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  1. #1
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    Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    The October 2010 issue (No. 26 of Handloader magazine has an excellent article on reloading the Ruger LCP for self defense. This is good information, not only on reloads, but also on factory loads as the author compares factory advertised velocity with actual from a Ruger LCP (which should be reasonably close to a TCP). If you have been working on reloading the .380 Auto, then you know that many powder makers listing data for the .380 Auto are showing max loads well below the SAMMI spec for the .380 of 21,500 psi. This data is all loaded to the SAMMI spec. There is also good data on taper crimps with the author measuring factory ammo for comparison. Only thing I found lacking iwa any reference to low flash and sound level loads.


    4 Dead in Benghazi while Cowards watched. 4 Dead in Benghazi while the Media hid. 4 Dead Heroes who died for those who do not care. 4 Dead in Benghazi and who will pay. 4 Dead in Benghazi and Hilliary screams, "What does it matter?" while the cowards rule.

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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    Reloading for autos and matching the reliability of factory ammo takes a lot of care and attention to detail, I don't recommend doing it for defense ammo.

    Maybe it's just me, but no matter how hard I tried I'd always have those annoying jams with my handloads that I'd alibi off with one excuse or another.

    One exception was my PT-92, which would gobble up anything I ever put together and never malfunctioned, it was what made me a Taurus fan. All my other autos were finicky about reloads. I owned 4 Colt 1911's, it was common to have a jam or two with my handloads during a shooting session. Old reliable indeed.

  3. #3
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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    I don't aim for replication of any factory loads. As far as I can see, most of the factory loads for the .380 Auto are underpowered so producing a SD reload that is a substantial performance improvement over factory SD ammo is not hard. I'm guessing the factory .380 ammo (and powder maker max load recommendations) are not going over 17,000 psi due to legacy small auto blow-back designs, which could be brutal with full SAMMI spec loads. The 738/LCP/P3-AT designs handle a SAMMI spec .380 Auto load much, much better. I'm not talking about +P here, just .380 Auto ammo loaded to SAMMI spec.

    The Handloader magazine article is great because they list the max loads at the SAMMI max pressures along with performance data fired out of a Ruger LCP, so it is very easy to load ammo slightly under SAMMI to maximize accuracy (groups) and still stay substantially above the typical factory SD loads in a 738. And your 738 will perform better and more reliably because these are the pressure levels it was designed for.

    Reloading is all about loading ammo optimized for your pistol, not to match what some factory load does. If you are suffering reliability issues with reloads, I suspect, either you stopped development before you arrived at a load that functioned reliably in your pistol, or you were using someone else's reloads developed for their pistol.
    4 Dead in Benghazi while Cowards watched. 4 Dead in Benghazi while the Media hid. 4 Dead Heroes who died for those who do not care. 4 Dead in Benghazi and who will pay. 4 Dead in Benghazi and Hilliary screams, "What does it matter?" while the cowards rule.

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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    The one main advantage that i always found for reloading was the ability to load safely to your particular gun, and thats not working up a high pressure load that i am talking about!
    IF you think the 38 special for example has been made since forever, the older weapons were of not great quality steel, the cylinders were thin, a lot of times the barrels were thin, todays modern weapon are much stronger and can take full SAAMI loads.
    In rifles its even more pronounced difference with calibers like 45-70, 30-30, 7MM mauser, and host of other modern weapons in older calibers.
    Ruger is famous for chambering in older calibers in weapons that are 3-4 times as strong as the original guns were. (Ruger #1 in 47-70)
    remember that IF a weapon exist out there then the ammo manufactures must chamber a round low enough in pressure to safely fire in it and the more modern firearms suffer from this in factory loads.
    Now with all this said , i think anyone that would reload for a 25 auto or 380 is just asking for pain!!
    man what a pain these are to reload!!!
    Retired Firefighter, Advanced Georgia Master Gardener, Hazardous Material Response Member, Certified Hazardous Material Incident Commander, 1911 Addict and General Gun Lover.
    Currently Professionally Retired Old Person.

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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    hi
    I load 3.2 grs of 231 w/rem Golden sabre bullets seated as far out as they will reliably function in 2 ruger lcp's.
    Works very well for me
    thx
    Don

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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    The .25 and .32 Autos, yes. The .380 is really no more painful than loading 9mm. The trick is finding good data for the .380 Auto.

    With my old AMT Backup (a blow-back design) in .380 a full power load (not +P) was almost painful to shoot. My 738 is a sweet heart in comparison, being many times more manageable even though it is a much lighter pistol. The locked breech design really tames the .380 Auto for the small auto world. Bought some 80 grain solid copper HP from General and they are suggesting a load of 4.0 grains of Power Pistol for my 738. These bullets have deep hollow points and are the same size as the 9mm 115 grain XPT JHP. It will be interesting to see how they work out. I'm still investigating a good low flash powder for the .380. I'll have to hit the range soon with my chrony and see what I get.

    And ROLL TIDE!
    4 Dead in Benghazi while Cowards watched. 4 Dead in Benghazi while the Media hid. 4 Dead Heroes who died for those who do not care. 4 Dead in Benghazi and who will pay. 4 Dead in Benghazi and Hilliary screams, "What does it matter?" while the cowards rule.

  7. #7
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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    The 380 is just shorter by enough to make those of us with short fat fingers a real pain.
    Of course you long fingered Alabamians more than likely don't have that problem!
    course its a trade off cause all our women have their teeth!-LOL
    Retired Firefighter, Advanced Georgia Master Gardener, Hazardous Material Response Member, Certified Hazardous Material Incident Commander, 1911 Addict and General Gun Lover.
    Currently Professionally Retired Old Person.

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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    Ok, I take it you haven't been to north, south, or east Georgia in a while....you know what Georgia women say about long fingered men......LOL...Oh Gawd...you got beat by Miss State...0-3 in the SEC...how embarrassing.

    4 Dead in Benghazi while Cowards watched. 4 Dead in Benghazi while the Media hid. 4 Dead Heroes who died for those who do not care. 4 Dead in Benghazi and who will pay. 4 Dead in Benghazi and Hilliary screams, "What does it matter?" while the cowards rule.

  9. #9
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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    Loads listed below have low flash signatures and Velocities were measured 6 feet from the muzzle of a Walther PPK/S.

    For a practice loading in the .380 ACP, my favorte loading consists of a 90 grn RNL over 3.0 grns of WST, velocity = 870 fps

    For a Sierra JHP loading, I've used 5.9 grns of Blue Dot and 3.2 grns of Red Dot, for velocities very close to 1000 fps.

    HS6/W540 is also a very good powder having low flash signature and should be considered. Had some loads for it at one time using the CCI/Speer 100 grn JHP, but the data was not found. The CCI/Speer 100 grn JHP is a very good Bullet, also.
    "Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by ego." - Yoda

    For all of those killed by a 9mm: "Get up! You are not dead! You were shot with a useless cartridge!"

  10. #10
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    Re: Reloading the .380 Auto for Self Defense

    Even though it would seem that faster powders would be better in a short barreled .380, the best performing powders all seem to be in the HS6, Power Pistol, Silouhette, WSF, AA #7 range. My earliest high performance loads for a .380 AMT Backup were with SR-7625.

    Anyone on here running QuickLoad? What is it showing as the top powders for .380 Auto in a 738/LCP/P3-AT? Can low flash be a filter?
    4 Dead in Benghazi while Cowards watched. 4 Dead in Benghazi while the Media hid. 4 Dead Heroes who died for those who do not care. 4 Dead in Benghazi and who will pay. 4 Dead in Benghazi and Hilliary screams, "What does it matter?" while the cowards rule.

 

 
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