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327 Federal Magnum

Loading the .327 Federal Magnum


My first experience with the .32 was with a K-32 around 1975. It was the most accurate handgun I have ever owned before or since. Using factory wad cutters at that time my young eyes could produce one inch groups at 25 yards with that thing. Once I put six shots into one hole that could be completely covered by one US dime. That figures out to about .40 center to center.

Sadly, I lost it to the depression of the 1980's. I have wanted one desperately ever since but have found exactly ONE in many years of looking and it was VERY pricey. I couldn't afford it.

I finally broke down and bought the Ruger because it was a good quality and I could afford it and it was the longest barrel length I could find - four inches ( and one eighth )


Handgun 1

Ruger GP 100 Model 01748

Handgun 2

 To be determined 

Press

Hornady LNL Single Stage

Dies

Lee 3 Die Carbide

Bullet

Lyman 3118  Now known as 311008

Bullet Wt

118 grains

Bullet Sized

0.311

Alloy

100% Battery Terminals

BNH

10

Pot

Lee 20 lb Production

Casting Method

Bottom Pour.

Sizing Die

Lee Push Through .311

Lube 

100% Undiluted Lee Liquid Alox 

Brass

100 New Factory loaded Federals. American Eagle 100 Grain Jacketed Softpoint

Powder

Unique

Primer

CCI  No. 400 Small Pistol.

Load Source

Very little in the manuals but lots on the web. 

This was my first experience with Lee Dies.  I have owned a couple of sets in the past but never used them. They are very well made. The machining is flawless. I can't find a tool mark anywhere. That said, I really do not like them. they have no locking mechanism on any of the settings and they simply sill not hold an adjustment. Every time you remove a die from the press and reinsert it, it must be re adjusted.

I measured the cases carefully to see if the dies were doing what I wanted. They were.

Before sizing I measured the diameter of three fired cases at the mouth. Two measurements on each case at 90 degree angles. Not surrisingly the cases were not perfectly round.

Measurement
(Average of 3)
Diameter 1
Minimum
Diameter 2
Maximum
Before sizing    
   Outside case mouth 0.336 0.338
   Inside case Mouth 0.314 0.315
     
After Sizing    
   Outside Case Mouth 0.328 0.330
   Inside Case Mouth 0.308 0.309
     
After Expanding    
   Outside case mouth 0.318 0.320*
   Inside case Mouth 0.309 0.309
     
Diameter of test bullet Before seating and crimping  0.3107  0.3107 
Diameter of test bullet after seating and crimping ( pulled ) .3107 .3107 

* Note that doing math on these measurements will get you nowhere because there was a .003 variation in case wall thickness. 

The message to take away here is that after the final step, the case mouth inside was perfectly round within my measurement capability.

 

The actual diameter of the sized bullets from the Lee push through sizing die was 0.3112 to 0.3115. That is excellent "roundness"


I have been loading too long to get caught up in the endless arguments about length. Especially overall cartridge length. If it is at all possible, I always seat revolver bullets to crimp into the crimp ring. This bullet looks like it was designed especially for this cartridge. seated to the top of the crimp groove makes a very attractive package.

This seating depth produces an over all loaded cartridge length of 1.543. If you try to duplicate this seating, it will probably not work exactly because my mold is over 40 years old. Bullet shapes and sizes change slightly every time new cherries are made.

For reference, the length of the cylinder is 1.68 inch. and the factory loads measure 1.466.

Expander Die Settings Click on this image to expand it.

I am not entirely happy with the Lee crimping by the sizing die.  Note the severe scratching on the mouth of the case. I have not noticed this with other sizing/crimping dies. These scratches will most assuredly cause stress fractures to form and shorten the case life.

Click on this image to expand it. Expander Die Settings

To put these scratches into perspective. The case to the right is a .38 Special case I acquired in a batch around 1970. This case has been reloaded somewhere between 30 and 40 times. Each time it was resized with an RCBS sizing die with no sizing lube, and crimped with the RCBS Seating die. Expand that photo full size and note the scratches

RCBS Carbide Die Results

 

  Click on this image to expand it.
 

 


Shooting Results
Handgun No 1.
Control groups were fired to check me out before attempting to judge the reloads. The control groups were fired at the same range, at the same target, and with the same rest as the .327 Mag would use later. The control groups were fired from my best Smith and Wesson Model 19 using my favorite target load. This is a known quantity.

All groups were fired from bench rest at 15 yards using the factory sights on each handgun.

 

A word about groups.  I have been comparing three, five, and six shot groups for almost 60 years. This dam thing is a seven shot revolver. I am not gong to start a new classification for seven shot groups.

Control Groups:

Group 1 6 shots

1.31"

Group 2 6 shots

1.61"

Test Groups

Group 1 Factory Load 5 shots

1.66"

Group 2 Factory Load 5 shots

2.50"

Group 3 Factory Load 5 shots

2.50"

Group 4 Factory Load 5 shots

2.02"

Group 5 Factory Load 5 shots

3.14"

Group 6 Factory Load 5 shots

1.88"

AVERAGE 6 groups Factory Ammo

2.28" 

Control Group 3 6 shots

1.75"

   

Group 1 4.2 gr 5 shots

 

Group 1 4.2 gr 5 shots

 

Group 3 4.2 gr 5 shots

 

Group 4 4.2 gr 5 shots

 

Group 5 4.2 gr 5 shots

 

This barrel now has 400 rounds
fired and shows no signs of any leading

   
   




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