.32 Revolvers, chapter 2: The S&W model 31
My last post on the subject of .32 revolvers was about the excellent S&W model 631. This post is about it’s older brother, the model 31.
The S&W model 31 is the progeny of the very earliest S&W ‘hand ejector’ model revolvers that got their start in 1896. With the introduction of their new hand ejector model, S&W also introduced the .32 S&W long cartridge. Originally loaded with black powder, the round offered improved performance over the predecessor, the .32 S&W cartridge.
That original hand ejector started it all, and since then, we’ve had nearly 120 years of “modern” revolvers. Virtually every double action revolver made in the last 90 years has been based on that original design, with very few mechanical changes. Even the massive X-frame .500 S&W magnum owes it’s design to the lowly .32 hand ejector.
The .32 hand ejector remained in production in one form or another from 1896 until the 1980’s. There are still occasional runs of modern variations, but there’s only been one in the last decade or so.
The model 31 that I own dates from the late 1960’s and sports a 4″ barrel. The model 31 is a blued steel J-frame in .32 S&W long caliber with a round but. I use smooth target grips on mine to give my hands a better purchase. With standard loads the gun is very accurate and shoots to the sights. With a 313445 bullet running at about 1000 FPS it’s a hard gun to beat for small game and field work.