380 reloading

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Orin, May 3, 2012.

  1. Orin

    Orin Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Florida, USA
    I'm thinking of getting a 380 pocket pistol. Not getting into the choise of guns on this thread but the reloading. My reading seems to indicate that since the diameter of the bullet mimics others there are a lot of potential choices. But my manuals give date for a relative few. Basically, from around 80 grns to 115. Few have canelures. .355 & a little larger. Also, I'm wondering about the horror tales re availability of ammo & how that relates to components? primers, no prob. Powders, no prob. But what of brass & bullets? You guys who do it... What are you running into?
  2. Munch

    Munch Member

    May 31, 2011
    Ellenton, FL
    I haven't really noticed any problem getting my .380 reloading supplies here in WA. Every mow and then the store I shop at will out of SP primers, or out of the powder I like. But I blame the store for that, not any shortage or supply line problems. I wait a few days and it's back on the shelf, or go elsewhere. As for the bullets, I personally don't go above 95grn. I use power pistol, and the charge needed fills the case about 2/3 full. I'm not experienced enough to feel comfortable compressing a charge so that I can get a heavier 115grn bullet in there, and really don't feel there much advantage to it. I don't know if other powders would give you a favorable result with the heavy bullet however. I'm sure someone that does know will be along shortly to lend some more informative data.

  3. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    NE Tenn
    No issue with finding components as Midway has a good selection of bullets and small pistol primers are now everywhere. The bullets are small and I have a tendency to fumble them starting in the case but that is my being clumsy. I have a Interarms Walther PPK/s that eats reloads just fine. Go for it.
  4. zachp

    zachp New Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    Southeastern Ohio
    Im not really seeing anu shortages around here yet but noone around reloads is the biggest reason. My walther pk380 eats my loads pretty good and the tiny bullets are hard to feed cases but its all worth it.
  5. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I buy all my powder and primers at my local gun store. Right after I got my first .380 pistol, I bought a case of PMC ammo at a gun show so I haven't had to buy any brass. I buy all of my bullets on line, mainly from Berry's Bullets. I buy their .356 diameter, 100 grain, hollow base, round nose bullets and absolutely love them. They perform well and are a tad bit longer and easier to seat than some others I have tried. Here is what I buy:

  6. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    I recently started loading .380 rounds for my Colt pistols. I ordered brass and bullets from First Class Bullets & Brass. I use WW 231 powder and a 95 gr. FMJ bullet. Great results so far.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    One thing for certain; cost vs caliber 380 has experienced a more dramatic increase in price, a close second if you consider the actual percentage increase has to be .22. Hence the reason I refuse to shoot or own a 380 when 9mm is so plentiful. The good part to all this is the 380 reloader is going to see a huge cost savings margin compared to reloading 9mm.

    A carry gun with your own hand loads is another controversial topic, and its something many handloaders avoid.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Like 312, I've all but retired my .380 Makarov in favor of a 9mm for just a plinker or beat-around farm pistol.
    And his note about using handloads for carry is a good one to check into further.

    The last time I bought any supplies for the .380 was about 10 years ago when I ordered 2000 cast round-nose bullets and 1000 Remington 88gr JHPs. Both of those boxes are still at least half-full.
    I've got about 1000-1200 rounds of brass and/or loaded ammo on hand.

    I do still see both brass and loaded ammo available in the local sporting goods stores.
    .380 ammo is easier to find now than a few years back when the Keltec, Bersa Thunder, and Ruger LCP were the hot ticket that everyone just had to have.
    It's still overpriced though. Around here it's just about as high as 40S&W.

    For reloading, stick with 100gr or lighter jacketed bullets. Cast lead, you can go up to 115gr if you can find data for it.
    The Rem 88gr JHP is a good all-around bullet for range shooting or small-game. It feeds well out of almost every .380 that I've tried it in.

    And 1lb of WW231 (my prefered powder for the .380) will last you a long time.
    7000grs/3.0gr = around 2300 rounds.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  9. Orin

    Orin Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Florida, USA
    Thanks guys... I'll wait till the next gun show probly but I'm leaning towards the Thunder. Prices vary quite a bit. Dunno why you'ld be wary of handloads in a carry gun! i prefer them... But I'm a revolver guy. However, once a dependable load is devised for its specific weapon the gun should be MORE dependable than when using only factory food. Spechully in a picky auto.
  10. Frogtop

    Frogtop New Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    NE Tenn
    Not to sidetrack the thread too much but the issue is more of civil liability than reliability. "You shot my baby boy with them high powered holler points exploding bullits that you made up rather than having a factory load like the cops use". Don't be confused by facts, juries are frequently lead by their emotions with the guidance of a smooth talking attorney trying to own everything that you do. This is after you have been cleared of criminal charges.
  11. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Yup. There's been a lot of different discussions about this in the past. It would be a good subject to search up in the Self-Defense forum as to the pros & cons of using handloads for SD use.

    As for the Bersa Thunder... The half-dozen that I've shot have been reliable with pretty much any of the modern factory hollow-point loads.
    My own Thunder really likes the 95gr LRN plinking/bunny load that I brewed up for my .380 Mak as well.
    It is a very good little pistol, especiallu fopr the pricetag, but there are quite a few 9x19s in a similar size range that are cheaper to feed. But that's a whole nuther discussion too. :)
  12. Orin

    Orin Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Florida, USA
    Now that's interesting! Never ran into that matter in discussion or reading. The main prob was usually sumthin like, "Did you have adequate reason to kill." in all its permutations. We in Florida once had probs with "You killed cuz you were being robbed. Were your belongings worth more than a human life?" but the Hold yer Ground law helped out a lot. Of coarse thass now being disputed due to the Zimmerman case.
  13. gazzmann

    gazzmann New Member

    May 16, 2009
    So. Fla.
    Does anyone have data for 380 using Titegroup and 95 grain Dardas cast bullets?
  14. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    The Lyman manual has some cast lead data for the .380. My copy is older than Titegroup so I don't know if the current one lists it as a powder choice.

    I've never tried Titegroup in the .380. WW231/HP38 is my normal powder for that cartridge.
    Looks like a viable choice going by burn rate though.

    Otherwise, try the Hodgdon site. http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp
    You don't find much for cast lead data for the .380, but velocities are safely under 1000fps so leading isn't a big issue with the .380. You can use the jacketed bullet data for cast lead...just follow the normal routine of starting with the minimum load and working up from there.
  15. racerham

    racerham Active Member

    I use 3.1 gr of Titegroup with a Hornady 90 gr JHP and have had great results in an LCP. That combo shoots consistently, works the action well, and has a manageable recoil. I don't have a chrono but also have never seen any signs of overpressure.

    I switched to Titegroup from 700-x when I noticed unburned flakes left over in the barrel.

    As for finding components, it's been rather hit and miss in my area. Found some small pistol primers, but haven't seen any powder or LR primers for quite a while now. I'm almost out of rifle powder - I can see the end coming.
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