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by Middle Age Russ
Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:55 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: How Effective are Target Wadcutters as a Self-Defense Load?
Replies: 9
Views: 791

Re: How Effective are Target Wadcutters as a Self-Defense Load?

I believe that practical accuracy (which depends more on me) and sufficient penetration are the most important factors in a self-defense situation.
:iagree:

With handgun rounds, I'll happily take expansion if it occurs so long as said expansion doesn't inhibit penetration too much. At the end of the day with rounds of relatively low energy it is shot placement that trumps everything else.

Your question mentioned the claim that dum-dum rounds penetrate well with low recoil impulse. The low recoil impulse is simply due to them having to be light, low velocity loads due to the soft lead alloy -- to prevent them from unduly fouling the gun's barrel. If light-recoiling penetration is your goal, I would think any soft-lead load would work, whether it be round nose, wad-cutter (inverted or not) or some other profile since all of them have to be loaded light.

As for penetrating well, I am sure they can, but their performance will be more erratic than modern bonded jacketed hollow points particularly if they strike. bone. The soft lead tends to deform readily, sometimes fragmenting a bit and shedding weight. Playing devils advocate, if you want extreme penetration for a given cartridge, a hard-cast lead projectile with a large flat frontal area is probably the way to go since they don't deform easily at all.

Ammunition and firearms themselves are not so different in that we choose each of them to fill a certain role and we often look for the best combination of features / performance to do the job we have in mind.
by Middle Age Russ
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:31 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: How Effective are Target Wadcutters as a Self-Defense Load?
Replies: 9
Views: 791

Re: How Effective are Target Wadcutters as a Self-Defense Load?

Wad-cutters are almost always made of very soft lead and have a hollow base. Being very soft lead, velocities and energy of wad-cutter loads must be modest to prevent severe lead fouling. The deform but don't really expand and penetrate reasonably well.

Before the advent of jacketed hollow point pistol bullets, people used dum-dum rounds (a hollow-base wad-cutter bullet loaded backward) to help produce a bit of expansion from low velocity cartridges. The typical soft lead round-nose loads were somewhat better penetrators than wad-cutters due to the nose design, and would deform a bit but seldom expand at all. Dum-dum rounds offered modest expansion at best and were simply a small step up the performance ladder from the lead round nose loads.

Over the last 30-40 years, a great deal has been learned about producing projectiles that expand to limit penetration. Modern loads with controlled-expansion bonded, jacketed hollow points offer far superior and predictable performance -- expanding quite consistently to enlarge frontal area and limit penetration. There are several reduced recoil loads being produced with such modern projectiles if the reduced recoil is desired.

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