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Old 10-27-2020, 12:07 PM
7shooter 7shooter is offline
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Default 148 gr 38 Special tumbles

I have some Fiochi 148 gr. wad cutters that key hole in both my S&W 342 and my Ruger LCR. Can anyone suggest a different brand that won't tumble ?
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:23 PM
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Are you sure you have ALL the copper fouling cleaned out of your barrels before shooting the soft lead WC? Copper fouling does not always look like copper, just looks dull.
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:25 PM
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You might check the velocity if you have access to a chronograph. I'm not familiar with a Ruger LCR, but I think a 342 is a snub nose. Wadcutter ammo velocity is going to be very low in a snub nose gun; probably no more than about 600-650 fps. If they chronograph much slower than those numbers, that could be the problem.
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:41 PM
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Don't know how this relates, but I shoot a Lee 148 grain DEWC out of my Rossi rifle and they do not tumble, even out at 100 yards. I'm using 3.5 to 3.8 grains of Unique, lubed with Lee Liquid Alox and harder alloys. Anything faster and they lead.
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Old 10-27-2020, 12:52 PM
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Like others have said, velocity is an important factor with WC ammo in a snub. However, there could be other variations having to do with your guns/ammo compatibility.

For my 642-1, Fiocchi WC works fine. I get nice, clean holes. However, S&B WC tore up my targets, indicating keyholing.

You may just have to try different brands in your guns to find one that works.

FWIW, I've often seen Federal Match WC recommended, so you may want to try that next, if you can find it.
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Old 10-27-2020, 01:17 PM
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It's very unusual for any factory loaded 148 gr. HBWC Target load to tumble . They are assembled to be accurate . The hollow base fills the throats and bore to assure accuracy ...not sideways entrance holes .
Fiocchi specifications show nothing out of the ordinary for their load ... 148 HBWC 730 fps is spot on ...should be accurate out to 50 feet at least .
Have no answer ... if it's not the ammo and it's not the gun(s) ... maybe you're not holding your mouth right ! (That's what my Dad would sometimes tell me ... he thought it was funny .)

Try another brand ...they either like or they don't like ...who knows why !
Gary
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Old 10-27-2020, 01:21 PM
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Do you have a picture of the target? Quite often people think the bullet is tumbling when it’s actually just the paper tearing. The slower the velocity the more likely to tear. Try thicker targets.
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
It's very unusual for any factory loaded 148 gr. HBWC Target load to tumble . They are assembled to be accurate . The hollow base fills the throats and bore to assure accuracy ...not sideways entrance holes .
Fiocchi specifications show nothing out of the ordinary for their load ... 148 HBWC 730 fps is spot on ...should be accurate out to 50 feet at least .
Have no answer ... if it's not the ammo and it's not the gun(s) ... maybe you're not holding your mouth right ! (That's what my Dad would sometimes tell me ... he thought it was funny .)

Try another brand ...they either like or they don't like ...who knows why !
Gary
Except that's probably from a 4" or longer barrel. OP is shooting from 2" snubbies.

But I'd agree it could just be OP's guns not liking that particular ammo. As I suggested, experimenting with different brands may be necessary to find something that works.
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Old 10-27-2020, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddog81 View Post
Do you have a picture of the target? Quite often people think the bullet is tumbling when itís actually just the paper tearing. The slower the velocity the more likely to tear. Try thicker targets.
That could be it. In my case, I used the same type of target at the same distance. S&B made long, vertical tears, Fiocchi punched nice, clean holes.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
It's very unusual for any factory loaded 148 gr. HBWC Target load to tumble . They are assembled to be accurate . The hollow base fills the throats and bore to assure accuracy ...not sideways entrance holes .
Fiocchi specifications show nothing out of the ordinary for their load ... 148 HBWC 730 fps is spot on ...should be accurate out to 50 feet at least .
Have no answer ... if it's not the ammo and it's not the gun(s) ... maybe you're not holding your mouth right ! (That's what my Dad would sometimes tell me ... he thought it was funny .)

Try another brand ...they either like or they don't like ...who knows why !
Gary
Fiocchi loafs along around 550 FPS in the real world.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:42 PM
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I've never seen any 148 gr. WC. keyhole except a ricochet. Perhaps one bounced its way to target.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:11 PM
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I have shot Rem & Fed 148 factory ammo and I also load the 148 gr HB and BBwc lead bullets for my J frame snub nose.


the HBwc starts at 560 and up to 775 fps.

the BBwc is a little faster at 620 to 757 for target work.

I never had a key hole with the factory or reloads, as yet........

I use heavy target paper and did notice that the binder sheet paper used in schools by kids, did seem to tear/rip a lot easier, if not taped tight to my cardboard backup.

I shoot JHP and lead at my outings and over lap them, with no accuracy problems, since the speeds are not that fast, compared to a 4 or 6" barrel, that might get to 999fps or more.
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Old 10-27-2020, 04:59 PM
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Default 6" Target revolver vs. 2" self defense revolver!!

148 grain HBWC is a specific cartridge for a specific purpose, IE barrels marked 38 Spl Mid Range. These are typically 6" barreled target revolvers with rifling specific to this cartridge and soft swaged bullets!

Not exactly the best match for the 2" revolver designed for self defense ammo!

Smiles,

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Old 10-28-2020, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjfitch View Post
148 grain HBWC is a specific cartridge for a specific purpose, IE barrels marked 38 Spl Mid Range. These are typically 6" barreled target revolvers with rifling specific to this cartridge and soft swaged bullets!

Not exactly the best match for the 2" revolver designed for self defense ammo!

Smiles,
The twist rate for S&W .38 Special revolvers is 1 in 18 3/4Ē same as the Model 52. Been that for years. There was an article in Gun Digest in the 60ís that tested multiple twists for accuracy...no appreciable difference even at faster twists. A .38 Spl Mid Range is not the same as a .38 Special case, was designed to function properly in a Coltís National Match, that chambering had a semi rim like a .38 Super. It was developed by the AMU after having feed issues with the full width rim of the standard .38 Special.
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Old 10-28-2020, 05:41 PM
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Default PPC Open Revolver barrels!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry in SC View Post
The twist rate for S&W .38 Special revolvers is 1 in 18 3/4Ē same as the Model 52. Been that for years. There was an article in Gun Digest in the 60ís that tested multiple twists for accuracy...no appreciable difference even at faster twists. A .38 Spl Mid Range is not the same as a .38 Special case, was designed to function properly in a Coltís National Match, that chambering had a semi rim like a .38 Super. It was developed by the AMU after having feed issues with the full width rim of the standard .38 Special.
All I can comment on are the two PPC Open revolvers I owned. Alan Tanaka and Bill Davis custom revolvers recommended "Mid-range wad cutter only"! I don't know about twist rate I just know that they didn't key hole but did print sub 1 inch groups at 50 yards using Winchester Ranger, 148 grain, HBWC. Our team sponsor!

Smiles,
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Old 10-28-2020, 06:26 PM
mikerjf mikerjf is online now
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I've had tumbling from an airweight snub with light loads. Goose 'em up enough to be uncomfortable and they work fine.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:06 AM
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I have a friend that has a Ruger LCR in 38 Special which like all lightweight 38 snubbies has pretty sharp recoil. She asked about ammo with less recoil and I added a couple of boxes of Fiocchi 148 grain wadcutters to an order I was placing.

Out of her short barreled LCR that ammo works great. Low recoil and not a trace of tumbling. The biggest problem with it is she shoots so much better with it she want to use it as carry ammo.

No idea why it tumbles out of your guns. It may be slower out of a snub nose than a target revolver but due to the fast burning powder probably not by a lot. Maybe it is so slow it is right on the edge of stability and lot to lot variation can push it over the edge.

I wish I could suggest an alternate brand but even before the current ammo short wadcutter ammo was hard to find. I have seen it listed by the big ammo makers but never see anything except Fiocchi on the shelves or available online.
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Old 10-29-2020, 08:24 AM
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Put a dial caliper on one to see it they may be a bit undersized.

In rifles I’ve had longer bullets keyhole with too slow of a rate of twist to stabilize them. In handgun shooting the only time I’ve experienced keyholes was caused by undersized bullets not making sufficient contact with the rifling.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:20 AM
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Undersized bullets makes the most sense.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
Undersized bullets makes the most sense.
Actually it doesn't make sense.

Consider, the projectile is know as HBWC.

HOLLOW based wad cutter.

The lead skirt was designed to expand and engage the rifling grooves on firing.

Much like a Civil War Minie ball.

Drop it down the muzzle of your 1863 Springfield, on firing it expanded to engage the rifling.

My bet to the O.P's problem..... Leaded barrel.

For some reason unknown to me, it has become fashionable to neglect cleaning of their firearms.

If you doubt this, go onto a Glock site.... the guys BRAG about never cleaning their pistols.

Last edited by banger; 10-29-2020 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 10-29-2020, 12:25 PM
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"If you doubt this, go onto a Glock site.... the guys BRAG about never cleaning their pistols." (Quote)

Hay;
that cleaning stuff cost a lot of $$$$..........
and besides, it cuts into my Beer money.

We don't need no stinking, clean white patches !!
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:26 PM
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Rather than continue to bounce this around , perhaps the best thing would be to discontinue using this ammo. Switch to any of the 130gr FMJ "range" ammo or the service-style 158gr lead bullet rounds.

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  #23  
Old 10-31-2020, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lively View Post
I have a friend that has a Ruger LCR in 38 Special which like all lightweight 38 snubbies has pretty sharp recoil. She asked about ammo with less recoil and I added a couple of boxes of Fiocchi 148 grain wadcutters to an order I was placing.

Out of her short barreled LCR that ammo works great. Low recoil and not a trace of tumbling. The biggest problem with it is she shoots so much better with it she want to use it as carry ammo.
*
Actually, a good hard wadcutter is reasonably good load in a snubby. I have seen it recommended by very sharp cops for their snubby BUG, and I have carried it myself when I had a .38 J frame.
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