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To those who have not been indoctrinated into the world of the 327 Federal Magnum, this may seem like a small pile of nickel plated brass. To those in the know, this is a small pile of gold. The 327 Federal Magnum is one of those cartridges that has been received well ahead of supply forecasting, which means ammunition production has been tight and brass has been generally unavailable. Speer Gold Dot and Federal hydra-shock can be found without too much effort.
I was jotting down handloading notes when they began to seem very familiar. I believe Ruger’s SP101 327 Federal Magnum Part II covers the subject substantially, so this is more or less an addendum to the original data, which takes into account alternative powder types and the performance pickup with the GP100’s longer barrel. The brass held up without splitting, full length resized with a die marked “.32 S&W Long” that was supplied as a part of a .32 H&R Magnum carbide set. The instructions state that the sizer die is installed in contact with the shell holder on a raised ram for both the S&W Long and the H&R Magnum.
The case lengths for the S&W, H&R and Federal cartridges are 0.915″, 1.067″ and 1.200″ respectively. I tried setting the sizer up off the shell plate, reflective of these differences but, in this particular case, the best configuration was flush on the shell plate.
Barrel length makes a difference…
Dimensions and Capacities Handload Data
Bullet Weight
COL Powder Type Charge
Primer Velocity
Hornady HP/XTP 85 0.490 1.450 Long Shot 9.0 CCI 500 1492
Hornady HP/XTP 85 0.490 1.450 2400 13.0 CCI 500 1572
Hornady HP/XTP 85 0.490 1.450 Lil Gun 15.0 CCI 500 1516
Sierra SportMaster 90 0.514 1.470 2400 12.2 CCI 500 1364
Sierra SportMaster 90 0.514 1.470 Lil’ Gun 15.0 CCI 500 1512
Sierra SportMaster 90 0.514 1.470 RS Enforcer 13.5 CCI 500 1543
Hornady HP/XTP 100 0.563 1.450 2400 11.5 CCI 500 1465
Hornady HP/XTP 100 0.563 1.450 Lil’ Gun 13.5 CCI 500 1418
Hornady HP/XTP 100 0.563 1.450 Enforcer 12.0 CCI 500 1440

Obviously, the 327 Federal Magnum is not a slouch. The 60 grain loads from the SP101 version of the gun were dropped as a function of jacket strength and performance at elevated velocity.
Accuracy was good with all loads, with the 2400 charged rounds delivering the best accuracy. I believe the best 25 yard three shot group was under 1″ from a fore and aft supporting rest with a 50 yard group coming in under 3″. Probably my limitations rather than the GP 100. It would be interesting to scope the GP101.
I checked my loads against the Hodgdon online database. Something I do whenever I work up loads to make sure they are somewhat in line with other published data. I was surprised to see data published at over 42,000 PSI. SAAMI is 33,000 PSI and change, CIP is 41,000 PSI and change. That doesn’t mean that CIP rated the cartridge at a higher pressure as the two standards use different test methods and don’t really translate on a one to one basis. I’ll stick with what I have as I see no reason to overtax a small or medium frame revolver. I did email Hodgdon tech support to questions the basis for the pressure levels as they are a quality outfit and I thought there was something here to learn, however, as yet I have not receive a response.
While sitting on my butt in front of a computer monitor…
The GP100 in 327 Federal Magnum shot just like my personal GP100 357 Magnum. Subsequently, there was little time required to familiarize myself with the new gun. All of the shooting practice with the 357 Magnum version carried over and showed in immediate proficiency with the new gun. Additionally, the 327 Federal Magnum version fits in the same holster and carries and handles like the .357 Magnum version.
I think there are several reasons for buying a GP100 chambered for the 327 Federal Magnum. The 327 Federal Magnum has significantly less recoil while retaining more than enough punch for defensive situations and small game hunting. Particularly for small game and varmint hunting, the 327 Federal Magnum is flatter shooting and the round hands onto velocity and energy longer. There is the extra round in the cylinder, which is always handy. The expense of shooting is essentially the same for both the 327 Federal Magnum and the .357 Magnum for both loaded and handloading ammunition, with the exception of powder consumption where the 327 Federal consumes about 20% less than the 357 Magnum.

If I did not own a GP100 357 Magnum I would seriously consider a 327 Federal Magnum version because of the lighter recoil and little tradeoff in power. In a small gun version, an SP101 in 327 Federal Magnum versus a 38 Special, or even 357 Magnum, version of the same gun, I would go with the 327 Federal Magnum. It is more efficient in a short barrel gun, it way outperforms the 38 Special and, with the shorter barrel, probably the 347 Magnum. It is also a lot more manageable and easy to hit targets of any type.

Ruger’s Seven Shot GP100 327 Federal Magnum Part I
Ruger’s Seven Shot GP100 327 Federal Magnum Part I

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