Thursday, April 22, 2010

.327 Magnum gets 2 new Ruger models, but where's the ammo?

One of my favorite revolvers is my Charter Patriot stainless snubby in .327 Federal Magnum. In a J-sized frame you get six rounds of 357-Magnum power instead of five rounds of .38 Special and that's a deal I couldn't pass up.

My daddy always said my life philosophy is if a little bit is good, a whole lot is more good and he's right. Why settle for a .38 when you can have a .327 Magnum?

To date, other manufacturers besides Charter offering .327 Magnum pistols since its introduction include Ruger with their SP101 stainless, Taurus with blue and stainless snubbies and Smith & Wesson with its compensated-barrel Model 632 in black stainless or matte stainless.

The .327 Magnum is such a high-pressure load at 45,000 psi that it requires an all-steel revolver to hold it in, no alloy frames can stand up to that abuse.

I'm not particularly recoil-shy but I do have my limits and the hottest .327 Magnum load, Federal American Eagle 100-gr. JSP, is right there close to my mine. It's loud enough to wake the dead and after about a half dozen, I'm saying that's enough of that for a while.

I tried all the available loads when I first got my Charter and chose the Speer Gold Dot 115-gr. JHP for my carry load and zeroed the Crimson Trace Lasergrips on the Charter for it. The easiest-shooting load among the three I tried is Federal Hydra-Shok 85-gr. JHP, which is rightly labeled a low-recoil load. But the foot-pounds of energy is the telling difference between the Gold Dots and the Hydra-Shoks, 530 vs. 398. IMHO, ft./lbs. of energy is more important than velocity (feet per second) when determining defensive effectiveness of a caliber load.

What I'd really like to have to pair up with my Charter is a Marlin stainless lever-action carbine in .327 Magnum, but that hasn't happened yet. When it does, I'll be all over it.

But meanwhile, Ruger has upped the ante in .327 Magnum revolvers with two new models, a 7-shot GP100 double-action and an 8-shot Blackhawk single-action, both all-stainless revolvers.

I got the chance to handle both at the gun shop where I work when they came in and I listed them for sale on gunbroker. My first choice between the two is the 7-shot GP100, but I'm slowly becoming a fan of single-action revolvers, so that 8-shot Blackhawk is tempting. We also just got in our first Ruger Blackhawk .44 Special, so that's a great temptation in single-action for me also. I do love .44 Special revolvers.

American Rifleman's current issue has a write-up on the two new Rugers in .327 Magnum and they like them a lot. I'm sure I'd love either one of them because a little more stainless-steel weight in hand would make shooting the .327 Magnum a lot more fun than shooting my Charter.

One of the best things I like about .327 in general and my Charter in particular is the ability to shoot other shorter less-powerful and cheaper .32 ammo, including .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&W Long and .32 S&W, also called .32 Short. My Charter doesn't like .32 ACP, but I've read that some .32 revolvers will fire .32 ACP because it's a semi-rimmed round that will fit the cylinders. The .32 ACP cartridges apparently sit too deep in the Charter cylinder as only one out of six fired when I tried it.

And more ammo choices for .327 Magnum are in the pipeline, though we haven't seen any of them at the shop yet.

Federal is making a lower weight and power American Eagle load in 85-grain to match up with the Hydra-Shok JHP for practice. And there's supposed to be a new Speer Gold Dot load also.

Ammo availability is the biggest stumbling block for .327 Magnum that I've seen so far. I recommend the caliber to customers at the shop, but we only have two of the three current loads in stock. I haven't seen any new boxes of Speer Gold Dots in months and we only recently got more American Eagle and Hydra-Shok ammo in. The .327 ammo shortage is even worse than the .380 ACP ammo shortage because we can manage to keep .380 in stock at the shop now.

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