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#13324842 - 12/02/18 Loading .38 Special Wadcutters?  
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Paul39 Offline
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I have always understood that the conventional way to load wadcutters (148 gr.) is to seat the bullet even with the case mouth, then finish with a slight crimp. Yet the loading manuals typically show the bullet seated with a bit of the bullet exposed, maybe .10" or so.

I am never comfortable seating a bullet deeper than loading manuals recommend, yet seating even with the case mouth makes sense to me.

Your opinions welcome.

Paul

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#13324903 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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The only 148 gr. wadcutters I've used regularly is the Speer hollow base. Those get seated flush with the case mouth. The few non-hollow base ones I've used were with the longer length you are describing. What kind are you loading?


#13324971 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Youper]  
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Paul39 Offline
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Hornady and Berry hollow base.

I'd think that non-hollow base would be shorter than hollow base, because of the greater mass, but I've never measured to compare.

In any case, I wasn't considering the length of the bullet so much as the recommended exposure of the bullet beyond the case mouth.

Paul

#13325002 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Swifty52 Offline
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#13325018 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Paul39 Offline
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Thanks, Swifty.

So why do the Hornady and Lyman manuals recommend a COAL longer than the case?

I'm going to keep seating to the case mouth. Among other considerations, I don't like crimping unless the bullet has a groove, and with a plated bullet like the Berry too much crimp will cut through the plating.

Paul

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#13325130 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Swifty52 Offline
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They show a slight roll crimp, but I found a slight taper crimp works just fine. Most of the time with those I am using 2-2.5 grains 700X for right around 700 fps. Small charge, light crimp.




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#13325146 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Swifty52]  
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Paul39 Offline
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I'll take a stab at answering my own question re the loading manuals' seating depth recommendations.

It may be that leaving a bit of the bullet exposed means that the crimp will be into the bullet rather than over the end, thus reducing the risk of the bullets in the unfired rounds seating too deeply into the case upon recoil. A reasonable safety concern for the publishers.

Note that the factory wadcutter ammo has a crimp at the base of the bullet, for just that reason, something a handloader can't duplicate.

Paul

#13325161 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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You are most likely correct on the manuals reason and the lower crimp. For the most part anymore I shoot semi-wadcutters out of preference but I still taper crimp those. The only time I use a roll crimp is when loading full magnum loads with jacketed bullets using slower powders.




Swifty
#13325280 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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The thought of a powder puff wadcutter load having enough recoil to cause the bullet to seat deeper is IMHO much more theory than reality, especially given the long bearing length of a wadcutter bullet.

I would test flush seated and seated out to see what is most accurate in your revolver.


Donald Trump wasn't elected president in spite of who he is and how he acts, he was elected precisely because of who is and how he acts. Remember that.
#13325283 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Originally Posted by Paul39
I'll take a stab at answering my own question re the loading manuals' seating depth recommendations.

It may be that leaving a bit of the bullet exposed means that the crimp will be into the bullet rather than over the end, thus reducing the risk of the bullets in the unfired rounds seating too deeply into the case upon recoil. A reasonable safety concern for the publishers.

Note that the factory wadcutter ammo has a crimp at the base of the bullet, for just that reason, something a handloader can't duplicate.

Paul



If you want the crimp at the base, use wadcutter brass. The crimp doesn't go away after firing.


Donald Trump wasn't elected president in spite of who he is and how he acts, he was elected precisely because of who is and how he acts. Remember that.
Bravo

#13325606 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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The hollow base wad cutters are seated to the case mouth to feed in the S & W autoloading 38s (model 52?) used for bullseye shooting. The Lyman manual is for Lyman bullets which are not hollow based. I don't know why they are loaded longer, but I suspect the load data takes the extra space from the long loading into consideration.


#13326918 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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K1500 Offline
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Originally Posted by Paul39
I'll take a stab at answering my own question re the loading manuals' seating depth recommendations.

It may be that leaving a bit of the bullet exposed means that the crimp will be into the bullet rather than over the end, thus reducing the risk of the bullets in the unfired rounds seating too deeply into the case upon recoil. A reasonable safety concern for the publishers.

Note that the factory wadcutter ammo has a crimp at the base of the bullet, for just that reason, something a handloader can't duplicate.

Paul



Bullets want to pull under recoil, not seat deeper.

#13326977 - 12/02/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: K1500]  
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Paul39 Offline
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Originally Posted by K1500
Originally Posted by Paul39
I'll take a stab at answering my own question re the loading manuals' seating depth recommendations.

It may be that leaving a bit of the bullet exposed means that the crimp will be into the bullet rather than over the end, thus reducing the risk of the bullets in the unfired rounds seating too deeply into the case upon recoil. A reasonable safety concern for the publishers.

Note that the factory wadcutter ammo has a crimp at the base of the bullet, for just that reason, something a handloader can't duplicate.

Paul



Bullets want to pull under recoil, not seat deeper.


Right you are. Duh!

Paul

#13329372 - 12/03/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Arminius Offline
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If Wadcutters of the same weight are seated to the same COL the space inside the case is the same.

It doesn´t matter if that space is topped with a hollow, or a solid line of lead, the inside case volume is the same.

Hermann

#13329382 - 12/03/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Arminius Offline
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COL and hollow base or not matter, if HIGHER pressure loads are wanted!

More COL - lower pressure because of more case volume remaining.

Plain base - no weak spot in the middle of the WC bullet.

Hermann

#13329389 - 12/03/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Arminius Offline
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ever thought about reducing free flight?

The farther out the ( WC ) bullet is, the less "jump" to the rifling ( the barrel )( or the tighter portion of the chamber )

Hermann

#13334713 - 12/05/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Blowtorch53 Offline
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I have always thought that because most of the manuals show them seated flush with the case mouth, that would be the maximum pressure. If they are seated out further, the pressure goes down. Most of them are very small powder charges too. I have seated them just about every way and length possible and never had a problem. They seem to be very accurate no matter what you do. I have used the hollow based wadcutters backwards and they make a super hollow point. The only thing that has ever concerned me at all is the small charges of fast burning powders that most of us use with these. You could easily double charge a case. You really have to be careful and follow a procedure with Bullseye or any of those type powders or you might be making a bomb.


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#13334729 - 12/05/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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smithrjd Offline
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I have always seated them flush, with a slight roll crimp. 2.7-2.9g of Bullseye. I have a S&W 52 so they have to be flush to fit the magazine. The same load works great in revolvers as well. Yep these are ones to pay attention to when loading. So far I have not found a powder measure that will reliably drop a 2.7g charge so the old fashion slow way, hand measure each load..

#13335311 - 12/05/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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Just my 2c...

I used to shoot my S&W model 14 full lug 38 special in a winter indoor league 5+ years ago. I tested a couple of home cast bullets over different amounts of Bullseye ( 2.25, 2.50, 2.75, 3.0. 3.25, 3.5 grains). Molds were Lee 148 DEWC microgroove, H&G 148 grain solid base button nose wadcutter (. #50?), and a commercial swagged ( Delta?) 148 hbwc. Max powder dose for 148 hbwc was 3.0 ( too high). 2.50 grain Bullseye was most accurate for that bullet, and flush seated.

Both solid base wadcutters grouped well (6 shot ragged holes at 50 feet, 2-handed supported shooting for testing ( not competition).

Most accurate powder dosage for flat base / solid base wad cutters, was 3.25 grains Bullseye.

Most accurate bullet seating for Lee was “2 rings out” ( crimp on 3rd micro groove), and 3.25 grains Bullseye. The H.&G wadcutter shot well seated at either the crimping groove or one lube groove out, with best powder dosage at 3.25 grains Bullseye.

That was my findings from just one revolver. My theory to explain it was perhaps the slightly extended bullet aligned in the cylinder throat better, than the deeper seated, flush crimped condition.

Who knows? But that is a synopsis of some accuracy testing I did over about a dozen range trips one winter, on one revolver. For me, flush seated solid base wad cutters were not most accurate. Flush seated hbwc were most accurate.

Last edited by buttstock; 12/05/18.

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#13335347 - 12/05/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Paul39]  
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buttstock Offline
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Originally Posted by Paul39
I have always understood that the conventional way to load wadcutters (148 gr.) is to seat the bullet even with the case mouth, then finish with a slight crimp. Yet the loading manuals typically show the bullet seated with a bit of the bullet exposed, maybe .10" or so.

I am never comfortable seating a bullet deeper than loading manuals recommend, yet seating even with the case mouth makes sense to me.

Your opinions welcome.

Paul


I would venture to state that the pictures of flush-seated wad cutters are hollow base wad cutters (hbwc). The pictures you see “with a bit of the bullet exposed, maybe 0.10” or so”, are likely solid base wadcutters, which typically have a crimping groove designed into the bullet to “expose a bit of bullet”. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most accurate seating depth-you have to experiment.


"Behavior accepted is behavior repeated."
#13339130 - 12/06/18 Re: Loading .38 Special Wadcutters? [Re: Blowtorch53]  
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mark shubert Offline
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Originally Posted by Blowtorch53
I have seated them just about every way and length possible and never had a problem. They seem to be very accurate no matter what you do. I have used the hollow based wadcutters backwards and they make a super hollow point.

Seating a hollow based wadcutter upside down decreases case volume substantially - increasing pressures substantially.
Work up carefully from starting loads or even a bit less - a chronograph will help keep you out of trouble !


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