February 29, 2008


Recently expanded my reloading capabilities to include 500S&W and 380ACP. The massive 50 caliber cartridge being the largest thing I have ever reloaded and the cute little 380 is now the smallest.

Here is where the disclaimer is supposed to go about not using this information to blow up your toys and hurt yourself. Seems to me that if you are reading this and have the means to round up the tools and supplies then there is nothing to stop you for using a search engine to find actual reloading data. This is about the joy of shooting, as a form of in your face, anti-environmentalism and how to do it cheaper thus creating as much lead pollution as possible.

Some folks reload for accuracy, or just for the fun of it. For the 50 caliber you can’t ignore the economic incentive. Compare the Hornady XTP cartridge that costs $2.60 EACH to a reloaded cartridge with the same Hornady XTP bullet. Primer + powder + bullet adds up to “only” 77 cents each. Obviously it could be much less with a plain cast bullet.

Reloading the 380 is a less obvious choice. A box of Remmington’s around here cost 36 cents each. My cost for this first reloading session added up to 11 cents each. If pulling the handle on a reloading press doesn’t sound like a fun evening and you are trying to add your labor cost to the total, then reloading the 380 might not be your bag.

The difference between the two calibers really stands out when it is time to measure out the powder. The 380 uses only 3.0 grains of Bullseye but those long fat 50 caliber shells each got 40 grains of 2400. (15.4 grains = 1 gram) So a single 500S&W cartridge contains more powder than two full Kel-Tec magazines. It is also twice the powder charge and double the bullet weight of my favorite 44 magnum recipie. Bwuhahahaha!!!!!

Perceived recoil with this 380 load is slightly less than with Remmington factory ammo. The semi-auto functions, the brass lands in about the same place, lead goes downrange. What more could anyone want? The recoil generated by this 50 caliber load was significantly less than factory ammo with the same bullet. This was in line with expectations and was the desired result. I love big artillery but not so much when it still hurts a week later.

Will update with accuracy test results later….

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