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Ammo Personal Defense

7 ‘Innovative’ Handgun Cartridges that Failed

by Patrick Sweeney   |  August 1st, 2013 24

There’s something in the DNA of some gun guys, a genetic compulsion that they cannot resist: They have to tinker, experiment, improve. Sometimes it works out well. Sometimes, not so much.

Some experiments are full of promise that blossom and make them rich or famous. And then there are the cartridges that had promise—and even delivered on that promise—but fell through the cracks nonetheless. In the years I’ve been at this, I’ve seen a few of these come and go, and I think it’s an interesting group. Let’s look at seven handgun cartridges that failed to make the grade.

  • SamF1911

    I was hoping to see the .356 TSW round make it on that list, perhaps next time.

  • Russ_Y

    .32 H&R Magnum didn’t fail, it’s still going strong.

    • percynjpn

      It’s a great cartridge – too bad there are few guns made for it anymore.

      • SamF1911

        True but any revolvers chambered in .327 federal magnum can shoot the .32 H&R mag.

  • Caleb

    401 Powermag can be made out of 41 magnum cases as well as 30-30 cases cut down. Have one and shoot it regularly.

  • Jeff Johnson

    Whatever happened to the .41 AE?

    • Otis Tibbs

      It was too good for the Philistines of America who are dazzled by marketing and the Smith and Wesson owned sycophants of the various gun rags.

  • Rodford Smith

    I love the whole .32 S&W family of cartridges, with my favorite being the .32 H&R. With the right combination of load and gun (and there are some good commercial loads and revolvers available) any of them can shoot good groups. The ancient .32 S&W itself is a wonderful plinking round. With less muzzle energy than a .22 WMR it has very mild report and recoil, but can put holes in the 10-ring all day and is reloadable. The .32 H&R is accurate out to at least fifty yards. For a nice punch on varmints, you have the .327 Federal.

  • Gary Schwab

    The 32 mag has grown into the 327 Mag.

  • darrell_b8

    .22 JET?? I believe the .357 SIG and the .45 Gap are next.

  • John C Sell Jr

    Um, to the author, S&W also made two different runs of two different J-Framed ultra light style revolvers in .32 H&R Mag. The first ones where the 331 and 332 (hammer and bobbed hammer) and the last two being the 431 and 432 (hammer and bobbed hammer). I have a 431 and love it! Six (not five) shots of .38 Special power with less felt recoil! I believe Taurus made similar revolvers and I’m pretty sure Charter Arms still makes a small .32 H&R revolver. I also know that Ruger chambered the Vaquero in .32 H&R Mag as well as the SP101 if I’m not mistaken.

    • John C Sell Jr

      Charter Arms makes the .32 Undercoverette in Pink, Lavendar, Gold-tone & Black, and Stainless. This is the link to the stainless.

    • DJ

      I believe the SP101 was the first handgun to chamber the 327 Mag and they still offer it. It is a bit pricy compared with Charter and Taurus but they are no longer chambering for the 327……try find a used one.

      • SamF1911

        Unfortunately Ruger no longer makes the SP101 in .327 Fed. Mag. but they do have a 7-shot GP100 .327 still in production.

  • talon55101

    The 45GAP seems to be an exercise in futility. It’s a solution in search of a problem. A complete waste of time.

  • DJ

    How many loads can you make out of a pound of powder using 32 mags at ….humm 1.5 grains of powder per. Cheap and fun to shoot…..easy reloading with the Lee Loader during evening news. I do not understand why Charter and Taurus dropped the 327 mag cylinder from the small frame now chambered only for 32 S&W and 32 H&R. I never shot the 327 in that frame as I wanted to preserve the 327’s that I had, but the 32 H&R was pretty tame iin that light frame. I am aware the little 327 was promoted as having low recoil, but I suspect it had a healthy snap to it and therefore did not sell very well. I willl have to…. aaah bite the bullet and set off some 327’s and see what it is like.

  • Bill

    As a Pennsylvania taxpayer, I wonder who in the dearly-departed Rendell Administration had a relative working for Glock. That’s the only reason I can think of for our State Police to have adopted the .45 GAP in 2007.

  • Adam brown

    Sig Sauer p239 .40 is the best side arm

    • mickey_meador

      I agree but for comfort my EDC is p938 with GDHP +P 9mm short barrel.


      The answer to a question nobody asked.

    • Otis Tibbs

      That’s only because they don’t chamber it in .41 Action Express.

  • Greg

    I had a Jericho 941 with the 41 AE interchange but have never heard of one again.

  • Mr. Rachford’s ire

    Would not call the return of sales for the 10mm a failure just yet.

  • Robert Preston

    About the .32H&R Mag – H&R never made a topbreak gun, nor did anyone else, for the .32H&R Mag. Please stop reciting that false information as to the reasoning why the .32H&R was made “weak”.

    H&R’s .32H&R Mag revolvers were solid frame guns. The only topbreak that H&R made after the inception of the .32H&R Mag were chambered in either .22LR (the 999 Sportsman & variants), with the possibility of a few model 925, 926, and 935’s chambered in .38S&W.

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