Loading the .380


July 29, 2009, 11:31 AM
Have a .380 on the way, called my local gunstore; $38.00 for a box of 50 factory rounds, YIKES!! So I'm bidding on some once fired cases. I have 2 questions:

Can my 9mm loading dies be adjusted to reload the .380, if not, can I just buy a crimping die?

Can I use 115 FMJ bullets? I have a bunch of these on hand. I would obviously reduce the powder charge for the heavier bullet.

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July 29, 2009, 11:34 AM
First question is I think you can, but can not guarantee.

Second question is 115 is fine, just find load data for the bullet. It is in the upper limit of the .380 weights.

July 29, 2009, 11:55 AM
No, 9mm Luger reloading dies cannot be used to load .380 ACP.

There is a .020" differance in case diameter.

The 9mm case is tapered .020" from mouth to base.
The .380 case is very nearly straight.

They also use different shell holders


July 29, 2009, 12:16 PM
Thanx RC, that's precisely what I needed to know.

July 29, 2009, 12:30 PM
I reload .380ACP and would recommend buying LEE'S carbide die set,and buy the Factory Crimp Die to go along with the die purchase.Pictures of reloaded brass using FCD.I am using Magtech 95grn FMJ pushed dy either 4.1grn Unique or 3.1 grn Red Dot in my Walther PPK/S.Feeds and ejects without any hitches,groups well also.

July 29, 2009, 02:36 PM
The bullet diameter is different as well......IIRC, 90 or 95 is about the heaviest 380 bullet

July 29, 2009, 02:58 PM
No, it actually isn't.

Both .380 ACP and 9mm use the same .355" - .356" jacketed & lead bullet diameter.

You might be thinking of the 9mm MAK, which uses a .365" bullet.


July 29, 2009, 08:14 PM
Congrats on the 380 purchase.

Get a load manual (I have Lyman Pistol & Revolver #3) that has load data for 115g bullets.

July 29, 2009, 08:52 PM
There is a set of Lee 380 dies w/factory crimp die up for trade in the trading post reloading stuff forum. The guy trying to trade them is a good guy to deal with too. :rolleyes:


July 30, 2009, 04:39 PM
MGB has a pretty decent price on 95gr bullets, give them a look.

Marlin 45 carbine
July 30, 2009, 07:52 PM
Red Dot moderate charges do great under a 90gr cast slug from my BDA.

July 30, 2009, 08:01 PM
I usually load lead 90-95 gr bullets for practice. Same point of impact as carry load and makes practice even less expensive.

July 30, 2009, 09:27 PM
I've bought 1k from this guy. Good bullets and a good guy to deal with.


I use a mild charge of Bullseye to push these.

July 30, 2009, 11:19 PM
No, 9mm Luger reloading dies cannot be used to load .380 ACP.
In my experience, that isn't quite 100% true: I use my 9mm dies to expand, seat, and crimp my .380 reloads. You DO have to use a .380 sizer die along with a .380 shell holder to get the job done. You can't use just a 9mm die set, as the sizer and shell holder need to be specific to the .380.

What with die sets being discounted over individual dies, and what with stand-alone carbide sizer dies being quite pricey, the OP is probably best off just buying a .380 die set. When I bought my .380 sizer die and shell holder many decades ago, it seemed I saved a bit getting only what I needed. Nowadays, I'm not so sure that's the case.

Cheers! :)

July 31, 2009, 01:56 AM
MikeS - I've bought 1k from this guy. Good bullets and a good guy to deal with.


Hey Mike, Longdayjake (Rocky Mountain Reloading) also sells his bullets here in the 'Trading Post' reloading stuff forum. I have some of his 380 hp's but haven't had a chance to try them yet. They sure look good.


July 31, 2009, 08:43 AM
ST, good to know. Thanks for the 411.

July 31, 2009, 09:37 AM
I've loaded 124 grain lead bullets in .380 with about 2.0 grains of Bullseye. I think the max is 2.2. If I drop the load to 1.7, the 124 grain bullet load is very light recoiling, but functions well in my P3-AT, and my girlfriends Bersa.

July 31, 2009, 07:49 PM
I have loaded 2gr. Bullseye under a 120gr. Lee TC handcast bullet. I have RCBS Carbide dies, but before I got them I used a different set of dies.......Very different! I used my .223 dies with the decapping pin removed and the cases lubed with case lube. They sized just fine! I read this on another site and was told it would work in a pinch. It did. I used my 9MM RCBS flare die to flare, and my seater to seat and crimp. Worked perfect and they fed, fired, and functioned fine! (lots of Fs) It works, but as RCModel said, you can't use 9MM dies and the 9MM and .380 use the same diameter bullet. Although most offerings for the .380 are quite a bit lighter.........Disclaimer- My experiences are mine and you may have different results. My load data is mine, so get your own....And be safe out there!

July 31, 2009, 08:23 PM
When I started loading for the 380 I purchased a set of used lyman dies and had a bit of trouble with them as far as chambering finished rounds. After some frustration I bought a lee factory crimp die and like magic the problems went away. Also the advice about carbide dies is good. No need to lube cases or clean lube off after. A real time saver on all straight wall cases.

July 31, 2009, 08:44 PM
I loaded the .380 for years, with RCBS dies. Favorite load was speer 88 gr JHP over a pinch of Bullseye (cant remember the weight). Was accurate and fed very well.

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