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32 Gauge Ammo Info & Common Uses

The 32 gauge shotgun is a shotshell size named for the weight of a lead ball that would fit the (theoretical) bore of the gun. A one thirty second pound lead ball has a diameter equal to the bore of a 32 gauge shotgun--in this case, .526 inches. This is one of the smallest gauges available, being larger than the .410 bore but smaller than other sizes such as the 12, 20, and 28 gauge. For the most part, the 32 gauge is more popular in Europe and Latin American than the United States. It is an excellent choice for small upland birds and can be used for shooting clays if some challenge is desired.

Italian manufacturer Fiocchi is one of the best sources of 32 gauge ammo. Their Classic Field load measures 2-1/2" in length and fires half an ounce of #8 birdshot at a muzzle velocity of 1,260 feet per second. This is typical of 32 gauge loads and indicative of the sporting purposes for which these shotguns are employed. Due to its low hull capacity, the 32 gauge is rarely, if ever, used in a defensive or tactical capacity and buckshot ammo is generally not available.

Shotguns firing 32ga ammo include out of production models from Stevens, Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson (H & R), and Winchester. These weapons are not always easy to find, and sometimes command a premium due to their relative scarcity.