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Thread: 148 grain wadcutter, effective range?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    148 grain wadcutter, effective range?

    I am wondering what the effective range of a 148 grain wadcutter might be?

    By that I mean at what point does this particular boolit begin to drop when fired from a revolver?

    I'm guessing forty or fifty yards, but I don't know for sure.

    Thanks, exile
    Last edited by exile; 01-21-2020 at 01:08 AM.
    "There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage." --John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men. 1776

    "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6 (E.S.V.)

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    WC bullets are used for 50 yard bullseye competition, which they excel at. Much beyond this, they become unstable.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Any bullet begins to slow down as soon as it leaves the barrel.
    If the bore is level, it starts dropping right where it exits.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    The bullet starts dropping when it leaves the muzzle, regardless of the angle of the bore. If the barrel is pointed up, the rise of the bullet from that source is initially greater than the drop attributed to gravity. The sum of the two is positive, and the bullet has an upward trajectory. The constant acceleration due to gravity causes the rate of drop to increase, eventually exceeding the rise caused by the angle of the barrel. The sum of the two now becomes negative, and the trajectory turns downward.

    If the same bullet were fired in a vacuum, the same thing would happen, even though the speed of the bullet would be constant. The resulting trajectory would be a true parabola.

    Other interesting effects occur as well.
    Last edited by Tatume; 01-20-2020 at 08:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    50-75 yards or maybe a little more, typically, depending upon which wadcutter, what velocity, and what barrel twist. A fast twist barrel at higher velocity might extend this somewhat.

    Not a problem of drop so much as bullet stability. Shape of wadcutter not conducive to stable flight at some point.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Very interesting information, thank you!

    exile
    "There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage." --John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men. 1776

    "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6 (E.S.V.)

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GBertolet View Post
    WC bullets are used for 50 yard bullseye competition, which they excel at. Much beyond this, they become unstable.
    Yep!

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I was surprised at how well these shot at 100 yards:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FY8uiNuElq8

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvercreek Farmer View Post
    I was surprised at how well these shot at 100 yards:]
    Years ago, I walked past the TV and it caught my eye.

    Not idea who the guy was, but he was a exhibition shooter using a 2" Ruger .38.

    He was shooting the edges of playing cards and splitting them at normal pistol range distances,
    and popping about 8-10" balloons with it at 100 yards.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    Never pick a fight with old people.
    If they don't think they can win it: They'll just kill you.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    We have a little table at 75 meters from the berm at our hunting club range.

    I have a couple of plates back there,being lazy I often shoot only the plates @ 75 m and don't bother with walking back there and setting up paper targets at all. 75 is fine with 38 wadcutters,just hold your front sight a little coarse or adjust - those S&W silhouette front sights are excellent here. Any normal handgun load should hit A4 plate at 75 regularly. Walking back I get up to 125.

    I've been shooting everything @75 m here since -95, it's easy to confirm handgun loads,you can see the berm hits when/if there's not much snow...


  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    When I was shooting Bullseye I had a 1-10 twist Douglas barrel stubbed into a S&W M52 target gun. It enhanced accuracy at 50 yards and dropped groups about an inch. Velocity, twist rate, and bullet length all play a role in bullet stability.

    This was with Remington 148 gr HBWC and 2.7 gr of Bullseye. Similar improvement with the H&G 50.
    Don Verna

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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    The .38 Special wadcutters ordinarily do not produce linear dispersion when target range increases very much beyond about 50 yards or meters, when shot from the standard S&W 18-3/4” twist barrel. Using a faster twist of rifling, such as the 1:10” used in 9mm Parabellum barrels and some custom PPC guns, and bumping the velocity of solid-based wadcutters to improve their gyroscopic stability will shoot very well well past 100 yards. CBA member Bill Duncan in Alaska had a facinating article in the Fouling Shot Issue 258-19 which gave specifics of his testing out to 200 yards or metres using a ten-inch twist, heavy-barreled PPC revolver with scope. Yes, the bullet drop was considerable! Bill's aiming reference point was about 2 metres above the target backer, but the hits would have all been on an Army "E" silhouette target about 1 metre high and 1/2 metre wide.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    H&G #50 here,too.

    My N320 load has settled around 950 fps,now this thread made me try 3N37. I'm a 38 Special beginner, just another thing that has happened in backwards order in my life.

    Now cooking:


  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Off topic, but since I started the thread I will ask the question. What would be your recommendation for a revolver that is currently produced for shooting 148 grain wadcutters?

    Does anyone have any experience with the Ruger GP 100 Match Champion or the Smith and Wesson N frame V comp revolvers? I checked Dan Wesson's offerings for 2020 and it looks like they are only listing one revolver for the current year.

    Your thoughts?

    exile
    "There is not a single instance in history in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. If therefore we yield up our temporal property, we at the same time deliver the conscience into bondage." --John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men. 1776

    "The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6 (E.S.V.)

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Would that be in 38 S&W chambering?

    First time Sun in weeks,I chronoed my two 148 loads. My mild is 700 fps and hot is 1150 fps from 6" Mod 14. VV N320 and VV 3N37. Both ring steel @ 75,I should properly group them I know.


  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    1150 fps with a 148 grain solid wadcutter(I am assuming you are using the H&G 50 you spoke of) is really hot for a Model 14 S&W. That has to be into light 357 pressures. I would be very hesitant to shoot that in a model 14 no matter how accurate it is.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    1150 fps with a 148 grain solid wadcutter(I am assuming you are using the H&G 50 you spoke of) is really hot for a Model 14 S&W. That has to be into light 357 pressures. I would be very hesitant to shoot that in a model 14 no matter how accurate it is.
    Same here.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    1150 fps with a 148 grain solid wadcutter(I am assuming you are using the H&G 50 you spoke of) is really hot for a Model 14 S&W. That has to be into light 357 pressures. I would be very hesitant to shoot that in a model 14 no matter how accurate it is.
    My thoughts as well. The gun is not suitable for that use.

    Primers may not be flattened but you are stressing the gun. Please check you load data and the source...hopefully not internet!
    Don Verna

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the warnings,yes it is on a hot CIP side. Published in Vihtavuori 2002 manual,it says it should read 1070 fps, I also checked with Quick Load as usual. In SAAMI this is +P+ of course.

    Even though being CIP proofed,my Mod 14 will not get a steady diet of those,I fired most of them in 357 revolvers. A 2 1/2" Mod 66 gave 1020 fps.


  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    That would be a great defense load in that short barred model 66.

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