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Thread: Does anyone handload the 380 ACP?

  1. #1
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    Default Does anyone handload the 380 ACP?

    Are there any issues related to their tiny size?

    Need for smaller loading block? Funnel?

    Finding a load that will function your auto pistol.

    Cast bullets, are available at reasonable prices. I've got the brass, primers, and powder. All I'd need is the DIES.

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
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  2. #2

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    Yes to issues, but none overwhelming. I loaded a lot of it back in the 1970's when components were hard to find, but cheap. Biggest issue I had was fat fingers. Reaching in between the ram and die mouth to position a bullet for seating was a royal PITA. Finally resorted to some tweezers, the jaws each with a piece of tubing slipped over it for nonslip. Standard loading blocks are basically too tall, interfering with trying to place a powder funnel over the case mouth. Strongly recommend you make your own from a wooden block, the holes no deeper than 1/2 case length and small enough to prevent tipping due to short case support.

    I was loading for my beloved Browning, and that little gem would accurately shoot just about anything you stuffed in the back of the barrel. The biggest issue was reliable cycling and feed. Get too low in the charge and it wouldn't cycle reliably. Get too long or short in seating depth and it would jam. Easy peezy fix, provided the combo is accurate.

    Once you get the loading block and tweezers, it's really not much different than working up any other loads for any other semiauto caliber. Just be happy you're not loading a 32, or especially a 25. BTDT, and the 25 moves you about three steps beyond PITA.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Yes to issues, but none overwhelming. I loaded a lot of it back in the 1970's when components were hard to find, but cheap. Biggest issue I had was fat fingers. Reaching in between the ram and die mouth to position a bullet for seating was a royal PITA. Finally resorted to some tweezers, the jaws each with a piece of tubing slipped over it for nonslip. Standard loading blocks are basically too tall, interfering with trying to place a powder funnel over the case mouth. Strongly recommend you make your own from a wooden block, the holes no deeper than 1/2 case length and small enough to prevent tipping due to short case support.

    I was loading for my beloved Browning, and that little gem would accurately shoot just about anything you stuffed in the back of the barrel. The biggest issue was reliable cycling and feed. Get too low in the charge and it wouldn't cycle reliably. Get too long or short in seating depth and it would jam. Easy peezy fix, provided the combo is accurate.

    Once you get the loading block and tweezers, it's really not much different than working up any other loads for any other semiauto caliber. Just be happy you're not loading a 32, or especially a 25. BTDT, and the 25 moves you about three steps beyond PITA.
    Thanks, BB:

    That's what I was looking for. The Real World, Injected with a little humor.

    Smitty of the North
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    If you think that the .380 can be a pain to reload, try the 22 TCM! For a 'short' loading block look at the Hornady Universal Loading tray. They work very good with short cases.

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    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Yah, it’s not that hard to reload...excepting for the finger pinch potential. After charging cases I place a bullet on to each case and then put into press. Works just fine.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    For a 'short' loading block look at the Hornady Universal Loading tray. They work very good with short cases.
    That's good to know. Never saw one, but it sounds like a great addition.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Have you tried to bell the mouths slightly and align the bullets in the case before setting the round in the press?

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Have you tried to bell the mouths slightly and align the bullets in the case before setting the round in the press?
    I did, and it was a flop at least with my younger hands and tools. Case life plummeted and I had some issues with head space getting everything squzzed back into shape good enough. With today's tools and about 50 years more experience under my belt? Just might work. But I still have those old tweezers with the tubing on the jaws and use them to this day with 9mm and even 45 ACP. I did tell you that I'm old and clumsy with fat fingers, didn't I?
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I did, and it was a flop at least with my younger hands and tools. Case life plummeted and I had some issues with head space getting everything squzzed back into shape good enough. With today's tools and about 50 years more experience under my belt? Just might work. But I still have those old tweezers with the tubing on the jaws and use them to this day with 9mm and even 45 ACP. I did tell you that I'm old and clumsy with fat fingers, didn't I?
    The Lee 4 die set is the Cat's Meow for Handgun cartridges. There is a FC die included. Roll Crimp, for straight revolver cases, and Taper Crimp for Auto cases. (Adjust taper crimp to a FL.)

    I'm loading 45 ACP with great success.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  10. #10
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I loaded it quite often back in the day... no real issues but I was running a Hornady progressive that charged on the upstroke. I bet it would be fiddly on a single stage unless you had hands like a 12 year old girl.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I figger, I got it all together, now. The equipment needed, the technique, components.

    I was concerned about using a funnel with a loading block that didn't leave enough case sticking up to make adequate contact.

    However, when I'm weighing powder charges, I can put the case on the scale, ZERO it out, weigh it again with the powder.

    My only misgivings, have to do with, working with small charges to find a power level, that works with my 380s.

    Winter Project. Too busy, now, so researching, and planning.

    The best laid plans,,,

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Have you tried to bell the mouths slightly and align the bullets in the case before setting the round in the press?
    Yeah, I've been doin that. Thanks.
    SOTN
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  13. #13

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    Film your self doing it, put it on You Tube and let us know when you post it. Make sure your wearing a hog leg and some farmers bibs please.

    I have a Dillon 550B, 9mm carbide dies and a bunch of components that have been in the same place for well over 20 years. When I tried to load my own 9mm it was not a very pretty sight, but one of my daughter's that was still at home had no problems. Her and my wife made fun of me. I wasn't aware of YouTube back then. LOL

  14. #14
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    Yentlemen:
    I couldn't wait, so I done went ahead on, and acquired the necessarys, and have now successfully loaded 380 ACP. 95 gr Cast, 95 gr cast-coated, 90 gr XTP.

    I used the Lee 4 die set, my Lee Turret Press, operated manually.

    The tiny cases were not a problem. The tiny charges weren't either, as my Forster BR powder measure meters Win 231, almost perfectly.

    Now, my 3, 380s will not go hungry.

    Thanks for your help,all.
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  15. #15

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    I have never loaded for a 380 but 231 is good stuff in a variety of rounds.

    I watched a couple of episode of 48 Hours last year and the bad guys in Cleveland sure seemed to be doing a number on each other with the 380. 4 dead guys in 2 episodes and the cops could tell just by looking that they were dead......they didn't have to kick em or nuthin!

    I would not feel under gunned amongst 2 legged vermin packing a 380!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    I have never loaded for a 380 but 231 is good stuff in a variety of rounds.

    I watched a couple of episode of 48 Hours last year and the bad guys in Cleveland sure seemed to be doing a number on each other with the 380. 4 dead guys in 2 episodes and the cops could tell just by looking that they were dead......they didn't have to kick em or nuthin!

    I would not feel under gunned amongst 2 legged vermin packing a 380!
    Nor me, 380, tis said to be minimum for self defense. It recoils less than 9mm, But there is recoil aplenty. My Walther PPK 380, notices the recoil. Makarov 380, a heavier gun, don't hardly. Taurus Spectrum 380 recoil is not unpleasant at all, although it weighs wayyy less than the PPK. GO FIGURE.

    380 ammo ON SALE is $15 A box. That be more than 9mm,which is a smaller cartridge. I will save many dolla, if I don't assume room temp too soon.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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