Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by Murphy @, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 21:20 (742 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.


30-30 Win for multiple guns. I can't seem to get the base

by Rob Leahy ⌂ @, Prescott, Arizona, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 22:25 (741 days ago) @ Murphy

tight enough to chamber and most of my brass is all mixed together. My Marlin stuff doesn't chamber in My T/C.
I know, separate the brass and label it. I will, now.

Of the Troops & For the Troops

Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by bob, Thursday, June 08, 2017, 23:46 (741 days ago) @ Murphy

.32ACP. Dunno how many times I've tried to seat my finger with a bullet. Or how many times I've attempted to deprime euro brass and driven my Lee universal through the case head.

Don't laugh...

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Friday, June 09, 2017, 06:53 (741 days ago) @ Murphy

For me, it's the .32 S&W Long Wadcutter. With one qualifier: only for my Benelli target pistol. It gave me fits. First, the cases bulged at the base of the bullet. I went round and round with Lee about the issue and was told something to the effect, "The boss shoots a Hammerelli and doesn't have that problem." Bought a set of Reddings as they have a longer expander and set them up as a dedicated WC set.

Added a Lyman M-Die into the routine and that helped.

Then, my 'mix-master' collection of cases still gave me occasional fits. So an order to Starline for 500 of their fine product. Also segregated for WC only.

Next, the double-ended WC's I was using were still causing occasional problems. Found some Speer HBWC's and that issue faded. They seat easier as well. Bought another 1000 just to make sure the supply doesn't dry up for a bit.

My final(?) issue was in the crimp. I was barely flaring the case with the M-Die; just enough so a guy could feel it and just see it. The crimp was intended to mostly straighten things out and roll very slightly. I was trying not to work the necks very much in the interest of case life. I found out in the middle of a match there wasn't quite enough roll for easy feeding. All remaining ammo was recrimped and the final match went without a hitch.

Next year will tell if all of the issues have been found and solved.

For what it's worth, I had similar troubles with the .380 but I resorted to a Factory Crimp Die and that has corrected the occasional case bulge. None of my (read: Miss Melodie's) .380's are target pistols so I have not noticed any 'overworking' of the lead or case.

Now, rifles on the other hand, it would be the 9.3x57R/360. I been at it for better than a year (not constantly, of course) and STILL haven't fired a single round. Another wordy story...

Funny how different we all are.

by Dave B @, Alamogordo New Mexico, Friday, June 09, 2017, 07:06 (741 days ago) @ Murphy

I actually love reloading the 380 on my Dillon! Most challenging for me has been the 480 Ruger, the Dillon shellplate just doesn't work well, I have ruined brass because of it


Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by SIXGUNNER, Friday, June 09, 2017, 09:20 (741 days ago) @ Murphy


Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by uncowboy, Friday, June 09, 2017, 10:55 (741 days ago) @ SIXGUNNER

32/20 dam thin necks

.32-20, .38-40, .44-40 THIN NECKS

by SIXGUNNER, Friday, June 09, 2017, 11:14 (741 days ago) @ uncowboy


Most challenging handgun cartridge you have reloaded for?

by Cherokee @, Medina, Ohio, Friday, June 09, 2017, 11:43 (741 days ago) @ uncowboy

I've never had a problem reloading 32-20 using RP brass over the last 40+ years. JT is right, Starline has thicker brass for 32-20, don't know about the others.

That's a bit daunting....

by Otony, Friday, June 09, 2017, 11:54 (741 days ago) @ SIXGUNNER

.....I have a long barreled Luger that is a hoot to shoot, but I've yet to reload for it.

I figured it would be similar to setting up for a bottle-necked rifle cartridge, not too terribly difficult....usually.

Oh well, live and learn, and I'm always learning.


.45-75 Winchester before the brass was available...

by Hobie ⌂ @, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Friday, June 09, 2017, 22:08 (740 days ago) @ Murphy

There are still aspects to watch depending on how your gun is chambered, original, Uberti, Chapparal, etc.



Kind of sill but,

by Slow Hand ⌂ @, Indiana, Saturday, June 10, 2017, 16:47 (740 days ago) @ Murphy

I had a lot of trouble with the .45 acp . I started loading .45 Colt and ACP at the same time and at first was having a near 25% failure rate! I was bulking too much, crimping too. Ugh and seating SWC bullets out too far. I started loading .40 S&W and 9mm later on and the Lee die kits came with a Dactory Crimp Die and had little to no problems. Bought one of the FCD's for .45 (and had gotten a lot of practice between starting out and this point) and now my .45 acp loads are as reliable as any other caliber I load for.


Had those issues with the .45ACP as well.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 11:08 (739 days ago) @ Slow Hand

That brought me to my first FCD. All was better after that. I have read a bunch from folks who think the FCD is a 'band-aid' for reloading mistakes and one would be better off figuring out where he is going astray and correct that issue. Maybe so but it helps me quite a bit and doesn't seem to harm at all. Or maybe I am not a good enough shot to notice. Either way, I am happy for the nonce.

challenging handgun cartridge to reloaded for?

by Gunner ⌂ @, St Louis, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 09:01 (739 days ago) @ Murphy

The 41 Avenger hands down is the biggest pain in my arse........


You have to use 170 gr bullets which are small to handle, short bottle neck case and you need to heavy crimp the bullet to keep it from setting back into the case during feeding from the magazine to chamber, the slide really moves under recoil with full power loads.

Took me a LOT of experimenting before I got all the little details worked out to produce reliable rounds, then I went and did a really really stupid thing, I sold the 1911 the barrel was fitted to!!!!!!!! : (

So now I have good ammo but no pistol to shoot it in, need to pick up a decent used 1911 and fit the barrel to it was I have a shooter.


41 Mags rule, Baers rock!

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