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  #1  
Old 06-10-2022, 06:10 PM
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Thinking about loading some 148gr wadcutters (.38 special) for my various S&W and Colt revolvers. Have never used any wadcutters at all. Do I seat even with the top of case or slightly above top? Shoulf I crimp the case a little or??????
Will probably use Berrys or Extreme plated wadcutters.
What say the experts. Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2022, 06:29 PM
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Depends on the bullet design. Most swagged bullets will have no crimp groove but most cast bullets will have a groove. Try Google, there are probably several thousand articles on wadcutters as that style was very common until the invasion of the wonder 9s. Wadcuters are plesent to shoot, cheapest of all 38s to reload and very accurate in most revolvers. Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2022, 06:36 PM
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Depends on the bullet design. Most swagged bullets will have no crimp groove but most cast bullets will have a groove. Try Google, there are probably several thousand articles on wadcutters as that style was very common until the invasion of the wonder 9s. Wadcuters are plesent to shoot, cheapest of all 38s to reload and very accurate in most revolvers. Good luck!
I agree.
There are many different kinds of WCs, loading manuals are your friends here. OAL and bullet design have a lot to do with it. The bullets I am using now have a crimp grove so that makes it easier.
Very accurate and fun to shoot.

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Old 06-10-2022, 06:38 PM
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I shoot a lot of 148 gr HBWCs. Historically, I load over a small charge of Bullseye, but I just loaded a batch with W231. I haven't shot them yet, but I expect them to be pretty accurate.

I seat just below flush and apply a mild crimp.

Your seating and crimping options will have a lot to do with the design of your bullet. Are these double ended, hollow base, or something else? Is there a crimp groove?

I have never had a leading problem with HBWCs, so I typically use soft swaged. I have used coated (Bear Creek) only because they are available at several LGSs near me.
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Old 06-10-2022, 07:01 PM
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If you're interested in best accuracy in your gun...load up a few at various seating depths and shoot some ten-shot groups at 25 yards benchrested. No need to seat below flush and you may get better accuracy with the wadcutter seated out a bit.

Also experiment with the degree of crimp, shoot some more groups. Many handloaders crimp far more than needed. Vary the powder charge and shoot some more groups. Good luck-
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Old 06-10-2022, 07:57 PM
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Just loaded 100 rounds for my Colt Mid Range, have to have a healthy roll crimp, flush seated HBWC. This type load is also used in 52’s. Revolver loads do not need much crimp if any depending on bullet to case fit. Buy Several loading manuals Before loading.
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Old 06-10-2022, 08:52 PM
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Lately I have been using Berry's Plated HBWC almost exclusively, but have used coated, cast lead and swedged lead with tumble lube in the past. I set them all up the same, bullet fully within the case with a modest crimp over the top edge of the bullet.
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Old 06-10-2022, 09:48 PM
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WW231 works great with wadcutters.
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Old 06-11-2022, 12:28 AM
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I use swaged HBWC, 2.8 gr Bullseye, seated flush, taper crimp.
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Old 06-11-2022, 02:30 AM
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I shoot HBWC and 2.7 gr Bullseye. I use HBWC because the double ended bullet some times tend to leave a small bulge and my S&W 52 wouldn't chamber them. I also flush mounted them because if I seated them out at all they wouldn't seat in my S&W 52. Crazy accurate.
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Old 06-11-2022, 07:08 AM
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I use 148gr CamPro full copper plated hollow base wadcutters (FCP HBWC).
Titegroup powder 3.1 grs average MV 720 fps & 3.3 grs averaged 735 fps. My chrono did record velocity variations when I did a powder position sensitivity test. Titegroup is not supposed to as position sensitive according to Hodgdon. I think the deep hollow base exasperated the position sensitivity velocity swings because all the powder can slide down into the deep cone of the hollow base. The puts the powder quite far from the primer flash.
A solid base WC I suspect would show much less position sensitivity.

This bullet has a slight radius on the top edge so when loaded flush there is a small gap between the inside edge of the case mouth and the radius Ed edge of the bullet. I lightly crimp just enough to close the gap.
The copper plating is very thin 2.5 thou. Often the plating would tear during bullet seating. I smeared my foam lube pad lightly with Imperial Sizing Wax and rolled the plated HBWCs on the pad. Now the bullets seated easier an have never torn the plating while seating a lubed bullet.

Lead wad cutters usually require lesser powder charge to get the bullet reliably out the muzzle, plated bullet need a little more powder to prevent a bullet getting stuck in the barrel.

In the future I will be casting button nose solid wad cutters from a LEE 358-148-WC 6 cavity commercial mold, these have a crimp groove.
With this solid type WC Ill be able to push the bullets a little faster for 50 yd shooting with out worrying about blowing out the hollow skirt on a HBWC.

Last edited by Greenjoytj; 06-11-2022 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 06-11-2022, 07:39 AM
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I competed in PPC, so I loaded and shot thousands of wadcutters a month. Initially, I seated the hbwc flush with case mouth. In my revolver, I would occasionally (1/50) get a problem with my speed loader catching a casemouth on the chamber edge causing lost time. I started loading the bullets out from the case. The sweet spot came at about 1/16” out of the case. Over 2.8 grains of Bullseye, the reloads were fast and shot as accurately as before.

When I switched over to cast dewc, I continued to seat them out and never dropped a point.

At least one poster mentioned loading for a pistol, not a revolver. I believe those must be seated flush but a little experimenting will prove what you need.

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Old 06-11-2022, 08:48 AM
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I reversed the wadcutter bullet in a lot of my reloads with the 'hollow' end showing. Extreme expansion! With the low recoil of a 38 Special, it made a very good carry load!
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Old 06-11-2022, 08:52 AM
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I load them like this for my rifle.
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Old 06-11-2022, 11:23 AM
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I reversed the wadcutter bullet in a lot of my reloads with the 'hollow' end showing. Extreme expansion! With the low recoil of a 38 Special, it made a very good carry load!
What kind of penetration are you getting? When I tried that, I could not get decent penetration.

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Old 06-11-2022, 11:33 AM
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"Loading (wadcutters) for a pistol, not a revolver..."

Now, THAT makes so much sense it beggars contradiction!

Cheers!
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Old 06-11-2022, 12:06 PM
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Here is a picture of a factory Rem. 148 and two reloads
that can give you an idea of OAL for this style bullet.

Most 158 lead bullets have a crimp area except for a LRN design
that I have.

A very light crimp is all that is needed, for target loads and good feeding, if used in the pistol.

I have tested the LHBwc with a OAL from 1.16" , all the way out to 1.265" over the years
but finally just use the short, factory OAL.


Last edited by Nevada Ed; 06-11-2022 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 06-12-2022, 08:50 AM
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Altho penetration is not extreme, it is good enough for personal defense, ie: bullet most likely will not be thru and thru wound.
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Old 06-12-2022, 01:57 PM
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The S&W M52 is the main reason wadcutters need to be seated flush. I normally don't seat wadcutters flush and there is no need to seat flush for my revolvers (I had a thought many years ago that a wadcutter seated flush with a crimp on/around the shoulder would cause a distorted cut edge when fired. Noticed some crimp remained in fired brass so cutting scraping bullet on exit from case? Never proved my idea right or wrong but continue seating to various depths with none flush)...

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Old 06-12-2022, 06:51 PM
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The S&W M52 is the main reason wadcutters need to be seated flush. I normally don't seat wadcutters flush and there is no need to seat flush for my revolvers (I had a thought many years ago that a wadcutter seated flush with a crimp on/around the shoulder would cause a distorted cut edge when fired. Noticed some crimp remained in fired brass so cutting scraping bullet on exit from case? Never proved my idea right or wrong but continue seating to various depths with none flush)...
+1;
I just remove the belling , on my light lead target loads, for my revolvers.

I only crimp for medium target loads or to add fps on my "Full loads" that are maxed out.
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Old 06-12-2022, 08:23 PM
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What kind of penetration are you getting? When I tried that, I could not get decent penetration.

Kevin


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Altho penetration is not extreme, it is good enough for personal defense, ie: bullet most likely will not be thru and thru wound.
The reason I asked is I did the backward hbwc gimmick many years ago. I shot four rabbits, broadside. No exit wounds. Not something I would depend on in a serious social encounter.

I do load wadcutters for target and hunting. Two different loads. The target load is a 38 caliber dewc over 2.7 grains of Bullseye. The hunting load is a 45 caliber dewc over a hardball dose of powder, usually Bullseye.

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Old 06-12-2022, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electraclyde View Post
Thinking about loading some 148gr wadcutters (.38 special) for my various S&W and Colt revolvers. Have never used any wadcutters at all. Do I seat even with the top of case or slightly above top? Shoulf I crimp the case a little or??????
Will probably use Berrys or Extreme plated wadcutters.
What say the experts. Thanks.
This is what I do and the loads I like:

A 148gr HBWC over 3.2gr W231 with only enough crimp to straighten out the flare.

A 148gr DEWC over 3.4gr W231 lightly crimped into the top crimp groove which is probably 1/16" or so from the top of the bullet.

A 158gr LSWC over 4.0gr W231 loaded normally into the supplied crimp groove.

I have been loading those rounds for many years and they are accurate and clean for me. The 158gr SWC load is a good varmint load because the sharp shoulder does most of the work. It's a good hunting round for small varmints.
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Old 06-13-2022, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
The S&W M52 is the main reason wadcutters need to be seated flush. I normally don't seat wadcutters flush and there is no need to seat flush for my revolvers (I had a thought many years ago that a wadcutter seated flush with a crimp on/around the shoulder would cause a distorted cut edge when fired. Noticed some crimp remained in fired brass so cutting scraping bullet on exit from case? Never proved my idea right or wrong but continue seating to various depths with none flush)...
Good info. I have a 52-2 I haven't shot yet and need to load some WCs for it. I was going to ask about loading them for the 52, but you answered my question before I could ask it!
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Old 06-14-2022, 01:00 AM
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Hollow base gets seated flush, bevel base and double ended will typically have a crimp groove. The plated bullets from Barry's and others are slick with no crimp grooves. Just copy OAL from a good manual.
I have read several sources say to use a taper crimp on HBWC's, rather than the roll crimp that most revolver die sets provide. I am not completely clear as to why. Maybe because a light crimp is easier to get with the taper.

Maybe it's a gimmick but lately I am flaring my cases with custom plugs designed specifically for WC's. Once I have a chance to shoot more I will start a thread to share my observations on these tools.
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Old 06-14-2022, 01:22 AM
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.....
I have read several sources say to use a taper crimp on HBWC's, rather than the roll crimp that most revolver die sets provide. I am not completely clear as to why. Maybe because a light crimp is easier to get with the taper.
.....
I actually got a .38 taper crimp die specifically for both HBWC bullets and if by chance I use a plated bullet that has no crimp groove. Getting that die made my reloading much easier and makes better WC ammo IMO. BTW, it's a Lee die which didn't cost much but works well when I do need if.

Lee Taper Crimp Die 38 Special 357 Mag
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Old 06-16-2022, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Here is a picture of a factory Rem. 148 and two reloads
that can give you an idea of OAL for this style bullet.

Most 158 lead bullets have a crimp area except for a LRN design
that I have.

A very light crimp is all that is needed, for target loads and good feeding, if used in the pistol.

I have tested the LHBwc with a OAL from 1.16" , all the way out to 1.265" over the years
but finally just use the short, factory OAL.

Ed
What brand of wadcutter is that in the middle.
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Old 06-16-2022, 10:35 PM
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Ed
What brand of wadcutter is that in the middle.
Pete950;
That my friend is the last of my supply of the great and very accurate........
Star 148 gr. Double Cavity lead bullet that are all loaded and
down to my last 150 rounds.

It was a good run, and at my age, I will be lucky to load and fire all the lead bullets
that I still have on hand.

I would like to shoot more coated but that cuts into getting rid of all my old lead bullets.

Decisions, decisions. Bummer, man.
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