380ACP die question...


March 28, 2010, 01:19 PM
I recently started loading 380 with a set of Lee carbide dies. The three die set included 380 expander and bullet seating dies, but a 9mm sizing die. I thought this odd, but tried a few...they chamber and fire fine, but they're a bit too wide (diameter) and hang up in the magazines for a bersa380. Lee shows different p/n for the 9mm and 380 sizer...I'm betting this is probably just the wrong die in the set? Anybody else have the lee 380 dies who can verify for me?

I'm planning on giving Lee a call tomorrow (don't think they're open on a sunday). I'm sure they can make it right if it's the wrong die, but thought I'd check and make sure that's not what I'm supposed to have.

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March 28, 2010, 02:00 PM
I don't have Lee .380 dies, but the body diameter of the 9mm case is definitely a bit larger than the .380 case (about 10/1000ths), so I don't think a 9mm sizing die can be considered interchangeable with a .380. I think Lee will take care of it when you call them.

March 28, 2010, 02:05 PM
I'd asked rcbs the same question and the dies are different.

March 28, 2010, 02:10 PM
No way, no day, a 9mm sizing die will work for .380 ACP.
You got a mixed up die set.

Could be some yazo was playing with both sets on the store shelf and put the 380 die in the 9mm box too.


March 28, 2010, 02:27 PM
On my RCBS .380 die set the expander is marke 38/9mm, but the sizing die is marked .380. I had called RCBS about this and they told me they use the same part number in the .380 and the .9mm expander.

March 28, 2010, 02:27 PM
That's kinda what I thought. I had these special ordered from the gunshop, so probably just a mix-up.

I thought it was taking an awful lot of crimp to keep the bullet secure. ; )

March 28, 2010, 02:31 PM
Parker, the Lee expander is not the same as the 9mm, but based on bullet dimensions being the same I don't know why it wouldn't work the same if the 9mm dies were tightened down more.

March 28, 2010, 02:32 PM
.380 ACP case is nearly straight, with a dia of .374" head - .373" mouth..

9mm is tapered, with a .391" head and .380" neck.
It is also .754" long as opposed to the .380 .680" length.

So, not only is the .380 not going all the way to the end of the 9mm die taper, it isn't even touching the die anywhere except very little at the case mouth.


March 28, 2010, 03:20 PM
Listen to rc model, friends. Straight vs. tapered sizing die. Short vs. long case. This one you got to get right. Can't mess with it.

Expander: Using the right expander makes it easier to adjust, but I've used 38 Super and 9mmLuger expanders on 380acp successfully. I've even used 38/357. You can cross-match in a pinch if you have to. But it's always better to get fully matched equipment and use it properly.

Steve C
March 28, 2010, 04:17 PM
It is possible that they put the wrong die in the box, however 9x17, 9mm Kurtz, 9mm Corto, are all different names for the .380 acp. If your die is marked with any of these its the proper die. If the rounds chamber and fire fine then the die is the proper one. A 9x19 has a tapered case that's larger than the .380 at the base. Occasionally I've had a .380 case mixed with my 9mm brass and when ran into the sizer it is noticed right away that its not being sized.

When you say they hang up in the magazine, exactly how are they doing this? When multiple rounds hang up in a mag its usually due to long OAL. Magazines aren't of high enough tolerance to hang up due to any round that will chamber.

March 28, 2010, 05:31 PM
It's the wrong die. It's marked exactly the same as my 9mm die, and doesn't feel like it's sizing when they're run through...I thought maybe lee knew something I didn't.

They're hanging up in the magazine due to the case not being sized. When the bullet was seated the seating die scraped up the sides of the case a bit and as far as I can tell the slight ridge of metal there is causing enough friction that with more than ~4rds loaded the mag jams up. I thought OAL at first, too, but they're loaded at less than spec (.955"), so I disassembled the mag and checked to see what was hanging. I'll get it worked out this week.


March 28, 2010, 06:23 PM
My Lee .380 set---all 3 are marked .380
I do use a Hornady expander( it don't make that Lee snapping powder drop sound)
I use a Hornady bullet seater ( like it better than Lee)
I use a Lee factory crimp die( it taper crimps & resizes case again )
I don't use my Hornady resizing die( in my opinion it makes the case too small)
I like the Lee resizing die.
Hornady says they have to make cases small to fit all weapons--USA or otherwise.

March 29, 2010, 08:31 AM
I have all 4 Lee .380ACP dies. All are marked .380.

March 29, 2010, 06:18 PM
I spoke with Lee customer service today. They're sending me a 380 sizer...it's nice to feel like a company trusts you (no order number, no receipt, just my word). I've heard great things about their turnaround times for problems, so I'm hoping to have it in hand soon. Thanks everyone for checking.

Side question: since the Factory Crimp Die sizes loaded rounds, is there any reason it couldn't also be used to pre-size cases in a pinch? Seem like it would do the trick so long as the crimp adjuster was backed all the way out, particularly for a straight-walled case like the 380. I'm not gonna go try this (yet), just curious.

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