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Old May 21, 2020, 06:25 PM   #1
cdoc42
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.380 Auto hangups

What is the most common reason for a handload to fail to lockup (for lack of a better word at this point.)

I have a Browning 1911-380 which I love. Factory rounds pose no problem, even "generics."

But with 3.2 gr of Titegroup, a 90gr Hornady XTP and CCI 500 primer, I routinely get 2 of 7 rounds that will not lock up and I have to push the slide, or, they will not eject and jam.

Should I be paying attention to case length (altho they have only been reloaded twice) ? Bullet seating depth?

What am I missing here?
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Old May 21, 2020, 09:14 PM   #2
indie_rocker
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I seem to recall my Browning 1911-380 having pretty tight chamber specs. Some ammo would pass the "plunk" test, while others seemed to be loaded too long. The bullet would make contact with the barrel rifling.

Check your loaded bullets for the plunk test. You might need to shorten the OAL. Be mindful of reducing your charge weight while doing so, to avoid an over-pressure situation.

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Old May 21, 2020, 09:18 PM   #3
pwc
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"Battery" is the term you are looking for. There are several reasons for the slide not going into battery; COAL too long, over crimp bulge, "bell" not removed, case too long is at the bottom of the list. Weak/old slide return spring.
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Old May 21, 2020, 10:34 PM   #4
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I would suspect bullet shape slowing the slide too much while stripping a cartridge from the magazine, COAL too long (bullet contacting lands), or a crimp issue (not enough or too much).

A long shot possibility is just a mechanical issue between the cases and the extractor.
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Old May 21, 2020, 11:04 PM   #5
cdoc42
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Thanks to all - I will look into these situations and make corrections!
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Old May 23, 2020, 09:27 AM   #6
BondoBob
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I had the same problem with a pocket gun (Kahr P380) even with factory ammo. For me the fix was two fold. Switching to ball ammo, or very ball shaped JHP and keeping it really clean. I found the shape of XTP and flat nose rounds hang up on the steep feed ramp. This also happens on a sig P238 but only when it's quite dirty. In the case of these two guns , one has a super heavy spring and is lightweight, the other is just the opposite. So not so much about the return spring I don't think.
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Old May 23, 2020, 10:50 AM   #7
marchboom
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380's are one of the most finicky handguns I've loaded for. Everything has to be just right.

Because most 380's are very small getting a solid grip can be a problem and this can contribute to the gun not going into battery. On my Kahr CW380 using the longer mag that gives me a place for my pinky to assist with the grip helps with not limp-wristing the gun. Using only 2 fingers to hold a pistol can lead to the slide not cycling properly.

Usable loads can vary by less than a grain and this makes load development much more critical. And as mentioned before, using the proper bullet and OAL will affect reliability.
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Old May 23, 2020, 11:58 AM   #8
zeke
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While not loading for 380 extensively, the biggest problems i had was bullets pulling forward in the chambering process and not loading hot enough. And as Marchbloom said, not gripping tight enough. Needed full power rounds in the little Glock. Got around the powder dispensing by having a match grade measure with small volume.
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Old May 23, 2020, 02:04 PM   #9
kmw1954
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From personal experience I have to say the biggest reason is ammo to barrel fit.

Many times now this is a result of tight chambers and no leade into the barrel as these new guns keep getting tighter and tighter.

I have a 45acp with the exact same problem there is no leade. I have to seat down until the ogive of the bullet is almost entering the case and this gun will absolutely not cycle and chamber a SWC on it own. It will hang every time.

If needed I can PM you a link to another forum on this discussion that has pictures that shows what to look for. But again this is for those where everything else is in order with the ammo and all seems to be in spec.
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Old May 23, 2020, 02:20 PM   #10
ms6852
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Another issue besides what has been stated already could be the load itself. It may not be enough to cycle the action so you could try loading it a little hotter than your usual load without maxing out. Try an extra .2 or .4 grains of powder until the issue is resolved.
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