Hollow base wadcutters loaded backwards

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Charlie, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Member

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    A recent thread about a J-frame revolver showed some 38 Special loads with the hollow base wadcutter bullets seated backwards. I did this decades ago a few times for shooting out of my Blackhawk and just loaded them with the same data backwards as forwards. I am sometimes surprised I survived my early teens considering some of the things I did reloading. Should the charge be reduced due to the volume available for powder being smaller with the bullet seated backwards?

    I can see using the same charge of powder for double end wadcutters and hollow base wadcutters of the same weight seated hollow base first since the volume should be the same, but the hollow base bullets seated backwards should have much less volume for powder. I would think that could produce pressure problems.
     
  2. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I’ve loaded hollow base wadcutters with a pretty light “target” load as going too fast screws with accuracy as you blow out the skirts. If you do the same it seems unlikely that you’ll go overpressure flipping the bullet around.

    If the bullet is more accurate backwards than forwards then I’d either reduce the charge or select a bullet designed to be pushed hard.
     
  3. dkmatthews

    dkmatthews Active Member Life Member

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    It isn't likely to flip around unless the bullet is inherently unstable. The hollow base facing forward contains a volume of air that will be at higher pressure than the air flowing around the bullet in flight, so it behaves like a solid mass.
     
  4. KnotRight

    KnotRight Well-Known Member Charter Member Benefactor Life Member

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    While in college I loaded either a 38 or 357 with a backwards hollow base wad cutter and shot a washing machine in a dump. The dimple it made was bigger than a 50 cent coin and maybe 3/8 deep. Might not have any penetration but some knock down powder. I did have some that key-holed after 15ish yards.
     
  5. Toprudder

    Toprudder Be vewy vewy qwiet. Supporting Member

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    In theory, yes.
     
  6. georgel

    georgel Behind Every Blade of Grass Supporting Member

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    With the minimal charges involved, I don't think you're going to have a problem. As JimB mentioned, blowing skirts off, due to over charging, is more of a problem. Reverse HBWC is fun and I too used to get .25 cent piece sized expansion, but at a cost of penetration. There's nothing wrong with full wadcutters, maybe pushed a little hot for defensive use. That full diameter meplat is nothing to laugh at.