.380 powder choice

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Made me go back and look at the loads I worked up in 380 (not that many, really).

I tried Autocomp, BE-86, CFE Pistol, and Power Pistol, with Xtreme 100gn plated, and Win small pistol primers. Interestingly, a charge of 3.6gn of each one resulted in velocities within ~25fps of each other, approximately 750fps out of a Bersa. These were relatively soft shooting loads that cycle fine in the Bersa, LCP, and Sig P238. My favorite powder thus far is Power Pistol.

I hear what is being said about faster burning powders, but the slightly slower powders seem to be more tolerant of charge range than the faster ones. JMHO.
I thought OP was looking for lighter recoil target load but I was wrong.

So for higher velocity loads, my vote is for BE-86 which has produced very accurate loads for 9mm and meters very well.
Talk to bullseye match shooters and they will tell you to reduce powder charge until slide won't cycle and they will start reducing recoil spring rate to cycle the slide. ;) They will conduct load development with published start charge and work DOWN with faster powders like Bullseye, W231/HP-38, etc. :D

Unlike revolver which leaks a lot of gas through cylinder gap and more likely to stick a bullet in the barrel, semi-auto will usually push the bullet out the muzzle even with low powder charge.

Since I am in pursuit of lighter target loads when conducting load development with new powders and bullets, I usually test powder charges .2 - .3 gr below published start charges and never failed to push the bullet out the muzzle. I have failed to reliably cycle the slide but never failed to push the bullet out of the barrel.

Here's a Guns and Ammo article where light 40S&W loads were tested for USPSA minor power factor and these were WAY below published start charges - http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammo/ammunition_40lite_091806/
Interesting article. Something to try out some day.
Interesting article. Something to try out some day.
That article really tested minor power factor loads far below published start charges, even for me to consider. It sure opened my eyes.

After I switched USPSA caliber from 45ACP/9mm to 40S&W, I loaded minor power factor loads using W231/HP-38. With 165/180 gr bullets, some of the loads recoiled lighter than 9mm target loads.
I got squib loads when I started reloading decades ago. And since I started reloading for USPSA matches that used fast double taps, I absolutely had to eliminate squib rounds.

So I developed a reloading checklist and incorporated Quality Control steps to prevent squibs whether I reloaded in single stage or progressive. Since then, I have not experienced any squib loads.

Part of my QC is to inspect every charge of powder inside the case. I have a small inspection mirror mounted on my press to easily visualize inside the case neck for powder charge level.

Yes, compared to older "paper" published load data, newer online published load data tends to be more conservative. And my .2-.3 gr powder charge reduction is based on the more conservative powder manufacturers' load data, especially since I tend to use shorter OAL/COL for 9mm, particularly with 115 gr FMJ/RN bullets with shorter bullet base (to increase neck tension for more consistent chamber pressures).

But when I conduct load development, particularly for pistol loads, newer bullet types by brand have been included in recent years' updates to online load data by powder manufacturers which I reference to develop my loads.

But when Lyman #49 (which I have) still shows same powder charges for W231 and HP-38 for some loads (which has been the same for more than a decade), I wonder if they are using old test data and now I tend to favor newer online load data which seems to be updated more frequently with data from newer pressure testing methods.

Totally agree, even though I have a turret press which at least holds all of my dies, I still load single stage. First (after cleaning and inspection) I size and deprime, then flare the case. I then prime with the RCBS hand primer (I love it compared the the one on my press), then use my powder dispenser to fill a case (inspect case again while dispenser if filling) and then put it in the reloading block and insert a bullet. When I have a batch done I seat bullet and taper crimp. That way I know there is powder in the case and sleep better. Also, I mark the headstamp with a color code so I know how many times it was fired at time of loading.
I really like AA#2 for .380 meters great in .380 size charges. (but not on the OPs list) I would say it is the best metering powder I have ever used.
(very small balls)
HP38 worked for me in .380 and so did CFE-P. (small charge range on HP38 .3gr start to MAX)
CFE-P was happiest at the higher side of it's charge range.
(litte bit more wiggle room with CFE-P .5 to .7gr depending on bullet weight)

I would not buy CFE-P to load practice/plinking .380 (I buy AA#2 for .380 practice loads) but since you have CFE-P it is worth trying. Meters well.

A listed MAX load but 4gr of CFE-P with a Xtreme 100 RNFP shot well in my Kahr P380. (2.5" barrel, locked breech, no pressure sign primers looked fine-but flip side is a flat .380 primer would be BAD)
Mixed range brass, unknown # of reloads S+B SP
String: 2
Date: 8/14/2016
Time: 9:23:07 AM
Grains: 100
Hi Vel: 862
Low Vel: 843
Ave Vel: 853
Ext Spread: 19
Std Dev: 7
380 100 Xtreme 4.0 CFE-P .950 OAL
Velocity Power Factor Ft/Lbs
862 77.58 148.477
843 75.87 142.004
855 76.95 146.075
850 76.5 144.372
856 77.04 146.417

String: 1
Date: 3/20/2016
Time: 12:36:54 PM
Grains: 100
Hi Vel: 821
Low Vel: 782
Ave Vel: 804
Ext Spread: 39
Std Dev: 18
Xtreme 100 RNFP 4.0 BE86 .950 OAl
Velocity Power Factor Ft/Lbs
789 78.9 138.215
821 82.1 149.654
810 81 145.671
782 78.2 135.774
821 82.1 149.654

String: 6
Date: 5/15/2016
Time: 12:47:27 PM
Grains: 90 (should have been 100)
(note typo here when entering data into the laptop so PF and Ft/lbs are incorrect)

Hi Vel: 793
Low Vel: 777
Ave Vel: 784
Ext Spread: 16
Std Dev: 7
380 3.1 #2 CMJ 100 RN
Velocity Power Factor Ft/Lbs
793 71.37 125.658
777 69.93 120.639
779 70.11 121.26
788 70.92 124.079
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Using 98 gr polycoated RN from Eggleston Munitions, I settled on two loads for reasonable recoil from the LCP.

Titegroup - 2.6 gr at 0.980 OAL - 773 fps
Accurate #2 - 2.7 gr at 0.980 OAL - 795 fps

Of the two, the Accurate #2 is my favorite.
I load Xtreme 100 gr plated FP, W-231 and Accurate #5 for 380 ACP, both of these are good choices. For mild loads I use W231, for warmer loads I use #5.
I have found certain powders can produce accuracy despite larger metering variance.

Right, but some folks do not like not being able to keep the variance below +/- 0.1 grain regardless.

BTW, how's accuracy with your 700-X loads?

I would not win any bullseye competitions with 700-X 380 ACP loads but my accuracy is comparable as when using other powders. My 380ACPs still shoot better than I can.

I've been using 700-X in my 45 ACP loads since 1980 and started using it in 380 ACP at the same time as I always have 700-X on hand. While I do have alternate loads for the 380ACP for times when 700-x is not available, I aways go back to 700-X.
Yes, I do like my TP 738. Has anyone worked up with lighter 65grn(lehigh) weights and higher speeds toward 12-1400fps? TIA The Lehigh round is not +P supposedly, but they do link with an ammo maker that makes some even faster plus ammo. Lehigh has componets and rounds available. I started with 100 of each. 231 is my first powder choice to try. The Oehler's magic will help match up factory speed vs reload speed.
Shootin from the lips.What memory. I still wonder if anyone has worked up the Lehigh or other light projectiles.1400 is crazy Underwood is the ammo maker that shows 1300fps at Lehigh's site. BE 86 is something I don't have. I may try some if the 231 isn't what I want to use. Any lower weight and higher speed info would be much apprecciated. It is interesting seeing a X in the paper instead of a hole in the paper.TIA
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