32 S&W Long Ammunition
History of .32 Smith and Wesson Long Ammunition
The .32 Smith and Wesson Long was introduced in 1896 for the Smith and Wesson Model 1896 Hand Ejector revolver. The case is of a straight walled, rimmed, centerfire construction. It was based on the .32 Smith and Wesson cartridge, which of course is shorter than the .32 Smith and Wesson Long. The .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum are based on the same case dimensions but are longer than the .32 Smith and Wesson Long. This makes the .32 S&W Long an acceptable cartridge for use in the .32 H&R Magnum and .327 Federal Magnum.
This small caliber pistol was popular among law enforcement officers when it was first introduced as it was small, easy to conceal and a good choice for detectives and plain clothes officers. The New York City Police Department adopted the .32 S&W Long but it was known as the .32 Colt New Police as Colt offered a Colt New Police Revolver, this became the first standard issue firearm of the department. One of the key advantages that impressed Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City Police Commissioner at the time, was the accuracy of this new round. Eventually, the popularity of this pistol faded as the .38 S&W Special was introduced but the .32 Smith and Wesson Long remained popular in other circles.
Target shooters found the .32 S&W Long to be a light weight, low speed, soft recoiling, but very accurate cartridge. When used with a wadcutter bullet, the .32 S&W Long is hard to beat. Smith & Wesson made a target model of the Model 1896 with an extended barrel and target sights. Hammerli, Walther, Sako and Pardini as well as others have produced target pistols in .32 S&W Long. The cartridge is commonly used in Centerfire Sport Pistol matches , such as those sanctioned by the NRA, ISSF and ISU.
Hunters have used this cartridge for years as a small game hunting round. It is highly regarded by many handgun hunters as an accurate and effective round on rabbits and squirrel, where shot placement is just as important as bullet energy. The most common bullet weight is 100 grains and it generates about 120 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle with a velocity in the area of 730 feet per second.
The .32 S&W Long is not hard to get, but can be difficult to find in big box stores and small shops with limited selection. Fiocchi, Sellier and Bellot, Winchester as well as other manufacturers offer the cartridge in their line-ups.
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