Range Review: Sellier and Bellot .32 S&W Long Wadcutters

Cross posted at Hunter-Trader-Trapper and Red Alerts

Let me begin this review with a word about the supposed dangers of lead which have forced many indoor ranges – including the one I usually use – to ban lead ammunition. There is no legitimate scientific evidence that proves shooting lead ammunition indoors is any more dangerous than driving a car in terms inhaling toxic fumes and there is no evidence that firing lead ammunition is killing shooters in any significant numbers.

I say this because it took me literally two weeks just to find a range that allowed lead ammo and didn’t charge hundreds of dollars to join. I actually had been planning to use a DNR range about an hour away from me but they only allow pistol shooting on Wednesdays and I kept missing my window but luckily I found Dewey’s Pawn which is in fact the best indoor range I have ever been to and the most reasonably priced. And they let me shoot lead.

Which was good because I was just about to call Luckygunner.com and just pay them for the .32 S&W Long they sent me to review because I frankly thought I’d never get this done. I was glad I did get this range trip done though because the results were interesting to say the least.

Let me begin by explaining what I use .32 S&W Long for because I do in fact keep this round stocked for my Charter Arms .327 Patriot. I live in a subdivision that gets a fair share of raccoon and fox traffic and I have a six month old Havanese puppy who (like me) is a night owl. Years of hiking have also given me bad knees so I sometimes use a blackthorn walking stick and how much I need one depends on the weather. Because of all this I often find myself walking a small dog while using a cane at around 3:00am with a snub nose revolver tucked in a robe pocket for protection from foxes, raccoons and whatever else lurks about semi-urban sub-divisions in the wee hours.

I need to be able to draw and fire my piece with one hand which I am man enough to admit I can’t do particularly well with full power .327 loads, especially double action. Reduced recoil loads and .32 H&R Mags are better but I worry about my neighbors and their paper thin sub-division walls. Plus you really don’t need that much “oomph” for a grey fox or one of the mangy South Carolina ‘coons I’ve seen. So once my dog Knuckles started wanting to be out and about around the time things that want to eat him are out and about I started loading my revolver with .32 S&W Longs.

The problem was all my range time with my revolver was with full power .327s and I was having problems finding non-lead .32 S&W Long to fire at the range. But the stars aligned and I was able to try out a box of .32 S&W Long 100gr wadcutters courtesy of Luckygunner.com. The box was marked “1-17-3″ which I assume is a manufacture date.

Here’s a picture of my target:

You’ll notice that most of the hits are “keyholed” except two in the head and one off to the side. This is kind of a mystery. I began my range time with two well-aimed single action shots to the head at five yards. These two did not keyhole but when I began firing two or three shot groups in double action the keyholing began. The third round hole to the side was a single action shot I took to see if that had any effect which I was surprised to find it did. Here’s a close up of the head:

I pushed out to ten yards and had some fun firing double action. I guess the keyhole effect could be caused by the low velocity (a smidgen under 600) of this round because after my range trip I took a good look at the revolver and eliminated excess fouling, crown damage and all the other mechanical issues that can cause bullet tumbling. I also took out some old range targets where .327 Magnum rounds were used (American Eagle 100gr) and there were no keyholes. I still have no idea though why firing in single action mode would stop the keyholes.

As you can see above even at 10 yards and keyholing from a two inch barrel the rounds were hitting “minute of fox” when rapid firing using a one handed stance. That was another shock about the ammo. Keyholing or not these wadcutters were keeping up with my (very) meager shooting ability. All the flyers on this target were primarily the result of me not concentrating or taking the time to aim properly. I’m betting accuracy from a gun actually chambered for the round instead of one that just accepts the round would be astounding.

Of course the reason I was half-assing it on the range is that shooting these rounds was too much fun. I bought a 10 shot Uberti Stallion in .22 LR with me to compare recoil. The Uberti is a substantial revolver with a 5 1/2 inch barrel that has good solid heft. The recoil from my snub nose firing Sellier and Bellot .32 S&W Long wadcutters felt exactly the same as firing a Winchester Wildcats through the Uberti. I started just sending my target down the range and emptying my revolver into it as fast as possible because it was so pleasant to shoot. I ended up going through the entire box before I really finished putting the ammo through its paces.

At less than $20 for 50 rounds it hurts the wallet less than most other rounds when you’re having that kind of fun.

So I will buy more, though I’m testing out other brands and bullet shapes first. While I’m comfortable with my ability to gun down a varmint with this round at close range regardless of keyholing I am not comfortable doing so with my dog nearby. From a .327 with a longer barrel results may be different and like I said for some reason shooting single action stops the keyholing but for now I’m scrapping the robe pocket gun strategy and taking my Uberti out for the walks. I’d like something with a bit more power but I’m not willing to sacrifice the safety of my fellow sub-division dwellers.

Except that one moron who feeds the “cute” foxes.

But if you’re in the market for some .32 S&W Long or any ammo Luckygunner.com is the place to get it. They’ve got great prices, great service and a nice wide selection so put in an order before the lousy Democrats make it illegal.

Comments

4 Responses to “Range Review: Sellier and Bellot .32 S&W Long Wadcutters”

  1. Evan on August 21st, 2012 5:36 pm

    Rob…if you’re truly concerned with over penetration, check these out…though they don’t make a round in 327 it something to consider in the future.

    http://www.shopcorbon.com/glaser-safety-slug/500/500/dept

    I typically man my front yard ready to put down roving pit bulls that i see occasionally see that may see my little one as a snack. I call it a 9mm night night pill.

  2. Rob Taylor on August 21st, 2012 6:50 pm

    Good idea. I’m a cheapskate though and don’t want to buy another gun or expensive rounds. Though I’m about to trade in one of my shotguns so I should probably buy a .45

  3. Svenghooli on August 24th, 2012 2:51 pm

    Yawn…thanks, I needed something to put me to sleep…

  4. Rob Taylor on August 24th, 2012 5:25 pm

    And I need something to put the fox to sleep in my area. We both have problems.

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