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Test of Old .32 ACP Ammo

© 2014 – Ed Harris

Recently tested WW2 German, steel cased, Berdan-primed 7.65 Browning (aka. 32 ACP) ammo, from the estate of a WW2 vet. All of it went bang. All hit the 6" gongs on the dueling tree at 10 meters.


WW2German765Browning  WW2German765mm3

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Velocities were "hot and uniform." More muscle than today's wimpy "lawyer" ammo. This stuff was loaded with a 5 gram (77- grain) FMJ bullet.

Velocity from a WW2-era Nazi-marked CZ27 pistol with 3.9" barrel, the ammo was packed with, was 981 fps, 17Sd over an 8 shot string.

Velocity of the same ammo from my "deep carry backup" Beretta Model 3032 Inox Tomcat with 2.4" barrel, was 907 fps, 14 Sd.

These velocities compare to modern RWS 73-grain hardball, but do so with a slightly heavier 77-grain bullet.

My shooting buddy “ER Doc” says many people have come across his operating table who have been shot with .32s. He says that FMJ ball rounds "bounce around inside the rib cage like a billiard ball" and do damage out of proportion to their size and energy, aided by tumbling behavior.


Light recoil of the .32s and quick recovery which permits controlled "burst on target" makes accurate double or triple taps possible in 2 secs. or so, which helps to compensate for lower kinetic energy.

While the Emergency Room (ER) Doc ordinarily carries an S&W 64 with X38SPD +P in his medical bag, a Walther PPK in .32 is always in his coat pocket. Over the years he has had to use it twice, and says that "if you really need it, any gun beats no gun at all!"  He prefers "sure-fire, 100% reliable rat-tat-tat feeding.” Accurate, deep penetrating CIP Euro hardball is hands down better than any light-weight Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) “Jam-O-Matic.”


“You need to be able to perforate a sternum or a defensively positioned arm and get to the ribs on the far side and bounce around inside the body cavity a couple times......." 

I came up with a recipe to clone this round! And .... found 300 Norma 77-grain .307" diameter FMJs.  Load from A Disk says the secret recipe is percolating at 20,500 psi, clocking over the Oehler 35P says  r 950 +/-30 fps....the computer velocity prediction was spot-on.  ER Doc says if they don't crack the frame on my Tomcat, that he wants 100 of them for his, I have fired 100, so far, so good. He traded me for a "blow-out" kit with QuikClot Combat Gauze and some other useful stuff they don't sell at Cabelas.... We each have 100 rounds each.

Life is good.


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