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Old 09-25-2015, 05:46 PM
hiddencreek hiddencreek is offline
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Default Wadcutters for self defense

Any thoughts on wadcutters in snubbies for self defense?

Thanks
Hiddencreek
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by hiddencreek View Post
Any thoughts on wadcutters in snubbies for self defense?

Thanks
Hiddencreek
It beats leaving the gun empty

Go out and buy yourself a 20 round box of premium defense ammo from ANY of the big manufacture's

Your life is worth the $30
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:34 PM
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wadcutters do a fine job. Cut a nice hole.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:11 PM
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A hardcast Wadcutter driven to better than target velocities might be an improvement over rnl, but aside from the shootability benefit of a target WC, they are IMO too slow and too soft for SD applications. They're hard pressed to get low 600fps...not fast enough to reliably break major bones that protect the spots you want to hit.
I guess they are better than nothing of course, but there's a lot of better choices.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:14 PM
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Why, when there are so many better choices? PDs that still allow .38s almost all use Speer Gold Dot SB +P. There must be a reason. Like Colt saa said buy a box of almost any modern SD ammo.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:17 PM
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If you mean Buffalo Bore hard-cast wadcutters, they would do a decent job. But those can cost more than good defensive loads.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:17 PM
CTG_COLLECTOR CTG_COLLECTOR is offline
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WC ammo is for target shooting. SD ammo is for SD. Never confuse the two.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:21 PM
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I had to shoot a raccoon a few years ago with a .32 S&W Long. Six times. The first four shots were LRN and did little more than anger this monster. The next two rounds were WC and they had a profound effect. This animal was huge, about the size of a first grade child. I am not positive it was rabid, but if not, it should of had the sense to wipe the foam off his mouth and stand up straight.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:21 PM
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Shot placement is king.
If you could make a face shot under pressure, a target wadcutter could be more decisive than any exotic round in the torso.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:30 PM
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IMHO the WC no better than any solid with more negatives due to difficulty in speed loading due to their profile. The WC is specifically designed for low recoil target shooting to cut a clean easy to score paper punch hole in paper targets. Not that they won't kill or injure but if they where a better choice than HP ammo or even LRN or SWC's they would have been sold for SD ammo and been official ammo issued by thousands of police departments when they used revolvers. Personally I'd rather use a LRN or SWC that reloads quicker for carry than a WC bullet if they where the only choices available (otherwise a good HP).

The flat nose stirs peoples imagination but imagined results does not equal factual actual results. Tests on Youtube pretty much show an over penetrating solid that produces a wound track as other solids and non expanding JHP's. When someone has collected results from some defensive shootings showing equal near same results as readily available JHP's I may change my mind.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:34 PM
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........................
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:04 PM
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WC is not recommended over SD ammo. Your life is worth a few bucks. Buy good carry ammo.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:12 PM
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There is a balance of energy and recoil in all loads for each caliber.
It come down to how much recoil or energy you can handle.

In the little 38 special in my "Steel frame" J frame that hits 21 oz. of weight.......... a lot more than the Air light 15 oz. 442

a 148gr wc at 775fps and 197 ft/lbs of muzzle energy has 3.99 of recoil energy, which is the most the lady's in the family like.

the 110gr JHP at 950 fps has 220 ft/lbs of ME with the same recoil.
the 125gr JHP at 880 fps has 215 ft/lb ME with 4.33 of recoil.

All these loads to me are............Minimal for a SD load out of a 38 snub nose.

If you can go to a larger bullet or caliber, you are much better off and the odds improve for you or family members.

Just go with the biggest, meanest load that works for you.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:22 PM
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If you load WC a bit to hot, sometimes the skirt will separate and remain in the barrel. It the late70s, before really good HP pistol ammo we tried everything. WC loaded nose first or base first. It just did not work out.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:39 PM
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On the other hand, the Webley 0.455 "manstopper" was a hollow nosed WC that was around 250 grains and 600 fps. It was rather effective!! Dave_n
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:42 PM
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Read this by Ed Harris Ed Harris: Revisiting The Full Charge Wadcutter. – www.GrantCunningham.com
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:49 PM
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Factory wad cutters are a bad choice and the Texas DPS strongly advise against using hand loads in your carry pistol. There is a smaller chance of getting charges filed if you use factory ammo. The example they used was "He loaded up killer bullets and went hunting". I second the box of factory hollow points.
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Old 09-25-2015, 09:54 PM
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Wrong bullet design for the job. Can't push them fast enough.
The "full caliber hole" idea is nice, but you can accomplish the same with a sharp shouldered SWC and even get those in HP configuration.
The new self defense rounds in JHP just can't be outdone by a lead bullet anymore.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:37 AM
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Target wadcutters--no. Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 150r Hard Cast Wadcutters---yes. Accurate as all get out in my snub and 4 inch Model 10s and pre-10 out to 25 yards. Hits with a solid thump. Chronograph results that I have done and others I have seen printed on this forum show velocities pretty well match whats on the box/website.

Expensive--probably. But to me well worth with. Bought a couple of cases a while back and practice with it routinely.

YMMV

Last edited by wogentry; 09-26-2015 at 12:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:23 AM
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Default Anybody want to start......

Does anybody want to start the WC turned around backwards debate. (Collective GROAN)

If you ask me, that's what a Gold Dot is, but designed to do the real thing RELIABLY. That's a key word, reliably.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:30 AM
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My lightweight J frame mod 37 is loaded with my handloaded 148 gr
hard cast wadcutters. My load is standard pressure but is much faster
than target WCs. Hunters like Ed Harris mentioned above, say WCs
are very effective bullets on live targets.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo. T. View Post
Factory wad cutters are a bad choice and the Texas DPS strongly advise against using hand loads in your carry pistol. There is a smaller chance of getting charges filed if you use factory ammo. The example they used was "He loaded up killer bullets and went hunting". I second the box of factory hollow points.
'Killer bullets', really! Somebody's been reading too much Ayoob!

This being said: Nobody produces more, 'killer bullets' than ATK's, Sports & Defense Groups; and it doesn't take a ballistics expert to figure this out. Here's an article on the, so-called, 'king of killer bullets'. (You know, the one that - by a wide margin - too many police officers to count prefer to use in their service revolvers!)

Remington 158 grain, LSWCHP +P

'Killer bullets', please!

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Old 09-26-2015, 06:40 AM
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If you are talking Factory 148 grain Wad Cutters - NOT a good choice IMHO. From a 2" barrel you can expect around 650 fps which is anemic at best and NOT adequate for reliable stopping power (at least to me). Hot loaded ones from BB or hand loaded - better but again, it would not be my first choice. There are so many better choices today.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:53 AM
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Wadcutters make a nice clean hole, and if you don't want to hurt the victim really bad, just dip you self defense loads in Mercurochrome before putting them into your sidearm.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:06 AM
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The one shooting I know of with a factory .38 wadcutter was a woman who shot her very large husband in the armpit with one. He grunted and dropped dead. The medical examiner found the undeformed slug in his pelvis, where it stopped after its farewell tour of many of his vital organs.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:20 PM
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+1 on post #22;

There are no factory standard 38 special loads that should be used for SD use, unless that is all that you have or can control.
The 125gr Nyclad is no longer made, so I stand on this information.

A snub nose 38 needs a +P loading from a little 110gr to the large 158gr bullet to try to get enough penetration and bullet expansion for a SD load.

Go with the "Chicago" or NY City loads, if you can find them.
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Old 09-26-2015, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sigp220.45 View Post
The one shooting I know of with a factory .38 wadcutter was a woman who shot her very large husband in the armpit with one. He grunted and dropped dead. The medical examiner found the undeformed slug in his pelvis, where it stopped after its farewell tour of many of his vital organs.
I am sure there are lots of dead people from .22's as well - but still not a first choice SD round.
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:46 PM
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An unexpanded HP is a piss-poor defensive round, no better than RNL.

The clean hole cut by a hard cast WC bleeds freely.

Target HBWC loads for SD? No.
Hard cast WCs loaded to 800 fps or more? Absolutely.

Far too many factory wonder bullets fail to perform as advertised.
I wouldn't base my SD choices on what departmental bean counters approve. I'd go with proven loads.
The 158 grain SWCHP +P would be my first choice. IF you can get one that actually goes fast enough from a snub to expand reliably.
The BB load does that.
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:48 PM
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Never heard of a documented case of using handloads for SD as a legal problem.
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Old 09-26-2015, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosedog View Post
The new self defense rounds in JHP just can't be outdone by a lead bullet anymore.
Gotta disagree with ya on that one. Soft lead bullets expand more reliably across a wider velocity range than cupro-nickel jacketed bullets do.
There have been a lot of "be all, end all" SD bullets to come down the pike, and fail miserably.
Unfortunately, a handgun is a pretty piss-poor SD weapon.

Besides, we all "know" that if you try to use a gun in SD, the bad guy will just take it away from you and shoot you with it.
After all, that's what TV tells us, and we know TV is always right. Right?
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:07 PM
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That's exactly what's in my J-frame right now.
Either the Factory 148 HB wadcutter Target Ammo or a load that has a 162 grain wadcutter ( cast with a soft alloy from Lyman #358432 160 mould).

Both loads are accurate and I can quickly score multiple hits on target. I believe you should carry something you can shoot well.
And I can shoot these loads well.
Gary

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Old 09-26-2015, 02:08 PM
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I was in 6 stand up gunfights. Hit 5 out of 6 bad guys. The JHP expanded everytime.
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Old 09-26-2015, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida J Frame View Post
Why, when there are so many better choices? PDs that still allow .38s almost all use Speer Gold Dot SB +P. There must be a reason. Like Colt saa said buy a box of almost any modern SD ammo.
Yeah, they are afraid of over penetration. They are more concerned with bystanders than with officer protection.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wogentry View Post
Target wadcutters--no. Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure 150r Hard Cast Wadcutters---yes. Accurate as all get out in my snub and 4 inch Model 10s and pre-10 out to 25 yards. Hits with a solid thump. Chronograph results that I have done and others I have seen printed on this forum show velocities pretty well match whats on the box/website.

Expensive--probably. But to me well worth with. Bought a couple of cases a while back and practice with it routinely.

YMMV
That's been my experience as well, from my 2" Colt Cobra they hit 869fps avg and just under 1000fps in my 4" mod 64 NY1.
They strike me as a good std pressure load especially from airweights and older shooters.
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Old 09-26-2015, 05:46 PM
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Just a thought thats a bit off topic, but this is the era of the media witch-hunt on those who dare use firearms in self defense, to wit: George Zimmerman.
If they went so far as to try to paint a guy with afro-peruvian (its true,on his mothers side, look it up lol) ancestry as a hood wearing member of the klan, its not too far fetched to me to think that they might glom on to a handload as some sort of "evidence" of your malice, should you be forced to defend yourself from one of the leftist medias "chosen".
The entire prosecution of Zimmerman was politically motivated and I bet he's very thankful that he didn't give them anything like that to "work" with.

Also, look how they went off about the "black talon" back in the 90's.

To each their own, but I don't want to give a possible malicious prosecutor and a CLEARLY biased against self defense media anything extra to breathlessly hyperventilate about if I am ever forced to defend myself with my gun.

As for wadcutters, I've contemplated them. Here's my 2 cents- any solid thats driven fast enough to be worth it may represent another problem: the thru-and-thru shot that hits the innocent passerby.

JHPs that properly expand tend to stay in the body, or else bleed off most of their energy to the point where if it punches thru it doesn't have much to hurt innocents on the other end.

I do not know if this is a risk with wadcutters, but I wouldn't load my handguns up with FMJ for this reason.

Last thing anyone should want, morally or legally, is for the projectile they fired in righteous self defense to go thru the attacker and strike anyone downrange not involved in the situation.
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Last edited by Ramikrav; 09-26-2015 at 05:50 PM. Reason: spelling, as usual
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:37 PM
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Default HBWC's

Load a hbwc backwards. Accurate to 25' and tremendous expansion. Until all the new ammo started coming out it was some of the best. I fired it into wet phone books and it expanded 70cal+. I fired different types of ammo into the same medium and none of the hp's expanded as well. I know phone books aren't the best medium but 30 years ago it was what we had. After 25-30 ft it starts to tumble but won't go through several wall and take out your tax deductions. Load some to the upper safe end and checkout the expansion. Until I had to retire the wifes 38 because of arthritis I had it loaded with hbwc's. Still boils down to a hit with a light recoil bullet will stop better than an off center hit with something that kicks like a mule. The closest I thing I saw to instant dead was a man shot by his girl friend with a 22lr. He still had a cigarette in one hand, a match in the other and a smile on his face when he hit the ground. Never knew what hit him.

Last edited by Houlton; 09-26-2015 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Shooter6br View Post
Never heard of a documented case of using handloads for SD as a legal problem.
I haven't either. And neither have some noted gun writers
who surely would know if this was a potential problem for
handloaders. But...the "what if" syndrome is alive and well
and can even be contagious so beware! Don't let it invade
your thinking!
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:50 PM
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I, like any rational person, would not want to be shot by a wadcutter or any other type of bullet. That being said, I am amazed that people will go through the time and expense of getting a handgun for SD and then put the cheapest ammo they can find in it. I agree that $25-30 is expensive for a box of ammo, but it is not what you are going to use all of the time for practice, etc. Skip a meal out or a few trips to Starbucks and save up to buy 2 boxes. One to familiarize yourself with it and make sure it will function in the gun and one for carry. Every 6 months to a year repeat so you can stay proficient. I'm not rich by any means but my safety (I really like me), and the safety of my family (I like them too), is worth it.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by hiddencreek View Post
Any thoughts on wadcutters in snubbies for self defense?
Recommended. Hardcast, loaded up to standard velocities. Meplat forward. Expansion is not your friend at snubbie velocities. Great for rifles, bad for snubbies.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:31 PM
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I was in 6 stand up gunfights. Hit 5 out of 6 bad guys. The JHP expanded everytime.
Finally, a really meaningful post! Been there, done that, etc.

What ammo and gun? What ranges and bullet impact/placement? Sizes of opponents, etc.?

One Dallas officer supposedly used an issued M-64 with four-inch barrel and Winchester lead SWC-HP to terminate six felons. No known problems, but I don't know the size of those men or where he hit them or the ranges.

Your experience and his are the best gunfight data I've found, apart from the experience of a soldier operating in Iraq, and his experience was with 9mm and .45 ACP pistols using military ammo. Good hits equaled quick kills, but he sometimes fired more than one shot in quick succession.

I also believe a detective here who looked up info on several shootings with .357 145 grain Silvertips, which he reluctantly described as being almost too effective. I think he's a bit squeamish. But one man posting here saw a report in an FBI case where that .357 round almost removed an arm from the felon hit. That seems pretty satisfactory, but I don't know the barrel length or the range or the size of the felon.

But these cases don't address the subject of this thread: the factory supplied .38 WC round, especially from short barrels.

I do know that writers like Keith and Skelton said that .38 WC loads were good for small game that wouldn't drop reliably to RN bullets, although the WC's were slower. Ranges were probably short. The example given here of the .32 WC load employed on a big raccoon seems to bear out that the shape of the flat bullet does cut a full caliber hole and transmits more shock.

We need more men with actual experience of this ammo on live animals or men to post. Otherwise, it's all just guesswork, even if well founded and well meant.

Last edited by Texas Star; 09-26-2015 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Shooter6br View Post
Read this by Ed Harris Ed Harris: Revisiting The Full Charge Wadcutter. – www.GrantCunningham.com
Makes great sense, as C. E. Harris usually does. But this requires handloading, and many of us don't.

Harris wondered why factories don't make similar loads. First, their WC bullets are usually soft swaged and will lead at high velocity. Secondly, they want to charge more to make JHP ammo, I think. And they doubt that these would sell well to the general public, which knows little about handgun ammo.

The Buffalo Bore WC ammo is quite costly, and one may as well shoot the JHP loads. But I like the idea where one is using a gun not warranted for Plus P ammo or to avoid excess wear with regular practice.

If anyone here has shot deer, coyotes, etc. with the BB wadcutters or their SWC-HP ammo, please post. With details!

Note Harris's comments about soft frame steel in blued S&W .38's made before the early 1990's. I've never seen that posted before. But it makes me even happier to use stainless guns. And note what he wrote about Ruger Six-series guns ordered by police departments where the issued load was the lead Plus P round. Very interesting! If I understood him, their .357 guns weren't affected, nor were SP or GP Rugers.

Read that linked article. It's well worth the time it'll take, which shouldn't be much.
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:48 AM
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I had to shoot a raccoon a few years ago with a .32 S&W Long. Six times. The first four shots were LRN and did little more than anger this monster. The next two rounds were WC and they had a profound effect. This animal was huge, about the size of a first grade child. I am not positive it was rabid, but if not, it should of had the sense to wipe the foam off his mouth and stand up straight.
Bruce-

Please add details. Where did the bullets impact the animal? What was the effect of the WC loads and who made them? I've heard that if one must shoot a .32 Long, the Euro makers load the target ammo hotter than do US firms.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:20 AM
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Just make sure you load it with something you can HIT the target with,
great ballistics in a projectile are not worth a damn if you miss.

I have some old FBI loads and NO WAY would I load my snubby with them for SD. If not standing next to the target, most shooters wouldn't hit it.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:29 AM
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...We need more men with actual experience of this ammo on live animals or men to post...
Texas Star,

Talk to a coroner. As a former LEO, I met several and the two that carried 38 Specials, had them loaded with WC bullets. Not sure if factory or handloads but it is hard to mistake the profile. When I carried a 38, it was loaded with hard cast DEWC and enough powder to make 850 fps. They worked then, I would imagine they would still work.

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Old 09-27-2015, 08:41 AM
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Bruce- Please add details. Where did the bullets impact the animal? What was the effect of the WC loads and who made them? I've heard that if one must shoot a .32 Long, the Euro makers load the target ammo hotter than do US firms.


Shortly after I got this S&W 30-1 in 2008 a retired LEO on my mail route gave me a Charles Chips tin full of loose ammo. It had several hundred .32 cartridges in it; .32 Colt, .32 S&W and Long, .32/20, .32 a.c.p, and even some .32 WSL and .32 Remington rifle ammo. Most of the LRN ammo was Canadian, I do not recall the brand. IIRC the WC was R-P. Obviously he had gathered this up early in his career.

The LRN went down through the left side of the raccoon's body at an angle, shot from about the length of my F-I-L's Isuzu Trooper. The two WC rounds were fired CM from half that length, as I thought I missed and got closer. One or two of the LRN bullets did exit the body. I moved the Trooper, poured gasoline all over the raccoon, threw a pile of sticks on it, and burned it. I raked up the remains and double bagged it and threw it away at the dump.

That was a large raccoon. It tripped the motion detector lights on the house constantly. He knocked over and broke a portable gas grill we had on the porch. Anytime we were outside with food he would appear and try to intimidate someone to get food thrown at him. He is not missed.

Last edited by ColbyBruce; 09-27-2015 at 04:06 PM.
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  #46  
Old 09-27-2015, 04:15 PM
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I am sure there are lots of dead people from .22's as well - but still not a first choice SD round.
Not long ago a bunch of Indian Country agents and I were sitting around talking about the shootings we had worked. It was probably a couple hundred between us. The most common murder gun on any of the reservations I've worked has always been the humble .22 repeating rifle - usually the ubiquitous Marlin Model 60, though the Ruger 10/22 has a strong following, too. I realized every single shooting with a .22 repeating rifle was a fatality. (We work non-fatal shootings, too - so its not a case of a biased sample.) The closest I had to a non-fatal was a guy who shot up the front window of a bar and hit a shot glass just as a lucky fellow was lifting it to his lips. The glass cut his lip but the bullet missed so I figure it didn't count.

Every other one resulted in a zipped-up trip for somebody to the medical examiner's office.

The other guys reported similar experiences, but they may have had a survivor here or there.

Now, I don't advocate walking around with a .22 rifle for self-defense but when it comes to laying folks low it will sure get the job done.

I think the choice of ammo is the least important factor in a self defense plan. Have a gun, know how to shoot it, know when to shoot it, and try to keep a cool head - all far more important than ammo choice. If somebody shoots .38 wadcutters better than anything else, its not a bad choice.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bigggbbruce View Post
wadcutters do a fine job. Cut a nice hole.
JIM CARILLO LIKED THEM…..
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:11 AM
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wadcutters for self defense......................I ilke em............148gr hard cast DEWC @ 750 - 800 fps.............
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:32 AM
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Didn't Doc GKR suggest using wadcutters in light weight snubs as well?
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Old 09-28-2015, 02:31 AM
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In the tests ive seen of the FBI load, when it fails to expand, it usually looks like a wadcutter.

I'm ok with that.

Better then the FMJ-like profile some JHP's have when they fail, IMHO.
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