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Into the 380ACP

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ScEd, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. ScEd

    ScEd

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    I Thought a few of you that re-load 380 ACP could appreciate this.
    Like many of you here I finally conceded that if I wanted to shoot my 380's on a regular basis it was time to start reloading for the 380ACP. Ordered a set of dies, a box of 90-grain Hornady XTP Bullets, everything else needed is on the shelf. Cleaned up the new dies, tumbled my handful of 380 brass. Picked a starting test load of Unique (4.0 grains) since Unique was in the powder thrower. I had forgotten how enjoyable setting up for a new cartridge can be. Cranked out a quick 5-rounds of this new creation at .960 OAL. Quickly dropped each round in the chamber of my already dis-assembled Kel-Tec P3AT that I have been wanting to shoot for a while. All good, a quick re-assemble of the 3AT and its off to the range which is located right behind my house. With great anticipation….Hung a 9" pie plate with a 3/4" paster for a bullseye on the target holder. Step out to the 10-yard pad and load 5 rounds into this little jewel of a bug pistol. Fire one, 1/2" right of center. Fire two, 1" high. Oh yea, this is what im talking about, Fire three, light trigger pull and no bang? Not jammed?? Drop mag and clear the chamber. A Quick check reveals a broke hammer spring. Kind of leaves you hanging don't it?.....Ed
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  2. ctaggart

    ctaggart

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    Better now than when you need it!
     

  3. BK63

    BK63

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    I could be wrong as I haven't loaded 380 in a while but I seem to remember 4 grains of Unique being the max for that bullet. It pretty much filled it almost to the top. Anything lighter though did not function my guns reliably. Mine are Walther PPK/S and Ruger LCP. That load functions well in both.
     
  4. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    What you experienced is the intended design of the gun... it functioned just as it should. After all, it's meant to be used in a 'get off me' situation.

    Fire two shots, carefully remove all of your cloths, fold them in a neat pile and leave the area... the concept being that you can run faster naked and scared than the other guy can mad. :whistling:

    I have a Walther PP that I bought back in the early '70's and an LCP that I just picked up last week. (Got it during a weak moment of boredom.)

    Used to use Bullseye under a 90 grain RN, switched to 3 grains of HP38 last summer. Walther eats 'em like candy... too much snow around here the give the LCO a workout so I just loaded a mag and took it behind the house.

    Ran through six without a hitch... took forever to find the brass in the snow. Will go to the range Sunday, (no NASCAR this weekend) put a couple hundred through it then try some Super Vel 88 grain JHP just to see how they function. Will also practice taking off my clothes and folding them. :supergrin:

    Jack
     
  5. ScEd

    ScEd

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    My book showed 2.4 to 4.8 with 4.5 as accuracy load. this load felt about the same as the Winchester white box ammo if anyone can remember what a box looked like lol.
    Kel tec customer service came thru and is mailing a new spring out today. Thanks for the LCP info. One will be joining my stable this weekend if not sooner...Ed
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  6. MisterLady27

    MisterLady27

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    1. Was that using Big Blue? I'm asking çause I don't have the extra small powder bar - but 4.0 of Unique ought to work in the small pb (also sounds pretty zippy)

    2. Source of the lighter boolits? All I see is 100gr RN stuff

    Regards

    ML27
     
  7. ScEd

    ScEd

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    Wow, I had to stop and think a minute ML27, that must mean I order too much lol. These came from Midway. I think the light .355 bullets a chunk-ed in with all the other 9MM bullets on the Midway pages. 2.5g_4.8gr of Unique was the range in my book for the 380. As far as loading the rounds go I have a odd sounding process. I decapp with a single stage press and a Lee Universal de-capping die, then tumble the brass with a polish in the media. Then size the case and bell the case mouth on a old Lyman Turret press. The bullet is seated and crimped on yet another single stage press. Sounds drawn out but Big Blue would be a lot of setup for the few 380ACP rounds I would ever load at any given time. Probably <100.
     
  8. Glocken-spiel

    Glocken-spiel

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    i'm a beginning reloader. loaded 20 or so rounds of .380 with unique and 95gr. FMJ. i'll have to check my log, but i think i loaded it to 4.2 grains. WOW -- like +P! my DiamondBack 380 handled it all just fine, but it was stronger than i had expected. at least i know i can load with this, but i'm loading some a little lighter now. i'll bring back a range report when i can get out there and try the new loads.
     
  9. ScEd

    ScEd

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    Kel-Tec came thru for me with the replacement hammer spring. 3-days from the time the spring broke I received the new hammer/spring assembly (free). Popped it into the P3AT and finished testing the 4.0g of Unique and 90grain Hornady XTP. About 4" 10-shot group at 10 yards. That's all I could expect from a P3AT.
     
  10. Gunnut 45/454

    Gunnut 45/454

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    ScEd
    Other then getting a better firearm sounds like you got the load that works! My Bersa has has hundreds of rounds through and not one hitch! My powder is W231 in the 380 with both 90 gr GD's and Cast 105 gr RN ! This is the smallest round I reload for and they are a PITA!:supergrin:
     
  11. ScEd

    ScEd

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    While I like the P3AT OK and have carried it for years I plan to replace it with a LCP-SS as soon as it arrives. The 3AT has never jammed or failed in any manner until the spring broke. Still, it's time for a change. The load seems fine, I will send a few through the chronograph soon to see exactly what they clock. Probably in the low 900's but really curious what the SD is.