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Old 02-16-2010, 09:14 AM
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Default Reloading the .40 S&W

I am about to add the .40 S&W to my reloading inventory. I don't see a lot of posts on this forum on the .40, and at the local range the amount of .40 brass on the ground in relation to all other calibers leads me to one of two conclusions: (a). not many folks reload .40, or (b). .40 is so popular that the reloaders pick up all they want and there is still a ton of it left.

Anyway, I am planning to use 175 gr. cast bullets. I'll probably use either Clays or Universal for powder. For lighter loads Clays will no doubt get the nod. It works great in .45 and I have a ton of it on hand.

I have ordered the Lee deluxe die set with the factory crimp die, and also a Lee six cavity mold for the bullets. As soon as Dillon gets to work this morning, I'll order a caliber conversion for my 550. I looked at my Lyman manual to see if there were any comments out of the ordinary concerning the .40 and didn't se any. Is there anything I need to look out for regarding the .40 that differs from .45 ACP or 9mm?
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:22 AM
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For "range trash brass" that I pick up after a match, .40 S&W brass has the most problems with swolen heads and "Glocked" cases. You can use a push-through resizer, or just put the rejects in the scrap brass bucket, but inspect the cases carefully.

Depending on the individual pistol, I find light loads in .40 S&W can cause cycling problems with stock recoil springs.

For USPSA major power, I have chosen to use FMJ 180gr with Titegroup for max reliability and accuracy. The plated or lead work well for me for minor power .40 (usually requires lighter recoil spring).
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:55 AM
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It depends on what gun you are shooting, for Glocks stick to the minimum load or starting grains. You don't want to blow up that plastic gun. I use 155gr with Unique and it seems to work good in any gun I have including the Glock. I have never had a cycling issue with any of my reloads.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:55 AM
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Good point about the "Glocked" brass. I hadn't thought about that. At least I have plenty of available brass to choose from.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:28 PM
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There is a huge amount of 40 range brass available, you find a lot of LE using 40 that don't reload. I use 170-175gr LSWC with Universal, 4.8grs will make major in my guns. I've never had good results with faster powders like Clays or Red Dot in the 40, always went with Universal or Unique. The 40 is a high pressure cartridge, twice the pressure of 45s' so loading doesn't work the same with most powders.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:59 PM
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175 FP 3.0 TITEGROUP 675
175 FP 3.2 TITEGROUP 755 1.135
175 FP 3.4 TITEGROUP 775 1.135
175 FP 3.6 TITEGROUP 800 1.135
175 FP 3.8 TITEGROUP 838 1.135
175 FP 4.0 TITEGROUP 886 1.135
175 FP 4.2 TITEGROUP 955 1.135
175 FP 4.5 TITEGROUP 965 1.135

These are some of the loads I use in my full size M&P they all cycle.

I always try to pick up only my brass.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:28 PM
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I am loading .40 S&W for IDPA.

180 Gr Bullet cast from a Magma mold and WW
2.9 Grains of Clays
WSP primer
Range Brass.

PF 135 ( 750 FPSX 180 Gr Bullet = 135
out of My glock 35 with an after market Storm Lake barrel. I m using stock springs

I run all my range pick up brass throught a EWG "U" die before I dump them in my 650.

Besides removing any bulges I can inspect each case to insure there are no 9MM brass, Rocks Etc hiding in the cases that would hang up the Dillon 650.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:19 AM
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Two things that are NOT going to go together in any of my handguns again are Clays and the 40S&W!

One KB is enough and I'm not the only one to experience one with that combination. Unsupported chambers NEED a slower powder. One that gives less pressure. For me and my Glock 22 that means SR4756. Longshot has some better data in that regard but I haven't experimented with it much yet.

Universal may work, it is in the right burn rate area for me, just never did anything with it.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:24 AM
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Good morning
I have several brands 40 S&W. I use a 180 gr Truncated nose (LEE pure WW) in all of them. I use primarily Acc#5 and will do so until I run out. I have used Unique and it worked just fine.
I like the 180 simply because that is what I will use for everything. I personally think I am better off using for practice, hunting, competition... that same load alsways. Confidence is a HUGE factor in all moments of handgunning.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:33 AM
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I have used Glocked 40 S&W brass for light reloads in my S&W 646, STI Trojan, CZ-40B and PO16-40. I use either WST or American Select with 155 to 180 gr. plated or jacketed bullets for about 725 to 750 fps - my semi autos required lighter recoil springs to function reliably. At one time I did use cast elad bullets in those same guns at the same velocities. I reload the 40S&W brass 4 times before tossing it into the scrap heap. I use a normal Lee carbide die set and Dillon 550 for my 40 S&W reloading.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:49 AM
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I use HP-38 and 170gr lead SWCs for reloading .40, I load a pretty middle of the road load with it and get good results cycles the slide on my M&P .40 fine but I have yet to find anything that wouldn't cycle it. My uncle uses the exact same load in his Sig and also has no trouble out of it.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:00 AM
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As obliquely mentioned, buy and use a trim/resize die on all .40 s&w range brass. I wouldn't waste time actually trimming the .40 but the resize is an absolute necessity IMHO. ....... Big Cholla
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:00 PM
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I don't have a .40 S&W, but my buddy shoots an M&P in the caliber. The only thing he reloads is 165gr jacketed bullets (currently Montana Gold) over a starting load of Hodgdon Universal (from the Speer #14 manual). In his words, "If it's perfect, why mess around?"
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:05 PM
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Thumbs down Don't use Clays

I have been handloading the .40 S&W since shortly after it was originated. Clays is way TOO FAST a powder for the .40. Many years ago Todd Jarrett gave me some of his competition ammo to try out. It was loaded with Clays powder and bulged the new Winchester cases even though the load didn't make major power factor. Just think what may happen with used brass. Try TiteGroup instead.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:34 PM
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Keep in mind, the .40 runs at much higher pressures than .45 ACP. As others have mentioned, powder as fast as Clays is not the best. When I shot a .40 as my Limited Class USPSA gun, I experimented with several powders, loading both 220 gr. cast bullets and 180 gr. FMJs. AA #5 worked well, and even Unique wasn't bad, but I like Viht N-340 best of the three.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:50 PM
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I guess I'll probably start with Universal. I have never been able to warm up to tightgroup and cast bullets. Seems like it burns too hot.
Despite the difficulties of others, I will probably try some Clays also. Bear in mind I'm going to be loading relatively low pressure plinking ammo and only looking for enough velocity to reliably cycle the action. No power factors to meet.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:10 PM
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Talking Hodgdon Titegroup

All my 40 S&W brass is range pickup. No problems because I use a Lee Carbide crimp die in my Dillon 450 (updated). Read an article a year ago that Clays was too fast and Titegroup did everything just right. Hodgdon web site gives excellent data.

Happy shooting.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:19 PM
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Epj, you might be okay with Clays if you stay with really wimpy loads. I have friends who load Viht N-310 in their .40s, behind 155gr. bullets, for use in IDPA matches where they know they won't get chronoed. (Yes, I sometimes run with a shady crowd.) N-310 is a few notches faster than Clays. I've shot some of them, and it's about like shooting a .22 WMR.

Be careful, though. One of the reasons so many .40s have kaboomed over the years has been reloads that had insufficient neck tension or crimp, allowing the bullet to get pushed back in the case deeply enough to dramatically increase pressures. Case capacity in .40 S&W is not a lot, anyway, and it doesn't take a whole lot of reduction to spike pressures.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:01 PM
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I've been loading 40 S&W since it first came out in 1990. Man, brass was hard to find the first few years! 10 mm was everywhere. How times have changed.

I experimented with a lot of powders but settled on WSF long ago. I haven't had any problems with that powder and some of my brass is still in use from that time frame. However, I don't shoot Glocks, only HK and S&W. WSF gives a good loading density advantage, but a solid neck crimp is still needed to prevent bullet setback.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:36 PM
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Fill mine with power pistol. Also use it for 10.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wings442 View Post
It depends on what gun you are shooting, for Glocks stick to the minimum load or starting grains. You don't want to blow up that plastic gun. I use 155gr with Unique and it seems to work good in any gun I have including the Glock. I have never had a cycling issue with any of my reloads.
Spoken like someone who knows little, or nothing, about Glocks.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:37 PM
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I've always heard it's a Kaboom around the corner loading 180 gr bullets in .40 S&W. With the high pressure the .40 S&W operates at any setback or decrease in OAL can cause a severe pressure increase and apparently the 180 gr bullets cause more problems. Thus, only load 155 gr bullets and feel that's more than I need. I save the 180 and 200 gr bullets for 10mm.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
I've always heard it's a Kaboom around the corner loading 180 gr bullets in .40 S&W.
Never heard that one before--source???
Most action pistol competitors use 180gr bullets and HP38/231 or Titegroup, according to published statistics from USPSA/IDPA.
The .40S&W cartridge dominates in Limited and Limited 10 USPSA competition, with rarely any problem with ammo.

Now 9mm Major in Open, THERE's a kaboom waiting to happen.
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:40 AM
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Default sr4756

I followed Skip's advice and developed some nice loads for my steyr m40a1 using SR4756
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Old 02-23-2010, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnewc75 View Post
I followed Skip's advice and developed some nice loads for my steyr m40a1 using SR4756
I had a KB in a Browning High Power with 180gr LTC bullets. The weight of the bullet had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was an overcharge of powder that caused it. It was a book load too and not one from an older manual!

I had a thread about this a while back where I tried to explain how to load for a firearm with an unsupported chamber.

I can tell you this too, nothing less than a 180gr bullet is going to find it's way into any of my 40S&Ws. Knowing the equipment and how to load for it is paramount. Oh, by the way, I load for a Glock 22.

Check the Hodgdon data site. Look at the lighter bullets then the heavier ones. The loads have pressure data too. Don't the lighter bullets show 32,000CUP/PSI as well as the heavier ones?

I want lower pressure with more velocity. See any powders that consistently give those kinds of results?

Yeah, SR4756.

Running away from a certain weight bullet or caliber because there are idiosyncrasies with it is pretty "sissyfied" in my opinion. One of the things that makes us different that animals is we are able to reason. A God given attribute, let's use it!
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:27 AM
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Well, I just loaded 50 rounds of 180 gr. FMJ over 5.0 grains of Universal. The Lyman manual listed loads from 4.8 to 5.5. Hodgdon lists from 5.0 to 5.8 on their website. The 5 grains of Universal fills up the case to the point that while a double charge is possible, you'd have to insert a bullet with your eyes shut. 2X 5.8 would likely overflow the case.
I am using a Lee FCD to crimp the bullets and doubt there will be a setback problem. However, it's certainly something to keep an eye out for during load development.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:13 PM
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I've had good luck running Clays under 180 grain cast bullets. Makes good groups and has a moderate recoil pulse. For minor loads it's perfectly safe. It's easy to double charge a case with it but being fully conscious of what you are doing while reloading should eliminate this. If you're looking to make major loads there are better powder choices.

Clays is awesome as a target powder with 158 grain bullets in 38 Special.

Can you say "Clean"? It is incredibly clean burning powder

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Old 02-27-2010, 10:00 AM
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I use range brass exclusively, 99% of it Glock fired. I only use 180 grain JHP or FMJ's and have over 9,000 rounds of trouble free ammo using Titegroup, and another 1,200 with Power Pistol all loaded on my Dillon 550.

Loading .40 S&W is not any harder or any more dangerous as long as you don't try to make major with it. If you want a 10mm get a 10mm, but don't load your 40's hot.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:22 PM
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My favorite powder for heavy (180 gr) bullets in the 40 and 10mm is Longshot. Max load form manual will crono at around 1050 FPS from my High Power 40 with a 180 gr. Rainier plated flatpoint. Out of the CX4 Storm carbine it ran 1350. Same load shoots very well out of my 610 revolver. I've switched to Longshot for 40, 10 and 45 acp as long as heavy for caliber bullets are used.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlen View Post
I've always heard it's a Kaboom around the corner loading 180 gr bullets in .40 S&W. With the high pressure the .40 S&W operates at any setback or decrease in OAL can cause a severe pressure increase and apparently the 180 gr bullets cause more problems.
How does this make sense? If you're using the same powder for 180 gr. and 155 gr. loads, don't you use more with the lighter bullet to reach the same velocity? Why wouldn't the lighter bullets have the same setback issues?
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:21 PM
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I loaded 150 rounds this weekend using Unique and 180gr Laser-Cast bullets.

I shot them all Sunday. No Kabooms, nice group, not overly rough recoil. No bulging of the cases, ejected from the cylinder very well.

Hard to fathom that a kaboom is around the corner.

BTW, it was a 610.

The 10mm in 180gr with 6.0gr of Unique was a load to remember!
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:23 PM
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Default How fast should they go?

I loaded up a ladder of charges using Power Pistol and 180 gr lead truncated cone bullets. I previously did this with Federal Primers and seated to 1.125"
The 5.8 gr averaged 937, and the best SD was with the 6.4 gr load, which ran at 1015 fps and had a SD of 6.9 This was in the middle of January, however, so I was concerned what these loads would run like during the summer.

I then recently made up a new batch using CCI primers, and seated out a bit further (with no functioning problems in my 4006TSW) I got the following results:

CCI Primer, 6.3 gr Power Pistol, Avg 982 SD 6.8 (and this was in 80s-90s)

Does this load seem too hot? I'd like something which approximates factory without stressing out my gun/brass. The Wolf regular steel case 180 gr fmj was running 877 fps, and Aquila 180 FMJ 1030 fps
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:17 PM
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If you are using the 4006 you should be seeing slightly lower velocities from the factory 180gr ammo, something like 880-940fps range. If you got the 1030 out of the Aquila 180 it was a hot batch for sure. Watch loading longer as the main problem is feeding inside the mag tube, I usually see binding with flat nose bullets around 1.135". You might also see chambering problems with lead jamming against the rifling too soon loaded long. I only load 40 to make major power factor which is 920fps with a 180gr, I wouldn't push it much past 950 out of a 4" gun myself.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:00 PM
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I loaded a batch of 180's with 3.6 gr. of Clays and took them to the range today. They shot very nicely and ran at an average of 874fps with a very tight spread. My chrono doesn't record all the extraneous data, but it seems like the extream spread was less than 20. I'll likely load a lot more of those.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:54 PM
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Yes, the Aquila is way too hot. It didn't shoot well, and the brass gets ruined after firing. The rims get ruined, since they won't fit into my Hornady shell holder. The do fit into the shellplate on my LNL progressive, but they will not go into a wilson case gauge after being resized. So there is something bad about the ammo. I have not had problems resizing other brass shot through the gun (no glock guppy bulges or anything like that). So yes, the Aquila is junk.

Actually the Wolf shoots nicely, with a better SD.

According to the Lyman manual, all their velocities are out of a 4" tube, which is the same length as the 4006, right?
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faulkner View Post
Loading .40 S&W is not any harder or any more dangerous as long as you don't try to make major with it. If you want a 10mm get a 10mm, but don't load your 40's hot.
I don't quite understand this comment. Only 920 fps with a 180 grain bullet will make Major (PF 165). I recently chronographed a Winchester factory load with the 180 grain BHP bullet that did 1050 fps out of a Glock 22. If the factory does that safely, I'm sure a handloader could get over 100 fps less than that safely.

A .40 can easily make Major. Even a 165 grain bullet only needs 1000 fps. Hodgdon lists loads with every bullet that makes Major.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:23 PM
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I segregate brass. Pin fired brass goes right to the Dillon, gets full length sized and loaded. Striker fired brass goes through the Magma Case Master (push through sizer) first.

I use 5.0 gr Red Dot and a 175 gr Truncated cone cast bullet I make in a Lyman 4 cavity mold. Blend is 6 parts wheel weights to 1 part Linotype.
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