Rifleman Q&A: Flush-Seating Wadcutters

by
posted on September 3, 2022
Qa

Q. It is necessary to flush-seat the wadcutter bullet in the .38 case when reloading for the S&W Model 52. But is this procedure more accurate than conventional overall-length bullet seating when using the cartridge in revolvers? Is better accuracy obtained minimizing bullet jump from the cylinder to the barrel by loading the bullet to the same depth as jacketed bullets, or is better accuracy obtained by flush seating regardless of the jump to the cylinder?


A. Flush seating is necessary for any wadcutter load. Bullet jump really isn’t much of an issue, and while I am not aware of a study that investigated seating a wadcutter out longer, several tests have shown no difference in accuracy between the same loads fired in .38 Spl. vs. .357 Mag. cylinders, which would provide a similar increase in bullet jump. But there would be one serious drawback to seating the wadcutter bullets out much further. The powder charge would take up a lower percentage of case volume, which would result in lower pressure and lower velocity. In all likelihood, this would also have a negative effect on accuracy. Some cast bullets have a crimp groove that might result in a slightly longer overall length, which is probably negligible; but other than that, I do not think it would be a good idea.

—Charles E. Petty, Contributing Editor


This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the February 2006 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John W. Treakle.

To subscribe to the magazine, visit the NRA membership page and select American Rifleman as your member magazine.

Latest

Ballard a No. 2 Sporting Rifle
Ballard a No. 2 Sporting Rifle

Rifleman Q&A: Marlin’s Mixed Markings

I have this old gun I want to shoot, but I’m not certain exactly what I have, and the gun appears to pre-date any description in the Blue Book Of Gun Values. The gun measures 43" overall, has a 26 9⁄16" barrel and its markings are as follows:

New For 2024: Diamondback Self-Defense Revolver (SDR)

Diamondback Firearms' handguns were previously of a polymer-frame, semi-automatic design, but with the release of its Self-Defense Revolver in 2024, the company is taking a new tack.

Preview: The Headrest Safe Co. Slide Bundle

For the armed citizen seeking to discreetly secure a defensive handgun in a vehicle, the Slide Bundle from The Headrest Safe Co. provides the ideal solution.

Gun Of The Week: Davidson’s Exclusive Rossi R92

Follow American Rifleman staff to the range in this week's video and learn about a Davidson's Exclusive variant of Rossi USA's R92 lever-action rifle.

New For 2024: Taylor's & Company TC73 Rifle

It has been more than 100 years since the Winchester Model 1873 was last made in America, but Taylor's & Company is bringing back an American-made Model 1873 with its TC73 rifle.

The Armed Citizen® May 17, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.