Ammunition Roundup: Examining 19 .327 Federal Magnum Loads

posted on June 15, 2019

The .327 Federal Magnum was introduced in 2008 as a powerful personal-protection cartridge for revolvers, as we've previously covered on Shooting Illustrated in this article here by Richard Mann. It is close to the venerable .357 Magnum in performance, but has about 30 percent less recoil. The Ruger SP101 was the first revolver chambered for this round, and it had an advantage over the same gun chambered in .357 Magnum. It held six rounds of .327 Federal Magnum but only five rounds of .357 Magnum.

The ballistics of the .327 Federal Magnum are quite impressive. It launches a 100-grain bullet at 1,500 fps from a 4-inch barrel for 500 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. For comparison, the .357 Magnum pushes a 125-grain bullet to 1,450 fps to produce 583 foot-pounds of muzzle energy from the same barrel length. Clearly, the .327 Federal Magnum is no wimp round. With less recoil and one more round than the .357 Magnum, the .327 Federal Magnum offers faster follow-up shots and one more bang instead of a click.

Popularity of the .327 Federal Magnum  has fluctuated since its introduction, as evidenced by the number of manufacturers who have produced guns in this caliber. Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Freedom Arms, U.S. Firearms and Charter Arms have all offered wheelguns in this caliber. Presently, only Ruger and Freedom Arms currently catalog handguns in the .327 Federal Magnum . Bond Arms offers barrels in .327 Federal for some of their derringers, and Henry Repeating Arms offers three of its lever-action rifles chambered in the cartridge.

Presently, Ruger catalogs an amazing 13 different wheelguns in the .327 Federal Magnum. That’s a lot of guns! That begs the question: What can you feed them? Who makes .327 Federal Magnum ammo? After some digging, I was able to find 10 companies and 19 loads. Here’s the rundown.

When the cartridge has your name on it, you better make that ammo, and Federal Premium does. Federal offers three loads in the .327 Federal Magnum : a full-powered load with a 100-grain JSP bullet at 1,500 fps, and two reduced-recoil 85-grain loads, one a JSP and the other a Hydra-Shok bullet, rated at 1,400 fps, all tested from a 4-inch vented barrel.

Speer currently has one load: a 100-grain Gold Dot Hollow Point at 1,600 fps from a 4-inch barrel. The company used to offer a 115-grain GDHP load, but it is not listed in the 2019 catalog, unfortunately.

That’s it from the usual major ammo manufacturers. Neither Hornady, Remington or Winchester make .327 Federal Magnum ammo. From here, we have to turn to the boutique ammo makers.

Buffalo Bore has two loads for the .327 Federal Magnum: a 100-grain JHP rated at 1,450 fps (1,466 fps from a 5.5-inch Ruger Blackhawk), and a 130-grain hard-cast, Keith-style bullet at 1,300 fps (1,291 fps from a Ruger SP101 3-inch barrel).

DoubleTap has two loads: a 75-grain Barnes TAC-XP all-copper hollow-point rated at 1,550 fps, and a 120-grain hard-cast lead bullet at 1,250 fps, both fired from a SP101 3-inch barrel.

Underwood offers one load for the .327 Federal Magnum. It has a 95-grain Lehigh Xtreme Defense bullet rated at 1,500 fps (no barrel length indicated from factory velocity specs).

Corbon loads the 75-grain Barnes DPX to 1,500 fps from a 6-inch barrel.

Jamison Brass and Ammunition has two loads. One is a 90-grain JHP rated for 1,465 fps, and the second is a 78-grain Hi-Tek polymer-coated RN lead bullet at 1,350 fps, both  from a 4.25-inch barrel.

Reed’s Ammunition and Research offers more loads for the .327 Federal Magnum than anyone else. The company has four! One is a 125-grain hard-cast SWC at 1,170 fps from a 4-inch barrel. The second is a 100-grain Hornady XTP bullet at 1,435 fps from a 3-inch barrel. The third is a 135-grain cast lead hollow point at 1,100 fps from a 4-inch barrel, and the fourth is a 140-grain flat-point (no other information listed on this load).

Load-X Ammunition Company has two rounds for the .327 Federal Magnum. One is a 100-grain JHP at 1,400 fps, and a 100-grain SWC at 1,100 fps. No other information was indicated on these rounds. Some of these are sold by Ventura Munitions under its Heritage line.

Great Lakes Firearms and Ammunition has a single .327 Federal Magnum Load: a 100-grain polymer-coated lead RNFP bullet rated at 1,196 fps (unknown barrel length).

That’s all I could find with an internet search. There might be other manufacturers, but they’re not as easily found.

The good news is that there is a variety of ammunition available for the .327 Federal Magnum. Bullet weights range from 70 to 140 grains, and in different configurations, including soft point, hollow point, flat nosed and round nose. They include jacketed, plated (GDHP), solid copper, lead and polymer-coated lead. Many different power levels mean you can pick the one that serves the purpose you want or the recoil you can handle.

For lesser-powered rounds, guns chambered in the .327 Federal Magnum can also shoot .32 H&R Magnum, which is about the same power level as standard-pressure .38 Special loads. For even lower-power loads, there are the .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long, both of which can be fired safely in any .327 Federal Magnum revolver. These last two cartridges are delightful to shoot because of their low recoil. Wadcutter bullets in the .32 S&W Long can be very accurate and are commonly used for international competition.

There it is. I hope this helps you find the ammo you need for your purpose. Good luck!


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