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.380 COL question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Beau Bo, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    I just loaded up (50) .380 cartridges using 3.0 gm of Win 231 and Win 95gr FMJ bullets. The bullets have a flat nose to them. The OAL of the cartidges is +-.970 as specified in the Hogden load charts.

    The cartridges won't feed smoothly in my PPK magazines, the edges of the flat nose seem to be catching on the rounded edge of the magazine. It seems that if I could shorten the OAL a bit they would feed OK.

    My Lyman manual doesn't list a 95gr with the W231 and the online sites I've found don't list the OAL.

    Since the Hodgdon chart is my only data point I'm reluctant to go shorter. However, one of the review comments on the Midway site for that bullet was that it fed nicely through his PPK.:confused:

    Anyway looking for some advice, thanks...
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The 95 grain Speer is a Round Nose bullet.

    What Lyman manual do you have?
    My Lyman #49 manual, Page 338, shows a 95 FMJ-FN with W-231 = 2.1 Start --- 2.9 MAX .
    Seated .900" OAL.

    My Lyman #47 manual shows the same thing on page 379.

    PS: Never ever load 50 rounds of anything until you figure out if they will work or not.

    Since those you loaded don't work, and will be over max if you seat them deeper?
    You now have some serious bullet pulling to do!

  3. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    Sorry, I see it now.

    Now that we've determined that I need my eyes checked how about a little schooling on why the difference in OAL data. This is from the Hodgdon load data.

    95 GR. SPR FMJ Winchester 231 .355" .970" 2.9 802 13,100 CUP 3.2 884 15,400 CUP
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  4. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    I just checked 8 rounds from a box of Winchester "White Box" 95-grain cartridges, which I assume are loaded with the same bullet. Here is the OAL range: 0.9430 to 0.9475
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Because RN and FP bullets are a different shape.

    A RN can seat longer and hit the feed ramp in the same place a FP seated shorter hits it.

    The other thing you need to do is take the slide off of you PPK and chamber check your loaded rounds.

    The FP bullet is full diameter further out then a RN.
    So seated at .970", it very likely won't drop in the chamber all the way because the bullet shoulder is running into the rifling.
    That also can increase pressure drastically.

    You are probably fortunate your MAX loads were catching on the magazine and you didn't shoot them.

    While we are at it:
    Never EVER start by loading a MAX load with a different bullet then called for in the first place.

    Safe & Sound reloading practice is to start at the Starting load shown.
    Then only load a few rounds and function check and shoot them.
    Work up slowly, testing each load, and then stop at the MAX load if you get that far.

  6. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    I hear you loud and clear on the MAX load caution. I didn't intend to go to MAX its just that the Hogden data listed starting load as 2.9 and max as 3.1, I figured I was right in the middle. Now, when looking at the Lyman data I see a starting of 2.1 and a max of 2.9.

    Looking again at the Hodgdon data the only 95 gr bullet listed is SPR FMJ. I guess in hindsight I should have looked up that bullet to see if was RN or FP. Didn't realize there would be that much of a difference

    This is my first reloading adventure, I thought it would be simple, just following a recipe, guess I thought wrong!
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  7. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    Since I need to change the COL from .970 down to .900 I probably need to pull the bullets and start from scratch. Seeing that I'm at MAX, its probably the best thing to do here.

    For future reference - can you reseat the bullets further in using the seating die AFTER you have applied the crimp, if you say just need to go a few thousandths further in?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  8. Didereaux

    Didereaux Member

    I reload lots, and lots of 380ACP. I keep the OAL between .950 and .960. I have no issues in any of the following guns. Beretta 84/85, SIG P232, Bersa Thunder 380.

    Early on I was using .970 and did have some loading issues.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Auto pistol Taper-Crimp = Yes.
    Revolver Roll-Crimp = No.

  10. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    Although what will cycle through the gun is certainly a "must have" criteria if I'm learning my lessons here I should be looking at my bullet style and weight to determine COL. And looking at the49th Lyman manual, pg 338, it states that for a 95gr FMJ FP (FP is based on picture) OAL is .900".

    Just got done pulling the bullets, it was a lot easier and quicker that I thought it would be using a kinetic puller.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    IMtheNRA Said:
    Here is a new plan.
    I just also measured some Winchester USA factory loads and came up with nearly the same measurements.
    .944" to .947" OAL.

    So, that is your new seating length.

    Rather then pull all 50 rounds?
    Use some more empty brass and start about 2.7 and load five test rounds.
    Load another five at 2.8.
    And another five at 2.9.

    Seat all, including the 50 already too long, to .945" OAL.

    Then test each step looking for anything out of the ordinary, like a lot longer ejection distance then you normally get.
    (There are no "pressure signs" folks tell you to look for, like flat primers or bulged cases with a .380 PPK)

    If all goes well with the 2.7, 2.8, and 2.9 tests?
    Shoot a few of the 3.0 loads and see how that goes.
    If it goes good?


  12. CMV

    CMV Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Is that specific to the PPK or the .380 in general?

    Are there others out there that don't readily show signs of overpressure? That could make a good sticky if there's a long list of stuff like that.
  13. Beau Bo

    Beau Bo Member

    Sounds like a good plan and I'll give it a try.

    But now I'm still a bit confused (don't you just love dealing with rookies). When would I know to go with factory round measured COL vs Lyman. Would there be anything wrong with using the .900 COL from Lyman? Reason I'm asking is its rare that I will be using a bullet from an ammunition manufacturer that I could get a factory measurement with that specific bullet. I would probably be using cheaper bullets with no factory COL to measure from.
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Well, the thing is, all the ACP pistol calibers operate at relatively low pressure.

    The .380 ACP is max pressure rated at 21,500 PSI.
    That is too low to flatten primers, or expand case heads measurably.
    In guns such as a Ruger LCP, or Kel-Tec P3AT with unsupported chambers, a guppy belly case bulge ahead of the web is a sure sign of over-pressure.

    In other guns with better chamber support like the PPK or SIG P232?
    By the time you see flat primers and bulged cases in them, you are way past safe pressure for a blow-back operated gun.

    One sign you can see is flinging ejected cases into the next county, much further then factory loads.
    And as far as I know, it's the only good way to judge an over-pressure load without a chronograph and/or a pressure strain gage.

    I do know you can't do it by looking at fired cases with any degree of certainty.
    Cause if you see flat primers or bulged cases on a .380, you already went way too far.

  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    When you are using 95 grain Winchester FP bullets and two of us have measured the same OAL in Winchester 95 grain FP factory loads.

    Unless you can at least match the bullet shapes in a manual with the ones you are using, you are flying blind in recommended seating depth.

  16. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    Yeah, like recmodel said, since you're using Winchester bullets, I'd go with the length of Wincherster-manufactured ammo on this one.

    Especially, since you're worried about overcharged rounds. Seating them down to 0.900 will probably increase pressure.
  17. joneb

    joneb Well-Known Member

    I would load two or three dummy rounds without a crimp and manually cycle them in the gun.
    I like to start one long and see at what length the bullet will engage the rifling, drop a sized case in the chamber for comparison. The cartridge should headspace off the case mouth.
    At the recommended COL after cycling I check for bullet setback and dings.
    For a 9x18 Makarov I chose a little shorter COL for proper function in that gun, and decreased the start charge a bit.
  18. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    This is why it's elemental to check, double check , and check again when reviewing data.

    Now the only sensible choice is to pull all of them and start all over again. At least you only loaded 50 rounds and not 500 or more. Let this serve as a learning experience.

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