Best powder for 40 s&w?


July 31, 2011, 11:07 PM
I've decided to get into reloading, I'm really excited about it. I build myself a bench under the stairs in my room and got a 50th anniversary lee kit as well as some 180gr FMJs, and a friend gave me a bunch of CCI-500 small pistol primers. I was at cabelas buying the press and dyes and a loading manual and the guy that was helping me recommended 800x as a good powder to start with, but when I got home it appeared to have realllly big flakes and I read online it can be very hard to load consistently since it's so coarse. I notice most people on here seem to use Unique but he said not to bc it was a "magnum powder."

My question is with the 180gr FMJs, and the CCI 500 primers, is 800x a good powder to use, or should I just return it and get something better? I'm only wanting to reload for use at the range for simple target practice at the moment.
Thanks for helping a newbie out :D

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July 31, 2011, 11:16 PM
Maybe the old 800X, metered poorly, but In the jugs I have loaded in the last 10 years have proved otherwise. Some people don't like IMR and some dont like Alliant. Wait til you hear that Unique is dirty. Shoot it up, have fun, and be your own judge. I Load both 800X and Unique and don't notice the difference.

July 31, 2011, 11:19 PM
My first pick would be Power Pistol. My second would be Unique....Matter of fact, I could live with nothing but Unique on my bench if I had to.

July 31, 2011, 11:43 PM
Well, you are going to get a lot of different opinions regarding pistol powders. Personally, I use Winchester 231 for all of my standard pistol loads. In my experience it meters well in my powder measure, it has proven to be relatively clean and it is flexible enough to be used for jacketed, plated and cast lead bullets. It also happens that I shoot .40 S&W more than any other caliber and the W231 has performed well with bullet weights from light to heavy.



July 31, 2011, 11:58 PM

August 1, 2011, 12:11 AM
my best load for .40s&w is accurate #7 under a hornady xtp.

August 1, 2011, 12:16 AM
First of all, they won't let you exchange the powder. There is liability and I do believe now a federal law that doesn't allow the exchange or refund of powder, primers, or loaded ammunition.
Now, regarding good powder for the .40 cal. if you want some very conssistent working pressures, and not have to contend with small variations causing pressures to spike. I've been using HS6 for a very long time for both 9mm and .40 cal. with excellent results, and it will meter very well as well. Small variations don't cause concern for sudden pressure spikes as with faster burning powders. A couple of other concerns that are greatly diminshed, is accidental double charges are nearly impossible to go unnoticed, and it will also afford you the opportunity to work from lower end loads up to near maximum velocities with less fear of extreme pressures presenting during the work up. I also find it to burn fairly clean.
I was also going to recomend Longshot because it is also easy to work with and has a broad load range. But I didn't think you would be interested in that one because it probably won't meter well, it's a large flaky powder.

August 1, 2011, 12:39 AM
I didn't know that, I guess I WONT be exchanging this powder then haha. I'll use up the 800x then I think I'll go with the HS6

August 1, 2011, 12:47 AM
I use Unique and get good velocity, low flash, no pressure signs and it burns very clean with the pressures generated by the 40.

August 1, 2011, 02:11 AM
Practice loads = W231
Heavier loads = HS-6

Longshot is also a good choice especially if you are going to load only jacketed bullets.

just in joy
August 1, 2011, 02:32 AM
My personal Favs are Accurate #2 and HS-6 I like AA #2 as it measures better for me it is a finer grains than the HS-6 I never used the other ones as I have enough to do 10k in ammo I load 40 165gr Extremeand also 9mm 115 and 124gr Extreme I load for Plinking not match. most all my Powder is Accurate with hs-6 by it lonesome on the Selve waiting to be used again.

August 1, 2011, 04:02 AM
W231 for light loads, meters like water.

Win Auto Comp for hotter loads, meters like water.

Unique good for hotter loads. Doesn't meter too well, but I still use a lot of it, for some reason.

August 1, 2011, 07:29 AM
I like Universal, but many powders work well. W-231 is another good choice. Hard to go wrong with it anytime.

August 1, 2011, 08:14 AM
I use Universal, good volume, meters well, soft report, but I don't know about it's high end performance. I stop at 950 fps with a 180 grain bullet in my G-29 conversion.

Cop Bob
August 1, 2011, 02:01 PM
800-x should work fine for target ammo... I use 700-x for dang near every pistol I reload for in mid-range target ammo... I have loaded 800-X in the past, and it worked well... I never made a permanent switch to it because I use seperate machines dedicated for each of my most popular calibers, just didn't want to change them out.. but is should work just fine with good results...

August 1, 2011, 07:11 PM
AA#5 -- tried a few. smaller grains measure better, plus unburned grains wont stack up in your (tight) chambers and cause jams.


August 1, 2011, 10:08 PM
Try the original .40 S&W powder: Ramshot Silhouette. Formerly known as Winchester Action Pistol it was used in the first Winchester loads. Meters very well and has a flash suppressant. ;)

August 2, 2011, 07:28 PM
AA#5 -- tried a few. smaller grains measure better, plus unburned grains wont stack up in your (tight) chambers and cause jams.

I've had good luck w/ AA#5 as well. I generally use cast 180s.

August 2, 2011, 08:17 PM
+1 HS-6

I have only loaded about 500 .40 S&W, it is my first caliber. My first powder was Titegroup which my gun didn't like (Beretta PX4 Storm), I then tried HS-6 and I like it a lot, more importantly my gun likes it. The Titegroup is going to get used in .38 Special for my snubnose.

August 2, 2011, 08:29 PM
WSF is a good one.
Compressed loads of 800X should be OK for when you want to pretend your .40 is a 10mm. :)

For target loads up to mid-range loads, it'll be tough to beat Bullseye.

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