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Old 07-24-2020, 05:59 PM
ptf18 ptf18 is offline
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Default Pressure signs in S.A. handguns

Fellows. This is a question is about .380 Bersa (similar to a Walther PPK)I reload for. I apologize for it not being S&W but I think it pertains to any/all Semi-Auto handguns.

Question is... can you tell by examining fired (reloads) cases if you are approaching/exceeding pressure limits?

Most of my reloading is for rifles and I know what to look for.

Thanks
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:07 PM
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I've always thought the best practice was to consult and follow a reputable reloading manual. Looking at fired casings seems to be a dangerous approach to determining a "maximum" load.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:09 PM
Warren Sear Warren Sear is offline
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There is no way to accurately and reliably determine ammo pressure without pressure testing equipment.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:43 AM
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Warren Sear is correct, unless you are using a pressure test barrel, you really have no idea what pressure your reloads are generating. Best safety with reloads comes from reloading manuals. Exceeding the maximum loads listed in manuals is not a wise idea nor is using powders for which there is no published reloading data.

Start low and approach maximum loads cautiously. As you increase your powder charge, monitor the fired brass, looking at the amount of expansion of the brass ahead of the extractor groove and the condition of the fired primer. Compare fired brass to fired factory brass.

A reliable chronograph can also be helpful in working up reloads.
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Old 07-25-2020, 12:48 PM
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Regarding .380 and other straight-walled pistol cases, whatever pressure signs you think are useful in bottle-neck rifle cases are totally useless and misleading. A reloader was telling me how he was "reading the brass" on .45 Colt to work up loads right up to when the topstrap on his expensive revolver hit the ceiling.
I just loaded 500 .380 using hornady bullets with titegroup, following the Hodgdon reloading manual EXACTLY, and test firing a few before loading all. I can't imagine why you would want or need to load .380 hotter than that.
If .380 is just not powerful enough for you, there are 9mm Luger caliber pistols available no larger or heavier than a .380 Bersa., but designed to safely fire 9mm.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:47 AM
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From your latest edition reloading manual, choose your load. Begin with the published start load. Gradually work up in .1 or .2 grain increments until you reach a point of reliable functioning and shooting to the sights. Do NOT exceed the published maximum. If you change components, ESPECIALLY to bullets of the same weight from a different manufacturer, start over. All bullets of the same weight from different manufacturers are NOT created equal. If you substitute bullets and you do not have a specific overall cartridge length for that particular bullet, I would suggest seating to the SAAMI spec. A good clue of too hot a load MAY be if your cases are ejected to a point way in excess of those of factory ammo. Another is when your pistol breaks. Been there. Done that. Learned. Please be safe.
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