The .327 Federal ”€œ just another Federal flash in the pan?
You may have read the hype - From the November, 2007 press release:
“Federal has partnered with Ruger to introduce a new personal defense revolver cartridge designed to deliver 357 Magnum ballistics out of a 32-caliber diameter platform”€and with 20-percent less recoil. The 327 Federal Magnum”¦ designed for use in lightweight, small frame revolvers like the proven Ruger SP101”¦This allows shooters to chamber an additional round in their wheelgun”€six shots as opposed to the traditional five-shot cylinder offered in 38-Special and 357 Magnum guns”¦
“The 327 Federal Magnum is ideal for personal defense and has the potential for future application in field use”¦Ruger SP101 will shoot 32 H&R Magnum, 32 S&W and 32 S&W Long ammunition”€giving shooters four caliber offerings and a great, versatile product for target shooting and personal defense applications.
The ammunition will be available in three loads:
”¢ PD327HS1 H: Federal Premium 85-gr Hydra-ShokÃ¢â€žÂ¢ JHP
(1330 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16Ã¢â‚¬? barrel)
”¢ AE327: American EagleÃ‚Â® 100-gr SP
(1400 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16Ã¢â‚¬? barrel)
”¢ 23914 : Speer 115-gr Gold DotÃ‚Â® HP
(1300 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16Ã¢â‚¬? barrel)
Ruger will offer the 327 Federal Magnum SP101 in a 3-1/16-inch barrel length and six-shot cylinder..adjustable rear site and satin stainless finish”¦available beginning in January of 2008.
Federal and Ruger are hyping this as a defense gun for women, but I believe that the users they want to attract will be turned off by its noise, muzzle flash and recoil. I've trained my share of female CCW and this is the WRONG ANSWER!
I predict that this cartridge will go the way of the 9mm Federal in a few years, unless they promote it as a dual-purpose rifle-handgun, small game and varmint cartridge to replace the .32-20.
The .327 “could” be what the .32 HRM “should” have been. It was unfortunate that the .32 HRM was designed around the weaker H&R revolver so that factory load pressures were limited to slightly above the .38 Spl. +P. Had the .32 HRM been designed from the git-go within the working design limits of the SP101 at ~30,000 psi, it would have been a horse of a different color, enabling .32-20 rifle performance from a 4” revolver.
But factory HRM loads never lived up to the round's true potential in a strong, modern gun. So it never really took off as it should have.
The .327 does provides an opportunity to “fix” this, but because of the pre-existing H&Rs they must lengthen the case to avoid its use in the weaker revolvers.
While its is true that greater case capacity has advantages for rifle use, because it gives you more room to stuff more slow-burning powder in, this approach works poorly in handgun barrels shorter than about 5 inches. This is because powders which work best in long barrels leave unburned powder residue, which gets under the extractor to jam DA revolvers, produces lower velocities due to incomplete burning and poor ballistic uniformity from “snubbyÃ¢â‚¬? barrels favored for concealed defense carry.
The larger unused powder space which results when loading faster powders which are required for a “clean burn” in the short barrels, causes greater velocity and pressure variations caused by random powder positioning. This also occurs in the .357 and .44 Magnum cases when you have small charges of fast powder “sloshing around” in them. The effect of this upon accuracy s minimal within 25 yards, but greater vertical dispersion is very apparent at realistic "small game” ranges of 50 yards or more.
I would think of the .327 Federal as a rimmed cal. .30 Carbine. The .30 Carbine Blackhawk was and still is still nasty and unpleasant to shoot with full loads. Most people I know who own them load it down to the equivalent of a .32-20, which was about the greatest small game gun ever.
But just imagine the sensory overload, ear splitting noise, dazzling muzzle flash and a sharp sting in the web of your hand shooting the ballistic equivalent of a .30 Mauser from a 3” revolver!
I would expect that the ammo will be neither plentiful, nor cheap. If .327 experience parallels that of the .38 Special v. .357 Magnum, accuracy experienced firing shorter .32 HRM and .32 S&W Long rounds in the longer .327 chamber will be inferior to using them in proper chambers dimensioned for them.
The .327 would make a good modern replacement for the .32-20 Winchester by providing a well designed, strong, modern case, if suitable modern firearms were designed for it.
I would like to see the .327 offered in a trim, small game bolt action having proportions like the CZ .22 Hornet walking rifles, or an elegant, modern, single-shot “rook rifle” weighing about 5 pounds, with 24” barrel, paired with reasonable choices of trim, accurate revolvers for field use, such as the Single Six or an SP101 with a slender 4” barrel and Bowen Rough Country sights.
That could keep a potentially nice round from falling flat on its face. I don't see it taking off as a defense round. But if we can get the French Army to adopt it there may be hope.
73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia