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View Full Version : What is your favorite .38 Wadcutter bullet?



AKtinman
03-30-2005, 03:53 PM
I particularly like the 358432 design. This was offered in 160 gr and the more common 148 gr version.

It has been an accurate bullet in all the revolvers I have tried it in.

A single cavity mold is awfully slow, and Lyman hasn't offered the 160 gr version for many years, so I am looking for a similar design/weight in a 4 to 6 cavity mold.

Suggestions?

shooter2
03-30-2005, 04:09 PM
A while back three of us ran some tests on .38 WC's. We all had accurate K-38's and, between the three of us and Beagle, had a number of moulds. The Lee came out on top. As memory serves a Saeco came out #2 and poured very consistent bullets. The Lee was Buckshot's mould and I think it was a two cavity. I believe he's since gone to a 6 cavity of the same bullet.

Buckshot
03-30-2005, 04:54 PM
............Right, the Lee's used: 358-148WC were poured in a 2 cavity. On the strength of it's showing I bought a 6 cavity. I haven't used any of that production yet, nor scaled them to see the variation the 6 cavity produces.

When you come right down to it, just how many ways can you make a WC :lol: ? You can alter features, ie: BB, or number of lube grooves but it's still a lead cylinder. If you make it into a hollow base it's still a WC but it's such a radial alteration I think it should be treated differently. I believe (through reading and NOT doing the test) is that one of the most important things is lube quantity the slug carries. This is assuming everything about the slug's dimensions is right for the pistol.

In a "Handloader" ariticle it was shown, at least in HIS pistols that excessive lube caused accuracy problems. His test boolit had 4 LG's. In testing from a Ransom rest succeding LG's were left empty and the best accuracy average was obtained with just one LG filled. These were mild target loads.

After this they tested to find out which of the one LG's being filled was best. Mentally I figured the top one, as it is leading the boolit down the barrel. Turned out the bottom LG provided the best average overall accuracy.

.................Buckshot

beagle
03-30-2005, 07:12 PM
Well, pilgrim says the old Lyman 358395 HB does real well and that pretty much reflects my experience. BUT, they're obsolete and hard to pour.

I normally make do with a 358495 and have shot a bunch of cans, some small game and a BUNCH of rats with it when that was allowable at the city dump.

It functions fine in a Colt Python,M28 Smith, my Blackhawk and a Colt Midrange Match./beagle

JDL
03-30-2005, 07:46 PM
My WC of choice is the 358432 since I've had it for close to 40 years and have never felt the need to use anything else.-JDL

Maven
03-30-2005, 08:09 PM
My experience with the Lee WC was the same as Buckshot's except that the mold never filled out properly and gave ~30% usable CB's. The keepers, however, were outstandingly accurate. I've since gone to the RCBS wadcutter, but find that it shoots best if seated with the "button" nose toward the powder. Seated backwards, it is a tack driver in two .357mags. and one .38spl. ...Maven

P.S. Who's that standing with John Wayne? 8)

Dan in Wa
03-30-2005, 11:06 PM
Sorry to be a wet blanket,but......Do cast wadcutters shoot as well as Speer 148 HBWC? Years ago a friend had a Lyman mold that cast about 168gr. wadcutters. They shot okay like a semiwadcutter but no better. Used to get the Speer bullet in bulk paks [500] for very reasonable around here. They shot great. Nothing has shot better except the rare condum.

Hardcast
03-31-2005, 12:06 AM
I particularly like the 358432 design. This was offered in 160 gr and the more common 148 gr version.

It has been an accurate bullet in all the revolvers I have tried it in.

A single cavity mold is awfully slow, and Lyman hasn't offered the 160 gr version for many years, so I am looking for a similar design/weight in a 4 to 6 cavity mold.

Suggestions?

Last year I was interested in a heavier than standard .358 wadcutter mold. The only non-custom mold I could find was the H&G wchich is now made by Ballisticast. Very pricey for the 4 or 6 cavity mold.

Pb head
03-31-2005, 02:12 AM
Talking about a Ly 358395 HB, a fella at the club gave me one to try out. He told me to cast hot with a soft soft alloy almost pure lead and will cast and shoot very accurate with the standred 2.7 Bullseye load. He was right the best I ever put out of my K 38. I only tumble lubed them with Lee alox cut with mineral spirits. They are slow to cast and you got to keep the pin hot. He also gave me the loan of a 358009 to use as long as I want.
Yesterday at our bowling pin match he told me to sell the wadcutter mould if someone made a decent offer. Man I don't know what a decent offer is for that mould. Before you ask, no he didn't offer the 358009 up for sell, if he does I'll grab it for my whelen. If anyone is interrestd I still have a Hensley & Gibbs #50 38WC 4 cavity with handles in **** good shape for the first $50 + shipping

Pb head

Buckshot
03-31-2005, 03:24 AM
Sorry to be a wet blanket,but......Do cast wadcutters shoot as well as Speer 148 HBWC? Used to get the Speer bullet in bulk paks [500] for very reasonable around here. They shot great. Nothing has shot better except the rare condum.

Factory hollowbased WC's are swaged and not cast. They're cast out of softer then usual alloy if not pure lead. In the swaging process, lead cores are cut to close length, and then go into a core forming die. Under considerable pressure the cores are swaged to produce the same weight, as exactly as possible. The core forming process bleeds a bit of excess lead to bring each to within a 1/10gr or so.

From there they go into a form die that brings the boolit to it's final shape, again with considerable force. Both these dies are very close tolerance items and finely finished internally. Due to the pressure involved the boolits are very solid, and have no void's or shrunken spots. At this point they're nothing more then a lead cylinder, with or without a hollwbase.

After the 2nd die, they get 2 or 3 rings of knurls rolled into thier diameters and are then lubed via dipping, usually. As they are factory loads, naturally they get loaded into new single lot cases. Some ammo makers use a special cartridge case for 38 Match loads, having less internal taper. Just as highpower match rifle ammo gets treated to the best, so does the humble 38 Special, in match applications.

It is very hard for the individual reloader to equal the quality of factory made 38 match ammo. Almost impossible to surpass it.

..................Buckshot

Buckshot
03-31-2005, 03:28 AM
P.S. Who's that standing with John Wayne? 8)

Oh that was just me an the Duke out messing around one day. He was showing me his new M92 carbine!

I think I have another around here som'airs of me and a buncha the boys during the Spanish-American war :lol:

..................Buckshot

AKtinman
03-31-2005, 03:31 AM
Pb head: PM sent on the #50 H&G.

My e-mail is: tinman<@>ptialaska.net (remove <> before mailing)

Thanks

Ron

Four Fingers of Death
03-31-2005, 04:16 AM
I have a Lyman 142 button nose single cavity wadcutter mould which I haven't used for many years. It was mega accurate, but boy it was slow to use. I have just bought a K38 and I had the offer of converting it to a single action trigger when I bought it after some guy inheirited a SA K38 and wanted a DA. I have just got it and haven't shot it yet. I will get the lyman mould out of retirement for this gun for bullseye style shooting.

Slow, but can't go past it for accuracy though.

When the NYPD pistol team came out here in 1988 for the Law Enforcement Olympics, they gave me all of their left over ammo. It was Federal 38 wadcutter ammo. Boy, no matter how carefully I mould the boolits and reload the cases, I can't match the accuracy of those suckers. Must buy some more someday (even though it goes against my religion to buy factory ammo).
Mick.

PS, Always found the 158Gn SWC RCBS boolit was not far beind the wadcutters in accuracy, although the holes were not as distinct inthe target.

Dan in Wa
03-31-2005, 10:08 PM
Buckshot, Thanks for the factory load data. Kinda tired last night.....was really asking,do any of the cast wadcutters shoot as well as the HBWC? Has anyone chronied the std. 2.7gr of bullseye load? I have....around 650fps in a couple of .38's. The books say in the middle 730/750fps range. Is my Chrony doing what cheap chrony's do? Don't really care except the stuck bullet thing? Only shoot 500 or so a year mostly at beverage cans and paper. They are a lot more fun than a .22 on small/ really small varmits, but don't tell the Wa Dept of Game......please!

Buckshot
04-01-2005, 07:11 AM
http://www.fototime.com/48343BFA434AB36/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/286E072BDB25297/standard.jpg

The top photo is a 10 round group fired at 25 yards using the Ly35863's I hollowbased, and cast of pure lead. As they come from the mould they're a solid. These were shot with a S&W Victory model in 38 S&W. previous work with harder cast slugs was going nowhere regardless of load, seating depth or diameter.

The swage die I made to hollowbase the slugs produces a .362" diameter boolit and I haven't tried to load any of these in 38 Special to try in my K38. It's a MUCH more capable pistol then the little Victory model. While the above group isn't perfect with those 3 out of the group, it's miles ahead of anything I'd ever shot before. Considering none of the slugs were wieghed, and the powder charges were thrown, plus the fact that the slug was roll crimped into a drive band, I don't think it's too bad.

Velocity of this load was 757 fps from a 4" barrel and a pistol with a .012" barrel cylinder gap. I have a NOS 5" barrel for it and with the gap closed up that velocity might be closer to 850 fps. The 158gr slugs does make the little pistol bounce.

I think a soft lead slug that's hollowbased can be exceedingly accurate with a mild target type load if the pistol doesn't do anything bad to the slug as it jumps through the hoops finding it's way from the cylinder and out the muzzle. Otherwise, they are more fragile then a solid based slug.

..................Buckshot

Willbird
04-01-2005, 07:51 AM
I knew the brother of the founder and owner of the defunct "Alberts" bullets company, he started out as "Ten-X" bullets, winchestor as I recall hade a trademark for that, then he went to "taurus" with a bull squatting and depositing a round pellet.the then budding gun company complained (at that time the mistaken association would have been good for them I think) the owner then settled on "Alberts" because that was his last name.

anyway he made his soft swaged bullets on bolt header machines, they had a dry lube I would now suspect was moly, his brother said "you come in contact with what he uses as lube quite often in the machine shop trade" they had no grease grooves, and as long as they somewhat fit the throat of a revolver they would run 1000 fps no problem.

He sold the company to an outfit from canada that only wanted to make bullets to load ammo.

I'd love to have Lee 6 cyl for a 150 or so 38 wadcutter that had only a single grease groove, if it was closer to one end a fella could load the bullet either way and see which was most accurate.

as we talk about smaller boolits I really think Lee should make them a 7 or even 8 cylinder mold.


Bill

stephen perry
07-30-2010, 04:58 PM
I have most every Ideal/Lyman .38 wadcutter mold and have Cast many with each. If I have a favorite it has to be my Lyman 358 87 in 4 cavity. Not a Lyman number in any manual but I have, and I have them all back to #36. The mold bullet is flat base comes out at 140 grn as Cast, 3 lube grooves. The top has a hemispherical dome covering about 50 % of the bullet top. Shoots well in every .38 I have shot it in. Generally I load Unique but have used 231. Never seen this number for sale never seen any load data for such but Lyman made some.

Stephen Perry
Angeles BR

Hang Fire
07-30-2010, 09:30 PM
358091 http://www.castpics.net/Lymans/Lymans16.gif

Started using it back in the 1960s, in either a Colt Python or a S&W Model 10, was deadly. Still have the mold, but no guns for it.

TCFAN
07-30-2010, 10:39 PM
I have most every Ideal/Lyman .38 wadcutter mold and have Cast many with each. If I have a favorite it has to be my Lyman 358 87 in 4 cavity. Not a Lyman number in any manual but I have, and I have them all back to #36. The mold bullet is flat base comes out at 140 grn as Cast, 3 lube grooves. The top has a hemispherical dome covering about 50 % of the bullet top. Shoots well in every .38 I have shot it in. Generally I load Unique but have used 231. Never seen this number for sale never seen any load data for such but Lyman made some.

Stephen Perry
Angeles BR

On page 218 of the Lyman cast bullet hand book 2nd. edition 35887 is listed as available in 140 or 125 gr. wt.Top punch is 311. It is also listed in the 3rd. edition

It is a nice looking boolit. Wish I had a mold for it........Terry

Hardcast416taylor
07-30-2010, 10:49 PM
For awhile I had 2 Lyman #358495 molds to make my wadcutters. I used an alloy of 50/50 ww/pb. I usede about any alox lube I could get for lube. Red Dot was the powder and 3.0 gr. the charge with a winchester primer igniting it. I`m down to only 1 mold to satisfy my k-38`s appetite. I really wish I could say how many of these bullets I`ve cast over the years and shot.Robert

kmag
07-30-2010, 11:28 PM
Over the years I don't think I ever ran across a .358 wadcutter that did not shoot well in my guns. I have probably shot more H&G 50 or 50B because I have a 10 cavity mold for both. I have found that most S&W 38 spec. shoot good with all wadcutters that are not too hard or sized too small for the bore, and are driven at target speeds Just don't try to load hollow base wadcutters hot. Don't ask me how I know that! A solid wadcutter can be driven as fast as any other nose shape out of the muzzle, but looses velocity faster because of the flat nose configuration.

stephen perry
07-30-2010, 11:41 PM
Thanks for the update on 358 87. I saw that info a long time ago when I was looking for load data in my Lyman Hand Book of Cast Bullets, forgot that I had seen the info. I ended up using load data for 358 495. Like I said 358 87 has shot well in any .38/.357 I have shot it in. I load for my BR mentor since retired, he shoots a S&W 36 with 2" barrel. He shoots 11" pie plates with his favorite faces drawn on them. He generally keeps 10 shots inside 6" offhand at 25 yd. He's the one I load 231 powder loads for, STAR loader.

I have I think 11 Ideal and Lyman .38 cal molds, like them all. Another mold I like is 358 63. A double beveled .38 cal bullet I also load for my friend Jerry, I have it in a double. Casting .38 bullets is a natural, never found a gun or mold that didn't perform well.

Stephen Perry
Angeles BR

MT Gianni
07-30-2010, 11:51 PM
I picked up a 358395 this spring and shot 100 or so cast with dental lead over 2.8 gr Bullseye. They worked nice and grouped better than the 35863, 358495 or 35891 have done for me. I find with wadcutters I get the best groups lubing only one groove with FWFL.