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Wadcutters for Protection?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by The-Reaver, Oct 13, 2011.

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  1. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

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    Alright so my question is full expansion and energy transfer is what you want correct?
    Well wouldn't a Wadcutter work for full expansion, I mean its pretty soft lead. And its already flat. Any reason it should do an awesome job as a HD load?
    RvR
     
  2. USSR

    USSR Member

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    In years past, it was fairly common practice to load a hollow-base wadcutter backwards for a SD load.

    Don
     
  3. Shaky

    Shaky Member

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    Buffalo Bore actually has full wadcutters in their "anti personnel" line of ammo. Many a person has loaded a hollow based wadcutter upside down, effectively making a hollow point bullet, but other than that, you generally won't see much expansion. While the lead is soft, the bullet is going slow in most factory ammunition, minimalizing expansion (of course, if you handload them you can push them a bit harder, especially if you crimp them in a grease groove or load them into magnum brass). With that said, the full diameter meplat of the wadcutter will do more tissue damage than a round nose or semi-wadcutter. The other consideration is if you should have to reload via speedloader...those sharp edges must be lined up perfectly to go in and will slow you down.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The problem with HB Wadcutter is, they are almost always loaded to very low mid-range match velocity. Pressure is limited by skirt blow-out, so none of them are going to be up to speed, so to speak.
    They generally are going so slow you can see them in flight.

    Full wad-cutter bullets can be loaded to much higher pressure & velocity.
    If you can find them, they would make most excellent SD loads..

    rc
     
  5. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    I load my own solid lead wadcutter bullets and have carried them many times in a self defense snubby. I get around 800+fps with my loads from a short barrel and around 900fps from a 4" barrel. Very nice to shoot and easily controlled. I also keep a 32 mag snubby in my nightsand loaded with hot WC loads.

    There was a show on "The Justice Files" IIRC and a woman shot her husband with two WC bullets and both fully penetrated his torso and were found in the room he was in. I am guessing those were the slow factory loads. They still worked pretty good.

    I wish it would occur to someone like Speer to make a double cup ended WC bullet that could be shot around 900 fps with no danger of skirt blowout but would give a modest amount of expansion. I have tried the reversed hollow based wc loads and so far they have been a failure. They either tumble or the skirts mash flat when hitting water jugs. I won't waste anymore of them loaded like this.
     
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    That's the untested theory anyway. While the flat point produces some imagining of impact and effect no amount of imagining makes it a reality. Wad cutters have some problems, one is they are not stable at longer ranges and begin to tumble in addition to the low velocity loading you find in target ammo. If the wad cutter design was any better than any other solid bullet they would have been commonly used by law enforcement and others.

    Personally I don't see how a WC is going to be any more effective than say a SWC or RN for that matter. People used solid lead bullets for a 100 years before JHP's came along. You would think they would have settled on the most effective during that time, the wad cutter design wasn't it.

    90% of self defense ammo selection is the imagination of the person carrying the ammo and how it makes the "feel". If the ammo gives them confidence then they feel powerful and self assured regardless of the reality.

    A solid bullet will work fine if place properly, a hollow point generally works better and if not placed in the best possible spot will generally make a larger hole facilitating more blood loss than any solid of the same caliber. If the hollow point fails to expand it is no worse than a solid bullet. The one thing that makes a solid more effective is higher velocity.
     
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    DEWC's make big holes without expanding. The folks at my bullseye league always "WTH?!" when they score my targets because the holes (with sharp edges) almost look like .40 but they know I'm shooting a revolver -- so I tell them I've shooting a .39 Special, and they bitch about that. ;) The holes are noticeably larger than the HBWC's someone else is shooting.
     
  8. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    anything that pokes a hole wins.be like shooting ball ammo
     
  9. Onward Allusion

    Onward Allusion Member

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    If it (WC & SWC) was good for LEOs for decades before the wondernines came around, I would think it's good enough for HD/SD. Low recoil as well. But (always a but) I would not use 'em if I had better options.
     
  10. Tallinar

    Tallinar Member

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    I remember reading a recent thread on here that discussed some testing that was done on just this subject (FWC vs SWC tissue damage). I don't recall all the details, but it was determined that the SWC caused a smaller entry wound than FWC. It was observed that the nose of the SWC begins the "shockwave" to the tissue upon contact, such that the sharp edges of the bullet at the widest point did not fully contact flesh. I don't recall all the fine points.

    I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I think it should be noted that there were other factors that contributed to the moving away from solid lead bullets; such as the migration to semi-automatics - which simply won't feed FWC's generally - as well as the advent of smokeless powder - which made higher velocities possible to the point where leading becomes an issue without some sort of gas-check. I don't think the FWC disappeared from defensive use simply because it was considered insufficient for the application. Perhaps it was simply surpassed in popularity by products that have a wider application? I may be wrong.

    I would have no reservations carrying FWC's in my revolvers for defensive use.
     
  11. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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    Wadcutters are a close-range bullet, but so are the majority of self defense scenarios. Shoot someone much past 25-30 yards and the police and/or the DA are going to question the threat. As far as low velocity, that's only because they are usually cast from very soft alloy. Putting a gas check on them lets you up the velocity. Some do offer hard cast though.
    But there is something better. The Manstopper from Northwest Custom Projectile. Available in .357, .40, .44, .45 and even .50 caliber, they are a jacketted hollow-nose wadcutter with a center post to aid expansion.
    Both Northwest Custom and Reed's Ammo offer loaded ammunition.
    http://www.customprojectile.com/
    www.reedsammo.com
     

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    A mid-range .38 Special wadcutter cartridge, offers about the same velocity as a .38 S&W round, but with a much more effective bullet. I often load my "inside the house" revolver with them where a shot is unlikely to be over 15 feet. Makes the neighbors across the street feel more warm and fuzzy, and at the given distance I have no doubt they'll do what I want them to.

    Under other conditions, generally no.
     
  13. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

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    That thing looks like a lugnut.
     
  14. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    It's a fairly common practice to load wadcutters both because of their often lower recoil and the size of the wound they create. It's a very attractive combination for home defense.
     
  15. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    This is most likely the best response in the whole thread so far. Any bullet can and has killed. If all I could get my hands on were round nose lead I wouldn't feel too worried. I would just try to make sure my shots were as well placed as I could make them.
     
  16. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    A double ended wadcutter loaded with 12gr of 2400 behind it in a 357 case makes one of the most destructive rounds I can imagine in a handgun. I always keep a few loaded and handy.
     
  17. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    They are perfectly stable at 50 yards and make nice round holes. Ask anyone who has shot PPC. I think that qualifies as long range for a handgun.

    I carry 'em in my house/backup gun. If they don't work out I'll have my next-of-kin post here.:D
     
  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I used to have inverted 148 grain HBWC for a home defense load. That was before I went into law enforcement (afterwards I just used issue stuff).

    Bullet placement is everything. A 148 grain hollow base wadcutter that hits smack in your opponent's forehead beats a 45 ACP Black Talon that misses. It's also better than a sharp stick or harsh words that Art's Gramma wouldn't approve of. ;)
     
  19. Pyro

    Pyro Member

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    I do not want "full expansion and energy transfer", just something that'll poke nice big holes. All I carry is wadcutters in .32 and 38 Special.
    Well first my .32 needs HBWC or else it'll keyhole and that they literally acted like flying hole punches in my wetpack tests.
    Those Buffalo Bore 38 Special wadcutters...man are they wrecking balls.

    I like them, don't need to worry about a JHP clogging or whatnot.
     
  20. Super Sneaky Steve

    Super Sneaky Steve Member

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    After shooting so many of my midrange .38 special hand loads I got to thinking that they are so easy for me to shoot quickly and accurately that I'd like to use something like that for SD but hollow points may not expand at those lower speeds. Wad cutters might be just the ticket.
     
  21. suemarkp

    suemarkp Member

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    The "theory" is easily verified in gelatin testing. The permanent crush cavity diameter depends on nose shape, velocity, and bullet diameter. All bullet shapes make a permanent cavity slightly larger than bullet diameter if the velocity is 600 fps or faster. A SWC makes are larger hole than a RN and the full WC makes the biggest. These hole sizes are guaranteed (at least in flesh with a similar density to gelatin) and don't require any expansion of the bullet.

    Whether this makes a lot of actual difference can be debated. There are failures for 45 LRN and successes with 32 LRN. It is hard to compare in actual results because people are different, but if I can have a guaranteed 36 cal hole or 38 cal hole or 40 cal hole from a 355 bullet, I'll take the 40 cal hole if it has sufficient penetration.

    I would be interested in knowing if WC's are more stable if they are driven faster or from a faster twist barrel. I can see why they would be aerodynamically unstable regardless, but at the ranges they will be used I don't think it matters. Perhaps the next best thing is the WFN or Keith style SWC where the meplat is ~90% caliber diameter.

    Speedloaders could also be an issue of why law enforcement didn't use them. I think they'd be good for the rounds IN the gun though.
     
  22. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    WC's and SWC's have been proven to be more effective than RN's by hundreds of handgun hunters in the days before reliable hollow points. Also in the European goat tests, forget the name of the tests, but a bunch of ~150 pound goats, selected for their closeness to humans, were shot with various handgun calibers. Round nose bullets proved to be very ineffective and some goats continued munching on their hay after being shot with RN's and took many minutes to succumb to their wounds.
    WC's and SWC's proved much more effective than RN's.
    Keith, Jordan, Bryce, Skelton, Cirillo and many other experienced shooters would agree.
     
  23. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I'd have zero issues with using wadcutters for SD as far as ballistics goes. My only issue is they are a bit more tricky to reload than SWC's.
     
  24. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Back in the late 1980's the country store I worked at was robbed on the night I was supposed to be working on, but that's another story for another time. Anyway, the young lady that was working my shift had her husband working with her that night. Long story short, he made her husband kneel and then he shot him in the back of the head at point blank range with a .357 mag. loaded with WC's. The round knocked him out cold of course and produced a lot of blood too. But because those were so increadibly under powered, the WC just basically bounced off his skull and the bad guy left thinking he had just executed the husband, who by the way was released from the hospital the next day. Those were a factory load brand called combat, if my memory serves me well. The rest of this story didn't go as well as that particular incident, and people did die, and women raped during his 3-4 day crime spree.

    No, I carry full house jacketed hand loads in all my S.D. handguns with the only exception being for my wife and daughter. They both carry .357 mag. wheel guns loaded with high velocity jacketed 110 gr. bullets chronographed at around 1250 fps. I carry a .357 mag. snubby loaded with 125 gr. XTP's or Gold Dots @ 1580 fps, or 158 gr. XTP's or Gold Dots @ 1300 fps, and a very hefty charge of H110 or 296 to get them up there.

    Given your desire for stopping power with decent penetration, I would go with a Gold Dot Self Defense bullet, not the hunting one because it doesn't expand as reliably at lower velocity. Golden Saber is another good performing S.D. round. I didn't notice if you reload or not, so based on that I would recomend a factory S.D. round in either Gold Dot or Golden Saber. And if you have a bunch of money, you can order some custom stuff from the people who make CoreBon. I've heard and seen some really good things about their product.
     
  25. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    DEWC are easily cast from a variety of bullet molds. You can tailor the alloy to your needs. I cast them a bit hard and load them to 900 fps. They work great on game up to coyote. Never tried them on anything larger.

    When I was in LE, I was told by the Medical Examiner that the because of his work and experiences, he carried WC in hid revolver.
     
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