Loading the .40


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Coldfinger
November 26, 2012, 02:10 AM
I know this topic has been beat to death but I am a bit nervous with regard to reloading the .40. All the talk of bulging cases.... I have been reloading .45 for a few years now and have loaded some nice .270 in the past. I recently picked up a S&W M&P .40 on sale for 439.00. (A deal I thought) and want to add .40 to my reloading bench. My concerns are this...

1. Case bulge. How to remove it if I pick it up at the range?
2. Is the case still "safe" after removing the bulge?
3. How can I easily identify the bulged cases? Obviously if you see a bulge its got a bulge but one could be very slight and difficult to see with the naked eye. Is a bulge you can't see with the naked eye even a bulge to worry about?
4. Should I just throw the bulged cases in the recycle bucket?

I never load to max. Middle of the road, poke holes in paper loading.
Any pointers and tips will be awesome. If this post is in the wrong place I apologize and if I'm beating this issue to death please point me in the right direction so I can continue my research on the .40.

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noylj
November 26, 2012, 04:21 AM
1) I run all my .40 and .45 brass through a Lee Bulge Buster after cleaning.
2) If you can easily see the bulge, the case, in my opinion, is damaged and should NOT be used.
3) If you can't easily see it, it seems to be OK
4) Yes, don't let someone else pick them up and use them.
For .40, if you stay at low to mid-range, AA5 is the most accurate powder I have found. If you want to go up in load, go to Silhouette--very accurate at and near max loading.
I have been loading for 40 years, and I have had one case blow-up-.40S&W. I have never seen a case bulge on any of my loads, so I figure it had to be a charge error and I have put an RCBS Lock-Out die on all my progressives.
I load long and always do a "thumb push test" on all my reloads.

777TRUTH
November 26, 2012, 04:30 AM
1. Case bulge. How to remove it if I pick it up at the range?

I use LEE's dies and never had an issue. If you just want piece of mind you can always get a Lee Bulge Buster http://www.midwayusa.com/product/882261/lee-bulge-buster-base-sizing-kit-380-auto-40-s-and-w-45-acp

2. Is the case still "safe" after removing the bulge?

Yes. Always do a QC check on your brass before loading in your gun. I do mine after tumbling, my eyes can see problems better on clean brass. If you think there may be a problem toss it. No need to second guess or take an unnecessary risk.

3. How can I easily identify the bulged cases? Obviously if you see a bulge its got a bulge but one could be very slight and difficult to see with the naked eye. Is a bulge you can't see with the naked eye even a bulge to worry about?

IMO you are over thinking it. Grab a set of Lee dies and try loading a few dummy rounds to see how they chamber. If everything works you are good to go. If there is an issue get the Bulge Buster linked above or just use the bulge buster on every round.

4. Should I just throw the bulged cases in the recycle bucket?

No! Please send them to me for proper disposal :D

I never load to max. Middle of the road, poke holes in paper loading.

You should do fine, most issues relaoding the 40 are with near max loads or sloppy reloading habits.

jim243
November 26, 2012, 10:09 AM
I run all my cases through the "Lee Bulge Buster", pick up and my own, I even run my 45s & 357 Sigs as well as 40's through it.

Jim

Coldfinger
November 26, 2012, 12:57 PM
Thank you very much. 777truth I think you are right, I'm over thinking it. I just need to calm down, trust my equipment, read and follow recommended load data and I should be fine. Happy loading and safe shooting guys

beatledog7
November 26, 2012, 01:22 PM
Coldfinger:

When resizing fired .40cal, I check each one in a case gauge. About 95% pass. Those that don't get run through a Lee de-bulging kit. Only about 10% of those then fail the gauge test. Those get recycled.

I don't do this for 9mm, .45ACP. or .380 Auto, but I like the little extra measure of assuredness when loading the notoriously finicky .40S&W.

rsrocket1
November 26, 2012, 01:47 PM
I've put about 4k through my M&P40 all reloads.
The M&P40 fully supports the case so there is virtually no chance of a blowout with a proper load. I've picked up and used bulged cases and they all pressed out with just the standard Lee sizing die. If you are worried about a "guppy case", just throw it into the recycling pile, there is so much .40 out there that you'll eventually have more than you can ever load. Most of the time, I come home with more cases than I shoot :).

40 S&W is just a little less forgiving than 45ACP, but just as safe if you are staying with a mid range load with a medium powder such as Bullseye, Unique/Universal, HP-38/W231. 40 S&W will peak more suddenly when you are playing around with max loads especially when using powders meant for lower velocites such as Titegroup, Clays or Red Dot. Even these powder are safe if you simply load at the mid range and don't try to squeak every last fps out of the powder.

918v
November 26, 2012, 02:09 PM
I think the crowd is still confused. There is the bulge and there is normal case expansion. The bulge is dangerous. Normal case expansion is not. The bulge can be removed, but the case is unsafe.

beatledog7
November 26, 2012, 03:49 PM
Bulged ≠ guppied

What I call a bulged case is one that was most likely fired in an overly generous chamber, a few of which will not pass the gauge test after normal resizing (brass is elastic, after all). I'm confident about fixing them and reloading them.

A guppied case is one that was fired in a chamber that didn't fully support the round and has not a generally larger than normal expansion but an actual "bubble" near the webbing, like a guppy's belly. I've seen pictures of these, but I rarely find them, and I wouldn't try to resize them or use them.

Walkalong
November 26, 2012, 08:19 PM
I think the crowd is still confused. There is the bulge and there is normal case expansion. The bulge is dangerous. Normal case expansion is not. The bulge can be removed, but the case is unsafe.Worth saying again. Any .40 case my normal sizer cannot size gets recycled. I feel like if it has bulged bad enough a normal sizer cannot size it properly, it has been over stressed and needs to be trashed. (Recycled)

beatledog7
November 26, 2012, 09:55 PM
I'm loading mine at light to moderate levels. If I were going to load them heavy, I'd use only those that didn't need the second step.

bds
November 27, 2012, 02:22 AM
I think the crowd is still confused. There is the bulge and there is normal case expansion. The bulge is dangerous. Normal case expansion is not. The bulge can be removed, but the case is unsafe.
Worth saying again. Any .40 case my normal sizer cannot size gets recycled. I feel like if it has bulged bad enough a normal sizer cannot size it properly, it has been over stressed and needs to be trashed. (Recycled)
+1. Normally, case expands out to the chamber dimensions but when chamber/mouth are generous and/or less supported, case wall/base expansion can occur beyond what resizing dies can resize the brass.

Below are comparison pictures of 40S&W Gen3 Glock and Lone Wolf barrels. As you can see, Glock chamber mouth is generous around the case base but the Lone Wolf chamber fully supports around the case base. If hot loads are fired in barrels with generous chamber/mouth, case base expansion can occur that may not be resized by typical resizing dies and will require the use of push-through resizing by Lee FCD or Redding G-Rx dies. IMO, FCD/G-Rx dies should be used only once on overly expanded/bulged cases and recommend that subsequent powder/charge loads should be used that won't bulge the cases so they can be resized with regular resizing dies. However, some resizing dies (like Dillon) have larger radiused die opening and have more difficulty resizing all the way down the "Glocked" cases and will require the use of dies like FCD/G-Rx.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=151446&stc=1&d=1319434878


How can I easily identify the bulged cases? Obviously if you see a bulge its got a bulge but one could be very slight and difficult to see with the naked eye. Is a bulge you can't see with the naked eye even a bulge to worry about?
As 918v posted, there's a difference between normal case expansion and bulged cases that begin to resemble "guppy" bellied cases. Below are examples of what I consider overly expanded or bulged cases that can be difficult to see - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=589292

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=141060&stc=1&d=1303671977

You can see the case expansion/bulge more clearly in this picture

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=141061&stc=1&d=1303671977

Some of these bulged cases did not come from Glock chambers. These are definitely non-Glock primer marks as Glock primer indents have distinct rectangle impression from the breach walls.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=141063&stc=1&d=1303672226http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=141064&stc=1&d=1303672226

Is the case still "safe" after removing the bulge?
That depends on the amount of case expansion (thinning of case wall) and how many times the case has been reloaded/resized (work hardened). Keep in mind that when a case wall/base overly expands/stretches, there is THINNING of case wall/base that CANNOT be made thicker again even by push-through resizing with FCD/G-Rx dies. If the case has been reloaded several times, now you need to factor in work hardening of the brass in addition to thinner brass. If the case continues to be bulged/resized with hot loads, thinner case wall/base and work hardening will contribute to case wall failure/rupture. Often posters of KaBoom will state that mid-range or below max loads caused the KaBoom - Perhaps the particular case that caused the KaBoom had case walls thinned and weakened from repeated reloadings/resizings. With mixed range brass with unknown reload history we may never know.

If you pick up mixed range brass, you have no idea how many times the case has been reloaded, whether the case was overly expanded/bulged and fixed, whether the case walls have thinned, etc. For this reason, I do not use near max/max charge loads with unknown mixed range brass. YMMV

Should I just throw the bulged cases in the recycle bucket?
I use mixed range brass and the test I use with cases that look like the pictures above is after my first resizing attempt won't fully resize the case, I will rotate the case 90 degrees and attempt to resize again. If the case won't resize fully on the second attempt and freely drop into the tight chambered Lone Wolf barrels, I will deem the case too far expanded/stretched/thinned and toss the case in the recycle bin.

One of the cases in the picture above resized with regular Lee carbide resizing die on the first attempt.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=141085&stc=1&d=1303686318

Coldfinger
November 27, 2012, 02:59 AM
BDS thank you for the information. I found your pics to be very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to post them. I feel with all the feed back I received here I can confidently reload .40 now. If a normal sizing die won't remove the bulge I am just going to err on the side of caution and store the "guppies" and eventually when I have enough to give away I will post in them in the forum for someone that is more capable than i , and has the experience required to fix or recycle what can't be safely reloaded. Now I just need to get my hands on some .40 dies and I'm off to the garage for some personal time.

918v
November 27, 2012, 12:09 PM
This is a guppied case. You should not store and give those away.

http://www.wingman26.com/images/shooting/glock-brass.jpg

Coldfinger
November 28, 2012, 01:47 AM
Ahh, OK I clearly see a difference now. A guppied case is real bad. Much worse than a bulged case. I will certainly crush and recycle any I find in that condition. I wouldn't want anyone trying to "fix" that. I picked up close to a thousand. 40 cases at the range the other day, and after a quick once over I didn't run into any guppies, just with a slight bulge. Even the cases that appear to have been fired from a Glock were not that bad. But if after a run through a decap and size there is still a slight bulge do you recommend I recycle them also? I know I can run em through a bulge buster but if the sizing isn't good enough..... or would I be prudent to run em in a bulge buster anyway? I know I must sound like a total newbie and to the .40 I am, just want to be as safe as I can. Currently all I am loading is .45 and the .40 is making me nervous is all. Thank you again for your advice

GLOOB
November 28, 2012, 04:33 AM
The man that finds 2 slightly bulged cases a month out of his piles of a thousands is going to throw them away and scorn the man that doesn't do likewise.

The man that comes across a mountain of slightly bulged, sparkly, once-fired cases with matching headstamps, lying next to empty factory boxes is probably gonna buy a bulge buster and take his chances.

I acquired a heck of a lot of OF'd Speer cases with a decent bulge on them when I first started reloading. I debulged that one time, using the FCD that I already had, and never since. I figure if you have to debulge your own brass, you could either tone it down a little or buy an aftermarket barrel that has more support. Forget the safety issue. It's too much work to debulge cases, every time.

Uncle Richard
November 28, 2012, 07:20 AM
I throw bulged cases away....

Don't worry if you miss one when separating because you will find it when resizing-decapping. The bulged cases will require significant more force to resize and will leave a sharp crease near the base of the case.

918v
November 28, 2012, 12:06 PM
Understand that the 40 is a high pressure round. A full power load will expand the case head more than a low pressure starting load. Then there's springback. So a sizer die will never restore the case to its original dimensions. The top of the case will be sized more, the bottom will be sized less. As long as the case drops into the chamber it's OK. Glock chambers are very generous and will feed bulged/resized cases without issue. The only time you'll run into a problem is with an aftermarket barrel sporting a tight chamber.

While we're on this topic I'd like to comment on the Redding GRX die. It has a carbide sizer ring, but it is not as tight as my sizer die. It sizes a Glocked case by .005" and my sizer die sizes the case an additional .005" for a total of .010". In my observation, the GRX does nothing to address the bulge issue. But I use a SS press.

For me, the one and only benefit that the GRX offers is sensitivity. It allows you to detect case head issues. As the bulge is swaged by the carbide ring you get feedback. It's hard to explain, but here are a couple examples:

I had several cases that felt choppy as they passed through the die, almost as if there was a ratchet in there somewhere. When I looked at them, their caseheads had a shiny/dull/shiny/dull surface pattern. I tossed them.

Some cases were extremely soft, almost like butter. But it's the same full house load. This tells me the brass is too soft and too thin.

Some cases developed a shiny line, just like rifle cases about to let go. What's nice about stainless wet tumbling is it cleans the carbon off the inside, do it is easy to tell what the shiny line means.

I end up tossing 5% of my once fired brass. The rest are good for the rest of their life.

GLOOB
November 28, 2012, 03:47 PM
The bulged cases will require significant more force to resize and will leave a sharp crease near the base of the case.

The problem with bulged cases is an incremental one, IMO. Best to examine the brass before you size it, then you'll know which cases to carefully examine after sizing. After sizing, the visual differences can be very minute, and only detectable with by chamber check or case gauge. If you aren't into debulging, you can throw away all those similarly bulged cases before sizing.

Bulges come in all sizes, from barely to guppy. If you threw away all your bulged cases, you wouldn't be left with many, at all.

AABEN
November 28, 2012, 05:21 PM
Jest use Lee dies and every thing works good! GOOD LUCK

Bovice
November 28, 2012, 08:16 PM
.40 is not as temperamental as it is made out to be. Just watch the case web area, if you see a collection of slack there after you resize it, throw it away.

You don't have to resort to bunnyfart loads, you can go full power. Just choose the right powder and watch for bad brass.

TacoMalo
November 28, 2012, 10:28 PM
I used to run some through the bulge buster but then I ran a few on my deprime/resize die and put them through the bulge buster just to see if the deprime/resize die would do the same thing. I have to say not a single one had any resistance when I put it through the bulge buster so for me it seems like the deprime/resize die is removing the bulge without having to go through the bulge buster. I don't discourage using the buster just passing along my experience with it.

918v
November 29, 2012, 02:23 AM
The bulge buster exists because some sizers do not remove the bulge when loading on progressive devil machines. Other dies shave metal when sizing Glocked brass because the brass is too big and the chamfer too sharp. An intermediate die makes the sizing operation smoother.

Coldfinger
November 29, 2012, 02:31 AM
Thank you guys for all your insight. I tumbled about a thousand .40 cases today, ran them through a size/deprime die and found that most bulges do come out. The cases that felt stiff going into the die got super scrutinized and were rejected. Most of the cases however slid nicely into the die and after a good visual did not appear to retain a bulge. I dropped 3 of every 10 into the barrel on my m&p and they chamber like a factory round. So now I seat some primers, find a light load using AA#2 and 135gr RN FMJ and see how it goes.
Will a round while feeding, seat deeper causing unforeseen rise in case pressure? I don't generally crimp my .45 but is it recommended I do so with .40? If so will it prevent a round from seating deeper while chambering? If I'm loading light should I need to worry about it at all?
Damn why did I buy a .40?

FROGO207
November 29, 2012, 06:08 AM
You taper crimp just like the 45 ACP. If you had no issues with your 45 then I would see no issues with that 40 once you adjust thee taper crimp so the rounds pass the plunk test in your barrel.:cool: I found some 45 ACP rounds once that had guppy bulges and they immediately got recycled also. To me there would be no problem reloading this caliber if the brass behaves similar to what you expect in reloading your 45 range brass and discard the guppy cases.

Walkalong
November 29, 2012, 08:10 AM
Will a round while feeding, seat deeper causing unforeseen rise in case pressure? I don't generally crimp my .45 but is it recommended I do so with .40? If so will it prevent a round from seating deeper while chambering? If I'm loading light should I need to worry about it at all? Seating deeper does raise pressure, as with any caliber. You need to use the "crimp" die to remove the bell or a hair more. No more than that. Neck tension holds the bullet. No amount of taper "crimp" will make up for poor neck tension. Loading light certainly helps if you are seating a little deeper than the data or get a very small amount of setback. I repeat, good neck tension.

918v
November 29, 2012, 11:34 AM
I don't generally crimp my .45 but is it recommended I do so with .40? If so will it prevent a round from seating deeper while chambering? If I'm loading light should I need to worry about it at all?

If you assemble your rounds correctly there's nothing to worry about. But if you're scared, load your 40 to 45 pressures. Four grains of Titegroup under 165gr whatever is reliable super accurate and runs at 18000 PSI.

bds
November 29, 2012, 11:37 AM
My QC for checking neck tension is to measure the OAL before and after I feed/chamber the finished dummy rounds (no powder, no primer) from the magazine and releasing the slide.

If you can measure significant reduction in OAL, you have neck tension issue that's seating the bullet base deeper in the case neck and this will raise the chamber pressures.

Bovice
November 29, 2012, 11:53 AM
You will need to crimp insofar as to remove the bell in the case mouth. Otherwise it can snag while feeding.

SDGlock23
November 29, 2012, 12:43 PM
I've loaded and shot many .40s. What I do is, after I clean the brass I deprime/resize using the Lee resizer, it seems to got a little further down on the case than does the Dillon resizer. Throw away any old and cruddy looking cases btw. Before I load them up, I take the brass I'm going to use and pass it through the Lee bulge buster to further shape it up, some brass needs it, some doesn't.

When I'm picking brass up, if it has a little belly (bulge) on it, that's fine since that can be taken care of. If it's severe and the brass is plateauing or just severely bulged to the point of looking like a bubble, obviously throw it away. The only issue I've ever had was a case head separation which was mostly due to me using an old piece of brass, learned my lesson there.

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