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  1. #1
    Viscomm is offline Junior Member
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    .355 vs. .356 Bullets for 380 ACP

    Thanks to the members of this Forum I have been very successfull since 2011 at reloading 38, 9, 44 and 45 ammo. My wife just bought a Ruger LC380 so I got the 4-die set from Lee that includes the factory sizing die. Buying bullets has been problematic but I found a supply of Winchester 95 gr. FMJs. The Winchesters are definitely 380 rounds (#WB 380 MC 95) and list a diameter of .356. However, after researching 380 bullet dimensions I find that the "specs" call for a bullet diameter of .355.

    Any opinions or directions? I hate to buy 100 - just to get a few test slugs - and then not be able to use them in the Ruger. These are FMJs. not like Berry plated which I use exclusively in my 38s but have been led to believe are slightly oversized like bare, cast lead bullets.

    I know it's just 1/1000th of an inch but I think my success is due to understanding the proper procedure and not experimenting ... especially since my wife will be the one holding the gun!

    Thanks,

    Robert

  2. #2
    Bhoffman is offline Junior Member
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    Use them. They list .356, but what are they really? Have you measured them? Being off by .001 isn't going to be a big deal. As usual start out with lesser loads and work up.

  3. #3
    Glock Doctor is offline Banned
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    Yeah, you should have mic'd the bullets. The short answer is that a 9mm Kurz FMJ bullet is supposed to be .355 inch in diameter, not .356 inch UNLESS it is a lead bullet. Lead bullets tend to be .001 to .002 inch over bore diameter. (Because a lead bullet tends to experience more base erosion and excessive, 'gas blow-by' when it is fired.) Personally I wouldn't say that an FMJ bullet that is .001 inch oversized is, 'no big deal'. (It might be.) Until you definitely know the actual diameter of these bullets don't go running your loads up there on the charts.

  4. #4
    Sgt45's Avatar
    Sgt45 is offline Member
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    I use 90 gr HP .356 9mm bullets in my Ruger LCP and have had no problems. I don't shoot it a lot but they feed just fine and the cases appear normal when I reload them. I don't use the maximum charge, but it isn't far off.

  5. #5
    noylj is offline Junior Member
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    You can probably use bullets up to 0.358" without issue. The only thing is to always start with the starting load and work up, just like every other new bullet. Gun barrels really don't care about 0.001", unless the bullet is too small in diameter.
    You could do what everyone should do with every gun--slug the barrel and determine what the real bullet diameter should be. Jacketed bullets should be groove diameter or larger. Lead and plated bullets should be at least 0.001" larger than groove diameter.
    Don't any manuals any more discuss how to determine the best bullet diameter or COL? Seems they must be covering less and less important information so they can discuss their latest toys to separate you from your money.

  6. #6
    Garyshome's Avatar
    Garyshome is offline Member
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    The only way to tell for sure is to slug the bore! Then there won't be any question as to what you meed!

  7. #7
    Viscomm is offline Junior Member
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    I have been doing a lot of research over the past week on this subject, primarily because I am getting stiffed pretty good for 380 Blazer Brass ammo for my wife to shoot in her Ruger LC380 and I need to get at handloading ASAP. BTW - this post may be a bit lengthy but the topic is important to me and I want you to understand the steps I went through if you choose to respond.

    On 12/31 I ordered from MidwayUSA, 2000 bullets described online as "Remington Bullets 380 ACP (.355 Diameter) 95 grain Full Metal Jacket." The Remington number is 23638. I ordered them based on Glock Doctor's comments on this forum as to what was the "right" bullet diameter for reloading 380 ACPs. Yes, I had reservations before ordering but, in my defense, the headline on the webpage specifically stated ".380 ACP and .355." When they arrived the box label read "38 ACP, 95 MC" and the diameter was .356. Given shortages, I am reluctant to return these if they can be used correctly and safely. I called Remington and found out that 23638 is no longer in their catalog. They recommended 23566 (RB380AP) "380 pistol bullets (.356 Diameter) 95 grain MC" (MC is similar to FMJ) and - not surprisingly - is totally unavailable anywhere. So I started digging.

    RB380AP is listed in Remington's 2011 catalog as "380 Auto/.356 diameter/95 gr/MC."
    23638 is listed in Remington's 2012 catalog under the heading "380/38AC/38 Super" at a weight of 95 grs and a diameter of .356.
    23638 disappeared from Remington's 2013 catalog but was replaced by 23566 "380/.356 diameter/95 gr/MC" but - don't laugh - with the same RB380AP number as used in 2011.

    Even more interesting is that Brownells and Shooters STILL sell the 23638 product and describe it as "380 ACP/.356 diameter/95 gr/FMJ" - backordered of course - while MidSouth still sell the 23638 product too - still marked as 38 ACP/.356 damter. Finally, the SAAMI spec. sheet gives a diameter for the 380 ACP at .3535/.3565 (that's a .003 spread)!

    So, here's where my head is at. Before I break open a sealed box of .356/95 gr/MC bullets and get stuck with an unreturnable $286 order, I want to bounce a bunch of "MAYBEs" off the group.

    Maybe MidwayUSA just mistakenly posted .355 instead of .356 on their webpage description.
    Maybe these particular bullets never physically changed over the past few years, regardless of all the numbering changes by Remington
    Maybe bullets (not cartridges of course) for 380 ACP, 38 ACP and 38 Super are typically .356 diameter. I mention this because Speer and Magtech still spec them at .355.

    I have a few days before packing up 30 lbs of bullets to return. What do you folks think?

    Thanks,

    Robert

  8. #8
    Bhoffman is offline Junior Member
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    PM me, I will send you a "handful" (10) of those bullets (Remington number 23638) so you can load them and "feel good" about using them.

    I have used a lot in the past and have not had any problems with them in either my Walther PPK/s or My Ruger LCP.

    OR, You can just use the ones you have. Just work up your loads, starting with light loads and working up to higher loads, measure your muzzle velocities with a chronograph to make your loads produce something close to published load values, and inspect the spent cases/primers for signs of over pleasure. DO THIS BEFORE YOU LOAD UP 1000 ROUNDS. Of course, You should be doing this for all of your loads. For Example, I load 10 rounds @ each powder weight.

    SHOOTING DATA
    .380 ACP

    Firearm Ruger LCP Barrel 2.75”

    Date_________________ Temperature________

    Factory Load: Winchester USA 95gr FMJ

    High______ Low_______ Average______ ES_______ SD_______


    Case R-P Primer CCI 500 Powder AA#7
    Bullet Type Remington FMJ Weight 95gr

    Group 1: 5.9 Grains

    High______ Low_______ Average______ ES_______ SD_______

    Group 2: 6.1 Grains

    High______ Low_______ Average______ ES_______ SD_______

    Group 3: 6.3 Grains

    High______ Low_______ Average______ ES_______ SD_______

    Group 4: 6.5 Grains

    High______ Low_______ Average______ ES_______ SD_______

  9. #9
    Viscomm is offline Junior Member
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    bhoffman:

    I do not know what a "PM" is but I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to load a few 23638 bullets. It is probably totally against forum protocol but you can give me a call at 216-789-3496 so I can give you my address. Thanks again, Robert

  10. #10
    Viscomm is offline Junior Member
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    I finally put a definitive end to my concerns and research about using .356 vs. .355 bullets for .380 Auto. Barry Hoffman sent me ten (10) Remington 23638 .356, 95 grain FMJs to try. I loaded them based on his specs and shot them today. BINGO ... I could not tell the difference between my 2.8 and 3.0 gr. Bullseye loads and factory round nose rounds. I will obviously load at 2.8 but an inspection of the brass indicates that there are no pressure issues. In addition, after using my Lee Factory die (#4), all the rounds fit correctly in my Wilson pistol gage. Working on 2000 more. Thanks to Barry and all of you for your help and support.

    Robert

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