It has been fourteen months now since Ruger
and Federal introduced the .327 Federal Magnum cartridge
in the Ruger SP-101
revolver. All of those armchair “shooters” who said that the
cartridge would be dead-on-arrival have been proven wrong. Both
the revolver and the ammunition have been selling very well, and
initial ammo sales of the .327 Federal Magnum greatly exceeded
Federal’s expectations. Since then, Freedom
Arms, Charter Arms,
and Taurus have introduced revolvers chambered for the
new cartridge, and I recently received this new Model 632 Carry
Comp Pro from Smith & Wesson for review. The .327 has
proven to offer true magnum performance for its bore size,
pushing the thirty-two caliber bullets to near 1400
feet-per-second (fps) from three-inch barrels, and to over 1600
fps from a six and one-half inch barrel. Penetration in flesh is
very good; as good as the .357 Magnum with bullets of similar
construction, while having less recoil than the .357 Magnum, due
to the .327’s lighter bullet weight. Another selling point of
the .327 compared to a .357 is that in these small-framed
revolvers, you get one more shot with the smaller magnum.
The Model 632 Pro is a stainless steel sixgun
built on the J-frame, with a blackened matte finish. The 632
wears a three inch barrel of medium profile, with an integral
port atop the barrel just in front of the front sight, to help
control muzzle rise during recoil. The barrel is not just
ported, but has an expansion chamber to further alleviate muzzle
rise. Behind the expansion chamber, there is 2.66 inches of
rifled bore. The 632 operates in either double action or single
action modes, and the trigger pulls are very good in either mode
of fire. The double action is smooth, measuring just barely over
nine pounds on the test gun, with a light, crisp single action
pull measuring just two and three-quarters pounds. The hammer is
of the narrow style, and well-checkered for a non-slip grip
during single-action fire. The trigger is medium-wide, with a
smooth surface, which is the preferred style for double-action
fire. Perfect. The 632 carry Comp Pro weighs in at 24.6 ounces
on my scale, and balances very well. The sights are the reliable
and rugged Smith & Wesson adjustable rear, with a pinned
blade in front, set into a serrated ramp that is integral with
the barrel rib. The ejector rod is, thankfully, long enough to
fully clear the empty cases from the cylinder, and extraction
was easy with all ammunition tested, whether the cases were bare
brass or nickel plated. There was no sticky extraction at all.
The barrel/cylinder gap measured six one-thousandths (.006) of
an inch on each chamber, but was tighter on the left side than
the right. The grips are black synthetic, well-textured, and
felt very comfortable in my hand. They cover the backstrap, and
make the revolver easy to control. While recoil is not as stout
as a .357 Magnum, the 632 is still no pussy-cat. Recoil is about
like a Plus P .38 Special, but the gun’s weight and the ported
barrel make the sixgun easy to control. The cylinder length on
the 632 measured 1.592 inches, which is plenty long for every
.327 magnum load that I have tried. When the cylinder length
permits, I like to seat cast lead bullets out farther, crimping
in the top grease groove. This allows more useable powder space,
thus effectively increasing the cartridge’s power potential
with heavy-for-caliber lead bullets, such as the Mt.
Baldy 120 grain and the 135 grain bullets as cast by my
friend, John Killebrew. These heavy lead bullets really
add a new dimension to the cartridge’s potential as a hunting
round, and the long cylinder of the 632 allows the heavy bullets
to be used without encroaching upon the powder space of this
dandy little cartridge.
The way that S&W has set up this 632 Carry
Comp, with the adjustable sights and long cylinder, allows it to
do somewhat of a double duty. While built for and well-suited
for a carry gun for social work, the revolver can also perform
well as a close-range small game and predator gun. As a
defensive weapon, the 632 carries and conceals well, being built
on S&W’s revered J-frame, which has been a highly-regarded
carry gun for many decades. While there are good speed loaders
on the market for the five-shot J-frames, most who pack one
daily do not carry spare ammo. They just drop the handgun in a
pocket or holster, and go about their lives. J-frames are easy
to carry, and easy to conceal. The extra shot of the .327
Federal Magnum may or may not be a factor in a gunfight, but it
is a twenty percent increase over a five-shot in ammo capacity.
Whether six .327s is better than five .357s depends upon the
situation, but the recoil differential will likely be the
deciding factor for most who choose the .327 Magnum.
Shooting the S&W 632 was a lot of fun. I did
the accuracy testing first from the Ransom
Rest, and the revolver performed admirably, especially
with the stout American Eagle 100 grain soft point load.
This load was going an average of 1366 fps at twelve feet from
the muzzle, and grouped consistently into less than two and
one-half inches at twenty-five yards. The Federal 85
grain Hydra-Shock did not group as well, but would serve as a
good defensive load, and the recoil is less than the American
Eagle load. In the video, you can see how well the expansion
chamber and port hold down muzzle rise. I was shooting the 100
grain AE load in that video. Functioning was perfect throughout
the tests. Every round fired, and extraction was never sticky.
The cases ejected easily with a stroke of the ejector rod. While
compact, the 632 has a solid feel to it, good balance, and it
points and handles well. The adjustable sight is a welcome
feature, and allows the handgun to accommodate a wide variety of
loads and bullet weights. The cylinder length is also greatly
appreciated, as it allows the efficient use of heavy bullets in
The Model 632 Carry Comp Pro is a very good
choice for those looking for a good, reliable .327 Federal
Magnum revolver for defense and close range small game and
predator hunting. It is a fun gun to shoot, and easy to shoot
well. I carried the 632 around using my Harlow Holster
that is made for a 1911 auto. The design of the holster makes it
very versatile, and it worked well to comfortably conceal the
Model 632. The difference in diameter between the .327 and the
.357 is only forty-five one-thousandths (.045) of an inch. That
is less than the thickness of a penny, but with the .327 you get
one more shot and just as much penetration. The loss is
in bullet weight, but all this makes the .327 Federal Magnum a
good choice for a personal defense revolver, and the S&W
Model 632 a good choice for a .327 revolver.
Check out the Model 632 online at www.smith-wesson.com.
For the location of a Smith &Wesson dealer
near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the 632 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order the Mike Harlow holster, go to www.harlowholsters.com.
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
||To buy this gun online, go to:
Factory ammo tested.
Cylinder is more than long enough for factory
...with room to spare for 135-grain handloads (top
& center) or 120-grain handloads (bottom) seated
Compared to the 85-grain XTP bullet, very little powder
space is lost when seating heavier bullets long.
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