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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been wanting to shoot .44 Special with wadcutters for a while. I have a bunch of hard-cast 200 grain RNFP. I thought I'd load them backwards to make a wadcutter. But I've never done that before and am wondering whether they will be as accurate as real wadcutters would be. Anyone have experience in doing this?
 

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It's going to eat up more powder space, so be sure to adjust your loads accordingly. If you can find wadcutter data for the same weight, should be ok. Might make an interesting experiment. Accuracy will probably depend on bullet fit to the chamber mouth & bore, more so than which direction the bullet is pointed.

"Hard cast" and ".44 Special" would seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum...... at .44 Special load levels, a bullet that is too hard may be a detriment to accuracy, and actually cause worse fouling than you might think.

It will take some shooting to find out.
 

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Long ago (before WWI, anyway, Harry Pope said "the base steers the bullet." This is a sort of simplistic way of acknowledging that muzzle blast has to play off the bullet base with essentially perfect symmetry to get the most precision in shot placement (the smallest group). Small errors in base symmetry can cause lateral drift away from the intended trajectory because the muzzle blast plays off of it unevenly, pushing the bullet to one side. Nose defects have much less effect on precision because drag on the nose is exerted in the opposite direction every time the bullet turns 180°, causing it to neutralize the deflection caused 180° earlier. But muzzle blast on the base of the bullet has most of its effect in the first few calibers of bullet travel and before the bullet can turn 180°, so there is no equal-and-opposite neutralizing influence for pressure on the base.

The need for maximum symmetry of muzzle blast playing off the bullet base is the reason match bullets are most often made with hollow or tipped points. It is so the bottom of the jacket cup becomes the base and not the tip, as happens with FMJ designs. It is much harder to form an open base with perfect symmetry than it is to simply keep the bottom of the cup flat or symmetrically tapered (as in a boattail). It is also the reason cast bullets with sharp, square bases shoot better than those cast with rounded edges at the perimeter of the base. The rounding seldom has perfect symmetry as any tilting of the bullet mold will cause the molten alloy to favor the low side a little. It is also the reason that, at least for shorter ranges where the ballistic coefficient is a limited concern, flat base bullets are generally more accurate than boattails. A boattail is harder to make perfectly symmetrical than a flat base. Also, the flat base clears the muzzle all at once, where the boattail dwells a short time in the muzzle as it exits, giving more opportunity for the most intense muzzle blast to increase the bullet's initial yaw.

All this is to say, your bullet noses will have to be darn perfect and the bullets perfectly aligned in the bore to get accuracy to try to equal that of a case wadcutter. Another factor is that a true double-ended wadcutter (not the hollow base variety) is symmetrical in profile as well as in cross-section. This makes it the only bullet shape whose center of gravity is co-located with the center of its bearing surface. As a result, in-bore tilt centered on the bearing surface does not pull the center of gravity (CG) off the bore line, so tilt does not cause the bullet's CG to spiral around the bore line in a narrow helix, introducing centripetal force that throws the bullet laterally away from the intended trajectory when the muzzle lets go of it.

The bottom line is, at least in theory, it will be hard to achieve the accuracy of a double-ended wadcutter with your reversed bullet. even with a carefully adjusted powder charge.
 
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BearBear, The final answer to your question may lie more with your personal capabilities than with Nick's pure technical explanation, of which is unquestionable. Your 'results on target' may not reveal a significant difference regardless of the perfection, or lack thereof, of the bullet base. I would contend that the vast majority of wadcutter bullets fired, which may start out with perfect bases as cast or swaged, are not 'handled' in a fashion that maintains that perfection by the time they are loaded and sent down the bore. Mass produced bullets, which I put in the 'vast majority' field, get tumbled around and placed in cardboard shipping containers in bulk form (500 - 1000) and sent on their way with not the gentlest of handling through various forms of transit to their destination. Even those cast by individuals for their personal use, for the most part, won't be handled and stored as 'individual' bullets, but rather often dropped from the mold, perhaps dropped into a 'quench' bucket, then into a container to await sizing/lubricating (sometimes tumble lubed). Certainly better than mass produced handling, but still maybe not 'perfect'.
What is your objective? You say you have 'a bunch', is that 200 or 2000 that you simply want to get rid of? Are you wanting to cut perfect circle holes in the target for measuring purposes, or is it more of a curiosity as to workability?
I'd say give it a try, it is not a safety concern, just approach it with an open mind that your 'accuracy expectations' may not be met for the reasons Nick has articulated. Have fun, and report back your results. Personally, I would load several groups worth both forward and backwards with the same load and compare your aggregate group size results, that will be a little more definitive. And, better yet, buy a couple of hundred true wadcutters and load them with the same load and compare.
 

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Matt's Bullets sells cast full WC's. I think it would be best to purchase some if that is what you want. I shot a lot of the old Speer lead SWC and they worked pretty well, but never tried them backwards.


Here is a piece on The Reloader's Network that talks about this too.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to Nick and Crooked Creek. I thought the backwards bullet would be problematical but did not know the reason it would be so. I've only loaded 50 so far. I hard cast the bullets so I could use them front forward at mag velocity in Rem Mag, as well. I love .38 wadcutters and just wanted some in .44 I looked at Matt's bullets and was tempted to buy, but I have so much lead and ready bullets, my cheapness overtook my sense. I'll see how they perform. I'll also load some front forward to compare. Thanks again.
 

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Are still several smaller custom casters that supply .45, 44, 41. 38, 32 full WC bullets….only the .38special and .32SWL survive as factory loads.


Your idea of using SWC bullets revered “kind of” works. You do get a clean WC hole in paper, but accuracy might be lacking.



The HBWC or SBWC idea was not only short range low velocity accuracy, but to suck up as much of the case volume with bullet as we could; less case volume allowed small (economical) charges of power. Why use 4gr. of powder to punch a RN or SWC hole in paper when you could punch a nice clean WC hole in paper with 2.7gr?

Like any time you go off the manuals, are all on your own. IF you really want to try the backwards SWC’s, the basic rules seem to be this:

1. Load low and work your way up(or down) as needed. Isn’t any load data for a backwards loaded SWC. Could use water to figure out the actual powder volume for comparstion.

2. As you sucked out a lot of case volume (if the SWC’s are seated flush), small charges of faster powders would be the most productive

3 If there is a timing/cylinder-barrel alignment issue, you’ll find out real fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ribbonstone2,
I found some load data from Handloader magazine using titgroup, clays, unique or red dot. I used Unique. The Clays might be interesting, 3 grains is supposed to produce 517 fps. I could probably see the bullet in flight with that load. The case capacity should be the same whether its 200 gr WW or 200 grain RNFP. The shape of the bullet in the case is different, but the volume of the bullet would be the same.
 

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The case capacity should be the same whether its 200 gr WW or 200 grain RNFP. The shape of the bullet in the case is different, but the volume of the bullet would be the same.
That should be 'basically' so, if you ignore any present crimping grooves and simply seat such that the bullet (either WC or RN) is basically flush (or slightly protruding) with the case mouth. That would be the caveat that I would add to your statement. I'm anxious to see the results of your test, targets and data (FPS).
 

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Note that with the bullet reversed, you have to use a shorter COL that leaves the nose occupying part of the powder space. This raises pressure over the forward-nose and standard COL configuration. So you want to find loads that would be suitable for a full wadcutter of the same weight that is loaded flush with the case mouth. That, or estimate in QuickLOAD what that would be. The density of the alloy is homogenous, so, from a pressure standpoint, the difference in the shape down in the powder space won't create a difference if volume. The same is true with DE and HB wadcutters. If they are both the same weight and seated flush with the case mouth, there is no net difference in the volume occupied, so the powder charges are the same for both.
 

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Seems to me if you were to load a cast bullet backward, powder gas when firing would melt nose lead all over in the barrel.
The dwell time in the barrel is so short, and thus the exposure to hot gases, that 'melting' in the barrel is not an issue. Besides, why would you think that would be any different than the base of a plain base cast bullet's exposure to the same gases and degree of heat? Friction, velocity, alloy composition, bullet hardness, tool marks (rough barrel), and 'gas blow by' (undersize bullets) are contributors to leading. But, I could be wrong and someone will correct me...no doubt!o_O:cry:;):)
 

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The wadcutter only exposes the base to the gas. A spitzer type exposes the whole point from the ogive to the tip. Maybe I just like flat base bullets to much. If it were me I'd see about having a mold made for that as a wadcutter.
 

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The wadcutter only exposes the base to the gas. A spitzer type exposes the whole point from the ogive to the tip. Maybe I just like flat base bullets to much. If it were me I'd see about having a mold made for that as a wadcutter.
True, but the fact remains that the time of exposure to elevated temps is simply too brief to melt the lead. I think the OP just wants to experiment with some of the quantity of round nose flat point bullets he has on hand. Bullet molds are available without having to have one made. Arsenal Molds has several different weights and configurations in brass or aluminum as cataloged items.

 

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I have been loading 174 and 147 gr FMJ .308 projectiles backwards for subsonic in both 7.62x39 Russian and .300 Whisper-Bkackout-AAC for decades.

I have drilled out the exposed lead bases on my lathe to make hollow points.

Both are good to 200.

As stated You must pay attention to case capacity when turning your bullets around to avoid pressure problems. A .44so is a great round to plink with, even when shot in a .44 mag.
 

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I have been wanting to shoot .44 Special with wadcutters for a while. I have a bunch of hard-cast 200 grain RNFP. I thought I'd load them backwards to make a wadcutter. But I've never done that before and am wondering whether they will be as accurate as real wadcutters would be. Anyone have experience in doing this?
To what problem is this the solution? Just the desire to shoot wadcutters? If so - why? For a clean hole in the paper? or some other reason? You could sure try it but I'd just get some real wadcutters. Best of luck either way.
Rex
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As to either the gasses steering the bullet off because of the point or the question about gas cutting , the bullets I am using are pretty darned blunt to begin with.
As to options to use real wadcutters, Accurate has a mold for .44 wadcutter in 200 gr. and many others, one has a gas check indent but double ended. If I were to get a mold, it would probably be that one.
As to motivation, I have been thinking a wadcutter would be a good self-defense round for the .44 special I have in a 3" barrel. Getting a hollow point to open at the velocities possible is iffy at best. But I would more likely just buy a batch of Matt's bullets if the reversed bullets are a disappointment. Primarily, however, I like nice, neat, round holes in my targets.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I finally shot the reversed 200 gr. lead rnfp and the same bullet nose first. The reversed bullets made nice, round, even holes. However, they did not seem as accurate as the nose first. In general, they went slightly left of point of aim. I'll put up with ragged edges for the time being.
 
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