Loading for the 25 ACP

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  • Last Post 19 February 2022
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GBertolet posted this 17 December 2021

I have a couple of 25 ACP guns, that I acquired over the years. I would like to reload for these guns. With ammo as expensive and hard to get as it is, reloading would be more practical. Also I have viewed videos of penetration tests in ballistic jell, with various ammo, and I think I could do better with a FP cast bullet. The hollow points, just don't get the penetration, so a hard cast FP bullet might be best. Arsenal molds has a mold for a 53 gr bullet in the 25 ACP, which should suit my purpose. Factory ammo is somewhat anemic, and I think I can do much better, while still staying within sensible pressures. I don't plan on using any of these guns for anything more than range use, but I want them ready anyway.

I know loading for the 25 is more or less of a stunt. Small fingers are a big asset. I am retired and have the time, and don't mind spending the money to get set up. With judicious shopping on the internet, the cost shouldn't be that bad, considering. Reloading can also be a fun and challenging hobby, right?

Has any one of our members attempted doing this, and can give me any insight, personal loading data, and tips for this cartridge?

 

 

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dbarron posted this 19 February 2022

I tried this and found it an excellent way to remove powder coating from bullets. Pretty much all of it came off as soon as they hit the cold water. Sure seemed like a good idea though.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 18 February 2022

Brand of PC most definitely.  However, linotype requires as close to 462 F as you can get w/o slumping to really heat treat.  All lesser alloys require a higher temperature.  Didn't think any PC went that high before coating failure.

 

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GBertolet posted this 17 February 2022

I ran my oven @450, with no ill effects. Maybe it depends on what kind of PC you are using?

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Lee Guthrie posted this 16 February 2022

Curious about heat treating powder coated bullets.  Temperature needed for HT is at least 30 (up to 80) degrees higher than the temp for most PC.

 

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GBertolet posted this 15 February 2022

In this case, I found no adverse effects in heat treating previously powder coated bullets. Surprisingly, I had few issues reloading the little 25 acp. My biggest challenge, was weighing every powder charge, as my measure would not go that low, and the charges are so minuscule, that being off a tenth or so, can be an issue. I just used a Lee dipper to dump some powder on the scale, and used a trickler to bring the beam up to center. Slow, but accurate.

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foesgth posted this 15 February 2022

Gary,  

I have quenched powder coated bullets with no problems.  I, however, don't know about the effects of reheating PC.  Let us know what you find.  

Do you need new glasses yet?  I would after trying to reload those 25s.

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GBertolet posted this 14 February 2022

Thanks LarryW, I think I am pretty dialed in now, with the Arsenal mold I purchased. Just waiting for warm weather now.

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LarryW posted this 14 February 2022

If you get in touch with Michael, (AKA, Ranch dog of Ranch dog Outdoors) he has been casting for & loading the 25 for a very long time. I don't know if he made a 25acp mold when he was designing or not. He's A very nice guy, but also very busy. Worth a shot, he really knows this small caliber stuff.

A day late & a dollar short, story of my life ???

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GBertolet posted this 03 February 2022

Still cold here, with some snow on the ground. Despite this, I was able to shoot a few rounds behind my house. WW white box factory, 50 gr = 665 fps, Privi-Partizan, 50 gr = 695 fps. All out of a 1908 Colt. I found it was quite easy to better factory ballistics. I did heat treat the powder coated linotype bullets. I think it did make them even harder. I did make up a sizer die for my Star sizer. The bullets come out @ .2515. I sprayed Hornady One Shot lube on the bullets before sizing, it really made a difference in sizing these hard bullets.

I did have a test load with 231 powder, that I was able to break the 900 fps barrier. Primers were cratered somewhat, so I ceased right there, as being too hard on the gun. If the need ever arises for a EDC gun, this load might be useful, but other than that, no.

I did work up a load for general shooting, that was considerably more mild. 1.2 gr Bullseye for 765 fps. Still better than factory ammo, but not to hard on the guns. All three of the pocket pistols performed reliably with this load. When the weather breaks, I can get out my shell catcher, taking it to the range, and I then can put these pistols through their paces. Without this shell catcher, it's sayonara to the brass.

I did notice one thing. All these pistols were made before noncorrosive primers were developed. All have barrels that were pitted considerably. They were undoubtedly shot a few times by their original owners, and placed in a sock drawer, without cleaning, for 50 or more years. Anyhow, for what these pistols were designed for, it makes no difference.

Ironically I like shooting the cheap Spanish pistol the best. I appears to be a clone of the Astra Hope pistol. It's an internal hammer gun, with the safety in front of the trigger. Which is much more ergonomic to manipulate, than the Colts, which are all the way at the back. The trigger seems to be better also. No grip safety, which can be both a plus or a minus.

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GBertolet posted this 10 January 2022

I shot 3 rounds of 1.4 gr Bullseye. I got 849 fps. Could not recover any cases, they just disappeared. Chrono was still cranky, due to the cold temps. The bullets are fragmenting in the bailed magazines. Lots of small pieces. This should not be happening.

Can previously powder coated linotype bullets be heat treated? Will the 450 degree temp affect the powder coating, and will the sudden shock of being quenched in water crack or weaken the powder coat? I would like to give this a try to see if it changes anything.

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GBertolet posted this 10 January 2022

foesgth, I am using a Lee dipper to dribble the powder on my scale. I am weighing each charge. I agree that my RCBS uniflow is unsuited, as it will not throw that light of a charge.

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foesgth posted this 09 January 2022

 Gary,

How are you measuring your powder charges?  I don't think my Uniflows would be that precise.  Are you trickling each charge? 

Of course this question comes from a guy who shoots mostly 44-40 and 45-70 black powder.  I just use a shovel.

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GBertolet posted this 09 January 2022

The bullets were cast from pieces of linotype. Mostly of the handset variety.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 09 January 2022

Are you sure you were using Linotype?  Some of your cast look completely flattened, and others pretty torn up.  At your velocity they should look like they could be reloaded only maybe with a damaged nose.  When shot into steel plates they might shatter from the nose back, but there is no expansion.  Those look like COWW or softer.

Were your magazines water soaked?  Try "bailing" newspapers, soak them overnight in a container of water, then shoot them.  If your bullets are linotype at 825 fps they should look as cast but with rifling marks.

 

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 09 January 2022

Try water jugs, magazines are just too tough with the glossy paper. Those velocities are about maximum, much higher and you will be putting excessive wear on your gun. 

The .25 acp is a funny little cartridge. In my career I saw many people shot with it, some fatally. Most penetrated more than you would expect, but one in particular I remember. The guy attempted suicide, shooting himself in the temple. The bullet travelled under the skin to almost the back of his head, never penetrating the skull. You could see the track of the bullet and the bulge of the skin where it rested. 

I just load it because I like to reload for all my guns, regardless of caliber.  

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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GBertolet posted this 08 January 2022

Here is an update for those who might be interested in the mousegun.

I got my mold, and cast about 400 bullets of linotype, The Arsenal mold performed great. The bullets dropped @ .2515 to .252, and weighed 52 grains. I had to adjust the Pro-melt down to a trickle to properly fill the small cavities of this mold. I powder coated about 100. After coating they were  .2535 to .254 diameter. Loading data for this cartridge is all over the place, so I extrapolated a load. I ultimately deceided on 1.3 gr of Bullseye for my initial loading. Data suggests, that 1.4 should be about a max load. I loaded the OAL as long as I could. Anything over .900 would not fit in the magazine of my 1908 Colt,, so thats what I loaded to.

I test fired into a stack of tightly bailed up magazines. Penetration was not what I expected. Very shallow. I got a 3 shot avg of 813 fps, which is not too shabby. 829 as a high, and 806 as a low. I shot 2 rounds of PriviPartisan, and 2 rounds of WW white box. Unfortunately due to the cold temps, those velocities would not register on my chrono. I will try again later for these. My reloads and the WW white box penetrated about the same, while the PriviPartisan penetrated the most, likely because they did not expand much at all. The factory rounds seemed much softer in recoil than my reloads. My reloads, really tore up the magazines, at the expense of penetration though. Maybe heat treating the bullets might be the next step. The magazines I fired into are very hard, which I am sure reduced penetration. I would like to later get some ballistic gel to test this ammo in.

More info to follow, as this adventure progresses.

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GBertolet posted this 21 December 2021

 Great info Lee. I have a guide now. I have about $160 invested in this project. Dies, bullet mold, cases, ammo boxes, and a shell holder for my Lee autoprime. The mold was the most expensive component. Foesgth, graciously donated me some cases also. I am ready to go. Now waiting on Santa Claus in the brown suit to visit my house. I have 3 autos to play with. I will see which one shoots the best.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 21 December 2021

Here is a citation to the article Gash wrote on the .25 acp:

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+.25+Auto%3A+working+with+the+godfather+of+mousegun+calibers...-a0218592102

 

If you want pics then you will need to track down the original article.  Instead of Shooting Times I think that it was in G & A.

 

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foesgth posted this 19 December 2021

I have a bag with maybe 50 25acp cases.  I got them on one of my trades (yes, I'm on of those guys).  Man, those things are small!  If you would like them PM me your address and I will toss them in a padded envelope and mail them to you.  Just be warned I am not going to the PO until after Christmas.  I may be dumb but I'm not stupid.

You will be doing me a favor taking these.  That way I won't be tempted to buy a 25 acp pistol.

Randy

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RicinYakima posted this 19 December 2021

"If this project turns out like a previous winter's project, of developing loads for two 32 S&W breaktop revolvers, both BP and smokeless. After success, they get put away, and that's it. That's probably what's going to happen here also. It's just the challenge!"

 

I have twenty years worth of those! As a life long learner, it is wanting to know. 

p.s. Expansion is grossly over rated, penetration to the core of the body first and foremost. 

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