Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by Murphy @, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 21:20 (500 days ago)

I thought it would be interesting to see the answers.

At this point, the 380 Automatic has challenged me more than any 3 other handgun cartridges combined that I have reloaded for.

It all started 6 or 7 years back when I got on the bandwagon with many others and the 380 Auto. It seems we have a plethora of 380 Auto handguns out there to choose from. I decided to give it a go starting with a Kel-Tec P3AT.

This wasn't long after the 2008 election, and of course brass was scarce. I found a few hundred once fired cases on Gunbroker and scored them. I tried RCBS dies and a few others along with the Lyman M die. The cases would bulge about 1/3 of the way down during the case flaring process every single time, regardless of who's die. Then it dawned on me to try my Dillon 9mm powder funnel. Success at last in flaring the cases without crushing them. Just the week, I decided to pick up a Lee Universal Decapping die. I do believe it to be even better than the Dillon for 380's.

I decided to upgrade recently and picked up a Kahr CM380. Over the years, I'd grab batches of once fired brass off of another board or Gunbroker. After a good bench area cleaning I've discovered I have close to (if not more) 1500 cases. Winchester, R-P, PMC and Federal. During the sorting, decapping, resizing process I have discovered there is a lot of variance in the 4 brands. Primer flash holes, case rim thickness, and case wall thickness as well.

I know quiet a few who choose to buy rather than reload 380 Auto. I think I've learned why. It can be quiet a bugger. But, it keeps me off the streets and outta the pool hall.


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