40S&W and 180gr FMJFN


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dbarnhart
December 17, 2011, 10:12 AM
My sone shoots a lot of 40S&W and I've been collecting his brass with the anticipation of reloading it for him.

A few days ago someone here mentioned that there is something particularly critical about reloading 180gr projectiles for 40S&W but I cannot find it. Can someone help me find it or repeat it here?

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rcmodel
December 17, 2011, 12:21 PM
Nothing critical that I know of.
The 180 FMJ-FP was the orginial bullet weight & style used when the .40 S&W was introduced.

I would stay away from fast powders like Bullseye, Titegroup, etc, as pressure can spike easily.

You will have a better safer load using medium burn powder like Unique, Power Pistol, Auto-Comp, HS #6, etc.

It's the old "hit a bowling ball with your fist, or push it with your palm" thing.

rc

dbarnhart
December 17, 2011, 12:47 PM
Thank you. I'll most likely use Unique since I have a lot of it for my 45acp loads.

Miata Mike
December 17, 2011, 01:07 PM
I had heard that 180 grain might have a higher chance of pressure spikes, and for that reason alone I have only used 155 grain bullets. I also liked the feel of Unique better than Bullseye.

Not very scientific, but I seemed to have less muzzle flip and my Sig Sauer 239.

sean eady
December 17, 2011, 01:11 PM
I load 180's with WSF. very nice feel.

mokin
December 17, 2011, 01:22 PM
I like 5.5 grains of Winchester 231 with 180 grain Berry's Copper Plated bullets. Chrongraphed them at 950 fps. It's near the upper end of the data books but I haven't noticed any over-pressure signs in the brass through several uses.

Bovice
December 17, 2011, 01:32 PM
The reason that 180s are "frowned" upon is that if you have a casing with poor tension around the bullet, the bullet can be set back deeper into the casing if it is struck hard enough (such as hitting the feed ramp). Since the 180 grain bullets are longer, they occupy more case volume, and pressure increases from bullet setback (if setback occurs) can go beyond maximum safe pressure and you get a blowout.

With that said, I've loaded a fair share of FMJFN 180s, mostly with titegroup. I did not try to load using max charges, I stayed low to midrange. For OAL, I loaded at 1.130-1.135. Compared to factory ammo, this would seem long. However, the SAAMI spec for .40 S&W is an OAL of 1.135. Factory ammo is simply loaded shorter to ensure proper feeding in any gun. I have had no trouble at SAAMI spec OAL for a number of guns that have used my ammo. That includes a sig p229, a walther p99, and a glock 22 (boogity boogity boogity, no kaboom!)

I moved away from 180s, but not because I was afraid they would blow up. I just prefer the recoil characteristics of my 165 grain loads.

rcmodel
December 17, 2011, 01:47 PM
Playing devils advocate here:

On the other hand, a 180 has more bullet inside the case to start with, so has more neck tension to start with, making set-back less likely to start with.

rc

gunlaw
December 17, 2011, 02:39 PM
I agree with rc. Also AA#5 is my go to powder for the 180g. Power pistol a close 2nd.

ImjinScout
December 17, 2011, 03:49 PM
I also load a lot of 180gr FP's, I use HS-6 and really like this powder in .40S&W

beatledog7
December 17, 2011, 04:45 PM
I use Bullseye mostly in .40, but for 180gr loads I switch to HS-6.

Metal Tiger
December 17, 2011, 06:33 PM
Great info....any use 800x for 180 bullets in 40 cal?

LightningMan
December 17, 2011, 08:47 PM
I haven't been shooting the .40 S&W caliber long, but my favorite load is using a 180gr. TC lead projectial with 4.2 grains of Bullseye, an OAL of 1.125. I haven't had any problems with it, BTW that is the start grain data out of the Lee manual. I figure starting with the lowest listed charge, I should be just fine as long as it cycles the pistol and doesn't plug the barrel. For a stout JHP or FMJ load I switch to Longshot. LM

One78Shovel
December 17, 2011, 09:01 PM
There is no issue with 180 gr FP (Berry's). I just loaded another 1K using Magtech primers and 5.6 grains of Universal Clays with OAL 1.125. That is my powder of choice for all my calibers from 9mm to 45acp.

-178S

gamestalker
December 17, 2011, 09:39 PM
I load 180's with HS6 and Longshot, but I prefer Longshot for the heavier 180. Those 2 powders have been really good to me for the 9mm and .40 and they almost seem incapable of producing pressure spikes, almost!

I'm going to be trying the slower burning of the AA powder soon, don't recall which one off the top of my head, but I think it is AA#7 or maybe AA#9?

scotty
December 18, 2011, 12:23 AM
I agree that medium burn powders are the best to use in the .40. AA#5, Unique, Power Pistol, HS6, WSF, and others have worked well for me with 180gr bullets.

I have used Titegroup with good results, but to barely make USPSA major it requires a max load and I wouldn't be comfortable traveling to a match and then end up being scored minor.

I have tried 800X with 180gr lead bullets. I got a few pounds of it very cheaply from a friend who was using it for shotgun shells. It's on the slower end of the spectrum for .40. It is a large grain flake powder and does not meter well from a powder measure. If you don't mind weighing charges, it would work quite well.

Metal Tiger
December 18, 2011, 08:25 AM
I agree that medium burn powders are the best to use in the .40. AA#5, Unique, Power Pistol, HS6, WSF, and others have worked well for me with 180gr bullets.

I have used Titegroup with good results, but to barely make USPSA major it requires a max load and I wouldn't be comfortable traveling to a match and then end up being scored minor.

I have tried 800X with 180gr lead bullets. I got a few pounds of it very cheaply from a friend who was using it for shotgun shells. It's on the slower end of the spectrum for .40. It is a large grain flake powder and does not meter well from a powder measure. If you don't mind weighing charges, it would work quite well.
Hmmmmmm, doesn't sound like 800x is optimum for 40 cal. Thanks.

Redneck with a 40
December 18, 2011, 10:58 AM
I like Unique in 40 cal, 6.5 grains behind a 155 gr plated bullet.

bds
December 18, 2011, 12:49 PM
The reason that 180s are "frowned" upon is that if you have a casing with poor tension around the bullet, the bullet can be set back deeper into the casing if it is struck hard enough (such as hitting the feed ramp) ... I moved away from 180s, but not because I was afraid they would blow up. I just prefer the recoil characteristics of my 165 grain loads.
180 has more bullet inside the case to start with, so has more neck tension to start with, making set-back less likely to start with.
Bovice, I disagree with your theory/post. 40S&W has been my match caliber for the past 16 years and based on several hundred thousand rounds reloaded and shot, it mirrors what rcmodel posted.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=138364&stc=1&d=1300198575

Neck tension comes from friction between resized case neck and the surface area of the bullet's bearing surface seated inside the case neck. Yes, typical 180 gr bullets will have longer base/bearing surface than 155/165 gr bullets (see comparison picture above) and when the same OAL is used (I typically use 1.125" OAL), 180 gr bullets will be seated deeper in the case neck, increasing the neck tension. Even with the shorter 155 gr Montana Gold FMJ bullet, I do not experience inadequate neck tension (my QC check is to push on the bullet as hard as I can against the bench/chamber from the magazine and check for bullet set back). If you are experiencing bullet set back, you maybe over-flaring the case neck which decreases neck tension (I use minimal flare that you can't hardly see, but can feel with finger tips).

Ever wonder why some match shooters use JHP over FMJ/TMJ/CMJ? One reason is the hollow nose allows longer bullet base/bearing surface/deeper seating that improve neck tension and faster generation of chamber pressures (especially with lighter 155/165 gr bullets) to result in more consistent shot groups. This may not be the case, but let your holes on target make that determination. ;)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=154960&stc=1&d=1324231273

As to recoil, it's been my general experience that heavier bullets provide less felt recoil and muzzle snap than lighter bullets. For me, 180 gr bullet loads have been accurate even down to start charge with W231/HP-38 that recoils softer than typical 9mm loads, which indicates to me consistent chamber pressures produced in part with good neck tension.

Metal Tiger, although I like W231/HP-38 for target loads, I use WSF for full-power loads.

gamestalker
December 18, 2011, 01:44 PM
I've noticed the same thing as BDS, lighter bullets seem to have more felt recoil, more snap than heavier bullets. This is why I personally prefer to carry 158's in my .357 mag. because the 125's are really bad for recoil and muzzle jump.

I load quite a bit of 9mm and .40 and have not had neck tension problems to date, outside of a couple of pieces of brass that wouldn't even resize for some reason ( range pick ups). But generally speaking, haven't had that problem of bullet set back. But I also rarely bell my mouths, I give my brass a light ream and chamfer before seating, I guess that provides slightly better neck tension, seems too? However, I don't load lead, and I'm fairly sure lead will shave without a little belling.

Regarding 800X, that's a powder I'm going to give a try at some point in time. It deffinitely has a good slow burn rate.

Bovice
December 21, 2011, 06:26 AM
bds,

I've never had any setback problems. I'm just reposting what I've read from other people. They worry that the 180s occupy more case volume than a lighter bullet at the same OAL and that setback could be more catastrophic if it were to happen. I would not hesitate to load up 180 grainers, even with titegroup. I just like the 165s more.

edfardos
December 23, 2011, 11:19 AM
how much aa #5 do you put under a 180fmj? Plated bullets? I've been using 6.5grains, but I don't have an fps measurement. recoil is like factory ammo however.

curiously,

edfardos

Jurist
December 23, 2011, 11:32 AM
I have been reloading 40S&W for the past year now into my Stoeger 8040 with satisfactory results,I too am using Hornady FMJFP bullets.I just bought 500 of them from Galf&sons along with 180grn FMJHP.The FMJFP have been discontinued this year by Hornady so you can find them cheaper now.

J_McLeod
December 23, 2011, 12:20 PM
I just started reloading the 40 a few months ago. I got good accuracy and recoil from HS-6 and 231, but prefer the HS-6.

Trad Archer
December 23, 2011, 09:58 PM
I love 180s with HS-6.

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