Sticks and stones may break my bones

Hey, that last post reminded me of something that pisses me off. Yes, I know it’s hard to imagine anything pissing me off…

I mentioned my trunk was full of wadcutter bullets. Are you familiar with the term?

“Bullet” proper refers to the slug — that ball of lead at the end of the doohicky. The whole enchilada — bullet, case, gunpowder and primer — is called a “cartridge”.

Most bullets are rounded. This tears a star-shaped hole in a target, which kind of closes up after the slug passes through. This isn’t very good on a firing range; from way down at the shooter’s position, you can’t really see where your shot went on the paper. (Or, in my case, whether it went on the paper. I’m a pretty average shot).

A wadcutter bullet is flat. This punches a nice, neat, round hole in the target, which can be seen much more easily from a distance. You wouldn’t choose it for a self-defense round, but it’s great on the range. (A semi-wadcutter…oh, guess, Einstein).

In the world of ammunition, wadcutters are pretty benign. But they sound so dadblasted evil. Wad and cutter — two ugly words made uglier together.

So I was watching this crime program. I think it was one of the CSI’s — yes, we’re coming to the “pisses me off” part. Those programs never get things 100% right, particularly when it comes to guns.

The clue in this case was that the victim had been shot with a .38 wadcutter. Now, that’s a fairly interesting clue for a deepstupid program like CSI. And I think, as a nod to their subject matter expert, there was some mention that the round was used on firing ranges.

But the writers were so in love with the sound of the word “wadcutter” that they never explored what it meant. Like, what would the implication be in helping prove or disprove premeditation in a murder case? Instead, the word was simply repeated for effect.

“The lab says it was…a …a…wadcutter.” <gasp!>

Stupid Hollywood.


Now, a Safety Slug, on the other hand, is a kind of an an evil fucker. It’s a handgun cartridge with pellets in the nose instead of a single slug. A shot-shell, basically. The “safety” part comes in because it doesn’t have much penetrating force — it won’t go through the target or the wall and hit Grandma in the parlor. It doesn’t ricochet or do much damage to solid objects. It will, however, chew a big ugly hole in meat at close range. Weasel reminds readers that we are made out of meat.

I had to take a basic firearms safety course when I joined a firing range. The instructor recommended that we buy a Ladysmith for self defense and load it with Safety Sugs. He speculated that this would be a nicer-sounding thing to explain to a jury after chewing big ugly holes in some two-legged, VCR-boosting meat one dark and stormy night.

As opposed to, say, a Laughing Assassinator loaded with Molten Slugs of Butchery.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted February 4, 2007 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Wadcutter eh? It does sound like a nasty name you could call someone. “You fracking wadcutter!

    So, what kind of gun do you have? I’ve been thinking about getting one myself.

  2. nbpundit
    Posted February 4, 2007 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Cud chewing wad cuttin’ concealed carryin’
    critter. :)

  3. Posted February 5, 2007 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Enas: I like revolvers, because they’re mechanically simple and reliable (when some old dude shoots a burglar with a gun that’s been lying under his bed for thirty years gathering dust, you can be sure that’s a revolver). And .38 is the caliber I’m most comfortable shooting. Larger, I’m embarrassed to say, and I flinch (which tends to make shots go low and to the left).

    Most people will say .38 doesn’t have enough stopping power, so my ‘bedside table’ gun is a .357 magnum — you can fire .38 ammunition in a .357 for target practice. Big ugly evil shiny snub-nosed nickel thing. Not a very good gun for shooting paper targets 50 feet away, but up close and personal, nothing says “I’m armed!” like a big ugly evil shiny snub-nosed nickel thing.

    Some ranges will let you pay for a day and try out their stuff. If you can find a basic firearms course or something like that, you’ll probably get to handle a bunch of different guns, too.

    Gun people are very friendly and helpful, probably because they feel so picked on.

  4. Posted February 5, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    You should slide gun totin’ into your moniker, thus:

    Extreme Right Wing Potty-Mouth
    Drunken Jew-Lovin’ Gun Totin’
    American Atheist Reprobate
    Crank Weasel

    NRA cred.

  5. Posted February 5, 2007 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got to work bunny-huggin’ in there somewhere. And sushi-eatin’. Because I hug bunnies and eat sushi and SHOOT STUFF! Yeah!

  6. Posted February 5, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Squirrel Supporting, Miata Driving, Anglophiling, Kitty Castratin’,
    Turn a Phrasin’, Scoff-lawin’, Weasel Drawin’, Sushi Rollin’,
    Panty Pullin’, flash animating worp dresser.

    Or, you know, it’s Ok as is.

  7. jabberjimmy
    Posted June 25, 2008 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Shows like CSI love to do that stuff. They had an episode of law and order where a kid made a full auto pistol out of a MAC10 looking thing by soldering some crap on the magazine.
    I guess they don’t want to really show people how to convert semis to full auto, but they could have tried a little harder to make it believable.


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