Problems with .40 S&W 135gr lead bullets


October 7, 2011, 08:32 PM
Ran a little experiment today loading .40 S&W with .401" diameter 135gr cast PHP from Hunter's Supply. It didn't go well.

I seated one to Lyman manual depth of 1.090 (for 150gr which was closest) and added a light taper crimp with a Lee FCD, but that made the case mouth disappear into the lead bullet so nothing on which to headspace.. I couldn't get a light enough crimp to avoid this, but with no crimp I found they would not slip cleanly into my Storm Lake barrel. They would go into the Glock factory barrel, but I want to use the SL.

Naturally, these rounds would not chamber in my Glock 22 using the Storm Lake barrel (slide would not go fully into battery); they did chamber in factory Glock barrel but when cycled some of them actually shortened to as short as 1.074; no crimp!

I have set them aside marked DO NOT SHOOT! Glad I only made 15, but I have a bunch of these bullets.

My analysis is these are just too big in diameter to ever work in a .40 S&W gun, but if so then why would anyone cast them to begin with? Any ideas what's going on?

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October 7, 2011, 09:42 PM
Reload them without the use of the FCD as the FCD's carbide sizer ring is post-sizing the bullet/case neck.

Use the combination taper crimp/bullet seat die and apply about .420"-.421" taper crimp and see if the finished round drops in freely into the Storm Lake barrel.

October 7, 2011, 11:25 PM
Thanks, bds; that seems to have worked.

I reloaded the ones I did earlier, using the seating die crimp method you described. Each one is .4215 at the mouth and drops in ok now. Range report when I get a chance to go.

Steve Koski
October 8, 2011, 07:28 PM
I run my 155 LRN bullets at 1.135". I ran a few thousand 140 TCL's at 1.135 also.

If you have feeding problems, try a more "normal" COL.

October 11, 2011, 05:51 PM
Steve Koski, feeding issues were about diameter rather than length. 1.135" seems on the rather long end to me.

After much manipulation and die fiddling, I fired these today. I found that after loading they simply won't fall flush into an OAL gauge (mine's a Wilson) or the Storm Lake barrel. The .401" bullet won't fall in and out by itself. If, however, I force them by finger pressure into the Wilson, compressing or shaving the lead bullet, they will then drop in and out of the barrel. That seemed to have no real effect on accuracy, but is a PITA, so I will find another way.

Fifteen of these cycled and fired flawlessly through my Glock 22 using the Storm Lake barrel, grouping into 1.5" at 7 yds. Pretty mild recoil for a .40 round. I got no perceptible leading with CCI 500 primers, 5.0gr of Bullseye, a 135gr PHP from Hunters Supply (.401"), and OAL of 1.099 +/- .002 (.01 longer than Lyman 9 listed for a 150gr lead #2). Could not chronograph but by the book should have achieved about 1050-1100 FPS.

Thanks again to all for your assistance getting these built!

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