Reloading and Lead

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by KTMFactoryRider, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. KTMFactoryRider

    KTMFactoryRider New Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Well just like in the Subject line, I have a couple of questions for all you P3-AT shooters.

    First does anyone reload for the 380? I reload range ammo in 9mm, 38 Special and 45 ACP. All I need is a set of dies and a shell plate and I could be in business. I have seen some recipes for the 380 and they are really close to some of my light range rounds for the 9mm. The rounds that I have been using are reloads from Space Coast Bullets here in Florida, 100 Gr. FMJ that I get for $18/100. They really work well and I figure I can build some using Berrys plated bullets for about $10/100. I was just wondering if anyone cooked any up and if they had any problems.

    Second question. Had anyone used any lead bullets? I can get them pretty cheap but I've heard so many negatives about barrel leading that in my Glock I just won't shoot a lead round. I haven't read anything about lead rounds in the Kel-Tec.

    Extra credit... Berrys Plated Bullets come in RNFB (Round Nose Flat Base) and RNHB (Round Nose Hollow Base). All bullets I have loaded were flat base. Anyone know if this makes any difference other than if you were using a large load that needed the space?

    Thanks, love the board, you guys are great!

  2. DennisD

    DennisD New Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    I reload for 9mm, .38 spl, .357 mag, 40 s&w, 45 acp and 45 ar. I don't plan on reloading for the .380 because the case mouth gets dented ejecting from my P3AT (sometimes closing the case mouth 1/3 of the way). I've asked about this on this board when I first got the P3AT and was told it is normal for this little gun. I believe it's because of the squared off chamber hood. For right now, I don't plan on rounding off the chamber hood (which "might" cure the problem) so no reloading .380 for me. I also can't manage to get the brass to eject into my catcher (told this is also normal for the P3AT).

    I use a lot of the Rainier copper plated bullets (I buy them in lots of 1000 when Midway has them on sale); you might want to look at them. Lead bullets are OK in rifled barrels as long as you don't push them at too much velocity. Yes you will get some lead build up but you can use a 50/50 mix of Hoppes powder solvent and Kano Kroil making lead removal pretty easy. Lead in a polygonal barrel (like your Glock and my Kahr) is not recommended because they tend to build up lead much quicker than rifled. Enough so that in a single shooting session you might raise pressures to serious levels.

    I believe the main reason for the hollow base is for better bullet to barrel gas seal. The pressure causes the hollow base to expand against the barrel giving a tighter seal as the bullet travels down the barrel.

  3. nccarr

    nccarr New Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    I reload for the 380. Using 95 gr Winchester full metal jacket, with 4.5 gr of Power Pistol at .97 col. 88gr hollow points using 3.2 grs of Bullseye at .96 col. I have also loaded 90 Speer Gold Dots with 3gr of Bullseye.
  4. DennisD

    DennisD New Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    Nick, Do you have the problem I mentioned about the case mouth damage. The damage rate on mine is about 90%. If you do have the damage, how do you open them back up? I thought about using a case length Gage. Lee gages are tapered to round out the mouth so they should work. You have apparently worked out a method for chasing your brass also. I shoot on my land in the woods and I don't mow the grass short enough to find the brass since it gets chunked in all directions from the P3AT.
  5. KTMFactoryRider

    KTMFactoryRider New Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Thanks Guys!  Appreciate the info.

    Dennis, I just shot another 70 rounds and I was able to take a look at most all the brass and, while I understand that everyone has said that this is normal, I wonder if the deformation of the case might be limited to certain individual weapons.  I really didn't have any problems with the case mouth flattening out (other than the ones I stepped on).  I am with you on the ejection, the ejected rounds really don't want to fly into my brass catcher. (And don't get into the way of one, sometimes I was wondering if it was the bullet or the brass that was coming out of the gun)

    Thanks for the difference about the round base and flat base. That makes sence.

    Jury is still out right now, like I said earlier I'm shooting reloads in the gun now and they are working great, I will take a real good look at the cases though.  It's pretty interesting, I was looking at range ammo prices just yesterday and it looks like even by buying the brass, I could do a lot more shooting for the same money if I reloaded.
  6. BillK

    BillK New Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    I don't but my brother does for both my P3AT and my Ruger (.44 mag). The .380s have are hard cast flat and round nose, 90 and 95 grains. I could probably get you the exact load should be interested. Oh, I've had no problems keeping the bore clean on the P3AT (however the .44 mag has been a bit more difficult to maintain).

    Take care ...
  7. coltc

    coltc New Member

    Dec 23, 2007
    I reload 380. I have used the Berry's RNFB 100gr. Put them in with around 3.8gr of Unique (Lee autodisk setting of .46, Lee states that this will give you 4.2gr but their given values are a bit low) and an OAL of .975". Also have used Red Dot with them at around 2.7gr with everything else the same... Your numbers and all will be the same if using the RNFB or RNHB. I have loaded 95gr lead bullets with around the same loads as well..
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel New Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Eastern Kansas
    Flattened or dented case mouths are not a problem unless they are creased double so sharp they can't be re-straightened.

    You do need something to iron them out sorta round again before resizing, but that can be something as simple as a tapered punch, or a pair of pointed pliers.

    Once you get them opened up enough for the decapping stem to start in them, the sizing die will handle the rest.

    I have been loading Berry RN & Hornady JHP bullets for about two years with nary a problem.

    Lead bullets would not be a problem either, and all the BS about lead bullets leading up the bore is mostly just that, BS!
    .22 LR bullets are lead, going a lot faster then any .380 load, and you don't have leading problems with them do you?

    I do think with the KT's almost invisible rifling, you would need very hard cast bullets, not the fairly soft commercial bullets generally available. For that reason only, I prefer either jacketed or plated jacket bullets in the P3AT.

    The caution about shooting lead in Glocks is due to the poly rifling they use. Unless the lead bullets are cast very hard, they will strip out in the rifling and cause leading, and supposedly, pressure problems & KaBoom's in Glock's.

    I don't know for sure, as I have only been shooting cast lead bullets in my .40 Glock for 8 or 9 years now, and I'm still waiting for a problem.
    So far, there have been none.

  9. KTMFactoryRider

    KTMFactoryRider New Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Merry Christmas!

    This is more great info that has been posted. Thanks for the info about the powders. Personally I use Titegroup for everything right now. Red Dot is pretty close in burn rate to what I'm using right now, Unique burns quite a bit slower but might work better to slow down the recoil of the little P3, but thats one of the fun things about reloading, you can adjust your loads to work the best for you. Another great tip is on the OAL, its nice to hear about on OAL working for someone else before trying to figure out what works best in my particular case. I have a lee Adjustible Charge Bar so I can really go less than the autodisk if need be.

    I was also thinking that unless the case was really deformed, dinged or creased, the resizing die should pretty much take care of most of the problems.

    Thanks for the info about the Round Base and Hollow Base bullets, I am thinking about getting the RNFB myself now.

    Anyone else have any more ideas or suggestions, please keep em coming...
  10. JerryO

    JerryO New Member

    Sep 7, 2004

    I  have seen several reports that the narrow slit of the adjustable charge bar works poorly for light charges.  

    I have loaded with bullseye, but get some light charges unless I bang on the front of the base THREE times.  I have been intending to use w231 as it flows better than bullseye.  Interesting is both bullseye and w231 take the same volume.  I started with the smallest hole (.30) and have moved up one size which I find to still be mild when shot across the chrony.  At least the .380 doesn't need the micro bar like the p32 does (.24cc for bullseye or w231).


    I have a rather round shaped mouth expanding die (for .38 spec I think).  I find it quickest to just run all the .380's from the P3AT thru this die.  The  size/deprime die on the pro1000 then brings it into shape perfectly.  

    I  did reduce the denting of the mouth by smoothing the sharp edges on the right side of the ejection port.  Both the slide and frame.  I even catch most of the cases in the catcher now.  


    Loaded to the same OAL,  either shape base will leave the same room for the powder charge.  


    I haven't tried lead as I bought my bullets when they were a bit cheaper.  My last purchase was for winchester 95 gr delivered for 4.5 cents each.

  11. DennisD

    DennisD New Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    I plan on doing that but I want to get a couple of hundred more rounds through first. Hopefully this will tell me if I have any problems for which the gun might need a trip back to the factory. Glad to hear it helped the catching problem.