load for 40 sw


January 3, 2012, 10:13 PM
Hi just starting out reloading and have a question. I have alot of red dot, from loading shot shell but would like to find a 40 smith and wesson load to use it in. When they say 180 grain jhp is that any brand as long as the grains are the same. what about hornadys 180 grain xtp jhp, what are those?
tHANKS for any help

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January 3, 2012, 10:25 PM
Yes, you can use jacketed data for with jacketed bullet. The powder charge will be the same but the OAL may vary. User bds has some very good posts on how to determine the best OAL for your barrel. Better to err too long but within max than go too short.

January 3, 2012, 10:35 PM
Hornady's Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) bullets are designed for Extreme Terminal Performance (XTP).

Red Dot data in the 40 is not very common, but it is out there. I believe Lee manuals list Red Dot for the 40. That said, I would recommend something a little slower and more forgiving when loading 180's in the 40 S&W. Unique would be a good place to start.

BTW, do you have any reloading manuals? Beginning reloaders should always take the time to read the "how to" sections in the beginning of their manuals a few times before actually building any handloads.

OH, and Welcome to The HighRoad

January 3, 2012, 10:41 PM
Welcome to THR !!

Red Dot is a very fast powder in regards to the 40. First thing you'd want to do is go to the Alliant Powder web site and research your loads. That failing, then call the Alliant help line tomorrow. They'll be glad to email or fax you their researched loads directly.

If it's not a published load from the powder maker or bullet maker, then you don't want to use it.


January 3, 2012, 11:15 PM
yes i have some books and i been doing some reloading and i also believe i no how to stay safe with reloading. I currently us hogdon hs6 for my .40 but like i stated earlier i have a lot of red dot that i would like to find a load for. Is there a good lite load for 180 grain jhp and red dot, or is there a better pistol caliber to use red dot on?

January 3, 2012, 11:16 PM
1. Red Dot is not a great powder to use in 40 S&W unless you want light recoil rounds, then they are perfect because it builds up pressure fast and burns 100% by the time the bullet is only about 1" out of the case. I made great light recoil loads for my M&P40 with 180g Truncated Cone bullets with 2.8g Red Dot. Clean burning, 780 fps and cases that eject a few inches from the gun.

You will not get much more than about 900 fps with Red Dot before you start reaching the max pressure limit of 35k psi. A slower powder such as Unique or Power Pistol will let you more muzzle velocity without excessive pressure. Check out Alliant's website for recommended load data.

2. Since 40 S&W is considered a high pressure load, bullet seating depth is much more critical than in lower pressure rounds such as 45 ACP and 38 special. 1.135" cartridge over all length translates to very different volumes inside the case depending on the length of the bullet.


These three bullets are all .40 cal, 180g Truncated Cone bullets. From L to R:
eXtreme plated, Bear Creek Moly Coated, my own Lee cast 401-175-TC

The bullet lengths are .557", .595" and .563". If loaded with the same charge and to the same Overall Length, there could be as much as a 6,000 psi difference in peak pressue.

From other references (not my own measurements), The Hornady XTP's are .661", Speer 180g Gold Dot HP's are .610" so not all .40 cal 180g HP's are the same dimensions and you shouldn't interchange the bullet data unless you are absolutely sure all the other dimensions are the same.

Welcome to reloading and stay safe.

January 3, 2012, 11:42 PM
Red Dot is more suitable for non jacketed bullets and may require near max to max. charges to push an XTP out the barrel. Try some HS6 or Longshot or any of the other more common and suitable powders for jacketed loads.

January 4, 2012, 12:08 AM
Even though they may look similar 180 gr JHP bullets, shape of the bullet nose (ogive) may determine different OAL and how deep the bullet base gets seated inside the case neck affecting chamber pressures generated. First determine the Max (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678) and Ideal OAL (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7717654#post7717654) that will reliably feed/chamber in your pistol/barrel/magazine and conduct a full powder charge work up from starting charge to max while looking for pressure signs. It's better to start slightly less than be slightly too much over max. ;) Be safe.

Current Alliant load data does not list Red Dot for 40S&W - http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/Powder.aspx?powderid=4

Here is 2004 Alliant load data for 40S&W - http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=2004%20alliant%20red%20dot%20load%20data&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fglarp.atk.com%2F2004%2F2004Catalogs%2F2004AlliantPowderSM.pdf&ei=-NgDT5fJEcqWiAKlzOy7Dg&usg=AFQjCNHnWLp5LTU0YIrdLKjtAjtiKft_jg&cad=rja


Alliant states to use Red Dot load data for Promo by weight (http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/promo.aspx) and I have done some 9mm/40S&W (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=518185) and 45ACP testing (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=578444&highlight=promo+40S%26amp%3BW) with Promo as there is no published pistol load data for Promo (Use following information at your own risk as they contain unpublished load data).

BTW, for full power 40S&W loads, I prefer to use slower burning powders like WSF/AutoComp.

40 S&W loads tested with Glock 22/27 and Lone Wolf barrels:
155 gr FMJ (Montana Gold) at 4.8/5.2 gr with 1.125" OAL
180 gr Plated (Rainier Ballistics) at 4.5/4.8 gr with 1.125" OAL
180 gr Lead (Missouri Bullet) at 3.5/3.8/4.1/4.4 gr with 1.125" OAL

Shooting impressions off hand:

40S&W average shot groups:
155 FMJ/4.8 gr Promo - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil
155 FMJ/5.2 gr Promo - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil

180 Plated/4.5 gr Promo - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 2" - Firm recoil
180 Plated/4.8 gr Promo - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 3" - Firm recoil

180 Lead/3.5 gr Promo - Accuracy all over the 8x11 copy paper - Light recoil
180 Lead/3.8 gr Promo - 7 yard 2" - 10 yard 3" - 15 yard 4" - Mild recoil
180 Lead/4.1 gr Promo - 7 yard 1.5" - 10 yard 1" - 15 yard 4" - Moderate recoil
180 Lead/4.4 gr Promo - 7 yard 1" - 10 yard 2" - 15 yard 2.5" - Firm recoil

The 180 gr Rainier plated/4.5 gr was very accurate off hand. My first shot group produced 1" group at 15 yards with the G27! The 180 gr Missouri Bullet/4.4 gr was also very accurate off hand. The 180 Missouri Bullet/4.1 gr load also shows promise as I kept getting 1" group at 10 yards.

January 4, 2012, 12:54 AM
I would say as above red dot is way to fast burning, study manuals I like a slower
powder have had good luck with power pistol and .40 loads.

January 4, 2012, 04:05 AM
Red Dot will certainly push the bullet out the barrel. Probably just 1.0gn will do that job.
I really don't like the use of a very fast powder in the .40S&W. Fastest powder I feel good about is AA5, and even then only for light target loads.
.40S&W is, in some ways, a poorly designed cartridge meant simply to meet the FBI desire of a light 10mm load.
It certainly disassembles its share of guns each year--mostly with heavy bullets, very fast powders, and some very slight loading error.
If you want to have fun with your .40, get Silhouette or HS6.
If you want to get into action pistol shooting, be very very careful...

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