Strange little gun...


Staff member
A strange little gun…

The internet brings us pictures and stories of all kinds of fancy handguns – exotic engraved 1911s with carved ivory grips, booming big bores alongside shaggy beasts they’ve bagged, patinaed antiques from the 1800s worth huge sums of money, etc. This strange little revolver is none of those things, but it is nonetheless special.

S&W introduced the Military & Police (M&P) in 1899, and along with it the .38 Special cartridge. There were several changes made in the early years, but the M&P became the definitive medium-framed fixed-sight .38 Special revolver, used by law enforcement and civilians alike, for many decades. Later on, the M&P was also offered in .32-20, but the vast majority one sees today are chambered for .38 Special. In the late 1950s, S&W changed the M&P’s name to the Model 10. S&W has made a gajillion M&P/Model 10s over the years, and they are quite common. You can’t go to a gun-show today and NOT see at least one.

But this 1950’s vintage M&P is not common. You see, it’s chambered for .32 S&W Long. They didn’t make very many like this (about 4,800). This particular revolver has seen some use, and the bluing wear shows it, but mechanically the timing, lock-up, and bore are in very good shape. It’s a fine little shooter.

I only load cast bullets for this gun. I have tried a variety of different pistol powders (Bullseye, 231, PB, Unique, etc.), but for general purpose plinking/small game hunting, I have found nothing better than 2.5 grains of Red Dot underneath 90-100 grain RN-FP or SWC cast bullets (sized .313”). This combination generates right around 800 fps and delivers excellent accuracy. I also sometimes shoot 85-90 grain wadcutters from this gun using 2.0 grains of Bullseye (I have never chronographed this load, but I think it’s going about 700 fps).

To my way of thinking, the .32 S&W Long is just about the perfect grouse-n-bunny load, and the two loads listed above drop small game both quickly and cleanly. In the past, I would go over to the Olympic Peninsula each November to spend 3-4 days hunting coastal blacktail deer with my retired buddy Bob. Bob was also a fan of .32 caliber handguns, and there are a fair number of grouse over on the Olympic Peninsula, so we would make a point of carrying our grouse guns while we were out hunting coastal blacktails. Bob also loved to cook, and when we got a grouse (or two), we would breast it out, and he would make some Bob’s grouse and brown rice stir-fry -- sliced up grouse breast browned in olive oil with some diced garlic and fresh ground black pepper, then turn the heat down and add brown rice, diced red onion, a hearty dollop of whole-grain mustard, and healthy glug-glug of white wine (preferably Riesling), stir and cover and simmer on low heat until the rice is done. I loved hunting with Bob, and I loved eating Bob’s grouse and brown rice stir-fry (but Bob’s delightful wife Audrey hated it -- it seems they ate a fair amount of it early in their marriage and she had grown tired of eating grouse).

The deer numbers have been down in recent years, so we didn’t see many up in the mountains the last few years. But it was a different story when we came back into town, where we commonly found deer walking through his yard and eating his roses!

Bob died last December. He was 75.

‘Tis the season for giving thanks – I am thankful to have had 20 years of Bob’s friendship, wry humor, and insightful mentoring. I am grateful to have been able to share many hunting trips and adventures with Bob over the years. I am grateful for the hunting camp meals, fine wine, campfires and the many tales of adventure we shared. I handle this little .32 M&P and I think about Bob, I think about grouse, I think about Bob’s grouse and brown rice stir-fry, and I am grateful.

That’s why it’s special. Happy Thanksgiving all.

32 M and P.jpg


Well-Known Member
Not to hijack the intent of this thread. But I have 3x 32 Ls (2 S&W/1 Colt). Love the caliber and the guns. Latest is a J frame 6 shot.

And, best of all, Bob's Grouse recipe! I don't have Grouse here (AL), but... I bet it would be good with some Southern Dove!!! (and I would love a fresh rabbit - very scarce these days....)

Thanx Glen, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and All!

Petrol & Powder

Well-Known Member
I can think of no better tribute to your friend Bob.

Well done.

Objects don’t replace people, but they often serve to remind us of people. Photographs are common objects but tools, watches, guns, furniture, cookware; just about anything can be that reminder.

The objects are just objects but the memories they hold are priceless.


Active Member
Makes me very nostalgic for Grays Harbor and hunting with my friend and mentor David Tow. A great friend, generous to a fault and a gunsmith who still could do general repair on any firearm and build gorgeous and accurate rifles. Converted an M -1 Garand to .30/338 Magnum to prove he could do it. An outstanding game shot. Our grouse guns were S&W kit guns in
.22 LR. Miss chasing black tails and elk with him in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. He died this year and his and his lovely wife’s passing earlier have left a hole in my life. Thanks for reminding me there is joy in past memories when you look past the loss and grief. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!


Taco Aficionado/Salish Sea Pirate/Part-Time Dragon
Sorry to hear about your friend Bob. I’ve spent many days rolling around the Olympic National Forest, with good friends.

The last six weeks I’ve been chasing them blacktails, unsuccessfully I might add. I did however bag three grouse this season, all of them with my 7mm-08. One of my buddies who’s a logger calls them “timber chickens”.


Staff member
PS -- For those of you that don't have easy access to grouse, I suspect that Bob's recipe could be easily adapted to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.


Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
Nice write up. I am fortunate enough to own a Smith K32 in 32 S+W Long and a rather rare Iver Johnson with 6" barrel, plus a Rem #4 rifle in the same caliber and Rem #6 in the smaller 32 S+W. There's also a Ruger SSM here that needs it's 9.5" barrel lopped off to about 5.5". Wonderful cartridge, woefully under appreciated.


West Central AR
There's something about being able to actually touch a memory. Being able to feel it in real time right there in your touch .


Resident Half Fast Machinist
Many cultures have the belief that the spirit of the owner becomes part of the weapons they used. I see a similarity in our culture with the memories we retain and oftimes the reverence we show when we use a deceased friend's or relative's gun or knife or tool.


Well-Known Member
I agree Kieth.... That personal contact is what makes the memory very special.
One of my special "tank opperations" memories is Frank on a cold German evening, opening that "too hot" can of peanut butter with his P-38 on the dog chain and getting squirted all across the front of his new E-6 field jacket with hot, juicy GI one each, peanut butter.