40 S&W Powders


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Grubby
November 8, 2012, 07:33 PM
Hello, this winter I am looking to improve my skill set as a handgun shooter. I am terrible at this and have always wanted to get better. I looked through my powder supply and didn't really find a powder well suited for the 40. I was using Blue Dot powder for my loads, and I was reading that it's better for the magnum cartridges. What would be your powder choice that shoots well and good for beginners?

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bds
November 8, 2012, 07:44 PM
I have used W231/HP-38 for lighter target loads and Universal/WSF/AutoComp for full power loads with good results.

gahunter12
November 8, 2012, 09:15 PM
I agree. W231/HP38 are both great for 40s&w. I have loaded a lot of rounds with W231. Now days all I use for my 40s&w loads for practice, and Compitition is Winchester WST. I LOVE WST. Oh did I tell you I LOVE WST. It's has a little softer recoil, and a lot cleaner than W231. WST is a ball powder like W231, and meters well also. I load 3.9gr under 180gr Berry's RSFP for winter IDPA matches, and 4.1gr under 180gr Berry's RSFP for summer. WST is a little reverse temp sensitive ( gains pressure in cold temps, and reduces presure in hot temps), but not bad.

Grubby
November 8, 2012, 09:27 PM
Ok, well that sounds good since I use 180 gr. XTP's. Is WST a common enough powder to find at say a cabelas?

bds
November 8, 2012, 10:09 PM
I usually see WST stocked at LGS but don't see it on Cabelas' website (http://www.cabelas.com/product/Winchester-Smokeless-Ball-Powder/741160.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3DWinchester%2BWST%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=Winchester+WST&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products#productChart).

If you order online, most vendors stock it like Powder Valley (http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/) and Graf & Sons (http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/search/keywords/Winchester+WST).

gunlaw
November 8, 2012, 10:27 PM
I have tried many powders in the 40, but I always come back to AA#5. Its my go to for 165-180g cast and plated.

Arkansas Paul
November 8, 2012, 10:37 PM
The ol standbyes Unique and Bullseye are both great for .40. I prefer Bullseye personally, but be careful with it. It's extremely fast burning and .40 is a pretty high pressure round to begin with. Small errors can be magnified.

CZ57
November 8, 2012, 11:23 PM
The .40 S&W cartridge has a naturally fast occurring pressure peak. For that reason I've always stayed away from fast burning powders. If you decide to duplicate factory velocity with 155 or 165 gr. bullets the faster burners won't safely allow you to do it. For 180s I wouldn't use anything faster than W231 or ZIP and I really wouldn't prefer either powder. I'd go AA#5 or slower.

bds recommended two very good choices with WSF and Autocomp. I'll recommend two more True Blue that is about the same burn rate as AA#5 but provides excellent accuracy. I've seen some reloading test where True Blue was the most accurate powder tested. The other choice would be Silhouette and it's in the same burn rate group with WSF and Autocomp. Before Ramshot started selling Silhouette it was introduced as Winchester Action Pistol, WAP, and is believed to be the powder Winchester used to develop the .40 S&W cartridge. If you ever decided to load self defense rounds Silhouette would be a great choice because it has a flash suppressant, one of the very few powders on the market that does. ;)

srtolly
November 8, 2012, 11:31 PM
Lot of great suggestions here. I'm also looking to try something different. I'm currently using 5gr of unique under a berrys 165gr fp. Been pretty accurate so far. Anyone use AA #2?

918v
November 9, 2012, 12:33 AM
The ol standbyes Unique and Bullseye are both great for .40. I prefer Bullseye personally, but be careful with it. It's extremely fast burning and .40 is a pretty high pressure round to begin with. Small errors can be magnified.


So don't load to the max with it. I like 4.6 grains under 180s.

Grubby
November 9, 2012, 08:39 AM
I do have some unique. I just couldn't find any data for it in my books. What is a load for the 180's? The only problem is that this powder is pretty old, it's made by hercules. I know powder stays good if you store it right for a long time. The recipies might have changed when hercules was sold to alliant.

JO JO
November 9, 2012, 10:24 AM
might want to look at HS6

MtnCreek
November 9, 2012, 10:37 AM
...sounds good since I use 180 gr. XTP's

That makes my wallet cry. Try the HAP's. They load and shoot the same as the XTP and cost less than even Win FMJ's. Great stuff for duplicating your carry load.

GW Staar
November 9, 2012, 10:49 AM
I do have some unique. I just couldn't find any data for it in my books. What is a load for the 180's? The only problem is that this powder is pretty old, it's made by hercules. I know powder stays good if you store it right for a long time. The recipies might have changed when hercules was sold to alliant.
According to Alliant, you should be good with your old Unique. The newer stuff they say burns a little cleaner, but other wise no change. I asked Alliant by email if I should be worried about differences between new and old 40 year stuff, and they said no. Sure enough it works the same IME. Just watch for acrid odd-smells....if it smells like smokeless powder it's good.

Unique works very well for me in both my .45's and my .40's....the powder is one of several good choices.

Grubby
November 9, 2012, 11:24 AM
How many grains of unique? Alliant's guide online lists a 6.7 grain charge. But I don't think there is much reason to go near that, espically since these loads are just for practice. The reason I use 180 XTP's, is that it was a gift. So I'm gonna use them up, but I will still stick with 180's.

beatledog7
November 9, 2012, 11:56 AM
I use light to moderate charges of Bullseye for most lighter bullets, but above 165 grains I switch to moderate charges of HS-6 or AutoComp.

With this cartridge the reloader has to be mindful of the high pressure that it naturally develops and that even a little bit too much of any powder can be dangerous.

I never load .40 cal to max, period.

Bovice
November 9, 2012, 03:21 PM
Trail Boss. Anything else is too fast, because .40 goes kaboom. It's actually not even reloadable. You shouldn't do it.

rogn
November 9, 2012, 03:24 PM
You mention being a beginner, I would under those circumstances use a powder than takes ups lot of space. This makes the possibility of double charges much less likely. Two powders I use are the before mentioned HS-6--good moderate range powder for 180gr. Good power loads can be worked up on Longshot. In all cases review the manuals. Inf can be accessed from the manufacturers on line. I also use long shot in the 10mm for hunting loads(nuf said)

jr_watkins
November 9, 2012, 03:30 PM
Alliant Power Pistol is my favorite for 40S&W. Plenty of volume so you don't overcharge by accident like you can with faster powders.

srtolly
November 9, 2012, 03:57 PM
I'm using 5.3gn of unique under 180gn hard cast lead. Has been pretty good for me.

4895
November 9, 2012, 03:58 PM
Power Pistol.

Buy a 4 lb. jug of it and don't look back!

Walkalong
November 9, 2012, 04:06 PM
Any medium speed powder will work adequately. Anything from W-231 to HS-6, plus everything in between.

I like Universal Clays for general .40 loading. It works well, and I have plenty.

Josh45
November 9, 2012, 04:17 PM
Blue Dot is better suited for the magnum cartridges as it is a slow burning powder.
You would be better suited to use a bit faster burning powder.

I would recommend,

W-231 ( HP-38 )
Power Pistol
Unique
Bullseye


Out of those options, I liked W-231 and Power Pistol for the .40.

Grubby
November 9, 2012, 06:39 PM
I'm gonna plan on using unique until I run out. Gives me an excuse to purchase a different powder. Don't have too much left. After that though, it'll be a hard choice. It will probably come down to which powder the local gun shop has.

JEB
November 9, 2012, 08:49 PM
for my plinker/target loads (170gr SWC) i use w-231. when i want full power loads i prefer power pistol or AA#7.

david bachelder
November 10, 2012, 09:36 AM
Hodgdon Universal

I use it for all of my .40 reloading. It burns clean and leaves little or no residue.

I do use the midrange loads,

5.0 grains Universal under a 175 grain cast RNFP
or 5.0 grains under a 180 grain Berrys plated RNFP

The .40's get a little snappy if I go over 5 grains.

Crashbox
November 10, 2012, 09:52 AM
Hodgdon Longshot is my exclusive powder for the .40 S&W; I use 7.5 grains to push 180 FMJ's as my SD emulation practice round. High velocities and reasonable pressures with this powder sold me on it.

yippi
November 11, 2012, 12:34 AM
Silhouette and Berrys plated 155 gr. very accurate ouy of my XD.

parkerdude
November 11, 2012, 12:41 AM
I've been shooting 6.0 grs. of IMR "PB" under a 150gr. jhp for years. My notes say something over 30,000 rounds since 2005.

Consistant, clean burning.

My Dillon 550B is set-up for this load right now!

jjjitters
November 11, 2012, 01:07 AM
As Walkalong said any powder slower than win231/hp-38 will do a good job. I like some powders better because they soften up the sharpness of the .40's recoil, Silhouette is one really nice one,so are N320(a little fast though) or N340. For much of my cast lead AA#5 or WSF are good ones.

Walkalong
November 11, 2012, 11:07 AM
Silhouette and Berrys plated 155 gr. very accurate ouy of my XD.I am fourtyless at the moment, but my son just bought one, and I have some Ranier 155s, so maybe this is the time to try Silhouette in .40.

I like some powders better because they soften up the sharpness of the .40's recoil, Silhouette is one really nice oneI agree with the recoil thing, and that sounds like another reason to try the Silhouette in .40. I really like Universal in .40, but I like to try new things as well.

rsrocket1
November 11, 2012, 11:10 AM
Since January, I went through 4 pounds of Bullseye loading primarily for my M&P40. I'm very glad I cast my own bullets and reload, otherwise I would have probably written off this gun as simply "unshootable for me". I finally got used to the jump for good follow up shots and can finally put most of my shots rather than just my first shot through a 2" circle at 15 yards (most of the time). For a change, I've just picked up an 8 pound jug of Unique which should last me at least through the next year.

Both powders are quite forgiving [B][I]in the mid range loading area[\I][\B]. +/- 0.2g isn't going to blow anything up and the trick is to load it up above the minimum level to where it doesn't leave sooty cases, blowback gases into your face or spray unburned powder all over the place. Bullseye is a finer powder with a higher nitroglycerine content which will eat up the Hornady Plastic powder hopper if left in there for any amount of time. It is also denser than Unique which is dangerous if you have a tendency to double charge 38/357 cases. It is also more economical in that you need 10-20% less powder than Unique to get the same muzzle velocity.

Unique is a good bulky powder which will easily let you know if you double charge a case. It is also a little lower pressure powder which will let you reach a higher max velocity than Bullseye, but not quite as high as Power Pistol. PP is great for max velocity, but you need way more powder per charge and you'll get a good muzzle blast and flash which may be annoying to you or others.

Red Dot and Clays are excellent for building up pressure without high velocity (recoil). They are great powders for low recoil loads, but shooters get into pressure troubles when trying to reach high velocities with these powders. I use Clays for a clean burning load when I want my 40 to feel like a 9mm.

Hodgdon Universal is similar in performance to Unique but more expensive and a bit cleaner burning and I have been told measures better than Unique although I have never had a problem with Unique.

PO2Hammer
November 11, 2012, 11:39 AM
Universal for the .40.
Medium speed, good load density, good metering, clean clean clean.

918v
November 11, 2012, 11:42 AM
Four Grains of Titegroup is it.

partyboy424
November 17, 2012, 02:59 PM
Another vote for Silhouette. You want to load it on the hotter side since pressure makes a big difference in a clean burn with it. But it's still very very soft and meters extremely well. Out of an M&P 40 I load anywhere from 6.0-6.2 grains (6.2 is MAX so work up to it) at 1.135 to 1.160

1.135 at 6 grains and 1.160 at 6.2 grains give almost the exact same velocity. I'll then reduce COAl to get the Velocity I need for USPSA shooting. 6grains though at any of those lengths will be super clean and soft with a still pretty safe margin of error.

918v
November 17, 2012, 05:18 PM
I agree with the recoil thing, and that sounds like another reason to try the Silhouette in .40. I really like Universal in .40, but I like to try new things as well.

AA#7 is softer than Silhouette at the same velocity level. The problem I'm having with S is it groups 1" to the right and the rear sight is cranked over to the left already. AA#7 prints dead on.

kennedy
November 17, 2012, 06:45 PM
I have tried AA#5, 231, and universal clays, all did well but the clays was cleaner so that is what I use with 155 gr rainers plated.

srtolly
November 17, 2012, 07:11 PM
I just worked up a load with AA#2 for 165gr berrys. 5.4gr was very accurate even with me shooting.

J_McLeod
November 17, 2012, 08:36 PM
My favorite powders for the for 40 and the 9 are HS-6 and 231, with a nod towards HS-6, especially in the 40.

Walkalong
November 17, 2012, 09:25 PM
AA#7 is softer than Silhouette at the same velocity level. The problem I'm having with S is it groups 1" to the right Interesting. I loaded up some 155 Gr Raniers I had laying around for my son's new .40. It is a S&W SD40VE and I am impressed with the feel and the trigger. The trigger is long (A little like DA on a revolver.), but smooth and not heavy at all like the similar S&W Sigma. I like it. We are going to shoot it tomorrow morning. I loaded some of the Raniers with Silhouette and some with Universal Clays. Neither are max loads.

zxcvbob
November 17, 2012, 09:44 PM
Is there no love for Green Dot?

rfwobbly
November 17, 2012, 09:49 PM
If you like the way w231/HP38 meters, then try WSF. It's slightly slower, with all the best characteristics of 231.

plateshooter
November 19, 2012, 06:15 AM
I use 4.2gr of Red Dot with 175-180 grain lead bullets. Shot thousands through my Glock G20 w/40S&W conversion barrel, and my XDM. No leading, accurate, and clean burning for a lead bullet load.

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