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  #1  
Old 01-31-2006, 05:16 PM
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Wink .38 Midrange Wadcutter


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I've been looking at buying a S&W Mod. 52 in .38 Midrange Wadcutter to go along with my Mod. 41. At first I thought the loading was merely a standard .38 special cartridge loaded with a wadcutter bullet. I'm beginning to see I may be wrong. I've seen it mentioned elsewhere and compared with the 9mm and the .38 AMT but never actually described. What the heck is it anyway? If I were to handload it, is brass available or published loads? Inquiring minds want to know!
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2006, 06:03 PM
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The Mod. 52 does uses .38special brass and flush sheated bulelts...is desgined to use them at typical target vel./pressures...basically a pure target gun.

Less popular than it once was, is the last of an odd breed. Custom makers put them; used a very nice Clark built .38WC gun for many years. Colt made some as well...and were some European pistols occasionaly seen (even SIG had a .38WC model). Europeans seems to go more for the .32WC models for various reasns (and from a pure accuracy standpoint, they might have had a point).

So basically, if you don't plan of flinging out 148gr. WC bullets at about 700-770fps, it's not for you.

The Colts were 5-shot magazines and the only 52 I ever shot was a 5-shot...might have been some other mgas. made, but belive the 5-shots were standard.
-------
Were some experimetal guns that were made to use a rimless version of the .38special case..someonw will remeber the name, somthing like 38AMU. Basically were trying to avoid feeding RIMED cases (which can be troublesome...until they figured out the right mag. configuration) and also avoided serious breech face/extractor modifications.
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  #3  
Old 01-31-2006, 08:13 PM
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You are correct, the .38 Special midrange wadcutter cartridge is not a standard VELOCITY cartridge loaded with a wadcutter bullet. It is a light target load using a swaged lead hollow base wadcutter bullet seated flush with the casemouth, with a m.v. of about 700 fps as it comes from the factory. Accurate and pleasant to shoot with mild recoil, it is very popular with bullseye shooters. Handloaders can duplicate this cartridge using .38 Special cases, cast or swaged lead 148 gr. wadcutter bullets and 2.7 gr. of Bullseye powder. Bullets should be seated flush with the casemouth with either no crimp or a very light roll crimp over the bullet. Cast bullets are usually flat or bevelled based and swaged, hollow base lead bullets may be obtained from several bullet makers. Many .38 Special die sets come with an additional flat ended seater plug to handle these bullets.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 02-01-2006 at 09:17 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-01-2006, 08:00 AM
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Many years ago .38 Spl. wadcutter loads were available in both a full power load at about 850 f.p.s. and a second, and usually accepted as the more accurate was a load, same case bullet, etc. at a reduced velocity of 770 f.p.s. nominal. This last was designated as Mid-range to distinguish it from the full power load. As of today, and for probably over 50 years, only the Mid-range loading has been available from the major manufacturers, only they still refer to it as such because that's what people are familiar with.

Just to remove any confusion from what Marshal said, this IS a standard .38 Spl. cartridge. It is merely loaded with a different style bullet to a lower velocity. In factory loads the charge can be anything that gives the desired ballistic performance, but is frequently a non-cannister powder known in the trade as Bullseye 88.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2006, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944
Just to remove any confusion from what Marshal said, this IS a standard .38 Spl. cartridge. It is merely loaded with a different style bullet to a lower velocity.
It IS a little confusing as I interpreted mcg6637 as saying that the .38 Special midrange wadcutter cartridge is NOT a standard (VELOCITY) .38 Special with a wadcutter bullet. In this case (no pun intended) the velocity is reduced and not standard with respect to the 158 gr. loading. Cartridge being defined as the bullet, case, charge, and primer. My statement on handloading this cartridge refers to the .38 Special CASE which is indeed, a STANDARD case. I hope this removes any confusion as to what I said and thank you for bringing this up.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 02-01-2006 at 09:14 AM.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2006, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshal Kane
It IS a little confusing as I interpreted mcg6637 as saying that the .38 Special midrange wadcutter cartridge is NOT a standard (VELOCITY) .38 Special with a wadcutter bullet. In this case (no pun intended) the velocity is reduced and not standard with respect to the 158 gr. loading. Cartridge being defined as the bullet, case, charge, and primer. My statement on handloading this cartridge refers to the .38 Special CASE which is indeed, a STANDARD case. I hope this removes any confusion as to what I said and thank you for bringing this up.
In the 1950's and 1960's, the gun makers seemed to take special joy in listing all the calibers that could be fired in a .357mag. (unlike today where they tend to freak out if you shoot anything but what is stamped on the side of the barrel).

So you'd see listed .38SC, .38LC, .38Specail, and .357mag. Someone had the bright idea to list the .38 wad cutter as if it were a seperate cartridge (which it isn't, it is a spceific loading, but uses the same case)...so you'd see .38 Mid Range or .38Mid Range Wad Cutter listed sepertely.

Think they just wanted their list to be longer than their competition's...but the competion picked up the same terminology.

So...it is NOT a differnt cartridge case, it's the same .38special case, just a differnt loading. The guns we mentioned (S&W 52, and those converted Colts) ONLY take that one loading.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2006, 03:25 PM
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I don't know anything about the S&W but my Colt .38 special is a pure blow back action. There are no locking lugs at all. I would not shoot my pistol with anything other than the light loads it was designed for. Be sure about the Smith before you do any different.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2006, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenK
I don't know anything about the S&W but my Colt .38 special is a pure blow back action. There are no locking lugs at all. I would not shoot my pistol with anything other than the light loads it was designed for. Be sure about the Smith before you do any different.
My old Clark was an early one (Clark stamed the inside or the slide with the conversion date..this one was a 1963 made gun). He left the locking system in place...so ti ran on really weak springs and even then would only function 100% when booseted up to 3gr. of Bullseye.

With factory WC loads, some brands would work, others would not cycle until I waxed them (Johnson's paste wax).

MOST of the .38WC guns are blow backs...and it isn't hard to blow the back of the case off if you load a bit hotter than the action was desinged for (and will beat the snot out of the frame if cyling too fast).
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2011, 07:48 PM
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.38 special midrange

Both the clark and the S&W use delayed blowback just like the .45. The Smith has a slightly different take, as well as an adjustable barrel bushing. They are capable of excellent accuracy but 'UNFORGIVING' of flaws in technique such as poor follow through. The springs installed in the guns allowed them to shoot reduced pressure loads reliably. Bullseye shooting was and is not popular and misunderstood. Non bullseye shooters think we're all COMMIES! JL LONG TIME BULLSEYE GUY AND STATE CHAMPION! Seeya
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