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Thread: Wadcutter Bullets

  1. #1
    Member alaskamace's Avatar
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    Default Wadcutter Bullets

    I want to load some .38 HBWC. I have heard these should be seated flush with the case mouth. Is this right? Anything else that should be done differently when loading this type of bullets?
    ..."Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." - G.K. Chesterton

  2. #2

    Default Wad Cutters

    Hi there;
    I bought out a fellows entire reloading kit one time and there were a couple hundred 38 Special Home brewed Wad Cutters in there, and as you say they were seated dead flush with the lip of the case. I shot paper targets with them and was quite surprised how well they did, seems they were as good as anything else at 50 feet, in my 357. Seems they had just a bit of crimp, they were relatively mild rounds.

  3. #3
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    I think Speer is the only one still making the hollow base wadcutter bullets for the 38 spcl, 148 grains with 2.6 to 2.8 grains of bullseye. I have shot about a gazillion of them so loaded. I shot International pistol for about 12 years and my centerfire gun was a 38 spcl model 52 (no dash number) S&W. Love that Duel stage. I had a Al Dinan made 1911 in 38 spcl but gave up on it becasue I couldn't keep from tipping the bullets at the long line. They were well capable of 3" groups at fifty and I was sometimes. I have shot 880 centerfire with the 38 spcl in Bullseye pistol.

    Anyway, yes seat them flush and crimp them slightly with a roll crimp, whether for revolver or auto loader. My wife shoots them in her model 19 2 1/2" S&W and I use Hodgdons Universal or SR 4756 powder. She can shoot them into an inch at 50 feet with this little snubby. What powder do you have available for this load?

    By the way, they are hollow based so that very low power loads will obturate them in the barrel. They are pure soft lead with a dry waxy lube on them. I shoot them at about 650 to 800 fps depending on gun. At 800 fps from my model 52 you must follow through very well when shooting the one handed bullseye course or the bullets will tip slightly and show an uneven leaded side to the hole. At fifty yards when we "heel" a shot the bullet will head off toward the six ring. If you can learn to shoot a 38 spcl wadcutter gun with out tell tale tip marks, you are a shooter. It was easier for me to shoot hardball in the 45.
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  4. #4
    Member alaskamace's Avatar
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    I picked up a box of Hornaday HBWC 148 gr. I believe the only pistol powders I currently have on hand are Bullseye and HP38.
    ..."Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." - G.K. Chesterton

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    Default .38 Spl wadcutters

    The 38 Spl 148 gr hollow base wad cutter was THE round for many many years. The K-38 was the revolver for target shooting in its class and some of the foreign makers also made the .38 Spl target revolvers. For many years the .38 Spl and the .30-06 dies were the leaders in dies sold by RCBS - I don't what is the most popular now.

    I have one of the Colt Gold Cups 1911s in .38 Spl - this was the competitor to the S&W Mdl. 52. The fact that these two companies made a specilized pistol that shot nothing but the .38 Spl flush seated wadcutter gives a perspective of the popularity of this round.

    Other than cutting holes in paper the round turned around backwards with the base out gives some pretty fantastic expansion in soft targerts and won't penetrate through walls etc. so some use it as a personal defense round at home.
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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    You can buy 38 special wadcutters 500 for $38 at SW in Wasilla.

    I shot a box of 500 of them and another 500 SWC in the 357 when I first started reloading when I was 16 or 17. They are incredibly easy to load and fun to shoot.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  7. #7

    Default wadcutters for defense

    The one problem with using wadcutters backwards for defense is that sometimes they expand and sometimes they collapse instead. Would certainly still hurt, but it reduces the shock factor. I believe that the first hydrashok style bullets were hollowbase wadcutters swaged with a post in the middle to insure expansion. The rest is history.

  8. #8
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    I preferred to load 115 FMJ 9mms backwards in the 357. They had to be crazy fast and the jacket would rip apart but it is very thick and would be in one ragged piece.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  9. #9

    Default backwards

    What did you shoot them into to check the results?

  10. #10
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    we shot them into flower boxes and 2x4's. We only did a few. We shot a couple and kept a cylinder full for carrying. That is until I learned about reasons for using factory ammo in carry firearms at least ten years ago.

    If I remember right loading them forward made them come apart too.

    The wadcutters at SW are bulk bullets.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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