The SBBL 32 pounder was a smooth borebreech loading gun made by converting older 32 pounder 42 cwt smooth bore muzzle loaders. The conversion was first suggested in 1879 with the guns being issued over the following few years. They were used in caponiers to provide flanking fire to fortifications. In this role they fired case shot and had a range of up to about 500 yards. They were originally assigned a crew of 6 but this was latter reduced to 4. Since the role of flank defence was considered to be of limited importance there was considerable delay in mounting the guns.
The SBBL 32 pounder also saw some use in a saluting role. They were withdrawn from service by 1907. Even before this time they had been surpassed by machine guns in their defensive role.