New to loading-need advice 380 loading


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wakmeister
March 7, 2013, 03:33 PM
1st forgive my ignorance, dont want to make a mistake--I want to reload the 380 acp bullet--I have a S&W 380 bodyguard and a Bersa thunder 380--bought the 2nd edition Lee handbook and it is in my lap constantly, however what I have to start is--Penn 100 grn TCBB lead bullet, CCI small pistol primer, 1 lb of Unique powder, used brass--will be reloading on my new Lee 4 turret press, disc powder system, primer feed on press--what is my dilema is I am unsure of what is the safe starting load for this cast bullet and expectations as to velocity and pressure--reviewing the load charts in the Lee handbook does not tell me anything about the 100 grn tcbb cast bullet--section on 100 grn for the 380 has a jacketed bullet--should I even be considering the bullet shape???Unique powder is not listed in 100 grn section of Lee book--can anyone help me with a start ing charge or steer me to a source--PS if Unique is the wrong powder I am due to pick it up in the morning, not obligated but all I could find in this area--what to do ---sorry for the ramble, hope some of this makes sense to somebody--thanks

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GCBurner
March 7, 2013, 03:51 PM
For lead, I'd drop the FMJ suggested load for the same bullet weight by 10% as a starting load, fire off a few rounds, and see how it performs. For Unique with a 100 grain lead or plated bullet, I think that would be about 3.4 grains. The suggested starting load for a 100gr. FMJ with Unique is 3.9 grains, in my chart.
I use 95gr. lead round nose bullets over 3.1gr. of Titegroup as a practice load or my P3AT.

J_McLeod
March 7, 2013, 03:56 PM
I checked my Lyman and Hodgdon data with nothing. Personally, I would use 95gr lead data and back off a tenth or two below the starting load, or I'd back off some 100gr jacketed data. With my own .380 I use jacketed and lead data interchangeably, but that is not always a smart thing to do.

ArchAngelCD
March 7, 2013, 04:03 PM
I just checked the Lyman 4th Edition Cast Handbook and for a 102gr LRN bullet they list a charge range of 2.9gr to 3.3gr Unique. If you're going to load lead bullets I highly recommend picking up a copy of that load manual.
http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/publications/cast-bullet4.php
It can be found for less money from a third party vendor.

ssyoumans
March 7, 2013, 05:29 PM
Deleted

Certaindeaf
March 7, 2013, 05:38 PM
Is that a 100 grain lead truncated cone bevel base? Were that the case, I'd use the minimum Lee's cast 102 grain round nose data.. or less.

medalguy
March 7, 2013, 05:39 PM
Definitely get the Lyman book if you're going to be using any cast bullets. It's the cast boolit bible.

Certaindeaf
March 7, 2013, 05:50 PM
My favorite slug for .380 is the Lee 105gr semi-wadcutter. it makes big clean holes

wakmeister
March 8, 2013, 08:45 AM
thanks for the replys--going to get the Lyman book and looking for the 95 grn cast round nose in .355

rchery59
March 8, 2013, 11:05 AM
For what it's worth I use a 100 gr plated berrys bullet with universal. Universal and unique are damn close to interchangeable as far as i'm concerned. Just start low and work up slowly until you get the results you want. I use 3.1 gr universal
OAL at .965 with a 100gr berrys. I end up with the same loads plated or cast so take it for what it's worth. If I remember correctly, you will need a bit less powder with unique.

Walkalong
March 8, 2013, 11:11 AM
Universal is a bit faster than Unique, and it really shows up at the top end. They are not interchangeable, just similar in burn speed.

Clark
March 8, 2013, 03:38 PM
For tiny 380s, I like 90 gr Gold Dot.
For medium 380s, I like 115 gr JHP.

The thing to watch is length.
Each pistol and bullet combination seems to have a different max over all length for reliable feeding.

But it is probably near .97"

Milkbus
March 9, 2013, 06:12 PM
I use the Lee Turrent press as well. I changed from the disk to the adjustable powder drop. In the disk, the the smallest hole dropped. 3.9 grains of Unique. I was able to get it down to 3.1 grain with the adjustable gizmo but it is very inconsistent.

The shape of Uniques powder is causing it to bridge the measure. I am looking for some W231 for my 380 as the different shape of the powder grains should measure consistently.

cpy911
March 9, 2013, 07:17 PM
Interesting. I just loaded my first 10 rounds of .380acp and waiting to test them.
My recipe, 100gr Lead FP from Rimrock bullets and 3.0 grains of Unique. I am seating to cover up the lubrication groove. I noticed there is hardly any space left over in the case, so I don't want to seat too deep. My lee powder measure does not throw Unique very consistently. It is off up to +/-.3 grains. I weighed each of my charges individually to get started. My issue now is how to do a taper crimp. I am using Lee carbide dies. Supposedly, the seater die does do a taper crimp. I basically set it so the die was doing a very light roll crimp and then backed it off so I could not see any roll crimp any more. I am having a hard time actually seeing any taper crimp. Hope I am doing it right and not blow myself up. I have been doing .38/.357 loads for several years now, no problem.

Henry45
March 10, 2013, 11:57 AM
I use Berry's 100g RNFB .356 bullets and 3.0g Win 231, with oal of .968. Seems to feed well in my Sig and Beretta.

AABEN
March 10, 2013, 12:12 PM
My reloading book for 380 starting load is 2.4 of unique for a 100gr led bullet #2 alloy. OAL is .885.

Dframe
March 10, 2013, 01:35 PM
Overall Length is often critical to proper functioning in a 380. I've had my best luck, going with the shortest recommended OAL. Most of the powder companies have websites with load data and sometimes the bullet manufacturers can be helpful if you contact them

leadchucker
March 10, 2013, 02:57 PM
IMHO, Unique is a bad choice of powder for this application and situation.

New reloader, small load with small margin of error, and a large-flake powder with a known reputation for being difficult to meter accurately. Bad combination.

Get some 231 to learn on. And get you another reloading book or two, like Lyman or Speer.

James2
March 10, 2013, 03:26 PM
I like Titegroup for the 380.

If you already have the Unique, 2.3 to 3 gr is the load range from my data. (Lyman) 0.900 OAL

Be careful, as noted Unique does not meter as well as some others, and a couple tenths is a
pretty good percentage of the total. You will be fine if you weigh each charge.

wakmeister
March 11, 2013, 10:01 AM
Well-thanks for all the replies--do not have Unique--shop owner told me to use Alliant Bullseye, I now have to get the formula for 95 and 100 grn cast bullets--will order the Lyman edition 4 book on cast loads as soon as I clear the current bill, shop owner tells me Bullseye, W231 and HP38 are about the same???

Matt Dillon
March 11, 2013, 10:27 PM
Regarding your crimp issues, I don't crimp using the seating die, I crimp separately using the lee factory crimp die. Just finished ~150 rounds of .380 yesterday using 3.9 grains of Unique with 95 grain Ranier plated boolits and cci#500 sp primers, my standard recipe.

cpy911
March 11, 2013, 10:40 PM
Regarding your crimp issues, I don't crimp using the seating die, I crimp separately using the lee factory crimp die separately. Just finished ~150 rounds of .380 yesterday using 3.9 grains of Unique with 77 grain Ranier plated boolits and cci#500 sp primers, my standard recipe.
Is your factory crimp die doing a nice taper crimp?

Matt Dillon
March 12, 2013, 10:24 AM
Yes it is. I find that .380 is a rather challenging load, the cases are so small that handling them is a challenge.

Dframe
March 12, 2013, 12:35 PM
Bullseye, 231, and HP-38 are all similar though NOT identical powders. The 380 with it's very small case capacity and the need for a quick impulse for proper operation requires a very dense fast burning powder. Powders that are too slow, or do not meter well are a bad idea. Any of the three mentioned above will give excellent results.

ArchAngelCD
March 12, 2013, 12:46 PM
Interesting. I just loaded my first 10 rounds of .380acp and waiting to test them.
My recipe, 100gr Lead FP from Rimrock bullets and 3.0 grains of Unique. I am seating to cover up the lubrication groove. I noticed there is hardly any space left over in the case, so I don't want to seat too deep. My lee powder measure does not throw Unique very consistently. It is off up to +/-.3 grains. I weighed each of my charges individually to get started. My issue now is how to do a taper crimp. I am using Lee carbide dies. Supposedly, the seater die does do a taper crimp. I basically set it so the die was doing a very light roll crimp and then backed it off so I could not see any roll crimp any more. I am having a hard time actually seeing any taper crimp. Hope I am doing it right and not blow myself up. I have been doing .38/.357 loads for several years now, no problem.
Unique is notorious for metering poorly. Like said above, Universal is very similar but meters better and burns cleaner. W231/HP-38 is a much better choice in the .380 Auto. Bullseye and W231/HP-38 are not the same. Bullseye is a very fast pistol powder while W231 is not as fast even though it's on the faster side of the chart.

As for how deep in the case your bullet sits, are you sure you're using a bullet meant for the 380 Auto and not the 9mm Para? That is one of the differences in bullet design.

twice barrel
March 12, 2013, 02:07 PM
Right now my loads for .380 ACP are 3.4gn Hodgdon Universal and Montana Gold 95gr JHP. I also loaded the same bullet over 3.2gn Win 231 but prefer the Universal loading.

Oldgoat03
March 12, 2013, 08:06 PM
I too load 380ACP on a Lee Classic 4 hole turret with the Lee Pro-disc powder measure. This is a great press and powder measure but for small charges for the 380 I could not get the small charge I needed. I foudn that charges less than 3.5gr (W231) were not consistent with the adjustable measure. There were no discs that were small enough either. SOLUTION: I ended up getting the Lee Micro Disc and it will drop small (sub 3 gr) charges consistently. Good luck!

OG03

leadchucker
March 13, 2013, 11:13 AM
The Lee Micro Disk is no longer available.

GCBurner
March 13, 2013, 11:59 PM
The micro disk seems to have been replaced by the micrometer adjustable charge bar.

Coffeeguy
March 15, 2013, 01:05 PM
I've had inconsistent results as well with the auto-disk setup when it comes to small charges, i.e. 3 grains or so. The adjustable style charge bar works very well, and saves a lot of time as well, not having to change out disks when switching powders or charge weights. This is where a good scale comes in handy.

I've been loading for 20-plus years, and recently started loading .380 for my wife's gun since I couldn't talk her into a 9mm. Dies were hard to come by with the recent panic-buying, but finally found some. I've used 9mm dies successfully, but with slight issues due to the expander die not reaching far enough down. 9mm cases also have a slight taper, but everything miked out okay and headspaced just fine, probably due to the brass springing out a little after being resized and, of course, after seating the bullets. Using the proper dies, especially the expander, makes it way easier!

DanTheFarmer
March 15, 2013, 06:54 PM
I use Bullseye for my 380 ACP because I've found a load the works well and I can use my Lee Pro Auto Disk. I like Titegroup but can't get small enough disks to work but with Bullseye and Power Pistol I can find appropriate disks.

Do some searching and reading on this issue as some people have come up with very clever solutions. I haven't tried it yet but one member has posted directions for drilling through the side of a disk and then screwing in a small bolt. The farther you screw it in, the smaller the volume of the powder hole in the disk. It sounds like a great idea, particularly since the Micro-Disk doesn't seem to be available any longer.

Good Luck.

Dan

MikeS.
March 15, 2013, 07:43 PM
I like and use 2.8grn of bullseye with a 95 grn cast bullet from MissouriBullet.

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