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wadcutter vs. semi-wadcutter

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jamesmb, Aug 19, 2008.

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  1. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    I had a 19-5 S & W and tried some reloaded wadcutters I had bought from master cast. They all were very accurate as opposed to what I had shot before which were hollow point and soft point 38 Special cartridges through this gun. I tried the three different wadcutters in 148 grain that they sell, TCJ/DEWC, DEWC (Cast) and HBWC (Swaged). The TCJ seemed the least smoky of the three when shooting. Wonder what DE stands for? HB is hollow base and seemed the most accurate.

    How do semi-wadcutters compare if at all to wadcutters? Same high degree of accuracy?

    Thanks,

    James
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  2. lawdog41

    lawdog41 Member

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    DE = Double Ended as opposed to Hollow Base. It's got identical ends, both ends up as it were.

    The TCJ were less smoky because there was no bullet lube vaporizing.

    The HB will likely be the most accurate, the hollow base swells to match the bore dimensions while the others have to rely on the loader to match the bore.

    The SWC's will be more accurate at longer distances, at 50Y the HBWC and DEWC will start to tumble or yaw because of their cylindrical less stable design.

    Welcome to wheelguns and their trials and tribulations. Look for a copy of Veral Smith's Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets, it'll give more data on revolver critical specs, bullet choices and the like than you'll ever want.
     
  3. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    Thanks for the info on the different bullets. I was shooting at an indoor range at 7 yards and was impressed with all of these. Trouble so far, master cast is the only place that I have found that sells wadcutters. I will look for that book you mentioned.
     
  4. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    If you like wadcutters, semi or otherwise, you have to try Hornady's line of swaged lead bullets.

    I use them in competition out to 100 yards (.358/158/swc) and nothing else comes close for accuracy.

    I also use the hollow base version as a plinker load.

    I get mine from Midway USA.
     
  5. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    Just another question, might be dumb, but what is difference between swaged and cast? When I first saw these wadcutters, I thought they forgot to put the bullet in the casing but they were flush or slightly raised above the casing opening, lol. So use to hollow point or soft points.
     
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    A cast bullet is poured into a mould while molten. A swaged bullet is formed in a die under hydraulic pressure.

    The advantages of casting are:

    • The equipment is cheap. All you need is a pot, dipper, heat source and mould. Swaged bullets are made on expensive hydraulic presses.
    • Harder (alloyed) lead can be used. Swaged bullets have to be relatively soft.

    The advantages of swaging are:

    • The bullets can be more uniform -- no voids from bubbles in the molten metal.
    • It is easier to produce special features, like a hollow base.
     
  7. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Many Bullseye shooters find that Remington's 148 grain HBWC is very accurate, but messy to load.
    At seven yards anything half way decent will work fine.
    Zero bullets has a nice line of swaged bullets. I use Zero since they are always available online.
     
  8. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I find no greater pleasure in shooting than shooting wadcutters in my Smith Models 52, 14, & 15.

    SWC should do a little better beyond 25yds.
     
  9. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    Earplug - I tried earlier this year using a Lee handloader kit and made some 357 hps using Zero bullets. They seemed to work fine. Slow going though with that kit.

    The only place I was able to find wadcutters was through master cast, I am sure other sources must sell them. Have seen the semi-wadcutters sold other places just not wadcutters.

    I remember reading on a website on snubies and they mentioned the FBI use to use HBWC for a defense round long ago. Hope I am right on that.

    Oh ty for the info on cast vs swaged
     
  10. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

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    I load SWC's backwards, with the flat base seated just flush to the case, and a taper crimp to aid in feeding. They work wonderfully out to 25yds, haven't tried farther.
     
  11. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Full lead (cast) wadcutters, double-end, bevel-base .357:

    http://www.missouribullet.com/shop/details.php?prodId=62&category=&secondary=9&keywords=

    $27/500

    Haven't used these, specifically. Love his 158grain SWCs for both .38 Special & .357 Magnum (note: two different bullets)

    If you order from them, tell him I said "hi."

    Q
     
  12. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Hornady swaged HBWCs are widely available, and in my experience, are the most accurate in the widest variety of guns. They are also easy to load, don't gum up the machinery, are relatively smoke free, and don't lead at all, at any sane speed. I prefer them over all others and compete with them out to 50 yards.

    As noted. HBWCs tend to be the most accurate bullets as the skirt expands under pressure to perfectly take the rifling. Too much pressure, though, will over-expand the skirt and accuracy goes out the window.

    I do not personally see any reason to use swaged bullets at more than about 800 feet per second, as they tend to lead badly. The only swaged bullets I use are HBWCs at target velocities. I prefer cast for all other applications. And also as earlier noted, wadcutters tend to destabilize beyond 50 yards or so. Some type of nose appears to be a requirement for longer range accuracy, hence the existence of the SWC and other designs.
     
  13. jaydubya

    jaydubya Member

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    Stick with Mastercast. Prompt, reliable and inexpensive. I have fired more than 5,000 of their reloads, mostly 38sp, and mostly their hardcast 158gr semiwadcutters. This is a pretty stout load in my 637 Airweight, so I have switched to their 148gr double ended wadcutter. I have fired about seven hundred of them, and I really like this load. I also tried 500 of their 100gr wadcutter. This is a pussycat load, little more than a .22 in sound and recoil. Ideal for introducing someone to shooting.

    If you really want to save money, send your spent brass to Mastercast in exchange. And do so by USPS Priority Mail. I send a thousand cases that way for nine bucks and change, even with the recent price rise. Any other way I know of costs more than twenty.

    Cordially, Jack
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The Lee 148 wadcutter mold is a very accurate bullet. I've put more of 'em down range than any other .38 caliber bullet, for sure. In factory ammo, Remington's hollow base .38 WC is very accurate. I bought a box one time and they shot great out of my M10. I've found wadcutters to be measurably more accurate than SWCs.
     
  15. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    ty you all for the help on the wadcutters. I no longer reload, sold what I had which was not alot. Might try at a later date again.

    I bought a few weeks ago a 29-3 and ordered some 44 Special rn and noticed they, Georgia Arms, sells 44 Special SWC ammo. Will have to try that too - but not seen a wadcutter in the 44 Specail size either, not even at master cast.
     
  16. ir3e971

    ir3e971 Member

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    Re: Below - I am using these right now in my snub nose. They seem to shoot great.



    Full lead (cast) wadcutters, double-end, bevel-base .357:

    http://www.missouribullet.com/shop/d...ry=9&keywords=

    $27/500

    Haven't used these, specifically. Love his 158grain SWCs for both .38 Special & .357 Magnum (note: two different bullets)

    If you order from them, tell him I said "hi."
     
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I like both bullets equally well. I use the 148gr DEWC bullets for paper targets and the 158gr LSWC bullets for plinking and shots that are further than 25 yards. I load both with either W231 or Clays.
     
  18. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    148 gn. Wadcutters are so much fun to shoot in .38 Special, and the accuracy will make you look really good too!

    Wadcutters can be an effective defense load too, for the wound channel does not immediately begin to close up like with a round nose bullet . . . or a hollowpoint which fails to expand. Thus, you have a huge, clean wound channel.

    T.
     
  19. VegasOPM

    VegasOPM Member

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    Keep in mind that the hollow based wadcutters tend to work better at low velocities than double ended or flat based wads or semi wads. The hollow base acts like the Minie Ball and expands to obturate more readily at low pressures. That will make them a bit more accurate and MUCH cleaner at
    <750fps.
     
  20. Jamesmb

    Jamesmb Member

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    When I shot JHP 357 magnum cartridges out of the same gun, I could never quite pinpoint if it was me anticipating the recoil and moving my hand, the actual recoil, the way I held the revolver, or maybe it was the speed at which they travel that consistently made them way off a bullseye target, especially as opposed to the HBWC, or maybe a combination of the above. The magnums had to be going about 1100 to 1200 fps.

    But your saying HBWC's slower speed, even slower then other wadcutters, is helping it grip the barrel walls.
     
  21. pps

    pps Member

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    The only place where I might slightly disagree is where you said the swagged bullets have to be softer. The Hornady are pretty hardened as it has 5% antimony added. These hollow pointed semiwadcutters didn't even expand when fired into the bullet trap.

    [​IMG]

    They are accurate though.
     
  22. Majic

    Majic Member

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    Did the HP get plugged on those bullets?
     
  23. pps

    pps Member

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    The one on the left got plugged, the two on the right...no. I've had the same lack of expansion at 850fps shooting into milk jugs. These Hornady swagged are pretty hard. The Buffalo Bore 158gr lswchp, on the other hand, expand in the bullet trap (rubber mulch) very consistently out of my snub @ 998fps.
     
  24. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Not exactly. (Well, I don't know what he's saying, but...)

    Essentially, a bullet needs to be "bumped up" by gas pressure in order to perfectly grip the rifling. HBWCs do this at lower pressures than other types because the hollow base/skirt is relatively weaker than the solid bases of other projectiles.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    pps,
    This load isn't published anywhere so use it at your own risk but.... If you load those Hornady LSWC/HP bullets over 7.0gr HS-6 and a Magnum Primer they WILL open up nicely. That load is extremely accurate and will produce single digit SD numbers when passed over a Chrono even when shot from a 2" barrel J frame.
     
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