Powder Choice for .40S&W


April 24, 2007, 10:44 AM
What Powder do YOU use in .40S&W?
Why did you choose that powder?

I have like 200 rounds of Bullseye left and I might consider another (slower) powder. But as one person said before "if it ain't Broke,dont fix it"...I'm just looking to see what others use,.....and Don't use.:)

Thanks in Advance,

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April 24, 2007, 10:54 AM
AA# 5, Universal Clays, WSF. I am not a big fan of Bullseye, but it is very versatile and they sell it by the ton. :)

April 24, 2007, 11:30 AM
In addition to those listed below, I also have done accuracy/chronograph tests with Titegroup, Longshot, 700x, 800x, AA7, Red Dot, Unique.

For a powder suited well for all bullet weights, Hodgdon Universal.

For 150-180 gr bullets, Power Pistol, AA5, Vihtavuori N320, WW231, WSF

My preference for a 200 gr XTP is Vihtavuori N105 powder, with a velocity over 1100 fps (not a max load).

April 24, 2007, 11:38 AM
I use both universal clays and bullseye....bullseye is a little cheaper, but universal burns a little cleaner....either one will work fine. Use whatever you have/like.

Redneck with a 40
April 24, 2007, 03:13 PM
I've been loading my 40 with Unique, 165 grain, 155 grain, 180 grain, lead and plated. Unique has worked great will all of these loads. I like it because its in the ideal burn rate zone of 58-62% and it fills the case so a double charge is highly unlikely. Also, I bought an 8lb keg of Unique at Sportsmans Warehouse on sale for $85.:D

April 24, 2007, 03:23 PM

I hear you and all your point about Unique are dead on, but at reduced loads that is some dirty crap. I have use Unique and still do but I am looking for a cleaner powder so I am thinking about switching to Power Pistol since I hear it is cleaner. However, I still have 2 lbs of Unique and I may waffle before that is used up.

April 24, 2007, 04:10 PM
The Bullseye still seems very clean at 3.7gr. with a 180 bullet..might wanna try that for a reduced load..

April 24, 2007, 04:14 PM
I have use Unique and still do but I am looking for a cleaner powder

I believe Universal Clays is your answer.

Bulky like Unique. Light colored so it is easy to see in the case. "Universal" in it's use. Burns clean and only gets even cleaner as the pressures go up. Accurate in many apps. try it, you'll like it. :)

April 24, 2007, 04:16 PM

I wondered about that one how clean is it on light loads and for 9mm is it cleaner then Unique?

Redneck with a 40
April 24, 2007, 06:35 PM
I will admit that on my 180 grain lead loads with 5.1 grains of Unique, its on the dirty side. This is a minimum charge for this bullet. However, on my 160 grain plated TMJ's with 7 grains of Unique, its very clean. You are right, light loads with low charges = dirty. Hot loads with higher pressures = clean.:D

April 24, 2007, 08:18 PM
I wondered about that one how clean is it on light loads and for 9mm is it cleaner then Unique?

Universal Clays was much cleaner for me in the same apps as Unique was. I much prefer Universal, but Unique is a good powder and many like it. :)

I prefer WSF or AA# 5 in the 9MM. I would go with WST or WSF for light loads in the 9MM. Universal Clays works well in the 9MM, but really shines in the .40 in my opinion. I bought a 4 lb. jug to load .40 with.

April 24, 2007, 08:44 PM

April 25, 2007, 12:08 AM
Ramshot True Blue, chosen because of ballistic uniformity (single digit Standard Deviations) and burn rate appropriate for the .40 S&W. Ramshot Silhouette, because of energy,burn rate and very low flash. I've never used any powder faster than AA#5 for this cartridge because of the natural fast occuring pressure peak it has. True Blue is giving the most accurate loads I have ever achieved in .40 with jacketed and cast bullets. Silhouette will do as well with jacketed, but I'd give the edge to True Blue with cast. Silhouette and WSF are fairly similar, so if I couldn't get Silhouette, I'd opt for WSF.

Others I've tried: AA#5, Power Pistol, HS-6, VV 3N37, Vectan SP-2, and Alliant Blue Dot for kicks. Two others I've considered because I can get them locally are Universal and SR 4756.;)

April 26, 2007, 02:42 AM
I'm not questioning your statement on ideal Burn rate %.
But what determines this %,and where can I find more info about it?


April 26, 2007, 09:58 AM
I like it because its in the ideal burn rate zone of 58-62%

But what determines this %,and where can I find more info about it?

"Burn Rate" of a powder changes depending on many factors. Yes, some powders burn rate in a specific case with a specific bullet weight can be ideal.

Alliant rates their powders by % of relative quickness compared to Bullseye to which they give a standard of 100%.(their fastest powder)

They rate Unique as 61.6% (http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/unique.htm) as quick as Bullseye. This is not a "Burn Rate" compared to all powders, just a comparison to Bullseye's burn speed.

Alliant's comparisons can be handy if you are using one of their powders to compare with to see what other ALLIANT powder might be usefull.

Burn rate charts can be quite usefull, but remember, depending on the application, a powders place on the chart could move up or down several spaces. :)

April 26, 2007, 01:29 PM
I use Unique for all my pistol reloading.....I have about 20 lbs of it....

April 26, 2007, 02:46 PM
Just happens it was the most accurate for my application....155 gr practice ammo .chris3

April 26, 2007, 03:16 PM
I understand how the percentage is rated. I'm wondering how a person arrives at an Ideal burn rate of for instance Mid 50 to Mid 60% burn rate for their application. This would aid me in choosing my next powder,which is looking like Power Pistol.

April 26, 2007, 03:30 PM
i use several different loads. some are for practice and some are for being accurate as possible. the most accurate load that i have is using a 165gr rainier bullet and 5 grains of power pistol, and secondly a titegroup load. i use unique and bullseye loads for training, and practice.

April 26, 2007, 03:41 PM
Unique or W231, whicheve I have some left of.

April 26, 2007, 04:17 PM
I'm wondering how a person arrives at an Ideal burn rate of for instance Mid 50 to Mid 60% burn rate for there application

I have no clue whatsoever. There is no such thing as far as I am aware of. :)

What application do you want to use the powder for and we can give you some good suggestions where to start.

April 26, 2007, 04:38 PM
They may be referring to how much a powder fills an empty case.;)

April 26, 2007, 04:48 PM
We all know why we reload..........dont we?..lol
Anyway,I am looking for a reduced load for IDPA type of shooting. I have 180gr LSWC Bullets.

So I mainly was looking for a powder that burns/performs well at reduced loads.
I load Bullseye(3.7gr with 180gr bullets) currently and Like the feel compared to factory loads. I figured maybe a slower burning powder might reduce "felt" recoil and Muzzle flip....this is just a guess on my part. I dont like to guess at things like this so I figured I would pick the brain of a few that might have been down this road before.

Thanks in Advance for any help.

April 26, 2007, 07:16 PM
So I mainly was looking for a powder that burns/performs well at reduced loads.

Tight Group was designed for light loads in big cases. it is supposed to be postion insensitive. Economical as well. Of course, people have been using Bullseye for that for years. :)

If you are looking to fill the case, then that is a different story.

The heavier 180 gr. bullet with a fast to medium fast powder is the way to go for less recoil. Medium fast powders are generally said to give better accuracy with the .40.

I suspect Tightgroup or Bulleseye will give you what you are looking for.

Universal with 165 and 180 Grain bullets gave me a pleasent load compared to the fast 155's. 180 being the best. I was not watching muzzle flip and don't remember how it was, but the recoil was much nicer.

Redneck with a 40
April 26, 2007, 11:27 PM
In my Lee reloading book, the loads are listed in a chart format. The loads listed at the top of the chart are the most ideal. In the 150 grain 40 loads, Unique is second from the top with Blue Dot at the top. In the 180 grain loads, Unique is in the top 5. Accurate #5 is also in the top 3 for most of these loads. Accurate #5 is very similair to Unique. This is how I got to the ideal burn rate of 58-62%. The powders in this zone seem to perform very well in the 40, in a wide variety of loads. Power Pistol is also in this zone, slightly slower than Unique.

April 27, 2007, 01:36 AM

I use Blue Dot under a 180 grain bullet to achieve 1000 fps muzzle from my H&K USPc. The charge is 8.7 grains. This duplicates the 180 grain/980 fps standard that the FBI determined was what they wanted when they were looking to de-rate the 10mm. Or, at the time, they thought was gonna be the most effective loading for the .40 S&W.


Darth Muffin
April 27, 2007, 05:33 PM
Anyway,I am looking for a reduced load for IDPA type of shooting. I have 180gr LSWC Bullets.

Titegroup works great for me. 4.3gr makes IPSC 175ish power factor with Rainier 180gr plated bullets and my 5" polygonal barrel. 4.7gr is max load.

You can just dial down the powder a little for practice, don't worry about going too low since it's position insensitive--I either use 4.1gr w/ the 180gr bullets or keep it at 4.3gr and go down to 165gr bullets. The 4.1gr load has such light recoil I'm worried about it cycling my gun, but oddly enough it's made major PF (165) about half the time when I chrono it.

Titegroup burns hot and fast, and while I've never used it with lead bullets I have heard that it's dirtier and smoker since it vaporizes some of the lead.

April 27, 2007, 09:16 PM
Just bought some tite-group powder.
I loaded some and they shot real good in my Glock22 and XD 40 SC. I had been using Bullseye, but this is much cleaner.
I got a good group at 25 yards using a rest with Glock 22.

180gr berry's RS (round shoulder)
4.2 tite-group
FC brass
CCI primers

XD .45 Tactical
XD 40 S&W Sub Compact
XD 9mm Sub Compact
Glock 17 9mm
Glock 22 40 S&W
Stoeger Cougar 8000 9mm

April 27, 2007, 10:43 PM
For plain, close-in, basics practice, I use 3.8gr of regular Clays, Rainier 155's with a 1.125 OAL. It's fairly clean at all levels. In my M&P it drops my brass in a 3ft circle behind and right. It does suffer in accuracy at anything over 25 ft, but it'll still put it into a human target, and you don't have to chase the brass. I haven't picked up a chrony yet, so I'm not sure the velocities would meet IPSC standards. I'm looking to Bulleye or PowerPistol for my next purchase, as I've heard a lot of good things.

April 28, 2007, 06:41 AM
I use Titegroup for light target loads and you really don't need to use much. It's relatively clean except you can always tell the cases since they have the "Titegroup stain", in any caliber.

For my pistol (P239), I found that it likes Power Pistol. My SD is in the single digits at pretty much any loading from min to max. Accuracy suffers in the hottest loads.

April 28, 2007, 07:33 AM
I didn't list my load, so here it is. Caution this is the max. charge listed by Ramshot. Reduce by 10% for a start charge. Win. or Rem. case, CCI-500 primer, Nosler 150 gr. JHP and 8.1 grains of Ramshot True Blue with an OACL of 1.125". Another Load I like very much is identical except that it uses 7.5 Grains of Ramshot Silhouette. Either will shoot 5 round rested groups of 1" or less @ 50' from my CZ 75 B.

One of the things I really like about True Blue is the felt recoil of my loads. It seems to be light for the velocity generated. The first 5 round group I shot offhand @ 50' with the first round fired double-action was 1.8" with the first DA fired round going into the center of the group.

Here's a link to an excellent article written by Bob Forker of G&A, their reloading Guru: http://www.gunsandammomag.com/reloads/0609/ ;)

April 28, 2007, 04:57 PM
800X, A#5 and Unique
Golden Sabers and BTB hardcast 200grnrs.

CZ Z-40

April 28, 2007, 09:16 PM
I have experimented with various bullets and powders to see how much power I can get out of a 40 S&W; 135 gr, 155 gr, 180 gr, 200 gr, Blue Dot, Power Pistol, Longshot, 3N37, N105, H110, AA#9 [Enforcer], and 800X.

I have formed this opinion:
1) 800X for most power, but a pain to meter and squeeze in the case
2) Power Pistol for heavy power and easy metering, but big muzzle flash
3) 3N37 for heavy power and low flash
4) Blue Dot for low power, not much will fit.

2) Always use 200 gr bullets.

April 30, 2007, 09:00 AM
Clark: you reminded me that I've used #9 for an XD Tac with a 5" barrel. There are differences between #9 and Enforcer. Data was available for Enforcer using a WSPM primer in Ramshots earlier manuals. #3 being the most recent. With the small pistol magnum primer, they achieved 1372 FPS with the Hornady 155 gr. XTP loaded to 1.130" @ 31,380 PSI from a 4" test barrel. #9 comes from the Czech Republic and Enforcer comes from Belgium. Their bulk densities are slightly different and Enforcer has a slight energy advantage. I talked to the Accurate/Ramshot ballistician about the WSPM issue and he advises against it with #9. Bob Rodefer at Western Powder Co. can confirm this since they own both Accurate and Ramshot: http://www.ramshot.com/powders/

I agree with you on 3N37. It is a very low flash powder capable of velocity as high as anyone's likely to want in the .40 and their latest powder 3N38 will do most of the same things as N105. You're definitely correct on the muzzle flash issue with Power Pistol and Blue Dot will be bright as well. It can be compressed, but I don't remember having to do it except with 135 grain bullets. I haven't tried it with 200 grainers, so you may have already found that it is a compressed charge load with Blue dot. Power Pistol is a larger flake cut variant of Bullseye and has a slower burn rate because of it.

Two things jumped out at me after reading your post. I am using Silhouette as a replacement for 3N37, they have very similar characteristics and Silhouette is slightly lower in flash, although 3N37 is very good in that regard.

Another thing worth mentioning to you guys that may not know this, Silhouette under its former label, WAP is the powder Winchester used to develop the .40 S&W, so its burn rate characteristics were formulated specifically for the cartridge and the 9 X 23mm Winchester as well. Some of you guys use faster burning powders and that's fine for lighter target type loads, but building factory level velocity with them has been a contributor to the Ka-Boom issues along with barrels that don't adequately support the casehead of the .40 S&W cartridge.;)

April 30, 2007, 02:34 PM
If I overload 7.62x25mm in a Tokarev [not a CZ52 which blows up despite what the load books say] until the primer falls out of Starline brass with AA#9 and Enforcer, it happens with a charge 3.6% higher with AA#9, which would indicate that my Enforcer is faster.

AA#9 and Enforcer sure look and smell like the same powder to me, but then so do Bullseye and Power Pistol [formerly Bullseye 84], and they only way I can separate them is with a density test.

I would treat any powder from AA as a surplus bulk powder [not a retail canister powder] and work up loads.

April 30, 2007, 03:56 PM
When I used to have my G22, I'd load .40SW with 231 pretty much exclusively.

I'd think that Titegroup would be a good choice as well.

Both are economical.

April 30, 2007, 06:24 PM
Yeah, that's odd because the bulk density of Enforcer is rated at 940 grams/liter and AA#9 at 935. Enforcer is supposed to be denser, but you are getting a difference of 3.6% which indicates they are different based on volume alone. The burn rate is based on closed bomb testing and it's fairly common for two powders that are this close to reverse order in a specific case.

Anyway, I mentioned it because I've spoken to Bob Rodefer at Ramshot about the 2 powders, I knew that Enforcer is from Belgium, all of their powders except Zip and Competition are, as well as Accurate's ballistician before they went under the same roof with Ramshot and he'd told me that #9 was from the Czech Republic. The question gets asked fairly frequently because they are so similar.;)

April 30, 2007, 07:17 PM
I have since started measuring extractor groove growth, instead of threshold of primers falling out.

Primers falling out is like a hanging chad problem, and my 3.9% on one work up each has more digits than it deserves.

April 30, 2007, 07:35 PM
I knew there was a change in its bulk density several years ago, but it's not supposed to a surplus powder. I'll shoot an e-mail to Bob Rodefer and see what's up. I'll PM when I get an answer.;)

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