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Discussion Starter #1
Why are 38 wadcutters so hard to find in so Georgia area. Gun dealers look at you like you’re crazy.
 

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Never have found them locally, have purchased online from either Precision One or Freedom Munitions.
 

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Corps Commander NGV
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Bullseye pistol shooting with wadcutters is an old fashioned sport. You will need to buy online. When my dad would take me to the range in the 1970's .38spl wadcutters were sold everywhere. Revolvers and their ammunition are not the fast selling products local dealers want to stock. Now if you want a polymer framed 9mm and some 115gr FMJ ammo you're in luck!
 

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Exchequer
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Like ngashooter says, wadcutters are "old school" and considered by many to be underpowered and ineffective as self-defense rounds. A lot of retailers won't carry them because there is little demand for them. They don't want to stock something that won't sell quickly.

I've only been able to get them on line ....and even then, there wasn't a lot of choices available.

This article from Lucky Gunner Lounge, however, makes the case that wadcutters can be an effective SD round. And as others have correctly pointed out on this forum, no one wants to be shot with any kind of round, be it a 44 magnum or a puny 22lr.

Wadcutter Ammo for Self-Defense - Lucky Gunner Lounge
 

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Wad cutters are a rarity here also. I order the bullets online pre-lubed for around $7 per hundred. If you "roll your own" as stated it's the cheapest thing next to .22. As for self defense? Well if that's what was in your gun if you needed it then it's a defense round
 

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The typical 38 Special 148gr hollow base wad cutter load is 2.8~3 gr of Bullseye powder. This load only develops about 10k psi so it requires a very soft bullet. Cast LHBWCs do not work well, in fact they are dangerous because chamber pressure can blow the skirt off, leaving it stuck in the barrel. So .... LHBWCs must be swagged, not cast and most of the lead bullet makers do not have the equipment needed for swagged bullets. Back in the dark ages (about 15 years ago) 148gr LHBWCs were very popular in factory loaded ammo and bullets for reloading. As the bullseye shooting sport transitioned to the "go faster" plates and gongs games, LHBWCs sort of fell from grace. Hornady and Speer both make 148gr HBWCs as do a few other companies, but you won't see them made by companies that just cast bullets.

There is a good alternative .... a 148gr dual ended wad cutter works quite well and it can be cast because there is no skirt. Because pressure is so low, these DEWCs have to be very soft (BHN 8 but no harder than BHN 10) or they will foul the bore badly. Another option is to drop more powder and increase chamber pressure where a BHN 12 bullet will work without lead fouling the bore.
 

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I have a box of 1000 stashed away to load up one day.
Hopefully by then I’ll have a S&W model 52.

In the mean time I have a Colt Detective Agent 2” snubbie .38 in layaway that should do well with them too.
 

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Oddly enough, three weeks ago, my local Cabela's had a few boxes of Hornady wadcutters in stock - 100 round HBWC boxes. I bought one box - should have bought all three. I'm duplicating a load I used 30 years ago, very anxious to get back to the range and see if they are still as good.
 

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make mine 45 acp 😎
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i shoot the Georgia Arms full wadcutters reqularly at the range. You can head over to their showroom, and they are at many gun shows in GA..

also - i like these..
PDP PRO - 38 Special 148gr HBWC
 

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Here's some of your options for 38 cal wad cutters:
1. 148 gr lead hollow base wad cutter, probably the most accurate bullet in the world (very soft). Always swagged.
2. 148 gr lead full wad cutter. One end has a slight nose. Typically cast,
3. 148 gr dual ended wad cutter. Both ends look the same. Typically cast.
4. 158 gr semi wad cutter. There are many different designs but all have a flat tip and a cone nose. Typically cast.
5. 158 gr semi wad cutter hollow point. Look like a SWC. Typically cast.

Different brands of molds produce slightly different bullet designs .... mostly related to the crimp groove and lube grooves. Actual weight can vary due to different alloys and molds.

The purpose of any of the above wad cutters is to produce a nice round hole in a paper target, making it easier to score. Bullets with rounded noses tend to tear holes rather than punch a nice round hole, however a round nose bullet has a better ballistic coefficient so they group better at longer shooting distances . Semi wad cutters cut a much better hole than a round nose bullet but not as good as a full wad cutter or HBWC.

Accuracy wise, hollow base wad cutters are by far the best because the skirt expands with low pressure and forms a good seal with the bore. This prevents lead bore fouling and keeps the bullets flying straight making them very accurate.

Full wad cutters and dual ended wad cutters are the next best. They are almost perfect cylinders and will remain stable in flight until they finally hit the ground. These are harder (typically BHN 12) so they require more chamber pressure to allow them to obturate (expand) and seal with the bore. Because higher chamber pressure usually means higher velocity, they are not as well suited for bullseye competition as HBWCs but are still quite accurate. These bullets have a very poor ballistic coefficient so they slow down and drop more than round nose bullets or SWCs.

Lead round nose bullets sneak into third place because they have better ballistic coefficients and hold tighter groups at longer distances than SWCs but not quite as good as HBWCs or Full WCs.

Semi-wad cutters are the least accurate lead bullet. That makes it sound like SWCs are not accurate ....but they are, just not as accurate as other lead bullets. Why? Because the nose is much lighter than the base, when bullet spin slows down from air friction, they will become unstable. Typically, they will maintain good stability out to 25 yards, which is far enough for most handgun shooting, however at farther distances, groups will open up more than other lead bullets.
 

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Go to AMMOSEEK.COM and use their search engine. They have several listings for 158 GR semi Wad Cutters
 

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1. .38 special is not as popular a round as it was 30-50 years ago.
2. .38 special wadcutters are a sub-set of a less popular round
3. .357 magnums are a bigger seller
4. 9mm are in high demand

Personally, I shoot only .38 special rounds through my .357 magnum revolvers and wadcutters are my favorite round to target shoot in my .357 revolvers.

During the current lockdown, manufacturers are, as they did during the Obama shortage, producing the most common and hottest selling rounds. Even the online sellers that I buy from aren't able to get wadcutters. There is a local reloading firm name "parabellum" that sells wadcutters. They may be willing to ship to you. Local -to-you reloading firms may be able to reload them for you. Most areas in the south have local reloader. North Georgia Reloaders is a company.

Please don't ask any friends who reloading their own shells to sell to or reload for you because that is a violation of Federal law (without the appropriate license) and can result in prison time.

Fioochi sells a nice wadcutter and I have found that Fioochi centerfire ammo is some of the cleanest ammo around. Inexpensive too!

HTH
 
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