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Thread: 32-44 S&W

  1. #1
    Senior Member Hedning's Avatar

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    32-44 S&W

    I was looking at an old Smith chambered for this cartridge the other day. And I didnt pay that much attention to the caliber. Just that it was a 32-44. At first I thought that would be the same as the 32 long. But its not. Iv been googling to find data on this old target round, but I cant find anything good to read. One link brought me to a place that just said it was a remarkable accurate round.

    I know that its called 32-44 because it was first made in a model 3 .44 frame. The number 44 has nothing to do with the load or anything. At best it describes the length of the case. If Im not mistaken this round used so long casings that you had to put the bullet almost fully seated into the case to avoid the bullet sticking out of the chamber.

    Anybody out there that can enlighten me? Is this a cartridge that see a lot of daylight these days? How about brass? Is it possible to find them without having to rob a bank? What? Where? How?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin & **Team Gunsnet Silver 12/2012** Richard Simmons's Avatar

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    Here's what I found

    32-44 S&W Gallery Load (.321 dia. bullet, OAL .985, Can be made from 32-20 WCF brass.


    Here is a custom ammo maker that has it listed

    http://www.starsandstripesammo.com/index2.html
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  3. #3
    Team GunsNet Gold 07/2012 / Super Moderator Gunreference1's Avatar

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    Hedning, the .32-44 S&W ammunition was originally made in 1877 by UMC and was only chambered in the S&W New Model Number 3 revolver.

    Case Dimensions - http://stevespages.com/jpg/cd3244smithandwesson.jpg

    I too show the overall cartridge length to be .985". It's my understanding the two basic factory loads were offered. One was a 'target' load using a wadcutter bullet. The other was a 'gallery' load uding a round lead ball. In either load the bullet was barely exposed above the rim of the case.


    Cased Smith & Wesson 32-44 Target with factory shoulder stock. Restoration work on revolver and stock, custom built vasing by David R. Chicoine.

    Both the .32-44 S&W and .38-44 cartidges were created for Ira Paine, a marksman of the time. He apparently tested many revolvers that were currently available and felt the New Model Number 3 was the best and then had the two new calibers created for target shooting.

    I believe Richard posted the link to the only company I'm aware of offering new ammunition in the .32-44 caliber. As Richard mentioned, cases can be made from the .32-20 WCF case. You can taper expand the case to a straight case configuration but this is typically very difficult. Or, you can cut the .32-20 case to length and fireform which is usually much easier. After fireforming neck ream the I.D. so the case will accept .320-.321" dia. bullets or use an undersize bullet.

    Hope this all helps!

    Steve
    After today, it's all historical.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hedning's Avatar

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    Thanks guys, that helps a lot. Next thing would be trying to find an original bullet design for it....I dont have the money for the revolver now, but it would be interesting to see the old wadcutter design. The old Himmelwright SWC could be one of them, however, I think that design is a younger than the 32-44.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin & **Team Gunsnet Silver 12/2012** Richard Simmons's Avatar

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    Dixie gun works shows .321 lead balls so you might be able to make up the gallery loads

    http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product...oducts_id=1362
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    Moderator & Team Gunsnet Platinum 07/2011 O.S.O.K.'s Avatar

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    Well, that's a new one on me. Never heard of this cartridge until this post.
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