Do You Reload .40 S&W?


Gary H
December 15, 2003, 09:06 PM
A shooting friend with 25 years of experience told me that he doesn't reload the .40 because he fears web failure and KB.

I have limited reloading experience in this caliber. My father recently complained that he should have bought the Walther P99 in 9mm, since the .40 was so much more expensive. He has been shooting Speer 165 and 180gr. Gold Dots and collecting the brass. This is a rather peppy load, but the brass looks good. I know that plated brass is a bit more inclined to fail upon repeated reloading. I've been reading previous threads suggesting that fast powders, bullet setback and leaded barrels are risk factors?

Plated bullets should take care of the leading. Moderate taper crimps and single chambering should take care of setback. Perhaps lighter bullets would be a bit safers, so would moderate Titegroup 165gr. plated loads be safe and if so, at which reload should I toss brass? ..assuming no obvious brass defects upon inspection.

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December 15, 2003, 09:51 PM
I don't know much about the Walther, but I do reload .40S&W for a Glock 23 and a Ruger P944. I use moderate to light loads behind a 180grain FMJ (TMC).

5.2 grains of Unique (moderate burn rate) is about an 80% of max load. This I use in a Glock 23 for steel plate matches. Minimizes recovery time. This load will not function a Ruger P944. I use 5.6 to 5.8 (90% of max load) grains of Unique shooting the Ruger. For both rounds I load to an OAL of 1.130. No problems encountered. I won't pust to max in either pistol, I am very satisfied with the performance of these loads. All three loads shoot flat, POA = POI at 10 through 25 yards.

December 15, 2003, 10:02 PM
i reload all a matter of fact i don't think my 40 has ever shot a factory round....i shoot a 180 grain lead bullet in a fully supported ramped barrel....i don't know about the Walther you mentioned but i suspect they've been making barrels long enough to know what it's all about....if i had it i'd be shooting lead in far as brass goes,,,,there is so much 40 around that i don't even pick it up when i shoot it at has it for 8 bucks per 1000.....the glock is the culpret for most of the Kabooms you hear about in the 40....stay away from the fast burning powders in the 40 and you'll be ok.....another issue with the Glock 40 is the polygonal goes not grip a lead bullet very well and will lead.....i don't know about the Walther,if it has polygonal rifling you may want to stay away from the lead bullets.....i shot lead in my glock forty for years and got away with it but i can tell you that the accuracy of lead in the polygonal barrels will suffer.......DICK

Black Snowman
December 15, 2003, 10:19 PM
I've reloaded more 40 than all other calibers combined. Mostly on my Lee Load Master. I use lighter bullets to give me more margin for error and to reduce felt recoil. I used Star 165 grain bullets for ages in my Glock 24P. I use Hodgdon Universal for powder and keep the loads around starting give or take depending on where the Auto Disk feels like throwing the charges. With my current baffel that's 5.3 gr.

I avoid Remington brass because it's thinner case mouth increases the risk of bullet set-back and requires me to re-set my dies. Newer brass may be in spec but I haven't tried it for a while except when it occasionally sneaks in my range pick-up brass.

For a little more money I think I'm going to switch to the Nosler bulk 135 gr JHP because I get even more muzzle energy and with the extra case volume it doesn't raise pressures signifigantly. Plus the felt recoil is the lowest of any of the bullets I've tried. I'm even using them in my 10mm.

Things to keep in mind with .40 S&W:
Always load to as close to maximum COL as possible, or even longer if you have the luxury (as some 1911 race gun shooters do).
Never use magnum primers.
Never use questionable brass. If was dented, mangled, bulged, etc use some that isn't. Once fired brass is cheap in 40 and if pick up at the local range often free. Better to throw it out if in question.

I've messed up and over pressured the .40 in my self destructing unsupported Glock many many times without incedent. I even kept reloading that brass 4 or 5 times.

The risk is only slightly higher than that of other cartridges, you have to determine if you're willing to take on that extra risk. If you frequently "mess up" reloading and run into problems with other cartridges then avoiding the .40 might be a good idea.

December 15, 2003, 11:23 PM
As already stated, don't try to push the envelope. Stick to the lighter weight bullets with modest charge rates (80-90% of max) and you should be safe.

I've loaded and shot upwards of 10k Rainier bullets of the 155 & 165 gr varieties. For my light target loads, I find that 231 works very well. However, I would not recommend this to new reloaders since it is possible to double charge without overflowing the case. I've also found that Unique works well, but is dirtier than 231.

Make sure not to overcrimp when using plated bullets.

Here are some of my favorite loads. I've reloaded brass up to 7 times with these loads before seeing signs of case failure.

Rainier 155gr TFP
5.0gr Win 231
1.130 OAL
light to medium crimp with Lee FCD

Rainier 155gr TFP
5.9gr Unique
1.130 OAL
light to medium crimp with Lee FCD

FYI: If you are looking for an inexpensive, high-quality bullet, check out the Rainier 165gr RNFPs on the overstock page at My cost for 6k was under $0.045 per bullet.

December 15, 2003, 11:39 PM
I load and shoot copious quantities of FULL power 40's for my G22. No worries and no problems. Setback is what is blowing up 40's. Buy good dies, adjust them properly and keep an eye on things. If you do loading 40 is just as safe as anything else.

Use Power Pistol, it is less sensitive to small changes and does not spike pressures like most if not all other typical 40 powders.

Gary H
December 16, 2003, 12:04 AM
Seems like Titegroup is a bit fast. Is Power Pistol a spherical powder? I ask because my press likes spherical powders. Are you using standard dies, or undersized sizing dies?

December 16, 2003, 12:49 AM
My best .40 recipes are:

For target-180 gr. Round Flat Nose Lead Semi Wad Cutter
7.2 gr. Accurate 7
1.135" COL

Self defense loads-180 Fr. Total Metal Jacket Hollow Point
4.2 gr. Hodgdon Tite Group
1.130" COL

I haven't really seen excessive leading with the wad cutter.

December 16, 2003, 06:03 AM
Tested in over one hundred guns: R-P/IMI/Fed case, Rainier 180g TCJ-FP, CCI500, 6.0g Alliant Power Pistol, OAL 1.130"+.005"/-.005".

Av = 916fps

Ensure sufficient case neck tension; I use an undersized sizer for used cases.

December 16, 2003, 06:51 AM
This is turning out to be one of the best 'reloading .40S&W' threads I have seen on any of the boards I frequent. Keep the recipes coming, folks.

And thanks to those who already contributed.

December 16, 2003, 07:23 AM
look no further than right here for real world reloading data......real guns and real people sharing their data...... i always look here first for 40 and 38 super


PS.... i printed these pages because as sites sometimes do "They disappear"

December 16, 2003, 07:43 AM
I also load the 40S&W for a P99. I use VV3N37 and it work real well. I also use a LEE factory crimp die to make sure the mouth is crimped after it has been belled to seat the bullet. I use what ever brass is available. I started using 180 gr bullets but now have switched to 165 Remington golden saber from Midway. I use the Lee auto disk powder measure set the same as I use for loading 9mm rounds.


Black Snowman
December 16, 2003, 08:18 AM
Yes, the Lee factory crimp die is almost manditory for really consistant pistol ammo. I love it and you can finally get Lee die sets with it included.

December 16, 2003, 08:19 AM

I've been doing so since 1990 when I purchased my first G22.

I have or currently load for:

G22 (2)
Walther P99 (2)

I've loaded thousands upon thousands of rounds of .40 S&W ammo without a single problem with either ammo or pistol(s), contrary to what has been written many times.

I think one who loads for the .40 S&W, especially in a Glock pistol with is more than generous lack of case support at the 6 o'clock position, must use a degree of caution when choosing their components, maybe a little more than with other calibers but not overly so.

Yeah, I agree that lead is out for the Glock rifling but, that being said, in the beginning I loaded and fired a ton of 175 gr. lead SWCs thru that G22 at MAX or "major" levels for IPSC shooting many years ago! :eek: :)

I rarely load "full max" and, like I said, I've only loaded lead bullets in the very beginning.

I like and shoot a lot of the Winchester 180 gr. FMJTC bullet. I've found it quite acurate at all velocity levels. I'll say it's my all time favorite .40 bullet to load. Their 165 gr. FMJ isn't bad either.

I've tried a few of the plated bullets but not all of them. I've never found one that shoots as well as the Winchester bullet.

I used to load a very low charge of WST in a Winchester case, Fed. #100 primer and the Winchester 180 gr. FMJTC bullet for my G24C for GSSF shooting and did quite well with it. The velocity was just under 700 fps with very little recoil. Most of the time it would not function with a stock 17 lb. recoil assembly.

I've had great success with both AA #5 (full power or slightly less) and WST for target loads.

I never use the same brass for the higher velocity loads more than three times and if any look suspicious, especially in the web area, I discard them right away. This is a real good reason to mention that I NEVER use "range brass" that I might find lying around.

I like to use Starline or Winchester brass with Fed. #100 primers nearly 100% of the time.

I've had access to a lot of LE fired CCI brass and found it to be crap for good reloads. :(

I don't like Remington .40 S&W brass either. It doesn't seem to hold up like Winchester or Starline does.

So, load for your .40 S&W with due caution and respect fo it and enjoy it. :D

November 14, 2004, 04:46 PM
Have been reloading .40 for years, using 155 GD, 180 GD and lately 165 GD exclusively, using W231 in Glock 27 and Glock 23. I must have shot at least 15K through the 27 using 155's and 180's. No problems, no misfires,KB or anything else. Using a Dillon SD which is about 12 years old. My 23 is a newer gun and have shot roughly 1500 rounds through it, no problems of any kind.
Last load made: 6.2 gr W231 behind Speer Gold Dot 165 gr clocked over the crony at anywhere from 1080-1110 fps (G23)

Pay attention to what you're doing, specially if you're using W231, as this is a very fast powder. But very reliable, very consistent and very clean.

Note: I use a RCBS carbide resize die for the .40 in a RCBS press just for resizing. The Dillon SD carbide resize die don't resize all the way down, at least mine don't.

November 15, 2004, 02:32 PM
with Accurate #5, 7.3 gr, Rainier 165 gr plated bullet, Rem. 61/2 primer, various brass in my G22. Also did fine with Unique.

November 17, 2004, 11:43 AM
I shot 3000 rounds of 180 grain lead through my G23 using Unique powder with no problems at all. I load two columns off the max. in the book.

November 17, 2004, 01:53 PM
Yep. I load and shoot about 3000 rounds a month of 180gr MG JHP with VV N320.

November 17, 2004, 02:20 PM
I reload moderate .40 S&W loads. The Glock 22 never saw a lead or plated reload. But the USP (with standard barrel) Sig Pro, and XD have all eaten up the reloads with no problems.

November 17, 2004, 02:57 PM
I have reloaded thousands and thousands of rounds for use in my Glock 35 for IPSC competition. I do have an aftermarket KKM barrel that offers some additional support (also has traditional rifling) but I don't think it is necessary. I've got a buddy who shots the stock barrel and has brass that looks like belted magnum rounds. He continues to shoot this brass with no KBs yet!

My load: 5.2 gr Universal Clays, Winchester small pistol primer, 180 gr TMJ Montanna Gold bullet, various brass (Mainly once fired from Midway).

November 18, 2004, 07:58 AM

Being I am always on the prowl for a bargain I tried to pull up but when I do I get a garbage SeeQ site saying, generically, is for sale.

Did you publish the correct site and now it non-accessable or was it a mis-print?

Just curious.

November 18, 2004, 10:50 AM
I just recently bought some brass from him. Here's the website:
Great brass at a great price.

Norm Lee
November 18, 2004, 02:52 PM
I have a couple loads for you. Mostly light and a couple that we use on pins. I have an older 40 on a 2011 style platform, bushing bbl, no ramp (unsupported chamber) so you should find these all safe and relaodable many times. Do watch OAL. If you must load shorter, reduce the powder charge.
New Steel Load

3.8+ gr. VV N 310 OAL= 1.08"
140.00 gr. LTC Bullet
Velocity power factor
1002.00 155.31
973.00 150.82
981.00 152.06
987.00 152.99
958.00 148.49
1011.00 156.71
977.00 151.44
947.00 146.79
970.00 150.35
998.00 154.69
Total 9804.00
Mean 980.40 151.96
Standard deviation 19.86


Norm Lee
November 18, 2004, 02:54 PM
Use any 155 gr bullet

3.7 gr. VV N 310 OAL= 1.186"
155.00 gr. LSWC Bullet from National
Velocity power factor
897.00 139.04
944.00 146.32
926.00 143.53
912.00 141.36
901.00 139.66
912.00 141.36
929.00 144.00
916.00 141.98
910.00 141.05
932.00 144.46
922.00 142.91
Total 10101.00
Mean 918.27 142.33
Standard deviation 13.94
This is very accurate a little smoky

Norm Lee
November 18, 2004, 02:56 PM
One full strength, the other light

New Pin Load

5.9+ gr. VV N 350 OAL= 1.180"
200.00 gr. Houston Bullet Co. Lead Conical
Velocity power factor
991.00 198.20
1015.00 203.00
978.00 195.60
985.00 197.00
1053.00 210.60
1053.00 210.60
1003.00 200.60
1005.00 201.00
1004.00 200.80
1002.00 200.40
Total 10089.00
Mean 1008.90 201.78
Standard deviation 25.59

Think about


New Pin Load

6.7 gr. VV N 350 OAL=1.195"
175.00 gr. Bull-X or Dillon
Velocity power factor
1098.00 192.15
1111.00 194.43
1004.00 175.70
1085.00 189.88
1103.00 193.03
1015.00 177.63
1013.00 177.28
1032.00 180.60
1128.00 197.40
965.00 168.88
Total 10554.00
Mean 1055.40 184.70
Standard deviation 55.89

Norm Lee
November 18, 2004, 03:02 PM
I'll get the OAL for that 175 gr pin load and edit that post.

I'd share my IPSC load but Jeeper would steal it and use it whup my butt.



November 18, 2004, 04:08 PM
Thank ya, 66.

November 25, 2004, 12:20 AM
I too am just getting in to loading for my XD40. I want a pussycat minor PF load for IPSC. My goal is to shoot a west coast plated 180 gr. bullet at ~800 fps. (assuming that will function in my gun). People have said great things abouct CLAYS powder.
If I want to load for 40 S&W what do I need besides my dillon 550. I need dies (are dillon's carbide dies good?) and a tumbler (to clean up once fired brass). Anything else I need? Will dillons standard powder measure go down to 3 gr. of powder?


Rabid Rabbit
November 26, 2004, 08:48 PM
I haven't seen any loads for 135gr yet so here is mine. I developed this at the request of my wife, she didn't like how the glock recoiled with the 155 or 180s.

8.0gr Unique
135 JHP

This turned out to be the most accurate load and I tried dozens of combinations for 155, 180 and 200.

Just got through shooting and tried WWB, I think I'll stick to the the 180 and 135 I've been reloading. WWB was better than the remington bulk but still lacking in accuracy. Is it too much to ask all the shots group smaller from the bench than the black of a 25 yd target at 25 yds?

September 22, 2009, 02:41 PM
Help! I reloaded 100 rounds of Rainier Ballistics 155gr FP using 5.5 grains of IMR PB powder. They shot as if they were +P rounds! I switched them out with some of my duty ammo, (Speer Gold Dot 165gr) and found that yes in deed, my reloads were a very hot so I stopped and went home.

I called Rainier and they said call the powder manufacturer. I called IMR and was told to start at the bottom scale of the load manual.

Problem is, I have no data for 155 copper plated bullets using PB. Can't even find lead bullet data. Any ideas?

September 22, 2009, 02:55 PM
155 GR. HDY XTP / IMR PB / .400" /1.125" / 5.2 / 1030 / 28,100 PSI / 5.7 1084 / 32,400 PSI

From Hodgdon online data (

5.2 Grs PB should work well.

I don't use PB with plated bullets, but have used other powders with the Ranier 155 Gr bullet in .40. I use starting to middle of the road or so jacketed data for plated bullets in .40 with good success.

Doublecheck your scale/charge weight.

September 22, 2009, 03:30 PM
I haven't seen anyone mention W231. I load for my .40 M&P. A 180g plated bullet over 5.2g of W231. This is not a mild load and has a pretty good snap to it but it is really accurate.


September 22, 2009, 06:46 PM
I reload for .40. For a Glock 23. Don't have an undersizing die. Use a Lee press. And I'm a new reloader this year, with .40 being the first caliber I ever loaded for.

With all those things, I surely should have experienced a Kaboom, blown off both my hands, killed my dog, and crashed the stock market by the way people talk.

In reality, I think just being sensible goes a long way. Common sense isn't common anymore. This, and staying attentive to what you are doing should steer you clear of most problems that people run into.

.40 isn't some mystical cartridge that is playing russian roulette every time you squeeze the trigger. Yeah, its higher pressure than most, but if you stay smart, you get to keep your fingers.

GW Staar
September 22, 2009, 07:21 PM
I think it's great all of you have reloaded so long and successfully for the .40 S&W. I hope it stays great as you keep using that reloaded brass, pick up range brass with who knows how many reloads behind it, and keep shooting unsupported chambers. The .40 is a hot high pressure round. A little safety research is prudent in all reloading, but perhaps more so with this round.

I don't know, it just seems to me there's a lot of head-burying going on here...or at least some glossing-over on people's research and information.

Redding makes this die for a reason.

I do own one of these guns and I have dies and components to reload it with. But I'm going to buy the Redding "Thru" Die, and get as much education about loading the .40 S&W as I can. Consider, for example, May/June 2004 Police and Security News reported in a feature entitled, "Why Guns Blow Up!":

One last cause of "blowups:" The simple chambering and rechambering of a cartridge does push the bullet back into its case. Hirtenberg Ammunition Company of Austria (at the request of GLOCK, Inc.) determined that, with a .40 caliber cartridge, pushing the bullet back into the case 1/10 of an inch doubled the chamber pressure. This is higher than a proof load. This "push back" can occur with but one chambering since it is dependent on how well the case was crimped or sealed to the bullet. How many of us regularly chamber and rechamber the first two rounds of our carry loads? (Also, this chambering and ejecting chews up the case rim, which can cause a malfunction. If you are limited to how much ammo you are issued, after cycling the first two rounds a few times, strip the magazine and load these two rounds first so they are the last up in the stick.)"

One web site has gone to an awful lot of trouble to warn people.

Lets just get the best information and use it to load safely. Summarizing, it appears that .40 S&W troubles happen when one combines weakened brass with unsupported chambers and/or with insufficient crimping allowing bullets to push into case and increase already high pressures.

Jeremy Y
August 13, 2010, 11:52 AM
I shoot a Beretta 96 Centurian. I have reloaded many bullet types, and I have only found one load from the manuals that did not work for me. Loading HSM 180gr electroplated HP's I tried 4.7gr of Hodgdon's TiteGroup using both CCI550 primers and Federal SP primers. This did not generate enough pressure to properly cycle the pistol's slide. I carefully increased the load to a maximum of 4.9gr, and it cycled the slide very well, with clean burns, but the bullets started tumbling at 3 yard ranges. I have since tried 8.0gr of Blue Dot, with the slide operating well, no tumbling of the bullets, bu very dirty burns. The 4.7gr of TiteGroup works extremely well with Hornady 180gr XTP hollow points.

August 13, 2010, 04:51 PM
I shot a ton of 170gr lead SWC thru my Hi-power without any problems. Used Win. WSP primers and 4.7 gr. of Universal. Chronos around 940 and is very accurate.

Sin City Shootist
August 13, 2010, 05:17 PM
Holy bump Batman.

August 13, 2010, 07:16 PM
I shoot 180gr Zero bullets out of Federal cased and CCI primed loads filled with 4.7 grains of Titegroup out of a Beretta 96 Brigadier. Awesome, zippy, and accurate rounds. Much better than factory ammo. I highly recommend this load for its performance as well as its cost efficiency. I have not had any problems or malfunctions yet.

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