380 reloading ?s


June 5, 2013, 12:46 AM
Ok guys I'm looking to get a 380 namely a sig sauer p2380 and I am looking for loading advice I have win 231 and accurate no 2 for pistol powders ok guys is it hard to load for any pointers thanks guys

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June 5, 2013, 12:55 AM
I don't load for 380acp, but I do load for 9x18 which is similar, W-231 and Accurate #2 are excellent choices for any bullet type.

June 5, 2013, 12:58 AM
It's a very small case, and you want to ensure that there is no bullet set-back, so you need to test each cartridge by attempting to push the bullet into the case with finger/thumb pressure (no pain is required, the bullet will either move easily or it won't).
You are best with bullets of 100gn or less. The heavier bullets can be used, but COL is critical.
You have two excellent powders for the cartridge.

June 5, 2013, 01:42 AM
Either Universal, 3.5 grains or Unique, 3.8 grains with (Montana Gold, Hornady XTP) 95 gr JHP's gives good results in both the Ruger LCP and Walther PPK/S.

The Unique load as it is an easy one to remember -- 3.8 gr in the 380, giving around 950 fps. 3.8 grains of the flake powder also fills the 380 case without compression and is impossible to double load.

As with all semi-auto pistol loads, a taper crimp to keep the bullets from shifting in the magazine from the force of the pistol's recoil is a very good idea. If the bullets shift, compressing the load in a small capacity, high pressure cartridge, the results can be very dangerous.

June 5, 2013, 05:47 AM
I load for .380 and its not to bad. As said though, check for bullet setback. I don't know much about those two powders since I use Unique but they should work if its in a manual.

June 5, 2013, 06:16 AM
I started loading .380 Auto a few months ago and find it no more tedious than 9mm. Those are good powder choices.

I have loaded a few 115-gr JHPs that I had on hand for use in 9mm Luger but was not impressed with the results in my Browning BDA. Stick with 100-gr and less that are designed for .380 Auto.

Note: Proper neck tension is critical; that's true for all semi-auto cartridges. But you don't get that from crimping--you get it from proper case sizing and bullet choice. Taper crimp is not really a crimp; rather, it is nothing more than flattening out whatever flare you may have imparted on the case mouths to aid in inserting the bullets without shaving, and is performed to facilitate full chambering. It has nothing whatever to do with achieving sufficient neck tension and nothing to do with stopping setback. If overdone, it can spoil good neck tension, but it can never achieve good neck tension.

June 5, 2013, 07:02 AM
I do load for 380 and do use the W231 powder. Great load. Don't remember off hand the powder charge but I follow the books.

I load a lot of cast and keep the bullet weight in the 92-95 gr. area. seems to work best

Good luck

June 5, 2013, 07:33 AM
380 Auto is no more difficult to load than anything else except the small case makes handling a little more difficult and the small charges require more care and vigilance when dispensing.

Just slow down and performe your steps deliberately.

Taper crimp enough to remove the mouth belling. Depending on your bullet, case and resizing die, your case may end up with a wasp waist Coke bottle look and that is ok. Remove the barrel from your hand gun and check a few rounds for chambering, the famous plunk test.

W231 and AA#2 should work fine. Use reputable published data. Currently I use Unique or 700-X.

June 5, 2013, 10:22 AM
Different 380s will feed different over all lengths.
Different 380s will eject different unfired over all lengths.
Find those thresholds for your pistol and then back off the lengths you load by a safety margin greater than the variation in your loading process.

As you can see from this drawing registered with SAAMI, the over all length of the finished round should be between 0.940" and 0.984".
But my Kahr P380 needs .965" or shorter with Winchester 115 gr JHP.
But my Kel-Tec P380 and my Ruger LCP want 0.970" or shorter with Speer 90 gr JHP Gold Dots.
Meanwhile my M1907 wants 1.090" or less on 158 gr JHP XTPs.

June 5, 2013, 11:05 AM
I've tried a few powders for .380 and the best performing in a Colt .380 and a Bersa Thunder .380 was Accurate Arms #2. It gives best velocity and more uniform velocity than the other powders tested. Use AA's data available on-line.

loose noose
June 5, 2013, 07:51 PM
OK, I'm gonna throw a wrench in the ringer. I use Red Dot and a 90 grn jacketed bullet. Never had a problem with this load, and found it very accurate in my HK 380, as well as my Taurus TCP. Also used 'em in my Walther PPKS.

June 5, 2013, 09:58 PM
I load for my Sig P238. 231 w Berry's 100g RNDS bullet. I think the last I ran was 3.1 grain. Don't remember the OAL, but have experienced a couple of light primer strikes with the 238. But haven't had the light strike issue with factory. I'm using Magtech sp primers. Same primers shoot fine in our Beretta 84 380.

June 5, 2013, 10:35 PM
I have no experiance with the #2 powder but 231 is an excellent choice for 380. As others have noted, there is nothing unusual or difficult about loading 380. however
The tiny case with it's limited space requires dilligence in metering powder charges.
The cartridge also seems to be more sensitive to C.O.L. than most. Each gun seems to like a slightly different variation but in my experiance, the shortest reasonable length is usually the most trouble free. I have a Mauser that just would NOT feed, until I began loading to a shorter C.O.L. and suddenly it ran like a champion.
And WATCH your fingers!! That tiny case can easily cause you to pinch your fingers. Often immediately followed by an outburst of language you don't want your children to hear.

Bush Pilot
June 5, 2013, 10:39 PM
Missouri 95 gr bullet and 231 works for me. I went from hating to shoot my Bodyguard and LCP to actually enjoying it.

June 5, 2013, 11:33 PM
I think you are making a good choice of powders with W231 in the 380 Auto. I have not used AA#2 but I see no reason why it wouldn't work well either.

June 6, 2013, 03:49 AM
>have experienced a couple of light primer strikes with the 238
Powder does not cause light primer strikes. Not fully seating the primer or having a too light main spring is the cause.

June 7, 2013, 02:15 PM
Don't expand the case mouth more than necessary to seat the bullet. The small diameter cases are very sensitive to diameter changes - I know. If you want to get the most out of your 380 cases this is important. Otherwise reload as typical to a straight walled pistol case.

June 7, 2013, 06:52 PM
Have used 231 for the 380 for a number of years. Using berry bullets 100 gr plated over 3.0 gr. as with all Internet info, work up your loads using good reloading procedures. I am not at home, and don't have the col which is very important.

June 7, 2013, 10:42 PM
>have experienced a couple of light primer strikes with the 238
Powder does not cause light primer strikes. Not fully seating the primer or having a too light main spring is the cause.

Yes I know. But he was asking about reloading 380 for a SIG P238. Since I've been a owner of one of those for about 8000 rounds, I was giving him the heads up that he may experience light primer strikes with the gun. Look on the internet. It's a posing problem for the SIG P238's.

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