Need a little advice

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by newby, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. newby

    newby New Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    I am experimenting with Winchester 231 in a .380. Here is my recipe-

    -95 grn bullet (Solid Jacket from Winchester)
    - 2.9 grns Winchester 231
    - OL= .970
    - Federal Small Pistol Pimers
    - twice fired Win brass

    I am shooting these through my Bersa .380 Conceal Carry.

    Here is what happened- My gun cycled great but I noticed that the brass ejected at differing distances (I am not sure if this is actually a problem but wanted you to know). The primers looked great- no crater, flattened, etc. The thing that I noticed right off was the brass had a black char around the open end as if gas was leaking around the brass. I think that I read somewhere (I cannot find where I got the info) that this means that the pressure is too low and not causing the brass to swell enough to form a seal in the chamber.

    If this is the case here is what I think I should look at-
    - I never was happy with the amount of crimp that I was putting on the bullet during the relaoding. Do you think that I should try to fix this with a little more crimp to cause more pressure to build up?
    - I am using the starting load listed in my book. Should I just leave everything as is but start increasing the load until the brass ejects with no charing on the brass?
  2. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    I would say, just my opinion, that the charge is too low to properly expand the case on firing. Also a change in powder may be needed.
    I would first load some with everything the same but with more powder, do five each, up to a medium high level and see if this corrects the problem if it is a problem.

  3. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    I like W231 for reloading both .380's and 9mm. It's a very clean burning and accurate powder. I agree that you are using a very light load in your recipe. I have found that 3.65 grains of W231 will give you a very accurate load for a 95 gr. FMJ bullet with good expansion. I use them in both a Ruger LCP and a Beretta 84. :)

    P.S.: Remember that 380's and 9mm use a taper crimp to headspace on the cartridge mouth. Be carefull of putting too much crimp on them when reloading. Never use a roll crimp.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  4. Artemus

    Artemus New Member

    Mar 10, 2009
    I use 231 for everything.It rocks.
  5. army mp

    army mp Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    western Pa,
    I too would easy the charge upward a little. Just remember in 380 a little goes a long way. The Bersa if a newer model thunder. Is a very light gun. And you want some crimp. So the Bullets don’t back out in the mag, under recoil.
  6. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver Active Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    SW. Florida
    My somewhat new Speer Loading Manual, 13th Edition shows a W231 charge of 3.6 grains minimum and 4.0 grains maximum for 95 gr. FMJ's. 4/10ths of a grain min. to max. isn't much. As MP says, a little goes a long way.

    I tried some rounds at 3.8 gr's of W231 but they were a little hot for the Ruger LCP and the wife didn't want to shoot them, so I went back to 3.65 gr's. My Beretta 84 can handle any of the loads I try, it's a very strurdy gun. :)
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  7. newby

    newby New Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    Thanks to all of you for helping out. I will do some experimenting and report later on what I discover.
  8. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    S Tx near San Antonio
    At 1st guess(!) it could be your powder charge is a little on the light side. You didnt say how it shot, accuracy and groups, that would be most helpful. Still, the charing and scattered extraction makes me wonder about your crimp (as you said), and possibly your choice of powder.

    Firstly, I don’t load .380 so I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer in this discussion, but my 1st thought would be to play with your crimp (very slightly!) and possibly bump your powder charge up (or change powder)

    I haven’t loaded 231 much, mostly because it didnt seem to have the bark (or bite!) similar powders do. For example many claim it is identical to HP38, but one of the reasons I don’t load 231 is that I found a remarkable difference in accuracy (and just ‘how it feels leaving the barrel. . .) using other powders like HP38 – again commenting on mainly loading 9mmL.

    Again a little more info regarding what happened down range at the target might provide some help here.

  9. newby

    newby New Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    Well I wouldnt be much help on that. I was out at the hunting property with my son and we were there to hunt hogs and feeders were not working- with the onset of winter it is getting dark sooner so the rush was on to get a lot done in a short amount of time. All I did was pull the gun out and shoot at a downed tree about 15 yards away- mainly to have something as a backdrop to catch the bullet. I was not experimenting for accuracy as much as just to see how they cycled the gun and what the brass looked like.
  10. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    231 is my favorite powder for my .380 too.
    I've been using 3.6gr with a 95gr jacketed bullet for quite a few years with good results. It's right at the minimum load for jacketed bullets but I use that same charge under both lead and jacketed.
  11. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    S Tx near San Antonio
    Understood, but how those rounds travel down range would be helpful is all.

  12. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I say if it cycles the gun and shoots good why fix it. I mean how hard is it to put the cases in the tumbler? Itll clean the black off just the same...
  13. newby

    newby New Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    JLA- Good thinking. I guess I am just worried about it too much since I read somewhere that the black suit is a sign of gas leakage. The gun worked well with no jams. I need to set up a target with more loads and see what accuracy looks like to determine more.

    Olehippy- You have peaked my curiosity to see what is happening down range. I think that I have discovered a potential problem with my seating/crimp die- I might have it set too heavy so that it actually is roll crimping. If I set it a little lighter it will taper more than roll. I relaod for .40 S&W and those bullets are crimped real nice and snug. I think a huge part of my problem is the crimp. I might drop a little powder in just for grins- maybe round it off to a smooth 3 grns. I will find out more this weekend.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Need a little help Mar 18, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Need a little help May 27, 2009
The Ammo & Reloading Forum New to reloading - Need Help! Nov 16, 2016
The Ammo & Reloading Forum SOLVED: Case Cleaning Separating Process Suggestions Needed Nov 5, 2016
The Ammo & Reloading Forum What do I need for gas checking Oct 28, 2016