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38 Special Standard Rounds vs Wadcutter


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#1 Jason

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:47 PM

A guy I know was shooting 38 Special Wadcutters. I am pretty unfamiliar with the round but was amazed at the accurracy of this strange looking cartridge. Can anyone explain to me why these things are so accurrate? Also, how suitable are they for animal or human targets? Is the brass any different? Can you reload the brass from a wadcutter back to a regular bullet and vice versa or are you stuck using only wadcutters for wadcutter brass? Who came up with Wadcutters?Thanks.Jason

#2 Rimrock

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 03:17 PM

I don't have the answer as to why they are so accurate, but they are. They are especially good with moderate loads from revolvers. They may not feed well in semi-autos, if at all. Excellent for punching paper but are not designed for a hunting load. There are much better bullets availabe for that. You can reload the expened brass just as you would any other brass marked .38 Special.

#3 big jon

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 03:51 PM

Been shooting`em for years, most are 148gr you can find them up to 158gr, hallow base, beval base they all shoot great Years ago folks would reload them with the hallow base out for a anti-personel round. I found them to kehole after 10 yards...As for small game they hit purty hard as far as rabbits or jacks go...The S&W m52 is the only auto loader I know of that only shoot wadcutters, great gun but it dose get borring shooting only 5 rounds at a time..

#4 A17Shooter

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 04:10 PM

I used the wadcutters in my Model 52 S&W for the centerfire stage of the National Match Tournaments. It was a really excellent combination for that course of fire. As commercially loaded the flush seated wadcutters are a low powered round designed to punch nice clean holes, clustered in small groups, in paper. It is a 148 gr bullet going at pellet rifle velocity.

#5 Jason

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 01:19 PM

Thanks for the info guys. I still wonder how someone came up with this round. It seems so counterintuitive.

#6 A17Shooter

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 01:45 PM

I thought I remembered that Colt also manufactured the Govt Model in 38 Special. Lo and behold eBay has an auction in progress for a Colt National Match .38 Special Mid Range slide. Just the slide. So as usual Colt and S&W were in competition for a slice of the market. So now the question is which came first the ammo or the autos? For paper punching competition having an auto which fired the super accurate 38 special wadcutter gave the owner of the weapon a significant advantage. In the rapid fire stage it's five rounds in 10 seconds and the top shooters put almost all their shots in the X ring at 25 yds. Think about doing that with a revolver. Do you shoot it double action or single action? :) When I was stationed in Hawaii there was a gentleman in his 70's still shooting and using a 1955 S&W 45 ACP revolver. He shot respectable scores in the Sharpshooter class. I never tried the revolver in a match, just kept shooting my autos.Any of you former or present bullseye shooters use a revolver for the matches?

#7 Stiff Neck

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 08:27 AM

None of the guys in my old club used revolvers. Are you kidding? :smiley-funny-post-sign: Utah Precision Marksmanship Society http://www.upms.org

#8 45Colt

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 02:20 PM

Hi Jason,Yes, you can use either.

#9 rr762mmfmj

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 02:50 PM

The S&W m52 is the only auto loader I know of that only shoot wadcutters, great gun but it dose get borring shooting only 5 rounds at a time..

Well then, attempt to place 10 rounds the 10 ring, a 3 1/4" circle, at 50 yards, one hand hold in ten minuets. Not so easy ,and defiantly not boring, unless of course a person is of limited discipline and ability, then just blast away as many round as you please.

I used the woodcutter's in my Model 52 S&W for the center fire stage of the National Match Tournaments. It was a really excellent combination for that course of fire. As commercially loaded the flush seated woodcutter's are a low powered round designed to punch nice clean holes, clustered in small groups, in paper.

In the process of acquiring a Model 52. Have been using .45ACP for the center fire stage since 1970.

#10 ShooterJohn

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 04:14 PM

I have a S&W Model 52. Still new in the box never fired. I have shot them and they are nice shooters. But I got this one with a bunch of pistols I bought over 25 years ago. They're getting harder to find now.

#11 rr762mmfmj

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 05:41 PM

OK, I'm convinced, SOLD !! $100.00.When can I pick it up?

#12 ShooterJohn

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 07:47 PM

:signs1242cn: :signs1242cn: :roflmao3[1]: Oh, you were serious? :harhar1[1]:

#13 rr762mmfmj

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 08:36 PM

So your going to renege on the deal now? That ain't fair........................... :signs1242cn:

#14 harry carey

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 01:35 PM

A guy I know was shooting 38 Special Wadcutters. I am pretty unfamiliar with the round but was amazed at the accurracy of this strange looking cartridge. Can anyone explain to me why these things are so accurrate? Also, how suitable are they for animal or human targets? Is the brass any different? Can you reload the brass from a wadcutter back to a regular bullet and vice versa or are you stuck using only wadcutters for wadcutter brass? Who came up with Wadcutters?Thanks.Jason

they are accurate because of they are almost totally BEARING SURFACE !!! in handgun ammo bearing surface is everything. double ended , bevel base . are best. see "rifle "117 may june 1988 for excellent info or Ken Waters "pet loads". someone asked about a COLT 1911 .38- Gold Cup MkIII. ask any emergency room doctor or nurse about wadcutters, and then you will use them. they hit and yaw. " three organ bullet" . trim brass for better feeding in a 52. brass is the same. I thought IDEAL came up with wadcutters. I currently load a Valiant 9mm .356 125 bullet and 2.5 of red dot in a S&W52, the bullet being inverted (backwards) very accurate at 25yds. kinda' like a rebated boattail loaded this way, kinda' .

#15 Mr Del

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:30 PM

In the military in the mid 60's I shot the S&W K38 revolver. 6 inch barrel during centerfire National Matches. I was always the only one on the line shooting a revolver. I shot one handed and cocked it during the recoil and I was ready again for the next shot. I shot Master scores with this gun. As I remember ... Master scores were 96.5 and better. My best shooting was in Timed fire... 5 shots in twenty seconds Then again to get a total of ten shots in the target. I shot a 100 - 7x. That is 7 shots inside the 1 inch x ring at 25 yards. I re-loaded all my ammo for compitition shooting. Yep, wadcutter every round.

#16 Shoot-it

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:25 PM

I didn't know S&w chambered a semi auto for the 38 special. I found one on gun brokers looks almost like a 1911 you can buy it now for 1500 :signs165xk: I hear a lot about semi wadcutter are they accurate as well?

#17 ShooterJohn

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:16 PM

I have a new unfired one they are very accurate I sold my old shooter.

#18 harry carey

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 10:50 AM

S&W M52 , etc. if you do not have THE PISTOL SHOOTERS TREASURY , Gil Hebard , get it!!! I know all the old bullseye guys have a dog earred copy, like mine, but the young guys don't and they need it for info on the m52 and other things.

#19 outdoorsguy29

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 11:11 AM

Wadcutters are or mainly used for target shooting mainly because they cut a cleaner hole. As for hunting I don't see why not as they would also cause massive damage as long as you do your part. Sorry don't know who came up with the idea. Hope this has helped.




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