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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:33 AM
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.38 wadcutters for defense?


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It is generally conceded that hollowpoints don't always expand and with loads suitable for lightweight snubbies they seldom expand. For that reason, many recommend cast bullets with a large meplate. Nothing has a larger meplate than a full wadcutter and the solid base version can be loaded as fast as any bullet of similar weight, so why not?
I recall reading many years ago, when .38 special was the standard cop gun, that they commonly used the 158 roundnose for duty and 148 wadcutters for practice. I wonder if they might have done better to reverse that. Granted that wadcutters would not be good for rapid reloads with a speed loader, but for personal defence, reloading is seldom an issue, except maybe for Bruce Willis.
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoyoteJoe View Post
It is generally conceded that hollowpoints don't always expand and with loads suitable for lightweight snubbies they seldom expand. For that reason, many recommend cast bullets with a large meplate. Nothing has a larger meplate than a full wadcutter and the solid base version can be loaded as fast as any bullet of similar weight, so why not?
I recall reading many years ago, when .38 special was the standard cop gun, that they commonly used the 158 roundnose for duty and 148 wadcutters for practice. I wonder if they might have done better to reverse that. Granted that wadcutters would not be good for rapid reloads with a speed loader, but for personal defence, reloading is seldom an issue, except maybe for Bruce Willis.
FYI 38 cal 148 hollow base wadcutters loaded inverted DO EXPAND in the human body & turn everything to mush according to a homicide detective I knew who investigated just such a murder.
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiddekop View Post
FYI 38 cal 148 hollow base wadcutters loaded inverted DO EXPAND in the human body & turn everything to mush according to a homicide detective I knew who investigated just such a murder.


What is your definition of "every thing to mush" I would also preclude that penetration is minimal as the 38 special is not considered to be a great penetrator at best and at what velocities are these bullet being driven inorder to give such incredible performance...
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2008, 10:25 AM
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I have tried the hollow based WCs reversed in wetpac, sometime they expand but mostly they tumble. I was referring to solid base or "double ended" wadcutters, preferably hard cast and loaded warm. I think the reversed wadcutter is an "old wives tale".
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2008, 01:56 PM
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Better than RN, but be careful loading DEWC's warm (and definately don't load HBWC's warm). Tend to shoot wildly past a certain point...and if the gun is slighly out of time, will spit lead from the flash gap (as well as put a bit of extra strain on the forcing cone).

Have got reversed HBWC's to shoot well, but there is a trick to it (and it's probably not worth the doing).
Set up a luber-sizer with a .355" die.
Set up a mechanical stop adjusted so only HALF the bullet enters the die.
Size bullets hollow base first...which will size only 1/2 the bullet to .355".
Load them backwardes (with the .355" section sticking out). Seat to the sized section and crimp.

This will leave .355" diameter seated out of the case...which will aloy you to chamber them and allows for more case volume. Basically, used loads for swaged 158gr. RNL (which seat about to the same depth, leaviong the same case volume).

Yep...will lead up horribly after a few cylindersfull. But just how many people do you plan on having to shoot before taking a break to clean your gun?
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2008, 06:14 PM
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One ammo manufacturer has a commercial version.

Tim Sundles over at Buffalo Bore Ammunition has a 150 hard cast wadcutter in the line just for the reasons noted in this thread. Here is the link:

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunitio...htm#standard38

"Item 20D utilizes a very hard cast 150gr. WAD CUTTER bullet. The bullet is made hard, so it won’t deform or mushroom. It cuts/crushes a “cookie cutter”, full diameter hole in human flesh just like it does on a paper target. It penetrates deeply (roughly 14 to 16 inches in human tissue) and its full diameter profile maximizes blood loss as it cuts and crushes (not slips or slides) its way through tissue. Although I’ve never been shot with a full profile wad cutter bullet, I must assume that the initial impact of that wide flat nosed bullet, is crushingly formidable. As a teenager, I took to the woods on a regular basis and killed many a critter with heavily loaded 38SPL wad cutters’. The effect of a full profile wad cutter on small game was obvious and amazing, compared to regular round nosed bullets. That flat nose, literally hammers living things. These bullets are hard and properly lubed and will NOT lead your barrel. Note my velocities from real world “over the counter” revolvers—NOT TEST BARRELS!
a. S&W mod. 60, 2 inch barrel—868 fps (251 ft. lbs.)
b. S&W mod. 66, 2.5 inch barrel—890 fps (264 ft. lbs.)
c. Ruger SP101, 3 inch barrel—961 fps (308 ft. lbs.)
d. S&W Mt. Gun, 4 inch barrel—1005 "


Ralph

Last edited by Ralph McLaney; 04-07-2008 at 03:42 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2008, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for the link, that is exactly what I had in mind, but I will likely load my own, that Buffalo Bore stuff is a bit costly if one does much shooting.
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:04 AM
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If you're going to use cast lead bullets for self defense, there are two advantages to SWC bullets over full wadcutters. The first -- and the least important -- is that wadcutters lose stability at longer ranges. This seems all wrong because they are, after all, used in target loads, but it is nonetheless true that semi-wadcutters are more stable. The main reason for a full wadcutter is to cut a full-diameter hole in paper, something that can turn a 9 score into a 10, a 10 into an X.

More importantly, SWCs are also far more stable in living flesh -- in other words, they tend to track straight, while wadcutters are much more prone to veer off course. Wadcutters may well cut a bigger hole -- although what is a fact on paper may not be a fact in flesh -- but the SWC is going to go deeper and straighter. There are plenty of heavy hunting bullets on the market for revolvers right now, and some of them have enormous meplats -- but, they all have some up-front taper like a SWC. There are practical reasons for that characteristic.
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  #9  
Old 03-31-2008, 09:41 PM
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I have some real problems with what pisgah just said...a wadcutter will shoot sub 1" groups at 50 yards....and by that I mean atleast a 10 round group...from a test bbl. AND you score the bullet's mark on the target, not the hole. For example, w/a 9mm, you have the hole and then around that is about a 1/16" smudge on the target, the smudge gets scored...if it doesn't I pull $3 out and the target goes straight to the referee. The hole is smaller that the bullet, but the bullet leaves/makes a mark on the target the same size as it is. Sometimes it is a real bear to see that smudge on a black target. The Rule book says that the score is such and such if, "The leaded edge of the bullet" touches the scoring ring...and they are scored the way...even w/a jacketed bullet.

Wadcutters have a terrible ballistic coeficient and loose speed like crazy and drip like a rock, but the are exceedingly accurate.

I agree w/what you said about the SWC on flesh...a pretty good bullet.

Wadcutters we used for defense, loaded backwards, inside your own house. Outside of your house, use a 125 gn JHP loaded about 2-300 fps faster...or use a magnum and 500 fps faster (most defense magnum loads are between .38 and REAL .357 loads).
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2008, 06:46 AM
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It's a bit technical, but take a look at

www.tuffsteel.com/Ballistics/bullfly/anom.htm#unstablemuzzle

Be sure to click on the icon and check out the illustration of dynamic instability. Depending on the firearm and exact load, instability may not be any problem at short range. But the wadcutter is inherently dynamically unstable. A Google search of "wadcutter bullet stability" will get you enough reading to last all month.
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  #11  
Old 04-01-2008, 03:42 PM
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By selecting a WC loade (even loaded fast) are tading penetration of faster energy transfer. Reversing the HP will farther reduce penetration and increase the rate of energy transfer...even if it tumbles rather than expands.

OF course, that might be a bad trade if your target is fat...or in heavy clothes...or you strike the meaty part of the arm before the "good stuff"... and tumblijng means a bullet that doesn't penetrate in a straight line.

But some people feel these trade-offs are worth it. I'm not one of them, preferring two holes to one, but do allow folks to make their own choices and live with the consequences.
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  #12  
Old 04-01-2008, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbonstone View Post
But some people feel these trade-offs are worth it. I'm not one of them, preferring two holes to one, but do allow folks to make their own choices and live with the consequences.

Or not.....
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  #13  
Old 04-01-2008, 05:35 PM
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True enough...get it wrong and you don't get a second chance.
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  #14  
Old 04-01-2008, 06:24 PM
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Good penetration, small hole

http://www.brassfetcher.com/Buffalo%...%20Cutter.html

Good penetration, bigger hole

http://www.brassfetcher.com/158%20gr...test%202).html

Note that both barrels were 1 7/8 and no mush

Thats why I use the old Remington 158gr SWCHP +p

Last edited by 5150; 04-01-2008 at 06:27 PM.
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  #15  
Old 04-03-2008, 05:43 PM
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The factory wadcutters are not fast enough. Id say at least 800 fps would be good. The factory wadcutters come out of a 2 inch barrel about 580 fps. The standard 38 RNL would be better. At least you get some penetration. If you must have a handload then one of the soft swaged 158 gr lead HP with a plus + powder charge might give some expansion. Or just get the Buffalo Bore for carry. Replace it once a year. Thats what I would do if I only had a 38 Spec.
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  #16  
Old 04-06-2008, 08:30 AM
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I haven’t had a lot of time for interneting but I have enjoyed lurking on this thread and the other one about the .45 auto bullets – which I cannot find at the moment!
A good article on using wadcutters for self defense was written by William C. Davis Jr. for the American Rifleman: “Wadcutter’s from 2” the Best Defense Load?”
I believe an LBT style bullet such as those cast by Marshal is far superior but we each make our choice.
As far as accuracy goes it takes a good revolver shooting excellent ammunition to shoot 3” ten shot groups at fifty yards – from a machine rest. For accuracy testing ammunition, bolt action ammunition test fixtures as made by Alton Dinon and others will shoot very small ten shot groups. Nick may have more recent information but it takes very high quality home cast bullets equal the accuracy of machine swaged hollow base wadcutters.
I intended to post in the .45 Auto thread that Alton Dinant designed the 217-grain 45266 semi wadcutter bullet for Lyman and this bullet shot quite well in the 1911 pistol. I’ll attach a picture of a ten shot group shot in Dinan’s test barrel which simulated the 1911 barrel bushing support. These were loaded with 3.5 grains of Hercules Bullseye.
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.38 wadcutters for defense?-lyman-45266-grp.jpg  
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  #17  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:46 PM
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Question

If the wad cutter really worked in short barreled revolvers as a self defense ammo would Speer have developed short barreled ammo using a gold dot bullet?
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  #18  
Old 04-06-2008, 04:08 PM
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The history of firearm projectiles is an interesting study. "Self defence" narrows it down abit. I'm not hard to kill(other than the fact that I will fight back)! Put a BB through my eye and into my brain and I will fall down. A 22 long rifle in my chest makes me a dead guy on the floor.
"Jacketed Hollow Point(JHP)" is a "BUZZWORD"! Strikes fear and contempt into the hearts of those that consider firearms "bad things".

Consider the Winchester "Black Talon". It was a very well designed JHP. The name alone took it off the market. "Golden Sabre" is "politicly correct enough" to survive the media. Both are "just a JHP with different designs".

Note to Marshall Stanton: Beartooth is a "scarry" name! I suggest powderpuff or similar to escape all of this.

Cheezywan
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  #19  
Old 04-06-2008, 05:08 PM
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Cheezwan, you may not be aware of this but, the Country singer Trace Atkins was shot in the heart with a 38 Special by his wife (ex wife now) several years ago and he is alive and still perform still performing

Don't decide to give up the "ghost" that easily...

Last edited by jwp475; 04-06-2008 at 05:11 PM.
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  #20  
Old 04-06-2008, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william iorg View Post
The use of .38 Special wadcutters for self defense was discussed in an article for the October 1979 issue of the American Rifleman by William C. Davis Jr. The article entitled: “Wadcutters from 2” the Best Defense Load?” The subject of velocity, expansion and reversed hollow base wadcutters was discussed in a short but well researched article.

What about the most important aspect of it all penetration?
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