“Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 1, The .308 Winchester to .32ACP Cartridge Adapter

As you’ll see in the post, one of the reasons I’ve picked my 11″Para FAL as my “Survival Rifle” is how well it does with the .32ACP adapter used for small game.

I have been fascinated by cartridge adapters since I read an article about the .22LR to .223Rem adapter when I was a kid. The idea that you could have a full powered firearm, and be able to use a less powerful round for taking small game or practice with, just made sense for this aspiring Survivalist.

Fast forward about seven years and I had acquired two Harry Owens .32ACP-.308Win. adapters for my HK91 and used them….A LOT! The main problem with those adapters was that at 25 yards, your hold over was about 6-7 inches. I had a Springfield Armory 6x scope with a BDC reticle, and had to hold at the 700 meter hash mark. The HK91 had a 17.7 inch barrel, and I never checked the velocity of the .32ACP out of that rifle, but I did take plenty of squirrel and grouse with that combo.

Using a scope with a Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle can be helpful with accurately aiming your weapon while shooting adapter loaded rounds.

Although I’ve had .32ACP adapters from various venders over the years (I gave the Harry Owen’s adapters with the HK to the guy I traded it to), last year, I decided I wanted to try them out of the 11″ FAL I acquired a few years ago. HOLY COW! Not only did those adapters shoot “Point of Aim/Point of Impact” for the /308Win zero, but when I put them on the chrony, they clocked in at 1115fps.

.32ACP in Feet Per Second out of the 11″ DSA FAL (Left), 16″ SAI Socom (Center) and the 2.68″ Keltec P32 (Right).

I had been told normal pistol velocities for a .32ACP (3-4″ barrel) were around 900fps, so this was a big step up in velocity, and at that point, I realized I might be on to something. First I checked the velocity of the .32ACP load (S&B 73gr ball) out of a pistol (Keltec P32) and it measure 695fps. Next, I checked it out of my 16″ Socom and it measured 988fps and shot 6 inches low at 25 meters. Finally, I put together a ballistics chart comparing that 73gr. 1115fps projectile to a common .22LR round out of a rifle. Below are my findings.

Out to 150 yards, the .32ACP load out of the 11″ FAL is dead even with a .22LR out of a rifle.

While the .32ACP shoots accurately out of 16″ and 18″ barrels, it shoots best out of shorter barrels like that of the 11″ FAL. Below shows the 3 shot group of the 16″ Socom. 2 shots were in 3/4″ and the third made the group 1.5″. This was at 25 meters, and it’s still small enough for small game.

The aim point at 25 meters was the top green dot. Group was shot with older adapters bought from Sarco.

With the 11″ FAL, group size with the Sarco adapters was around 1 1/2″. I found a company in Anchorage, Alaska that’s been making adapters for a long time. I contacted Ace Dube at MCA Sports Ace Bullet Company (his Face Book link) and ordered two of his .32ACP-.308Win adapters.

I spoke with him about the adapters I already had, and he had advised that they were what was left of his competition’s stock that was sold off after his death. He said a lot of them had not been spec checked before they were sold and were sold “as is”. I know after using his adapters, they are easier to get the brass out after firing than the ones from Sarco and Sportsman’s Guide are. They also are more accurate, as the pic below shows a three shot into a 1/2″ group.

Here’s the bottom line for me when it comes to something like cartridge adapters. First, they give you the ability to accurately shoot small game with the same weapon you are already carrying. Second, in the case of the .32ACP adapter, it is not only a centerfire, reloadable case, but it can be reloaded with a cast lead bullet you can make yourself. Third is compactness. In the case of these adapters along with my FAL, I can carry two adapters and a few .32ACP rounds in the pistol grip storage compartment.

I plan on doing more in the “Adapting To Survive” series where I will discuss several types of adapters I’ve used over the years.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.

 

 

9 thoughts on ““Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 1, The .308 Winchester to .32ACP Cartridge Adapter

  1. Whats your thoughts on using the shotgun adapters that allow you to shoot pistol and rifle ammo out of a 12 gauge with no choke installed?

  2. I bought a Short Lane 12 gauge sleeve to convert down to 20 gauge. Many of those single shot break open ‘Farmers Friends’ from NEF – H&R are lightweight and are punishing to shoot with full power loads (A slug load will wake you right up! :^). Having the 20 gauge sleeve helps you load down AND increases ammunition choice when things go sideways. A couple of these units would be worth having. They aren’t too expensive and the break open single shot is common enough I think.

    Thanks for the post – I look forward to more education about them. Converting what you have in hand makes a lot of sense.

  3. I got to thinking on why the velocity in the 11″ barrel would be faster than the longer 17″ of HK when a possible answer hit me. The small case of the .32ACP can only generate so much power, so the friction of the longer barrel of the former is slowing it down. I read that the high velocity .22lr speed can be realized in a 16″ length barrel – the rest only slows it down. So maybe is reason why this is occurring. That or maybe the bore of the FAL is smoother or …

    • Exactly! This is why I showed, with chrony pics, the velocities of the pistol, the 11″ barrel, and the 16″ barrel. I didn’t bother using any barrel longer than 16″ because all the bullet would continue to do is get slower.

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