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Old December 17, 2017, 12:22 PM   #1
LBussy
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Search: .38 Wadcutter Brass

Does anyone know of a source, aside from culling range brass, for .38 wadcutter brass? I dropped Starline a note but never heard back.
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Old December 17, 2017, 12:56 PM   #2
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There's no such thing as .38 wad cutter brass. It's just .38 Special. The wad cutter part is the bullet shape. WC's are target bullets loaded flush or a tick above the case mouth. And no crimp.
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Old December 17, 2017, 01:10 PM   #3
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SOME 38s have a second cannellure where the base of a WC would sit to prevent it going deeper into the case.
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Old December 17, 2017, 01:22 PM   #4
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Yes my .38 Special Federal brass from target wadcutter ammunition has one cannelure about half way down the case that could be considered wadcutter brass. Unable to locate any on the net but that is what you are looking for.
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Old December 17, 2017, 02:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
There's no such thing as .38 wad cutter brass. It's just .38 Special. The wad cutter part is the bullet shape. WC's are target bullets loaded flush or a tick above the case mouth. And no crimp.
There is sir ... it features a thinner section down to a cannelure specially located to index a HBWC bullet. See this page for a good explanation.

From the page:

Quote:
For serious target work I use only cases which were originally used for loading factory wadcutter ammunition. Wad-cutter brass has thinner walls with a long cylindrical section which extends all the way to the seated base of the wadcutter bullet, whereas +P and other cases made for JHP service loads are thicker walled and have a faster internal taper intended to increase bullet pull to improve ballistic uniformity with the slower powders used for factory loading jacketed service loads.
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Originally Posted by condor bravo View Post
Yes my .38 Special Federal brass from target wadcutter ammunition has one cannelure about half way down the case that could be considered wadcutter brass. Unable to locate any on the net but that is what you are looking for.
That's the stuff. You would think there would be a better way of getting a quantity of it other than purchasing commercial or hoping for culls from range brass.
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Old December 17, 2017, 02:38 PM   #6
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L bussy:
Send me your street name and address and I will send you a half dozen of 50 round boxes of the Federal wadcutter brass, loaded once or twice, at no charge.
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Old December 17, 2017, 02:41 PM   #7
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L bussy:
Send me your street name and address and I will send you a half dozen of 50 round boxes of the Federal wadcutter brass, loaded once or twice, at no charge.
You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar! PM incoming.
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Old December 17, 2017, 03:23 PM   #8
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Have seven boxes boxed up that I will send tomorrow. They were mostly fired in a S&W model 52 and a .38 Colt Gold Cup and a few in a K-38 revolver.
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Old December 17, 2017, 03:28 PM   #9
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Have seven boxes boxed up that I will send tomorrow. They were mostly fired in a S&W model 52 and a .38 Colt Gold Cup and a few in a K-38 revolver.
Wow a Model 52? I've only ever seen pictures of those. Beautiful gun!
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Old December 17, 2017, 03:41 PM   #10
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Yes the 52 is quite a semi. About the only weak point was a weak ejector and loads of owners were trying to find one and you can imagine the inflated prices. Finally Natchez made some so all turned out well, a little tricky to install. But the 52 would continue to eject at about 90% even with the broken ejector.
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Old December 18, 2017, 09:50 AM   #11
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This thread made me wonder, so I pulled my brass and measured a half dozen different brands. What I found was Remington, Winchester and Speer had a wall thickness of about .0085" whether or not it had a wad cutter cannelure applied. Federal was about .010" regardless. PMC, lol, depended upon which side you measured. There was lots of variation on my sample.

I would think you could use any brand of 38 special brass with your wad cutters. The cannelure in the brass gets "ironed out" when you resize anyway. So unless you have a cannelure tool to roll it back in after resizing, I can't see how it matters.
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Old December 18, 2017, 10:07 AM   #12
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Yes my .38 Special Federal brass from target wadcutter ammunition has one cannelure about half way down the case that could be considered wadcutter brass. Unable to locate any on the net but that is what you are looking for.
There is no shortage of 38 Special brass around here, what ever purpose was served when the factory loaded the ammo during firing that little knurled circle around the case becomes another way to sort cases, anyhow, I sort cases,

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Old December 18, 2017, 11:15 AM   #13
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I'm perfectly fine with people not seeing the purpose of this ... but give the above referenced article a read if you care to understand it. I'm just amazed that this brass is unavailable, but I guess the use of .38 special in Bullseye has tapered off to the point where it's not financially viable to offer it for sale.
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Old December 18, 2017, 11:19 AM   #14
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Yes, .38 Special wadcutter brass has different internal dimensions. Here is how to identify them: Both Remington and Winchester have 2 cannelures located at about mid-case, while Federal has a single cannelure located just north of mid-case. Hope that helps.

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Old December 18, 2017, 11:29 AM   #15
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LBussy,
The Federal brass will be on its way shortly. You may notice that some cases may have slight circular rings around the cases. They were fired in the Colt Gold Cup and this is the explanation. For whatever reason, Colt needed to devise a way to create a slight delay in ejecting the case after firing and this was accomplished by ringing the chamber. The rings were transferred to the cases however when fired.
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Old December 18, 2017, 11:45 AM   #16
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Well that's weird ... I'm sure it made sense to some engineer somewhere. He probably even received a bonus for it.

Thanks for sending them!
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Old December 18, 2017, 11:49 AM   #17
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I suggest that you load some in brass with the cannelure and some in plain brass and test them. Make sure to use like brass from the same box if possible for both. I always segregated brass for bullseye but I loaded .357 cases because I was shooting a Model 19. Ideally brass from the same lot if possible.
Eliminate all the variables that you can. Use the same brass, bullets, powder, primer, seating depth, work the powder measure uniformly, seat primers uniformly.
Note: if the powder measure hangs, throw that load back in the measure, if you feel a tight or loose primer when seating them, cull that one. You want to eliminate any variable that you can. I've gone so far as to clean primer pockets when testing. One note on primers, Federal primers seat a lot easier than Winchester or CCI. Federal is my first choice. A hand primer like Lee or RCBS allows you to feel when seating primers.
Older Hornady bullets had grease type bullet lube, new ones are dry lubed. I don't know which is best. I've heard good things about Remington lead bullets but I have not tried them. I no longer shoot bullseye so I haven't checked them out.
My 2 cents worth.
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Old December 18, 2017, 11:49 AM   #18
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The drawing in my Lee manual shows 38spcl od at .379". With .358" diameter bullets, the difference is .021" which divided by 2 gives a wall thickness of .0105". If these dimensions were true your bullet to case interference fit would be .0", at least with my Federal cases.

My RCBS dies, however, shrink the case od to .377" just ahead of the rim, to .371" at the mouth. My Hornady and Sierra jacketed bullets at .3565" and non-Federal cases with .0085" wall thickness expand the cases .0025" when the bullet is seated.

Your dies may differ, but I noticed in another post you said your wad cutters were .360" in diameter, presumably because of the coating. I don't know if there really is an internal difference in "wad cutter" cases or not, but if there is, it must be minute. I suspect your bullets when seated will stretch out any cases you put them in.

What then could possibly be the problem with using regular case? Are you concerned they will migrate down in the case? Revolver ammo without enough grip typical works OUT not in. Autoloading pistols can theoretically shove a bullet in as the round is pushed into the chamber but it seems less likely with a revolver. Also 38 spcl wad cutter have the bullet seated flush to the case mouth. Even so, as mentioned earlier, when you resize the case cannelure is virtually gone except for external markings. You would have to reapply it to make it work as the factory ammo was intended to do.

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Old December 18, 2017, 01:33 PM   #19
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What then could possibly be the problem with using regular case?
I'm no expert. I do listen to them now and then. The points made (via Ed Harris) are:
  • Wad-cutter brass has thinner walls with a long cylindrical section which extends all the way to the seated base of the wadcutter bullet
  • cases made for JHP service loads are thicker walled and have a faster internal taper intended to increase bullet pull
  • By loading the "fat" factory Remington bullets or as-cast bullets in unsized brass, and profile taper-crimping in this manner,
    • case life is improved
    • bullet deformation is reduced
    • bullet pull is more uniform
Really I'm parroting someone else's work here. I really recommend reading Ed Harris' article.
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Old December 18, 2017, 02:00 PM   #20
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This would be a good use of "RP" Remington head stamp brass, which typically has thinner case walls and won't resize adequately in standard dies to achieve good tension on any but lead bullets. I have them segregated away from my regular brass rotation.

I don't seat flush. I use WC bullets with a crimp groove and roll crimp with some bullet sticking out.
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Old December 18, 2017, 02:37 PM   #21
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SAMMI doesn't spec case inside dimensions, as the military does, so the manufacturers have lots of leeway to fiddle with things. The bottom line I see here is yet another excuse for bringing home a set of pin gauges. You find the one that just makes it into the fired case's brass, and see if it will slide in by the length of your WC before it stops where the brass is thickening or not.
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Old December 18, 2017, 04:02 PM   #22
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I load a lot of wadcutters (DEWC's, specifically).

Sure seems like we're pretty deep in the weeds here. I have to wonder how critical this all is.

I do load like brass and try to keep things consistent and uniform. And going just that far seems to have my bullets going nice n straight for me.
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Old December 18, 2017, 05:43 PM   #23
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Sure seems like we're pretty deep in the weeds here. I have to wonder how critical this all is.
Pretty much my point, however I'll admit the thin section at the end of my calipers is only about 7/16" so it's possible that the brass I sampled started getting thicker just beyond that. I'm just having a hard time believing a big brass maker has a separately engineered and manufactured line of brass just for wad cutter ammo. I absolutely could be wrong though, maybe it's easy (and profitable) for them to make changes in internal dimensions.
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Old December 18, 2017, 05:53 PM   #24
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LBussy, thanks for sharing that link. It was an interesting and informative read. Especially where he discusses factory .38 Wadcutter ammunition, then and now.

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Old December 18, 2017, 05:55 PM   #25
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I've got a lot of Federal American Eagle 38 brass that had 130 grain fmj bullet in them that I bought several new cases of and they all have that cannelure. So whats up with that??
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