Loading .40 S&W


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Sherri
August 23, 2011, 11:44 PM
Hello, All.

I shot my first IDPA match last weekend and had a great time. The match was really well run and my squad was an easygoing, helpful group. I'd already had fun at my local club matches (USPSA-like) and one UPSPA shoot--it was nice to find a friendly place at the IDPA match. It's all good.

And there was icing on the cake... my ticket got pulled in a raffle for a Springfield XD. I had the choice of a 9mm or .40 S&W--I chose the .40, and picked it up this morning.
Someone let me shoot their XD at the range over the past number of months, and while I don't recall the caliber, I do remember that I shot it well. I'm looking forward to going to the range tomorrow. I have 100 rounds of Magtech 180gr FMC (jacketed flat nose) and 50 rounds of Winchester 180gr JHP to try. I'll set up the chronograph and try not to shoot it. :)

I'm thinking about ordering a case of MG 180gr JHP. I have Clay Dot, Unique, Power Pistol, and AA#5 at my disposal. I'll get others if need be.

I've been fishing around the forums for guidance and find a bewildering array of opinions. Is there a trusted soul that would point me in the right direction?

On another note, I bought a Harvey Deprimer, and I love it. I tumble my brass, deprime and sort. I like that the mess of depriming is away from my press.

73,
Sherri

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56hawk
August 24, 2011, 12:02 AM
Congratulations on winning the XD.

What questions do you have on loading 40? It's a pretty easy round to reload and all the powders you have should work just fine.

Miata Mike
August 24, 2011, 12:14 AM
I do 155 grain with Unique. I have a load that ejects very nice and close in my Sig. :D

beatledog7
August 24, 2011, 12:29 AM
Sherri,

I just started reloading .40 S&W myself (I use 155-165gr RNFPs or JHPs), so bear that in mind.

I like Bullseye (5.0-5.4gr for 165gr JHPs) because it meters very well and because I'm used to it for .38 Special. Beyond that I won't go into specifics on powders, but I can caution you to be wary of .40 brass that you didn't shoot in your gun. If shot in some pistols, notably pre Gen4 Glocks, they say, it can have stress issues from being fired from less than fully supported chambers. Study options for ensuring your brass will chamber and that it's not "Glocked." My experience with once-fired brass bears this out.

The Lyman manual lists many charge options for 180gr JHP, including some of the powders you listed. Trust the manuals, not what people post (unless they recommend consulting the manuals).

gamestalker
August 24, 2011, 12:43 AM
I'm very fond of HS6 and Longshot. The 155 gr. bullet does what I like in terms of velcoity and accuracy. I load that combination for a number of Taurus's and an XDM 4.5 and 3.8.

Steve Koski
August 24, 2011, 12:49 AM
Sherri,

Are you looking for a load that mimics factory ammo, or one that is soft shooting?

3.3 gr Hodgdon Clays under a 180 is very soft shooting. I'm not sure how similar Clay Dot is to Clays. I've been told they're identical...

4.5-5.0 gr Unique under a 180 is also soft.
5.8-6.2 gr Unique under a 180 feels just like factory defense ammo.

Take care,

Koski

kludge
August 24, 2011, 12:50 AM
Congrats on the XD. I love mine.

Of those powders I would take Power Pistol. Otherwise it would be Universal and No.7; both of them work great, are very clean, and meter great.

In jacketed bullets I slightly prefer 165gr bullets over 180gr. This is one instance where I trade mass for a bit more speed.

Due to cost I started using Missouri Bullet Co.'s 170gr LSWC lead bullets... with 8.1gr of No.7 and it's the most accurate load I've ever put through my XD-40 4". I could bump it a bit more, but my AutoDisc throws 8.1gr, and I have no good reason to mess with it. MBCo. now has a few other options in .40 so I may try something else on the next order.

With Winchester 180gr FMJ I use 5.6 gr of Universal.

Sherri
August 24, 2011, 01:11 AM
Well, winning the pistol was no reflection of my abilities. I did, however, visualize reading the numbers as they were called out beforehand. Do you think it might have helped? :)

First off, I'm confused about what I've heard that .40 S&W is a temperamental high pressure load.

Lyman#49 tells me that upper ends for 9mm Luger are 30K+. I'm doing ok there. Nice rounds, several thousand loaded, it's all good. Needed to boost a little for power factor at a match--no troubles.

.40 S&W according to Lyman#49 are 23K+ on the high end. It looks like I can comfortably make 165 power factor with a 180 grain JHP without pushing the limits. I like this, but it looks like I need to get a different powder. Ok, I can do that,

What am I to make of threads talking about 30K+ with .40? Get the hell away from it is my response.

Does .40 have a bad rep on this account?

I'll pay attention to the brass and make sure it will chamber in my barrel. I have guages which I have yet to tidy up and use.

Any suggestions for tuning my load so that the brass collects in one spot are most welcome. My 9mm loads fly all over the place.

Steve--I don't yet have any experience to answer your question. I'll know better after spending time at the range tomorrow. I have 8# of Clay Dot, ordered by mistake. It would be good to find a use for it.

Best,
Sherri

beatledog7
August 24, 2011, 01:25 AM
Any suggestions for tuning my load so that the brass collects in one spot are most welcome. My 9mm loads fly all over the place.

If you find a way to do that from any semi-auto in any caliber, we'd all like to know.

GLOOB
August 24, 2011, 04:57 AM
Last time I checked, the pressure rating for 40SW was the same as standard luger, at 35k psi.

Luger 35k psi
luger +P 38k psi?

40SW 35k psi

357SIG 40k psi

I have shot lots of max charge loads in 40, using Hodgdon's data for WAC behind 155 and 180 gr bullets. According to their testing, these loads are pushing past 33k psi. I haven't quite worked my way up to Alliant's max info for Unique, though. I still haven't gotten the nerve to put 8 grains of Unique behind a 155 gr bullet (a full grain more than their listed max for a 158 gr .357 magnum load)! So far, so good. No kb's, but I had to put a stiffer recoil spring in my Glock.

MtnCreek
August 24, 2011, 09:02 AM
Unless you have a way of measuring the psi, don't worry about it (of course, watch pressure signs while working up). Of the powders you mentioned, I would try Power Pistol. Trying to get the brass to drop at your feet is going to be really tough, because your main focus is getting an accurate load just above power factor.

Miata Mike
August 24, 2011, 09:08 AM
Originally Posted by Sherri View Post
Any suggestions for tuning my load so that the brass collects in one spot are most welcome. My 9mm loads fly all over the place.

It must have had something to do with the stiffness of the Sig spring, but I was shooting brass all over the place and even over a mosquito net between lanes at the range I was at using my Ruger P94 and Sigma. They were not however all neatly in a pile. ;)

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