As I once wrote in the comments of a post about the Ruger SP101: “Have to confess I am intrigued by the .327 FedMag, and not just because I have an unhealthy obsession with .30-bore handguns. Everyone who has reviewed the gun/cartridge combo says it is very controllable while offering significant power.”
I can’t explain it, it’s just the way I am. I have a soft spot for .32acp pistols, and the crowded gun safes to prove it. I have fondled many .32S&W wheelguns on sale for a song because they aren’t chambered for a bigger bullet, and considered giving them a loving home. I feel more anticipation when handling a vintage S&W revolver in .32-20 than an identical gun in .38 Spl, but it might be the history behind that gun resting its thumb on the scales. I have kicked the tires on many .32 H&R Mag revolvers, only to hem and haw and drift back to .38s and .357s, because yeah it’s fastER but it’s not fast ENOUGH. The .30 Carbine version of Ruger’s Blackhawk is tempting, but a little too large. But the .327 Federal Magnum infected me with giddy anticipation when it was announced. It is the pinnacle of development for .30 – .32 caliber cartridges. And what a pinnacle it is.
A .312-diameter bullet of modern design; traveling at very high velocity, plenty fast enough to expand. A range of bullet weights to choose from, some with the sectional density to penetrate deeper than a fatter bullet of the same weight. Solid guns to fire it with, that hold at least one more round of this skinnier cartridge. Less kick and blast than a .357 Magnum while offering a comparable level of energy:
That is plenty of power; more energy than any hollowpoint/defensive .45acp round that Federal offers (and the .45acp ammo was tested with a 5″ barrel):
Federal and Ruger developed the cartridge and a version of Ruger’s SP101 revolver to fire it. Since then, Ruger created some new guns for the cartridge, and other companies jumped on the bandwagon. Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Charter Arms, Freedom Arms and U.S. Firearms all announced guns to fire the .327 FedMag.
Brand name guns, top-quality ammo, a hot cartridge…what’s not to love?
But there are still things that concern me. First, observant readers will have noticed that while I mentioned Taurus and Charter Arms above, I did not show pictures of their .327 FedMag guns. That’s because neither company lists a gun for this cartridge on their website or in their current catalog. They used to (Charter had their Patriot model, and Taurus had their Model 327), but they don’t now. In this economy, which has been pretty good for gun purchases, that has to be due to low sales.
Secondly, no other ammunition manufacturer has made ammo for the .327FedMag. Other companies were willing, even eager, to make ammo for cartridges created by (and even named for) their competitors, such as the .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire), .40S&W (Winchester) and .357Sig (created by Sig and Federal). Even the .45GAP (Glock Auto Pistol, developed with CCI/Speer) has multiple companies making ammo for it.
Maybe the industry has adopted a wait & see attitude. I have done the same, but it is making me a little crazy. I need to find a range that has a .327 for rental, and see if that knocks me one direction or the other off of the fence I am sitting on.