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 Wadcutters...Really?
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5838 Posts

Posted - January 23 2022 :  10:55:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's widely postulated that .38 wadcutters are good snubby SD loads because they cut caliber sized holes, facilitating more bleeding, where other bullets slip through with less damage.

Do they really? Living tissue is quite resilient. I'm not so sure it's going to perforate as cleanly as a paper bullseye target.

Can anyone here verify that a wadcutter wound channel is significantly different from other solid bullets? And if so, does it matter?

Otherwise, depending on the manufacturer, we are shooting solid lead bullets that replicate .38 S&W or .38 Long Colt ballistics. Evan's street result numbers seem to back that up.

Jeff


jle3030

Evan
Administrator

34969 Posts

Posted - January 23 2022 :  2:46:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
NYPD issues Speer 135 hr hp+p for their snubs and they've had a lot of shootings with it and are very happy with its performance on the street including expansion!

I've been carrying a J frame as a second gun since 1970 and it's always been loaded with hollow points.

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3878 Posts

Posted - January 23 2022 :  5:08:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have seen what flat point solid bullets do to game animals. But those loads had 1300+ fps driving them. The velocity of factory wadcutters isn't enough to create that type of damage. I'll stick with the 135 Speer Gold Dot +P.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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BobM77
Advanced Member

USA
1465 Posts

Posted - January 23 2022 :  9:36:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wadcutters also have less recoil and generally hit to the sights. I carried DPX in my 642 for about 20 years but a year or two switched to Federal wadcutters due to the recoil. I believe I’m giving up some power but a this point seems like a reasonable trade-off
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billmc
Senior Member

647 Posts

Posted - January 23 2022 :  10:31:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've just acquired a 6 shot 32 mag, 2" revolver and I've been contemplating this very thing. I don't know yet what kind of velocity I'll get from it. I can't find any loaded 32 mag ammo, but I'm awaiting delivery of the dies to load my own.

In 32 S&W Long form, I'm considering using a semi-wadcutter. My thinking (which I don't know if its good or not) is that the smaller meplat would initiate tissue destruction, thus not stretching, and the follow on "ledge" would finish the full diameter cut while still providing penetration. This is all pure speculation on my part and as of yet, I have no way of testing this theory. The backup plan would be to use a full wadcutter.

Edited by - billmc on January 23 2022 10:55:46 PM
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6121 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  1:02:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can remember BITD, when the subject of what to carry in short=barreled revawvers came up, the prevailing wisdom by the people smarter than me was that SWC was a good way to go. I seem to remember gun rag 'experts' making the same point billmc mentioned--the flat point and following 'shoulder' would (generally) cut at least a full-caliber hole rather than just slipping through the flesh like RNL or JRN bullets. At the time, the available HP loads in snubs just didn't get enough velocity (again, generally) to cause decent expansion or penetration.

IF modern SBHP loads weren't available today, and IF I decided to go with a WC bullet, my country-boy mind says I want a hot, hard-cast load like they have at Buffalo Bore. I'd have a hard time trusting my (or my family's) life to soft-lead, soft-shooting target loads.

All that said, I'm open to be convinced otherwise--by something a little more substantial than 'I think...' or 'I feel...' Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5838 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  1:15:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It appears that flat nosed wadcutters, if pushed fast enough, do a lot more than just cutting a caliber sized hole to let the blood run out. It's too bad that hydrostatic shock no longer exists at handgun velocities . That used to explain such things.

Jeff

jle3030
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3878 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  1:46:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jle3030

It appears that flat nosed wadcutters, if pushed fast enough, do a lot more than just cutting a caliber sized hole to let the blood run out. It's too bad that hydrostatic shock no longer exists at handgun velocities . That used to explain such things.

Jeff



From what I've seen on deer/hogs, given enough velocity the flat nose pushes a great deal of tissue that causes serious disruption to the sides & forward, well beyond the bullet diameter. A hard cast full wadcutter at 1300+ fps would be a very wicked load. But they don't exist in factory loads; nor would you get that velocity from a short- barreled gun.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9957 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  3:49:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like the idea of a full wadcutter but I like it at higher velocity than standard (which seems to be around 700 fps or even less from a 2" barrel).

Like Chris, I've shot a lot of game and seen even more with .44 and .45 SWC bullets - they blow bigger holes at 900 fps+ than the bullet - a .45 260 gr. SWC (with a good flat point) makes 3/4" exit holes in the off side skin and 1.5-3" holes in the heart or lungs.

OTOH, a factory .38 SWC does not make a bigger hole. My guess is that the point is not wide enough and the corner is too rounded. I've shot woodchucks, fox and coyotes with handloaded .357 SWCs at 1400 - they didn't impress the critters unless I hit bone. But I hasten to point out, those critters are not very thick and the bullet does not spend much time in the body.

I haven't shot enough critters to say about a 10mm - a "study" of one was OK...but it hit the spine...almost anything, including a 9mm or even a .32 will work with a hit to the spine. The bullet was a 210 gr .41 swaged down to .400 - it had a rather large meplat.

the problem - or challenge if you will - to expanding pistol bullets is they may expand with a hit to soft tissue (and clothing) but almost nothing is big enough to incapacitate rapidly with a hit to that area. Of course you might get someone to quit even if you miss them.

Bullets that strike the sternum, which has very little flesh and muscle covering it, are much harder to get to expand but if the bullet is on track for the spine, that is actually a plus.

None of this should indicate I'm down on expanding bullets - I carry them, but I want them to go DEEP!

The last shooting we had in our county before I retired (I did go to work for another SO afterward) a subject broke into his ex wife's house and threatened to shoot the occupants. The Fiancé of the ex wife was there and had a 4" GP-100 loaded with 158 gr. XTP factory loads.

The bullet went though both lungs and the heart and was stopped by the subjects T-shirt and dropped out on the floor perfectly expanded - one would be tempted to say that worked (and it was a good result) but the witnesses said the subject pointed his M-39 at the shooter and pulled the trigger before he fell - an astute deputy noticed the safety was on! Oops!

Bottom line, I'm OK with a wadcutter that is hitting at above 800 fps. - would I like more - sure.

Jim H.

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Edited by - Jim Higginbotham on January 24 2022 3:51:15 PM
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billmc
Senior Member

647 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  5:37:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was thinking about this topic a little more today. I was wondering about the Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defender (Pentrator) line of bullets. My neighbor hunts (I don't) and he's told me that the next pig he gets that I can test some of these bullets.

They are not expanding bullets; if you look at them quickly they look like the tip of a Phillips Head screwdriver. I've noticed that they have a slightly concave meplat and the metal edges (which cause the Phillips head looking effect) are sharp. The company says these work similar to a paddle drill bit. The valleys between the flutes are supposed to concentrate then accelerate and throw out the liquid (I visualize a similar effect of a pressure washer). At 9mm velocities the bullet is spinning more than 74,000 rpm. I'm pretty certain that at that rate the meplat would appear as a solid to any flesh it interacts with. The permanent wound cavity that they claim has to be caused by the liquid being expelled out the sides and cutting through the tissue (make sure you are wearing a good pair of boots if you're running a pressure washer; you can easily cut yourself with that water). Various videos on the Internet show some impressive results. And we all know that if its on the Internet, then it has to be true, right?
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Evan
Administrator

34969 Posts

Posted - January 24 2022 :  8:12:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a big difference between killing and stopping

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9957 Posts

Posted - January 25 2022 :  09:01:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, it is important to remember that even though the bullet may be spinning at thousands of RPM in a pistol it only spins one time in 18" of bullet travel (or whatever the twist rate is) - in most rifles it is 1 in 7 to 1 in 12.

Jim

quote:
Originally posted by billmc

I was thinking about this topic a little more today. I was wondering about the Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defender (Pentrator) line of bullets. My neighbor hunts (I don't) and he's told me that the next pig he gets that I can test some of these bullets.

They are not expanding bullets; if you look at them quickly they look like the tip of a Phillips Head screwdriver. I've noticed that they have a slightly concave meplat and the metal edges (which cause the Phillips head looking effect) are sharp. The company says these work similar to a paddle drill bit. The valleys between the flutes are supposed to concentrate then accelerate and throw out the liquid (I visualize a similar effect of a pressure washer). At 9mm velocities the bullet is spinning more than 74,000 rpm. I'm pretty certain that at that rate the meplat would appear as a solid to any flesh it interacts with. The permanent wound cavity that they claim has to be caused by the liquid being expelled out the sides and cutting through the tissue (make sure you are wearing a good pair of boots if you're running a pressure washer; you can easily cut yourself with that water). Various videos on the Internet show some impressive results. And we all know that if its on the Internet, then it has to be true, right?


Get the Weaponcraft Journal on Amazon: Print or Kindle!
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billmc
Senior Member

647 Posts

Posted - January 25 2022 :  1:02:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Higginbotham

Bill, it is important to remember that even though the bullet may be spinning at thousands of RPM in a pistol it only spins one time in 18" of bullet travel (or whatever the twist rate is) - in most rifles it is 1 in 7 to 1 in 12.

Jim

quote:
Originally posted by billmc

I was thinking about this topic a little more today. I was wondering about the Lehigh Defense Xtreme Defender (Pentrator) line of bullets. My neighbor hunts (I don't) and he's told me that the next pig he gets that I can test some of these bullets.

They are not expanding bullets; if you look at them quickly they look like the tip of a Phillips Head screwdriver. I've noticed that they have a slightly concave meplat and the metal edges (which cause the Phillips head looking effect) are sharp. The company says these work similar to a paddle drill bit. The valleys between the flutes are supposed to concentrate then accelerate and throw out the liquid (I visualize a similar effect of a pressure washer). At 9mm velocities the bullet is spinning more than 74,000 rpm. I'm pretty certain that at that rate the meplat would appear as a solid to any flesh it interacts with. The permanent wound cavity that they claim has to be caused by the liquid being expelled out the sides and cutting through the tissue (make sure you are wearing a good pair of boots if you're running a pressure washer; you can easily cut yourself with that water). Various videos on the Internet show some impressive results. And we all know that if its on the Internet, then it has to be true, right?





Thanks for pointing that out. I had never even considered that.
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