New .380 Purchase

At the Boggyhead shoot last month, I was looking at everybody's .380's in mouse gun style. Well, at the Ladson gun show last weekend, I finally decided on what I wanted. My trigger finger fits easily into the trigger guard. Got one of the Taurus 738's. Haven't taken it out yet but will one day this week. I have a bunch of reloaded stuff from back in '96 to try through it.

It was amazing that the dealer I purchased from was a good $50 cheaper on the same gun from the highest price at the show with the others in between. One guy's price would have been close if not better in that he was offering a free box of ammo with his sale. I have plenty of reloads, so I wasn't interested in that. It makes me wonder what some of those higher priced dealers were thinking. I'm sure they didn't sell one 738 until my dealer sold out all of his.

My dealer was straighting up things and had a stack of filled-out purchase documents at least one and a half inches high from opening time till about 12:00 on Saturday. His paperwork/sales table had 3 chairs and there was a line waiting on a chair. That was a lot of gun sales!
The dealer was Doc's Gun Exchange of Florence.

No plastic box, just a white paper one.

The gun is TCP 738 SS (stainless slide and barrel). It came with two 6 rd mags, two keys (which in all likelyhood will never get used), manual, and a cordura belt style cellphone type holster with a 2 snap flap. The manual says that the holster allows for easy one handed access. Looking at the pictures, it probably is quick to access with one hand.

Got relatives visiting this week with 2 verrrry inquisitive and active early teens that makes me feel I should keep the pistol in the safe when they are around so I can't practice with the holster or even bring out the gun. My kids at this age and even younger were range rats that shot better than I could and really followed the safety rules. My kids, these are not.

I will follow up within the week with a range report.
I went to Twin Ponds today and for the most part was by myself.

First, I policed the area and cleaned up all the brass pistol cases to assure what I gathered later would be my own.

I shot 50 rnds using a two hand stance of reloaded 95 gr plated over 4.9 gr of AA-5. All hit a 12 x 12 target. All fired and all ejected. A high percentage of the ejected cases seemed to go nearly straight up and landed on me or the table. I have no problem with that. There was no indication of any over pressure. This brass was range brass where I have no clue to how many times they had been fired before.

I shot another 25 rnds of my first ever reloaded ammunition where I used left over Unique with 95 gr FMJ. The Unique was from a relative who reloaded shotgun. I didn't record any load data, unfortunately. All fired and ejected. There were no signs of overpressure but one case was found to be split. There seemed to be a tad more recoil. Everything hit the target. The ejection trajectory was about the same. This was using new unfired brass (seeing that the head stamp was the same as about a dozen or so that I found sitting around in my reloading cabinet).

I shot another 30 rnds of 95 gr plated over 5.1 gr of AA-5. About 60% of the cases split and there was some slight cratering of the primers and some flattening of the primers, though slight and not near as bad as I have seen on some over pressured .45 or .40s that I have picked up at the various ranges. All fired and all ejected and all hit the target. The recoil didn't appear any different from the 4.9 gr loading. This loading wasn't ejecting well in new Keltec 380, the Bersa 380, or my old Husqvarna full size Browning short all shot last fall. More of these cases ejected to the right. This brass was range brass where I have no clue to how many times they had been fired before.

Then I finished up with 20 rnds of Aguila Punta 380 Auto - 90 Grain JHP that I bought on the way to the range where I could try out some factory loads. All fired and all ejected and all hit the target. The ejection trajectory was up and to the left.

For where the cases were ejecting, other than the ones that were landing on me or the table, the direction was just where I was picking them up from on the ground.

I still don't really understand the hot loads though. The Accurate Powders table says for 95 gr FMJ - 4.9 gr starting and 5.3 gr max. I typically use Accurate's loading tables for most all my other calibers. However checking tonight I see Nosler's table for a 90 gr hollow point to be 3.5 gr. min - 4.5 gr max. and with todays experience, it is obvious that 5.1 gr AA-5 is not too good. And I have another couple hundred rounds of the 5.1 loadings. I'll probably pull a few bullets and remeasure the powder some slow day. If they are truly 5.1 gr, I guess they will be stowed away for that end-of-days use.

I was very happy with the accuracy but will have to make another trip to really test out the true accuracy when I can hopefully not have another brain fart and leave all the targets home. Thank goodness everybody doesn't clean up after themselves where us oldies can find something to shoot at.

I'm very pleased with my new Taurus TCP-738 so far.


Well-Known Member
Glad you had a good day.
Occasionally forgetting stuff goes with the territory, I have "senior moments" myself.
I forget what I last forgot :lol:
What brand were the plated bullets you were shooting?
This was back in 94 or 95. They were Rainier. Probably purchased from Midway.

Ever since, though, I've bought from Berry's. My last order was maybe 6-7 years ago for around 6000-8000 of 9mm, .45, and .40. They are definitely cheaper in bulk and I have no problem with them loading or shooting. I have no real preference of one manufacturer over the other. I just go after the cheapest to my doorstep at the time. I shoot some lead in .45 but the plated are a lot cleaner to load as well as clean up after. I've even cast my own .45s and have all the equipment to melt, mold, size and lube. I may do it again some day when time is more available. Wheel weights are free along the side of the road and I'm always looking.