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Thread: Hybrid vs Wadcutter

  1. #1
    Special Guest Moderator 1911Tuner's Avatar
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    Hybrid vs Wadcutter

    BY now, most members have rad of the difference the "Hybrid" magazine has made in the feed reliability in Mitch's pistol, in spite of some damage done to the feed ramp. Not a cure, but a dramatic difference all the same.

    His trouble started with "Nose-Dive" misfeeds with the feed ramp stopping the bullet's progress to the chamber. While the magazine is most often the root cause, sometimes it's the feed ramp geometry itself. If the angle is too steep...too acute...the bullet nose can't glance off and angle upward. Enter the tapered lips and the late/gradual release of the "Hybrid" and the original "Hardball" type magazine.

    The tapered lips perform two functions. They let the rear of the cartridge rise at a predetermined rate as the round moves forward, maintaining a less severe angle as the round enters the chamber...but it also does something even more important.

    As it moves forward into the increasing distance between feed lips...when the bullet nose reaches the feed ramp, it allows the front of the cartridge to more easily angle upward. This makes a feed ramp that's been cut a little out of spec (acute) less critical.

    On a feed ramp out of spec in the other direction...less acute...it combines with the rear of the round moving up in the taper and gives the cartridge a better chance of gliding over the top corner of the barrel ramp instead of forcing it straight into it.

    Taking a little side trip before proceeding...much has been made of bullet "Setback" after chambering the same round 2-3 times...and it can happen on the first trip. This does happen, but it doesn't have to be rule.

    Assuming that the feed and barrel ramps are properly to spec...and assuming a magazine that is suited to the cartridge overall length is used...one round can be chambered 12-15 times with no more than .003 inch of setback.

    In my replies to this thread, there are pictures illustrating the different feeding characteristics between a USGI magazine, and a typical aftermarket "Wadcutter" magazine. A picture is...they say...worth a thousand words.

    Don't touch that dial!

  2. #2
    Special Guest Moderator 1911Tuner's Avatar
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    Re: Hybrid vs Wadcutter

    First, we have a "Hybrid" magazine compared to a 7-round "Wadcutter" magazine of unknown manufacture. There is one cartridge sitting on the follower in both...pushed forward to just before the release point with the rim caught on the dimple, but not simulating the upward angle imposed by the feed ramp.

    The difference is obvious. Here, the rise of the rear of the cartridge is in evidence.


  3. #3
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    Re: Hybrid vs Wadcutter

    In this sequence, we have cartridges in both magazines at approximately the point of feed ramp contact, as the ramp works to guide the round toward the chamber.

    The tapered lips let the front of the round "nose up" while the parallel lips maintain the straight shot into the ramp. If the ramp is a half-degree too steep, there's a good chance that it'll stop or drive the bullet back into the case...even if it does feed. More importantly, by the time the feed ramp forces it to nose up, the angle of entry into the chamber is more acute. The cartridge has to "Climb a steeper hill" as it were.

    At this point, it should be noted that the longer cartridge length typical to hardball gives the wadcutter type magazine the most trouble.





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    Re: Hybrid vs Wadcutter

    Finally...shown here just at the point of release, but still under control by the magazine...the angles are glaringly obvious. The wadcutter magazine not only needs a nearly perfect feed ramp...that feed ramp needs to be cut deeper into the frame than with the tapered lip GI or "Hybrid" type. Simply put, the original magazine design allows a little more "wiggle" room in the feed and barrel ramp geometries with long ammunition. A perfect example of Browning's redundant style to insure reliability in the event of a manufacturing problem. No guarantees, and it won't cover a multitude of ills...but just to provide the best chance to function even if the blueprint specs are a little off.





  5. #5
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    Re: Hybrid vs Wadcutter

    The different magazine designs shown here illustrate the importance of choosing the right tool for the job. "Wadcutter" magazines are more specialized, while the tapered GI or GI magazine is more general-purpose, though it doesn't usually do very well with SWCs. The "Wadcutter" can often work well with shorter hollowpoint...but not as short as some SWC ammo. The "Hybrid" spits the difference, and generally works equally well with either, though still not as reliably with "Snub-Nosed" SWC bullets as the true "Wadcutter" magazine does.

    It works with long hardball and mid-length hollowpoints, while the "Wadcutter" favors the really short stuff...although it generally does okay with mid-length provided the feed ramp is to spec and extends deep in the frame. With long and mid-length ammo, the hybrid and the GI magazines don't contact much of the feed ramp. Hardball actually only uses about a quarter-inch of the ramp at the top. Hollowpoints...maybe .050 inch deeper.

    The drawback to the tapered lips is that the rate of taper is critical. If the rear moves upward too early or too high, the rim of the last round in the magazine skids over the top of the dimple, and loses the positive control. The wadcutter feed lips are essentially more forgiving and less complicated to form. It's also cheaper to make a good wadcutter magazine.

    The tapered lips are much more involved, and...like so many other parts of the gun...the proper specs and geometry are critical to proper function...and those specs include proper heat-treating and tempering of the magazine body. Like the extractor, the feed lips must have the properties of a spring. If they don't, they quickly spread and take a set...and positive control is lost.

    All photos courtesy of Kaukl and his most excellent equipment and photography.

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