.22 Alternatives

The .327 and .32 H&R Mag

By Mark Hampton

We’ve seen stranger things — but I can’t remember when. As the crisis began and .22 LR ammo started drying up, many of us were in disbelief. You couldn’t buy enough rimfire ammo at one time to have an enjoyable range session. The craziness has been blamed on many factors — especially hoarding. There was a time in my local area where .22 ammo could not be found. When you did find any there was a two-box limit. Thankfully this bizarre circumstance is easing up somewhat but with an election cycle around the corner, who knows when the next round of madness will arrive.

Moderation is not a concept I relish when it comes to shooting. Several months ago I began looking for options in place of the rimfire. I seriously considered .38 Special, as you can find ample reloading components. Then I stumbled on to something really special, a revolver and cartridge providing versatility and more fun than I ever imagined.

After purchasing a Ruger Single-Seven — sold exclusively through Lipsey’s — I was introduced to the .327 Federal. This model comes in 45/8″, 51/2″ and 71/2″ barrel lengths and I chose the longer model. You can also shoot .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Mag and even .32 ACP (it’s semi-rimmed so it catches the ledge of the cylinder).

HUNT-2

Mag-na-port embellished the gun neatly and Mark found it ran great
with the amazing variety of ammo he found in .327 and .32 Mag.

Enhancing A Good Thing

I sent the revolver to my good friend Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port International. I’ve been shooting Mag-na-port enhanced-revolvers for over 30 years and have always been pleased with the end result. This time was no different. Ken worked his magic performing an action job, cylinder gap alignment and sweet trigger job. The forcing cone was recut, timing checked, and chambers numbered — plus the Mag-na-port process. Cosmetically the hammer and trigger were jeweled and polished — while other parts received a mirror polish. With my aging eyes I opted for a red-dot optic. Ken mounted a Weigand base and fitted an UltraDot HD, one of the neatest red dot optics available, and it matches the small sixgun perfectly. When the gun returned it looked beautiful!

As I nosed around at both .327 Federal and .32 H&R Mag, I never realized so much potential existed. The .327 Federal ammo came in the form of American Eagle 85-gr. SP, Federal Premium Low-Recoil 85-gr. JHP, Speer Gold Dot 115-gr. GDHP, Buffalo Bore 100-gr. JHP and 130-gr. hard cast Keith. In the .32 H&R Mag I found Hornady 80-gr. FTX, Black Hills 85-gr. JHP and 90-gr. hard cast, Buffalo Bore 100-gr. JHP and DoubleTap 115-gr. hard cast solid.

I loaded up some Sierra 90-gr. JHC, Hornady’s 85- and 100-gr. XTP all in quality Starline brass with CCI primers. My friend Dick Thompson — a real .32 H&R Mag aficionado — was kind enough to send me some 104- and 113- gr. powder-coated cast bullets he made. Dick has shot the .32 H&R Mag for years keeping Idaho’s jack rabbit population in-check, and pointed me in the right direction on loading data.

At the range the first time, I can honestly confess I’ve never had so much fun with a revolver. Mild recoil and accuracy contribute. We ran through both .327 Federal and .32 H&R Mag ammo all morning. The UltraDot HD sight with 2 MOA dot is superb, with intensity adjustments for changing light conditions. We finally got bored with targets and graduated to small rocks on the bank, rolling and busting them consistently.

Carrying this revolver is easy and painless thanks to Thad Rybka’s cross-draw rig. For over 30 years I’ve been wearing Thad’s rough-out leather and this rig fit the Single-Seven like a glove. He is definitely a top-notch hide-stretcher.

HUNT-1

Thad Rybka’s cross draw field holster is a perfect match to the Ruger Single Seven.

HUNT-3

Special Is As Special Does

So, what’s so special about the cartridges? Well, you can hunt small game like squirrels and rabbits with the .32 H&R Mag. Those cast bullets Dick sent are just the ticket. Small predators like fox, bobcat, or groundhogs will also be on the menu. If wily coyotes are close, the .327 Federal will surely get the nod. And I can shoot this gun as often as desired without wondering where or how I’m going to replenish the supply. Simply go back to the reloading bench, crank out more .32 H&R rounds with the Redding T 7 turret system using their titanium carbide die set and we’re ready to roll. My favorite powder so far has been Longshot, but I’m currently working with Tite-Group, W 231, Universal and Bullseye. A little powder goes a long way. I’ve found a new friend and constant companion.

Read More Handgun Hunting Articles

AHSO16_400

Purchase A Password To Read The Sept/Oct 2016 Digital Edition
(Includes FREE Download of PDF version for your desktop or mobile device!)

Purchase A Printed Copy Of The Sept/Oct 2016 Issue

Purchase A PDF Download Of The Sept/Oct 2016 Issue Now!

~