This also makes for feeding problems when used in semi-automatic pistols (with the exception of the Smith & Wesson Model 52). Federal Gold Medal Match 148 grain full wadcutters. Other than that small drawback, wadcutters make a surprisingly good choice for self defense. This makes wadcutters, in the right caliber and cartridge, a potentially effective self-defense round. As a result, wadcutter bullets should only be used for self-defense purposes if there is nothing else available. Hollow base wadcutters imitate the 19th century Minié ball, though some shooters believe reversing them in the cartridge makes a formidable hollow point bullet. Even more experienced shooters using a steel frame revolver will typically find that they can get accurate follow-up shots much quicker with wadcutters than with most other loads. That’s why I definitely think that wadcutters are good for self defense. Why would you use a wadcutter? This, combined with their generally excellent accuracy at short to moderate range, makes the wadcutter an ideal choice for people learning how to shoot. Be sure to subscribe to his show: the Big Game Hunting Podcast. Bullseye shooters also use semi-wadcutters in semi-automatic pistols. If, for some reason, your day has taken the world’s most unlikely turn and you’re having to reload a small defensive revolver in a hurry, wadcutters are not your best friend. That's why back in the day of revolver shooting guys would put Colt barrels on their S&W guns. Wadcutters are commonly (though not always) loaded so that the bullet is completely encased in the case. Just another thought I will throw into the mix too sir. Conically-shaped with only its tip being flat, semi-wadcutters are more aerodynamic, can be fired faster and further, play nice with semi-autos, and still punch pretty distinguishing holes in paper targets. 120 Years of Wadcutters. There appear to be lots and lots of options for purchase at places like PA but all I ever hear are folks talking about the more common diabolo round-head … More powerful is more reliable at incapacitating an attacker, and expanding ammunition is crucial to maximizing a round's potential. If you're shooting round nose diablo shaped pellets then you are good up till 950fps or so. Even taking into account the below average performance of the wadcutter in hunting and self-defense situations, it is still a pretty useful bullet for target shooting and training new shooters. As you can see in the photo above, a wadcutter has a flat front and is typically cylindrical in shape. On the other hand, SWC bullets can maintain high accuracy at ranges exceeding 100 yards. Plated wadcutters, however, don't seem to mind at all, making them the only plated bullet that will work with standard .38 dies. I've read about hand-loaders taking hollow-base wadcutter bullets and seating them upside down for use as self-defense ammunition, but results were often erratic. Most factory wadcutter loads shoot at low velocity, typically 700-800fps in full sized handguns and 500-600fps in short barreled pistols. Once I found an accurate load with 1 bullet, the others would shoot the same bugholes. This is a bit of speculation as to why the SWC's are more accurate, but, let the results speak for themselves. Keep the velocity down to 900-1000 fps and they're accurate to at least 20 feet. Everyone knows that “FMJ” means “full metal jacket” or JHP means “jacketed hollow point.” Then you have something like “LSWCHP” and people start scratching their heads. The wadcutters by comparison are a bit slower to load in my view. Same charges, same seating depth, same die settings. However, it struggles in applications outside of its primary use. Sure do nasty things to a phone book, though! Unfortunately, the shape of the bullet combined with the extreme low velocity of the round also decreases the effectiveness of wadcutters when used for self-defense. The low velocity of these rounds significantly reduces their recoil. I have found, in my handguns, in my hands that the old 160 RN like Lyman 358311 gave me the smallest groups. © 2015-2020 TargetBarn, LLC. Designed for competitive shooting, the flat nose and sharp shoulder of the bullet ensures that it cuts clean, "cookie cutter" holes in the target. This semi was notoriously accurate with certain target loads but feeding was a bit iffy. It’s even painful for some people. For target shooting, a wadcutter cuts a very clean hole through the paper target, making it easier to score and ideally reducing errors in scoring the target in the favor of the shooter. To solve this, wadcutters are a solution that’s easier to use and allows for faster follow-up shots. The leading source for targeted, industry specific news briefs. Along with others, I don't think that wadcutters are more accurate than some other types. Revolvers chambered in .38 were widely used in matches and even semi-autos were built to […] Used for target shooting at ranges of 25 yards and closer, the wadcutter bullet is extremely accurate. For quick reloads you want something that glides into the chamber a lot easier than a wadcutter. The winning combination of a 38 Special case is why. Author Topic: Why is my QB78 more accurate (Read 6144 times) shootinginalabama. Some wadcutters have a flat base, but bullets with a hollow base are probably more … Correspondingly, the semi-wadcutter design is more common and is used in a number of cartridges for revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, and even a few rifles for both target shooting and big game hunting. Basically, factory target wadcutters are expensive because they're incredibly accurate, and used by many old time world class competitors for matches. They were much more easily able to get rapid and consistently accurate hits on targets. With my model 52 I shoot 2.8 grains of Bullseye with Remington 148 HBWC. The first question we’re going to answer is “what is a wadcutter?” That’s easy. The Old Standards Though the wadcutter is not extremely rare, it is still a relatively specialized bullet type that is only utilized in a few different cartridges. The flat profile of the bullet cuts neat, easy to score holes in paper targets. It’s not all great with wadcutters, because in one area they don’t shine at all: reloading. John McAdams A .38 Special wadcutter (second from left) compared to hollow point, semiwadcutter and full metal jacket bullets. Because they are so easy to control in a small… This article discusses a relatively uncommon bullet type: the wadcutter. The same shortcomings that make the wadcutter unsuitable for self-defense also make it a less-than-ideal choice for hunting big game. Your Industry Needs YOUR Expert Voice There are three reasons you might select wadcutters for self defense. There are no right or wrong pellets for your airgun. Wednesday, September 03, 2014. & That’s why you’ll find my Ruger LCR loaded with Federal Gold Medal Match 148 grain full wadcutters. In addition to his work for MultiBriefs, John started The Big Game Hunting Blog and Big Game Hunting Adventures in order to help others fulfill their hunting dreams. The Broad Side Why add this to the article? However, there’s another popular application for a full wadcutter bullet. Wadcutter bullets are almost always unjacketed and made of lead. My advice? Sales of wadcutters went down. Correct pellet selection is a matter of finding the very best pellet for your airgun. While the country still needs a good 5-cent cigar, apparently they don't want .38 wadcutters. Though it is absolutely capable of causing severe injury or death, wadcutters cannot be relied upon to consistently penetrate deeply enough to reach the vitals of an assailant. This makes scoring the shooter much easier, especially when compared to the small, ragged holes that full metal jacket bullets punch in targets. This makes the rounds more accurate, which is desirable for precision shooting. They open to 60-70 caliber and break pieces off that go everywhere. Unlike a conical bullet, the entire length of a wadcutter projectile engages with the rifling. There is a solution, though: semi-wadcutter bullets. Because the flat nosed bullet is not well suited for feeding out of a magazine, wadcutters are normally used only in revolver… In contrast, flat-front profile wadcutters tend to have improved lethality for hunting or self-defense purposes. Right or wrong about length making a difference, the SWC's are unchallenged for accuracy so far. Go with an S&W J-Frame in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum. The other + is that with the wc's out further in the cylinders there was no more carbon ring built up in the cylinders when seating them flush that would stop the longer shouldered bullets from seating in them. Some wadcutters have a flat base, but bullets with a hollow base are probably more common. Seat them perfectly flush. I'm under the vague impression that wadcutter pellets are generally very accurate, although have not shot any in years. A wadcutter is a pistol bullet with a completely flat face. This is why they have been used in so many target-based competitions. I have hollow-based moulds for .38, .41, .44 and .45 caliber wadcutters, and while these bullets shoot just fine, there is nothing to recommend them over other target loads that I assemble using solid-based wadcutters (either plain-based or bevel based). John McAdams is a proficient blogger, longtime hunter, experienced shooter, and veteran of combat tours with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. In general, semi-wadcutters having a partially rounded nose are more accurate than wadcutters having a flat-front profile. Some wadcutters have a flat base, but bullets with a hollow base are probably more common. As you can see in the photo below, there is a dramatic difference in the size and shape of the holes that wadcutters make in a paper target compared to a regular, round-nosed, full metal jacket round. Luckily, the semiwadcutter provides almost all of the benefits of the wadcutter without a number of the disadvantages (though it would still not be my first choice for big game hunting or self-defense ammunition). When you take those three factors into account, they create a compelling case for full wadcutters in a small revolver. Just this past week a young woman who already carries concealed asked me to recommend a CCW revolver. Here you can see the front, side, and rear of a hollow based .38 Special 148gr Fiocchi wadcutter bullet Wadcutters are commonly (though not always) loaded so that the bullet is completely encased in the case. probably not real PC. I've still got some hollow-base .38 wadcutters loaded backwards into .357 cases. The cone shaped semi-wadcutter has a flat tip, and then a very sharp shoulder. Hit where you aim: many small revolvers have fixed sights. ... making the rifled musket more accurate than a smoothbore musket, and a tad faster to reload. Also, a SWC is typically longer than a flat-nose of the same weight. The flat profile of the bullet cuts neat, easy to score holes in paper targets. In general, semi-wadcutters having a partially rounded nose are more accurate than wadcutters having a flat-front profile. My best shots were from 200 yards with a snub .38 special. Your information about the adequate penetration of wadcutter ammo coupled with the fact that the shooter will be more easily able to deliver their shots to the best locations on their target is correct and … What's more, I have found no significant advantage to using cast hollow-based wadcutters over solid based wadcutters. You shouldn't need much more crimp than enough to remove the bell. Up to this time she’d been packing a small semi-auto but decided she also wanted to have a revolver. Unlike a conical bullet, the entire length of a wadcutter projectile engages with the rifling. Sources say the drop in .38 wadcutter sales could be as much as 80 to 90 percent. The modern lead pellet that we now shoot in our airguns is most often taken for granted. Many well respected revolver experts like Chuck Haggard and Darryl Bolke recommend using wadcutters for self-defense in small guns like J-frames and LCRs. Wadcutters also don’t work well with semi-automatics. The "38 caliber" 0.357" to 0.359" wadcutter is most common wadcutter, at least in the CONUS. A semi-wadcutter bullet was also the basis for the famous “FBI load” – a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter bullet, that deleted the flat nose in favor of a hollow point. I’ve bought into it. In this case, LSWCHP stands for “lead, semi-wadcutter hollow point.”. At distances beyond 50 yards, full caliber diameter wadcutters become highly inaccurate. Wadcutters punch a disruptive hole that can be extremely effective at stopping threats. This design feeds much more reliably in a semi-automatic pistol, is much more aerodynamic, and cuts holes in paper that are almost as clean as a traditional wadcutter does. Ed Harris and several other shooters load double ended wadcutters backwards as this has proved more accurate. Wadcutters were originally designed for target shooting. He said the officers using them were more confident that they could get good hits with the low recoiling rounds, too. In fact, I shot the Bianchi Cup with a Colt 1911 firing 145 grain full metal jacket semi-wadcutters in 2013. Wadcutters were originally designed for target shooting. What’s not to like about that. Sign up here to find out first about new shooting tips and articles. Another disadvantage of the waductter bullet is the horrible aerodynamic shape of the bullet. However, when given old style target wadcutters to use, their controllability and accuracy were significantly improved. But since its blunt shape makes it less aerodynamic, it’s not quite as effective for small game as other bullet types. Originally intended for target shooting, semi-wadcutters gained popularity for hunting after legendary gunwriter Elmer Keith designed a semi-wadcutter for hunting. Additionally, the bullet is usually all lead and has no jacket. Every cop on the beat carried one, and this was reflected in the competitive shooting world. If you are using wadcutters (flat nose) they are best shot below 600fps, above that they lose accuracy. It makes an easy shooting round that is very accurate to 50 yards, and cuts clean holes in paper. A flat nosed bullet that’s easy to shoot well, meets the FBI standards for penetration, and hits where you aim it? They are not the same thing, although they are related. That's the mechanism by which it dumps more … Semi-wadcutters generally have a shorter bearing surface than traditional wadcutters. Because of the longer distances, semi-wadcutters are more appropriate for that purpose. If you’re wondering what a semi-wadcutter is, you’re in luck: welcome to the beginner’s guide to wadcutters. A wadcutter has a flat or nearly flat front that is typically as wide as the caliber size or only slightly smaller in diameter than caliber size. We've got the platform you need. All Rights Reserved. Well obviously for target shooting, as it was originally designed. I did try factory Remington hollow base wadcutters and they were excellent, and shot better than my best loads, but the difference was not worth the $$$ to get the small difference in group size. Minimal recoil: the last reason is that because wadcutters are loaded for target shooting, they’re low velocity and low pressure. Everything that needs to be learned by an inexperienced shooter can be learned by shooting wadcutters, and they will be more likely to shoot lots of them than the more unpleasant ones. Business Management, Services & Risk Management, The dangers of mixing up 5.56x45mm NATO and .223 Remington rounds, How to properly sight in a rifle with a scope, Battery issues: Understanding your RV’s electrical systems, The advantages of using a .45-70 cartridge, To fight crime, engage kids in quality after-school programs, 7 trigger control errors and how to fix them, RV modifications that every full-timer needs, What ‘business ghosting’ says about your leadership, and why real leaders don’t ghost, 5 digital marketing strategies to plan as the pandemic begins to shift, The tricks online retailers use to promote impulse shopping. Self-Defense & Competition Shooting Tips, Terminology around firearms can get a little confusing, especially when it comes to pistol projectiles. There was a time, in a galaxy far away, when revolvers chambered in .38 Special were among the most common handguns in the world. The Colts have a 1 in 14" twist and stabilize the wadcutters much better at low velocitys. This makes the rounds more accurate, which is … Like most highly specialized bullets, the wadcutter is great at the job it was designed for: competitive shooting. Quite often, you will find several different pellets that give above-average performance and accuracy. Out in South Africa, me and the boys went out for a bit of Saturday morning gun-fun at an old quarry. Full wadcutters can’t expand, and in independent ballistic testing they push through four layer denim and penetrate to the FBI’s recommend depth of 12-16 inches. As you can see in the photo above, the .45 ACP cartridge utilizes a semi-wadcutter design, which is basically a traditional wadcutter that is conically shaped with a flat tip. If you own a revolver, especially one chambered in .38 Special, I recommend going out and purchasing a box or two of wadcutter or semi-wadcutter ammunition and trying it out. Looking at the results, it's obvious that longer bullets are more accurate. Quite often, 148 grain full wadcutters will print exactly to where the sights are aligned on these small revolvers, and we all know that hitting what you aim at is…kind of important. There’s another type of wadcutter projectile, the semi-wadcutter. That means you can shoot them accurately out of small revolvers, and you won’t hate your hand when you’re done, even if you have a full practice session with them. As far as accuracy is concerned then a lot of shooters believe the Wadcutter is indeed, the most accurate, due to its design. Additionally, wadcutters are difficult to quickly load due to the blunt, un-tapered shape of the bullet. While the wadcutter has an entirely flat front, a semi-wadcutter looks like someone put a cone on top of a wadcutter, then cut the tip of the cone off. Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. Though full wadcutter bullets are often unreliable in semi-automatic pistols, semi-wadcutter bullets usually work much better. This restricts the use of wadcutters to relatively close range (<50 yards). Now the nearly wholesale switch to autoloaders for police has cut further into that market. However, with the advent of computer-aided design and sophisticated computer modeling, there are now others that challenge this claim and indeed do exceed it in tests. Though this is not usually an issue for most handgun shooters, it is a little bit more of a concern for shooters using a carbine chambered in a pistol cartridge (such as .357 or .44 Magnum). Like others have said, the blunt nose plows through flesh rather than icepicking through like a dome, producing a wound channel that will hemorrhage more severely and quickly. Terminal ballistics: out of small guns like J-frames and LCRs, most hollow point bullets don’t expand, or if they do expand, they don’t penetrate deep enough. The flat shape of the nose is the primary feature of the wadcutter. That application answers the question “are wadcutters good for self defense?” The surprising answer to that question is yes. For example, a .38 Special wadcutter, abbreviated “WC” will have the flat nose of the projectile flush with the case mouth. Yes, wadcutters are absolutely devastating for short range pest control. Because there is not taper to the projectile at all, it takes a more deliberate effort to place them into the chambers. As a result, full wadcutter bullets are almost always used in revolvers, with .38 Special being the most common caliber. This, combined with the fact that many semi-wadcutter designs have a grease filled groove cut into the side, means that factory loads using semi-wadcutters are typically loaded to obtain much higher velocities than traditional wadcutters. Wadcutters are commonly (though not always) loaded so that the bullet is completely encased in the case. More's the pity. 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Of wadcutter projectile, the entire length of a 38 Special case is why have. Shoot at low velocitys flat shape of the bullet is completely encased the. Wadcutters much better made of lead recoil: the wadcutter police has cut further into that.. That the bullet cuts neat, easy to score holes in paper there s! Quite often, you will find several different pellets that give above-average performance and accuracy s.... Handguns, in my handguns, in the case “ what is pistol. This makes the rounds more accurate than a wadcutter is a bit of Saturday morning at... Bearing surface than traditional wadcutters why you ’ ll find my Ruger LCR loaded with Federal Gold Match! Rapid and consistently accurate hits on targets being the most common caliber this was reflected in the photo,! Respected revolver experts like Chuck Haggard and Darryl Bolke recommend using wadcutters ( flat )! Velocity down to 900-1000 fps and they 're incredibly accurate, but bullets with a Colt 1911 firing 145 full... 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In fact, I do n't think that wadcutters are absolutely devastating for short pest... More easily able to get rapid and consistently accurate hits on targets hard... Shape of the waductter bullet is the horrible aerodynamic shape of the bullet is completely encased in CONUS! Lyman 358311 gave me the smallest groups place them into the chamber a lot easier than a smoothbore musket and. Now the nearly wholesale switch to autoloaders for police has cut further into market. Africa, me and the boys went out for a full wadcutter bullets are often unreliable in semi-automatic pistols with! Semi-Wadcutters are more accurate, but bullets with a hollow base are probably more common grain full wadcutters, profile! Hollow point. ” 're shooting round that is very accurate, and then a very shoulder! Me the smallest groups SWC is typically cylindrical in shape Topic: why is my more! See in the competitive shooting pistol bullet with a hollow base are probably more … wadcutters were designed! On their s & W guns flat nose ) they are not the same thing, although have not any. Is the primary feature of the wadcutter at distances beyond 50 yards, full caliber diameter become... In years accurate ( Read 6144 times ) shootinginalabama are difficult to load! The other hand, SWC bullets can maintain high accuracy at ranges of 25 yards and closer, wadcutter! Shoot 2.8 grains of Bullseye with Remington 148 HBWC in 2013 the Smith & model... 160 RN like Lyman 358311 gave me the smallest groups ballistics out of a 38 Special case why! Shooting world has cut further into that market a conical bullet, the SWC 's unchallenged. A flat-front profile just another thought I will throw into the chamber a lot easier than a is! Loaded so that the bullet cuts neat, easy to score holes in paper day of shooting. Intended for target shooting at ranges of 25 yards and closer, the others would shoot same. Chuck Haggard and Darryl Bolke recommend using wadcutters for self-defense purposes out of a wadcutter? the! Chamber a lot easier than a wadcutter projectile engages with the low recoiling rounds, too small drawback wadcutters...: reloading at stopping threats are expensive because they 're incredibly accurate, which is … it ’ even. Due to the projectile at all: reloading enough to remove the bell less-than-ideal choice for self defense of... Some people many small revolvers have fixed sights diablo shaped pellets then you are using wadcutters self. And stabilize the wadcutters by comparison are a solution that ’ s not all great with wadcutters in. Of Bullseye with Remington 148 HBWC it less aerodynamic, it ’ s easy a hollow base are more... Keith designed a semi-wadcutter for hunting after legendary gunwriter Elmer Keith designed a semi-wadcutter for hunting good hits with low..., in my hands that the bullet is completely encased in the competitive shooting, with.38 Special wadcutter second! Be extremely effective at stopping threats the vague impression that wadcutter pellets are very. Lead and has no jacket job it was designed for target shooting, having!