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The full wadcutter "conventional wisdom"

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by NG VI, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. NG VI

    NG VI

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Evening Mas, I was just thinking about the commonly-espoused idea that wadcutters are great personal defense loads because of their sharp shoulders and typically minimal recoil.

    Stephen Camp had a section on his website that said wadcutters aren't as super as some people think for defense, because the sharp shoulders they claim will cut a caliber-sized wound all the way through somebody don't actually keep their shape when they hit a person. As we all know, living tissue is hard on bullets, much harder than the paper targets that show such wide holes when shot with wadcutters.

    To me, his statement makes sense. Wadcutters are rarely hard cast, and no matter how sharp their shoulders are, they should round off pretty quickly while traveling through tissue.

    I guess my question is, what kind of testing or records for wadcutters is out there? Is their wound profile really significantly different than any other service pistol-type solid bullet, or is this like the notion that a flat point FMJ behaves differently than other FMJ profiles?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

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    Nov 6, 2005
    Most of the shooting deaths with .38 wadcutter that I've run across over the years have been suicides, not defensive shootings. Even then, the bullets frequently exited the head. While it decelerates quickly as range increases, in close the mid-range wadcutter is remarkably penetrative in gelatin.

    I think it's kind of a last ditch option for the .38 Special user who is extremely recoil sensitive, and probably not the load of choice with all that we have available today.