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32 Smith & Wesson Long


Introduced in 1896, the 32 S&W Long uses a longer case and a heavier bullet than does its predecessor, the 32 S&W. As with the shorter round, original guns were never intended for use with high-pressure loads. Some very strong revolvers have been chambered for this cartridge. This can encourage some handloaders to create high-pressure loads for use in such guns. Any such high-performance handload that found its way into an older, weak revolver would most likely destroy that antique with one shot. So, prudence suggests due caution when handloading the 32 S&W Long.

The name of this round refers to the diameter of the case mouth, not the bullet; just as is true with many other revolver and some rifle cartridges of the era.

By modern standards, performance of the best factory 38 S&W Long load can best be described as entirely adequate for rabbit hunting.



As a fight stopper, as with its predecessor (the 32 S&W) the 32 S&W Long is not. But, with well-placed shots, it can do the job just as can the 32 Automatic.

As my friend, Terry Brewer, correctly observed: “There is no replacement for shot placement.”

As with any revolver round, best practice is to apply a roll-crimp after seating the bullet. A roll-crimp eases loading of rounds into the cylinder and can help limit bullet pull under recoil if only modestly. I cannot too-strongly recommend getting a second seating-and-crimping die so you can have one adjusted to seat the bullet and the second adjusted to only crimp the case mouth. Generally, attempting to do both operations in one step is a recipe for damaged and destroyed cases.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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