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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
load development

Handloading the .327 Federal Magnum

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: May 15 2009

The .327 Federal Magnum was introduced in a Ruger SP101 six-shot revolver.

Federal Cartridge has teamed with Sturm, Ruger & Company to introduce a completely modern .32-caliber cartridge known as the .327 Federal Magnum. It is essentially a lengthened version of the .32 H&R Magnum cartridge with a case length of 1.200 inches, but it’s loaded to significantly greater pressures of 45,000 psi. In spite of its name, it utilizes the same .312-inch bullets as other .32-caliber cartridges, including the .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum and .32 WCF (aka .32-20).

The .327 Federal Magnum offers substantial performance and is advertised to drive a 100-grain jacketed bullet 1,400 fps and a Speer 115-grain Gold Dot hollowpoint 1,300 fps; a Federal “Low Recoil” load pushes an 85-grain Hydra- Shok 1,330 fps. These velocities are advertised from a Ruger SP101 revolver with a 31/16-inch barrel. For the record, those speeds are realistic, as the test revolver used herein produced greater velocities than factory claims.

The .327 Federal Magnum (left) is essentially
a lengthened .32 H&R Magnum (right) but
loaded to significantly greater pressures.

The Ruger SP101 is a small frame, double-action revolver, and when chambered in .327 Federal Magnum, it features six shots rather than five when the same gun is chambered in .38 Special or .357 Magnum. This is a stout and unusually durable gun that tips the scales at 28 ounces. Clearly the folks at Federal and Ruger see this gun and cartridge as having potential in the personal protection and law enforcement market. I would rather see it offered in a medium-framed (.357 Magnum 50th Anniversary pattern) Blackhawk or perhaps a Smith & Wesson K-Frame, which would make excellent field outfits for hunting small to medium game. With 6- to 7½-inch barrels, velocities would easily exceed 1,500 fps. (When this was written, there were rumors that such guns may be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.)

Handloading the .327 Federal Magnum

For handloading the .327 Federal Magnum, RCBS .32 S&W Long/.32 H&R Magnum carbide dies were used, which worked flawlessly.

Case length for the .327 Federal
Magnum is 1.200 inches.

One concern that has been expressed with handloading the .327 is jacketed bullets that are not up to the 45,000 psi this cartridge generates. For instance, some bullets may not have a thick enough jacket, or alloyed lead core, which can result in poor accuracy, jacket or core separation, erratic pressures and premature forcing cone and barrel wear. With that said, none of the loads in the accompanying tables indicated the problem existed with the jacketed bullets used herein. (I did push some bullets to greater speeds and pressures than those listed, and there were some indications that all was not well. Therefore it is suggested to limit powder charges to those listed.)

There were many powders that worked well in the .327 Federal Magnum, giving respectable velocities and accuracy. Loads marked with an asterisk (*) gave notable performance in terms of accuracy for a given bullet, and in some instances accuracy of two powders were more or less identical and explains why more than one powder is occasionally highlighted. For instance, using the 85-grain Hornady XTP-HP, 12.5 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 produced 1,443 fps and groups hovered around 2 inches at 25 yards, but 5.8 grains of Winchester 231 (1,202 fps) gave equal accuracy, so both are highlighted with an asterisk. With that said, there were many loads that gave excellent overall results, even if they were not noted, which is an indication that developing quality handloads for this little cartridge is easy.

Jacketed bullets of .312 inch diameter were used to develop .327 Federal Magnum data.


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