New Firearm and Caliber: Ruger SP101 Chambered for the 327 Federal Magnum Cartridge

Over the weekend, Sturm, Ruger & Co. announced on the national radio program Gun Talk, that they have teamed up with Federal to bring a new handgun cartridge to the market: the 327 Federal Magnum.

The idea is this: to break open the segment of the back-up gun/self defense market that is currently occupied by the five-shot .38/.357 revolvers. How do they expect to make inroads into this lucrative market niche? By developing a more powerful cartridge than a .38 Special, and make room for six rounds in the cylinder.

327 Federal magnum revolver handgunThis is how they have done it: they have married the venerable .32 caliber handgun bullet with the higher pressures allowable due to the strength of modern metallurgy. The end result? How about a 115 grain Gold Dot running at 1300 fps out of a 3″ barrel? Oh, and that is with a 20% reduction in recoil as compared to a .357 Magnum.

That isn’t too shabby.

Compare that to what Speer (a sister company of Federal) advertises for its 115 grain 9mm +P+ round. The 9mm is generally considered to be more powerful than a .38 Special. However, out of a 4″ barrel, the 9mm +P+ round of the same weight only matches the velocity of the .327 Magnum. Out of a 3″ barrel, I suspect the velocity would be about 50-75 fps slower.

Federal has also announced two other loadings for the initial release: an 85 grain Hydra-Shok round at 1330 fps and a 100 grain softpoint at 1400 fps.

Ruger’s initial revolver offering is on the well-respected SP101 platform. The gun will initially feature a 3 1/16″ barrel, an adjustable rear sight, and a satin stainless finish. I suspect we will see something even more compact, say along the lines of a Smith and Wesson 642, in the not-so-distant future.

ruger sp101 327 federal magnumDon’t worry about having to pay for expensive ammo just to practice with. This revolver will also chamber the following .32 caliber handgun rounds: .32 S&W, .32 S&W long, and .32 H&R Magnum.

Federal’s press release states the gun and ammo will be on shelves by January. The Ruger VP on Gun Talk said much sooner: maybe even by Thanksgiving. List price on the Ruger is $572. I look forward to seeing this handgun.

Here is the gun on Ruger’s site.

Here is Federal’s press release:

ANOKA, Minn. – November 9, 2007 – Federal Premium® has partnered with Ruger® to introduce a new personal defense revolver cartridge designed to deliver 357 Magnum ballistics out of a 32-caliber diameter platform—and with 20-percent less recoil. The 327 Federal Magnum is designed for use in lightweight, small frame revolvers like the proven Ruger SP101 platform. The gun and ammunition will be available on shelf by January 2008.

The advent of advanced powder blends and more robust, high quality bullets has paved the way for more advancement in cartridge design. Federal Premium Ammunition has taken the often underpowered 32-caliber platform and beefed it up to achieve 357 Magnum velocity and energy out of a smaller package. This allows shooters to chamber an additional round in their wheelgun—six shots as opposed to the traditional five-shot cylinder offered in 38-Special and 357 Magnum guns.

According to lead design engineer Larry Head, “The 327 Federal Magnum is ideal for personal defense and has the potential for future application in field use. Using a slightly longer 32 H&R Magnum case and our advanced powder and bullet technology, we’re able to offer more performance out of a smaller platform. And its recoil is milder than the 357 Magnum. We’re excited to partner with Ruger and bring this product to market in the SP101 firearm.”

On top of the advanced ballistics and additional round offered in this shooting platform, the Ruger SP101 will shoot 32 H&R Magnum, 32 S&W and 32 S&W Long ammunition—giving shooters four caliber offerings and a great, versatile product for target shooting and personal defense applications.

The ammunition will be available in three loads:
• PD327HS1 H: Federal Premium 85-gr Hydra-Shok™ JHP
(1330 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16” barrel)
• AE327: American Eagle® 100-gr SP
(1400 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16” barrel)
• 23914 : Speer 115-gr Gold Dot® HP
(1300 fps muzzle velocity in 3-1/16” barrel)

Ruger will offer the 327 Federal Magnum SP101 in a 3-1/16-inch barrel length and six-shot cylinder. It will feature an adjustable rear site and satin stainless finish.

This exciting new shooting platform will be available beginning in January of 2008.

Stay safe!


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Publisher at BlueSheepdog
Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing on sites like Human Events, The Firearm Blog and Police & Security News.

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