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Thread: Assembling 25 ACP ammunition - Success!

  1. #1
    Salty Dog


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    Assembling 25 ACP ammunition - Success!

    The quest for assembling 25 ACP ammo has taken many twists and turns. But, it's also put me in touch with a number of CastBoolits friends who have been very generous and helpful.

    It all started with a friend of mine getting a Sundance 25 ACP semi auto pistol which, as it turns out, didn't work so well, even with quality factory ammo. I sought out a way to acquire the means for assembling my own 25 ACP cartridges.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...acp-especially

    I was able to find a Lyman mold in near new condition:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...RCBS-25-050-RN
    However, I missed that opportunity. Fortunately, ncbearman came through with a like-new 2 cavity Lyman mold, 252435 for a reasonable price.

    I was able to buy a 25 caliber Star sizing die from Chris (Lathesmith)
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...th-s-Star-dies
    The bullets drop at .252", and the sizing die I bought sizes to .251". I cast with something close to Lyman #2. And, lube with my home made "Best Lube". PM me if you want the recipe.

    I needed some brass, and was able to secure a good amount of brass:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...brass-and-dies

    I bought a set of Lee carbide dies for 25 ACP
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/43...die-set-25-acp

    I then had an amazing moment that happens once in a while. One of the RSO's at my gun club was asking me about my reloading classes. He was interested in taking the class, but was having an issue with raising the $200 fee that I charge for the full day rifle and pistol class. While telling him about how much I reload, I mentioned that the smallest thing I reload is the 25 ACP, and that I was actively looking for a Beretta 21a pistol. That pistol was the only one that everyone seemed to indicate worked well with this cartridge. The RSO lit up, and had a big smile on his face. Turns out, he had a Beretta 21a, with some ammo, in the original box, paperwork and all. Would I be willing to trade it for my reloading class? Hmmm. DEAL! So, I now had something to really work with as a test platform.

    I researched several discussions for loading this tiny thing. Thanks to all who provided guidance. I needed/wanted some self defense type bullets, so I could have some of those:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...her-HP-bullets

    I acquired a bunch of Gold Dot bullets in a brass for bullets trade.

    I assembled a bunch of test rounds in a single station press, and was pleased with the results. Both the cast boolits and the tactical bullets shot well, and the Beretta 21a worked like a Swiss watch.

    Next step: Automate the assembly for my Dillon 550b press.

    I did some research, and found that Dillon once made a conversion set for the 25 ACP. However, when the cartridge fell out of favor in the 80's they dropped this from their offerings. I am aware that the dial plate for the 25 ACP would also work with the somewhat recent 5.7 X 28 FN brass. So, while the 25 ACP isn't on Dillons radar, I hoped that they would have interest in the 5.7 X 28 needs. Not so.

    I did find a company that makes a dial plate assembly for the 5.7's:

    http://www.eliteammunition.com/5-7x2...ell-plate.html

    However, that doesn't supply me with the powder drop funnel for the 25 ACP.

    I went on a search for a conversion kit.

    (To be continued next post)
    Last edited by DukeInFlorida; 03-18-2017 at 03:48 PM.


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  2. #2
    Salty Dog


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    While researching conversion kits, I found this thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...0B-Plate-25ACP

    kywoodworkr was generous to send me his home made dial plate with locator pin structures.

    Insert Image here

    I was still missing the powder dropfunnel.

    I was soon contacted via PM, by Elk Hunter, who indicated that he had one of the original 25 ACP conversion kits. He had bought it to make ammo for one of his customers. That deal never went through, so he was willing to offer it up for sale. I was able to buy the conversion kit with what he hoped was the extra small charge bar. However, when the kit and charge bar arrived, it was the small size, not the extra small size. Just for reference, the extra small cut out is entirely rectangular, while the small has an oblong end:

    The small is on the left, and the extra small is on the right.

    Fortunately, while on a recent trip to Louisiana, I scored an extra small charge bar from Tom Dutchmann at Action Shooting Supply ( http://www.actionshootingsupply.com/ ). That would work for this project. Part number for the Dillon Extra Small charge bar is: 20780 https://www.dillonprecision.com/dill...120_23601.html

    The conversion kit I got from Elk Hunter had never been used. My brass wouldn't fit properly into the dial plate as-is. Some careful adjusting of the dial plate with a diamond file (the dial plates are hardened steel), and a careful tweak of the "paper clip" finger that holds the brass in station 1 of the RL550b, and I was able to successfully insert, and process the 25 ACP brass.

    The powder dispensor required that I polish the bottom of the reservoirs with steel wool, and olish the insides of the powder drop funnel. That allowed the 1.1 grains of Titegroup powder to dispense properly, and without dropping flakes of powder everywhere.

    I will add some images, both of kywoodworker's home made kit, as well as the conversion kit I got from Elk Hunter. My next goal is to try and have someone create a set of blue prints for these items. Since Dillon is unwilling to resume making these, it might be a business opportunity for someone.

    So, the purpose of this post is to document my path to successful reloading of the 25 ACP cartridges on my Dillon RL550b. It is hoped that the information supplied will help someone else.

    Special thanks to: Elk Hunter (providing the 25 ACP original conversion kit), Chev. William (a very knowledgeable 25 ACP resource), kywoodwrkr (supplied me with both 25 ACP bullets, brass, and also his home made dial plate and pin set), beechbum444 (sent brass), Chris at Lathesmith for making the Star lube sizing die, ncbearman (sold me the Lyman 2 cavity 252435 mold), and everyone else who was of help and assistance on this project.
    Last edited by DukeInFlorida; 03-18-2017 at 03:43 PM.


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
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    Now if you can just get midget or an eight year old to loan you their fingers....
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  4. #4
    Salty Dog


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    Actually, my fingers fit quite nicely in the trigger guard for the Beretta 21a. It was well thought out.


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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    How's about a couple of photos of the finished product?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Geez, the lunatic asylum is alive and well! Let's see the reloading of 22LR, 17whatever, and 22WMR!

    Just buy the mousefart ammo, you're not going to shoot much of it....


    You're right about the Beretta 21, that is one sweet little turd.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    RE: .25ACP and "you're not going to shoot much of it."
    I have a Ruger Single Eight in .25ACP with a 10-5/8" barrel that I have run 300 rounds through so far, from factory Loads to 3.0 grains of BE-86 behind 63 grain Lead FN bullets.
    And have a "Goodly quantity of both Factory Ammo and Hand loads to play with.
    " Inexpensive" is relative: but between 2300 and 5800 round per pound of propellant depending on type DOES Stretch my Budget to allow me to Shoot.

    a 50 grain FMJ out of a 2" barrel might be termed 'mousefart' but I think a 63 grain Lead slug pushed with 3.0 grains of propellant out of a 10-5/8" barrel qualifies as somewhat more 'attention getting' in character.

    Laughing,
    Chev. William
    Last edited by Chev. William; 03-21-2017 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Salty Dog


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    I'm casting the bullets, and as Chev. Williams says, it's bazillions of rounds per pound, so about the only real cost at this point is the primers. Say, three cents per. I can shoot lots and lots of these, having fun all the way. It also serves well as a backup to the backup for my regular carry. My P229 in 357 sig in the waist holster, with a sig 380 in one pocket, and the Beretta in the other.

    As a large guy with too many necklaces once said, "I pity the fool!"


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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Hooker53's Avatar
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    Duke. Sounds like you have it going on. IV always liked this little round and even mused about a short barreled rifle that would shoot them in an earlyer post last year. Some were inthusiastic and others was trying to get me signed into the same place No Blue mentioned. Lol. Glad your having fun. I have the same mould you have. Great little Boolit. Keep Shooting.

    Roy
    Hooker53

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    RE: .25ACP rifle Putter Projects.
    Today I received two relined barrels from John Taylor.
    The first is a Shortened 1890 Winchester Octagon marked ".22 WRF." but now fitted as a .25ACP with a 1:14 inch twist T.J.'s Liner. This barrel was already shortened and came out at just over 20 inches long.
    The second is a J. Stevens 'Favorite' one marked as ".25 Stevens", which is a Longer .25ACP type RF cartridge. Same T.J.'s Liner and also a length of just over 20 inches.
    Both Muzzles are finished clean and neatly Flat and square with about a "Two rifling depth wide champfer; there is no visible joint showing the liner at the muzzle; Beautiful Work.
    Both Barrels still have the Original Aged and distressed remainder (Brownish) finish, figuring both are over 100 years old.
    Detail work still to do includes cutting the chambers and extractor relief cuts.
    The Winchester Barrel will need to be 'adjusted' to fit a front housing with the correct 'head space and clocking'. it will also need the Magazine ring 'dovetails' cleaned up and re-cut to fit my two magazine retainer rings. Sight Dove tail cuts will be touched up also.
    the Stevens barrel will probably be within usable Head space range as it is designed as a Take down rifle originally.
    Chambers are going to wait for a New Reamer set up for Revolver type parallel wall chambers to start with as I have found the Typical Semi-Auto type tapered chambers allow TOO much wall expansion in front of the Base Web, causing my empties to have a 'bulge' ring there after firing.

    Best Regards,
    Chev. William
    Last edited by Chev. William; 05-04-2017 at 10:45 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I want a Beretta 950 BS .25 ACP bad. I had a Galesi that I browned and made pecan grips for. It was beautiful & accurate until the fp channel cracked. I've killed a squirrel with a Raven. I like .25 autos.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I like 25 autos myself but I'm not going to load for them, it's hard enough to find my 32 and 380 brass. I have a 950 that I bought new in '87 and carried till two years ago, it's been as reliable as any firearm I have ever owned and I have shot it a good bit. It is something you can carry when nothing else works.

    I refuse to carry a pocket pistol in 22 lr, the gun might be great but 22 ammo can draw moisture and is simply not as reliable as 25 ammo for several reasons. This is something that must work, the price of the ammo is of no concern. I think that is why it was designed in the first place.

    Texas, I liked the 950 so well that I bought another new one in '94. I fired two full clips to check function, cleaned it, wrapped it in wax paper and put in it's box with two extra mags. I think Beretta discontinued them several years ago but they shouldn't be hard to find.

    I am glad to see people tinkering with this stuff and having fun, that's what it is all about.

    Dave

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I too like the Beretta 21A. I've owned two in addition to other .25's. I gifted the last Beretta to a younger relative who views it as a non gun. I wish that I still had it.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master




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    I reload the little 25 ACP as well. Not with an auto machine, just one at a time. My Bauer functions well on less than a grain of Titegroup with a HP mold I picked up from MiHec as well as the RCBS mold. Yes casting is slow, reloading slower(LOL). I did make a scoop from a 22 case cut down for the right amount of powder.
    Last edited by RED333; 03-26-2017 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Congrats on the successful project.

    For various reasons I find 50 FMJ to be the proper "self defense" bullet.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Laughing; is that a .50" diameter or a 50 grain bullet you consider suitable for "self defense" use?
    And What is your barrel length?

    Best Regards,
    Chev. William

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    If JMB had seen fit to make it with .257" dia. Bullets it would be widely reloaded. IMO.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    If JMB had seen fit to make it with .257" dia. Bullets it would be widely reloaded. IMO.
    Yes that is a Possibility; but then I would not have my retirement "Project" to have enjoyment at. Getting three '6,35mm Wildcat' cartridges "Published" and still going.

    My Long Barrel Ruger Single Eight in .25ACP so far has been a Challenge to hold steady with one hand but is Fun to shoot and does get some attention at the Local Range when I fire some of my more 'robust reloads'.

    Factory .25ACP is overall slightly quieter out of my 10-5/8" barreled Revolver than out of a 2" barrel semi-Auto.

    Hand reloads with 63 grain bullets in front of 3.0 grains of BE-86 on the other hand are louder, kick more, and have more 'Muzzle rise', even in two handed grip. All my Firing has been in Daylight outside so far so I can not say what the Muzzle Flash might be.

    Just speculation at this point; but I am looking forward to trying the 3.0 grains of BE-86 in a Rifle soon as it should give 'Spirited performance' from a 20" 'carbine length barrel'.
    A factory load, according to others test information, will be a subsonic cartridge with low muzzle blast so might make a nice varmint close in eliminator or "pot meat" harvester combination.
    Sadly "pot meat' harvesting and hunting in general, is NOT an Option in my Southern California Urban environment nowadays.

    Best Regards,
    Chev. William

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Since the 25 ACP is the topic of this thread, there is no need to ask if what I am stating is about another entirely different caliber. I am wondering why it was not quite obvious what I was referring to.

    Barrel lengths are short. I employ it in its most common platforms. Tried cheap as well as expensive. Not interested in severely overdriving the gun. Practice necessitates a decent metering powder.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Rick459's Avatar
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    I am taking factory rounds and hollow pointing them using a lyman de-burring drill bit on my mini mill with the forster case trimming base. when I get around to test fire them in water I will post pics.
    Rick

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check