Finally reloading for the P3AT!

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by HOUSER52, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    After a couple months of paying outragous prices for ammo I finally got everything I needed to reload 380s.

    The only things I needed to begin with was dies and bullets and they came while I was on vacation last week.
    I first tried loading a few on my single stage press but it was like watching smoke rise on a calm day, it was so slow.  :(

    Then I got to looking to see if I had the right parts for the Dillon to load the 380.
    Shell plate- check, locator buttons- check, powder die and expander- check, tool head, check. Got it all!

    After getting the Dillon all set up I loaded around 25 rounds for test firing and loading those only took a couple of minutes. I really like a progressive reloader. :)

    Since it was late I just fired a couple out behind the garage to check for function and pressure signs. Everything looked good.

    Bullet- Berry's 100gr. RNFB
    Brass- Mixed once fired ( Saved the expensive ammo cases ), Tumbled
    Powder- Power Pistol
    Primer- Winchester
    COL- .980
    Crimp- Medium w/ Lee FCD

    Hopefully this evening I'll get to chronograph and fine tune the load to where I want it.

    Anybody have any other loads they'd like to share?
  2. Ka6otm

    Ka6otm New Member

    Sep 12, 2007
    Bullet- Berry's 100gr. RNFB
    Brass- Mixed once fired ( Saved the expensive ammo cases ), Tumbled
    Powder- Unique 2.9 grains
    Primer- CCI Small Pistol
    COL- .955
    Crimp- Medium w/ Lee FCD

    Feeds and functions fine in my P3AT. Accuracy is as good as WWB as far as I can tell and recoil is reduced. This was intentional to reduce the beating the first joint on my trigger finger takes.

    I tried this a week ago in a friend's Kahr P380. Not so good. Accuracy was great but about half the time I had a failure to eject. This was because the recoil spring on the Kahr is substantially heavier than the P3AT. You can definitely feel the difference when racking the slide.

  3. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Have you checked the velocity using Unique?

    When firing my loads the empties were within 4-6 feet to my right whereas factory WWB was throwing them at least 20-30 feet back over my head.

    I tried Unique first but it didn't meter well out of my RCBS powder measure and I didn't try it through the Dillon measure.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Berry 100 grain + 3.8 to 4.0 MAX grains Unique.

    Hornady 90 grain XTP + 3.3 Red Dot, or Green Dot.

    I don't see Power Pistol as being a great powder for the .380 in a short barrel as it's pretty slow & bulky.

    Alliant lists 4.8 grains MAX + 90 Gold Dot as a compressed charge, but it gives lower velocity then the 4.6C Unique load.

    Lyman #49 lists several powders giving higher velocity then Power Pistol with 90, 95, and 115 grain bullets.

  5. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Thanks for the comments.
    I had emailed Alliant and they replied with some recommended powders and charge weights and Power Pistol was one of them.
    I had read on another forum that several reloaders like Power Pistol and I wanted to try it. It meters really well and the charges are consistant. If the velocity isn't there I'll try something different.
    In addition to Power Pistol and Unique I have several other powders on hand to try, W231, Bullseye, AA#5, Tight Group, plus a couple more I can't think of without looking. ::)
  6. Possumgravy

    Possumgravy Guest

    I've tried Berry's 100 grain RNHB plated bullets, 3.6 grains Win. 231, CCI primers and averaged 834 fps out of my P3AT. Works good for me.
  7. wow6599

    wow6599 Guest

    The load I use, and like a lot, in my P-3AT, LCP & Bersa Thunder is this:

    Hornady XTP 90gr, CCI primers & 4.3 grains of Winchester AutoComp.
  8. joje

    joje New Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    i use Power Pistol to duplicate the Remington GS factory loads.

    .945 OAL
    4.5 grain PP
    102 grain Rem GS bullet

    it clocks in at 900+ fps, a bit faster than the factory loads. not sure how the load compares to published max loads but ive shot a good amount of it out of my p3at, at least w/o any visible signs of pressure. the only thing about it that i dont like is that it is very flashy out of such a short barrel. i'd like to try some ramshot silhouette but i just cant seem to find it
  9. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Thanks for the info.
    How do you like the GS for defense?
    I'd like to find a good defense bullet to load. I did a lot of searching and reading about various SD bullets for the 380 and it seems like everybody has their favorite.
    A good expanding hollow point that feeds like a RN would be ideal.
  10. joje

    joje New Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    there are a few members on this board who spend lots of time comparing terminal ballistics of factory loads. the remington gs loads do, for the most part, get good reviews. add to that an affordable price and a bullet profile that feeds just as good as FMJs and i think its overall a good compromise.

    as for handloading them, well, one would think that with an extra 5% of velocity they shouldnt perform worse than the factory loads, but who knows. i've been meaning to try weatpack tests for myself but since i dont have a paper i never seem to be able to collect enough for a test :). additionally, there are some authorities out there (in particular ayoob) who argues that using handloads for SD might put you in some tricky legal aftermath, something worth considering. truth be told that i'm loading them because i was lucky enoiugh to score 500 102grain GS bullets for $70 back when the early obama days when you were lucky if you could find witebox ammo for self defence.
  11. JFB

    JFB New Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    I added a reloading section to the FAQ/VIP postings, with a quote link to this thread
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Yea! Ayoob has been harping on that for years.

    As far as I know, his only confirmed case involved a guy who found himself with a dead wife in the bedroom.

    He claimed she committed suicide.
    The cops claimed he shot her in bed from across the room while she was just minding her own business.
    Ballistic testing of the factory ammo samples supposedly somehow proved the guy was innocent.

    With an exception for something like that?
    How would using reloads in lawful SD be any different then grabbing a shotgun & the first shells you could lay hands on, and they turned out to be handloaded trap loads?
    Or home grown deer rifle ammo?
    Or the old hammer you put a new handle in last year?
    Or a jar of fruit jelly your wife canned herself?

    I seems to me if the resulting injury or death was justified at all, it would not matter legally what ammo you used.

  13. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    I have also heard to carry factory SD ammo and that's what I keep loaded in my full size guns. I guess if I can duplicate factory SD loads from reloading, it would be a lot cheaoer to practice with those and save the factory stuff for carry.

    With the lawyers today they might prove to a jury, that as a reloader, you came up with a super duper reload made just to maim and kill humans. ::)
  14. Bert

    Bert Banned

    Mar 4, 2007 the Swamp draining ?? ;)

    and, thanks.

  15. Possumgravy

    Possumgravy Guest

    I'm with RC on the supposed legal ramifications. Much ado about nothing.
  16. joje

    joje New Member

    Nov 1, 2007
    i looked at ayoobs "showcase" a long time ago, and while the case in itself is a once-in-history-of-mankind deal, it does make the point that a) shot distance is a pivot point in a lot of court cases and b) forensic can, given the firearm and equivalent ammunition used, determine distance quite accurately surprisingly far out. ayoobs point is that if you use handloads you will make it difficult or even impossible to obtain equivalent ammunition (supposedly they cannot just use whatever is left in the mag because its considered destruction of evidence - go figure)

    i agree that in 99 out of a 100 cases this will not matter, so it is not as big of a deal as some people make it. but in the 380 caliber there *are* good factory loadings available so you are not really sacrificing anything by carrying them. i mostly use my 102gr handloads for carry load duplicates that i use at the range and the 102gr factory loads for carry.
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Another of Ayoobs claims was that the factory keeps samples of each lot number that can be obtained by police for ballistics testing.

    I doubt that!
    I don't think they have enough warehouse space!

    And what about my wifes bedroom S&W Bodyguard, kept loaded with old Super-Vel +P+ .38 Spl ammo since 1970 something?

    I still have enough of it to test fire the gun occasionally with the ammo in the cylinder, and reload it again with the same old Super-Vel factory loads.

    Super-Vel went out of business when Gerald R. Ford was President!
    And I doubt Ayoob could get Lee Jurras to send him any sample ammo from lot #123XYZ.

  18. huckle

    huckle New Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    With P3AT's being a bit more ammo sensitive than other handguns I've wondered how difficult it is make good reloads for them - just range ammo.
  19. HOUSER52

    HOUSER52 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2010
    CMY- I checked out Auto Comp in the Hodgdon Manual and it gives just about highest velocity with the lowest pressure of their powders in all bullet weights. Looks like it's a slow powder, even slower than HS-6 which is my prefered powder for 9mm. Are your loads compressed much?
    The manual says that 4.5 grs.(max) will get a 90gr bullet close to 1012 fps out of a 3.75" bbl. Have you chrono'd your load?

  20. Bert

    Bert Banned

    Mar 4, 2007

    I tried the 95gr PMC Starfire JHP's from

    for Unique, Alliant suggested start 2.3 grs max 3 grs (basically same as Lyman #49 for 95 grain FMJ) (and tried by me, 5 rounds each)

    Both cycle the P3AT just fine. The higher load has noticably more recoil, and about 12' ejection. Neither had expansion in gallon of water or 1" phonebook (although I would not want to be hit by them).

    95gr 380 Starfire JHP (nominal .3555" dia)
    Federal 100 Primers, 2.3 & 3.0 grains Unique
    COAL .9650"
    light crimp (Lee Factory)