New Gun = New Charge Weight?


December 21, 2011, 10:05 AM
Hi all, looking for some input on something I have run into and not sure why this is happening and would like to learn from some people with more experience then myself. OK here goes,

I had worked up loads for .40S&W for my FNX using HS-6, Hodgon site calls for 6.1 to 6.9 for 180gr bullet and a COL of 1.125. I use Berry's FP so I started at the low end and worked my way up to 6.7grs which I liked the best so that is where I stayed. My crimp diameter was from .422 to .424 depending on the mixed brass.

I just recently picked up a S&W 4003 TSW and first time to the range and noticed that my loads felt real hot for this gun. Didn't see any signs of over pressure it was just a feel thing. So I decided to work up some new loads, went to 6.5grs and those still felt too hot when shooting, so the next loads I went down to 6.2/6.3 and these felt real good. The only thing that I did different was went to a separate taper crimp die to get more consistent crimp at .422, I could probably go down to 6.0 grs for a more soft shooter but I think I will stay where I am at.

Any insight as to why this worked out this way, I was thinking it may be the crimp diameter but not sure, maybe the FNX had more gas leakage, I would like to hear some thoughts on this, thanks

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December 21, 2011, 10:15 AM
I usually cross reference several manuals when working up a load. I also use a chronograph most of the time during development. Is HS-6 a very common powder for the 40 S&W? Have you seen data from other sources besides Hodgdon? I normally use a modest-mid charge of H Universal under a plated 165 grn bullet for my all-around 40 S&W loads. They cycle fine & won't hurt the gun. H Universal is a touch faster than HS-6 but still mid speed for handgun powders.

December 21, 2011, 12:07 PM
Noticed that my loads felt real hot for this gun. Didn't see any signs of over pressure it was just a feel thing. So I decided to work up some new loads, went to 6.5grs and those still felt too hot when shooting, so the next loads I went down to 6.2/6.3 and these felt real good.

What dose hot mean? You changed weapons and depending on the size of weapon, recoil springs and every thing else they can have different felt recoil. Changing the crimp will effect pressures and change felt recoil as well. Are you shooting the plated bullets at lead load data or are you shooting them full power? Just by looking at the load data you posted I would guess you are shooting the plated bullets at jacketed bullet levels which could cause problems, then added a crimp die and changed weapons so what is your question.

December 21, 2011, 12:09 PM
The really good loads like to shoot in many guns. Finicky loads, no matter how hood, just don't measure up to the ones where a grain or two more or less powder still shoots well, and it shoots well in all your guns.

December 21, 2011, 02:30 PM
It might be that the S&W just flips more than the FNX.
Try the same factory load in each and see what the "felt recoil" is between the two guns.

December 21, 2011, 04:11 PM
I like 6.5gr of HS-6 behind a 180gr Lead RNFP in my Beretta PX4, so my guess is both of your loads seem to be in line.

I agree with others that the different weight of the guns and the different springs could make big differences in felt recoil. If you didn't have overpressure signs and the loads are still accurate I would find a happy medium that works for both guns and go with that.

I love HS-6 for the 40, good luck.

December 21, 2011, 04:19 PM
What's the difference in the slide weight? You don't have to break out a scale, just hold them in your hands and see which one feels heavier.

Which recoil spring feels stouter? Check your perception by racking the slides.

Try chronographing the same load in both guns. Shoot 15 or so through each and figure out what the average velocity is. Accounting for differences in barrel length (if they are different by an inch or more), see if the velocities aren't what they should be. If you're seeing a velocity spike in your S&W, your pressures are probably too high in that gun.

Metal Tiger
December 21, 2011, 04:24 PM
Correct me if I am wrong but when working up a load its usually for grouping on paper? A load can be tuned to felt recoil that is acceptable but it seems that point of aim and grouping is what is the point. Am I wrong here?

December 21, 2011, 05:44 PM
If recoil is making a noticeable difference, then adjusting the load for more comfortable recoil will probably be accompanied by better grouping.

I've noticed that once I am accustomed to the recoil of a handgun, I could start bumping up the charge and keep the same grouping, but if I start with a new gun and a stiff load, it takes much longer to get comfortable shooting that gun.

December 21, 2011, 06:09 PM
I'm a big fan of HS6 for both my .40 and 9mm loads. I've loaded the same load for all of the .40's in this family for a very long time, and all have performed very well with no ill issues. Do I experience a noticable degree of recoil difference from one weapon to the next, of course, different springs, and other physical characteristics are at play here. How many times have you or somone else made the remark, " I sure like the way that firearm feels when I shoot it" or " I just don't like the way that firearm handles". I would have to agree with other's that you are likely experiencing felt recoil, that is a firearm related issue. And most importantly, if your not seeing any physical evidense of higher pressures, it then boils down to what degree of felt recoil your comfortable with, and then adjusting your load to meet those expectations.

For the heavier bullet your using, my choice is Longshot over HS6. But both are very good powder's for an upper end performance range, in my opinion.

December 21, 2011, 06:59 PM
Thanks for the input so far guys, as some asked I guess when I said "Hot" I should have said more felt recoil, way to much for my liking. I did check the weight of the guns and the S&W is 4 oz's heavier, same barrel length same OAL and the springs feel about the same when racking the slide, so I guess I would have expected less felt recoil. I didn't think to try a factory load in both, as I don't have any but good point.

In trying to gain more knowledge of reloading I was asking what would be some of the causes for this "Felt Recoil", the only thing that I changed beside the gun was the crimp, and by about .001 to .002. If that would do it, that's why I asked, because I wasn't sure. I do realize the gun makes a difference but since these guns are similar I wasn't expecting .5 grs difference.

So in short to those that have a few guns in the same caliber, what is the best way to try and find a load that works in all of them, and still get good results and are reliable, thanks for all the help

December 21, 2011, 09:27 PM
Please ignore the unsafe reloading practices I'm about to share. That's besides the point I want to make. :)

I worked up to the max jacketed data of AutoComp behind a 155 gr Berry's bullet in a G27. Stout but manageable. I shot 300 or so, and it became my go-to load for range use.

Bought some Rainer's 155 gr bullets and decided to do a straight swap without working them up again. The recoil was brutal. Totally different from the Berry's. Accuracy was absolutely miserable. But the gun didn't blow up and the brass wasn't bulged, at all (like I've been told a Glock 40 will do to even normal loads.) So I kept at it, even though every few shots had me accidentally locking the slide back due to the recoil. Then finally I had a malfunction that had nothing to do with user error. I had a complete failure to eject. The spent casing was still in the chamber, and the gun tried to doublefeed. That's when I finally came to my senses and decided this load was too hot. I backed of half a grain for the rest of those Rainier's, and my overloads sat around on the shelf.

But I wasn't done being stupid. In the meantime I had acquired an FNX40 that was a pussycat to shoot compared to the G27, so I decided to try those loads, again. I got the gun cheap, so what the heck? I wore gloves and I always wear glasses. Ran the rest of the batch of 100 rds, and they felt no worse for recoil than my new, lower powered Glock loads. And they were accurate, too!

So yeah, different guns will sometimes have to be loaded differently. This is universally recognized for rifle reloading. But it can happen with pistols, too. If you think about it, some guns will just stay locked longer than other guns, due to slide mass and recoil spring weight, lug/cam design, and whatever else goes into it. They can sometimes be loaded hotter, so long as the gun is strong enough to handle the peak pressure and extra slide velocity. Cuz it's not gun that's usually the first thing to blow out in a semi auto; it's the brass. If the gun stays locked longer, then the gun can shoot hotter ammo and still have time for the pressure to subside before the breech/barrel unlocks.

Hondo 60
December 21, 2011, 10:08 PM
I have several 38 specials.
Each has it's own "best load".

Yes, it's a pain in the rump, so I usually just load for my favorite gun & the rest will just make do.

But, I will also at times make a box or two for the other guns.

Just mark them very plainly so you can EASILY see which box goes with which gun.
I use these load cards...

December 21, 2011, 10:56 PM
Thanks again, I guess it's time to take the FNX back out and and try these new lighter loads and see how they do. I can see how this could be a pain in the rump for 2 different guns to have different loads. But if this is what I need to do, so be it, thanks for the tip on marking the box to match the gun.

Another excuse to get back to the range :)

December 24, 2011, 01:59 PM
I guess I am a 'lazy' reloader - lol - and just use one load for each bullet weight/design and use that in my pistols of the same caliber. I have three 9mm's (including a carbine) and run the same ammo in them without any negative issues. Same goes for my 2 - .380's.

I view it this way - ALL my .22LR rimfire firearms use the same ammo. And that is 3 .22LR only pistols plus 2 conversion kits for centerfire pistols.

Disclaimer - I am a recreational plinker, not a competitor. My reloads are all low-mid range using only plated or jacketed bullets (local range rules). My protocols keep ME happy. And honestly that is my only goal.

December 28, 2011, 10:05 PM
Just wanted to update this thread with some new info,

I had a chance to go to the range the other day and brought the FNX that was in question on my reloads. Well the loads that I worked up with 6.3grs and the new crimp diameter of .422 worked just fine in the FNX. This went against all my notes from when I was working up the loads for the FNX. From my notes I could not get slide lock from the lighter load, well the tighter crimp seemed to solve that. Thanks guys for the input on this thread.

December 29, 2011, 04:34 PM
Just be careful with that "tighter crimp" so you don't start having head space issues. Too much crimp can cause mis-fires at the very least, and other more serious problems, including pinching at the mouth that could cause high pressure spikes. A crimp doesn't function as a pressure management tool. Seating depth, powder charge, and primer's will have a managable pressure factor, but not the crimp. The crimp for a case that head spaces at the mouth, should always be just enough to close up the belling used during seating to prevent shaving.

For other cases, meaning those that don't head space at the mouth, you can over crimp without serious consequences, if any at all. I don't often address issues regarding crimps, unless, it appears someone is attempting to manage operating pressures with them, and where head space is concerned.

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