.380 bulged case problem

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Madbeaver, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Madbeaver

    Madbeaver G&G Newbie

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    My wife just got a Bersa 380. I've scrounged about 900 once fired cases from our local range (I'm a rangemaster - one of the perks) of mixed manufacture. I cleaned them up real pretty, sized & decapped (RCBS dies) and primed them. Now I am flaring the case mouth prior to loading with powder & bullets. I have noticed that Federal cases have considerably more resistance when belling the case mouth. So much so that there is a bulge in the case about half way down - about where the end of the expander ball would come. All other manufacturers cases (WIN, RP, etc) do not show this problem. They run through the die with barely any resistance. Occasionally a CBC case will be stiffer but no bulge. I did have one Starline case bulge but other than that only Federal cases and without exception. I've sorted out the Federal cases and am leaving them for later when the problem is solved. So my question is what would cause the cases to bulge when all I am doing is expanding the case mouth just enough to get a bullet started? Any ideas?
  2. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Enthusiast

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    I do hope the bullets you are using are less than or equal to 100 grains. Anything heavier and the bullet is too long.
  3. TGF

    TGF G&G Newbie

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    Are they federal NT cases? I have heard that those are not reloadable. What is the exact head stamp on the case?
  4. M14man

    M14man I don't take prisoners... Forum Contributor

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    Try less of a bell. It should be so little of a difference between a belled case and one that wasn't that you have to check with a bullet. Also adjust your seater so the case is sized just enough to chamber. If you size it down too much, you sometimes get a bulge as the bullet stretches the case. You get a case that looks fatter on top as compared to the part of the case just below the bullet.
  5. big boomer

    big boomer G&G Enthusiast

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    Some brass is thicker than others and 380's are always a bear anyway. I got a Lee factory crimp die to help out my 380's it may help you too and mine was only 19.95 a cheap fix.
  6. Madbeaver

    Madbeaver G&G Newbie

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    Gentlemen, it appears I have not explained properly. I have not loaded powder or bullets yet. Only belling the case mouth very slightly to take the bullet. I have hand fit a bullet in the mouth of the case and it fits ok. The amount of belling is very slight. Just that one step with Federal cases causes a bulge approximately one third of the way from the case mouth. The case is headstamped Federal 380 Auto. I am trying to upload a picture.

    Attached Files:

  7. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

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    I would have to go along with the idea that the Federal brass is thicker. Since the cases all have the same outside diameter thanks to the sizing die, and you are running the same expander into them, the only logical reason for the bulge is that the walls are thicker. Do you have a micrometer that might allow you to measure them?

    I have some .45 cases that do that. They seem to work just fine. I wouldn't get too concerned, but those cases might fail sooner than others that aren't worked quite as much.

    The amount of bell you have is more than I typically use. Back the die off until you are just able to start the bullet and you might see the bulge go away if the case is not the same thickness over the full length.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
  8. ArkansasHunter

    ArkansasHunter G&G Newbie

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    Sounds like something ain't right...A.H
  9. JBS

    JBS G&G Newbie

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    Excellent observation. I hope some of them there smarts rubbs off on me, someday, Cuzzin'.
  10. ArkansasHunter

    ArkansasHunter G&G Newbie

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    JB good here'in from you cuzz and thanks fer your kind words...I got smart after be'in kicked in the head by Uncle Willie's old mule...You might wanna try dat sum time...A.H
  11. dsschuler

    dsschuler G&G Newbie

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    Did you check the length of the federal cases compared to the other brands, it almost looks like your crushing the case.
  12. jimb2

    jimb2 G&G Enthusiast

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    The brass that Federal uses is softer than that used by most other manufacturers. When you size the cases, there isn't as much spring-back. When you then push the case-mouth expander into those cases, the stretch of the case is more visible as you have noted. The cases should be fine. Because of the characteristics of the brass, I don't reload Federal rifle brass. It is the only brand that I have had case head separations with. But despite the softness of the pistol brass, I've had no problems with it, so I continue to use their pistol brass. The only pistols I won't use their brass in are those rare models that don't have full case support by the chamber. In those firearms, the cases develop a significant bulge where the case is not supported. Otherwise their pistol brass is ok.
  13. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Enthusiast

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    +1
  14. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Enthusiast

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    some guys leave their brass at the range instead of trimming it to length.
  15. 22plinker

    22plinker G&G Newbie

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    Where did you read "100 grains in a 380" is maximum? My load data book clearly shows 125 grains, in 380acp is maximum. I have shot hundreds of 125 grain bullets in my Bersa Thunder 380 and in my Taurus PT58HC & they work fine. I suggest you read another load data book!
  16. 22plinker

    22plinker G&G Newbie

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    Go ahead & load them, then use a sizer die (Midway USA, Lee Part # 801-382, cost $19.95) The sizer die will restore the bullet (remove the "bump") & they will work fine. I always use the sizer die on EVERY 380acp that I load.

  17. Mooseman684

    Mooseman684 G&G Newbie

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    Sounds like the Expander is not up inside the die far enough to support the outside of the caseing or you are expanding too much with no lube in the mouth of the case...But this is only a guess.
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