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Thoughts On Buffalo Bore's Full-Wadcutter, For Snub-.38 SD Load>?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by ULVER, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. ULVER

    ULVER Dixie Rebel

    Jan 8, 2001
    ATL., GA. USA
    My gun is an AIRWEIGHT, not a steel-frame revolver. Still, my first choice would be the (classic) Remington "FBI load." Recoil would be a PITA, but, hey~it has a proven street record.

    The Speer Gold designed for short-barrel .38's seems like a more modern, well-designed choice. I'm really leaning towards it.

    The Federal 125gr. Nyclad is back, and it's standard pressure. However, I have seen evidence, that it under-penetrates in bare gel, and then goes over 18+ inches after demin, without expanding in gel.

    Was given four boxes of these for nothin': :supergrin:

    Years ago, the simple target wadcutter, was not laughed at, by many who carried original Airweights. It was light kicking, and carried a full-profile, caliber punch!

    Buffalo Bore claims 14/16-inches of penetration. If this was AFTER clothing, I could accept it. If it is BARE gel, then one could only imagine, how much it would over-penetrate, after barrier material. That being said, the company (and a good one!), obviously thought this load was a viable concept for a carry weapon, of that caliber.

    Even after all the design advances, snub loads remain dicey, especially in non-+P format.

    Thoughts appreciated; just bored on a early SAT. morning.
  2. 167


    Oct 27, 2008
    Should work, but I would test it for recoil, etc. BB is known for loading hot. One of the reasons for running full wadcutters in snubbies has always been reduced recoil and faster follow ups. The BB wadcutter might be loaded a little heavy, making recoil stouter than desired and thus losing one of the benefits of running a FWC bullet.

    Don't forget the Corbon DPX round either, it is also a known performer out of snubbies.

    The 135gr+p short barrel GD is good, but has some recoil.

  3. dougader


    Apr 17, 2004
    That particular BB load is not +P, thus safe for all modern 38 special revolvers in good working condition.

    IMO, you don't get much expansion from a standard pressure 38 Special round fired from a snub-nose revolver anyway... so a full caliber wadcutter punching through 14-16 inches of bad guy is a great alternative to an underwhelming hollow point.

    The old FBI load is still a good choice and so is the Speer 135 grain GD +P round. If you want to stay with a standard non-+P load, then I'd go for the full wadcutter round.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010


    Dec 20, 2002
    Looks like a good choice for snubs, definitely a step up from the target HBWC loads.
  5. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I like the idea myself, it gets around most of my own misgivings concerning the idea of using target WC's as a defense load. Hard boolit, good velocity, plenty of penetration.
    The BB FBI load would still be better yet, IMO.
  6. gunreviewonmyspace

    gunreviewonmyspace havegunwillgo

    I used to carry a pair of snubbie 5shot .38s, and loaded them with 135Golddot short barrel, until I found their penetration a little lacking. I switched to the Buffalobore 158g SWC HP, and never looked back. I am convinced that is the best defensive .38spc loaded manufactured today.
  7. I am not following you here. Its not a hollow point, no hollow point to clog with fibers from clothing. So it seems to me it would penetrate more in bare gel, and less with the denim in place.

    In any case, it seems like a good concept. I have experimented with lighter weight wadcutters also. Its an old idea, I am surprised its not more popular.
  8. ChiefWPD


    Dec 25, 2004
    The British used a full-wadcutter projectile configuration a hundred years ago. It was called the “Manstopper” round. First designs were hollow in the base and nose (hollow base needed for stability). They eventually dropped the hollow in the nose as being unneeded. Calibers were in .455 and .476 revolvers. Dropped the design after signing the then new “rules of war” about exposed lead in flight.

    I carry the Buffalo Bore 150 grain full wadcutters in my five shot revolvers.
  9. ULVER

    ULVER Dixie Rebel

    Jan 8, 2001
    ATL., GA. USA
    Yeah, that makes sense about the "clogging" issue. I don't think so well, at 2 in the morning. :supergrin:

    Maybe they DID test it with barrier materials, if they claim 14-to-16 inches of penetration.

    Because here we find that in bare gel, this thing kinda stops for nothing! :faint: standard pressure Hard Cast Wad Cutter.html

    Maybe the BB is a bit TOO hard-cast, and tad TOO speedy. Still thinkin' it over. :dunno:

    Hey, if you never have heard of "Blue Bunny" ammo, take a look. They are a small outfit, catering to the .38 Special for defence crowd.
  10. Blue Bunny, I like the name. The old FBI load is a decent concept. But it works better in > 2" barrels. I don't think I want a 200 grain bullet out of a snub, either.

    Which leaves their 148 grain plated hollow point. Just have to see some testing on it before I can make a decision. They are about an hour's drive from me, so at least I could visit them.

    The BB wadcutter could be loaded a tad bit slower, it seems. Breaking 900 FPS out of a snub is not my idea of an easy load to shoot.

    I loaded some plated wad-cutters for my LCR, at a reasonably warm level, but never did get to clock them. They shot just fine, but I never tested them for penetration, either. Work keeps getting in the way of ballistic experimentation.
  11. BOGE

    BOGE Millennium Member

    Mar 21, 1999
    They were not HP bullets and hollow based bullets are a carryover from blackpowder times when undersized projectiles were needed due to fouling as well as many variables in barrel & chamber diameters and not for stability.
  12. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

    Jun 14, 2005
    I've not seen a round with better balance between penetration, expansion, and low recoil in a +P than the Remington LSWCHP 158 grain +P.

    MagTech makes a 158gr SJHP that's standard pressure, 2/3 the cost, and works very well as practice ammo. (cartridge model 38E ) Doesn't lead up, recoil is 'close' but lighter, and I'd guess the SJHP wouldn't expand as much as the ultra soft Remingtons.

    So, more penetration. Worth testing, at the least.

    And yes, I use the FBI load in SOME of my .38s, but not the vintage ones.
    And they're ALL steel frames. The Buffalo Bore is too close to .357 mag specs for me to shoot it in a .38, unless it was in a ruger. I'd shoot it in a steel J frame on a 'have to' basis, as few rounds as I needed and no more. I wouldn't shoot it in an airweight strictly due to recoil. It's substantial.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  13. ULVER

    ULVER Dixie Rebel

    Jan 8, 2001
    ATL., GA. USA
    Thanks! That was timely...

    Back in the day, there was a publication called "Handgun Tests", put out by a crazy SOB named Phil Eagledrum. It was a 100% no-BS zone. No major gun ads. Man, it was hardcore, and wonderfully revealing.

    When it came to small snubs, they thought +P likely wasn't worth the extra recoil. Usually the Remington & Winchester +P hollow-points just weren't going fast enough. +P or not.

    Eagledrum and staff, liked a standard target wadcutter. Full-caliber profile, light recoil, & easy enough on the alloys, to allow for practice.

    What made sense then, might still not be so off-base! :wavey:
  14. Ak.Hiker


    Feb 8, 2005
    Homer Alaska
    I like the idea of a 150 grain hardcast wadcutter as a SD load in the lightweight 38 Specials. Bullet pull would be a non issue. Lack of penetration would not be a problem. I would think with the bullet being a hardcast it would go deeper than 14-16 inches. Even though it is a non +P load it is still hotter than the target wadcutters on the market. As long as they shot well in the gun I would not see any reason why not to carry them.