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Old August 22, 2012, 12:44 AM   #1
cohibamatt
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Difference Between .380 and 9MM?

First let me start off be saying that I am new to reloading. I have read The ABC's of Reloading and the Lee and Lyman reloading manuals. I have hand loaded about 500 rounds of 45ACP using different kinds of powder and several different manufactures of bullets. I want to start to reload some of my other calibers one of them being the 380 ACP. I have found bullets that I like, but the manufacture states that they are for 9MM with a diameter of .355. Other manufactures have .380 bullets with the same diameter of .355, is there a difference in the bullet? I know that the .380 is also called the 9mm Short. Is there a length difference. I checked in all of the books and even did a search in the forms here and didn't see an answer.Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old August 22, 2012, 06:52 AM   #2
j357
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You will find with a little additional reading and exploration that the bullet diameters are the same. As I recall my initial research in loading manuals and catalog review lead me to the observation that 380 bullets will be under 105 grain and 9mm will be above 105 grain. There is some overlap in the middle, but you will most likely not find load data for a 147 grain used in a 380.
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Old August 22, 2012, 07:11 AM   #3
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Like J357 said, the diameters are the same. But the weight will be lighter in 380. The problem you run into with heavier bullets is that they are longer than lighter bullets. The inside of the case tapers(metal gets thicker) the further down into the case you go. If you try to seat a heavy bullet into a 380 case, it will bulge out the case at the bottom end of the bullet. I have made some reloads using 122 grain "9mm" bullets, and they worked, but I did get a small amount of bulge. I have since moved to 90 grain bullets, and those work much better.

What weight are the bullets you have?
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Old August 22, 2012, 09:26 AM   #4
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Thanks

Thanks Gdawgs and j357. I thought they were the same, but wanted to be sure. It makes sense to stay under the 100 gr bullet because of the lighter load would have a harder time pushing the heaver bullet. The 9mm bullets were 100 gr so it shouldn't be an issue. Do either of you reload this regular, Is it worth it to reload? I like to reload but the small diameters seams like it would be a pain. Also, is it worth it money wise? I know with 9mm is almost the same price with out the time investment, so I won't do 9mm.
I am still in the stage of finding the a powder that I really like and may be when I find the one buying it in larger amounts will make it cheaper. Thanks Again
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Old August 22, 2012, 09:38 AM   #5
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I save about .10 per round on 9mm. I am getting ready to start reloading for .380 since factory .380 is so expensive. I have Unique that I am going to be using for both .380 and 9mm.
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Old August 22, 2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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I'm saving at least $4 a box ...reloading 9mm...( my reloads with a premium bullet 115gr FMJ Montana Gold is around $ 5.50 for a box of 50 ) - and I get a much higher quality cartridge in my reloads than I can buy at $10 - $12 a box...

I shoot 6 - 8 boxes a week of 9mm....so sure, it really helps stretch the ammo budget a lot / which means I shoot way more for the same amount of money ( not kidding anyone )...

and the savings is more in .380 ....because retail is higher on new .380 ...but reloading costs are a little higher because the bullets are about $ 10/1,000 higher in .380 than 9mm...( so my costs are about $ 6 a box for reloads). I don't track retail costs on .380 closely -- but in my area they're about $ 16 a box I think.

I don't load much of the .380 / one of my son's has one ...so I load 50 boxes or so for him once in a while / and I buy the 95 gr Montana Gold bullet for his loads. I use a Dillon 650 press with a case feeder...and loading .380 is really no different than loading 9mm -- in terms of my process / or any hassle ...its no big deal. Case prep is the same ...clean and sort.. Recipes are different of course in terms of powder...and I'm using Hodgdon Universal in both .380 and 9mm now...

I have a separate toolhead setup with dies and powder measure, etc for the .380 .../ my son lives 3 hrs away from my home....but he can come up and reload 10 - 15 boxes in an hour or so ..../ or I load them and take them to him ...(which he prefers ) ...but he's raising kids ...so I have more time....

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Old August 22, 2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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I love HP38 with a 88-90gn bullet in a 380.As of now I am loading a 88gn Remington HP with 3.4gn of HP38 with a case over all length of .965.( take note that the 88gn Remington bullet is .356 and not .355 ) but it will work in 380 or 9mm.

loading a 380 is just as fun as loading for a 45 so have fun but be safe.
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Old August 22, 2012, 12:14 PM   #8
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It is certainly worth while to reload 380's, since they are kind of spendy. A couple years back, it was very difficults to find 380 ammo, so if you wanted to shoot, you pretty much had to reload. That isn't a big problem now. It is also worth while to reload 9mm. With lead bullets, I can reload them for about half the cost of purchasing.

There is nothing difficult about reloading 380s. The only problem I've run into is powder selection. The issue is that you use a very small powder charge, roughly 2 - 4 grains, depending on the powder. In my powder measurer, the larger flaked powders (Unique, Bullseye, 700X, etc) do not meter well at those small charges. I've found that the tiny grained powders such as Winchester 231 or Power Pistol work much better, so I'd go with one of those. But maybe the other powders would work okay in your measurer. Hard to say.
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Old August 22, 2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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Titegroup

I would throw a vote for titegroup into the conversation, I started using unique for all 3 of my calibers, but had significant blow back from unburned powder I found out in my 380 using unique, changed to titegroup lost the blow back feeling of powder in my face. Plus I use less and get close to the same performance.
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Old August 22, 2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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I just finished loading 1500 9mm with 124gr home cast TC. Total cost was $123.00 excluding once fired brass cost. Factory cost for 1500 rounds at LGS is $360.00 for a savings of $237.00.
I also loaded 1000 45ACP with 230gr home cast RN. Total cost was $100.00 excluding once fired brass cost. Factory cost for 1000 rounds is $340.00 for a savings of $240.00.
$477.00 total saved in a 3 day loading/casting session. That is not bad in my book.
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:09 PM   #11
cohibamatt
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Thanks again for all of the info. I just purchased some Unique to try, only a pound. I will go out this weekend and get TiteGroup. I thought Unique would be better because it would fill up the case more and I thought I read in ABC's that the less space between powder and bullet the more accurate the round will be, but since most of my hand guns are short barrels I may get un burnt powder.
I also tried to pick up some .380 amo but they only had 100 rounds. I'll order some brass online with some bullets to get me started. I like firing the little .380s'. I have a Ruger LCP and I want to get some rounds through it.
Thanks again for the advice I can't wait to try it all out
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:16 PM   #12
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I couldn't find enough once-fired .380 brass at my local range when I started reloading that caliber, so I bought 500 new cases from Starline. Very nice brass, and I recommend it highly.
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:28 PM   #13
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Ymmv, but i haven't loaded much 380 due to bulged cases. I shoot 380 in a Makarov and a Grendel P10. Both have a small unsupported area in the chamber. Both loads I have done have (two years ago) left me wanting to do more research for a powder that doesn't make me nervous due to narrow min - max range. With a 95 gn bullet and using HP38 the range is 2.9 to 3.2, requiring (IMO) an adjustable charge bar with my Lee set up. Universal is only slightly more forgiving in the range. I have used Universal and HP38. Both worked, but starting the load testing I used was in the middle and left me wanting to step down to the lower end. I would suggest a lot of practice with your process and confidence in your understanding of reloading before venturing too far into 380 territory.

Last edited by j357; August 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM.
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Old August 22, 2012, 11:18 PM   #14
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I have never used Tightgroup(but have been tempted to try it several times) How big are the powder grains? Big like Unique, small like 231/HP-38, etc.
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Old August 22, 2012, 11:57 PM   #15
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I reload 380 to get every last possible bit if energy out of those tiny 380s that fit in my shirt pocket; Kel-Tec P3AT and Ruger LCP.

Now I see the Buffalo Bore 380 +P can get the same 1100 fps 90 gr performance from those short barrels.
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Old August 23, 2012, 08:24 AM   #16
learningcurve
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I have not tried 231 as of yet but I will say the titegroup grains were very fine. Almost reminded me of sawdust when I first saw it. It metered very well in my Lee powder dispenser that came with my setup. I have almost exclusively went to Unique for my .45 ACP now. I dont get the powder blow back in there that I did in my 9 and my 380. As for the brass I got all mine from oncefiredbrass I cant remember if it is .net or .com though. It was a really good price when I got it.

One last thing I started doing my 380 because I couldnt find any factory for it anywhere which was my excuse for getting started, I started low in the powder scale and have gotten about half way up and stopped I like the results I am getting now. I dont believe it any harder then any of my other calibers I am not a seasoned reloader at all but use common sense, which I would like to think most or all on here have and use. So just pay attention and be cautious dont just jump to the max loads and the OP should be fine loading 380. Hope all this helps.

Last edited by learningcurve; August 23, 2012 at 08:29 AM.
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Old August 23, 2012, 10:22 AM   #17
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Here is a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 weighing 10 ounces loaded that is clipped into my shirt pocket. It is so light, I cannot feel that I am carrying it.

You can't do that with a 9mm.

Buy shirts with two pockets, and put the cell phone in the other pocket.
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:01 PM   #18
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Just a couple comments.

I've used 115 grain bullets and they work fine, but that's an awfully heavy bullet on top of very little powder.

I like the Missouri Bullet Co 95 grain lead round nosers for the money.

If you do a little investigating on the net, you'll probably find some loading data for HS-6 that will send your 380's downrange with both authority and accuracy.
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Old August 23, 2012, 02:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
I have never used Tightgroup(but have been tempted to try it several times) How big are the powder grains? Big like Unique, small like 231/HP-38, etc.
Titegroup doesn't come in granules but rather in ultra-thin flakes. It's a -VERY- dense powder, so a maximum load in any case typically looks very much under-charged case. Titegroup in something like .38 Special looks like you could triple or quadruple it given the available space.

It's also a hot powder -- most report that Titegroup concocted loads warm up a gun much faster and you may notice that, and not care for it.

Titegroup also has a reputation as being the LEAST sensitive to position or case size. To put this another way... a lot of powders work erratically in large cases because they don't take up much space -- a fine example being .45 Colt. With some (many?) powders, you can get WILDLY fluctuating results if you tip the muzzle down before the shot versus tipping the muzzle toward the sky before the shot. Titegroup is resistant to that wild fluctuation, and that has been my experience so far, too.

Where Titegroup can be abused and dangerous is when someone tries to use it "everywhere" because they are being overly frugal and don't want the expense and hassle of stocking "too many powders." When you start using Titegroup in heavy, hot, fast and magnum loads for anything more than light target velocities, you are asking for trouble. These ultra-fast burning powders get really sketchy when run at high pressures and the pressure curve peaks very quickly and not in a linear fashion.

Titegroup should be a good powder for use in .380 because it meters pretty well in most equipment and when using a tiny case where the difference between minimum and maximum is small and the charge weight is small, you MUST have a powder that meters well. I wouldn't use Unique in .380 with a powder measure if you paid me to do it.

I've made thousands of rounds in .380 using Power Pistol and Berry's 100gr plated round nose slugs. I've made a few hundred with Bullseye, too.
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:24 PM   #20
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Difference Between .380 and 9MM?

" Difference Between .380 and 9MM?
First let me start off be saying that I am new to reloading. I have read The ABC's of Reloading and the Lee and Lyman reloading manuals. I have hand loaded about 500 rounds of 45ACP using different kinds of powder and several different manufactures of bullets. I want to start to reload some of my other calibers one of them being the 380 ACP. I have found bullets that I like, but the manufacture states that they are for 9MM with a diameter of .355. Other manufactures have .380 bullets with the same diameter of .355, is there a difference in the bullet? I know that the .380 is also called the 9mm Short. Is there a length difference. I checked in all of the books and even did a search in the forms here and didn't see an answer.Thanks in advance for the help.
Matt
"

This is general statements.
9MM is 9X19MM, 380Auto is 9X17MM, that's it.
The 9MM is a very intense cartridge loading and is generally used in weapons that have some type of bolt locking system. Where the 380 is a mild loading that was originally for small, simple blow back action weapons.
Greater pressures allow the use of heavier bullets. So the 9MM runs heavy slugs and do much more. To do much damage, the 380 needed lighter bullets to get the needed velocity.

The same bullets can be used in ether caseing/load but may not be optimal.

This is not down playing either cartridge or loading. They both have a use and meet the needs well.

Enjoy,

OSOK
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:51 PM   #21
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I like HP38/W231 for my .380's using a 95 grain copper washed bullet. I'll have to try Titegroup as I just got some for some other pistol calibers. It seems very versatile.
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Old August 23, 2012, 05:59 PM   #22
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I'm not a fan of using Titegroup in .380 Auto. The pressure curve is too steep, and takes you from "meh" to "holy mother of @#$@@" faster than you expect.
And, any bullet setback causes the same dramatic increases in pressure.

In loads where you have 0.4-0.6 gr from starting load to max load, it can be alright. But, there are quite a few loads where starting load and max load may only have 0.2 gr between them.

I tried it for a few years, before going to slightly more forgiving powders like W231/HP-38, Unique, and (brace yourself) Blue Dot.

I used to have a few examples of loads I tried, where the spread between starting load and max load was ridiculously small (such as 2.4 gr starting / 2.6 gr max). But, I can't find them any more. And... Hodgdon has removed all but three Titegroup loads for the .380. I'm guessing they grew tired of the complaints of blown primers.
Here's an older discussion with a similar subject.

As I stated in the linked thread, just be careful with 'high energy' powders in .380. Many loads won't tolerate a charge weight variance of even 0.1 gr, without showing pressure signs. Exact charges or a more forgiving powder are needed.

They may not be considered "ideal", but powders like Bullseye, Unique, W231/HP-38, Universal, 800-X, and Blue Dot* are much more forgiving. (*must be compressed - and not very useful in many common cartridges)
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Old August 23, 2012, 06:38 PM   #23
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I use power pistol in my .380 loads, and in my 9mm as well. I used to use unique in my 9mm, but its too hard to get consistent powder drops. Power pistol looks pretty similar to unique, (both flake powders) but I get WAY more consistent drops. With unique I was getting +/- .02gr.... (meaning one drop could have 4.2gr, and the next could have 4.6gr)

When I started reloading .380 I bought a pound of power pistol and like it much better. I get only +/- .05gr variation with power pistol (meaning there is never more than .1gr difference from drop to drop)

My guns are cleaner too, but that could be because I load my 9mm light, since I am shooting plated bullets and shoot them through both handguns and a carbine..... I have heard that anything less than a max load with unique is way dirtier..... no experience with max loads, but I can say mid loads are very dirty!
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:03 PM   #24
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I like 90 gr Gold Dot and Power Pistol for small 380s.
I like 115 gr win JHP and Power Pistol for medium 380s.
I like 158 gr XTP and Power Pistol for heavy 380s.
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:33 PM   #25
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"This is general statements.
9MM is 9X19MM, 380Auto is 9X17MM, that's it.
The 9MM is a very intense cartridge loading and is generally used in weapons that have some type of bolt locking system. Where the 380 is a mild loading that was originally for small, simple blow back action weapons.
Greater pressures allow the use of heavier bullets. So the 9MM runs heavy slugs and do much more. To do much damage, the 380 needed lighter bullets to get the needed velocity."

All very true.

The .380 runs at roughly half the pressure of the 9mm, hence the straight blowback action of most firearms so chambered.
The .380 is a semi-rimmed case with almost straight walls, whereas the 9mm is truly rimless and slightly tapered. The big difference here is how the cases were designed to headspace; the .380 on the rim (like .38 auto and .38 super auto) and the 9mm on the case mouth, like the .45acp.

The 9mm is essentially a very efficient .38 Special, where the .380 is more like a not too efficient 38 s&w. Since most if not all 380's are straight blowback, overloading even a little may batter the frame and slide... Best to load for accuracy and reliable function, put thoughts of high velocity out of your lexicon, call yourself blessed, and load a whole bunch of it! Fast powders like Bullseye, N100 and HP38 are liable to be good performers, but with the small charge weight, big flakes are likely to be aggravating. .380 is a very good round for its intended purpose. Good Luck!
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