheaper Than Dirt. This was the ammo that was advertised as 886 FPS at the muzzle and 174 ft lbs. at the muzzle. The boxes are also marked as NP, which I found interesting. This cartridge will have the flattened ogive of original .32 Colt New Police cartridges, as a small nostalgic plus.

I called a local friend who has a chrono. We are going to clock this ammo sometime this fall to see if the velocity claims are accurate. I don't know how ft lbs of energy are determined and how we could measure that.
Malysh, Kinetic Energy= 1/2 mvsquared. so you can take the velocity amd multiply it by itself and multiply by the mass of the bullet and take 1/2 of that and that should give you the energy. You have to watch your units and make sure you convert grains of bullet weight to pounds if you want ft-lbs. of energy. Thanks for the comprehensive list of available 32 S&W factory loads.

Thank you for the mathematical formula, capstan.
I finally got to the range today with a friend and his chronograph to clock some Remington and some Sellier & Bellot ammo.
Please visit my thread in the Reloading and Range Report forum for the results:
Sounds like you're looking for a defense load. Hard to do with the .32 long. Having a good gunsmith adapt your D Special to take .32 Mag might not be a bad idea if you're contemplating using it for that purpose. I doubt that it would affect the value of the gun as it would not be at all obvious. Finding factory .32 mag ammo that isn't under-loaded (because of the guns H and R chambered for the round) might be a challenge....I'd start with Buffalo Bore.
Good advice concerning the effectiveness or lack thereof of 32 Colt NP and S&W 32 Long ammo. I agree that 32 mag or 327 Mag ammo would be a lot more effective.
I may have given the wrong impression. Although I am very fond of this '52 DS with the hammer shroud in .32, it would probably be one of the last guns I would pick up in a self defense scenario. The same would apply to the 7.65 Walther PPKs and HSc pistols I have. For me the minumum self defense caliber I feel comfortable with is 38 Special.

No disrepect intended, but converting the gun to shoot 32 Mag. would drastically affect it's value down the road. Better to buy a newly mfg. S&W or whatever if one was set on using this caliber.
Bayouboy, Privi does make excellent ammo! I've tried some of their rifle ammo and I was satisfied with the results.

I am sold on the S&B ammo in 32 Colt NP. As found in my informal chrono tests, the S&B is the most powerful ammo sold in this caliber. I'd want it in the DS if I happened to need a gun for self defense and the DS 32 was the one I happened to have on me at the time. It's not likely this would be the gun I was carrying, but you never know....
I would feel comfortable shooting any reliable and safe brand because for me this is primarily a plinker gun. It was a fun exercise testing a few different brands. Now I understand a little better the intense interest that reloaders and cartridge students have in their hobby.
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