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Wad Cutters


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  • Wad Cutters

    Out dept armorer cleaned out the dept armory last week. While doing so he found an old ammo can cramed full of .38 spl wad cutters. There must be several hundred if not a thousand rounds in the thing! He knew I have a .357 revolver, do he gave me first crack at them. Anyhow here is my question: Are Wadcutters just for target/range use or can they be used for defensive purposes? Just Wondering!

  • #2
    They cut a nice round hole. In anything.
    So yes they could be used defensively, but there are many many better choices out there. And with .38spc ammo choice is a big determinant in effectiveness.

    I'd be happy to take some off your hands if you dont want them all.


    • #3
      Well the only wad cutters That should be used for self defense are Lead, Semi-Wad Cutter, Hollow Points (LSWCHP). This is the type of bullet(158 grn, +p) used in the famous FBI or Chicago Load. Normal Wad Cutters which are loaded flush with the brass, are only used for target shooting. Some who reside in states, where HP's are illegal or hevaily restricted for "civilian" use, will use Semi-Wad Cutters for SD. A Semi-Wad Cutter has a squared of nose and a distinctive "shoulder" where the bullet is seated in to the brass. The purpose of this squared off shoulder, is to make scoring eaiser, which is the same reason behind the design of the flush fitting Wad Cutter round.

      The reason some people who are denied access to suitable and safer HP ammo will use this type of round is simple. The feeling is that a regular round nose lead or FMJ bullet leaves an "ice pick" wound and it's tappered shape actually causes a smaller wound channel. The belief is that the smoth and pointed round merely pushes the flesh out of the way, and that the flesh being elastic, rebounds back to as close to it's original postion as possible.
      These people feel that the shoulder on the Semi-Wad Cutter, at least makes a larger wound channel, that the flat point transfers more energy in to the target, and that the soft lead bullet will mushroom/distort more eaisly.

      There is a recipe for a home made SD round using the regular Wad Cutter bullets, loaded backwards into the brass. These bullets have a large cavity similar to that on a Mini-Ball, and this was used as an early hollow point. The use of this round or any other home grown SD round is highly discouraged, for legal reasons.

      Fyr Dawg
      Forti Fors Bona


      • #4
        I have several issues with the preceding post but would you care to elaborate on the "legal issues" mentioned in the last paragraph?


        • #5
          The same legal issues that have been an on going debate for quite some time.
          The reasoning is that if you use "home made" ammo for S/D the D/A or plantif's lawyer in a civil trial can claim that you made super dabgerous anti-tank rounds with special nun and child seeking war heads.

          I have so far been taught this in both my CCW training, academy training, and Dept. training. No I have never bothered to look on westlaw or anyother database for case law on point. I am happy that several people who teach this subject for a living, and act as "expert witnesses" have made the satement and are willing to back it up with their reputations. One group that comes to mind is the shooting team from the A/G's office, they are required to investigate all officer involved shootings in the state. The only person who comes to mind right now is teacher/author Massad Ayoob. I'm happy with their explinations and I'm also happy with the Gold Dot's and Golden Saber ammo that I currently carry at work/off duty.
          Forti Fors Bona


          • #6
            Wad Cutters are a TARGET load. They have a very light powder charge (it doesn't take much to go through one sheet of paper) and usually run a 148 grain bullet. SLOW! Do not use these for serious social work. Cheap can get you killed. Take some to the range, along with some normal duty ammo. Shoot various items like paperback books, phone books, a heavy leather belt - the wadcutter will likely not pass through any of these. Have fun on the range with 'em, practice good gun skills, but DON'T bet your life on old target loads!


            • #7
              I thought I smelled Ayoob there.
              Yes, he is, as far as I can tell, the sole source for this advice. Even he admits there has never been a case where ammo selection, much less home-made, was ever a factor in a court case.
              It's simple: if the shoot is good, it's good. If it wasn't good, it wasn't good. Some bullet or other will not change a good shoot to a bad one, or vice versa.
              As for re-loading, most people reload the same components that ammo makers use, Gold Dots, Golden Sabres and Silvertips. How anyone can tell a gold dot that was loaded at home from one loaded at the factory is beyond me. Nor what difference it makes.
              My theory is, use what you shoot best and have the most confidence in. If it comes to giving testimony and you are asked, the answer is: I use this kind of ammo because I have the most confidence in it. No one is going to second-guess that.


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