Newbe question on reloading 40 S&W (Sorry it's a long post)

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by fireman091, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. fireman091

    fireman091 New Member

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    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.
     
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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.

    JD
     

  3. fireman091

    fireman091 New Member

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

    hunter Joe New Member

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    40

    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
     
  5. seedy

    seedy Member

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    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
     
  6. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    fireman091,

    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.
     
  7. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

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    Reloading for relaxation

    It not always about saving money. Hunter Joe
     
  8. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

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    Not always, but for most people it is. As in the case here, it's very much about saving money.
     
  9. fireman091

    fireman091 New Member

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    Thank you!

    I can't thank you all enough for taking time out of your day and offering a newbie some valuable advice.
    Mark,
    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.
    :)
     
  10. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    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.
     
  11. fireman091

    fireman091 New Member

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    robocop10mm
    Thank you very, very much! I can not tall you how much this helps! The details and specs you provided are very much what I was looking for. I must admit I have been seating the bullets and assumed the RCBS die had a tapper crimp which crimped at the same time. I did not know I should back off the tapper crimp (Small black adjuster at the top of the die) and add it as an additional step. I have 20 test rounds loaded with AA#7: five 8.7gr (min), five 9.0gr, five 9.4gr & five 9.7(max). Do I need to re-tapper crimp these rounds? I have “tapped it on a hard surface to see if the bullets will move in.” as Seedy Suggested. And the OVL has held @ 1.120
    I have yet to test fire any of my reloads but plan on heading to the range this weekend. I must admit I am a little nervous about pulling the trigger on the 1st reload. I plan and starting with the weakest load and working my way up for safety sake all though all of the rounds are loaded with in the min and max Speer recipe specs so in theory I should be ok?
     
  12. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Either visually examine the mouths for the taper crimp or "feel test" them for any residual flare at the mouth. Chamber check for more reliable assessment. I run everything through a case gauge. If it fits easily in the case gauge, it WILL fit in the gun. If it fails the case gauge but passes the chamber check, it becomes practice ammo.
     
  13. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    What ever you do DON'T Shoot these as they could blow up taking you hand gun and other vital body parts with them. Then after you get done kicking your buddies ass for trying to kill you. Relax with a cold beer. EDIT: I see you pulled them apart and fixed that I would still kick my buddies ass.

    Every set of pistol dies are build to crimp revolver calibers ie 44 mag 357 mag ect..... are all roll crimped. Semiauto dies are built to taper crimp. The reason for this is that revolver cartridges are rimmed and head space off the rim and auto cartridges head space off of the case mouth. You don't want too much crimp or too little crimp. But you HAVE TO CRIMP.

    Read the directions on your dies. If your dies don't have an instruction manual or pamphlet then call the manufacture they will send you one and also walk you threw the process of adjusting your dies. Pistol dies are a little harder than rifle (IE bottle neck) dies to set up.

    Even if you are not using Sierra Bullets they have one of the best reloading help lines with knowledgeable staff that are reloaders themselves.

    Feel free to pm me or hit me at cpttango30@gmaildotcom. I always am checking my email.
     
  14. LeprechaunGunLover

    LeprechaunGunLover New Member

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    I don't know alot about reloading, but my pistol coach a long time ago was teaching me a little and we were reloading .45 ACP for my Centerfire matches and I guess we didn't put enough powder in one of the rounds, or possibly not at all in that round. We didn't know it of course and the next time I went to shoot, that round got loaded and during my sustained relay, the weapon misfired. I quickly noticed that the slide hadn't moved completely forward. Assuming it was just dirty, (as I had shot at least 500 rounds through it that night already) I shoved the slide forward and continued to fire. My next two shots didn't hit the paper at all, and again, the weapon misfired. I looked at it and realized the slide was stuck with a casing protruding from the ejection port. I dropped the mag and attempted to clear the gun, put I couldn't pull the slide at all. I couldn't getting the protruding casing out, and even with a screwdriver, I couldn't pry the slide back at all. I had never seen that happen before.
    My coach took the gun to a gunsmith that he was good friends with and upon dismantling it, we found the problem. There were three rounds jammed into the barrel, the barrel had expanded preventing the slide from moving at all. ( I still have the barrel). This is a reminder to me of making sure if I ever get into reloads seriously that I pay VERY close attention to each round I load, and to all specified guidelines. It was a very expensive lesson learned. lol
     
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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  16. David1

    David1 New Member

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    40 sw

    Hi to everyone Dave from PA.
    I read alot of info on forums and join alot of them, as all of you probably.
    I am a reloader myself and I cant believe the different things different books say.
    I use the Lyman 48th. I load the 40 and Ive recently loaded some . In my book the trim to length list .845.... the max case lenth list .850. now some of my once shot brass is like .841 / .844 and even 1 or 2 .839 . now i did not trim these when i got them . they were fact. loaded. so im using a hornady xtp 180 hp with unique. book says mim is 4.9 max grains is 5.6 .. I loaded some at 5.0/5.3/5.5 i aldready shot some 5.0's they were great! one jam though, no biggie it shot the next time.
    Now i have that fact. brass thats like i said about 3 thousands difference in some of the cases. My book says the 180 hp should be seated to 1.115 . So i should regularly load the 180's and just seat at 1.115 even though a few cases are a lil different.
    Also i dont taper crimp my 40 I have the M&P 40.. I expand the case mouth slightly and seat bullets and check EVERY BULLET/LENGTH.
    I Cant stress enough how important it is to check your work even if its every 4 loaded rounds/// check em its worth it..

    so i will be fireing some weds hopefuly. ill get back to everyone hey thanks for reading!
    DAVE
     
  17. lal357

    lal357 New Member

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    another thing to remember is with 9mm,40,and others they take such a small powder cgarge that you can double charge one if you dont pay attention i loaded up some 180gr winchester hp's with 4.5 gr of titegroup 4.7 max so i weight/check every round . but then i trickle every round i load that way i know it is exact as for the crimp i got the 4th factory crimp die .so i seat in one step and crimp in another becuase as stated above you can continue to seat while crimping resulting in a crinkled round .
     
  18. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 New Member

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    S&W 40+ All Semi-auto handloads

    +1 on RoBo+Tango info. I like them load more than several handgun loads. I use mostly Dillon dies+some RCBS. What I do on the last steps of Pistol (semi-auto) rounds is to seat bullet to specs. with no crimp. Then run all through a Lee Factory Crimp Die. This neat die will apply the proper taper crimp, and also re-size the base of the LOADED round. The Lee FCD has a carbide ring at it's base that will insure that the loaded round will chamber. As stated by others check all loaded rounds with case guage or field strip your weapon, and use your barrel. Midway and Dillon sells case guages, and a lot easier than taking apart your weapon each time you load. I re-load a lot of "range brass", and find that some (esp. fired in Glocks-un-supported chambers) brass will not re-size the bases properly with the standard sizer dies. The Lee FCD solves this condition. The Lee Factory Crimp Die is available by itself in most cals. Hay load for FUN-AND to save$$$$$$$$$$:D
     
  19. bobkreeger

    bobkreeger New Member

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    bobkreeger

    If you are going to use Accurate Powder go their web site and download their reloading manual, it's free. I load 150 & 155 grain HP's in .40 S&W. Data shows best one stop hits with 135 & 155 gr bullets.
     
  20. noylj

    noylj Member

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    1) Don't blindly follow your friends, unless they are certified to teach reloading.
    2) Don't blindly follow on-line "experts," including me
    3) The following is my experience over 35+ years, and I am not an expert.
    In handguns, you can start below the suggested starting load just fine. In fact, compare various manuals and note the starting loads.
    The starting loads for auto pistols are sort of the minimum that will reliably cycle guns in good condition.
    Likewise, the COL in a reloading manual is the minimum recommended COL for those charges. If you have to go shorter in COL, you have to cut the starting load by an additional 10% and work up.
    The main safety issue would be sticking a bullet in the barrel and then firing another round. This is easily achieved with a revolver, but not as likely since a load that weak would not cycle the slide of an auto. However, there are a lot of idiots out there that do a lot of crazy things.
    Even a charge as low as 1.5gn of True Blue in .38 Special has been sufficient to be on target (6" low) at 25 yards. Very easy shooting round.
    Large rifle cases with small charges of slow powders can cause a problem. There have been cases where the powder has fused together and a "glob" has ended up as a barrel obstruction. For these loads, you go to a handgun powder. The lower the velocity, the faster the powder.
    It is amazing that what were generally known reloading procedures in the '40s and '50s seem to be new discoveries today.
    Does anyone know if any lab has EVER been able to duplicate the supposed "detonations caused by opposing wave fronts" as hypothesized by some, without having to resort to over charges?