Loading for the 25 ACP

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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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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 18 December 2021

I load for the .25 acp and .32 acp also. The bullets need to be fairly hard to get reliable feeding. Softer bullets tend to hang up on barrel lips and ramps more than larger autos. That is the only difference except that they are a bear to handle, or should I say mouse. 

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.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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GBertolet posted this 19 December 2021

I just want to see the heck if I can do this, for a winter project. Lee dies are ordered, along with a 100 new cases, as I cannot find once fired ones, as all the known suppliers are out of stock. Need to slug the barrel before the mold is aquired, just to see. I made up some test slugs, by drilling through a 1/4" aluminum plate with a F drill, and placing another plate underneath. Then pouring molten lead from a bottle cap, melted with a propane torch. Driving the slugs out, completed the effort.

The mold I intend to buy is a 53 gr truncated 2 cavity Arsenal mold, having no grease groove. It's the only one they carry. Looks like a Sheridan 5mm airgun pellet. 25 acp molds are not that common, so the choices are few. .251 is the default size, but Arsenal will make it other sizes if requested. I expect to shoot it powder coated or lubed with LLA, cast from Lino, or heat treated WW alloy, so purchase of a sizer die will not be necessiary, saving the expense. Even if my groove diameter is larger than .251, the PC, or lube of LLA should seal it off, just using the default .251 size. Going larger, the rounds might not chamber.

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!

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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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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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Eutectic posted this 18 December 2021

I have loaded 32 ACP and 380 auto. I never tried the 25, but the following probably applies.

You need a small charge powder measure. The RCBS Little Dandy, LEE disk, or similar. While a large charge measure may be set for a tiny charge, the precision is usually poor.

Use a small grain or ball powder for best precision.

Your pistol is set up for factory level ammo. Anything heavier will damage the pistol with continued use.

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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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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.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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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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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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Little Debbie posted this 17 December 2021

The smallest pistol cartridge I’ve loaded for is the .32 ACP. It’s tiny as it is and I found that “improving” ballistics is secondary to making cast bullet reloads reliably function. Period. I have had .25 ACP pistols and they are anemic, but quality pistols (I’ve owned Beretta and Browning) are very reliable, more so than small .22 RF. So I’d concentrate on reliable functioning.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 17 December 2021

I've loaded for the little thing, but my fingers took a lot of abuse.  Steve Gash wrote an article in Shooting Times about loading for the .25 ACP.  I "think" that it was in the last five years.  Besides getting fingers injured, the most difficult part of reloading for this round is getting a load that will reliably function.

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Hornet posted this 17 December 2021

You should probably make sure that you slug the barrels first. I've seen reports that some are very oversize compared to expected dimensions. I've got one that goes 0.253 for groove diameter.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 17 December 2021

I spoke with Steve Gash at noon about his article on the .25 ACP.  He has his articles listed/indexed and is supposed to let me know what issue of Shooting Times it is in.

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GBertolet posted this 17 December 2021

Thanks, I do have many old issues of the Shooting Times, bailed up in storage. It would be great, if I still have that issue. I expect many great challenges on this endevor.

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Qc Pistolero posted this 19 December 2021

I think that your approach for getting more penetration is a good one for that caliber since :

A)you can't safely get much velocity from such a tiny case meaning that expansion is an iffy thing here

B)because of A),penetration is an(the only)asset you can get from it.

So going to an hard cast bullet is IMHO the only way to go.I guess that's what the ammo makers also figured since most of them only go the hardball way.

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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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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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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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GBertolet posted this 09 January 2022

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

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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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