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Old August 16, 2015, 01:05 AM   #1
AL45
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Loading for .380 ACP

With my wife's latest acquisition, a Sig P238, I will now add .380 ACP to my reloading list. I currently load .45 Colt and .45 ACP as far as handgun goes. I am going to start out with a 95 grain cast lead RN. Does it require just a slight taper crimp like I use on the .45 ACP? I have Bullseye, Red Dot, Blue Dot and Power Pistol on hand. Which of these powders would be best? My Lee manual shows no data for cast lead and Lyman shows data for 90. Would the 90 grain data work for the 95 grain? Thanks
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Old August 16, 2015, 09:09 AM   #2
Kosh75287
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Not a .380 guru, but...

The small amount of reloading I've done for the cartridge, a slight taper crimp (enough to take the bell out of the case, plus just a little, like 1/8 turn on the die or less) worked for just practice loads with fast burning powders. More crimp in loads with slower burning powders (we used Unique and Herco) was beneficial, but not absolutely necessary. As always, your results may not reflect my results.

The Bullseye and Red Dot will work for practice loads, and Power Pistol is best for getting the most out of the cartridge. I would not be surprised to find that Blue Dot is too slow burning to work well in .380.

The major nightmare that we ran across was the need to individually weigh very small charges of powder that meters like cornflakes. You may want to consider getting a ball powder like 231 or AA#5 so that small charges will flow through your powder measure more easily.

I don't have the 90gr. vs. 95gr. loading data in front of me, but I would expect them to be close. For the heavier slug, dropping the starting charge for the 90 grain projectile by 0.1 - 0.2 gr. would probably not hurt a thing.
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Last edited by Kosh75287; August 16, 2015 at 09:21 AM.
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Old August 16, 2015, 01:32 PM   #3
AL45
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Thanks Kosh75287.
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Old August 16, 2015, 02:27 PM   #4
jdscholer
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My wife just got a Bersa Thunder in 380 ACP, and like you I added it to the reloading flock.

I happened to have a can of HP-38 that I chose to use with some 98 gr. cast RN's that I snagged locally. I'm a big fan of Bullseye, but I've been liking how the HP goes through the measure with light loads lately.

It was ridiculously easy to hit a perfectly functioning load with this little pistol, and I'll grab some more of these bullets to use in the future. ($70/thou)

Some of our forum fellows came through with a ton of brass for very reasonable price, some even free. I've now got so much that I won't cry if she loses some.

I got the Lee dies with the factory crimper, but haven't had to bother with that final crimp step. The plan is to get my chick to do her own loading for this one. jd
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Old August 16, 2015, 02:36 PM   #5
Don P
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I'm loading 3 grains of titegroup under a 100 grain jacked bullet. My chrono results were as follows from a SIG 232
Factory
874.89
912.41
891.37
average of 892 fps
Reloads
861.50
921.02
891.26
average of 891 fps
pretty dam good if you ask me
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Old August 16, 2015, 11:09 PM   #6
AL45
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I'd say so Don.
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Old August 17, 2015, 10:02 AM   #7
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I use 2.0 grains of Red Dot under a 105 gn cast bullet. It averages 759 fps with an StdDev of 35.7.

I only crimp enough to take the bell off the case.
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Old August 17, 2015, 10:13 AM   #8
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My wife's Sig P238 runs well with 3.2 grains of Unique (because that's what I had on hand for 9 mm) and a 100 grain plated bullet. The metering is a little uneven, but good enough for plinking rounds. I don't have my notes here, but I remember that I had to seat a little deep and crimp slightly more than I was accustomed to with 9 mm to get them to chamber right.
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Old August 17, 2015, 10:16 AM   #9
GyMac
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I'm thinking that I just take the bell out of the case, but maybe a slight crimp. I use HP-38, but have BE on hand if I run out. I've been surprised how much I enjoy reloading and shooting the .380. It's a lot of fun out of my commercial Makaorv.
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Old August 17, 2015, 11:11 AM   #10
Don P
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For those folks just crimping enough to take the bell out be aware of bullet set back while feeding. personally i would crimp the 380 just like all semi-auto rounds using the Lee factory crimp die.
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Old August 17, 2015, 09:27 PM   #11
AL45
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I use the Lee crimp die on my .45 Colt and .45 ACP with success so I will use it on the .380 ACP.
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Old August 17, 2015, 09:29 PM   #12
steve4102
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Quote:
For those folks just crimping enough to take the bell out be aware of bullet set back while feeding.
Neck tension is what secures the bullet, not the taper crimp. A properly applied taper crimp is just enough to remove the flare plus maybe a thou or two more.

If more crimp than that is required to secure the bullet and to prevent "setback" then there is something else wrong with the set-up, not the crimp.

OP, do not over crimp.

For powders I use what meters perfectly in my powder measure, AA #2, 231/HP-338, True-Blue. I'm going to try Ramshot Zip as soon as I find some.

For the 95gr cast I use Lyman 102gr lead data or Western Powders 100gr Plated data.

If you cast your own bullets, ya might want to take a shot at coating them with HI-TEK. This stuff works great and eliminates the need for messy lubes.

If you are going to purchase bullets, you can purchases lube free coated bullets here.
http://www.bayoubullets.net/380-auto/
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Old August 20, 2015, 09:17 AM   #13
Nathan
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I set crimp by measuring setback in a dummy rounds. I load each amount of crimp then drop slide on it 5 times. I measure setback every cycle.

With Lee FCD, 1/4 turn works well in 380.
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Old August 21, 2015, 04:01 AM   #14
Gravedigger56
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Quote:
i would crimp the 380 just like all semi-auto rounds using the Lee factory crimp die.
^^^ this ^^^
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Old August 21, 2015, 08:14 PM   #15
Kosh75287
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Crimping in Economics terms?

Hey, ECONOMIST, are you trying to say that, ceteras paribus, crimping in .380 has a low marginal utility? Sorry, but after struggling thru 3 hours (each) of macro and micro, I just HAD to see if I can still sling the lingo!
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Last edited by Kosh75287; August 21, 2015 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old August 21, 2015, 08:18 PM   #16
AL45
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I tried Red Dot, Power Pistol, Bullseye and Blue Dot. The Blue Dot load was by far the most accurate and it was the only one that shot to POI.
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Old August 21, 2015, 08:22 PM   #17
Kosh75287
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AL45, what was the muzzle flash like? I know that Blue Dot is "quite illuminating" when shot from a .357 in even slightly low light conditions.
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GOD BLESS JEFF COOPER, whose instructions, consultations, and publications have probably saved more lives than can ever be reliably calculated. DVC, sir.

انجلو. المسلحة. جاهزة. Carpe SCOTCH!
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Old August 21, 2015, 08:48 PM   #18
AL45
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Kosh75287, it was in the middle of the day so I didn't notice.
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Old August 22, 2015, 09:05 AM   #19
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I would agree with your assessment, Kosh. The dismal science has it's uses in reloading.
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Old August 22, 2015, 10:14 AM   #20
Kosh75287
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Perhaps not ENTIRELY dismal?

Of all the subjects I've studied in my seemingly interminable upper education, Economics wasn't by any means the most dismal. THAT prize would probably have to go to social psychology, or something similar.

I know that, in the introductory classes, we dealt with somewhat "idealized" examples and scenarios, where LOTSA factors were ignored, but even with that, I found the concepts somewhat instructive, and frequently humorous.

The joke, "If we took all the economists in the world and laid them head-to-toe in a line, the still would not be able to reach a conclusion" was funny to me. I'll also assert that the marginal utility of Harvard-educated community organizers outside Chicago is low in the extreme.
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GOD BLESS JEFF COOPER, whose instructions, consultations, and publications have probably saved more lives than can ever be reliably calculated. DVC, sir.

انجلو. المسلحة. جاهزة. Carpe SCOTCH!
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