Never shoot backwards .38 Special FMJ's?


This made me think: Would shooting these be a bad idea? Please note that yes, indeed, these are .38 Specials with what looks like a wadcutter round loaded into it, but in fact's it's just an upside down FMJ .38 Special bullet.
Sorry, I was extremely tired last night writing this and got my nomenclature all backwards: These 38. Special rounds you see in the image look like they are loaded with wadcutter bullets, but in face those are regular .38 Special FMJ's loaded the wrong way around.

That said, I'm genuinely curious if there is some reason I wouldn't want to shoot these, so any safety consideration or potential abnormal wear that these might cause?

Greg "Sully" Sullivan

Regular Member
I have shot wadcutter rounds that were loaded backwards with no issue out of a revolver, as a wadcutter round is basically the same shape and circumference from one end to the other. Being that these are a FMJ or hollow point, they are not the same shape from one end to the other, which could be an issue, so I personally wouldn't shoot these, as why risk there being a problem and damaging the firearm or worse getting hurt. I have seen a few revolvers blow up, and there is a lot of metal flying flying in all directions. Ammo is a lot less expensive than the cost of a firearm or trip to the emergency room.

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123


Regular Member
It depends whether they were loaded with a powder charge intentionally set for those backwards bullets, or if someone just used a normal load and seated the bullets backwards. If it's the latter, pressure could be a bit high. Then again, if you don't know who loaded them or what the powder charge is, I wouldn't fire them anyway, backwards bullet or not.

There's nothing wrong with firing the bullet backwards, but it most likely occupies more case capacity and the powder charge needs to be reduced accordingly. I've loaded and fired a fair number of backwards bullets just to experiment, and that is my conclusion. You may or may not get good accuracy from them.
Well, I am happy to report that though these are regular FMJ's loaded the wrong way, they were at least consistently loaded by proper machines, not an amateur human. I've tried a few, and the accuracy is excellent, almost like a really good wadcutter round. Very soft shooting, but that's to be expected as all these rounds, even the not-backwards ones, have a lesser powder charge.
Is oal the same between the forward and backwards loaded rounds? If those loaded backwards are shorter yonder's point on case capacity would be a possible issue, if anyone else ever finds this post in the future.