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guide for 380 brass go/no go length?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jell-dog, May 5, 2014.

  1. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    Hi, I'm a newbie here, I have found answers to all my questions so far.
    This is a great site for info, but have not found thread about trim length for 380 brass.
    My wife has a Bersa Firestorm 380, very accurate pistol w/factory loads but she would like a little less snappy ammo for practice.
    So, we have picked up all her brass (that we could find :uhoh:).
    Ready to reload but not sure what range of case lengths (.680 max to .670 min :confused:) will produce reliable ammo. Trim it down to .675 and .670 just keeping 2 lengths to load and let'er rip? Or sort to three lengths .680 - .677, .676 - .673, trim rest to .670?
    Thank you for any info you could share:)
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Max case length is .680".
    Trim too length is .677"

    But there is No need to worry about it in .380.
    And hardly nobody trims straight wall pistol brass, ever.

    Load it, shoot it.
    It worked fine the first time, or it wouldn't be an empty case now.

  3. Schwing

    Schwing Well-Known Member

    I think you will find that most reloaders don't bother trimming semi-auto brass. I reload for .380 and have never bothered. I also don't trim for 9mm, .45 etc.

    I do see merit in trimming revolver brass to make sure you are getting consistent roll crimps but on any caliber where a taper crimp is used, I would not waist the time.
  4. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    I have about 500 pieces that fall under .670, these are good to go?
    Maybe adjust seating die to make up for the .010 diff between standard length (.680) on .670 and below, or is .010 just not enough to worry about?
    I agree that .38 & 357 mag need to be sorted to length to get a proper roll crimp.
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Load them.

    Try for a seating die taper crimp adjustment of about .372" case mouth average.

  6. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the info, l was not looking forward to trimming most/all our 380 brass.
    Great site to find answers from members who have "been there, done that"!
  7. Potatohead

    Potatohead Well-Known Member

    That would suck, trimming 500 cases of 380. I dont know if I could hang onto 'em with my little setup. Theyd go flying.
  8. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    I don't know if l could hold onto the 380 brass & trim 500 cases with my fat fingers!
  9. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    When I crimp 380 my goal is to remove the flare from expanding. Actual diameter isn't that critical, but the round must pass The Plunk Test.
  10. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    Thank you Mr Heywood!
    The "plunk test" link you supplied is the best explanation l have read to this date explaining all the "how-to, how not-to & why" this is a good way to "custome load" for your particular pistol!!
    kudo's to you!
  11. jwrowland77

    jwrowland77 Well-Known Member

    The only handgun brass I trim is the .357 mag cases for revolver. Other than that, I don't trim pistol brass.
  12. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    I agree with trimming .38 spl & .357 mag revolver brass when needed as the roll crimp and sizing seem to make them "grow" a little especially with max loads.
    And that roll crimp needs to be consistent and in the correct place on the bullet or you may have problems.
  13. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    loading 380 using "plunk test"

    I 're-loaded' 100 rounds 380 this week for wife's Bersa Firestorm 380 auto.
    99 functioned perfectly, 1 fail to fire due to bad primer.
    Working up my loads with accurate #2, CCI primers, mixed head stamp brass (all measured within 0.003 of each other) Berrys 100gn rnhb copper plate (50 rounds) and Frontier CMJ 100gn rn copper plate (50rounds) starting at starting load (2.6gr) and increasing powder by 0.1gr each 10 rounds up to 3.0gr.
    Found a good load for each style of bullet, will work up more later.
    My reason for this post is that I used Jessy Haywood's post #9 to find longest usable OAL for this pistol by using The Plunk Test-
    When I calculated the max OAL for this pistol with the Berrys bullets, I came up with 1.029".
    I put together a dummy round and this MAX OAL passed Plunk Test great!
    BUT the dummy round would not fit in the magazine:banghead:
    SO...I used bullet seat die to gradually reduce OAL to fit mag.
    Found 1.00 fit mag, but bound a little when pushed to bottom of mag.
    Further reduced OAL to 0.995 and had success:)
    As stated earlier, 99 of 100 rounds functioned perfectly:cool:
    This exercise shows that you may find your MAX USABLE CARTRIDGE OAL but other factors may have you adjusting to get round to function properly in your pistol.
    Any comments would be greatly appreciated!!
  14. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    If you read through the thread Jesse Heywood linked, you'll note that once you determined the max OAL, then next you feed/chamber the dummy round from the magazine to determine the "working OAL" that works reliably.

    It is the working OAL that you conduct your powder work up from the start charge. Sometimes, the max OAL can work as the working OAL but often the working OAL is shorter than the max OAL.

    Here's an example of a load work up and range test where the working OAL was shorter than max OAL which exceeded SAAMI max OAL. Ultimately, we need to custom tailor our reloads to our pistols/barrels - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=9462657#post9462657
  15. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    AAHA! I must have missed the "feed & chamber" part, had gun apart so did plunk test, checking to see if dummy round touched lands & grooves, it didn't touch so assembled pistol, tried to feed dummy into mag & found binding.
    I did the adjusting to dummy round to end up with my max usable OAL.
    If I reread the PLUNK TEST thread correctly, my USABLE OAL ROUND should now be more accurate than factory ammo, given that I use quality components and ABSOLUTELY pay attention to assembling each round.
    Thank you for redirecting me to the PLUNK TEST thread, I carefully read it again and found other info I missed/overlooked.
  16. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    Did you try it a 2nd time? If the primer was not fully seated the first firing seats it and the 2nd time it will fire.
  17. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    Yes, after ftf I removed mag, cycled slide to extract round, loaded ftf round into mag, replaced mag, cycled ftf round into barrell and fired. Or I should say failed to fire round 2nd time.:mad:
  18. wlkjr

    wlkjr Well-Known Member

    I'm using the same Berry bullet you are. I'm loading them for a Glock 42 and also used in a Ruger LCP; OAL for mine is .966 with various powders. Bullseye works best for the G42 but the Ruger works well with several others. I think that's due mostly because of the recoil spring.
  19. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    If the primer fired on the second strike, it was not a bad primer but a primer that was not seated deep enough properly.

    Primer ignites when the anvil tip compresses priming compound against the primer cup. When the primer is not seated deep enough to set the anvil tip against the priming compound, first strike seats the primer cup deeper and second strike ignites the compound.

    A good QC check is to turn the loaded rounds primer side up on a bullet tray and run your finger tip over the primers. All primers should feel slightly below flush (or at least flush). If you feel any raised high primers, they need to be seated deeper so they are slightly below flush or .004" below flush.
  20. jell-dog

    jell-dog Well-Known Member

    thanks for input!
    as all are aware , specific powder is hard to find, haven't seen bullseye here in 7 months.
    I have accurate #2 #5 Hodgdon Longshot & CFE Pistol to work with.
    good to hear the Berrys bullits & Frontier plated bullets are good!

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