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Old February 8, 2014, 06:35 PM   #1
9miller
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380 acp powder help

Hey guys, I recently bought my lovely bride to be a bersa thunder 380 for her first gun. There have been multiple women abducted in the myrtle beach area recently and it was enough to make her want one with her. I started hand loading for it when I saw target ammo was 20 bucks a box for the El cheapo anyways, I've been using red dot with my Lee pro auto disk and it was so off, I started weighing all of my charges. Does anyone have any experience with powders that will meter well out of the smallest cavity (.30) on my disks that is acceptable with 380 auto?
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Old February 8, 2014, 06:44 PM   #2
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Unique is a top-performer in .380. It doesn't measure any better than Red Dot, except you'll be using more of it and that cuts down on the error quite a bit.

Bullseye or 231 are appropriate powders for .380 and they measure much better than any of the "Dot" powders or Unique. Universal is almost as good as Unique, is cleaner, and measures better.

Not sure exactly what you are going for... What bullets are you using? (when I reload .380's I use 95 grain hard lead cast bullets.)
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Old February 8, 2014, 06:51 PM   #3
9miller
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Sorry, I'm using 100 gr berrys plated FBRN bullets for range practice. I just hate the idea of using a power for plinking loads that have to be hand weighed everytime. My manual doesn't list any small flake, spherical, or short cut powders to use that will work with the small cavities. I wish I would have got the Lee micro disk when I had the chance. There's that darn hindsight again
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Old February 8, 2014, 06:57 PM   #4
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I've used Unique and Titegroup in mine and my parents .380 loads with pretty good success.

As far as self-defense loads to actually carry, try and find some Critical Defense. That's what I carry in my 9mm. Great ammo.

Practice rounds, Unique gives a nice little push, while Titegroup gives more of a pop. Just depends on what kind of recoil your wife likes.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:02 PM   #5
9miller
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I use titegroup exclusively for my 115gr 9mm range loads and would love to use it for 380 as well, the only problem being is its such a low charge weight. The smallest cavity I have for the pro auto disk, which is .30 cc, will throw a charge that is way over max, and I know it's an unforgiving powder. That's where the hindsight gets me on the microdisk.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:07 PM   #6
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Ah ok. Sorry about that, I didn't see the powder disc thing. I hand weighed all my charges until I got my Auto Charge.

I've used AutoComp in my .380 loads as well. I'd have to go check in my books what my load charge is, but I know it's definitely more than Titegroup.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:12 PM   #7
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Load for 380

I have a Bersa 380 which I love. My practice load is 2.2 grs of Titegroup. You can get a lot of reloads from a pound of Titegroup using 2.2grs. I use the Berry 100 gr bullets also in this load. For more serious reloads I like the Rem
Golden Saber with 4.1 grs of Unique; but start using 3.9 grs & work up. What works in mine might be too strong for another.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:17 PM   #8
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Rabbit hunter, what do you use to dispense your powder charge for your titegroup load?
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:20 PM   #9
rabbit hunter
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Loads for 380

Sorry, I didn't notice. You need to get an adjustable powder measure. You won't regret it. If you & your wife enjoy shooting, you are going to, sooner or later, want to experiment with different loads and maybe different calibers.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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Do you recommend a certain type of adjustable powder measure?
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:37 PM   #11
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I weigh all .380 charges. Never felt comfortable dumping 3-3.7 grain charges and my .380 doesn't get shot as much as most other pistols. A 100 rounds isn't too much to weigh every charge. I found Accurate Arms #2 to perform best in a couple .380 pistols.
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Old February 8, 2014, 07:48 PM   #12
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Load for 380

No. I currently use a Dillon because I also use the Dillon 550B progressive reloading press. I previously used an RCBS powder measure with satisfaction. But I don't want to get you off on the wrong foot. I surmise you are using a single stage press and, if that is the case, you may not want to go to the expense of investing in a lot of equipment, especially if you don't shoot a lot. I shoot probably 400 or more rounds per week. I am not a
pro or anything like that. I am retired and just love guns & shooting. Therefore it was necessary for me to invest in the equipment. I couldn't afford the time to reload that much ammo on a single stage press. You may be able to find a used powder measure for 30 or 40 bucks if you scout out the gun shows & local gun stores. I still have my RCBS measure with its stand. It is still like new. If you would like to try it out, I'll ship it to you. If you want to keep it, I'll sell it. If you find it's not what you want, ship it back.
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Old February 8, 2014, 08:01 PM   #13
9miller
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I currently use the Lee classic turret but have been looking at progressive presses due to the increasing amount of shooting. I also load for 4 different calibers and have about 2 years into the hobby. I have been looking at adjustable measures and got the adjustable charge bar but that is not in use due to the varying charge weights I get with it. If getting a whole new measure I want to make sure it is case activated and is dependable. Gave the hornady LnL measure quite a few glances. I also want to thank you for your offer rabbit hunter, however I would feel more comfortable if I just went and bought one, but I sincerely appreciate it.
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Old February 8, 2014, 08:17 PM   #14
rabbit hunter
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Load for 380

That's great. It looks like you & your wife may become more avid shooters. Let me suggest that you not buy a powder measure before you look into progressive reloaders, Dillon, or Hornady. If you buy a powder measure, make sure it will be compatable with whichever progressive press you may favor.
Good luck & good shooting.
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Old February 9, 2014, 12:50 PM   #15
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I load three levels of 380; +P, +P+, and atomic to correspond with 3 levels of 380s manufactured. The least of which are the Kel-Tec P3AT and the Ruger LCP with case support as bad as 0.29", chamber walls as thin as 0.27", a barrel and slide mass as low as 4.5 ounces, a 2.76" barrel, and a 2# to start 7.5# to finish recoil spring assembly. And even those wimpiest 380s will shoot my +P and 90 gr and Buffalo Bore 90 gr +P ammo at 1100 fps.

I have only experimented with Power Pistol and Bullseye, 90 gr, 115 gr, and 158 gr bullets.

Both of those powders get-r-done, but I suppose almost any pistol powder would.
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Old February 9, 2014, 07:42 PM   #16
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Ditto the Titegroup recommendations.
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Old February 10, 2014, 10:41 AM   #17
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Any of the fast pistol powders will work well. I use Titegroup and am very pleased with the results. Best wishes
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Old February 10, 2014, 04:10 PM   #18
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Titegroup, AA2, Bullseye, W231, Power Pistol
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Old February 11, 2014, 08:41 AM   #19
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380

I use H-P 38 and dump my powder with a little dandy powder dispenser with the #1 rotor and its dead on 3.0 each time. Inexpensive set up for doing those pinking rounds.
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Old February 11, 2014, 09:10 AM   #20
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I have loaded up some .380 for my S&W Bodyguard and I will be going to the range at lunchtime today to try it out. I used 100 gr Xtreme RNFP-CP with 3.2 grains of IMR SR-4756. I have a Lee Classic Turret Press and I used the Lee .34 Auto Disc. I will let you know how it worked later today.

Note: Back from the range and I had a couple of FTE but it is a nice and easy shooting load. I found some TiteGroup so now I will try some with that and see how it does.

hth!

Last edited by Winchester 7mm; February 11, 2014 at 05:38 PM.
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Old February 11, 2014, 05:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
That's where the hindsight gets me on the microdisk.
There are 'new' micro-disks being sold on the bay. I have one of them, they are the same as the Lee's as far as function, just knock offs and a different phenolic and color.

I plan to start reloading for my TCP soon, have the dies and bullets, just saving up brass.
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Old February 11, 2014, 06:05 PM   #22
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A new microdisk? ??? looking that up now!!!
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Old February 11, 2014, 11:08 PM   #23
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Not many people use Ramshot powders, but True Blue is the best metering powder I have ever used, especially when metering small amounts(it's the only Ramshot powder I have tried so far, but I plan on trying others). I have used most of the powders listed on this page but none compare to it. Not saying that it's better than any other listed, it just meters better. Ramshot has a load listed on their website for your Berry bullet.

Where Unique is a large flaked powder, most of the others mentioned (231, Power Pistol, Tite Group, etc.) are tiny flakes. True Blue powder is actually little tiny spheres. If you spill it, they roll all over the place. In general, the smaller the particle size, the more consistent the metering will be.

True Blue is extremely touchy in 327 Mag loads and I don't like using it there. But I have used it in numerous other cartridges(9mm, 357, 40, 44 Mag) with good results. Haven't tried it with 380 though.
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Old February 12, 2014, 03:53 PM   #24
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Make a dipper.

Drop a charge into a case. I usually insert a spent primer in the primer pocket backwards to close the flash hole.

Mark the level on the side of the case. Cut the case off at or a little above the line. Super glue a handle of some sort into the rim. Use a file to trim dipper to get correct charge weigh.

Bingo. Problem solved.

I have and use a bunch of these. They're very repeatable and handy to use.

And they're CHEAP.

All the Best,
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Old February 14, 2014, 08:27 AM   #25
Don P
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Quote:
Do you recommend a certain type of adjustable powder measure?
I use the Lee micro adjustable bar and use Titegroup powder.
I load 100 gr. plated bullets, 3.0 grs. of Titegroup and my chrono results match factory ammo chrono results.
This is out of a Sig 232
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