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Thread: 380 ACP gas checks

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    380 ACP gas checks

    Are gas checks required for this caliber of pistol? Does anyone out there have any experience with the 380?


  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    GARD72977's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    I load for a couple 380 s. No gas checks needed. I have good luck with RCBS 90gr bullet. I Hitek coated them but I'm sure lube would work just as well.

    My girlfriend has a 1911 Browning that she manages to limp wrist every other shot and a S&W sheild. The Browning is really accurrate to about 20yds and the sheild is very respectable. I was surprised how well the Little 380 shoots.
    " If you cant do it with a 308 , you dont need to do it!

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    I was going to try the Lee 125 grain mold. I will just power coat them and see how it goes. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Western North Dakota
    I am loading for a pair of Colts and a Bersa in .380. To answer your question, no, gas checks are not needed for this cartridge. My load consists of the Accurate Mold Co. over 4.3 grains of Unique. My bullets are lubed with a soft beeswax/neetsfoot oil lube and do not lead. Bullets are shot as cast at .358 diameter.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    I have reloaded cast boolits for a Walther PPK in 380 auto for about 25 years now and my Sister-in-law's SIG P238 for two or three years .
    Gas checks are not required . With cast boolits even the highest velocities are under 1,000 fps, my threshold for gas checks .

    If you have trouble with the longer 125 grain mould feeding , try the shorter 356-102-1R or the Lee 358-105-SWC ...
    I have had surprisingly good results with the Lee 358-105-SWC in both 380 auto and 9 mm Luger . This boolit is more a truncated cone and feeds like it was made for semi-auto's . I size them .357 .

    Got any questions ?... ask away
    Last edited by gwpercle; 03-16-2020 at 04:11 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    You don’t say what gun or what Lee 125, but I was unable to get the 125 rf Lee to work in my Beretta 84. Seated to a plunkable oal it started giving the cases a “fat belly “ as the bullet went too deep. Too fat to plunk before short enough! The Lee 95rf is very like the 100gr Ranch Dog that works very well in lots of 380s.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    one-eyed fat man's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Elizabethtown, KY
    This Lyman 356632 mould, part of a pile of reloading stuff I bought, was a lucky find. 100 grain truncated cone, over 4.2 grains of Unique works nicely in my .380's. It is a bit snappy in the Kel-Tec P3AT and the 1910 Browning. It is very tolerable in a Llama Especial and comfortable in the CZ-83. Runs around 1080 fps and great accuracy without leading. The Lee 356-102-1R is a pretty good shooting bullet too, but the Lyman truncated cone feeds every bit as well and I feel it is more effective. A .357 sizing die barely kisses them and they are lubed with Alox.

    You might want to back off half a grain to start.

    Yes, I know Unique is dirty and smokes, but it also works very well in .45 ACP and I load LOTS of that.

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    GONRA uses IDEAL U358242 95 gn. cast boolits for a variety of locked breech and blowback European and US .380 ACP caliber auto pistols.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man

    John Wayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Atlanta Georgia
    I'd like to start casting for my .380 also so I am finding this info very helpful. Thanks men!
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  10. #10
    I'm A Honcho!

    DukeInFlorida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    East and South of you
    A 35 caliber gas check will snap right onto the back of any plain base .355 sized (9mm and 380 auto) bullet.
    IF you wanted to try it

    NRA Life Member
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

    Author of a book on reloading

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    eastern Iowa
    38/9mm Plain Base gas checks will fit right on. Works with normal molds. In the past I made a great many of these and sold them. Do you need them for 380? Almost always no. They may control leading with some barrels .

  12. #12
    Boolit Master dkf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    I don't use gas checks for .380acp. All my .380 molds are PB but I would like it if some were GC for .357sig. The Lee 95 RF is a good bullet for .380 and it does not break the bank, mine drops .358".

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    I somehow collected more 380 molds because I 'just had to try it.' Started with the Lee 356-102 1R, then the 358-105 SWC. Later sill, I picked up the 356-95 RF. All shoot well from my 380s, 9MM, 357 SIG, and 38/357.

    Before I started powder coating, I got some plain based gas check makers. The only things I checked were 357 SIG and 9mm carbine test loads. After PC, I haven't needed plain based gas checks, not even .223/5.56 at 2450 FPS.
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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