Black Hills 148 gr wadcutter 38 Special?

This is a discussion on Black Hills 148 gr wadcutter 38 Special? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Has anyone tested expansion/penetration of this load? Velocity is a reported 700 fps, but Black Hills doesn't publish energy stats. I ask because I'm seriously ...

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Thread: Black Hills 148 gr wadcutter 38 Special?

  1. #1
    Mo [OP]
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    Black Hills 148 gr wadcutter 38 Special?

    Has anyone tested expansion/penetration of this load? Velocity is a reported 700 fps, but Black Hills doesn't publish energy stats. I ask because I'm seriously considering switching to it as a carry round. I currently carry 158 gr semi-jacketed HP's by magtech, with a load of Speer 135 gr GDSB in my speedloader. While I can keep the Speer stuff in a 6" to 8" circle about 3" low of POA rapid-fire double action, the Black Hills stuff runs more like 2" to 3" and exactly point of aim.

    I know some people use SWCs for carry, but has anyone ever considered full-on wadcutters? It's an enticing trade off: losing 150 fps and probably 40 or 50 ft lbs energy to gain surgical shot placement, pussycat recoil and therefore faster follow-ups.

    Any input would be appreciated. This is all shot through a S&W 637 airweight 1-7/8" barrel revolver. Thanks!

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    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Can't recite any facts or figures but wondering how streight the full WC's would penetrate in human tissue due to the shape of the bullet. Remember most have a hollow base also,gas checked or not.

    Also remember the simi and the full WC's are usually VERY SOFT(!) lead. So they might tend to fold back on themselves.(This could be a good thing I suppose.) ---------

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    There are more than a few people who favor 148-grain wadcutters in 2" J-frames.

    http://www.tacticalforums.com/cgi-bi...=001259#000003

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    At 700fps that load will make about 161ft/lbs. If that figure came from a longer barrel it will be even less out of your snub. For me personally I would want something with a little more zip to it. The bullet style doesn't bother me but the low energy does.

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    Over the years I have recovered many wadcutter bullets to recast into other bullets, I even have a 6 cavity double ended wadcutter mold.

    Most show little to no expansion in the dirt. Since most companys that load wadcutters do it exclusively for targer practice and punching paper, they are loaded fairly mild so as to be easy to shoot.

    I would suspect that the flat nose would induce tumbling and that would limit penetration. The wadcutter has the ballistic coefficient of a brick, it does not fly through the air very easy.

    A hot loaded wadcutter might be something to consider, but there are much better choices to be had escpecially nowadays. With the ammo situation being better today than it ever has been, there just doesnt seem to be much point to it.
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    Has anyone tested expansion/penetration of this load? Velocity is a reported 700 fps, but Black Hills doesn't publish energy stats. I ask because I'm seriously considering switching to it as a carry round. I currently carry 158 gr semi-jacketed HP's by magtech, with a load of Speer 135 gr GDSB in my speedloader. While I can keep the Speer stuff in a 6" to 8" circle about 3" low of POA rapid-fire double action, the Black Hills stuff runs more like 2" to 3" and exactly point of aim.
    It seems to me that you are going backwards here. Since a handgun is a compromise when it comes to stoppng power anyway, why limit yourself even further?

    It the wadcutter were even close to performance of the newer stuff, it would be all over the market and every bullet manugfacturer would be making them. Instead, they are marketed for punching holes in paper and no more. That ought to tell you something.

    Of course you'll be more accurate with it, its a lot milder to shoot, that why it is popular with the bullseye shooters. They dont care about the power of it as long as it can punch a hole in the target at 25yards.

    If you arent reloading it up to better specs, I would be hesitant to trust my life and the life of my family to it. When you need it right now, the last thing you need to be worrying about is if will get the job done.
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    Mo [OP]
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    I appreciate the comments, guys.

    I'm of the school that says shot placement in a handgun is key. You have to punch a hole in the right part of the body, and deep enough to get the job done. With that mindset, one or two (or 5) .357" diameter holes through the sternum/lungs/heart that go 4/5 the way through the body are better than one or two .68" expanded holes low through the stomach/liver from an expanded Gold Dot that I can't put on target.

    I'm going to have to do some experimental shooting of my own I suppose. If I can get ahold of a pig scapula, I'll do some penetration testing on the wadcutter load. If it holds together enough to punch through that, it should punch through a human sternum and into the chest cavity far enough to get the job done.

    I'll let you know if I get some measurable results.

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    I'm of the school that says shot placement in a handgun is key.
    Absolutley.

    The only problem is that in a real life situation where someone is trying to kill you, putting the shots where they need to be can be very difficult if you are moving, the target is moving and all of the other things that can happen in a gunfight.

    I remember the first time that I did some LEO training with Simunitions. I figured that I was more than prepared, as I pretty much aced every qualification shoot that I've ever been too. I used to shoot steel plates for speed and had some very respectable times.
    I'd done numerous IDPA scenarios and done well.

    I figured that using Simunitions on people that could'nt shoot as well as me would be a walk in the park. Some of these guys had hard times qualifying at the range, I didnt think that they could stand a chance.

    Man, was I ever wrong.

    It soon became apparent to me that most of the training that I had meant NOTHING when it came to even a simulated gunfight.

    The thing was, nobody would stand there and let you shoot at them.They shot back and if you got hit it hurt like a sonofagun, not to mention leave witness marks on you for a week.

    So, you'd see a gun pop up in a scenario and you'd try to draw and fire or even if you already had your gun in your hand you are trying to shoot first, and look for cover and try to calculate the distance, angle, speed of movement and all of the other stuff that goes through your brain at the speed of light that you arent even really concious of. And all of a sudden you are realizing that you may have emptied a whole magazine and the target has not yet been hit, and if he has been hit, it may be in the leg, or hand, or arm and hes still shooting at you.

    The point I'm trying to make is that in real life, when you NEED a gun, most people think that because they can keep all of their shots in the 10 ring at 25 yards, that they can duplicate that in real life and that is a completely false assumption. Shooting at paper and placeing all of your shots where they need to be ONLY proves that you can put your shots where they need to be on a target that is standing still and not shooting at you.

    We always read the news reports of gunbattles that Police get involved in and we shooters wonder how in the heck they could shoot 15 or 20 times and only score once or twice. Since a handgun is a compromise that we accept because it is easier to conceal, wouldnt it make sense to use the most powerful ammuniton that you can accurately shoot? We need to use something that will inflict the maximum amount of damage whether it is in a vital zone or not.

    Think of it like this...if you got shot in the arm, would you rather get shot with a wadcutter that punches perfectly round hole in your arm or shot with a Goldot that shatters your bone and blows half of it through the other side of your arm ?

    I'll let you know if I get some measurable results.
    I'm looking forward to it...
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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Have you tried the 158gr LSWCHP loads? They are a little harder to find, usually mail order. They have a long track record and supposedly shoot well. There's also a bunch of other defense rounds I'd try before just going to a straight wad cutter for defense. Like HotGuns said, in a defense situation the ranges are usually going to be close and confusion a mayhem will rule. Really a different set of skills then range shooting as under that kind of stress fine motor skills are out the window and the gross motor skils are the pick of the day.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Mo [OP]
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELCruisr View Post
    Have you tried the 158gr LSWCHP loads? They are a little harder to find, usually mail order. They have a long track record and supposedly shoot well. There's also a bunch of other defense rounds I'd try before just going to a straight wad cutter for defense. Like HotGuns said, in a defense situation the ranges are usually going to be close and confusion a mayhem will rule. Really a different set of skills then range shooting as under that kind of stress fine motor skills are out the window and the gross motor skils are the pick of the day.
    I've tried the Winchester Super-X load, but not the Remington load everyone keeps talking about. I can't even find it on the Remington site (though I admittedly didn't spend too long looking there). I've tried most of the commonly available .38 loads, since I live close enough to Midway to make pick-up orders. My current carry load (the 158 gr Magtech semi-jacketed HPs) are fast and heavy, but they're still harsher than I'd like. Being the standard pressure load, velocity is a reported 807 FPS, which is good for about 230 ft lbs. They're serious penetrators in wet textbooks, with core separation about 50% of the time. The semi-jacket just isn't designed to stay put, and I consider it more of a large gas check than a true jacket.

    I'll try to do some head-to-head testing between the 158 gr Magtechs and the Black Hills 148 gr Wadcutters. One strike against the BH ammo - it's VERY dirty.

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    I have not seen them for awhile; but, the Blazer semi wadcutter hollow pt expanded well out of a .38

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    Senior Member Array KC135's Avatar
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    Question Dirty ammo

    The smoke and residue is caused by the lube on the bullets. If you do not want smoke, etc, avoid bullets that are lubed.
    Keep the shotgun handy!!

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    Mo [OP]
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    Really? I though it was just a result of firing non-jacketed bullets. Do you know of any pure lead wadcutters or semiwadcutters that aren't lubed or overly-dirty?

    I'd definitely like less soot on my gun at the end of a range session.

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    I've tried the Winchester Super-X load, but not the Remington load everyone keeps talking about. I can't even find it on the Remington site (though I admittedly didn't spend too long looking there).
    Found the Remington loads on cheaperthandirt.com. I haven't tried them myself but have always been curious. The Gold Dot 135gr loads work well for me.

    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/66333-7389-169.html

    is the listing for the rounds.

    If you try them let me know what you think!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Mo [OP]
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    Thanks man, at least I know what to look for now. If I can find some locally or get an order togethter for CTD, I'll check them out.

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