Semi wad / Full wadcutters as a ccw round?


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twoblink
January 18, 2011, 04:42 AM
Hollow points are the natural go-to; but was wondering if anybody out there carried their revolver's ccw loaded with either semi-wad cutters or full wad cutters?

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Jenrick
January 18, 2011, 05:14 AM
One of the "old school" ammo's of choice was hollow base wadcutters loaded upside down. Basically an early attempt at a hollow point. No idea how well they actually worked. I would think that a wad cutter design would work about as well as a round ball. Meaning not all that great compared to a purpose designed hollow point.

-Jenrick

Jesse Heywood
January 18, 2011, 05:25 AM
A lot of it has to do with the cartridge. In 38/357 I would go with a jacketed round. Most wadcutters in the 357 series are too soft and lead the barrel. In 45 Colt I have loaded 255 gr. Keith style LSWCs.

critter
January 18, 2011, 07:32 AM
I use hard cast SWC's as a hunting round in .45 Colt. Rounds like that will definitely punch a hole but that may be the problem in self defense. You will get zero penetration and will almost assuredly get a complete pass through. Can you be sure there is nothing behind your target that needs shooting? Anyway, something to consider.

Water-Man
January 18, 2011, 07:43 AM
In my Ruger GP100 I use Buffalo Bore .38 spl +P 158gr. LSWHC-GC.

SaberOne
January 18, 2011, 07:59 AM
I also switched to Buffalo Bore .38 spl +P 158gr. LSWHC-GC as my primary carry load. Now, I carry a S&W 640 @23-ounces and I wouldn't care to use it in a vapor-weight.

StrawHat
January 18, 2011, 08:13 AM
When I carried a 38 Special, I used hard cast wadcutters loaded to 900 fps. It made a good hunting load and likewise for self defense. The target wadcutter is not bad but too soft to push much beyond factory. It is accurate though. I tried the reversed HBWC and did not like the way it performed. Not enough penetration for what I wanted.

I also load a 235 grain full wadcutter for my 45 ACP and like the way it performs. At some point I will try it in my 45 long Colt.

As far as SWCs, I use them in many hunting loads and would have no qualms using them for SD. Heck, the 45 long Colt made it's reputation with a RN with a tiny flat point.

PRM
January 18, 2011, 08:20 AM
I have always had good results with lead semi-wadcutters. Wouldn't hesitate to use them as a carry round. I trust the big flat point about as much as a hollow point. It's not a good thing to count on a one shot stop with any round. Shot placement and multiple rounds if necessary trumps the best single load. As far as difference, I've always found the semi-wadcutter to be a little faster to reload over the shorter full wadcutter.

451 Detonics
January 18, 2011, 08:34 AM
In an emergency without access to any of the well made JHP I would carry either, with the SWC being my preference over the WC. There are so many well designed self defense loads today tho the last non-jackets bullet I carried was the Federal Ny-Clad. The solid SWC can has issues with just zipping through with very little expansion and over penetrating. The WC is normally loaded to target velocities and tends to make a small hole again without expanding.

Just as a reference point every gun I carry today is loaded with Cor Bon DPX.

HiWayMan
January 18, 2011, 08:54 AM
In .38 snubs I pack 152gr hardcast WCs at 950fps with 146gr SWC-HP as reloads. If I could find a decently priced mould for WCs in .429" I'd carry them in my .44 Special as well, but instead am packing 246gr SWC in it now.

SWC make for an easier reload.

M2 Carbine
January 18, 2011, 11:15 AM
Hollow points are the natural go-to; but was wondering if anybody out there carried their revolver's ccw loaded with either semi-wad cutters or full wad cutters?
About 1962 I got the idea of loading hollow base wad-cutter bullets backwards. The result was the bullet quickly tumbling and was very inaccurate. Think of throwing a dart backwards.

My 38 practice load is the 158 grain SWC lead bullet loaded full load. I don't use any lightly loaded 38 Special for practice.

My defence load, that I keep in all the 38 revolvers, is the +P 158 grain lead SWC HP, so called FBI load.

deacon8
January 18, 2011, 12:20 PM
I load 240 grain SWC's for my .44 mag very often. I usually load them down to .44 special levels for plinking, target practice, etc. However, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to use them for self-defense. Even at lower pressures, they penetrate very well. At higher pressures, they would be even better for a bad guy. For outdoors carry and for home defense purposes, I use 240 grain GoldDot's. However, SWC's would be great.

pbearperry
January 18, 2011, 12:33 PM
Years ago I loaded 148 gr reversed hollow based 38 spls at about 850 fps. Up close they were accurate enough.The only time I used this load on anything was a badly injured Saint Bernard dog over 200 pounds.He was run over by a car and his hind leg was wrapped arounf the drive shaft.I shot him once in the head and it was an instant kill.The gun I carried was a S&W Mod 10 4 incher.
The only reason I stopped carrying for SD was the fear of being branded in court as a maniac by a lawyer if I ever had to use it on a bad guy.

joneb
January 18, 2011, 12:36 PM
Here's another thread on the topic.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=517024

BlindJustice
January 18, 2011, 01:10 PM
I've got 400 rounds of .45 Auto RIm
loaded with a Leadhead hardcast 200 gr. SWC @ 1,000 FPS

Shoots very accurate in my 625 5" Bbl.
as well as 100 rds same load in .45 ACP for
my 1911. Wouldn't hesitate to use for HD/SD

Randall

Dave T
January 18, 2011, 03:10 PM
During the 10 years I had a firearms training business I had a lot of students, especially women and the elderly, who liked the weight of the ultra light 5-shot 38 revolvers but couldn't handle the recoil of +P 38s, let alone 357 Mags.

I advised them to shoot and carry target wad cutters in the alloy framed guns. Feedback from most everyone was that they could shoot better, practice was more fun and they had a great deal more confidence in their ability to hit what they were shooting at, particularly with follow up shots.

How many times have we heard or read - bullet placement is everything. Well bullet placement with a full wad cutter, one that you've actually practiced with, is vastly superior to a miss or marginal hit with the latest and greatest, super deluxe, tactical +P hollow point. And two or three quickly fired hits in the center of mass, even with the lowly wad cutter (which cuts a clean, full caliber hole) is superior to a marginal hit and a follow-up that misses because of blast and recoil.

As always, YMMV!

Dave

xXxplosive
January 18, 2011, 03:54 PM
Cirillo loved the WC profile for a defensive round. After all the autopsies he attended back in the 60's, seems they did what he asked of them better than a round nose or SWC. Guess you got to go with experience here and who has more experience than JC at the height of the NYCSOS.

IMO, the WC is a much passed over design today, not flambouyant enough as the vast menu of HP's available out there.

M2 Carbine
January 18, 2011, 03:55 PM
I advised them to shoot and carry target wad cutters in the alloy framed guns.
Too bad these aren't available anymore. Although they did 1,500-1,600 FPS from a 2 inch J Frame the recoil was less than a light wad-cutter load.
The bullet was a very light weight, sharp edge, hollow tube. It cut a core, like coring a Apple. I never heard of any shootings with it but I suspect, if nothing else the blood flow would be hard to stop.

They also made the round in 44 Special. Then all the sudden they disappeared.
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Ultramag.jpg

Deanimator
January 18, 2011, 05:53 PM
My standard carry load for .38 Special and .357 revolvers is the Federal 158gr. LSWC-HP +P "FBI" load.

I don't have an "energy" fetish. I place a lot more confidence in penetration and blood loss. Full wadcutters cut a nice round hole. Cutting instead of crushing promotes blood loss.

You could do much worse than a 148gr. LWC, even at bullseye velocities. An added benefit of the wadcutter bullseye loads is that they have incredible accuracy, and trivial recoil. The latter is often EXTREMELY beneficial for older people or those of slight build and weak upper body strength.

Vern Humphrey
January 18, 2011, 05:59 PM
One of the "old school" ammo's of choice was hollow base wadcutters loaded upside down. Basically an early attempt at a hollow point. No idea how well they actually worked. I would think that a wad cutter design would work about as well as a round ball. Meaning not all that great compared to a purpose designed hollow point.
I took a Colt M357 to Viet Nam my first tour. My load was a hollow base wadcutter loaded backward ahead of all the Unique I dared. It worked, twice. But it leaded the barrel something fierce.

mnhntr
January 18, 2011, 06:09 PM
I use hard cast SWC's as a hunting round in .45 Colt. Rounds like that will definitely punch a hole but that may be the problem in self defense. You will get zero penetration and will almost assuredly get a complete pass through. Can you be sure there is nothing behind your target that needs shooting? Anyway, something to consider.

What? You will get zero penetration, but will get a pass through. Isn't a pass through, complete penetration?

I think the SWC is a good SD round in cold temp climates, to pass through clothing such as heavy jackets and such. I load the wifes 642 S&W with 158gr LSWC 38+p handloads in the winter and then I go back to Golddots in the summer.

gofastman
January 18, 2011, 06:42 PM
Although I would prefer a Gold Dot or DPX, I would have no problem carrying something like this(the bullet design, not the necessarily manufacturer):
http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/images/38%20Special%20158SWC.JPG

Especially in a snubbie, where the hollow point slugs may not expand at all anyway.

Buck Snort
January 18, 2011, 06:50 PM
Critter wrote: " You will get zero penetration and will almost assuredly get a complete pass through."

HUH?

SAA
January 18, 2011, 06:57 PM
Critter wrote: " You will get zero penetration and will almost assuredly get a complete pass through."

HUH?

Ditto!

mdThanatos
January 18, 2011, 07:05 PM
I think he meant expansion? Depending on what the target is like, I know for CAS shooting these will completely flatten, but again its being shot at steel. If the situation were against a smaller built foe then it might just pass through but being lead I think it would perform better than ball ammo which is jacketed.

9mmepiphany
January 18, 2011, 07:37 PM
For those of us old enough to remember when 158gr ball ammo was the standard LE issued round, the SWC was a superior choice as the flat nose transferred more energy and the sharp shoulder of the first driving band would cut a cleaner hole to allow increased blood lost. This is what make the SWC a very good hunting round when cast hard and driven fast...a lot of penetration.

The reversed Hollow Base Wad Cutter (HBWC) was an early attempt at increasing stopping power of the .38spl out of the 1 7/8" barrels of the J-frame snubbies. They have a much better track record than either the Ball or SWC loadings as they do transfer more energy. The problem was the they large opening and rearward weight bias cause the bullet to become unstable at longer ranges. Plus they were a bit slow to reload using speedloaders...you had to be very accurate in alignment

The ultimate solution for this was the Hydra-Shok offerings, which added a post to the center of the hollow point. The post helped shift the COB forward for better accuracy and it's outward tapering base directed pressure outward to assist in the cavity peeling back for a larger final diameter...they don't usually exit the body. When the company went out of business, the design was purchased by Federal.

The PMC Ultramag was also a very interesting design with a light bullet, high velocity and light recoil. It was based of the concept to the Ring (Tubular) Airfoil to extend range and accuracy...Dyson currently uses the concept on their room fans

NMGonzo
January 18, 2011, 07:54 PM
there are plenty choices for carry ... why that one in particular?

Old Fuff
January 18, 2011, 09:41 PM
I dance to a different drummer, and often carry 148 grain mid-range wadcutters in my Taurus 85 LW or S&W J-frame snubbies. During times past I also pocket carried a .38 Colt Police Positive modified along the lines of a “Fitz Special.” The short .38 S&W cartridges loaded with the same wadcutter bullet worked fine.

I doubt that this will go over with some, but I don’t to the tactical generation. ;)

Lovesbeer99
January 18, 2011, 10:59 PM
Its my understanding that most hollow points were designed for 38's with 4 inch barrels or longer. Unless you get specific rounds designed for short barrels the standard hollow points shot from a 2" barrel will not produce enough velocity to expand. My understanding is that unless you get Buffalo bores or something similar you should stick with semi wadcutters out of a 2" barrel.


I'd love to see actual tests with semi wadcutters but I can't find any.

9mmepiphany
January 18, 2011, 11:25 PM
Its my understanding that most hollow points were designed for 38's with 4 inch barrels or longer. Unless you get specific rounds designed for short barrels the standard hollow points shot from a 2" barrel will not produce enough velocity to expand.

My understanding is that unless you get Buffalo bores or something similar you should stick with semi wadcutters out of a 2" barrel.

Your first understanding {DarkRed} is very close, your second {Blue}is a bit further from accurate.

I know one loading that was commonly used in the snubbies, ofter referred to as the FBI Load consisting of a 158gr soft lead SWCHP loaded to +p pressures...

...and 2 loadings that are designed specifically for the 1 7/8" barrel of the S&W J-frame.

1. S&W offered a 125gr HP standard pressure load in their Nyclad line called the Chief's Special. The bullet was soft lead (to insure expansion) clad in nylon (to withstand deformation in the barrel and reduce lead in the air). This round produced expansion similar to the FBI load.

2. CCI/Speer produced a 135gr JHP +P loading specifically for a large LE department's issued J-frames. Reliable expansion and better control in the small guns than the 158gr loading

Both of these loads are a better choice than and SWC. The full WC is actually very good for close in work

twoblink
January 19, 2011, 04:23 AM
I definitely think the 2" barrel is a big consideration. If I was carrying my 5" GP100, then I'd just do a jacketed hollowpoint and be done with it. I'm not convinced that 2" is going to give reliable expansion on the HP's.

And as far as a full wad; cuttin' a hole through the heart doesn't sound too bad; assuming I get the bullet through the heart...

DBR
January 19, 2011, 10:35 PM
Here: http://www.brassfetcher.com/38wadcutter.html

Works for me in my 12oz S&W 342 Airweight "always gun".

woad_yurt
January 20, 2011, 02:17 PM
There's a certain minimum velocity required for reliable hollowpoint expansion and .38 SPL is just too borderline. Unexpanded hollowpoints act like round-nosed bullets; they slip between and separate muscle tissue, which then has a tendency to close back up. The wadcutters make a hole the same way a paper punch does; they punch out the core, making for a lot more blood loss. I'd rather have the guaranteed cannula of the wadcutter than the mere possibility of a properly expanded hollowpoint.

I load 148 gr HBWCs with 4 grains of W321 or HP 38 for both practice and defense. It has plenty of oomph (it's just this side of a +P round) and is also very user friendly. Out of a 4" K-frame, it'll get 820 fps, which gives it a good 220 ft-lbs, way better than any store-bought target wadcutter loads.

Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2011, 03:38 PM
the SWC was a superior choice as the flat nose transferred more energy and the sharp shoulder of the first driving band would cut a cleaner hole to allow increased blood lost.
That's what Elmer Kieth thought, but Vernal Smith proved him wrong. Smith mixed ballistic gelatin and sand, then dipped the bullets in paint and fired them into the sand and gelatin mix.

The recovered semi-wadcutters had crusted paint and sand on their meplats (the flat nose) but no sand on the paint in the driving band -- proving that the meplat creats a shock wave that forms a temporary cavity and the driving band is inside the temporary cavity and never touches the medium.

Sistema1927
January 20, 2011, 03:41 PM
It kind of depends upon the caliber.

In my BBQ gun (Stainless 4 5/8" Blackhawk .45 Colt) I like the 255 Keith style SWC with a large meplat.

In my pocket gun #1 (Kahr PM9) I carry the Hornady Critical Defense 115.

In my pocket gun #2 (S&W 642) I carry the 135 +P Gold Dot.

JDC215
January 20, 2011, 09:36 PM
if theres nothing else to be had even wad cutters wont feel good on the receiving end, but i always carry federal hallow points. 125 gr in the summer and 185 in the winter. i live where it gets cold.

eqlzr
January 29, 2011, 12:15 AM
Regular quality 148 gr factory wadcutters (Winchester or Remington) are what I use in my snubbies. Nice soft deformable lead bullet, cuts a clean hole on entry, generates plenty of nice secondary projectiles in the way of bone splinters, quick follow-up shots possible because of manageable recoil. Comes in brass cases that can be reloaded many times.

DBR
January 29, 2011, 12:30 AM
There is another redeeming feature of full wadcutters that appeals to me. They usually follow a straight path so if your aim is true they will hit where you intended.

Hollow points if they expand can slew off in random directions possibly missing what you aimed for.

pete950
January 29, 2011, 01:26 AM
I carry the Buffalo Bore 150 grain full wad cutter.
for practice DEWC over 5.0 of unique = the BB load.
makes a clean hole cuts all the blood veseles and arteries so if you miss the vitals they will bleed out.
Oh and I hit what I'm shootin at with that load.
The shot placement is very important.

LawofThirds
January 29, 2011, 04:21 AM
Target wadcutters have one huge advantage over most other rounds.

They give an accurate .357 sized hole in a round that almost every weak, older, or otherwise disabled person can shoot comfortably and quickly.

They may not be fast, they may not be exciting and wide expanding. But they sure as hell beat the alternatives for a certain segment of the population.

bluetopper
January 30, 2011, 01:19 AM
A 148gr hard cast double ended full wadcutter loaded to the base of the bullet with 2400 powder in a 357 case hits with a helluva wallop I'm here to tell you.;)

sw282
January 30, 2011, 06:07 AM
l was moving a deer stand some years back. Armed only with my 2'' Chiefs Special. Out in the path stepped a doe of medium size some 40-50 ft in front. She suddenly stopped, started staring at me. As if to say, "You are in my way". l slowly set the ladder stand down l had been dragging. Drew my little snubby. lt was doe day and thought. l am legal. ln SC handgunning for is legal w/ any 'centerfire cartridge'. So l fired once and she fell kicking. l walked up and fired again into the lungs. She died quickly. The first round had hit high behind the shoulders and broken her back. the second passed thru both lungs. Both exited the body. Good results for 148gr mid range wc rds. These were Winchester factory.
A guy wanting a pistol during VIET NAM could get it. Officially or unofficially.lt just gave you an extra sense of security. Actually most any bullet worked well on thinly clad small Asian males/females. Snubs were highly prized because they easily concealed. Most every weapon had functioning problems because of water/mud/rust. l dont remember revolvers having any more function problems than others. Most reliable weapon was an AK and a good knife;)

For defense l carry factory wadcutters in that same M36

USBP1969
January 30, 2011, 11:44 AM
I had the privilege of working along side Jim Cirillo at FLETC for a number of years. (I forget how many exactly. The second thing that goes after age 65 is one's memory - I forget the first.)

Jim and I spent many hours discussing handgun ammunition for self defense. Jim preferred a wadcutter with just a light bit of cup point, just enough to make a sharper cutting edge. I preferred a full metal jacketed wadcutter for duty use since it would work better against bad guys inside vehicles.

Each year I'd get a call from out Central Officer in DC. They'd ask what the best gun /ammo combination would be for the US Border Patrol. I'd always answer a S&W fixed sighted revolver (like a Model-58) chambered for .45 Colt using a full wadcutter, full metal jacketed bullet at 800+ feet per second. It would have been a great combination IMO, but when they heard the word "wadcutter" they knew just enough about guns to know that it was a target load.

There was a book published years ago by a fluid engineer. He compared all bullet nose shapes for performance in ballistic gelatin as well as doing computer models. Using Hatcher's "Nose Configuration Factor" concept for providing a relative comparison between the different shapes he came up with the following:

-Round Nose Lead (& FMC) = 1.0
-Semi-Wadcutter = 1.5
-Pointed Cone Shaped = 1.6 (The old "metal Piercer Rounds)
-The best Hollow Point Tested = 3.25
-Full Wadcutter = 3.30

BVAC lists their 148 grain .38 Special wadcutter with a muzzle velocity of 875 f/s. The normal velocity listing from the Big Three is about 700 f/s. I have emailed them and await their answer about the published velocity. http://www.bvac-ammo.com/page26.html

Jimmy used to say that when engaged in a gun fight he wanted a handgun round capable of blowing the "Perp" into four equal pieces.

;)
KW

Vern Humphrey
January 30, 2011, 06:41 PM
I used a hollowbased wadcutter loaded backwards (at .357 velocities) twice and it worked. If I could get one that wouldn't lead at those velocities, that's what I'd carry in my .357 today.

bluetopper
January 30, 2011, 09:24 PM
I've always wanted to find some 44 caliber double ended wadcutters, just a cylinder shaped hunk of lead, like 38cal. 148gr wadcutters. I know they would be awesome in a 44 Mag.

S&Wfan
January 30, 2011, 10:00 PM
The best deer hunting round I've ever used is a Keith style hard-cast lead "semi-wadcutter," the Federal 300 gn. "Cast Core" Premium Hunting round. Most accurate too!

Here it is with my trusty Model 29-5. Twice in the past ten years or so I've encountered three deer at once with this rig, and both times I dropped all three. I don't lose deer with this round, EVER.

Here's the round sitting atop the hide of a rare piebald Whitetail Buck I harvested with this rig. Lots of deer have fallen to this deer thumper through the years!!!

BTW, in a .38 special a wadcutter is a great round, as is the classic 158 gn LSWC-HP +P. Believe me, a sub-36 caliber bullet is plenty wide to do some major damage without needing to expand further!!!

http://216.77.188.54/coDataImages/p/Groups/415/415870/folders/305851/246434329wholosightcamolamo-e-t.jpg

Drail
January 30, 2011, 10:49 PM
Parisite, you have to look around but those bullets are out there. I obtained a small quantity a few years back - 180 GR full wadcutter cast tuna cans - and loaded them into .44 Spl cases for use in a Charter Bulldog. Oh my goodness. Without a doubt the most destructive bullet I have tried in that gun. They're probably only running about 800 FPS (or more) from that Bulldog but they make a mess out of 1 gallon water jug. I have never run HOT loads in the Bulldog because I want it to last as long as possible, but I think I'm onto something here. Some of the specialty casters will do a batch for you if you ask real nice.

DBR
January 31, 2011, 12:44 AM
If you want to really understand the effects of bullet shape vs velocity you need to read Duncan MacPherson's book "Bullet Penetration".

Bullet shape really matters and most expanded hollow points are not that effective. Creating a temporary cavity and expanding a bullet use a lot of energy that doesn't necessarily contribute to actual wounding. They look good in gello and may reduce over penetration. But, what about the 70% or so of rounds that miss in a typical LE incident? Aren't those rounds more dangerous than shoot thoroughs with rounds that make an effective wound channel?

The problem these days is the most effective bullet shapes don't feed in semi autos. From my perspective this means a revolver is the better self defense CCW weapon in most situations.

pete950
January 31, 2011, 03:16 AM
Parasite,

Penn bullets makes a 185 grain full DEWC for the 44

www.pennbullets.com

USSR
January 31, 2011, 10:46 AM
Interesting conversation. There is talk about semiwadcutters, wadcutters, and jacketed hollowpoints, but what is being completely overlooked and may be the very best answer (atleast for those of us who cast) is the lead hollowpoint, cast fairly soft.

Don

Vern Humphrey
January 31, 2011, 12:49 PM
Interesting conversation. There is talk about semiwadcutters, wadcutters, and jacketed hollowpoints, but what is being completely overlooked and may be the very best answer (atleast for those of us who cast) is the lead hollowpoint, cast fairly soft.
Coincidentally, I just this morning tested some cast hollowpoints in .45 Colt sent me by a member of this site. The load was 10.1 grains of HS 6 (around 700 fps.) At 10 feet, they penetrated about 12" (to convert that to penetration in ballistic gelatin, divide by 1.8 -- 6 2/3 inches.)

I expected to find nicely mushroomed bullets. What I found were fragments. The noses blew off, the shanks broke up. After breaking up, pieces went in all directions.

In a large caliber, I'd stick with a wide flat nose bullet.

USSR
January 31, 2011, 01:29 PM
PM back at ya, Vern.

Don

OldCavSoldier
January 31, 2011, 09:13 PM
Routinely carry 148 grain plated HBWC turned-around (with scores on the muzzle-side leading edge of the HB of the WC) pushed by 4.3 grains of Unique and lit off by a standard CCI small pistol primer. 100% transfer of energy is within in the first 4 inches of wet telephone book. Minimum recoil so follow-up shots are easy.

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