seating depth for .38 DEWC


October 15, 2010, 12:14 PM
A friend just gave me a box of some old 148 gr. double ended wad cutters. I've never used double ended wad cutters . . . some of what I've read says to seat them flush with the casing, others say to leave the sticking out a bit. So, does it matter, and is there a preference for one way or the other?

I'll probably be using 2.8 of bullseye if that makes a difference.

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October 15, 2010, 12:26 PM
I seat them with just a bit of bullet above the case mouth - I dunno, maybe 1/16" of so?

I have some Missouri Bullet 148gr DEWCs that actually have a cannalure right there - that's why.

What's your reloading data give for OAL?


Steve C
October 15, 2010, 12:30 PM
The double ended wad cutters that I've used all had a crimping groove so that's where I crimped the bullet leaving a bit of the nose above the case mouth. In revolvers this is fine. If I had an old S&W or Colt semi auto that needed flush seated wad cutters I'd seat them flush.

October 15, 2010, 01:26 PM
Like Steve C, I have alwyas crimped DEWC's using the crimp groove.

October 15, 2010, 02:16 PM
In revolvers, the seating depth is not so demanding. The ONLY limitations one has is:

Bullet must be deep enough not to be forced into the throat (narrow front part) of the cylinder, and

Bullet must be out enough not to cramp the powder chamber. (Wadcutter loads already take into account the deeper seating of a wadcutter vs. a regular seated bullet.)

Normally, a little bit of bullet showing or the forward crimp groove is just fine.

However, in either a Colt .38 Special National Match, or a S&W M52, bullets must be seated flush with the case mouth or the loaded rounds will not function through the magazine. I have in fact verified this the hard way.

October 15, 2010, 10:49 PM
thanks for the responses and the picture, got a couple hundred loaded today, look forward to shhoting them.

October 15, 2010, 11:33 PM
The thing I like most about DEWC's is that they leave a nice clean hole. That and they are very accurate. With my S&W Md. 14 with a 6" barrel I can get 1.5" groups off sandbages at 25 yards.

October 16, 2010, 01:28 AM
A crimp isn't required with DEWC's. Bad for accuracy too. Mind you, not all of 'em are shaped the same. Those Missouri bullets, for example. WC's shouldn't have rounded edges, but those I'd seat to the beginning of the round edge. Proper square edge WC's to the square edge with no crimp.
2.8 of Bullseye will be close, but work up the load from the starting load.

October 16, 2010, 01:32 AM
Assuming you will shoot them in a revolver, you can seat them out as far as you wish as long as the bullet doesn't stick out from the cylinder. Normally, they stick out about 1/4" or enough to ensure that the bullet is in and aligned with the cylinder throat.
For a semi-auto, it needs to be seated just below the case mouth.

October 16, 2010, 02:04 AM
"...Normally, they stick out about 1/4"..." Absolute rubbish.

October 16, 2010, 06:04 AM
When I was shooting in PPC competition I loaded them to stick out a bit from the case of the moutn. It allowed me a faster reload and reloads were done on the clock.

I used 2.7 grains of Bullseye but many shooters used 2.8.

October 16, 2010, 08:26 AM
I load plated DEWC's and HBWC's ( sticking out of the case about .125 and it works well for me. As posted, it both helps align the bullet, as well as making chambering easier.

Here is a lead HBWC ( seated and crimped very lightly into the cannelure. That same bullet can be loaded flush as well.

Fixed the first link.

October 16, 2010, 09:46 PM
With 38 DEWC in revolvers, sometimes it helps accuracy to bump up the loading a few tenths of Bullseye. Old data lists 3.5gr as max.

October 16, 2010, 11:53 PM
One thing to remember when looking at data for the different kinds of wadcutters; a HBWC is not a DEWC and the data is not interchangeable.

If all you have is data for HBWC do not use the minimum charge to start loading. If you have a long barrel, you may end up with a stuck bullet. Not always, but it has happened!

A HBWC is much softer and with the hollow base, it takes much less to get it moving than a DEWC.

Make sure the load is for a DEWC and you should be good to go. I cast my own H&G #50 and crimp in the groove. It makes them much more consistent in my opinion.

October 17, 2010, 06:37 PM
If it mattered every one would say the same thing. They don't.

Considering the fact that practical lead target bullet loads are normally quite light I doubt there's any valid need to load any differently with WC, DEWC or HBWC. It's highly unlikely any charge that can be expected to get a bullet all the way to a 25 yd. target fail to get another out of the bore no matter the barrel length or bullet configuration difference. Certainly not so in my experience, nor have I ever read anyone suggest otherwise. ??

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