My first round of .380 auto


Vodoun da Vinci
April 21, 2014, 09:44 PM
Got my Xtreme Bullets .380's today and started loading into cases I charged yesterday. I only have my Glock 42 in .380 and wanted to begin working up my .380 so that it was short enough to chamber in other guns as I know the Glocks tend to be able to chamber some long cartridges. So I borrowed a Walther PPK/s for an additional plunk tester.

I kinda fudged my charge as I did not have exact data for Unique and a 100 gr. lead bullet...these are plated so I use cast data. I interpolated data for Unique and a cast 95 gr and a cast 121 gr bullet.

I ended up with 3.8 gr. of Unique pushing that 100 gr. plated RNFP and a COL of .944 which plunks just fine in both the G42 and Walther....dummies feed perfectly in both pistols with no setback after 6 chamberings with the Walther and .006 setback after 6X in the Glock.

Guys who have loaded .380, whaddaya think? COL about right? Too hot for a start load at that COL? Feedback appreciated and thanks in advance! :)


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April 21, 2014, 09:58 PM
For my gun (p380) for a Berrys 100gr plated I use a COAL of .965 it runs perfectly. I can't speak for your bullet. I do know shortening the COAL on a 380 really jacks the pressure up. I stopped running Unique in 380, I hate how it meters. I run universal , similar to Unique but meters perfectly. When I run out of that I'll use HP 38.

April 21, 2014, 10:07 PM
100 grain Berry and 3.8 Unique at .975" was my End Load in my Kel-Tec P3AT.

I started lower and worked up to that.
Would not go any higher in a micro-gun, but it should be fine in a Glock or SIG or Colt locked breech gun.


April 21, 2014, 10:41 PM
I just checked my notes. I used 3.3 grains with that bullet and my notes said "uncomfortably snappy". They were accurate though.

April 22, 2014, 01:52 AM
3.8 Unique + 100 grain in a P3AT was for sure too much for me or the tiny gun.

Was it safe?
I think it was,i as there were never any signs of guppy-belly case bulging at the feed ramp on any of the cases.

It just felt like more then the gun, or I felt comfortable with.

I only loaded the test rounds + 100 more.
That was enough for me, and my little gun.


Vodoun da Vinci
April 22, 2014, 06:35 AM
Thanks Guys!


April 22, 2014, 07:46 AM
Since there is very little load data for plated bullets, rather than coming up with a load commingling the data for a lighter and heavier cast bullet, it's better to use a load from the high end of lead for the minimum and the mid-range of FMJ of the same weight bullets as the maximum.

Vodoun da Vinci
April 22, 2014, 08:07 AM
Well, I'll have 100 of these....I don't think they are "dangerous" but might be hot. We'll shoot 'em "carefully" this weekend and back it down if needed unless the first round shows signs of excessive pressure and then I pull the bullets and start over....the factory rounds in RNFP I have were/are .940 OAL.

I appreciate the input guys!


April 22, 2014, 11:43 AM
COL..965 90gr.HP XTP 3.3 BE, CCISPP. With the MG95gr. JHP I was 940/941 OAL then increased .965 I wasn't really to happy w/MG's fould barrel fast. I have some EX. 100 gr. on the way. Not much to choose from and not being able to find ammo for break in, surely didn't help none! New brass is what iv'e been using.

April 22, 2014, 11:46 AM
That's awesome

April 23, 2014, 11:44 PM
I run the Berry's 100gr plated over 3.0gr of Win Super Target at a col of .980 in a Kahr cw380. They are very accurate and shoot exceptionally (I mean it's dang near ridiculous) clean. I know this doesn't relate to your Unique load, but I'm so happy with this particular recipe, I thought I would share it :D

April 24, 2014, 05:39 AM
I load the X-Treme 100 gr RNFP to .945" OAL. I use W231/HP-38 so can't comment on Unique powder charge.

April 24, 2014, 04:24 PM
I Can't wait till I hear the results. Hope they are good!

Vodoun da Vinci
April 24, 2014, 05:19 PM
My Wife and I are excited. I have some Fiocchi 95 gr. ball, some Winchester "Train and Defend" training ammunition which I think is 95 gr. flat noses, and 100 rds of Home Broo .380 to test Saturday - Over 300 rounds in all.

We had our last outing with the Glock 42 cut short by a squib out of a box of purchased remanufactured ammo that was *horrible* stuff even before the squib. You could hear the report difference between each round and feel the recoil difference. Absolute junk but I managed to trade the remainder of it after the squib for 2 hours of range time worth $35 so it all works out.

We'll give the G42 a proper welcome and test and I'm hoping to only be shooting VooDoo Home Brew after this weekend but we'll see. I'll be surprised if I don't have to tweak it a bit as this is my very first .380 load ever.

Shot a lot of home brew 9mm and .32 though. I'll try and get some pix and some feedback about the ammo and the G42 as I know there is not much out there yet. The Wife loves the G42 and having her own now really has her cranked up....if this works out (and I'm sure it will) she has plans to introduce a girlfriend from work to hand gunning and I'd love to have them introduce her with hand loads. Generally speaking (trying not to brag) my ammunition puts factory to shame in quality control, accuracy, and consistency.

April 24, 2014, 09:30 PM
My Lyman cast bullet handbook lists the Lee 102 grain cast bullet mold. It has 2.9 start and 3.3 grains of unique max with a OAL of .960. Your at .5 grains sbove that with a shorter OAL than listed. I would be worried about shooting them unless you worked up the load. It sounds like you kind of made a guess at what charge to try from your post ( at least thats the way I read it). If you have enough bullets and brass work the load up to the point that you are at now before you shoot them. If you cant get to that point then you will have to pull them. Be safe and remember we dont need any G42 KABOOM rumors floating around. We still havent gotten over all the 40 S&W KABOOMS with reloads.

Vodoun da Vinci
April 25, 2014, 09:58 AM
I have a manual at home that lists high end load with Unique for a 121 gr. cast bullet at 4.5 gr of Unique...the OAL I do not have handy but it is undoubtedly longer that the .944 I have loaded. It is no doubt to be worked up to slowly.

My research for various cast bullet weights (Berry's says to use cast data for their plated bullets and all the 9mm and .32 loads I worked up I went with that) has .380 Unique loads at 95 gr. all over the charts but 3.8 gr. is within midrange.

I think my 3.8 gr may be a bit hot but I doubt it is "Kaboom" territory. I have load data that shows heavier cast bullets being pushed with quite a bit more Unique than I am running. I'm leery of a hot load for starters but I'm not worried enough to pull 100 bullets and start over without even pulling the trigger on one round.

Anybody else think I should be?


Vodoun da Vinci
April 25, 2014, 07:49 PM
I was wrong about data. Lyman 43rd edition lists a 95 gr. cast at between 3.0 gr. of Unique and a max load at 4.8 gr.

Lyman 45th edition lists a 121 gr. cast at between 3.5 gr of Unique and a max load of 3.9 gr.

I have credible notes (my father in laws) that shows he loaded (I remember shooting them) .380 95 gr. cast at 4.4 gr. of Unique and we shot them out of a Walther PP and found them plenty hot but not *HOT!* as in scary with no signs of pressure.

After thinking about it today I came home and loaded 6 ea. 100 gr. plated over 3.2 gr, 3.4 gr. and 3.6 gr of Unique. Of course well shoot the mag of 3.2 gr first and see what we have and work up from there - at any sign of excessive recoil, report or pressure signs I'll stop and resume shooting with factory (we need the brass and I wanna test the gun) ammunition and pull the bullets I have seated and start over based on what I learn.

I appreciate you guys input and listening to me babble about it. I also appreciate the concern. Thank You.


Peter M. Eick
April 26, 2014, 07:21 AM
One question. Is not the glock a polygonal barrel? I thought that lead and polygonal barrels had to be balanced very carefully to avoid leading. I thought that you needed to really scrub it clean of lead prior to shooting jacketed's again.

Is that correct or just an "old wives tale"?

Vodoun da Vinci
April 26, 2014, 10:11 AM
I have not shot plain lead out of a Glock so I cannot answer....I use plated lead. I have never seen any fouling in my Glock 26 in over 1500 rounds of plated 124 gr. flat nosed lead bullets.

Unplated? I dunno - I prefer plated lead for auto pistols and reserve lead only for revolvers but that's just me. I'm a little odd in that I don't shoot hollow points until we get to hot .357 magnum.

But yeah, Glock's polygonal rifling and plain lead are not a match made in Heaven according to everything I have read but it *is* being done by others here at THR.


Vodoun da Vinci
April 26, 2014, 06:28 PM
OK, we have a winner. :)

We shot 150 rounds of factory .380 today - 50 rounds of Winchester "Train and Defend" .380 which was "low recoil" training variety. The bullets are wide meplat plat noses. They are accurate and nondescript. Definitely not hot nor snappy. Love the bullet shape but they don't say what the bullet weight is on the box. They fed flawlessly in the G42. Not one malfunction.

We also shot 100 rounds of Fiocchi .380 ball in the red and white striped box. 95 gr FMJ and they all functioned flawlessly as well. They were accurate and predictable and the recoil seemed indistinguishable from the Winchester low recoil ammo.

We shot my reloads starting with the 3.2 gr. of Unique under the 100 gr. plated lead RNFP in mixed cases. CCI primers. All bullets seated to .945 OAL just like the Winchester factory.

The 3.2 gr. Unique load was about identical (indistinguishable) in recoil from the Winchester low recoil. They were accurate and all fed flawlessly but it was 6 rounds. The 3.4 gr. Unique load was identical to the Winchester/Fiocchi factory in recoil and accuracy - fed and functioned flawlessly.

The 3.6 gr. Unique load seemed to be snappier to me when shot right after a mag of Winchester but I was really stretching to feel it. Functioned flawlessly - no signs of pressure nor any surprises or warning signs. So, we opened the box of 100 hand loads using the 3.8 gr. Unique loads. I shot a mag of Fiocchi - I shot a mag of the "hot" reloads. I could definitely feel the recoil difference now but my Wife, who is recoil sensitive, says if she feels it at all it does not smack or concern her in the least. They are hot and I can tell they are potent but not *OMG!* hot at all in the G42. I'll probably settle on 3.7 gr. of Unique pushing these as that makes my go to loads for .32, .380, and 9mm as 2.7 gr., 3.7 gr. and 4.7 gr. and it is just stupid simple that way. :cool:

I'd like to say all 100 of the hand loads functioned flawlessly but we did have 3 fails to feed. Classic "jamming on the ramp" type failures and it was early in the testing. By the end of our range session my Wife was hammering the red dot on the target and grinning like a maniac. She is absolutely in love with this gun. FWIW, I think the bullets are not of my favorite design...they are less truncated like the Winchesters and the meplat is not wide enough for me. I have like 384 of them left and when we shoot them up I'm gonna try another RNFP .355 from another maker....they are also plated 100 gr. RNFP bullets.

I'd rather have a more truncated design but in plated lead flat noses this is about all that is available. I'd like to have a Berry plated flat nose exactly like their 9mm 124 gr. but they don't make one.....I wonder if I can make a 124 gr. fly in .380?

Anyway, that's my range report for my very first .380 hand loads. I'm calling it a winner if not a perfect score because of the 3% ramp jams but there always has to be some fly in the ointment, dun't there? Thanks for hanging with me on this one, guys. From now on it'll be VooDoo Home Brew .380 and we are back to only shooting our hand loads till we run out of brass.


Old Fuff
April 26, 2014, 06:58 PM
The .380 was designed and intended to be used in straight-blowback (unlocked breech) pistols. As a consequence the extent of the powder type/charge was limited to something short of causing the gun's ultimate destruction.

But today we have some pistols that have Browning's short recoil (lock breech) system. I don't know but I suspect (or at least hope) that new Glock has a locked breech. If so you can safely handload it to somewhat higher levels then most published data - both in terms of bullet weight and powder charge. Don't use such ammunition in a Walther PP/PPK though.

Centaur 1
April 26, 2014, 09:44 PM
I shoot the Ranch Dog 100 grain cast bullets in my .380's, an LCP and a S&W bodyguard. When I load with Unique I use 3.0 grains, and both guns function perfectly. I can't see beating up a polymer gun just to put holes in paper.

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