You don't always need a monster magnum for handgun hunting. Big bores create big holes, but in game ranging from jack rabbits through small deer, smaller wound channels and reduced recoil are much appreciated. Such are the characteristics of Federal's 327 Magnum with its .31 caliber bullets ranging in weight from 60 to 115 grains. AndRuger's new Single Seven is the perfectly sized single action revolver for taking the 327 afield. Here are three things you need to know.
1. It has the same frame and lock work as Ruger's .22 caliber Model Single Six. That said, the Single Seven's cylinder now holds 7 rounds of either 327 Magnum or 32 H&R Magnum. Much like the 357/38 Special combination revolvers, the 327/32 Magnum handles both short and long cases that allow you to choose a level of performance commensurate with the game you're hunting. And while recoil isn't at all abusive in the larger 327 loads, it's still more pleasant and economical to practice (and hunt) with the smaller 32 Mag when appropriate.
2. The Single Seven is the classic .22 Ruger. With the exception of larger holes in the barrel and cylinder, that is. For now at least, it is only available in stainless steel. Good news is that all 3 "classic" barrel lengths are available: 4.75, 5.5, and 7.5 inches. During some very brief range time, I was able to shoot all 3. My quick conclusion is that the 7.5 inch barrel had slightly more muzzle flip with the more powerful 327 loads while the 4.75 inch was easiest to carry. The 5.5 inch was a compromise but felt more like the 4.75 barrel. Advantage of sight radius goes to the longest barrel although all models have the adjustable black Ruger single action revolver sights that are quite good for daylight hunting.
3. The variety of factory ammo is excellent. Cast and jacketed hollow point 32 Mag. loads are available from Black Hills and Double Tap while Hornady offers their Critical Defense FTX bullet load. More powerful 327 Magnum loads come from Federal (jacketed hollow points) and Double Tap (both JHPs and heavier 115 grain hard cast solids.) Depending on barrel length, you can get anywhere from 800 to 1600 feet per second.
My only outing with the 327 was a 2-day javelina hunt, which proved unsuccessful due to the diminishing field skills of "Hawkeye Williams" rather than any failure of weapon or ammo. Hopefully the short barrel Ruger will have an opportunity for one of Texas's smaller exotics later this year.