Ruger announced a new version of the LCR chambered for the .327 Federal Magnum cartridge. The new revolver is the exact gun that should have been introduced with the round in 2008 – but will it sell in 2015?
The new LCR looks very similar to the company’s existing line of compact revolvers. However, instead of the standard five rounds, Ruger fit six into the cylinder. This is one of the promises made by the cartridge at its introduction more than 7 years ago: you can fit one more round of Magnum-level ammo into a revolver’s cylinder when compared to existing .38/.357 designs.
As with the original LCR, the new gun has a completely shrouded hammer, pinned front sight and notch rear sight. The gun is a combination of steel and polymer with a matte black finish and Hogue grips. The MSRP is $619.
In my opinion, there should have been a lightweight revolver introduced for the .327 Magnum at the same time it was announced. However, 2008 was one year prior to the introduction of the LCR, and since the cartridge was a collaboration between Ruger and Federal, Smith & Wesson didn’t have any time to design a gun in time for launch.
Instead, Ruger offered a 3″ SP101 at launch, and it took S&W more than a year to deliver a handgun similar to the 642 called the 632 Pro Series (longer barrel, dovetailed sights.) The SP101 is a fine gun, but it isn’t light. Nor is it suitable for pocket carry, a method that many people use when toting a small framed revolver.
Consequently, a lot of the early excitement for the cartridge was lost as people waited for a pocket gun from one of the two big revolver companies. While Ruger would eventually offer the .327 Federal Magnum in several handguns, it took until the fall of 2015 for the company to introduce a true pocket gun for the cartridge. Larger guns in this caliber from Ruger included a 4.2″ SP101, a GP100 and a Blackhawk.
Charter Arms offered a pair of Patriot revolvers in .327 Magnum, but eventually discontinued those guns in 2011 due to lackluster sales. The standard Patriot was a rather thick 2.2″ barreled gun, while the Target Patriot added a longer barrel (4″) and an adjustable rear sight.
There is a lot of speculation that the .327 Federal Magnum round would perform very well in a carbine. The additional barrel length, as compared to a typical revolver, may give the round a substantial velocity boost. If true, the cartridge could perform very well on small game. From a 4″ test barrel, the 100 grain Speer Gold Dot load makes for 1,500 fps at the muzzle. A 16″ barrel could increase that to the 2,000 fps neighborhood.
Will the new LCR in .327 Magnum be successful? I think so, but I don’t expect a runaway hit. In 2008, this could have been the next big thing. In 2015, however, I think it becomes an interesting niche gun that devotees of the caliber will buy and be very happy with.