The closest comparisons are the .380 ACP, which fires much lighter bullets slightly faster than most .38 Special loads; the 9×19mm Parabellum, which fires a somewhat lighter bullet significantly faster; and the .38 Colt Super, which fires a comparable bullet significantly faster. On one trail hike I had wadcutters loaded to a velocity of 900 fps. Tracer cartridges in .38 Special caliber of different colors were issued, generally as part of a standard aircrew survival vest kit. WC, 158 gr. If you’re new to the shooting community (or even if you’re a veteran shooter), then you could be forgiven for wondering what a wadcutter bullet is. Both are excellent fight stoppers. In the .38 Special, wadcutters shot with IMR Target powder had an extreme velocity spread of 27 fps compared to twice that, at 57 fps, for semiwadcutter bullets. Additionally, the .38 Special's heritage as a black powder cartridge gives it a case size capable of accommodating many types of powders, from slower-burning (e.g., Hodgdon H-110 or Hercules 2400) to fast-burning (e.g., Alliant Bullseye, the traditional smokeless powder for this cartridge). This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Improved Red Dot is cleaner burning. The wadcutter bullets left about .20 inch of space between their bases and 3.0 grains of W-572 powder in .38 cases.
These loads are generally not recommended for older revolvers or ones not specifically "+P" rated.  The PGU-12/B High Velocity cartridge differs from M41 Special ammunition in two important respects—the PGU-12/B is a much higher-pressure cartridge, with a bullet deeply set and crimped into the cartridge case. Therefore cutting the wad.
Both .38 Special and .357 Magnum will chamber in Colt New Army revolvers in .38 Long Colt, due to the straight walled chambers, but this should not be done under any circumstances, due to dangerous pressure levels, up to three times what the New Army is designed to withstand. Pushing the bullets through a .359-inch sizing die only added a hard lube in their grooves. According to the manufacturer, Alliant Red Dot powder has been used with shotshells, handgun loads and reduced-velocity. In May 1943, a new .38 Special cartridge with a 158 grains (10.2 g), full-steel-jacketed, copper flash-coated bullet meeting the requirements of the rules of land warfare was developed at Springfield Armory and adopted for the Smith & Wesson revolvers. Another solution is to use an unjacketed soft lead hollow-point bullet as found in the FBI Load. By modern standards, the .38 Special fires a medium-sized bullet at rather low speeds. A Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum was used to shoot .357 Magnum and .38 Special loads listed in the load table. The Big Game Hunting Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca and other Amazon stores worldwide. This .38 Special variant incorporated a 200 grains (13 g) round-nosed lead 'Lubaloy' bullet, the .38 Super Police.  The FBI Load was later adopted by the Chicago Police Department and numerous other law enforcement agencies. The solution to those wide velocity swings was the use of wadcutter bullets.
Despite its name, the caliber of the .38 Special cartridge is actually .357 inches (36 caliber/9.07 mm), with the ".38" referring to the approximate diameter of the loaded brass case.
IMR Red is similar in burn rate to Red Dot. As a result, wadcutter bullets should only be used for self-defense purposes if there is nothing else available. , Demand for a .38 cartridge with even greater performance for law enforcement led to the introduction of the +P+ .38 Special cartridge, first introduced by Federal and Winchester. For the most part, wadcutter bullets produced lower extreme velocity spreads than the semiwadcutter and RNFP bullets. The .38 Special was introduced in 1898 as an improvement over the .38 Long Colt which, as a military service cartridge, was found to have inadequate stopping power against the charges of Filipino Muslim warriors during the Philippine–American War. By modern standards, the .38 Special fires a medium-sized bullet at rather low speeds. Britain would later adopt the .38/200 as its standard military handgun cartridge. I eventually started carrying a Ruger SP101 .32 H&R Magnum. So why would anyone want to use a wadcutter bullet? Except for case length, the .38 Special is identical to the .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, and .357 Magnum. This flexibility in powders translates directly to versatility in muzzle energy that a handloader can achieve. But there was no need for that, as there was enough friction between the bullets and the inside of the cases that the bullets remained in place. , The .38 Special is particularly popular among handloaders. All of the above specifications for .38 loadings, and the .357 Magnum, are applicable when fired from a 6-inch (150 mm) barreled revolver. In the case of target loads, a 148 gr (9.6 g) bullet is propelled to only 690 ft/s (210 m/s). Though this is not often an issue for most handgun shooters, it can be a problem for people shooting wadcutter bullets out of a carbine. Sort By: 10 Item(s) Show. Winchester Ammo X38SMRP Super-X 38 Special 148 GR Lead Wadcutter 50 Bx/ 10 Cs. The bases of SAECO .44-caliber wadcutters were seated about .195 inch deeper than RNFP bullets, and Rim Rock wadcutter bullets were seated .150 inch deeper than RNFP bullets. In 1956, the U.S. Air Force adopted the Cartridge, Caliber .38, Ball M41, a military variant of the .38 Special cartridge designed to conform to the rules of land warfare. This group was shot at 25 yards with a Smith & Wesson Model 329PD .44 Magnum revolver using Rim Rock Hard Cast Cowboy 200-grain wadcutter bullets with IMR Red powder in .44 Special cases.
all versions of the Smith & Wesson Model 10), which are not designed for the greatly increased pressure of the magnum rounds. Discussion Starter • #1 • Mar 7, 2012. However, this article is focused primarily upon factory watcutter bullet loads and I won’t go into detail on the advantages or disadvantages of (or endorse) either method.
 The .38/44 high-speed cartridge came in three bullet weights: 158 grains (10.2 g), 150 and 110 grains (9.7 and 7.1 g), with either coated lead or steel jacket, metal-piercing bullets. Designed for competitive shooting, the flat nose and sharp shoulder of the bullet ensures that it cuts clean, “cookie cutter” round holes in the target.
 The new military .38 Special loading propelled its 158 grains (10.2 g) bullet at a standard 850 ft/s (260 m/s) from a 4-inch (100 mm) revolver barrel. RN, 158 gr. Due to its black-powder heritage, the .38 Special is a low-pressure cartridge, one of the lowest in common use today at 17,500 PSI. The flat shape of the nose is the primary feature of the wadcutter bullet. 308 vs 30-06 vs 300 WIN MAG: WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU BE HUNTING WITH? Semi-wadcutters generally have a shorter bearing surface than traditional wadcutters. Ballistics By The Inch .38 special results. Pet Loads and Handloader are registered trademarks of Wolfe Publishing Company. Thanks for your support. Trail Boss is Reiber’s favorite powder for low-pressure loads. It ignites easily because its granules are porous and its rounded edges and hole in the middle provide lots of surface area for primer flame to reach. Wadcutters loaded over W-572 narrowed velocity spread by 53 fps compared to the semiwadcutters loaded over the same powder.  A variant of the standard M41 cartridge with a semi-pointed, unjacketed lead bullet was later adopted for CONUS (Continental United States) police and security personnel. It can range from light target loads to more powerful defensive ammunition.  The FBI Load combined a more powerful powder charge with a 158-grain unjacketed soft lead semi-wadcutter hollow-point bullet designed to readily expand at typical .38 Special velocities obtained in revolvers commonly used by law enforcement.  The following year, a new high-power loading called the .38 Special Hi-Speed with a 158 grains (10.2 g) metal-tip bullet was developed for these revolvers in response to requests from law enforcement agencies for a handgun bullet that could penetrate auto bodies and body armor. 120 Posts . Handloaders can sometimes improve the performance of wadcutter bullets for self-defense use by using had cast bullets and loading them to slightly higher pressures than factory loads.  The media attention gathered by the .38/44 and its ammunition eventually led Smith & Wesson to develop a completely new cartridge with a longer case length in 1934—this was the .357 Magnum. Copyright © 2020 Big Game Hunting Adventures LLC | All Rights Reserved.  The M41 ball cartridge was first used in .38 revolvers carried by USAF aircrew and Strategic Air Command security police, and by 1961 was in use by the U.S. Army for security police, dog handlers, and other personnel equipped with .38 Special caliber revolvers. Wadcutter bullets dropped from an NEI 150-358-WC mould with a diameter of .358 inch. The bullets poked clean holes through grouse and killed them on the spot.  Power (muzzle energy) will, of course, decrease accordingly. The oddly shaped bullet isn’t very aerodynamic, they aren’t loaded to a high pressure, and they aren’t very common bullets.
Others will take hollow base wadcutter bullets and seat them upside down for use as self-defense ammunition. Reviewing all the numbers, several powders delivered uniform velocities with wadcutter bullets and acceptable velocity spreads with semiwadcutters and RNFP bullets.
Luckily, the semi-wadcutter bullet provides almost all of the benefits of the wadcutter bullet without a number of the disadvantages (though I would still prefer a jacketed hollow point over a semit-wadcutter for most hunting or self-defense applications). A wadcutter bullet helps fill the empty space to provide even velocities. Reiber has worked with wadcutters in the .38 Special and other relatively large handgun cases to develop load data for Hodgdon’s reloading manuals. For the band, see, Revolver cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson (S&W), The metal-penetrating bullets were often described as. However, the longer and more powerful .357 Magnum cartridge will usually not chamber and fire in weapons rated specifically for .38 Special (e.g. Many of the major ammunition manufacturers (like Federal and Sellier & Bellot) produce wadcutter loads designed for target shooting. During World War II, some U.S. aircrew (primarily Navy and Marine Corps) were issued .38 Special S&W Victory revolvers as sidearms in the event of a forced landing. The .357 Magnum fared better shooting wadcutters loaded with three powders. The round is still as viable today as a self-defense round as it was back in 1898. Another disadvantage of the waductter bullet is the horrible aerodynamic shape of the bullet.
Additionally, wadcutters are difficult to quickly load due to the blunt, un-tapered shape of the bullet. By 1961, a slightly revised M41 .38 cartridge specification known as the Cartridge, Caliber .38 Ball, Special, M41 had been adopted for U.S. armed forces using .38 Special caliber handguns. Known for its accuracy and manageable recoil, the .38 Special remains one of the most popular revolver cartridges in the world more than a century after its introduction.  The latter's 158-grain soft lead hollow point is loaded to +P pressures and velocity, which ensures more reliable expansion in unprotected flesh, even when fired in a 2-inch short-barreled revolver.
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