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fireman091 12-27-2008 05:18 PM

Newbe question on reloading 40 S&W (Sorry it's a long post)
1st off I would like to say hello to everyone and there seems to be a great deal of knowledge in the members here and the willingness to share it. That is great to see. I have been reading countless threads on reloading and learning tons and I thank all that have contributed.
So here is a little background on me. I am an avid hunter big game, small game and upland & wetland birds and have always shot factory loads. Do to the sky rocket in ammo prices and the uncertainty in the future with the newly elected president I have decided to get into reloading.
I have been shooting quite a bit more paper these days with both pistols and rifles and it just makes sense to save money and have a more accurate round. A friend of mine has been reloading for a few years and has given me some great direction and helped me set up my bench with a recently purchased RCBS reloading kit/package. I plan on 1st starting with reloading for my XD40 & XD40M. As suggested from this site as well as my friend I have gone out and bought a few books on reloading: Lyman Pistol & revolver Handbook 3rd Edition, One Book/One Caliber The complete reloading manual for the 10mm .40 S&W. I also have the Speer reloading book that was included in the reloading kit. I have a couple question I that seem to be conflicting information from my buddy to what manuals are stating.
My friend was with me when I purchased the material needed to start building rounds. He is what he suggested and I purchased: Speer brass ”I trimmed to .840”, CCI 500SP primers, Speer 180GR Gold Dot HP. I also bought a 500 count bulk bag of 180gr plated bullets I picked up at the last gun show but have not attempted to load with them yet. I have AA#5 for power. I would love any other suggestions on different combos / products

1. It was suggested to me to load 5 rounds at a time with varying powder amounts. The 1st five he helped me load were below the Sugg starting grains of 8.7gr, He loaded 8.0gr. From what I have read in a couple of my manuals it is dangerous to load below the min charge? I do not want to get hurt or damage my firearm so
I since dismantled these rounds to add additional powder up to the minimal 8.7gr.

2. Is there any risk of case failure / problems loading to the max call out 9.7gr?

3. My buddy informed me not to “taper crimp” crimp my rounds? He said it would cause an unsafe build up in pressure, however my manuals recommends a medium Taper crimp? I am not sure how to proceed but tend to lean a little more to what the manual states.

4. How the heck do I tamper crimp?

Thanks you in advance for any help or suggestions you can give to point me in the right direction.

I would like to once again apologies for the long post but thank you for your time reading it.

Dillinger 12-27-2008 05:25 PM

Welcome to the Forum - This is not my area of expertise, so I am going to defer to the much more knowledgeable members here.

*Paging RoboCop / cpttango / Mark F / 1hole / stalkingbear / etc*

I think you will fnd the members here very willing to help you out with this, and any other, subject.

Thanks for joining up and I look forward to your participation.


fireman091 12-27-2008 06:46 PM

Thank you for such a warm greeting and sending out the "all call" :)

hunter Joe 12-28-2008 04:21 PM

Stay within the manual's suggested load data and you should not have a problem. I use Hogdens Clays in my trap loads and some of my pistol loads. For a .40 S/W using Clays the min. load is 3.1grs and the max. is 3.5grs. My model 22 cycles 3.3grs loads just fine without a bunch of recoil. I must admit though, I'm not looking for 100 yd., quarter size group with my Glock. HJ

seedy 12-29-2008 01:43 AM

hi i would suggest using your plated bullets first as practice. First i have loaded lots of 40 s&w and have never trimmed a case. when making practice rounds i often use once fired brass that is cheap and easily availible from sellers online. with the 40 i start a gr. above the min suggested listed in the manual. be sure you bell the cases well because plated bullets will shave off the copper pretty easily. there are only two crimps that i have dealt with taper and roll over. the former for most all pistol cartridges and the latter for revolver with bullets that have a crimping groove in them. some seating dies for pistol calibers taper crimp when you seat them , i don't know if this is a feature of rcbs dies. crimping generally has little effect on pressure, things such as OAL and proper charge weights do. when i load the first cartridge i'll take it and tap it on a hard surface to see if the bullets will move in. if you can't push in in it should be just fine. a medium taper crimp is subjective. you can buy a separate taper crimp die if needed. remember that the minimum charge is needed to ensure proper ejection of spent cases, so don;t go below that charge weight. a good scale and micrometer are some of the best investments you can make. good luck. CD

Mark F 12-29-2008 01:03 PM


Here are some FACTS on reloading 40 S&W cartridges, and my opinion.

I don't reload anything smaller than 45 ACP in autoloader cartridges and nothing smaller than .357 Magnum in revolver cartridges. The reason is, reloading good quality ammo in certain calibers is not cost effective yet. For example, 9mm & 40 S&W ammo is so cheap (by comparison) you are investing a lot of time and money and getting little or no return on your investment.

Eventually, these two calibers will be worthy of reloading. but right now you can buy FACTORY LOADS such as Winchester 40 S&W ammo for a low as 12.99 for a box of 50 (or about .25 a round). This is also true for 9mm, which is available for about 9.5 cents a round. It isn't worth the hassle in my opinion...

So therefore, I DO keep all my BRASS for 9mm & 40 S&W. I clean them, de-cap them, and size them. But until the cost of factory loads goes through the roof, I'll keep shooting factory ammo & saving the brass.

hunter Joe 12-29-2008 03:58 PM

Reloading for relaxation
It not always about saving money. Hunter Joe

Mark F 12-30-2008 02:47 AM


Originally Posted by hunter Joe (Post 58060)
It not always about saving money. Hunter Joe

Not always, but for most people it is. As in the case here, it's very much about saving money.

fireman091 12-30-2008 12:40 PM

Thank you!
I can't thank you all enough for taking time out of your day and offering a newbie some valuable advice.
I admit as 1st my main reason for getting into reloading was to save money on the multiple calibers I plan on reloading: (40 S&W, 40 LC, .223, 7.62x39, .308 & 30.06). After reading varies manuals to gain the basic understanding on reloading & reading tons of threads on-line I have just started reloading with the assistance of a buddy. While resizing my brass 40 cal brass to the suggested length (.840) I can not believe the variances in the factory brass lengths some below .840 which I just threw out. I can not imagine the variances in the powder charges? I can very much see the benefits of hand loading. Who wouldn’t want to get more accuracy out of there rounds? Granite I am not shooting competition with the 40 S&W. I mainly shoot paper with buddies, some who are officers which sparks a health competition. :-P Anything that can give me an edge sure couldn’t hurt.  (I also carry my 40 for self defense).
I have started loading the 40 S&W over the other calipers to be honest because I thought a “straight cartage” would be the easiest round to reload / get my feet wet. I bought bulk 40 ammo not as much for the cost saving now as to what could happen to the prices in the very near future. So in short I guess I am looking for the best of both worlds, save money and gain more accuracy especially when I start reloading the larger caliber rifles for hunting.
Thanks again for all of your help.

robocop10mm 12-30-2008 02:32 PM

Hmmmm, where to begin? I reload .40 S&W as well as 10 other pistol calibers. I shoot IPSC and shoot reloads for both practice and competition. The .40 is not a difficult round to load. I do not trim my cases. I chamfer the mouths to ease in bullet seating (light chamfer for auto pistol rounds). I clean the primer pockets before each loading. I use CCI small pistol standard primers. For the best accuracy, load near max oal (overall length) 1.135" is max, 1.125 works well. This gives a minimal jump to the rifling and allows the bullet to start rotation before velocity and pressures get too high.

I use W-231, not because it is the "best" powder, but because it works well in a wide variety of calibers so I do not have to stock 10 different powders. My standard load is 4.5 grains with a 175gr cast truncated cone bullet or 180gr jacketed bullet. It may not be the most accurate loading but keeps me easily in "B" class. I never drop a point because of the ammo.

Plated bullets should be fine for the XD platform, but hard cast will do just as well for less money.

Taper crimping? Absolutely DO taper crimp any and all rimless pistol cartridges. The die set will either have a separate taper crimp die or the seating die will have a taper crimp function built in. DO NOT seat and taper crimp in one operation. You can ruin the bullet's integrity by starting the tapercrimp before the bullet is fully seated. If you have a "seat/taper crimp" die, simply screw in the seating stem far enough to prevent the crimp function from engaging (use the lock ring to adjust the depth). After the batch of ammo is seated, unscrew the seating stem all the way and adjust the locking ring to allow a slight taper crimp.

The judge the amount of taper crimp run the ram up to its highest position and screw the crimp die down til you feel contact with the round. lower the ram slightly and screw in the die about 1/8 turn and run the ram up again. remove the round and visually inspect the mouth (a magnifying glass or head set is handy). You should see the belled area gradually disapear as you repeat this process. When the mouth of the case returns to perfectly parallel, you are close. You want the mouth to be "slightly" crimped. You will see (under magnification) about 1/16th of an inch of the case effected by the crimp.
Once you get this "slight" crimp, check the dimensions of the round with a cartridge gauge. If you do not have a gauge, field strip the intended weapon(s) and remove the barrel(s). Drop the loaded round into the chamber of the barrel(s). It should fall freely into and out of the chamber w/o any assistance. The base of the case should sit even with or VERY slightly (1/16") below the barrel hood (the small projection at the top rear of the barrel.

Then the proof is in the pudding. Loading 5 test rounds each in various increments of powder and shooting them slowly and deliberately (off a rest if possible) to determine the load you want to use. Be sure you know which rounds are which when you go to the range. I use a red magic marker on the bases in various patterns to differentiate the test loads and a "key" on a piece of paper to decipher the meaning of the marks. For an example, I use unmarked base for starting loads and subsequent increments marked with a red line, a red X, a red circle, a red primer and a completely red base. If you wanted to test further loads you could use a black marker with similar patterns for increasing powder charges or another powder entirely.

The load you end up choosing may be the most accurate, have the least recoil, come close to duplicating the carry load or any combination of attributes you choose.

Using under the starting load is NOT a good idea. I won't get into why here but trust me the data published should be trusted.

Max loads will cause more wear and tear to the gun, use up more powder than necessary, unduely stress the brass shortening the lifespan of the brass cases and give you more recoil than you need for practice.

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