Shot Wadcutters, wow, I’ve been missing out!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Peakbagger46, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

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    After over a decade of shooting 38s I finally loaded up some wadcutters. Wow, very soft shooting and surprisingly shot to point of aim. Group is 25y double action.

    4C5F63B2-27B8-4B83-96B1-95A2F185D201.jpeg A4B0FF70-EAB7-4643-87B3-3E0AA0A733CA.jpeg 8225B1B3-3010-4C0B-BB9B-3A3F9430A130.jpeg
     
  2. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Yep, wadcutters are very pleasant to shoot, in both 38 Special and 32 Long. The only problem with the 38 Special ones is how hard they have become to find in a store. (I mean complete rounds, not just the bullets.)

    As I understand it, they are called wadcutters because the perfect paper circles they make in paper targets reminded people of shotgun wads. There has been a thread recently about 32 S&W Long shot loads; I don't have any idea if the circles cut by 32 wadcutters would be useful for making those. :)
     
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  3. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    I load them a tiny bit hotter with HP38/Win 231 but they are still a pleasure to shoot and in a good revolver accurate as heck.
     
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  4. willb

    willb Member

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    A classic target load that's really enjoyable to shoot. And why are you surprised that they shot to POA? Think of it as shooting free throws rather than drilling that tightend cutting across the middle! You're just lobbing them in there. Nice revolver by the way.
     
  5. robhof

    robhof Member

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    I started using them in my carry gun for the same reason, I've got a S&W Airweight and anything hotter gets downright uncomfortable after 30 or so rounds, also as said they are dead on with the fixed sights at 20 yds.
     
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  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    .32 Long
    Light Taper Crimp on a .32 Long WC - Berrys 83 Gr HBWC - Pic 1.JPG

    .38 Spl
    Light Taper Crimp on a Berry's 148 Gr HBWC In .38 Spl - Pic 1.JPG
     
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  7. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    @Peakbagger46
    Like you I recently discovered Wadcutters. I have shot .38’s for years and then a couple of years ago I bought a 500 round case of Federal Gold Medal Wadcutters and was immediately hooked.
    I have 2 loads I like with 148 grain HBWC.
    2.8 grains of Bullseye
    2.6 grains of W244 - light but accurate.
    Both shoot POA with all my .38 shooting revolvers.
    3.0 grains of Bullseye has a little juice and is still manageable in my J frames but not as accurate in all my guns.
     
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  8. Skinny Pete

    Skinny Pete Member

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    Wonderful :thumbup:
    But if you really want your socks blown off, try some in one of these...






    S-W-52-38-WADCUTTER.jpg
     
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  9. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I'd love to. Send that beauty my way and I'll give it a try.:neener:
     
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  10. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    Glad you found out about wadcutters. I've been enjoying them in 38 specials for decades. A few years ago I got to try some WCs in 32 long. So accurate and so comfortable to shoot and so inexpensive (and easy) to hand load. Don't see WCs, in any caliber, on the shelves much these days but I load all of mine so haven't looked very often.

    I seldom hear about 44 caliber WCs but I bet they would be the bee's knees in 44 special out of a Smith model 29 or Super Blackhawk.

    Jeff
     
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  11. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    They do work
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  12. willb

    willb Member

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  13. epags

    epags Member

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    To clarify for folks who have not used wadcutters:
    There are two kinds (not counting plated vs unplated)...double ended wadcutters (DEWC) which you can load without concern as to which end goes into the case first and hollow based wadcutters (HBWC) which normally the hollow base goes into the case first. The HBWCs are sometimes loaded with the opening facing up by folks who think they make a good defensive load....I leave that discussion for another thread.
    HBWCs are swaged vs cast thus cost a bit more.
    The HBWCs are said to be more accurate by folks who know.....yet another possible thread.
    Both are great to shoot since they leave such clear round holes on the target.
     
  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    There are also solid wadcutters with a "this end up" design.
    They have a crimp groove to leave a bearing band above the case mouth.
    Too long for that M52 but I think they will fit a Super Conversion.
    The Speer version is commonly called the Bevel Base wadcutter.
     
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  15. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    It’s been so long since I loaded them. In a Star reloader.

    2.7 gr of Bullseye with 148 Gr wadcutter as I recall.

    I’ve shot thousands of those.
     
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  16. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Member

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    Not .38, but…7gr of unique under a 250gr Matt’s bullet(1:20)

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  17. dannyd

    dannyd Member

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    I cast hollow base and double end wadcutters. The double end definitely easier to cast.

    32E2C2DF-6D9E-45F8-BAC2-99999BFD948A.jpeg
     
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  18. jstert

    jstert Member

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    imho wadcutters are essential for an airweight snubbie ccw. with stouter ammo i’m consistently inaccurate from the get-go in rapid defensive fire drills. with only five rounds at work, and until centerfire handgun ammo has a proximity fuse, reliable hits are paramount, which is the wadcutter’s big advantage. the only problems with wadcutters are its flat nose slows down speedloader reloads, high price/round and scarcity.
     
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  19. Tacoma

    Tacoma Member

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    As my eyes get older, the pronounced hole that a full wad cutter and/or semi wadcutter makes on target is invaluable. It's pretty much all I load these days (and that includes my semi auto cals like 9mm, 45 acp, etc)
     
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  20. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I tried them as they were all there was in the local shelf. They shoot very well out of my 357 but only if I load them in 357 cases. They don’t do too well from a 38 case. I don’t remember the numbers but I use the minimum charge for Winchester 231 and CFE Pistol. Surprisingly both powders provide me equal accuracy during load testing.
     
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  21. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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  22. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Timely topic.

    I home cast 148 grain wadcutters with a 6-cavity Lee Mold for plinking and concealed carry. The bullets drop from the mold very easily. For plinking I load the old standard: 2.7 grains of Bullseye. Yesterday I tested the wadcutters in my S&W 60 no dash with 4.5 grains of Unique. This load bounced nicely enough during recoil.

    10 yards, seated, elbows rested, single action. (Gotta eliminate as much of the shaky old man as possible during an accuracy test.) This is good enough for me to carry routinely.

    IMG_1156.jpg

    Photo of the Alox lubed bullets and .38 Special cartridges. The stuff in the lube grooves is Alox and cornstarch, which I apply to the freshly lubed bullets to eliminate stickiness. I can load them immediately.

    IMG_1157.jpg
     
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  23. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Are Wadcutters primarily a Revolver thing?

    How about for Semiautos?

    Haven't really looked into these bullets before, but I like the idea of those crisp, circular holes.
     
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  24. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    The S&W M-52 is chambered for wadcutters, back when autos began to displace revolvers in Bullseye competition, various pistolsmiths-Austin Behlert and Jim Clark come to mind-specialized in converting M1911s to fire wadcutters.
    Years ago in American Rifleman I saw a picture of a pre-WWII 22 wadcutter, be fun to have those today.
     
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  25. Nasty Canasta

    Nasty Canasta Member

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    I know there were some S&W Model 52's made to only shoot 38 Special wadcutters. Guy I worked with had one & could really shoot it well.
     
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