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Old February 3, 2010, 11:46 PM   #1
GLK
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380 acp plinking loads

I just received all of my components for hand loading 380 acp. I purchased 500 93gr LRN and 500 95gr Rainier TMJ projectiles. I have Win231, Power Pistol, HP38 and VV 310 / 320 / 330 powders, I will be using Win small pistol primers and various once fired cases.

The lovely Wife and I recently both purchased 380 pocket pistols for BUGs and I want to load up some good plinking loads that will do nothing more than cycle the guns reliably and hit six inch paper plates at 7 yards. We will also be firing a few hundred rounds of various factory fodder to determine our defensive load and to see the accuracy and if they function reliably

FWIW hers is a Ruger LCP and mine is a NAA Guardian, if anyone happens to hand load for either of these all the better. I have been hand loading for multiple calibers going on 20 +/- years, but never for the 380 that I can recall. Any and all tips warnings or advice will be appreciated.
Thanks,
Gary
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Old February 4, 2010, 12:01 AM   #2
Dave R
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I have loaded .380acp for years, but never with any of the powders you listed.

I use either 4 grains of Unique or 3 grains of TiteGroup (better double check that) under the 100gr. Berry's bullet.

The only tip I have is to measure your powder carefully. There's not much margin of error. And watch your overall length. Again, not much margin for error.

But if those things are right, its no different from reloading any other cartridge. And with the price of factory ammo, you'll save a bundle.
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Old February 4, 2010, 12:35 AM   #3
colospgsAVID
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if you can even find factory plink plink ammo. Heck I can't even find new brass.
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Old February 4, 2010, 01:32 AM   #4
FrankenMauser
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I don't use those bullet weights (100gr is always cheaper, for some reason).

However, I have had good luck with HP-38/W231. (Also, not on your list - Unique works well for me.)

Do whatever you can to avoid Titegroup in the .380 Auto. The load ranges are horrendously narrow, and cause a lot of problems.

Whatever powder you choose, be absolutely perfect with your powder charges. Most people tend to load +/- 0.1gr, but that's not enough in the .380 Auto. A +0.1gr variance can be the difference between an acceptable charge, and blow primers.

The tiny case isn't very forgiving. Just be careful.
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Old February 4, 2010, 10:28 AM   #5
nefprotector
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Unless you're a Rich man and have a good supply of .380acp rounds. This round is not a "plinking" round anymore. One box of 50 rds sells for over $35-$60 in my area.

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Nevermind I didn read the entire post. I see you are reloading. Good for you! Keep Shooting!
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Old February 4, 2010, 10:58 AM   #6
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I wholeheartedly recommend Alliant Power Pistol for .380 Auto, and for exactly the reason FrankenMauser suggested you skip Titegroup-- Power Pistol uses a heavier powder charge and a heavier charge is usually easier to meter consistently. Furthermore, Power Pistol is a damn good metering powder.

I've loaded .380 with Bullseye and Power Pistol and though they both work, my load for Power Pistol seems a bit smoother and a tiny touch lighter than the Bullseye load I used.

My experience is with the 100gr Berry's Plated flat base bullet and I haven't tried a single other bullet. With this slightly heaver bullet, I settled on a charge weight of 4.4gr of Power Pistol. Given that you'd be using a lighter bullet, this data should be safe for you to try.

My biggest "tip" on the actual operation of loading the .380:
You will find that case mouth thickness varies widely with this round and R-P brass is typically the thinnest and offers the least physical resistance when flaring the case mouth. I urge to be very cautious in mouth flaring with any semi-auto round so as not to compromise your final case mouth tension. The last thing you want is a bullet that unintentionally sets back (and unnoticed at that!) which will skyrocket your internal pressure due to reduced case volume.

So my advice is to flare as absolutely little as you can get away with and test/check case mouth tension often to guard against setback. My test is simple -- I go by "feel" with the press handle when I seat a bullet and if it feels less than the others, I press the loaded round firmly in to the edge of my bench top to ensure that the bullet will not set back.

This has worked for me 100% of the time.
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Old February 4, 2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Nevermind I didn read the entire post. I see you are reloading.
Yeah, here in the Handloading and Reloading forum. Imagine that!
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Old February 4, 2010, 11:10 AM   #8
Plinkn
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@ Stevens: What was your load with bullseye?
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Old February 4, 2010, 11:18 AM   #9
Sevens
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"Sevens", actually.
I settled on 3.1gr of Bullseye and used it for maybe 100 or 200 rounds only, so I don't have lengthy experience with that load. In those rounds (also with the Berry's 100gr Pl-FB) it seemed to work fine, but I moved to the Power Pistol load and haven't looked back.

Oh yeah, btw, it's important to note that I was loading to a COAL of 0.975" in both of those loads and forgot to mention that above.
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Old February 6, 2010, 06:21 AM   #10
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I use 95 gr lead round nose 3 grains of win 231 and a col of .970 my lee dies have the .3cc diper it scopes a consistant 3 grains of win 231 fast easy have loaded over 500 of these the past couple of month with no problems. great little plinker I use them in my lcp and my walthers pk 380.
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Old February 6, 2010, 11:30 AM   #11
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I just worked up a load for the Montana Gold 95gr JHP using W231 and have to agree with Frankenmauser that 0.1 grain can make a big difference.

For plinking you should have no trouble with the starting charge weight as long as it cycles. If you decide to load near max, work up carefully. I bought an extra-small powder bar for the Dillon and ended up weighing double charges on the balance beam scale to get 0.05 grain accuracy.

The good thing about W231 is that it meters very consistently in the Dillon. I haven't used Power Pistol or the VV powders, but Accurate Arms powders are also a good choice for consistent metering in such a small case.

Once you have your load where you want it, .380 is very easy to load up.

And five bucks a box sure beats trying to find factory ammo these days
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Old February 6, 2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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I use the Rainier fmj 95 grain round nose for plinking.
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Old February 6, 2010, 12:07 PM   #13
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Are Rainier bullets loaded close to jacketed, or cast data?
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Old February 6, 2010, 01:13 PM   #14
NCMountain
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alloy I load under jacketed specs.
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Old February 6, 2010, 01:47 PM   #15
alloy
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Thanks NCMountian.
Rooting in some various forum archives produced this, not related to .380, evidently it's older....but still Rainier load data. So...sorry for the thread jacking.
Safe to open.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf RanierMWdata[1].pdf (44.6 KB, 305 views)
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Old February 7, 2010, 09:44 AM   #16
RidgwayCO
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My favorite "plinking load" for the .380 Auto uses a 95gr LRN bullet (currently from Tennessee Valley) loaded to a 0.950" COL in mixed-headstamp brass with CCI 500 primers. The following powders give about 800 fps in my Bersa Series 95 (3.5" barrel). All four are accurate, clean, and deposit the brass in a nice small pile a couple of feet to my right (but AA #2 is my favorite).

Powder ... Amount ... Volume
----------------------------
AA #2 ...... 2.7gr ...... .27cc
VV N310 ... 2.3gr ...... .27cc
Titegroup .. 2.7gr ...... .24cc
Clays ....... 2.1gr ...... .32cc

I should add that although the Hodgdon Clays performs well, I don't recommend it for this application as it tends to bridge in the Lee Pro Auto-Disk at this small volume.
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