Wadcutters in the 38 Smith and Wesson

  • Last Post 17 March 2013
[email protected] posted this 07 March 2013

I want to try a 150gr full wadcutter in my Colt Police Positve 38 S+W but can find no load data for the combination. It seems to me that surely at one time or another wadcutters were used in the old round. I'm kind of fearfull of using load data for the round nose 150gr bullets found in the manuals due to the wadcutter needing to be loaded deeper into the case taking up space and maybe producing unfreindly to gun and shooter high pressures.

Any how if someone has a tried and true waddcutter target load for the 38 S+W I would surely appreciate it !

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Webley posted this 07 March 2013

In the .38 S&W, I typically load the 200 grain .380/200 load for my Webley. I have seen the WC in the Speer #13, but I will have to look for my copy.

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gunarea posted this 07 March 2013

Hey Flashman

   Here are some loads listed in Speer reloading manual number 11

148gr. bevel base .358" wadcutter. Test gun S&W model 33, 4"

Powder                  weight/grains               velocity/fps

Green dot                   2.5/2.8                    648/719

Red dot                       2.4/2.7                     667/765

231                              2.3/2.6                    593/671

Bullseye                       2.2/2.4                    629/693

   These are as published, sorry I can't help with tried and true loads for the 38 S&W.    Note;These are not for hollow based wadcutters. Your concern for deeper seating is sound bulleteering and applies to the differences in wadcutters also. The limited space available in the case makes a partial seating necessary. Depth of wadcutter seating in 38 S&W should be similar to semi-wadcutter seating depth. I hope the information is of use for you.


Shoot often, Shoot well

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Ed Harris posted this 07 March 2013

Speer No. 13 gives .38 S&W data on p. 515 using the 148-gr. BBWC, seated out, crimped in the top lubricating groove NOT SHORTER THAN 1.065"

Start 3.1 grs. Unique 673 fps, max. 3.4 @ 747 fps Start 2.5 grs. Bullseye 701 fps, max. [email protected] 48 fps Start 2.5 grs. W231 609 fps, max. 2.8 @ 688 fps Start 2.7 grs. RedDot 698 fps, max. 3.0 @ 797 fps

Not for top-break revolvers.

I have used factory Remington 148-gr. HBWC component bullets with these charges at 1.08” OAL with good results.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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[email protected] posted this 08 March 2013

Thanks, The old Colt I'm loading for was built in 1919 still in good tight condition but I don't want to abuse it. Just thought I'd like to try the wadcutters hoping they shoot to point of aim same as the 146gr. factory stuff so I can shoot it in the new revolver postal match. Been using 125 Lee's. They shoot good but a little to low and to the left.

My old Lyman manual doesn't list wadcutter loads for the 38 S+W. Nor does the Hodgden or Allient website. I'm kinda cheap but I might have to break down and get the Spear manual to expand my horizons. The 38 S+W is kinda neat because it is chambered in neat old guns! Thanks again!

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Webley posted this 08 March 2013

Ed beat me to the manual.

Anyway, there are a couple of pages on the 38 S&W using Speer Bullets.

Modern Reloading by Lee has one page with several recipes, including the 195 gr lead bullet.

Here is a Bing search that might be useful. http://www.loaddata.com/members/listing.cfm?caliber=.38&caliberid=20

Anyway, good hunting.

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gunarea posted this 08 March 2013

Hey Flashman

   My limited experience with the 38 S&W was due to inheriting some old stuff. Two of the handguns are only usable with very light loads and have given me a start on several occasions. They are still fun to shoot and stir old memories. One by- product was finding a mould for a 38 caliber 115gr semi wadcutter.The little bullet shoots good. For me, the deal breaker was getting brass. Keep us posted on your progress.


Shoot often, Shoot well

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Webley posted this 11 March 2013

I liked the Handloader Article by Mike Venturino the 38 S&W, though it may be old hat here.


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Rich/WIS posted this 11 March 2013

Have two old Lyman Manuals, 43rd and 45th editions that list loads with the 358495 WC.

43rd Bullseye 2.0 700fps 3.0 810fps Unique 3.0 590fps 4.7 895fps

45th Bullseye 1.6 600fps 2.0 732fps Red Dot 1.7 598fps 2.1 653fps Unique 3.0 813fps 3.8 925fps

Big difference in loads and velocities between the two. Also the 358495 is an old style wadcutter that has a crimp groove and was not intended for flush seating.

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[email protected] posted this 12 March 2013

Due to how the throats are cut in the old Colt I had to seat the wadcutter in real far only allowing .960 overall length. It looks to me as if the beginng of the throats have a very abrubt step not allowing the wadcutter much room. The wadcutter at .960 touches that step. Looking at a factory Remington cartridge the bullet has an abrupt step to maybe match the throats. I know they shoot pretty good. 

Well I took the chance and loaded up ten of the 150 wadcutters using 2 grains of Bullseye. Experienced no unwanted excitement or signs of excessive pressure. They shot a little bit to far to the left at 50 ft.to make them practicle for target work.

I did relearn a lesson: Those old Police Positives with there light wieght and skimpy sights are just plain hard to shoot off hand at 50 ft.  

The gun is better served with the 125's I' ve been loading and letting my wife bust 3# coffee cans at 30 ft. Much more fun and easier on the gun and person!   

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codarnall posted this 14 March 2013

Not knowing any better as a boy I had seated the 150 gr wadcutter out to .357 lengths over 2.7 gr Bullseye. Fear of the double base powder had be worried about being too hot. Shooting my brand new Mod 27 at a dried board on the desert at a downward angle of 45 degrees the bullets were bouncing off the hard wood. Held level it was fine. I learned immediately to seat the bullets flush with small charges. Year was 1963. I was able to buy it with a note from my Mom. Charlie

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[email protected] posted this 16 March 2013

Ya I bought a 22 H+R revolver at about 16 years old to use on the trap line. The owner of the gunshop called the county sherrif,and told him who my parents were. I took the gun home with me. This was in the days of the 3 day waiting period. It was also in the days when everybody new everybody. How times change

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CB posted this 17 March 2013

My first revolver was a really nice old M&P in 38 S&W. I first started reloading for that revolver. When I got to HB wadcutters, I loaded them with about 2.5 gr of Red Dot IIRC, seating the bullets out as far as I could. I didn't have a chronograph in those days, but the bullets seemed reasonably accurate, but would barely stick in the tree bark that my targets were stapled to. Penetration was non-existent. I kind of miss those days.

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