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Old November 4, 2009, 08:52 AM   #26
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I shoot home-cast lead bullets exclusively in my handguns, always have (since 1964). Never bought any lead, had it given to me. Hand loaded, and never was concerned about the cost of the ammo I shot.

The additional dirtiness of shooting is a fact, but of minor concern.

I have used semi-wad-cutter Keith type designs for most of my shooting of revolvers. And have observed only one fault. When using speed loaders, the edge of the semi-wad-cutter bullets will tend to catch on the edge of the cylinder slowing fast reloads. For all speed loader work, I find that either round-nose bullets or round ogive with a flat nose work better as there is no edge to catch and the round ogive guides the bullets into the chambers. Nevertheless, with a single action hand gun, this (the sharp edge on the bullets) is almost no problem at all due to the fact that only one round is being inserted into the cylinder at a time.

Another observation, is that round nose or flat-nose bullets, lacking the sharp edge, fall from the mould easier than the Keith type bullets in some moulds.
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Old November 4, 2009, 09:16 AM   #27
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The value of semi-wadcutters?

1. Cheaper to make. (Less lead)
2. The cut nice crisp holes in paper.
3. Flawless function is my gun.
4. They knock down steel as well as LRN.
5. Improved accurace.
6. How many reasons do I need to load a projectial that just works?
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Old November 4, 2009, 10:35 AM   #28
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as a one time "hater" I might offer some insight...

my 1st couple expiriences with lead bullets / wadcutters were soft swagged bullets, & they leaded my barrel horribly...

1st off, they were "soft, swagged" lead bullets, not hard cast bullets...

2nd... lead shavings... yep that happens, if you don't have the right expander button in your dies, or if you are not belling your case mouths properly

3rd... gas checks... nope don't need them for hard cast bullets driven at "normal" velocities... I do use a gas check on some rifle bullets, & some hot magnum pistol rounds...

4th... if you have ( any ) copper fouling in your barrel... the barrel will lead much faster / easier...

I still have a buddy that will not run lead through any of his guns... no matter how I offer explainations... I guess they are his guns & his choice, but lead & wadcutters / semi wadcutters aren't half as bad as the O.P.'s opinions, & in some guns those big lead "bombs" are my 1st choice for hunting, & IMO... they'd do a great job in self defense as well...
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
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Old November 4, 2009, 08:51 PM   #29
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Lost sheep, thank you for your reply and there were a couple others that were helpful as well. I've come to expect rudeness even from some self proffessed non-loaders who for some reason troll the reloader forums and love to flame anybody who does not conform to the crowd. Shrug aint nothing wrong with the thickness of my skin and wading through the troll replies is often rewarded with some very good knowledge such as your post.

The majority of the posts essentially say they load SWC cause that's what they do and because they are quite cheap apparently though I don't see where you save much lead over a round nose. A few point out that for punching paper which they were designed too do they are indeed what you want to shoot.

I want to accuracy at a min of 50 yards and 100 yards doesn't sound too unreasonable for a magnum. Not easy but not unreasonable. If your talking 10 yards yes you could shoot just about any shape and it's not going to matter. At 50 and 100 yards I think the shape of the bullet will begin to make a difference in a hand gun. Maybe I'm wrong. Thus I ask.

Thank you on the tip about fouling. I'll try that. The SWCs I'm shooting are soft cast which is apparently a good bit of the problem with leading as well. I've had to back down a full grain off what I shoot jacketed 158 gn bullets because the leading becomes noticable after 100 rds.

I'm actually getting into casting bullets though I'm not especially fond of lead bullets. Trying a hard alloy opposed to the soft cast stuff I purchased at a gun show in bulk a year or so ago. If I'd known that such a small part of my question would create such an uproar I'd left it out as it's not really the important aspect of the question. Good idea on the foam plug though. Hadn't thought of that,

I'm really interested in the physics of how the wound channel works as you described it. Seems to me that the leading edge would just flatten leaving essentially a full wad cutter on impact and a severe loss in weight retention. Your describing the opposite. Of course the alloy will make a difference, hard cast bullets retaining much more of their weight and shape.

Why wouldn't a round nose give you better penetration if all else is the same? The round nose is more aerodynamic and tissue is just a thicker medium than air. Bone that's a different story.

Why wouldn't a hollow point leave a larger and more damaging wound channel? Obviously it's not going to penetrate as deep as other kinds of bullets but that is kind of the point. It is I'd think the round of choice if your worried about over penetration such as in self defense rounds.

Why wouldn't a truncated round nose give you essentially the wallop of a SWC with almost the same penetration as a round nose? It has that flat leading edge without the parachute the SWC carries. The whole point of that parachute is to make a CLEAN hole right? That's what it's designed for, punching nice sharp holes? So wouldn't the wound channel be a nice clean sharp hole? Essentially the same as a round nose? The flat nose of the truncated round nose should act essentially the same in tissue I'd think. Yeah it's not as purty punching holes in paper as there such limited contact surface in a piece of paper.

Again assuming all are of the same alloy shot from same gun with same load.

To the rest. I'm not a cowboy shooter. The SLOWEST thin coming out of my .357 is 180 gn rounds doing 1150ish. I'm pushing mid to high 1400s on 125 gn rounds. If you want to shoot cowboy loads nothing wrong with that, it's not my thing and seems like everybody on this forum is terrified of recoil. If I was 70 yrs old I'd shoot cowboy too. I'm only in my 40s and my loads stay just under where I'm seeing pressure. I shoot 300-500 rds every time I go to the range and I go to the range frequently, would should even more if I could afford it. All hand loads except rare occasions I lust for the brass of some factory loads I've had collecting dust somewhere

As for it works. Many a bear has been taken with a round ball out of a smooth bore musket. It worked but there was a better way. I want the best way not just what works. That is why I question and try different things. If your happy with what you use just say so. Just say "I like what I do and have no incentive to try something else" Cool. Attempting to belittle somebody for questioning whether that is the best way accomplishes nothing aside from wasting bandwidth. I could shoot a polished rock out of a .44 and kill big game with it. I could also use silver bullets and kill big game. Both are inferior to lead and copper however. Throwing a big rock off the side of a cliff worked in it's day as well. There are always trade offs with anything you do.

The point is what works best for various purposes. Yes it's easier to standardize on exactly one type of bullet of one weight. Maybe one day I'll do the same. However different bullet types serve different functions. It's a series of trade offs. What I'm hearing so far is that SWCs are a bit cheaper. As such people shoot them at paper. They work well on paper and since that is what they shoot most of the time when they hunt they'll use the same round, which works but is not necessarily the best round for that purpose. What's the best round for self defense is probably not the best round for shooting in a tourney and a completley different round is probably the best round for hunting.

If there are websites comparing the ballistics. wound channels, etc of the various types of bullets, uses and such I'd love to see them and that was one of the things I was really hoping too see in answer too this question. If there isn't one and somebody is willing to loan me the ballistic gell and supply some of the rounds I don't shoot I'd be happy to perform extensive tests, photograph them and put them on a web site. The point is to learn and by learning become a better reloader. The day I stop learning I hope they are throwing dirt on me. The day I stop questioning they'd BETTER be throwing dirt on me.
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Old November 4, 2009, 09:43 PM   #30
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I think the reason you got some bad reception is because you were complaining. And it seems like all the problems you are complaining about can be solve through improvements in your reloading techniques. I shoot LSWC's in 38 spl, 357 mag, 45 auto, and 45 colt and my loads are both clean burning and extremely accurate. Just my 2 cents.

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Old November 4, 2009, 11:00 PM   #31
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I'm really interested in the physics of how the wound channel works as you described it.

Lets look at it this way.

You noticed nearly all the post above talk about the clean cutting of the target from WCs & SWCs.

Now shoot a round nose bullet at a paper target. If you put your finger on the back of the bullet hole caused by a round nose bullet, you can push the paper back in place and see little damage.

I've been to several autopsies in my CSI days. I discovered the same thing, that a WC/SWC cuts tissure, where as the round nose bullet pushing the tissue asside as it passes through.

OK now someone is gonna bring up hollow points. Hollow points have to work differant, You cant expect the same bullet to work the same on a winter target with a heavy coat, to penitrate/expand (in the target) the same way as a summer target wearing only a T-shirt. It just dont happen. To see for your selt, put a heavy coat on a wet phone book and shoot it. Then shoot the same bullet into a wet phone book without the coat. There is gonna be a differance.

Look at the below picture. One round is a Black Hills 125 Grn +p, the other is my 150 SWC being pushed by 4.5 grns of 231 (standard load, not +P).

Both were shot in the same wet phone book. The SWC out penitrated the 125 grn load. In passing in deeper it also expanded. Look at the jacketed bullet.

I think you can better answer your questions about the SWC by loading them, and shooting them into as many differant medians as you can and see the results.

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Old November 5, 2009, 12:49 AM   #32
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Troll replies??? Your posts have been met with a little animosity because you are challenging accepted practices and beliefs out of pure ignorance. Like I said, you are wrong on all counts and need to educate yourself.

Why wouldn't a round nose give you better penetration if all else is the same?
The roundnose is notorious for doing very little damage to the tissue it passes through. Elmer Keith wrote of this in 1936. It's still true.

At 50 and 100 yards I think the shape of the bullet will begin to make a difference in a hand gun. Maybe I'm wrong.
You are wrong and you've been told this several times in this thread.

Why wouldn't a hollow point leave a larger and more damaging wound channel?
It would, at the expense of penetration. Two holes bleed more than one. Expansion is really unnecessary with a big bore sixgun cartridge. The SWC cuts a big hole and the flat nose produces a wide wound channel while penetrating deep, usually exiting. Hollowpoints cannot be counted upon to exit.

Why wouldn't a truncated round nose give you essentially the wallop of a SWC with almost the same penetration as a round nose?
Because it lacks a sharp, full diameter shoulder.

If you want to shoot cowboy loads nothing wrong with that, it's not my thing and seems like everybody on this forum is terrified of recoil.
What are you talking about???

Just say "I like what I do and have no incentive to try something else"
Ignorant and beligerent about it. Folks use cast SWC's because they work.

It sounds to me like you've written off cast semi-wadcutters because you loaded swaged semi-wadcutters too hot and paid for it. Like I said, you REALLY need to do some reading before putting your foot in your mouth any more. But then, folks have been telling you that since you joined here six months ago. Like they did in this thread.

You claimed to be a "noob" in this thread from May and now you're contradicting tried and true practices, all the while getting defensive with those who try to set you straight? Maybe we should all burn our Elmer Keith books and just read your threads??? No sir, calm down, pull up a chair and educate yourself. You're still learning, you've been reloading for six months, you should be asking questions, not making statements and certainly not contradicting all those sixgunners who came before us and forgot more about this stuff than most of us will ever know.
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Old November 5, 2009, 01:24 AM   #33
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If it wasn't for the cost savings, I'd surely love to shoot only jacketed hollow points! But due to cost savings, I like lead bullets for some handloads. Semi wadcutters cut nice clean holes making it easier to see where you are hitting and also to score targets. There are many bullet shapes. Round nose, semi wadcutter, wadcutter, , truncated, hollow point, half jacket, full metal jacket etc. You also can't make your own jacketed bullets without investing in expensive equiptment. Cast lead bullets are relatively easy to make at home as good as commercial lead bullets or better because you can use softer lube that does a better job than commercial hard lubes.

So in summary, if you don't like lead, don't shoot lead. If you don't like semi wadcutters, but round nose bullets! You just didn't buy what you want to shoot. Spend some money and fix your problems. Order bulk bullets from someplace like Midway. You should be able to get 1000 jacketed bullets for $100 or so. Just don't complain when you see flecks of lead in the box from the manufacturing process The only way to eliminate lead exposure is with a total metal jacketed bullet. Rainier is the cheapeast, but I've found they don't really work that well in revolvers with roll crimp or at high velocitiy. That leaves the $20+ per box speer TMJ bullets as your only choice. Cost of loaded rounds are going to be pretty close to buying factory 38s You can only save money reloading if you buy economical components. Hornady XTP's particularly in the light weight .357 variety work well and are relatively inexpensive at the moment for what you get. rc
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Old November 5, 2009, 03:14 AM   #34
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I'm going to go back to the question in the title of the OP. Why semi-wadcutters? At close range you can say it is because you can't seat a full-wadcutter of the same weight out as far in anything but a revolver, and still have them function reliably. The full wadcutter, having to be seated deeper for most guns, doesn't leave enough room for the quantity of powder needed for a high performance load.

At greater range, the purpose of the SWC, and the Keith style in particular, is to have as much of the flat meplat of a full wadcutter as possible, but with better aerodynamics and making room for the higher charge. They don't fly as far as pointed bullets, of course, but Keith killed a deer at 600 yards with one, IIRC? So it's not like they just fall flat out of the sky, either.

Interestingly, the compromise design had what I suspect was originally an unexpected benefit. The relatively shorter, wider nose brings the center of mass further forward than you have in either a round nose or a pointed bullet. This makes the SWC more stable for a given twist rate than either a round nose or a pointed bullet is. As a result, in slow twist barrels like the .44 Special, with it's 20" twist, they just flat out shoot more precisely than those longer shapes. The fact Keith was working with exactly that chambering to develop the .44 Magnum is likely part of how he came to settle on his own version of the design, adding the radiused ogives for better BC's. The venerable H&G #68 SWC proved so extraordinarily accurate in .45 ACP, that many a National Champion shot them to the winner's podium in bullseye matches.

Even the soft swaged SWC's can perform with remarkable stability if you load them to appropriate velocities. One of the tricks with any shape of lead bullet, be it soft, medium, or hard, is to get the right hardness match to the pressures you shoot at. Either too soft or too hard and accuracy and fouling are exaggerated. Too soft deforms and strips too easily, while too hard won't bump up at too low a pressure and ends up leading from bypass gas cutting. There are several approximating formulas around. One is to multiply the BHN of your bullet alloy by 1400 to get the mininmum peak chamber pressure you should load for to use it without excessive leading. Google on formula's for BHN for pressure to find others.

The swaged lead is good for 800 fps or so, IME. I have a 1 5/8 inch group of five I shot with the soft Hornady swaged LSWC's from my old 3" Charter Bulldog. 25 yards, offhand. A mere 2.9 grains of Bullseye. The standard round nose lead commercial loads would run more like three or four inches at that range from that gun, and that was off a Hoppe's pistol rest.

You want a bullet with a wide flat meplat on game because, as Elmer Keith showed when he developed his variant, they seem to stop things better than other solid shapes. The flat nose creates hydrodynamic pressure that causes momentum to translate perpendicular to the axis of the penetration, so shock effect is present. At rifle velocities this does astonishing amounts of tissue damage, leaving wound channels much wider than the bullet. Veral Smith's whole range of LBT bullet designs are based on this principle. Like Keith, Smith proved the flat meplat's stopping power by hunting. At pistol velocities the effect is less dramatic, but they still seem to shock the target enough to create an advantage, better bleed-out being the most notable.

Penetration is less than a round nose, but much deeper than a wide expanded hollow point. In high sectional density designs, the penetration is often through and through, and the hole is bigger.

Anyway, if you get yourself a .45 or a .44 for carry and load it with SWC's (the right hardness, of course), and someone asks why you don't load with hollow points, you can tell him not to be fooled by appearances. That you are, in fact, actually shooting a .38 that's pre-expanded so you don't have to worry about clothing clogging hollow points or any of that.
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Old November 5, 2009, 06:56 AM   #35
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Why wouldn't a truncated round nose give you essentially the wallop of a SWC with almost the same penetration as a round nose?
Because it lacks a sharp, full diameter shoulder.
In this case, he is correct (in terms of destructive power). The shoulder of a SWC does not increase damage. It has been shown through testing (don't have it in front of me right now) that it is the meplat only that does the damage. Therefore, a TC with the same meplat as a SWC will do just as much damage. That is why WFN LBT-style bullets are so popular these days. The WFN LBT I use in my 44 has a wider meplat than any standard SWC.

As for penetration, AFAIK, there isn't a huge difference as long as meplat and weight are equal. A smaller meplat will increase penetration at the expense of damage.

That doesn't mean the SWC isn't well suited to hunting, but the "full diameter shoulder" doesn't contribute much to the killing power.

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Old November 5, 2009, 08:51 AM   #36
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It has been shown through testing (don't have it in front of me right now) that it is the meplat only that does the damage.
I remember that testing also. It was determined that meplat (flat nose) cause a temporary cavity to the extent that if bullet lube was to be placed in the area of the "cutting shoulder" and the ogive of the bullet, the bullet lube would still be intact after firing into flesh medium or other testing material, indicating that the shoulder does not even make contact with the medium (animal tissue). Thus, a round nose, flat point does as much tissue destruction as a semi-wadcutter, dependent upon the diameter of the flat.
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Old November 5, 2009, 11:19 AM   #37
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lead wadcutter bullets

to hog buster. your request for loads on 38 spl. and 148 gr wadcutter. my books say 150 gr wc unique 6.4 gr is 1154 max. vel. and 13.5 gr 2400 is 1227 max. vel. for 38 spl. heavy fram guns only. i also have another lyman book that gives bullet # 358495 38 spl. load at 2.9 gr bullseye this is sized at 358 149 gr. bullet and same with 6 gr unique, these books do nt have front cover any more but did a long time ago. hope this helps. cjs
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Old November 5, 2009, 08:43 PM   #38
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I have no doubt that Elmer Keith was right about LSWC's being better on game.

But I can't tell any on steel accuracy difference between LRN and LSWC. For my autopistols, I just figure LRN feeds better, though I never had any issues with the H&G 68 200 LSWC.

Loading my revolvers, a LRN or LFN just rolls into the cylinder easier, without an edge to hang up on a chamber opening.

So, I have been ordering RN bullets and using up the last of my LSWC's.
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Old November 5, 2009, 09:25 PM   #39
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I wish I had a $1 for every cast bullet I've shot. I could've retired years ago.
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