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Thread: .32 ACP for defense

  1. #31
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    I reload for mine and there are a lot much mo better ammo available for them these days besides the 71 grain FMJs. Silvertips have been out fer years in .32 and now some decent HPs. Maybe mixing them in a magazine is a good idy..........FMJ/HP/FMJ and so forth....................

    Best advice is know yourself/abilities/ gun/ammo have confidence in it and practice shootin it.

    Not the optimal caliber, but I don't feel under-armed if I choose to have it handy and remember first rule is to have a gun. Better than any .22/.22 Mag or .25 ACP. Sure I'd rather have a .357/.38/9mm/.45 ACP and it wouldn't be my first choice if I knew I was about to go in harms way.

    Thing is, these days with all the polymer light weight sub-compacts in .380/9mm you can get a lighter and smaller, more easy to carry pistol in a larger caliber and even in .32 that are reliable and cheaper.

    It sill is a gun to be admired for its quality and reliability.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member snake284's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by bullsi1911 View Post
    It does work when used to shoot a kneeling and handcuffed political prisoner in the back of the skull. But for a gunfight, something bigger is better
    I am somewhat with you, but if it's just him and me in a normal SD HD situation, I think I could survive with my .32 ACP, however, one reason I don't use it for carry anymore, well not on a regular basis, is because of the church shooting here in Texas
    and the Las Vegas catastrophy where the shooter was carrying a substatial weapon. I don't want to go up against an AR with one. In that scenario I want 9mm or bigger, preferably bigger. But I carry my 9 because I feel pretty confident I can dispatch someone no matter what they're shooting. The only exception to this if someone has an AR or longer range weapon I wouldn't feel good shooting at someone at 50 yards with it. But I'm not carrying a .30-06 around town.
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  3. #33
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I reload for mine and there are a lot much mo better ammo available for them these days besides the 71 grain FMJs. Silvertips have been out fer years in .32 and now some decent HPs. Maybe mixing them in a magazine is a good idy..........FMJ/HP/FMJ and so forth..............
    The common theme with the little pocket rounds seems to be, when you try to make them expand, they quit penetrating enough. The nifty thing about them though, is that if you stick with the FMJ's they penetrate plenty, and with a flat-nosed FMJ, you might actually get a slight effect that's a little wider than the initial diameter.

    I seem to recall that one of the "one-shot stop" studies (Marshall, maybe?) put the effectiveness of .45 ACP hardball somewhere around 60%, and that these little FMJ pocket rockets were not too far behind.

    Browning was clearly no dummy. On the one hand, he gave his U.S. military customers what they wanted - an excellent and powerful service pistol. On the other, he was no stranger to the effects of bullets on game animals and knew that stops are rarely instant. It likely crossed his mind at some point that, if you're going to be looking at a few seconds of bleed-out time regardless of caliber, a 20-ounce pocket pistol has a number of advantages over a 40-ounce service one. It seems unlikely that a man who grew up in a culture of elk hunters would design the .32, the .380, and even the .25 (and a boatload of different guns to shoot them) if he thought they'd be useless. Working in the early smokeless/jacketed age that he was, he was probably even more on the ball than we routinely give him credit for.
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  4. #34
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Oh even a .25 ACP can be deadly, but usually unless a vital spot is hit it may be hours or days later. Years ago FLA State Troopers belt buckle saved him from a nasty belly hit and yet another one died hours later from one in the gut.

    Another philosophy about HPs is even if they don't work you got a caliber sized hole and if they fail to expand they act like an FMJ except for those that violently mushroom on impact which usually will slow down penetration.

    I guess there are bullets that can do both, expand and penetrate to an acceptable depth and diameter, in theory and in ballistic gelatin, but real life often gives different results as we all know. Sometimes they work just fine too. A lot of variables that can be looked at ad infinitum.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member zorba's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Nuke 'em from orbit. Its the only way to be sure!
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  6. #36
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Hornady and others (?) have solved or greatly reduced that age old problem with HP ammo plugging up from first hittin clothing or other stuff and not expanding. The polymer tips allow it to expand even after passing through so many layers of denim and it has the added benefit of feeding in semi pistols because it is shaped like a round nose bullet and doesn't hang up on feed ramps.

    Me so far, I keep using mostly XTPs. Will try some of the polymer tipped stuff one of these days.

    Rifle ammo has been using a similar technology fer decades, albeit for different desired results.
    Last edited by Big Chief; 01-15-2018 at 01:10 AM.
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  7. #37
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    After reading this thread, I had to chime in.


    I was shooting my new-to-me 1903 pocket .32 ACP at the club's 50' indoor range. As I started in, I had two smoke stacks with the first mag. The next mag was more of the same result. I was puzzled, because the old pistol was in pretty nice shape. So I loaded up My CZ-27 for a trial... same results. Then when I squeezed off the next and last round of the day, I heard a rather loud ''TINK!", as a .32 bullet bounced off of the steel lane divider hitting my right shin, then landing at my feet. What the...P1020393.jpg

    026.jpg

    I said the heck with this nonsense, and started to pack for home. Then when I approached the CZ's target, I noticed an oddity. The paper had a puncture from the rear. This weaker, smoke stacking round didn't penetrate the rubber sheet covering the bullet catch. Not breaking through the membrane, caused the bullet to slingshot back towards the shooter.

    022.jpg

    As I was packing up, I noticed a sprinkling of white powder residue inside the gun case, sitting on a table against the wall behind me. The bullet on the floor at my feet happened to be the same diameter as the hole in the wall above the case.

    028.jpg

    After further inspection, I found more lead laying around behind the firing line.

    031.jpg

    Is the .32 ACP powerful enough for a defensive round? Yes and no.

  8. #38
    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Stovepipe jams can be caused by underpowered (below cartridge specs) ammo. If it's happened with the same ammo to two separate firearms, that would make me think that's even moreso the case.

    Is this factory ammo you were using, or handloads/reloads?
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  9. #39
    Senior Member bisley's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene L View Post
    I'm thinking about the books. I don't remember (from the book) him having a .38, but what he did have under the dash of his Bentley was a "long barreled Colt." No caliber was specified.

    It was a Colt Police Positive in 38 Special that he had under his pillow in one story. I read the books when I was a teenager, and that's one of the things I remember. Also, I think he used an S&W once that he took away from one of the bad guys.
    Last edited by bisley; 01-15-2018 at 06:07 PM.

  10. #40
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    Oh even a .25 ACP can be deadly, but usually unless a vital spot is hit it may be hours or days later. Years ago FLA State Troopers belt buckle saved him from a nasty belly hit and yet another one died hours later from one in the gut...


    I think sometimes we lump in being "deadly" with being an "effective stopper". The .22, .25 and .32 are effective killers if the victim goes without quick medical treatment. Anyone gut shot with one of these small calibers will, most likely, end up dying of massive peritonitis (abdominal infection). Why would anyone today go untreated? Gang wars! Lots of idiots out there waging war on each other, getting shot and then not seeking medical help because they know the cops will get involved. By the time they do seek medical attention (hours maybe days later), it's too late. The legend of the .22 and .25 grows.

    If the bullet hits just the right spot it can be effective. (Head, neck, major arteries or organs) If you face a petty thief or undetermined attacker it can be effective. (Those who run away when they see a gun or when the shooting starts.)

    It's always the worse case scenario that I think about, the 250 pound "Bubba" who's high as a kite. I want the threat to stop now! Whether he dies as a result of his actions is on him.

    That's why a .32 wouldn't be my first choice but if it's all I have I'll use it. Apply to face, fire, repeat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief
    I guess there are bullets that can do both, expand and penetrate to an acceptable depth and diameter, in theory and in ballistic gelatin, but real life often gives different results as we all know. Sometimes they work just fine too. A lot of variables that can be looked at ad infinitum.

  11. #41
    Senior Member LMLarsen's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    I started having a few feeding issues with my Colt 1903 last year. I whole new set of Wolff springs got it back to 100%. Lord knows how old the previous springs were, and he ain’t tellin’...
    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
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  12. #42
    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by LMLarsen View Post
    I started having a few feeding issues with my Colt 1903 last year. I whole new set of Wolff springs got it back to 100%. Lord knows how old the previous springs were, and he ain’t tellin’...
    It could be bad springs. But if you're having the same problem in two firearms... maybe it's ammo?
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  13. #43
    Senior Member LMLarsen's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
    It could be bad springs. But if you're having the same problem in two firearms... maybe it's ammo?
    Not sure where you got that impression. One pistol, new springs, all fixed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shane View Post
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  14. #44
    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMLarsen View Post
    Not sure where you got that impression. One pistol, new springs, all fixed.
    I thought you were referring to the chap who was having stovepipes with 2 separate. 32s. At least that's who I was referring to.

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  15. #45
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    As for the stove pipes I'd mentioned before I had to leave, I went home and pulled apart 10 rounds in each of three factory boxes of .32ACP I'd purchased. I don't have the data results in front of me, but when I went to weigh the powder, several were .7 grains lighter than the rest of the group. When there's an average of just a little over two grains of powder, a loss of .7 grains meant a lot. So I pulled all three boxes(two Privi Partizan & one Winchester white box) apart and reloaded them all with a consistently weighed load of Bullseye.

    While I was at it I checked ten rounds each of the two boxes of P.P. ammo I had in .25 auto. Glad I did, because they weren't one bit consistent with one another either. Once I reloaded the cartridges with accurate loads of powder, the smoke stacking issues went away.

  16. #46
    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    You'd think a big ammo maker like that would laser check the case volume for lack of tedious weight checks
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  17. #47
    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanfield View Post
    As for the stove pipes I'd mentioned before I had to leave, I went home and pulled apart 10 rounds in each of three factory boxes of .32ACP I'd purchased. I don't have the data results in front of me, but when I went to weigh the powder, several were .7 grains lighter than the rest of the group. When there's an average of just a little over two grains of powder, a loss of .7 grains meant a lot. So I pulled all three boxes(two Privi Partizan & one Winchester white box) apart and reloaded them all with a consistently weighed load of Bullseye.

    While I was at it I checked ten rounds each of the two boxes of P.P. ammo I had in .25 auto. Glad I did, because they weren't one bit consistent with one another either. Once I reloaded the cartridges with accurate loads of powder, the smoke stacking issues went away.
    Maybe the issue isn't the cartridge, but the ammo?

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  18. #48
    Senior Member breamfisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    You'd think a big ammo maker like that would laser check the case volume for lack of tedious weight checks
    Might be more difficult than you think.

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  19. #49
    Senior Member early's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
    Might be more difficult than you think.

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    Most likely
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  20. #50
    Senior Member Tugar's Avatar
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    Re: .32 ACP for defense

    Quote Originally Posted by early View Post
    You'd think a big ammo maker like that would laser check the case volume for lack of tedious weight checks
    Or an opportunity for marketing to make .32acp you can trust.
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