327 Magnum — What’s All The Hype About?

| November 26, 2009 | 4 Comments

I have always been a fan of the .32 Caliber. If you do not hand load for it, You would not understand the concept. It is and always has been a super accurate round with little recoil. I carry The S&W Model 431 PD revolver chambered in the Infamous .32 H&R Magnum round. I have enhanced the round through hand loading and it exceeds the velocity of the .38 Plus-P round and closely matches the .357 Magnum round when I Load it for my Model 16-4 K-Frame revolver. Sadly, the .32 H&R Magnum was chosen for a weaker revolver design so factory loads are at or just below the more famous .38 Special round leaving the public without need for it. The New Federal .327 Magnum to me, is a caliber that has been expanded on like the .357 Magnum was using the Old .38 Special cases by lengthening them 1/8″.

Like so many, I too yearned for this .327 Magnum round in a S&W K-Frame sized revolver, But S&W dropped the ball by only offering it in a Performance Center-J-frame configuration. I heard Hamilton Bowen the famous Gun Maker of Bowen Classicarms was offering the .327 Magnum in a Conversion if you could provide him with a Model 16-4 S&W revolver chambered in .32 H&R Magnum. I kicked the idea around awhile and called him three weeks ago to inquire about this caliber modification. He shared with me that he takes the K-Frame .32 H&R magnum cylinder and lengthens the cylinder throat by using a custom made reamer. I set up an appointment to speak with him as he lives 20 minutes from my home and I wanted to speak one on one about this conversion and possibly get a look at the infamous Bowen shop. Since he said to do the job he would only Need my 16-4 cylinder and crane assembly so I took it along. He explained that he made sure the cylinder was heat treated enough to withstand the Higher Pressures of the .327 Magnum round. According to him the .327 magnum round has Twice The SAAMI Pressure of the standard factory loaded .32 H&R Magnum. Bowen concurred with me that a hand loaded the .327 Magnum round could and would exceed the .357 Magnum velocities. After our conversation I was convinced and decided to leave my cylinder with him for it to be converted. I felt it was more than a fair price at $95.00. A couple of weeks passed and on Thursday I received word he was done with my cylinder so I can drive out and pick it up. I no longer have to wait for S&W to build one in a K-Frame or pay over $1000.00 for a performance Center-J-Frame as I now will have a Hamilton Bowen Conversion.

I drove out to his Shop and Picked my cylinder up in person then I came home & Put it together Late Thursday evening and here is the finished product.

Of course I couldn’t wait to get to the range with this beautiful specimen. So the next morning I woke up very early to assemble some hand loads for it. I tried three different hand loads and found that it liked two out of three loads I had tried. I Loaded 12.0 Grains of Alliant 2400 Powder and used a 90 Grain Sierra copper Jacketed Hollow pint and a CCI Magnum Primer. The load showed promise, but I feel crimp is very crucial in loading for this round and I had a heavy crimp much more than I needed. Report was a lot louder than the standard .32 H&R Magnum cartridge and recoil were about double of what I had been used to shooting in the revolver. That made perfect sense as the pressure of the .32 H&R Magnum rounds I had been shooting was around 20,000 and this new .327 Magnum Cartridge is around 40,000.

I Then shot my last loads which I used some Hodgen’s Powder called Tight Group dispensing 3.6 Grains of Powder, a CCI Magnum primer and a Rainier 100 Grain Flat Point Bullet. This Load seemed to shine in this caliber. I managed to shoot a 4 shot cluster before making sight adjustments taking it to the Ten Ring, but ran out of rounds. The primers exhibited a lot of flatness, but I noticed the extracted shells were a tad bit dirty indicating to me I needed to increase the powder a bit. The Load of 3.6 was a starting load so I came home and Re-loaded again this time trying 4.6 Grains of Tight Group which is almost maximum. All In All, I felt the first time out with it that it shot well and I feel by adjusting the load a bit it will fair better the next time as I am getting used to the caliber and what the model 16 likes as far as loads go. This caliber sure is fun to experiment with and I am glad I had the gun modified for it. Here is the Target I shot with the experimental loads using Tight Group at the 20 Yard line.

I also put together & shot some .32 S&W Long Caliber loads to see how well they grouped out of my newly modified Bowen conversion revolver. I was a bit skeptical of how well they would group after Bowen lengthened the cylinder throats a full 1/8″, But as you can see once I got the elevation adjusted it grouped nicely proving in this case that bullet jump did not seem to matter changing calibers in this revolver anyways…The cluster of six shots shown measured 1/2″ which was shot at the 20 Yard line from a sand bag.


So what’s all the hype about the 327 Magnum—Versatility, Accuracy & Performance
A Gun chambered in .327 Federal Magnum will also fire .32 ACP .32 S&W .32 S&W Long .32 H&R Magnum making five different round’s usable in one Gun. Very Versatile , and no other caliber has this Versatility…

I understand why S&W designed several handguns to shoot bullseye with that were of the .32 S&W Long Cartridge. To name a few The K-32 Target Masterpiece, The single shot Pistols from the late 1800’s early 1900’s time span, The M&P Target chambered in .32 S&W Long. These hand guns were used in the Olympics and The Bisley shoots in England for Many, Many years due to their fine accuracy, low recoil and low reports.

As for Performance the 327 Magnum put up some very impressive numbers in my hand loads and factory loads.
Hornady 60-gr. XTP-HP AA #5 10.5 WSP 2110
Hornady 60-gr. XTP-HP SR7625 9.0 Fed. 100 2050
Speer 60-gr. Gold Dot Unique 10.0 CCI 500 2000
Speer 60-gr. Gold Dot WAP 11.0 Rem. 1 1/2 2140
Speer 100-gr. Uni-Cor Lil’Gun 14.0 CCI 500 1620
Speer 115-gr. Gold Dot AA #9 12.8 WSP 1640
Speer 115-gr. Gold Dot Enforcer 13.5 Rem. 1 1/2 1700
Federal PD 85-gr. Hydra-Shok Factory Load 1685
Speer PP 115-gr. Gold Dot Factory Load 1610
Please validate these load with creditable reloading manuals before using them, as I will not be responsible for harm to you or damage to your firearm.

With all the range testing little did I know weeks later when deer season opened that I would get to field test the 327magnum.
I worked up a very potent load using Accurate Arms #7 Powder along with a Sierra 90 Grain Copper Jacketed Hollow point and CCI-550 Magnum Primer. This load showed to group the size of a dime on on the 20 Yard Line at my Range.
I had my Marlin 336 Lever rifle chambered in .35 Rem. Caliber as well. I entered the woods just before daylight and positioned myself about 30 Yards off a main deer run. I had not seen a deer and about quarter to eight, I began to wonder if the presence of a Big Wild Cat had spoiled my chances of seeing any Bucks ? My buddy who owns the land we hunt had warned me he had seen a Huge wild Cat the week before in his back yard about Noon. He only caught a quick glimpse of it so it went unindentified as it apparently was stalking his house cat’s and he feared it would attack them. I assured him, if I should see it in the woods he would have no more worries.

At 5 minutes to eight, I heard a small twig snap behind me. I looked up that way, and there was This Big Bobcat standing there looking at me. I slowly raised my revolver that was in my lap and took aim. I was shaking fiercely, so I had to tell myself this was a once in a life time shot, and to calm down. I knew the gun and load would do the job if I did mine. I gently squeezed the trigger and the cat fell over instantly.

I then called my Son in law who was hunting with me on his first deer hunt and told him to get up to where I was sitting. He asked if I had shot a buck, and I told him I had killed that Big Bobcat. He did not believe me, but Joined me shortly. I dragged it out of the brush and upon examination I noticed the slug entered his left chest cavity and exited out his right rib cage. When I gutted him out it had hit his heart and right lung before exiting. This cat weighed about 50 pounds and his stomach was the size of a youth football in size filled with what appeared to be fresh rabbit. He never made a sound nor moved after I shot him, so I guess it is safe to say the .327 Magnum more than did it’s job, and this may make the non belivers of this round take notice of how potent it really is. Before we left the woods, we paced it off from where I shot this cat from and it was a true 35 yard shot. I am still in awe that I bagged this animal and will have a Full Mount done of him.

Here is the amazing specimen

A close up shot

Of course I went about telling everyone about my hunting trip. What I thought was turning into not so great of a trip, having not seen any deer ended in a spectacular manner. Though everyday in the woods with mother nature is truly a blessing bagging game or not. Some of those I spoke with about this trip just wouldn’t believe me about the weight of the cat. I had an arm chair hunting expert tell me that there was no way this cat weighed 50 Pounds. This forced me to drag him out of deep freeze for a close up and personal weigh in. I feel the internals of this cat before it was dressed would have easily made up the lacking ten pounds from the weight actual shown.


In my opinion there is no question about how well the 327Magnum performs after this trip!!!
Is the 327Magum all hype or is it real, ask yourself hopefully this clears it up!!!!

Authored & Authorized by “Hammer It” over at thefiringline.

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4 Comments on "327 Magnum — What’s All The Hype About?"

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  1. BILL says:

    all I can say is WOW! That is a large cat! Congrats man! I think you have a keeper K Frame. Does you .32 barrel have the same flat spot on the bottom of the forcing cone? If so, will that be a factor in shooting hot .327 loads? As with the .357 125 grain?

  2. Hammer says:

    BILL :all I can say is WOW! That is a large cat! Congrats man! I think you have a keeper K Frame. Does you .32 barrel have the same flat spot on the bottom of the forcing cone? If so, will that be a factor in shooting hot .327 loads? As with the .357 125 grain?
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    It does not have the Flat spot under the forcing cone that The Model 19’s had. It wouldn’t matter if it did have the forcing cone flat area as the barrel Mass in .32 Caliber Barrel is Far More than a K-Frame size .357 Model 19’s were. These Under Lug K-Frames are called Magnum frame revolvers differing in mass and size compared to the Old Model 19’s so they will Take Far more than the .327 Magnum can dish out, even Loaded to Maximum… Hammer It

  3. Hammer says:

    Two weekend’s ago, My son in law and I entered back into the woods where I Killed the Wild cat shown above. We had a fresh snow on that Morning and Deer Tracks seemed to Not be Fresh. We sat silent into Mid Morning Not seeing one Deer. I walked down to where I had my Son In law sitting and he too said he had not seen a Deer. On The Way out of the woods, we came upon a fresh sink hole caused by the Tractors that had Harvested The field Corn the week before. I Pointed down at it, and there was a Huge Wild Cat Paw print on the edge of it that looked to be from Early that morning or Possibly the Night before. That proved why the Deer were absent that Morning so it Looks as though we may have to Bag another Cat on this Property. The Season Open’s back up to rifle in a week so I am Hoping my Son in law get’s a chance to bag him self a fine Cat. That would really set off this year’s hunt as it is his First year in the woods Hunting and a Take like that would be the memory of a Life time…Hammer It

  4. Matt gersburg says:

    Alright I been considering the 327 for field carry on rabbits and such around here in Maine, I’m in the heart of cat country with plenty of coyotes too… After this article I think the 327 will be the one for my handgun needs, thanks much for a good write up!

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