Ruger’s Single Six is one of the most successful and useful revolvers ever produced. In 1984, Ruger offered the Single Six in .32 H&R Magnum and it could fire four different cartridges. For more than 30 years I’ve had a .32 H&R Magnum, but in 2008 something magical happened: Federal Cartridge partnered with Ruger and introduced the .327 Federal Magnum.
The .327 is a longer version of the .32 H&R, but the real difference is in pressure. It’s loaded to 45,000 psi, which is twice the pressure of the .32 H&R, and 9,000 more psi than the .44 Magnum. Out of a 4.5-inch barrel. the .327 will push a 100-grain bullet to 1,500 fps, and a .327 revolver like Ruger’s seven-shot Single Seven will chamber and fire five different cartridges!
The ability for this handgun to fire so many cartridges and the wide array of ammunition available makes it very versatile, and thus capable of filling a number of practical needs. As an example of the versatile utilitarian role this handgun can fill, here are several factory loads to consider.
The .32 H&R has found some limited appeal with cowboy action shooters due to its mild recoil. In support, Black Hills offers a 90-grain lead, flat-point load. It leaves the 4 5/8-inch Single Seven barrel at a modest 711 fps, generates minimal recoil, and is plenty accurate for plinking and target practice.
For small game hunting, you don’t need lots of power. What you do need is flat-shooting precision. One of the most accurate loads I’ve found for the Single Seven is Doubletap’s 60-grain Barnes TAC-XP .32 H&R Magnum load. Not only will it put bullets into sub-inch groups at 15 yards, but it screams out the barrel at almost 1,400 fps for a very flat trajectory. Doubletap’s 75-grain TAC-XP load in .327 is just as accurate and even faster.
Those who think the .32 H&R or .327 cannot be use for deer have either never tried them or cannot shoot well enough to place a bullet in a deer’s chest cavity. I took a Texas whitetail doe at about 30 yards with Doubletap’s 1,038 fps, .32 H&R, 115-grain, WFN Hardcast load. The bullet punched through both lungs and out the other side. The doe ran about 60 yards and then fell over. I also took a West Virginia whitetail buck at about 35 yards with Buffalo Bore’s 130-grain .327 hardcast load.
Admittedly, even though they have put many bad and good guys in the ground, single action revolvers might not be the best personal protection handguns. But, the primary axiom when it comes to defending yourself with a gun is to have one. With 16 inches of penetration and expansion in excess of a half-inch, Speer’s 115-grain God Dot load for the .327 delivers terminal performance on par with any defensive handgun load.
Don’t overlook the .32 H&R Magnum and .327 cartridges, and don’t overlook Ruger’s Single Seven. It’s a compact, easy-to-carry handgun, and it comes with extreme versatility and enough power to handle about any job most folks will every throw at it. I’ve been carrying a .32 H&R Magnum handgun for most of my life, and I have no intention of stopping. Now I just call it a .327.