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(courtesy Ruger)

When my girlfriend was looking for her first defensive firearm, I steered her straight to Ruger’s LCR. (Note: steered, not bullied.) It’s comfortable, concealable, easy-to-use, reliable, accurate and there isn’t a better out-of-the-box trigger on the market (save some high-priced Smith & Wesson Performance Center model.) Before now, the Lightweight Compact Revolver was available in .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, 9mm Luger, .22 Magnum and .22 Long Rifle. My main squeeze opted for the .38. But now Ruger’s offering the LCR in .327 Federal. Wazzat you say? According to gun guru Dick Metcalf (yesthat Dick Metcalf) . . .

From a 3 1/16-inch revolver, the 100-grain Soft Point .327 Magnum load develops 100 fps more velocity than a 125-grain .357 Magnum from a four-inch revolver, and delivers only 35 ft/lbs less energy. The recoil of the .327 Magnum 85-grain Personal Defense load is less than half the recoil of a 125-grain .357 Magnum.

H-h-h-h-hold it. While the LCR .38 Special +P is available with a 3″ barrel (as specified above), most folks buy it as a snubbie, sporting a 1.875″ barrel. Even so, an LCR loaded with .327 Federal Magnum rounds offers similar amounts of oomph as an LCR loaded with .357 Magnum rounds, with a similar sort of reduction in felt recoil. Keeping in mind that you can buy .327 Federal Magnum 85-round hollow-point rounds.

Which is a BIG deal in a gun weighing a scant 13.5 ounces. Especially when you consider recoil’s importance for encouraging or discouraging practice. And, perhaps more importantly, the need to place follow-up shots with some degree of accuracy. [Note: our Ralph and others recommend aiming snubbies low to start, so that follow-up shots move upwards on the perp’s frame. This is somewhat indelicately called “zipping-up” the bad guy.]

OK, back to our man Metcalf (all isn’t forgiven on the 2A front, but c’mon, the guy’s a serious expert):

There is nothing “small” about the performance of this deceptively diminutive-looking round. Hard-hitting and entirely comfortable to fire, the .327 Magnum should be very appealing to anyone seeking high effectiveness and moderate recoil in a compact defense arm—especially those who want a handgun all responsible members of a family can readily learn to use effectively.

Convinced? Not a lot of folks opt for “strangely calibered” guns. For good reason. Midway sells the aforementioned hollow-points for $1.07 a round. That said, you can buy a box of Federal American Eagle .327 Federal Magnum for “just” .53 a round. Oh wait. Midway’s out-of-stock with none on backorder.

Maybe that’ll change, at some point, if and when guns like the Ruger LCR in .327 gain commercial success. What are the odds? Press release:

Nashville, TN – Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) introduces the Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum, the newest variation of the revolutionary Lightweight Compact Revolver (LCR).

Chambered in .327 Federal Magnum, this six-round LCR has an additional round of capacity compared to other centerfire LCRs. This double-action only revolver also features a concealed hammer to minimize snagging during concealed carry.

“The LCR in .327 Federal Magnum combines the proven design of the LCR with the performance of the .327 Federal Magnum cartridge to create a great revolver for both concealed carry and home defense,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger President and COO.

This new LCR maintains all the features of the critically acclaimed original LCR. Its double-action trigger pull is uniquely engineered with a patented friction reducing cam fire control system. The trigger pull force on the LCR builds gradually and peaks later in the trigger stroke, resulting in a smooth, non-stacking trigger pull that feels much lighter than it actually is. The LCR in .327 Federal Magnum utilizes a compact Hogue Tamer grip with finger grooves, which is highly effective at reducing felt recoil. The LCR in .327 Federal Magnum has three main components: a polymer fire control housing, a blackened 400 series stainless steel monolithic frame and an extensively fluted stainless steel cylinder.

When originally introduced, the Ruger LCR revolver was one of the most significant new revolver designs in over a century and it has since been awarded three patents. In addition to the .new 327 Federal Magnum caliber, the LCR also is available in .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, 9 mm Luger, .22 Magnum and .22 Long Rifle. Other variations of the LCR include Crimson Trace Lasergrips models and .38 Special +P, external hammer LCRx models with a 1.875″ or 3″ barrel. All LCR models feature a replaceable white ramp front sight and an integral U-notch rear sight.

For more information on the Ruger LCR in .327 Federal Magnum or to learn more about the extensive line of award-winning Ruger firearms, visit or

To find accessories for the LCR or other Ruger firearms, visit or your local independent retailer of Ruger firearms.

About Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.:

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of rugged, reliable firearms for the commercial sporting market. The only full-line manufacturer of American-made firearms, Ruger offers consumers over 400 variations of more than 30 product lines. For more than 60 years, Ruger has been a model of corporate and community responsibility. Our motto, “Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens,” echoes the importance of these principles as we work hard to deliver quality and innovative firearms.

For more information, visit:

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  1. .327 Mag is going the way of .45 GAP. Another useless caliber solution for a problem that never existed.

    • I like it. Big power in a narrow cartridge with minimal recoil. That’s good stuff. Plus you can shoot like 4 other calibers through a gun chambered in .327 mag… .32 s&w, .32 s&w long, .32 h&r mag, and often .32 acp since it’s semi-rimmed

      • No foolin’? .32 ACP? I thought the dimensions–besides length, I mean–were different from .32 S&W et al.

        • I will have to check out the .32 acp for chamber and fit. I thought they would drop too far into the chambers for the firing pin to strike. I have a pretty good stock of .32acp, but have not owned one since I was disappointed by Seacamp.

        • I have a Taurus in .32 H&R mag that I have been shooting .32 auto cartridges in for some time now (had a good stash laid in when i sold my Kel-Tec. Don’t count on them for self-defense as you’ll get maybe 1 in 20 that don’t go bang the first time but most will fire the second time they are hit with the firing pin. The rounds go into the chamber a bit deep (semi rimmed case catches it from going ALL the way in) for reliable primer dents.
          So, I can shoot .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R mag and .32 auto in mine and, if it was a .327 Federal I could shoot all 5.

        • The 32acp does not fit well in a revolver, making it very inaccurate to fire. Add to that the difficulty of extraction, which can be significant, makes the 32acp completely inappropriate, and perhaps even dangerous as a self defense round. Caveat emptor.

          • 32 longs go through the LCR smoothly as do the mag rounds. My 6th shot with Fiocci 32 longs was a squib and the bullet lodged in the barrel about an 1/4 inch from the cylinder. Removal was a bitch. No more cheap foreign ammo for me!!!! And personal defense rounds from CorBon with throw a foot of fire and kick like a mule. It will get the attention of the intended recipient. My .22mag LCR is slightly smaller and more fun to shoot but I can’t rely on anything less than a .38 for personal protection.
            I also installed an CLIPDRAW( on my LCP and on my .327 LCR and am extremely happy with the concealment on both.

    • Not true, these are two completely different rounds. The GAP was not significantly smaller than the ACP and not more powerful. The .327 is a revolver cartridge, revolvers chamber for versatility shooting lower powered .32 S&W or H&R ammo, and if someone would make a .327 lever gun, it’d prove useful for varmint shooting.

      The .45 GAP was doomed for failure, but I don’t believe the .327 is. Revolver cartridges tend to find a niche and stick around, like .45 Colt and .41 Magnum, while pistol rounds do not.

      • .327 Mag is the most egregious boutique round. Only a sucker pays 1.00 per rd for less performance than a 38 Spl. and if you can’t buy it at Wallyworld why bother. And how the hell is .45 Colt a “niche” round?

        • Less performance than .38 Special, eh? Prove it. I’m assuming you mean some very potent +P or +P+ .38 Special. Well, I wouldn’t shoot +P+, guns aren’t rated for it. But show that you can get the same energy for the same recoil with a .38 Special +P, go ahead, and I’ll stop being a fan of the .327 Magnum.

        • I can’t find .45 Colt at Walmart, Dick’s, or any other big box store. Hell, my lgs doesn’t even have .45 Colt. Niche round, only used in cowboy shooting.

          And .327 has more power than .38

        • .45LC? Used in every one of those cartoon-y “Judges”. Can’t find the round it’s because the owners of those things grab all they can when they see it.

        • While you disparage this round (.327mag) I like what I see with energy and recoil in my LCR. An 85 grain slug at 1400 fps and just under 400ft pounds of energy is nothing to sneeze at. The 100 grain slugs run just under 1500fps and 500ft pounds, which is pretty stout. When you look at the ballistics you will see that it shoots pretty flat as well. WTSHTF all other calibers will likely sell out, but remaing .32 stock will be available. Plus it should be a pretty good small game round up to deer sized game. Just my point of view. I never bought into the .45 Gap rounds, high pressure for similar .45acp performance.

        • The 32 mag can be shot out of the lcr327 magnum. The 32 mag, also known as the 32h&r magnum, has comparable stopping power of a 38 special with considerably less recoil. The 32mag can be reloaded very inexpensively. All of those advantages combined in a revolver that has six shots, could very well make that combination of virtues the very best of all possible revolver/cartridge combinations for self defense.

        • .38 Spcl has more energy than a .327 Fed Mag? Maybe if you are shooting +P+ or ++P with at least a 15 inch barrel maybe. If you don’t win prizes for smarts you can win prizes for style with a 15 inch barrel nickel plated revolver. .327 shoots flatter and farther than a .357, and some loads hit with over 90% of the power of a standard .357 S&W Mag load. Add to that, I get 6, in a J frame, not five, or if you have the machine tools, try 8 or 9 in an L frame or 9 or 10 in an N frame. Yeah a big old N frame with 9 .327s. That makes a 686 Plus look kinda lame. If my mother wants to go plinking she can load S&W or ACP loads, and it’s like shooting a .22, but if one of those aggressive knock down & grab bandits attacks her at the Kroger’s it will be the last thing he ever does. They are pretty easy shooting with .327 or .32H&R Magnum, and that 32 H&R is closer to .38 Spcl. than .327 Fed Mag. That is also the old, I’d rather have 14,15,16,17,18 and now 19, 20 or 21 rounds of 9×19 than 8 rounds of 45ACP, or 12 of .40 S&W. I truly do hope .327 finds a nice niche and sticks around for a while. 45 GAP was just Glock trying to capitalize on their crazy oddball fanboy, brand slut popularity. I don’t thing Uncle Speedball’s G17 is going to be as coveted an heirloom as anyone’s Colt Python, or model 629. Just sayin.

    • Not hardly, true the 327 Magnum was introduced then faded but that was years ago. Now with Ruger offering 3 revolvers in this versatile chambering they have given new life to the 327 Magnum. Local shops in my area always have 327 ammo in stock and they sell a lot of it so I don’t think this cartridge will go the way of the 45 GAP.

    • Based on everything I’ve read about this, it sounds like the perfect cartridge for the LCR.

      • It is and with the 327 MAG YOU GET 6 RDS NOT FIVE LIKE THE SNUBBIE 38SPL, CALS, . And to the guy that yelling $1.00 a rd. I suggest he find a new place to shop or stop sniffing glue . I’m paying under $25.00 for a box of 50 FED. AE soft pts ..My first one was a Tar. when they closed them out .when Ruger brought it back in the LCR I jumped on one.

      • There’s always one .. I have found NOTHING I don’t like about my .327 LCR.
        This time Metcalf hit the nail square on the head.

    • Just the way we like it too. Love my .327. Wouldn’t carry anything else. I know when I pull the trigger there are 6 magnums in the cylinder. Not a worry in my mind. Actually put my Glock 19 in mothballs. And I feel good about it.

  2. I love Rugers… I have 6 of them (including an LCR).

    But a 3″ version and another model in a wacky caliber is why sometimes I shake my head at Ruger’s press releases.

    • I have zero interest in .327 Federal, especially in sub-2″ snub gun…but people asked for it. Ditto the 3″ model. Gotta give Ruger credit for actually asking their customers what they want, and then making it.

    • WHAT? The 3″ LCRx models are great. Longer grip and adjustable sights make them fantastic lightweight revolvers. I wish Ruger would come out with one in .22 LR.

      I wish Ruger would dump the .22 Magnum LCR. 6 round cylinder? Come on, that should be 8. Also, the 9mm is worthless, hollow points won’t expand from it and there are cheaper pistols that shoot 9mm better.

      • I am inclined to disagree about the 9mm LCR. The posted velocities from the 9mm LCR are comparable to those of a 3″ semiauto pistol, and with some judicious ammunition choices, there are at least a half dozen premium ammo loads that will penetrate 12″+ in gel and expand to .50″ or bigger.

      • The reason the 22.mag LCR only has 6 rounds is probably because an 8 round cylinder would make the revolver bulkier I have one and it shoots flat and far, not any recoil and it moves at about 1100 FPS from the short barrel. It penetrated duck seal the same as a .38 cal.110 grain JHP

        • I agree. I bought my 22mag LCR to carry on the farm and in the woods and dearly love it.
          I thought many times that the 327Federal Magnum would make a super personal protection weapon. I’m still looking for one under $500. And i know they are out there. Still, the LCP 380 is the most concealable so I can’t completely go back to wheel guns but really like the ballistic reports of the 327.

    • Brought Ruger LCR as my 1st. handgun, now thinking seriously thinking about getting the LCR 9mm,
      Already have a vintage stainless steel SP101 9mm revolver 2.25″ barrel. Also have two 9mm semi-autos, so staying in the same caliber is a good thing. Do I need another handgun, nope, didn’t need the other 8 handguns I already have, it’s a matter of want.

      If you do go the 9mm LCR route, don’t buy the Crimson Trace grip, buy the Lasermax CF-LCR Lazer for Ruger LCR, will save $100.00+ at Amazon, they also have pack of 10 moon clips with un-loader tool included, for $36.00 for Ruger LCR 9

      • “…vintage stainless steel SP101…”

        Egads, vintage? They came out around 1990, I’m going to feel old for several minutes after reading that.

    • I’m of the same opinion, I like it when I can actually find cheap ammo and buy it. There are some calibers out there that interest me that aren’t exactly common, like .327 and .45 Colt that are going to push me into reloading.

      • I shoot the 327 Federal Mag and I have never had a problem finding ammo for it, 50 round boxes for $27.00. I have been shooting mine for three years in a Ruger Blackhawk. The round is not new, it came out originally in 1985 I believe it was, its a round that will developed 45,000 psi which puts it in the pressure range of the .44 Mag and it will penetatrate 16 inches of flesh and bone (ref: Gun Blast evaluation) And you can put the 32 short, 32 long and the 32 H&R Mag thru it. It can attain a muzzle velocity of 1600 fps and muzzle energy of almost 500 ft lbs. Niech round I think not. I hate to see so many people bad mouth the .327 and not know anything about it.

    • If you reload you won’t have to worry about a cartridge becoming obsolete and then not being able to find ammo..

  3. After eight years on the market, I just don’t think this round is going to take off. It’s pretty much a Ruger-only round now, as I think they’re the only ones selling new guns chambered for it anymore (Single-Six, SP101, and now the LCR). It’s never a good sign for a new caliber when only one company makes guns for it. .327 Fed Mag isn’t dead yet, but it’s definitely stagnating.

      • Yes. The cases are a bit longer than the parent .32 H&R Magnum cartridge, and I think in general the brass alloy used and heat treatment is different to accommodate the .327’s higher pressures.

    • Henry just released models of its lever action rifle and carbine in the .327, so it’s not just a Ruger round anymore.

  4. This looks great on paper. Taurus had a 327magnum but couldn’t sell enough. BTW what’s so hard about a sub-compact semi-auto in 9mm for your girlfriend? All super short barrels lose the benefit of a magnum round…boutique or uncommon calibers are not for me…

    • Halle-fallujah! A Magnum round out of a 1.875″ snubbie is likely to have less energy than a decent defense 9mm round out of a 4″ semi-auto. Let alone +P.

      Not to mention the recoil and everything else wrong with big-bore snubbies. Get her a compact 9, or even .380 fer cryin’ out loud. More firepower, less drama.

      • Yeah and when it jams and she hasn’t a clue how to clear it let alone if she even loaded it and the attacker takes it from her before she even gets a shot off, yeah automatic perfect for her, DOH!!!

  5. You missed the most important point, Robert: A 327 magnum revolver can hold 6 rounds while a similarly sized 38 or 357 can only hold 5.

    • It’s in there – or at least mentioned in the Ruger press release. Regardless, it’s so much easier to fund .38 Special, .38 +P, and .357 that the additional round of capacity ain’t much of a selling point.

      • It’s a compact revolver that holds six instead of five.
        It puts out energy comparable to 357 magnum in the same size gun.
        So, you could have 5 rounds that are .030 inches bigger, or have an extra boom waiting.

        I’m a fan of the extra boom. Especially in a light carry gun with one of the best revolver triggers I’ve ever felt. I’m looking forward to getting one.

        It amazes me how many people are quick to hate on something, just because it’s different. It’s not like all the 357 fans are still shooting hard cast lead. Hell, I don’t even know anybody who still uses Hydra-Shoks.. But a new caliber, and folks start tossing around “Solution looking for a problem”… but in this case.. the problem was that compact 357s only held five shots.

        Yes, Shame on them for solving that. But when you combine it with the other advantages of the LCR, it makes it a very viable little gun.

        But I will freely admit that I came into this thread already a fan of both the round and the gun.

        • A Magnum caliber out of a 1.875″ snubbie is going to have garbage energy compared to the same round out of even a 3″ barrel. Let alone against a 9mm out of a 4″. Or even a 3.

          Here’s the energy graphs…

          Bottom line is out of a 2 inch or less barrel, anything is pretty much a joke. You’re better off with a smaller, more controllable 9mm with a longer barrel, and even super compact, having more rounds.

          Magnum snubbies are a fools’ errand.

        • You’re also going to have a muzzle flash like the Guns of Navarone… all that unburned powder, flying out of the muzzle…

        • @16V – Those “ballistics by the inch” figures are off.
          I chronographed all three loads from a 2″ Taurus snubby. The numbers I got were as follows:
          115 GR Gold Dots averaged 1318 15′ from the muzzle for an energy figure of 444 lb ft.
          100 GR Gold Dots 1398 for an energy figure of 434 lb ft.
          85 GR HydraShoks 1311 for an energy figure of 324 lb ft, These are the “low recoil” rounds.

          The first two loads exceed any standard pressure and most +P 9mm rounds. To achieve these energy figures the 9mm needs a 4.5″ barrel and +P+ pressure levels.
          Fools errand indeed…

      • UM less recoil for woman who don’t like recoil, see guys if she don’t practice because of recoil what good is it, the hell with the extra round, that is not the main selling point at all and ballistically it has very similar energy to the 357

  6. Just bought a 3″ LCR this morning, Figured the accuracy would be a little better, and an extra 100/150 fps may make it comparable to using Double +P, instead of plain old +p. Haven’t shot it yet.
    Also bought a Bulgarian 9×18 Makarov for just over a couple of C notes. Would appreciate any comments on the Mak.

    • I really like the Makarov. The 9x18mm round has its disadvantages, but just about any pistol built around it is solid like a brick. I have about 6 different pistols chambered in 9x18mm and they are all have superb accuracy out to about 25yd and are utterly reliable. You’ll enjoy it–the weight definitely mitigates the snappiness inherent in the blowback design and the ease of maintenance makes me think you’ll get your money’s worth.

        • $210 is a steal for a Bulgy Mak in this market. Unless it’s in terrible shape, you did great.

          Most 9×18 guns are really great shooters. The fixed barrel blowback action tends to yield a snappy, but very accurate pistol. The round itself is a little more powerful than .380. If you want self-defense ammo for it, Hornady Critical Defense is probably the best SD ammo available in that caliber.

          If you end up looking for other pistols chambered for the Makarov round, the Czech CZ-82 is one of the best, with most of the features you’d expect on a “modern” gun (rather than one designed in the ’50s). The Polish P-83 is probably the best bargain in 9×18 guns right now. They can be had for $200 with two magazines, and are nicer shooters than their predecessor, the P-64.

        • +1 for the 9×18. I had an E German Mak, great carry pistol, I’m no great shakes shooting but it hit what I pointed it at consistently. But I sold it to my son so he and his family would have at least one SD handgun, I carry a P-64 now, for me it is the perfect go-everywhere pocket pistol. Both guns are utterly reliable, low-maintenance, accurate (fixed barrels help). Wish I could spring for one of those Wanads that recently went on the market. BTW, I expect $210 for a Bulgy Mak is a steal, i’ve heard of them going for $400-$500 at gun shows.

        • Thanks for the info. One thing I liked about the Makarov, is the double action. I can have one in the pipe with the hammer not cocked, and still get off a shot instantly, while keeping it in a relatively save mode.
          Won’t be carrying this, too heavy, I just bought a Ruger SLR for that, to replace the Sig 938 I had.
          Another minor reason I bought the Mak, was because in this state (OR) you only have to go through one background check (and fee) if you buy two or more guns at one time.

        • Yes, i liked that about the Mak too, has a rebounding hammer so it is fairly safe to carry with a chambered round. The firing pin is not restrained, so theoretically it could come forward and set off a round if the gun were dropped on the muzzle end, but most combloc Mak ammo has pretty stout primers so the danger is indeed pretty theoretical. Still something to be aware of.

    • I went from carrying a Norinco 213 (which is a Tokarev TT in 9×19), to the Makarov a while ago. But before that, I had bought a Bersa Thunder 380 to replace the Tokarev. It turned out that the Makarov won out once I located a decent holster for carry comfort, and sourced a cheap supply of Silver Bear hardball & hollowpoints. As much as I liked the Bersa, it just wasn’t as comfortable or as cheap to shoot or carry as the Makarov. Plus, unlike the Bersa, it could be used as an impact weapon if the pistol runs dry, and I wouldn’t worry about damaging it.

      • Underwood makes +P XTP hollowpoints for the Mak, that develop just over 300 ft-lbs energy ( 4″ barrel” ). THAT ammo takes it out of the 380 class altogether. I’ve shot the ammo from my cz82 and P83 without problems ( I DO have a slightly enhanced recoil spring in the CZ ) .

    • Gunr, I have the Bulgarian Mak. It’s all steel except for the grip panels. I have shot mine with a wide variety of surplus commie ammo and new commercial ammo. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has ever caused that gun to jam or otherwise malfunction.

      And it’s stupid accurate for a smallish service grade pistol. Look up the Military Arms Channel torture test of the Mak and stand amazed. It’s one of the few guns I would never trade or sell off.

      And 210 is a bargain.

  7. I spent some quality range time with the Smith & Wesson Model 632 a while back, and I was impressed with both the revolver and the moderate recoil of the .327 Fed. Mag. round. The M632 will also chamber .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Mag. along with the .327 Fed. Mag., so I guess that this little Ruger will do the same. While versatility is great, finding any of those cartridges ranges from impossible to merely difficult, so the promise of versatility is not met by reality.

    So yes, I’m a fan of the .327 Fed. Mag., but I see no future for it as a regular, everyday, every LGS caliber. It just hasn’t caught on and likely it never will. Too bad.

    • Agree that it’s a great cartridge. Has a ton of defensive and hunting potential. Too bad that not many shooters have picked up on it.

  8. Need to edit this article further. Too wordy and convoluted. I got lost, then lost interest.

    Anyway, .327 caliber sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Pass.

  9. I get very suspicious when someone tells me a “magnum” round can be fired with tolerable recoil. That’s like when people tell me I will love the “mild” heat of their jalapeno pepper sauce. I don’t fall for it anymore. What is “mild” to some is nearly lethal to others.

    Toleration is in the hand of the shooter, of course. I fired five .357m rounds from my Ruger SP101 .357, and will never attempt it again. Very poor control of the gun, and very few hits at 10 feet. I can’t see any real reason to bother with a slightly smaller magnum caliber, especially one that isn’t generally available. Thanks, but no thanks.

    • Your probably better off just sticking with the 38 special rounds, either standard, or +p if the recoil is tolerable.

    • Lightweight bullets + high velocity = .357 magnum-ish energy (from a revolver, not lever gun) without massive recoil. Kinda like a 9mm +P or +P+, which can match / exceed the energy of a 1 3/4″ barrel .357 snubbie.

    • Well, “magnum” really is just relative for the power level of the cartridge compared to its parent cartridges. Since the .327 Fed Mag lineage goes back to the .32 S&W (passing through .32 H&R Mag and .32 S&W Long along the way), the .327 is a “magnum” version of a pretty anemic cartridge to begin with.

    • All the appellation of “magnum” used to mean was “a big case.” There’s no specification of how much powder you must put into that case.

      The whole “magnum” name for a cartridge started with the .375 H&H Magnum (introduced in 1912, 103 years ago), and the term came about because someone thought the large, outsized case for the .375 H&H resembled a champagne magnum, which is nothing more than a large bottle of wine (1.5 liters, if I recall correctly). The .375 H&H’s belt allowed H&H to use the same cartridge in both double rifles and bolt action rifles. If people are interested in the reason why there’s a difference between cartridges designed for a double rifle vs. a bolt action rifle, please ask and I will explain.

      After WWII, and especially after 1950, there was a blizzard of cartridges introduced with the “magnum” marketing term, with Roy Weatherby being the biggest marketing genius to capitalize on the term. There isn’t a cartridge that Roy Weatherby introduced (of which I’m aware) that doesn’t use the appellation “magnum” in the name. Everything was a “Weatherby Magnum.” Roy didn’t invent any new caliber pills – he just was launching the same diameter/length/weight bullets that existing cartridges were launching, only at higher velocities, out of cartridge cases with radiused shoulders (supposedly to capitalize on the “venturi effect” and belts for the headspacing.

      There’s absolutely no need for the term “magnum,” and it has no hard-n-fast definition. It’s now purely a marketing term. Some people think that the term “magnum” means that a rifle cartridge must have a “belt” forward of the extractor groove on the head of the cartridge. Not so. Also, it isn’t true that a cartridge without the term “magnum” is inferior to a cartridge with a “magnum” in the name. Examples from the .375’s: The .375 Ruger has no belt, and it’s hotter than a .375 H&H. The .375 Dakota is entirely on par with a .375 H&H, it has no belt and it is shorter than the .375 H&H case. This means that, even tho the .375 Ruger and .375 Dakota aren’t called a “magnum,” they’re going to wallop your shoulder every bit as hard as the .375 H&H Magnum.

      • C’mon, man, don’t leave us hanging. Why is there a difference between cartridges designed for a double vs. a boltie?

        • I think the explanation is too large to put into the thread here. Please look towards the bottom of the comments thread at the outermost level of comment for the explanation. I’ll try to condense the explanation as much as possible… you’ll see why I deferred from including it here.

      • As it’s misappropriated wine/champagne terminology, I’ve always considered necking down a 20×102 or 20×110 Vulcan/Oerlikon round to a .50BMG projectile…

        Call it the ‘Midas’…

        For the sane folks who don’t know the obtuse names of the other jumbo bottles of champagne beyond the ‘magnum’.

      • I have a round of .300 WIN MAG in my grubby paw and would be interested in the purpose of that head belt you mentioned, I was told it was required due to the ‘magnum’ (that I now know is marketing hype) chamber pressures.

        I’ve fired exactly *one* round of that 300 WIN MAG out of a surplus rifle converted for it (barrel was chopped somewhat and a lightweight plastic stock installed) and that one round on that lightened rifle *hurt*.

        A bit of a recoil wimp I might be. (Even though I did enjoy shooting that Super Redhawk 44 mag I had.)

  10. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I fired the .38 LCR when it first came out. It was the second most painful handgun I’ve ever fired in my life( most painful was a Charter .44 Bulldog). Ruger makes some good guns, a 3-inch SP 101 would suit me fine. the LCR in any guise? no thanks.

    • With the Hogue grips it’s not too bad. With the boot grip it’s pretty darn snappy to the palm.

      Fun watching big guys take a few shots and give it back to me while shaking off their hand.

      That’s without +P’s.

      • You guys are scaring me! I went up and shot my new LCR (38 special) a little while ago. The gun was a bit snappy, but tolerable. But I was using regular ammo, not +P. I am planning on using some self defense load in +P when I “carry” it. So now I’m wondering what it’s gonna do to me. Ouch!

        • Gunr. Be aware of “bullet creep” if you aren’t already. In these lightweight snubbies firing +p loads can whip the cartridge casing forward and back in the chambers and allow a bullet to actually creep out of the cartridge mouth. Had it happen at the range with what was then my favorite SD load in my j frame. +P LSWHP, 158 grains. The old Chicago/FBI loads. Bullet protruded from the chamber mouth and jammed the revolver up. It took 3 hands to clear it.

          I onl;y use jacketed bullets in the j frame now and no repeats have occurred.

          As I go along I’m not convinced +P brings enough to the table to warrent the extra cost and wear on my guns.

        • If you’ve got the 3″ barreled version, I wouldn’t be too scared of +P ammo. Those who are complaining about the recoil are probably shooting the original .38 snubby version, which is a couple of ounces lighter than yours, and has a smaller grip. Both of which will contribute to greater shooting discomfort. If you can handle regular .38’s in it, well, +P only runs about 10% higher pressure.

        • jwm, correct me if I’m wrong here, but bullets jumping crimp in lightweight revolvers will always jump forward, where the risk is jamming the revolver. If they jumped back it would create an over pressure situation, like when people unload and reload the same round too many times in an auto (pushing the bullet back into the case). Newtonian physics seems to dictate that this be the case.

        • Gov. I’m not an expert. But the only time it’s happened to me was in a j frame with +p loads and yes, the bullet went forward where it protruded from the chamber and jammed the gun.

          In all cases I’ve heard of(all second hand accounts) the bullets seem to go forward and leave the case.

        • Gov, your instincts are correct. The recoil impulse of the revolver pushes the gun back, and the heavy bullet’s greater inertia resists that motion more than the lighter case does. From a physics point of view, the bullet is trying to stay still and the case is backing off of it.

        • Thanks, I’ll stick with jackets for self defense if using +P. Don’t intend to practice too much with +P, just enough to see how it performs, as you say, why wear the barrel out.

        • For revolvers with snappy recoil, you need to:

          a) use bullets with a cannelure (jacketed bullets) or a crimp groove (lead bullets)
          b) set your seating die for a roll crimp, or
          c) purchase a fourth die for your die set that puts a roll crimp on the case mouth.

          On snappy-recoiling revolvers, you cannot trust a taper crimp. Taper crimps are for semi-auto handguns, revolver rounds (ie, rimmed rounds) get a roll crimp.

        • I’d stick with standard pressure like Hornady Lite or 110gr I the LCR38. I shoot +P in my LCR357 and it’s all I want to handle.

  11. Why is the press release from Nashville? Did Ruger pull a Beretta and move but decided not to tell anyone?

  12. Solution to a problem that doesn’t exist….oh well, someone will buy it and I will by someone’s lightly used gun when they get tired of paying top dollar for factory ammo.

  13. As said above, I just bought an LCR. The problem is finding a leather IWB holster to fit the 3″ (not snuby) barrel.
    looked on eBay, Cabela’s, etc. most are tailored for the 1 7/8″ barrel. Any suggestions?

    • More than .38+P, a little louder, but with more stopping power and an extra round. Alternatively, it can be loaded with .32 Long and feel like shooting a .22 LR.

      A .327 revolver has such a variety of loads it can shoot, one of the reasons I like them. The only issue is .32 ammo is not something you can find at Walmart or other big box stores.

    • The .327 would likely have lower recoil than a .38 Special loaded with higher mass bullets.

      • I’ve never felt any 38 special cartridge of any type, feel as snappy as the .327 magnum does. I have an S&W 632, the first model they offered with the power port. Most people think I am shooting a .357 when I take it to practice.

    • I own a Taurus snubby in both calibers, both all steel.
      The 327 feels quite a bit more authoritative, similar to a 357 in a 4″ K-frame Smith. Not something you want to shoot all day, but not enough abuse to discourage practice. ?

  14. Not a chance in hell. I prefer a caliber I can find at WalMart for cheap practice ammo, and a large variety everywhere else for defensive ammo.

    Taurus 85 UL is my jam.

  15. .327 is one of my favorite rounds I’ll probably never buy. I have an LCP I inherited from a relative, and thanks to a ‘deferred sentence’ I might be able to give it back this winter (after I hear it from the judge himself, that is). I might buy an LCR as it’s replacement. Odds are I’ll go with either a .357 magnum or a 9mm since those are calibers I actually have and my EDC is a .357 (and they don’t make an LCR in .44 mag.). If they made either of those calibers with a spurred hammer I’m definitely a buyer. But it’s primary purpose is going to be a motorcycle jacket pocket gun in the summer and a backup truck gun in the winter. Mixing calibers isn’t the best option for a backup gun.

    One thing to note when comparing a .327 to a .357, the hot loads in .357 (Buffalo Bore, Double Tap, etc.) are actually just full pressure .357 loads. For some reason (recoil?) the major manufacturers neutered the round decades ago, so comparing full pressure .327 to neutered .357 loads makes the .327 look like some kind of magical round, which it isn’t. Damn good round though, and I’d take 6 rounds of .327 over 5 of .38 special any day..

  16. The pity is that .38 Special in a five-round revolver could be a heck of a CCW piece. The problem is that, like the .45 Colt, the .44 Special and even the .45 ACP, the cartridges are loaded to such low pressures that people start jumping up to stuff like the .357 Mag (or .44 Mag) when there is really no need – if you could buy ammo for these older, common cartridges loaded to modern power levels for modern guns.

    Remember, before there was a .357, there was a “.38-44” or “.38/44” or “.38/44 Heavy Duty.” Elmer Keith worked with S&W on this round, and it worked well, but exceeded the capability of the S&W M&P (Military & Police) revolver at that time. In today’s revolvers (say, a Ruger GP100 level of frame, or a modern S&W 64X J-frame), you could get a lot more ooomph out of a .38 Special without having to invest in new cases, dies, or bullets.

    Thanks to our litigious society, you can’t sell .38 Special ammo marked “for modern handguns only,” because some moron will put it into an ancient Colt or S&W, grenade their great-grandfather’s piece, and then go whining and whinging to their lawyer about the pieces of older steel in their face and hands.

    Hence the seemingly frivolous new calibers. The way for a manufacture to prevent a new, hot, high-pressure round from turning a classic gun into a cloud of fragments is to create a cartridge you physically can not stuff into existing guns. This is why, rather than stay with the hot-loaded .38/44 round, S&W (et al) lengthened it to what is now the .357. This is the reason why, even in the face of newer powders that could have made the .44 Special a hot round, Remington made the .44 Magnum. This is why there is a .454 Casull instead of just filling a .45 Colt with modern powder – and let me tell you, if you choose a modern pistol powder, you can hot-rock a .45 Colt to beyond .44 Magnum levels.

    If you own a chrony, and you have access to modern guns that can handle classic cartridges loaded to high modern pressures, you’d be surprised to see how little difference there is between a classic cartridge loaded with a modern powder to modern pressure levels, and one of the new “boutique” magnum rounds pushing the same pill.

    There are dozen or more of these new(er) “boutique” rounds out there, purely for the purpose of preventing a high pressure round from being used in a classic firearm that isn’t able to reliably handle the high pressure. So don’t blame just us gunsmiths and gun cranks for creating boutique rounds. Blame lawyers as well.

    • There are some pretty hot .38 special +p loads out there. Just took a look at Buffalo Bore and they’ve got a 158gr. load they claim 379 lb/ft out of a 2″ S&W. Best part is it’s a LSWCHP. That’s right, a lead semi-wadcutter hollow point! I remember those from the 1980s. Probably a hell of a load. Still can only put 5 in and LCR though.

      • Elmer was loading the .38/44 to pressures over 40,000 PSI and energies over 450 ft-lbs at the muzzle.

        When you read up on some of the loads Elmer tested in old S&W and Colt wheelguns and you know something about loading and metallurgy, you flinch just sitting there, reading Elmer’s letters to other gun cranks of the day.

        Trinidad State Junior College has a pretty complete collection of Elmer Keith’s writing and correspondence with other folks. It’s eye-opening to see how far Elmer pushed things in his day.

        • Well, taking BB’s word on their loads, 379 lb/ft of energy from a 2″ barrel is probably right on par with 450 from a 4″ barrel, although I highly doubt the BB loads are running 40,000 psi. I’m guessing that 8 decades of technological advancement in gunpowder has yielded higher velocities at lower peak pressures. I’d also note that to my knowledge, Keith never experimented with those high pressures in any pocket revolvers at the time, especially since (I think) at the time .38 special was a full size revolver only load. Small revolvers were all .32s.

          I’m not sure how litigious American society was during the Great Depression, but I don’t think you need lawyers to tell you that maybe it be a good idea just to make sure your loads don’t blow up anyone’s gun in their face. Adding a tenth or an eighth inch to the magnum calibers makes a lot of sense.

        • Anything much over 300 ft-lbs out of a 2″ .38 revolver is the very ragged edge. Barrel length is critical to velocity and ultimately energy.

          I’ll take a semi-auto with a 3.5″ bbl, more rounds, smaller cartridges, the same weight, same muzzle energy, and far easier to hit the target.

        • DG
          So then how do you rate the 38 special +P loads, You may have noticed I just bought a LCR in 38+P today, Plan on it being my main carry. Would you believe I traded a perfectly good Sig 938 for it, simply because I’m a little leery of carrying an autoloader with a cocked hammer an one in the pipe, Not enough training to trust my self on a quick draw.
          I will do a lot of training with dry fire before putting lead in the cylinder, except for casual shooting.

        • You’re right that Elmer had no “pocket” revolvers available to him other than the Colt Detective Specials, until the J-frames came out in ’50, and then they were both chambered in .38 Special. I seem to recall that Elmer had a couple of barrels cut down on .44 Special mules to less than 4″, but I don’t recall offhand what all he did with them.

          Today, we have some ferociously fast burning powders for handguns, and if you’re a reloader, you can achieve some pretty snappy velocities even out of 2″ barrels, if you’re willing to reload.

        • DG, Of all people, you know that anything out of a 2″ pipe is not going to reach a decent round out of a 4″ tube.

        • A 4″ barrel will always produce better velocities than a 2″ barrel, of course. Modern powders allow you to achieve better results than you could even 50 years ago out of a 2″ barrel. If you put those modern powders into a 4″ barrel, you’d have some smoking velocities, of course. Generally speaking, I’d like to see any self-defense bullet leaving the muzzle with at least 750 fps.

          In Ye Olde Days, a .38 Special in a Detective Special or J-Frame might only be trundling downrange at 675+ fps. That’s not all that great. Today, there are commercial rounds (eg, CorBon) that are going downrange out of a snubby at nearly 800 fps.

        • Which is why I have never understood snubbies. what’s the advantage? Bulkier than a compact 9, harder to conceal, harder to shoot, harder second shot, less energy, half the round count, less accurate, down an inch (or more) of bbl length to a compact 9. Waaaayyy back in the day, I had a Dan Wesson Pistol Pack in .357, I put that ~2″ on there a couple of times. Rendered the thing useless for all practical purposes.

          I understand the whole I-wanna-play-detective-like-I-saw-on-tv-as-a-kid novelty for one’s collection. I just find that anyone actually carrying one has no idea what little power is actually coming out of that 2″ barrel.

        • 16V,

          Some people prefer small revolvers over a compact 9mm because they believe revolvers are more reliable, simpler to operate (just pull the trigger again if you have a round that fails to go “bang”), and less likely to discharge (a revolver’s double-action trigger is harder than a pistol’s single-action trigger to actuate inadvertently). Those are all good reasons in my mind.

          As for barrel length, keep in mind that the barrel length of a revolver is just that and does not include the length of the cylinder. The “barrel length” of a pistol includes the chamber which, because the cartridge seats there, does not contribute to bullet velocity. Example: the cartridge takes up almost 1 inch of a 9mm pistol’s 3.5 inch barrel, thus there is only about 2.5 inches of barrel for powder to burn, generate pressure, and propel the bullet.

          So, whenever you think about a pistol versus a revolver, subtract about 1 inch from the pistol’s barrel length for a fair comparison to the velocity it will develop versus a revolver.

        • Uncommon_Sense.

          Some folks believe in the notion that an OHV V8 with carbs is superior, except that they will get their ass handed to them by a DOHC EFI engine every time.

          I won’t argue that shooting ‘what you know’ is the best, but I will offer that the science is the science, what anyone of us ‘thinks’ means nothing.

          Revolvers (save for only the Nagant M1895) are horribly wasteful, losing bunches of energy between the cylinder and the barrel. “Believe” what ever you want, the facts are the facts, stubbie wheelguns are miles below a compact 9P of the same/lesser dimensions.

          One may prefer the illusion of ‘control’ that one has with a pump shottie or a 5 speed manual. The reality is that the hundred-year-old A5 or 8 speed manumatic will perform better time after time.

        • 16V,

          Revolvers certainly lose some velocity because expanding gases escape between the cylinder and barrel gap. How much, I don’t know. I would like to know how much velocity loss due to the cylinder gap equates to how much of a reduction in velocity due to an equivalent reduction in barrel length. In other words, does a revolver with a 6 inch barrel produce the same velocity as a sealed tube with a 5 inch “barrel”?

        • uncommon_sense, Just go to the above-captioned website for the data. Here’s my offer of proof, place your hand gripping the cylinder/barrel interface on any wheelgun save for a Nagant 1895. Let us know how much of your hand you lost.

          Mythology is fun, science is better.

  17. I love it. Thank you, Ruger. You doofuses poo-pooing everything new can go ahead and defend yourselves with inferior weapons. The .327 Magnum may be a niche round due to it’s limited popularity, so it isn’t the best choice for many, but it is a superb choice for others. The price of retail ammo doesn’t bother everyone. Some handload, others don’t shoot much, others have lots of money compared to how much shooting time they have. A lot of people don’t practice at all. I’d tell them to practice, but I wouldn’t tell them not to keep a gun even if they don’t. Those people could use an extra light-recoiling round. Personally, I think .327 Magnum makes a lot of sense for a self-defense gun, especially a lightweight low-capacity revolver like an LCR. If you want to shoot a lot for less money, get a companion LCR in a chambering with less expensive ammo. You could probably get similar recoil impulse from 38 Special +P loads or light .357 Magnum loads. Or get it in rimfire and really save money (in most years).

      • I’m expecting a return of the P series much like when they ‘discontinued’ the Mini-14 for a couple of years only to retool and return with a better version. They were selling about 50,000 P95s a year when they discontinued it ( ), so I can’t see them just expecting every thumb-cocker just switch over to SRs.

        • That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.

          The Ruger P345 is my favorite .45 ACP pistol, and I’d love to get a KP94DC in 9mm. I’ve seen some in .40 S&W but I’m not ready to take the .40 S&W plunge (cost, mainly).

        • I had a P89 way back and a couple of years ago I bought a P95 for carry after I decided I didn’t need to carry a puny Taurus PT709. Ended up switching to a revolver for carry though (GP100 Wiley Clapp) and sold the Ruger and the Taurus to fund a Beretta PX4 Storm sub-compact for the wife. My only complaint about the P95 was the brick of a slide. I put it on the scale and it weighed an ounce and a half more than the one on my Beretta 92 with an inch longer barrel.

          I’m not sure they’ll bring back the whole line, but seems like they were selling way to many to abandon the entire line, even if more people are buying striker pistols. I personally prefer one crappy DA trigger pull and 15 crisp SA pulls over 16 crappy trigger pulls.

  18. .327 Federal is a great round, in a longer barrel with target sights set up for small game or preditors.

    In a snub, for self defense, the .38 special is far superior in terms of bullet weight, momentum, wound channel and muzzle blast.

  19. I bought my wife the 4.2″ SP101 in .327. She was able to shoot for the first time with 100gr wad cutters at 730fps and will be able to gradually move up to 500ft-lb XTPs. The round really shines in longer barrels. It looks very nice, it is easy aim has the mass to absorb recoil, and has 20% more shots than the .357. This gun won her over to start shooting.

    • Oops, I meant 500ft-lb Gold Dots, though I intend to reload with XTPs as well and see which does better in gel. QuickLoad is guessing that I’ll be able to get to 1500fps with 100gr XTPs or Gold Dots in the gun. We’ll see.

    • I know that several of the Academy (sporting goods) stores around central Texas carry it. Mostly the defensive loads, though, not “range” ammo. Ain’t cheap, but it’s available.

  20. I bought an LCR in .357 mag because I thought it was about the perfect weight and size for shooting .38specials in a small defensive gun. And I think it is after I’ve shot it for a while. Tried some magnums, they hurt pretty badly. Way worse than my 44mag. I went down in bullet weight to 110 grain white box just to see if that would help. Recoil was then just slightly worse than .38+p but the blast and noise was unbearable. Im positive it was due to the barrel length as they are not nearly as bad in my gp100. I have to use double hearing protection even outside when shooting those loads. No way would I want to shoot those in self defense if I could help it(all my defense guns are standard pressure). The point is I feel like the .327mags might be similar, and as much as I hope auditory exclusion would kick in I don’t want to bet too much on it.

    • Try some of the 135 grain Gold Dot .357 loads.

      They are loaded much hotter than the .38 special loads using the same bullet, but because the bullet was designed to work at .38 special velocity, Speer loads the .357 Mag version well below max pressure for .357.

  21. I’d never heard of the .327 but had longed for a .32 CA legal revolver… an ‘Elevator gun’ as my ex-wife called it…

  22. This is a little bit of a dissertation on the subject of “magnum” rifle cartridges, the “belt” that is just forward of the extractor groove and the history of both, starting with the .375 H&H Magnum.

    OK, let’s go back to 1912. The “great white hunters” are still prowling Africa. It’s still two years to WWI breaking out and European nations pouring their national treasuries and the flower of their manhood into the waterlogged trenches of WWI. The bolt action rifle is still a relatively new design, and is just starting to break into the big game hunting market, in particular in Namibia, the German colony, where Mauser 98’s in 8×57 and then 9.3×62, are starting to gain notice. The preferred action on which bolt guns in Europe are based is the Mauser 98… but in British areas of Africa, the double rifle is still ruling the roost.

    Into this environment, Holland and Holland (the famous gunmakers out of London) are looking to come up with a cartridge that has to satisfy all of the following requirements:

    1. More power than the 9.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer and the 9.3×62 Mauser. The latter was merely a 8×57 blown out to take a 0.366″ 286gr bullet.
    2. Able to be used in a double rifle. Double rifles up to this point have been using rimmed cartridges.
    3. Able to be used in a bolt action, magazine-fed rifle (eg, the Mauser 98 action); this set a maximum length limitation on the overall length of the cartridge.

    As we’re about to see, several of this requirements conflict with each other. The first requirement is easy to fulfill. Let’s ignore that for the rest of the discussion here. Let’s start with the second two requirements – designing a cartridge that can be used in both the double rifles of the day and the Mauser action.

    A double rifle really needs to be fed a rimmed cartridge (eg, .450/400 Nitro) to have something to grab hold of to extract. Double rifles also want a cartridge that has a pretty good taper on the case, and with this amount of taper, there’s little “shoulder” to the cartridge. The cartridge headspaces off the cartridge rim, so the shoulder slope really doesn’t matter, and you can roll crimp the case onto the bullet. The reason why a double rifle needs a cartridge case with a pretty good taper is because the double gun/rifle design doesn’t have much in the way of extraction force to pull the brass out of the chamber. With a hefty taper, you’ll see that your brass releases easily from the chamber walls after firing and extracts very easily. Machinists know the difference in tapers – there are several “standard” tapers in machine tools, and some tapers just ‘center’ an attachment or tool onto a machine, and other tapers (which are much more slight) hold a tool or shaft in place well enough that you can drive torque through the friction of the taper.

    The problem with a rimmed cartridge in a magazine-fed bolt gun is that you can get the rim of a cartridge behind the rim of the cartridge below it in the magazine. Now, when you attempt to strip the top cartridge out of the magazine with the bolt, you’ll often end up deforming or stripping the rim off one of the top two cartridges when you’re trying to slam the new round home. So for a bolt gun, you don’t want a rim.

    Trouble is, once you remove the rim… you’ve lost your headspace datum on the cartridge with a significant taper and little to no shoulder feature.

    OK, Let’s talk about headspace. The headspace of a cartridge in a gun is the distance between the head of the case and the bolt or breech face. In order to maintain a consistent headspace, you need a way of holding the cartridge in position in the chamber relative to the bolt face (or whatever might be serving as the bolt face) to keep the cartridge from going too far into the chamber. When the cartridge goes too far into the chamber, you will have problems with the head tearing off the case walls, and gas then escaping out of the chamber when the powder is ignited.

    Most people don’t realize that when you ignite the powder in a cartridge, the case walls expand outwards against the chamber walls. This means that the case won’t walk backwards out of the chamber, because the friction between the case and the chamber walls holds the case in place until the pressure dies down. Since the case is being held in place by friction, if you have excessive space between the case head and the bolt/breech face, the head of the case can pull off from the rest of the case, which leaves high pressure gas blowing back into the action.

    Case head separations which result in 50K+ PSI gas flying out of the action from every little crevice and port are generally thought to be a Bad Idea. So you want to insure that there is no more than 0.004 to 0.006″ slack between the bolt or breech face and the case head in the chamber.

    Getting back to cartridge design: you need a way to make sure your cartridge isn’t too deep in the chamber, and is being held to no more than 0.004 to 0.006″ (or thereabouts) off the face of the bolt or breech face. This is what is referred to as “headspacing a cartridge” to gunsmiths. Maintaining the headspace was one function of the rim in the double rifle cartridge case, and is the function of the rim on revolver cases.

    In a bolt action rifle, the cartridge was designed to headspace off the shoulder. The early Mauser designs were among some of the first bottlenecked cartridges. With the headspacing issue taken care of by the steep shoulder, the bottleneck cartridge didn’t need a rim for the headspacing, and by going to a rim-less cartridge, you could get the magazine-fed bolt gun to feed rounds out of the magazine as slick as weasel snot. An extractor groove needed to be added so as provide a feature on which an extractor could pull to extract the fired case from the chamber.

    But there was one other feature that came about as a result of the bolt action: incredible extraction force. Now you could haul a fired case that still had significant friction between the case and the chamber walls out of the chamber. If you look at a drawing of cartridge/chamber drawings (there’s a nice one available from Pacific Tool & Gage) you’ll notice that as time progressed, cartridges designed for bolt action rifles developed very minimal tapers on their cartridges. These slight tapers allowed them to maximize their powder volume in a shorter case length than the heavily tapered double rifle cartridges. But… a bolt gun could certainly easily extract a case with a heavy taper like an old double rifle cartridge had.

    With me so far? Double rifles needed rims and rapid tapers. Bolt guns needed rimless case heads and a shoulder on which to headspace the cartridge.

    OK, with these issues, how do you make ONE cartridge that you can use in either a double rifle or a magazine-fed, bolt action rifle?

    The answer was the belt on the .375 H&H. The belt provided a feature on which the cartridge could headspace – the rest of the cartridge had the taper and slight shoulder of a double gun cartridge. The belt allowed the case to headspace in either a bolt or double rifle, and the belt would not cause one cartridge to hang up behind another in the magazine – that’s why the belt is so wide, relative to a rim on a rimmed cartridge. The width of the belt is to make sure that there’s no way for one cartridge to get hung ahead or behind of another in a rifle magazine with a little bit of slop forward/rearward of the cartridges to allow for easy feeding. H&H added a bottleneck-style extractor groove. Wha-la! One cartridge that could serve in both types of rifles.

    H&H’s solution to their double/bolt rifle requirements was inspired and effective – but still required a longer bolt action receiver than necessary. Look at the .375 Ruger in comparison to the .375 H&H, and you can see how much the .375 H&H was longer than necessary in a bolt action rifle. In a double rifle, you generally don’t want really fat cartridges because it makes the two barrels (or the monoblock) fatter than you want.

    OK, so why then were all these other “magnum” cartridges made with a belt? Well, if they were used in only a bolt gun, there was no reason. If they had enough of a shoulder on which to headspace, there was never any need for a belt. Most “belted magnums” had a belt for marketing – mostly (IMO) thanks to Roy Weatherby, who popularized the idea of “magnum” cartridges in the US rifle market after WWII.

    • I guess there’s not gonna be any .338 Lapua or .300 WSM double rifles. Someday I’d like to own a .45/70 double. Although Browning does make an A-bolt stalker in 12 gauge. As far as I know, the rim on the 12 gauge isn’t nearly large enough relative to the case size to cause any feed issues. Still, good stuff as always.

  23. If Ruger will scale the LCR up a bit to hold 5 rounds of 45 ACP in a moon clip, my wallet will fly open.

    • 45 in an LCR? You must be joking. The smallest 45 in the lineup is the Redhawk which is bigger than the GP100. A 45 snubby? Seriously?

    • What you want has already been made: The S&W 396. Five rounds of .44 Special in an alloy frame, with a 3+” barrel.

      Sadly, the CCW market is so obsessed with peddling 9×19’s that they can’t see the advantage of a) wheelguns and b) wheelguns flinging more mass downrange. The .44 Special is an entirely competent CCW round, IMO.

    • 45 ACP in the LCR would defeat it’s purpose ,it would be too bulky for a concealed carry revolver pkt gun

  24. I wanted a 3″ sp101 or a gp100 or blackhawk in 327. The 6th shot in the sp101 would be nice. The others would be a fun kit gun for popping pigs, or various varmint. A little trapper lever gun would be a great reincarnation of the old 32-20

  25. Bet the person firing this weapon doesn’t get a lot of or want a lot of range time!
    Owned three of these beasts, Two in Stainless
    two bent the Cranes so cylinder would lockup, hard to rotate, and bear to eject!
    Normally shoot .44 Magnums but this little .327 is a hand full! tape your shooter wrist and forearm and wear a glove on support hand!

  26. dg, interesting info. why have I never had any issues with the 7.62 x 54r out of my bolt action nagant?

    • The rim on a 7.62×54 has a bevel on the back (ie, the bolt side) to help a round with a rim trapped behind it ride up and over the rim below it for starters. That’s somewhat unique to the 54R cartridge. If you look at most German and Brit/US rimmed cartridges, they’re flat on both sides of the edge.

      The second solution was how the Mosin’s magazine is curved, and the taper of the cartridge, makes for a situation where the rim of the next cartridge down in the magazine is naturally rearward of the rim of the cartridge coming down on top of it. The Mauser action’s magazine isn’t curved like this, and the 8×57 (and other successive bolt rifle cartridges) are double-stacked, with not much curvature to them at all. The Russkies love them some curved magazines – it’s sorta a “thing” with them.

      Last issue: The .375 H&H, like most everything else H&H produced, wasn’t for military use. The .375 was for dangerous game. The Brit gunmakers of the 19th century were fanatic about reliability of their guns in the face of dangerous game, and that’s why the double rifle persisted with the Brits for so long. There’s nothing faster on a follow-up shot than a double rifle, where all you need do is pull the rearmost trigger or pull the single trigger a second time. When the Brit fine gunmakers finally conceded that there might be something to this bolt action frooferah from the Germans, they chose the Mauser claw extractor and controlled round feeding, and then designed their cartridges to minimize any misfeeds or extraction issues. The Brit gunmakers were charging big, big money for those rifles, and they were trying to sell to rich men with discerning tastes and inquiries.

      The Mosin, on the other hand, was a rifle for the illiterate peasants to shoot. The Russian government(s) gave those rifles to conscripts. If a conscripted peasant didn’t like said rifle, the government would shoot said complaining conscript and ask the next conscript if they would like to carry the rifle.

  27. Given a revolver that is chambered for .38 SPL or .357 Mag I will choose the .357 version every time, because it will shoot .38 SPL rounds (both hot and cold), and the various .357 offerings. That’s win-win in my book.

    In 2006 I looked at my burgeoning ammo stash, and I was appalled! I had firearms I never used, and some in calibers that were not locally available. So I dumped the CZ-52 (7.62 X 25 Tokarev), 1891 Argentine Mauser (7.65 Arg), Astra Firecat and Colt Vestpocket (.25 ACP), SKS and AK-47 (7.62 X 39),S&W Regulation Police (38 S&W), Winchester 1892 (.32 WCF) and H&R .22 Mag. That eliminated seven redundant and/or obsolete calibers and freed up a lot of shelf space.

    Given a revolver (or pretty much any firearm) in a common and an exotic caliber I will choose the common caliber every time. I already stock 12 different cartridges, and there’s nothing like being able to get food for your baby at the local “Beer, Bait and Ammo”.

    If/when I add another cartridge it will be after long consideration of its benefits. Fact is that I have already identified the candiate: It’s .338 Lapua.

  28. I’ve got the LCR in 357 magnum, 1.875″ barrel, 5-shot. 17.1 ounces as it has 4 ounces extra stainless steel versus others on account of “magnum”. I ONLY ever have it defensively loaded with lightweight 38 specials. Quick minimal recoil defensive “hits”. And I just slip it into my side pants pocket, holstered, & it carries very well. Very content with my selection + using common & very available ammo. Works for me.

  29. The LCR in 327 Magnum weighs in at 17oz. It is built on the same frame as the 9mm and 357 Magnum

  30. I have a Taurus in 327 mag and love it, just ordered the new LCR in the same . tried the trigger and I was sold , many guys are missing the fact you have an extra rd over the 38/357 guns . By Friday I should be the proud owner of my Ruger 327 LCR ,I also hope some one brings out a lever gun in this round., would be awesome

    • Strange as it may seem, I have an LCP for deep concealment and recently bought an LCR 22 mag to carry on the farm and in the woods. LOVED it so much that I just ordered a .327 Fed. Mag LCR especially after reading the ballistics information on the 327 Fed Mag.

      • yeah i have different pistols w/ up to 18 rd mags ,but there’s some thing about a revolver that never goes away/

  31. It would be nice if some of the people posting negative comments about this round would at least educate themselves beforehand to minimize the confusion. Just because certain calibers have been around for a long time, does not necessarily mean they are the best option for all situations.

  32. Having now fired 1000s of rounds through my 327 lcr, let me pass along some facts. I cannot get my girlfriend to shoot any automatic. Her hands are not strong enough to rack one, never mind clearing one. On our last trip to the range she fired 100 wad cutters, 100 .32 long round nose and 25 h&r magnums through it. She ended the morning by firing 6 .327 through it. I finally dragged her away after that. She will not shoot one of my .380 autos and will reluctantly shoot my S&W 9mm mmp. At 7 yards she will shoot the bullseye out of the target. She is ready to go to the range any time with the .327 lcr. Since practice is the key to self defense, this is the caliber for sensitive hands. Carry it with .327 loads, practice with the other loads.

  33. It’s just an awesome little revolver. Really liking the 6 powerful shots it delivers. Not for everybody, but it’s for me.

  34. What a special gun. I have several carry guns, but this is my newest. I find I don’t need 15 or 20 shots to feel safe. Six magnums is plenty. Love the blast too. You know your shooting a powerful revolver with great sights. So happy knowing I carry my LCR.

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