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Defense revolver. 32H&R vs 38spl vs 327FedMag ?

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Defense revolver. 32H&R vs 38spl vs 327FedMag ?

Old 09-02-2011, 09:42 AM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Defense revolver. 32H&R vs 38spl vs 327FedMag ?

I have a lady friend who is looking for a home defense gun. She has small hands and may be recoil sensitive. (We will see when she tries some of my guns.)

For semi autos, I'm suggesting 9mm, and trying to steer her away from 380, but she likes the foolproofness of a revolver like a 38spl, since she is not a regular shooter, nor a gun nut like me.

How does the recoil of a 32H&R or 327Mag stack up against that of a common 38spl? I see very few guns available in these calibers, and they definitely aren't at the rental counter to try out.

Thanks
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:31 PM
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Since she's not a regular shooter, then I would strongly recommend the .38spcl. Ammo for .32 H&R Mag is .327 Fed Mag is pretty hard to come by, and usually runs 50% more expensive, or even twice the price.

I have a Ruger SP-101 .32 H&R Mag and 4 Ruger Single Six .32 H&R Mags, there's barely more recoil than a .22lr, about on par with a .38spcl. VERY manageable even for a new shooter. I also have a .327 Federal Mag Ruger SP-101 (SWEET REVOLVER), it definitely has more punch than a .38spcl, but it's manageable. I find that it's just a TOUCH less recoil than my wife's .357mag SP-101. Being able to shoot .32 H&R mag ammo through it would give her a lower recoiling option.

The only reason I have a .32 H&R mag SP-101 is because I HAD the Single Sixes for Cowboy Action Shooting, and then when the .327 SP-101 came out, again, I could step up my power, while still using the same dies from my .32 H&R. It honestly would have made sense (hindsight being 20/20) to have just swapped over to .38spcl Vaquero's for CAS and get a .38spcl/.357mag SP-101.

Frankly, energy-wise, the .32 H&R Mag is about identical to the .38spcl, and the .327 Fed Mag is pretty close to the .357mag, recoil is about the same, relatively speaking of course.

On the other hand, the smaller bullet of the .32's reduces the Taylor KO factor, which limits the stopping power of the smaller diameter bullets.

The only BENEFIT I see of the .32 H&R/.327 Fed is that they USUALLY hold an extra round in the same size cylinder. One shot probably won't mean the difference in life and death, but 6 IS more than 5, and 7 IS more than 6.

So again, I'd recommend she pick up a .38spcl/.357mag. The .38spcl/.357mag will have lower ammo cost, better ammo availability, and better Taylor Factor. For all that, I'd trade the extra ONE shot.

My wife, for reference, is 5'3" and 125lbs. She LOVES her 2.25" SP-101 .357mag.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:57 PM
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Yep I would have her pick up a Ruger SP-101 in a 38Spl./357mag and see how it feels. I've shot that gun with both rounds and it was very nice to shoot. I would guess that the 38Spl. would be fairly comfortable for her to shoot.

I noticed that you also mentioned a 9mm. I've been looking for a gun for my wife to defend herself and the house with when I'm gone. She picked up and handled the Ruger SR9c and found it to be very comfortable in her smaller hands. We will probably end up buying that gun. In fact, we would've that day, but I had a $1000 vacation to pay for the next week. Well anyway, just one for you start with if you go that route. I'm kinda pro Ruger right now, but I'm sure Smith&Wesson and a few of the others probably have a gun that would also fit your needs.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:20 PM
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NoMercy:
Thank you for taking the time to respond so thoroughly. That gives me a bunch of good data, confirms things I have read other places, adn was exactly what I was looking for. Great post. I think a small J-frame sized wheelgun in 32H&R would be perfect for her IF the ammo prices weren't so bad. Looked at some of those against 38spl today on-line, and the cheap 32 is higher than the pricey 38, with a quick average appearing to be about double the price. Icky, and definitely not conducive to a lot of practice. Who wants to blow over $1 per trigger pull? Definitely leaning toward 38 for this now, but will keep the performance of the 32 and 327 in mind for someone for whom ammo price may not be so much of an issue.

NCZ:
We will go to the range in a week or so we'll see how her hand fits the Ruger and some others. She has the unfortunate combination of small palms AND short fingers, so trigger reach is going to be the deciding factor on gun frame size. My snubbie 5-shot fits her perfectly, but anything with more reach won't work, so I think the bigger guns may have to stay on the shelf for this one. I think a 3" or 4" barrel would be a good compromise between small enough to handle and long enough to provide a good sight radius.
If she goes 9mm (which is unlikely after our discussion of semi-auto malfunction clearance drills and the foolproof simplicity of revolvers) there are a bunch of nice 9's out there to look at. The SR9c is already on that list. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:13 PM
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I would introduce her to the Smith & Wesson Model 60 Lady Smith in 357 mag. She can shoot .38 Special rounds till she get use to .357 mag. loads. Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:56 PM
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For a house gun, I would not go less than a 3" barrel on a revolver (prefer 4" or 5" barrel), and I would also want to have a steel frame and steel cylinder. IMO, the Ruger SP101 in .357 mag with the 3" barrel is a very good revolver if she has small hands.

For a handgun I suggest she starts out with a handgun in .22 Long Rifle. This will afford her to practice much more at a much lower cost. I also suggest she takes the NRA Basic Pistol Course.

If she is looking for a house gun, it is hard to beat a pump action shotgun.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by country1 View Post
If she is looking for a house gun, it is hard to beat a pump action shotgun.
Good point, especially for someone untested in the pistol world. If pistol is what she is desiring, though, a revolver is likely more suitable considering the lack of experience. The S&W J-frames are nice, but as was mentioned by country, that short little barrel can cause some problems. For various reasons, accuracy will be compromised. I have a J-frame in .38 and love the gun, but despite my best efforts, I am not consistent with it beyond 5 yds. Not likely to need it to be beyond that, but still. This pistol stays in my truck at all times and occasionally comes along with me as a backup carry weapon.

The airweights are nice, but can produce more recoil than you would expect.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:14 AM
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Handloader:
The Model 60 is on my list too. There are a ton of 357/38s out there, but that one caught my eye too. Thanks.

Country:
Good suggestions. The 3" is definitely the minimum since there she does not plan to carry this gun concealed, and we want to longer sight radius and faster velocity.
She shoots my 22 rifle already and will shoot my 22 semiauto. She has wanted to buy a 22 for a long time, but now feels that her first weapon should be for protection, and is willing to put in the practice it will require to become competant with it.
Regarding the shotgun, I considered a side-by-side, but she isn't interested in shotguns at all, and we are both more comfy with her keeping one hand free and the other hand on a foolproof revolver. Thanks.

Bible_Man:
I'm totally with you on keeping a snubbie around for good measure. Hides easy and at short range they are hard to beat. We'll be going with at least a 3" barrel, and they make em on j-sized guns, even though the 2" is far more common. We ahve also discussed other aspects of preparing for home defense, such as a flashlight, cell phone near the bed, what to say when you call 911, how close she can let the bad guy get before she risks getting her gun taken, what to do when the police show up, etc. I think she'll be in good shape when we find a gun to fit her hand and she gets some practice under her tiny little belt.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:40 AM
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Sounds like you are being very proactive...should be great! Scenario practice is very important! Glad you are not neglecting it as many tend to do.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:01 AM
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My wife is also small (5'3" / 110lbs) and also have small hands (palms and short fingers)...we looked at several options before we bought her carry gun, which she also has for home defense while I travel for work (along with a 12g pump). We finally settled on the Kahr CW9 (she also has the CW40, which is the same frame and she will work up to carrying). Kahr makes a nice weapon and it was perfect for her small hands and short fingers...beautiful trigger pull and fires flawlessly to date with over 500 rounds through it.
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