Welcome to JavaRanch, avseq! Take a look at the description of how the shift operators work from section 15.19 of the Java Language Specification. Note that it states, "If the promoted type of the left-hand operand is int, only the five lowest-order bits of the right-hand operand are used as the shift distance. It is as if the right-hand operand were subjected to a bitwise logical AND operator & (�15.22.1) with the mask value 0x1f. The shift distance actually used is therefore always in the range 0 to 31, inclusive." In other words, you could consider that the value used to specify the amount to shift is first divided by 32, and the remainder of that division is used to perform the shift. If you specify 32, the remainder of dividing 32 by 32 is 0. Clear?