Need help with .40 recipe, please...


March 7, 2012, 07:11 PM
I'm using Bullseye and I need a good range for a Rainier 180g plated HP. I cannot find this bullet in any manual. Thanks!

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March 7, 2012, 07:19 PM
Berry Bullet says in the website FAQ to use mid-range jacketed bullet data for their plated bullets.

Find data for a 180 jacketed bullet of the same shape and use the starting load data to start, then work up to mid-range loads.

Personally though, I think Bullseye is about as bad a powder choice for 180 in the .40 as you can make.

Use a mid range burn rate like Unique for less chance of pressure spikes if a bullet sets back in feeding.

Fast powder reaches peak chamber pressure before maximum velocity is achieved.
Slow powder pushes on the bullet over a longer time frame before reaching Max allowable pressure for the caliber.

Think of it as trying to move a bowling ball.

You can hit it as hard as you can with your fist. (fast powder)
And break your fist without moving the bowling ball very fast.

Or you can give it a hard shove with the palm of your hand, and give it a more gradual acceleration without hurting yourself. (medium or slow powder)

It is possible to move the bowling ball much faster by pushing it then by smacking it as hard as you can.
And you won't break every bone in your hand!


March 7, 2012, 07:31 PM
Closest published data is 4.6g for a jacketed bullet (Hornady) and 5.5g from Alliant's web guide. I know that's a big gap, but Alliant often lists max loads.

I use anywhere from 3.8g for light loads (840fps) to 5.0g for 1000fps out of a 4.25" S&W M&P40 with a COL of 1.135" using Xtreme Plated bullets. Since casting I found almost identical performance with the Lee 401-175TC (which drop out at 180g for me). Sized to .401 and seated to the same depth, I get the same velocities. I have since settled on 4.0g (875 fps) for regular practice loads and this lenght and load feed and cycle the gun just fine.

You might want to heed RC's advice, but BE works very well for me. I am very careful in my loading and always look into each case to ensure no double charges using an LED lamp shining into the case prior to placing the bullet in the seating stage. BE is more dense than Unique and there is a bigger chance to miss seeing a double charge.

March 7, 2012, 07:33 PM
Watch your fps. Plated bullets should be under 1200 fps. I use either the starting load for FMJ or a mid range lead load and chrono to make sure I am not exceeding. I don't have data for 180gr but load 155gr berry bullets with 5.2gr of Win231. Not at the bench but think that puts me in the 1050-1100 fps range.

Here is a list of powder burn rates.

I use Win 231 for a lot of my pistol loads. It's close to Unique.

March 7, 2012, 07:41 PM
but Alliant often lists max loadsAlliant has ALWAYS listed MAX loads only.
You are expected to reduce 10% for the Starting load.

They say in bold print in the Alliant powder guides.
The Powder charge weights listed in out data tables are Maximum. For rifle & pistol loads, the maximum powder charge should be reduced by 10% to establish a minimum or starting powder charge.


March 7, 2012, 08:09 PM
Hollow Point (HP) bullet will have longer base than typical Truncated Cone Flat Point (TCFP) bullet and be seated deeper in the case neck. I would reduce the start charge by another .2-.3 gr for Bullseye if using load data for TCFP.

+1 for rcmodel's comment on Bullseye being too fast for comfort in 40S&W. Besides, it produces more snappier recoil than 40S&W already is.

FWIW, I have used Rainier 180 TCFP (not HP) with 3.8-4.1 gr of W231/HP-38 for light recoil and 4.3-4.5 gr for mild recoil and very accurate target loads with no pressure issues. YMMV depending on recoil spring rate.

March 7, 2012, 10:09 PM
I've also used Unique, Red Dot and Power Pistol with 40 S&W and agree that Unique is probably the best all around powder for the cartridge with Red Dot being good for ridiculously light recoil loads that keep the action working and PP for max velocity loads.

The OP asked for Bullseye loads and while I agree that Bullseye may not be the optimum powder for 40S&W, it is certainly a capable powder for mid range (800-1000fps) loads at a very economical price.

Since I worked up loads for 40, 45ACP, 38SP and 357 magnum and light .308win with Bullseye and found that it works well for my purposes (general purpose target shooting), I made a small "commitment" to it and bought a 4# jug for $57 at the LGS. It burns dirty if undercharged, but like Unique, cleans up nicely when loaded up to its proper operating pressure (about 13 to 14,000 psi) leaving only soot rather than unburned flakes everywhere. That's right around 4.0g.

Now that I am able to do a QL run, I would recommend going no higher than 4.7g for your Rainier 180g Plated HP seated to 1.135". That still gives you a 25% margin in max pressure and should give you about 980 fps in a 4.25" gun. If you seat shorter, you will generate more max pressure sooner so act accordingly.

As others have said, start low, work your way up and stop when you find your best accuracy, max recoil for your comfort, or any signs of excessive pressure on the cases.

Claude Clay
March 7, 2012, 10:18 PM
power pistol is used to make my 40 S&W 180 gr.
try for a velocity in the mid to upper 800's

rcmodel is correct about bullseye;
i use it in short bbl guns...under 3.5"

March 7, 2012, 10:41 PM
Berry Bullet says in the website FAQ to use mid-range jacketed bullet data for their plated bullets

Forgive me, but Berry's Bullets know squat about their junk, since they do NOT test any of their stuff themselves, try Lyman's 49th edition for load data.


March 7, 2012, 11:02 PM
Recommend you use a slower powder for 180gr bullets in .40S&W. I like HS-6.

March 7, 2012, 11:07 PM
Berry's Bullets know squat about their junk
jim, with all due respect, with what basis are you making your statement?

I do believe Berry's MFG conducts certain amount of limited product testing (like in the case of new premium hollow point bullets) but lack the proper facilities to conduct full-range pressure testing to publish load data. There are limited amount of published load data currently available (done with actual Berry's MFG plated bullets) and more to be released when more comprehensive testing is done by powder manufacturers.

Accurate load data (version 3.5) ( for Berry's (BRY) and Rainier (RAN) plated bullets.

This is from Hodgdon load data (

Cartridge: 9mm Luger
Barrel Length: 4"
Primer: CCI 500

130 gr BERB RN Clays .356" 1.150" Start 2.7 gr (755 fps) 27,400 PSI - Max 3.0 gr (853 fps) 31,700 PSI

130 gr BERB RN 700-X .356" 1.150" Start 3.5 gr (904 fps) 26,300 PSI - Max 3.9 gr (998 fps) 31,100 PSI

130 gr BERB RN Titegroup .356" 1.150" Start 3.5 gr (895 fps) 27,400 PSI - Max 3.9 gr (1006 fps) 32,100 PSI

130 gr BERB RN IMR PB .356" 1.150" Start 3.4 gr (809 fps) 25,800 PSI - Max 3.8 gr (921 fps) 32,300 PSI

130 gr BERB RN SR 7625 .356" 1.150" Start 4.2 gr (918 fps) 28,200 PSI - Max 4.7 gr (1026 fps) 32,000 PSI

130 gr BERB RN W231/HP-38 .356" 1.150" Start 3.9 gr (903 fps) 27,600 PSI - Max 4.3 gr (1005 fps) 33,100 PSI

130 gr BERB RN Universal .356" 1.150" Start 3.8 gr (857 fps) 26,600 PSI - Max 4.2 gr (978 fps) 31,500 PSI

130 gr BERB RN 800-X .356" 1.150" Start 5.3 gr (1032 fps) 28,700 PSI - Max 5.8 gr (1104 fps) 31,000 PSI

130 gr BERB RN HS-6 .356" 1.150" Start 5.9 gr (970 fps) 28,300 PSI - Max 6.5 gr (1097 fps) 31,800 PSI

130 gr BERB RN AutoComp .356" 1.150" Start 4.8 gr (990 fps) 27,500 PSI - Max 5.3 gr (1093 fps) 33,500 PSI

130 gr BERB RN Longshot .356" 1.150" Start 5.2 gr (970 fps) 27,500 PSI - Max 5.8 gr (1115 fps) 33,900 PSI

March 7, 2012, 11:27 PM
I'm using Bullseye for the .40 S&W but mostly for 180 gr. lead bullets. My favorite load is 4.2 grs of Bullseye with Missouri cast bullets. When using Rainier or Berry's plated bullets I go with Accurate #2 or #5, as there is data for them. LM

March 8, 2012, 02:27 AM
Berry Bullet says in the website FAQ to use mid-range jacketed bullet data for their plated bullets.
OP, be careful. Berry's and Rainier's are not the same bullet. Rainier's recommends lead data for their bullets. You might think they're all the same. I did. Until I tried subbing Rainier 155 gr FP's in the loads I worked up with Berrys 155 gr FP. They proved too hot for my Glock. Fortunately, I had another pistol which gladly ate 'em up.

March 11, 2012, 05:15 PM
First, thanks everyone for your input. I really appreciate it. I've been researching my manuals and Lyman 49th shows a 180g JHP with W231 range of 5.0g - 5.6g, 927fps and 1015fps, respectively. I'll start at 5.0, load a couple mags and then do the same for
5.2g and 5.4. I'll take them to the bench, bag rest my Kahr CW45 and see what works best. Think of this as Kahr Madness as I'll have a tournament for powders to find that best load for myself and my Kahr. Then, on to the next powder and/or gun. Does anyone see an issue with my range I'm starting with up at the top of this post? Thanks, again.

March 11, 2012, 05:29 PM
I meant my CW40.

March 11, 2012, 05:44 PM
Lyman 49th shows a 180g JHP with W231 range of 5.0g - 5.6g, 927fps and 1015fps, respectively. I'll start at 5.0, load a couple mags and then do the same for
5.2g and 5.4
Not so fast. I would suggest more like 3.8-4.0 gr to start. Here's why.

Rainier Ballistics ( recommends you use lead load data for their plated bullets, not jacketed load data.
Q6. What if I can't find load data for your bullets?

A. If you have a load for a cast lead bullet, that will transfer across the board as far as our bullets go. We recommend a starting powder charge directly between the listed minimum and maximum load.

Besides, Lyman #49 used .401" groove diameter 4" test barrel instead of more typical .400" and start/max powder charges are higher than other load data (I don't know what Lyman technicians were thinking when they did that :rolleyes:).

So, unless your groove diameter is oversized at .401", I tend to reference powder manufacturer's published load data.

Hodgdon load data (
180 gr Hornady XTP W231/HP-38 Bullet Diameter .400" OAL 1.125" Start 4.1 gr (797 fps) 23,800 PSI - Max 5.0 gr (947 fps) 32,900 PSI

I think it's better to start at lower start charge than at published max ... ;)

As to lead load data for W231, I reference 1999 Winchester load data (

March 11, 2012, 06:32 PM
bds, I really appreciate your info here. Really good help.

March 11, 2012, 06:35 PM
One last question, if I start at 3.8g and work up in .2g increments, what would you say would be a max up to "mid range?"

March 11, 2012, 07:03 PM
That will be up to you and your pistol/recoil spring rate.

I get reliable slide cycling/spent case extraction even with 3.8 gr of W231/HP-38 and Rainier/Berry's 180 gr TCFP plated bullets using M&P40/Glocks.

3.8-4.1 gr will produce lighter recoil than 9mm yet accurate loads.

4.2-4.3 gr will produce mild recoil/accurate loads.

4.5 gr will start to increase the recoil more typical of 40S&W and still be accurate. For Rainier 180 gr TCFP, I would consider 4.5 gr "mid range" as using .420" taper crimp, I have yet to experience plating separation from the lead core even when loaded towards max load data.

If you don't experience decrease in accuracy, you can try the work up towards 5.0 gr while looking for pressure signs/issues.

March 11, 2012, 07:27 PM
just did 6grs Unique w/ 155 plated 40S&W 1.13OAL shot real well

As stated elsewhere, Unique's been hittng the ball good for many decades...

March 12, 2012, 06:26 AM
^ I notice a lot of people load 40SW well below Alliant's data for Unique. I'm not sure the discrepancy, but they list 8 grains of Unique under a 155 gr Gold Dot.

For a JACKETED bullet, 6 grains wouldn't even be a starting load. I know it's plated, but...

I'm just here to say 7.1 grains of Unique behind a Berry's 155 grain bullet shoots just fine in my guns!

March 12, 2012, 10:19 AM
^I simply used lead bullet data as published & available. I had no intentions of medium or max loads I just wanted a starter round and didn't want to drag the chrono out up & down & all around I just wanted to shoot yesterday!

Fairly accurate load I might keep it:), just pointing out to the OP that Unique's a good choice too as others (yourself included) have pointed out!

March 13, 2012, 05:58 AM
I seem to remember Unique being the oldest original recipe in existance. Been around for quite a while. Personally, HS 6 works great and I have spoken with many national competitors that use HS 6 as well. But, as has been said before, by people a lot more knowledgeable, each weapon is different and your load will depend on your weapon. Try several and see what works for you and yours.

March 13, 2012, 08:37 AM
Hodgdon Clays does the same thing as Bullseye, and is much cleaner burning. Hodgdon Universal does the same thing as Unique, and is much cleaner burning. Hodgdon's website has all the load data you would need.

March 13, 2012, 09:36 AM
6.5 of aa#5 under berry 180gr yields 875fps on average thru a ruger p944 .40. Berrys are great' and I get the same result with xtreme bullets. I've also seen berrys break up at 1200fps in a 9mm.


March 13, 2012, 10:42 AM
Hodgdon Clays does the same thing as Bullseye, and is much cleaner burning.

Are you sure about that? I wouldn't doubt the cleaner part.
I believe that Clays is quite a bit faster burning than Bullseye, even faster than Red Dot. It does lead to more economical loads (about 3.3g for a max load with a 180g bullet), but it peaks out at about 100fps slower than BE. In fact I was going to experiment with some Clay Dot which is supposed to be Alliant's clone of the Hodgdon powder for low recoil loads.

Correct me if I'm totally off base, but from what I've heard, Bullseye is based off of Unique (some say floor sweepings, which I doubt, but it could be finer ground flakes of Unique with an added coating of Nitroglycerine. I suspect the extra coating because the flakes are more prone to sticking to and discoloring the plastic powder measure hoppers. This makes the initiation faster, but the core burn of the powder the same as Unique which accounts for being able to load Bullseye to almost the same mv as Unique for the same max chamber pressure). In pistols, Bullseye requires about 10-20% less powder than Unique for mid range loads. When allowed to burn completely, equal charges of Bullseye and Unique produce almost equal total energy. 11g of each gives me about the same 1750 fps with a 110g Plated RN bullet in my 22" .308.

I also read somewhere that Power Pistol is based on Unique with finer flakes like Bullseye, but with a retardant to make it burn slightly slower than Unique. This allows for higher charges and higher mv's at the expense of less complete burning of the powder by the time the bullet exits the barrel. The under oxidized burn products produce the pronounced muzzle flash of PP when the gasses exit the barrel. Power Pistol gives just enough added velocity to make the difference for competitive shooters to make power factor if they are on the edge. It is not very economical because you do have to use quite a bit more powder to get there. The muzzle flash can also be a distraction if you shoot indoors or in a situation where you don't want to be blinded by it.

March 13, 2012, 08:56 PM
Clays and Universal Clays are also 15-20% more expensive than the respective Alliant powders you have cited.

Universal (and AA#5) also has a reputation (deserved or not) of blowing up 40SW handguns with 180 gr bullets. Some claim it has a spiky pressure curve in that loading. I almost hate the amount of information you can find on the net, since a lot of it is unsubstantiated, yet it's there!

March 13, 2012, 10:23 PM
AA#5.Once you try it for 180g 40's you will see it's hard to beat. Power Pistol is a close 2nd.

March 14, 2012, 12:07 PM
I agree Bullseye is not the best choice for the .40. Have you considered test driving Accurate #7? It was specifically formulated for the .40 and works very well with quite a range of load tolerance. I have been loading with it for a couple of decades and have never been dissapointed.

For the 108 HP try:

No.7 180 HDY XTP 7.7 861 8.5 978 34,600 1.135


March 14, 2012, 07:32 PM
Another good powder for the 180 gr. Hornady XTP's is Longshot. Right out of their data book; (180 gr. XTP - 8.0 grs. Longshot - Win. SP - OAL 1.125 = 1'159 fps w/ 32,300 psi.) LM

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