My first reloads "380"


May 5, 2012, 09:10 PM
I have two questions I know someone can answer.
Easy one first. The walnut media for tumbling: Do you tumble dry, or do you add the polish compound to it also. I know it goes with the corncob media.

Now the other question: My first time reloading 380 cartridges, Sierra 95g FMJ, Win 231 powder 3.2gr, WSP primer, Win brass with COAL 0.960 The press is a Lee challenger, with Lee dies. The dies were tight and I tried to keep the same pressure on the ram every time.
The COAL kept bouncing from 0.958 up to 0.965. Mostly 0.960 like they were supposed to be. Seems to me it should stay the same every time. Is this normal and ok to continue, or what.

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May 5, 2012, 09:25 PM
It could be a few things... one could be a difference in the nose of the bullets. They are rarely identical. It could also be that the brass is just a tad different as well. It also could be that you are measuring just atad off to the side of the nose of the bullets. I personally do not worry to much about that type of variation as I load the 380 in the middle of the load range.

May 5, 2012, 09:35 PM
Agree, it's probably the bullets varying just a bit at the point where the seater plug contacts the bullet. I wouldn't worry about a variation of .007 on a .380 round.

As far as the walnut, I use walnut to clean dirty brass and don't use polish or anything else except a squirt of mineral spirits if the brass is really carbon heavy. If I'm trying to polish brass, I use cob with NuFinish polish. Walnut is harder and does a better job of really cleaning brass, whereas cob is softer and does a better job of polishing it.

May 6, 2012, 07:14 AM
I use a little polish in Lizard Litter walnut.

The COL sounds perfect to me.

May 6, 2012, 09:15 AM
I think that variation should be fine. There are other things to consider when working with your OAL, like the powder charge. The deeper you seat the bullet, the more pressure in the case. So as long as you're not working at max charges, a small variation in oal isn't going to hurt anything unless it's too long to reliably chamber.

May 6, 2012, 09:22 AM
If your using mixed head stamps. There was a report that some of the brass (think it was Fed) base was shaped differently inside. This was causing problem with some bullets if you tried to seat them too deep.

Other wise what has already been said. Any variation < 0.010" should be just fine.

May 6, 2012, 09:56 AM
I use Nu-Finish with any media. Currently using walnut and will continue to do so for the next several years as I bought 25# at Harbor Freight for around a $1 a pound. Agree with others on the .380 OAL issue. Different brass equals different lengths. Also try measuring some of the bullets and see if they all measure the same. Probably don't.

May 6, 2012, 12:46 PM
If the OAL is bugging you that much, You can sort out your brass and bullets before loading and try to get the all as close to their respective OAL each. Use the same head stamp as well. I have had the issues many times and don't worry about it since I usually work around low end to middle of the road load data.

I usually tumble dry but added some polish some time ago and let the media mix in with it self. I didn't add brass at the time because the last time I did that it clumped on the inside of my brass. Had to get it out one by one.

May 7, 2012, 05:46 AM
Thanks for the info. Went out yesterday and all rounds fired good. No problems. You guys now have me hooked on reloading. This was my first time reloading handgun cartridges. It took me a year to get everything together to load the 380, being on disability I could only afford to get a die this month, another die one month, a box of bullets one month etc, but it was worth it. Now I will have to start saving for componets for my 9mm and 30-30
Thanks again

May 7, 2012, 05:56 AM
First reloades I ever done scared the crap out of me! Your doing good. 380 is harder to load than most.

May 8, 2012, 12:14 AM
Congrats on shooting your first reloads! Don't worry, Your check will no longer be visible to you and might as well just make it out to who ever you buy your gear from as it is going to end up there. Wait till you start casting, Oh boy.....

Everyone is nervous on the first range trip with your handloads. We all been there before! Now that you got it done, You will be shooting a whole lot more with smile on your face.

May 8, 2012, 08:45 AM
The dies were tight and I tried to keep the same pressure on the ram every time.

I wonder if you set your dies up right. Crimping and seating bullets in same operation? If so the pressure "feel" is not applicable. You need to Read This (

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