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In 2008, Federal Premium Ammunition collaborated with Sturm, Ruger & Company to develop the .327 Federal Magnum, making it a relative newcomer to the firearms world. The companies’ joint goal was to improve on the .32 H&R Magnum, which was never loaded in a factory round to its full capacity.

The .327 cartridge features a .312-inch diameter lead bullet that sits in a straight-walled, rimmed casing that measures 1.20 inch – one-eighth inch longer than the .32 H&R Magnum case (the parent casing on which it is based). Together the cartridge measures 1.47 inches in total length.

Muzzle velocities for the 85 or 100 grain (gr) bullets, which are most commonly loaded in this cartridge, can reach a velocity of up to 1,500 feet per second (fps). Muzzle energies, as a result, can be as much as 500 foot pounds (ft·lb). The energy levels of the .327 Federal Magnum exceed any commercially available .38 Special and most 9mm ammo. The .327 Federal Magnum can even meet the same energy levels as many .357 Magnum loads.

When it comes to pressure, according to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) standard, the .327 Fed Mag has the highest pressure of any other commercial self-defense round at 45,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Compare this to other Magnum cartridges like the .357 Magnum, which has a max pressure of 35,000 psi, and the .44 Magnum with a max pressure of 36,000 psi, and it’s easy to see the difference in pressure.

These features led to an ammunition that accomplished exactly what its designers set out to do, create a round that far exceeds its parent in both power and performance.

Development of the .327 Magnum Ammo

The .32 caliber may not be that popular in today’s age, but it’s been influencing gun and ammunition development for nearly a century and a half. In 1878, Union Metallic Cartridge (UMC) released what would become known as the .32 S&W short. This low pressure round was designed for small pocket revolvers that were meant to be used in point blank scenarios, and the ammunition shared a similar performance with other small calibers like the .25 ACP, .32 ACP, .22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 Long Rifle (LR).

By the turn of the 20th century, Smith & Wesson released the .32 Long, a cartridge that housed the same .312-inch bullet as the .32 S&W short, but in a larger case. This new ammunition saw an improvement in performance with a 10 percent increase in energy.

The .32 Long faded with the development of the .38 Special and, later, the .357 Magnum. These revolver cartridges were the go-to rounds for duty and defense for much of the 1900s, and were seen in police holsters and civilian bed stands across America.

Then, in 1984, Harrington & Richardson, a subsidy of Remington, joined with Federal Premium Ammunition to create a more powerful .32 revolver cartridge. Federal loaded the new round with more powder than previous ammunitions to create a magnum round that ended with a 200 percent increase in muzzle energy when compared to the .32 Long. They called it the .32 H&R Magnum.

This new Magnum used the same size bullet as its parent, but one that was heavier. The .32 H&R Mag fit into the same class of ammunition as the .38 Special, but gave the shooter less perceived recoil and muzzle lift.

Even though the .32 H&R was a Magnum, it was by no means a hot round, and factory ammunition was never loaded to its full potential. This is primarily due to the innate weakness in H&R revolvers. While the handguns were well made, their top break design and six-shot cylinder made them unable to handle a significant amount of pressure and the ammo could, therefore, never outperform the .38 Special.

When it came to shooting the .32 Magnum out of other revolvers, such as those manufactured by Ruger and Smith & Wesson, it didn’t take long for handloaders to start enhancing the ammo and its performance at the range and in the field.

Fast forward to 2007, and Federal again wanted to take the .32 caliber to the next level. This time Federal paired with Sturm, Ruger, & Company to make a more powerful .32 ammunition specifically for the snubnosed Ruger SP101.

In 2008, the .327 Federal Magnum ammo was released. Technically a Super Magnum, the .327 is a Magnum cartridge and, thanks to modern ballistic technology, handles more pressure than any other self-defense round on the market. SAAMI sets the max pressure for .327 ammunition at 45,000 psi – double the standard for the .32 H&R Mag and 28 percent higher than even the .357 Magnum.

So what’s all this pressure mean? It means that the projectile coming out the end of the barrel has more power. More power equals the ability to propel a heavier bullet at higher velocities. In the end, the shooter is left with one of the most powerful cartridges made for handguns.

Continue reading 327 Federal Magnum Ammo at Ammo.com.
 

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you skipped the part about the 32-20 [and it's higher pressure rifle only loadings] and the part where saami reduced the maximum pressures on the 357 and 44 magnum.
but they wouldn't have presented the 32 fed in the better light.

nothing wrong with the 32F it was just an easy way around dealing with old and new 32-20 guns and the comparison of it being a rimmed 30 carbine case.
 

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When I was with Ruger's engineer dept. in the 1980s we worked with Federal in developing +P+ loads for the .32 H&R Magnum. These operated at chamber pressures similar to the .357 Magnum, giving performance very much like, but maybe 100 fps slower than today's .327 Federal. These higher pressure rounds were very well suited for Ruger's SP101 and Single-Six revolvers, but because their Pmax and MAP would have exceeded the established proof pressure for the .32 H&R Magnum, they never went into production, for fear that they would blow up less strong revolvers and the company was law-suit shy.

Of course lengthening the case by about 1/8" to preclude cartridges being chambered in revolvers not intended for it, is a well established engineering practice. This was done in the 1930s with the .357 Magnum, and in the 1950s with the .44 Magnum. The .327 is a logical follow-on development whose time has finally come.
 

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but because their Pmax and MAP would have exceeded the established proof pressure for the .32 H&R Magnum, they never went into production, for fear that they would blow up less strong revolvers and the company was law-suit shy.
That's fascinating ammo history. And if Ruger was afraid of lawsuits back then, I can only imagine what kind of climate they have to navigate these days.
 

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I find the 327 Federal Magnum is a lot of fun to shoot.
Reloading is very easy to do - which is a good thing because ammo is very hard to find on the shelves. That is not a Covid-19 root cause; that is because the cartridge has not caught on, so many gun shops just don't stock it. (Like the 10mm Auto used to be when that was new)
All the ammo I shoot are my reloads. Starline makes brass so I bought a supply of those soon after I bought the gun.

One plus jumps out when you reload. You don't need a lot of powder in the case. Another plus is that the 0.312" bullets have been easy to find. At least so far. Same with 0.313 lead bullets.

The performance is pretty impressive, although I have seen some drawbacks. First, and most obvious, is the blast & flash with full power loads. It will destroy your hearing if you don't have ear-pro for some reason. That 45,000 PSI mentioned in the OP comes at a cost.
Second, the recoil is sharp. I have the SP-101, but I think a GP-100 or single action might be more enjoyable if you want to shoot a lot of full power ammo. Though, the SP-101 carries nicely on the belt.

Third, full power loads are very destructive on small game. It should be very effective on coyote size game. Although if hunting coyotes, you probably would use a rifle and expect long shots. Loaded down, the 327 works great on small game. I like the 98 gr HBWC's for that. It's very similar to the 148 gr HBWC's I used in a 357.

The accuracy is very good. No complaints there. Any of the 0.312" jacketed bullets worked well. The 0.313" lead bullets are good too. I tried some 0.314" LSWCs but those were not as accurate. (Keep in mind that I have not compared the different diameters using the same bullets. So there are some variables there.)

My opinion is that a 32 H&R Magnum could be just as useful for what anyone would use a 327 Federal Magnum for. Either would be great on small game. As for self-defense, I have never used a handgun for that but I prefer a 38/357 caliber revolver. A 32/327 should work, but a 357 will work. Still, I wouldn't feel "un-gunned" if I had the 327 with me
 

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The .327's performance level approximates that of the .30 Mauser or 7.62x25 Tokarev fired in the same length of barrel, and its case capacity is also similar. I was getting 1400 fps with the 85-grain Hornady XTP bullets fired from a 4-5/8" Ruger Single Six in .32 H&R Mag, which was assembled to Mean Assembly Tolerance cylinder gap of 0.005" pass /0.006" hold, using 231 powder loaded in Federal factory-primed cases, to 35,000 cup, back in 1987. Larry Gibson has my archived test data from 4-inch vented test barrel which closely approximated revolver ballistics.
 
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