Advice on .40 S&W?


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Legionnaire
April 26, 2013, 11:02 PM
I've decided it's time to start reloading my .40 S&W brass. There sure are a lot of options for powder to use. I have a stock of Unique that I use for intermediate loads in .357 and .44 magnum loads, and see that it is also serviceable for .40 S&W. What are your thoughts? Should I use what I have, or is there a preferred powder? I'm looking for something to drive 180 grain TMJs and JHPs, primarily at target velocities, although some full-power defensive loads would be good, too.

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Hartebreak
April 26, 2013, 11:42 PM
I've had some good luck with unique in .40.
4.8gr with a 180gr and 5.1gr with the 155gr.

jleyring
April 26, 2013, 11:48 PM
I have used Winchester 231 for most of my 40 S&W and and 357s. Helped a lady move and her late husband had a full gallon thing full, she gave it to me. Works great for most all pistol loads.

Arbo
April 27, 2013, 12:07 AM
have done much 40 yet.. but used 231 and was happy.

TfflHndn
April 27, 2013, 12:52 AM
I have had good results with 5.1 - 5.3 gr of Green Dot. So much so that I ordered a 4# jug for loading nearly everything I shoot. Only a little velocity lost compared to Unique, but you use less powder and it seems to me to shoot cleaner with softer recoil.

Ex
April 27, 2013, 01:14 AM
Used Unique as my versatile powder for many 1000s of rounds. Then got LongShot. Higher velocity with lower pressure in most cases, and WOW is it clean compared to Unique!

I've put as many as 250 rounds though my G22 in a session with LongShot loaded mid-range and the bore is clean with the second patch. I could never make that claim with Unique.

I am now using LongShot in .38 sps, .357 mag, .40 cal and love it in .45.

Very clean in all. I did find in a Ruger SR40 I had to tighten the crimp slightly to seal the brass in the chamber as opposed to the G22 which was totally clean. The SR40 carboned one side of the brass at lower pressure loads with a lighter crimp.

noylj
April 27, 2013, 01:35 AM
For accuracy, the best powder I have found is AA5. For top performance and accuracy, try Silhouette.
231/HP38 is a good powder.
As much as I love Unique for lots of things, I haven't had great luck with it in .40S&W--but that doesn't mean your gun won't love it

ArchAngelCD
April 27, 2013, 01:53 AM
For practice and range ammo i use almost nothing other than W231 for most handgun ammo. In the 40 S&W for serious work, now that HS-7 is no longer in production, I recommend using Longshot. Most reloaders who try Longshot in the 40 S&W like the results.

Lennyjoe
April 27, 2013, 02:03 AM
Used Unique in 165gr loads and now am loading Longshot and 180gr plated bullets. Shoots great in all 3 of my .40 cal pistols and is clean. Give it a try. Seems to be pretty available on the shelves around here.

JO JO
April 27, 2013, 02:56 AM
have had good luck with HS6 and 40 s&w and it meters really too

gamestalker
April 27, 2013, 03:14 AM
The only 2 powders I use for the .40 and 38 spcl., are Longshot and HS6 But I prefer Longshot over HS6 because it is so easy to manage pressures with, produces high velocities with absolutely no pressure problems, and burns about as clean as it gets.

But in terms of economics, it requires nearly twice as much to load with as do those fast burners such as HP38 / 231, Green Dot, Red Dot and so on. But I have always been a slow powder reloader. I like to work with powders that fill the case, burn slow, produce high velocities, and virtually eliminate accidental double charges. But slow burners like Longshot aren't for everyone, as they aren't able to be successfully reduced to target velocities without presenting performance issues such as dirty burns, inconsistent pressures, and possible squibs.

GS

ArchAngelCD
April 27, 2013, 04:46 AM
But slow burners like Longshot aren't for everyone, as they aren't able to be successfully reduced to target velocities without presenting performance issues such as dirty burns, inconsistent pressures, and possible squibs.

GS
I agree, that's why I mentioned W231 in my OP for lighter practice and range loads.

The above mentioned HS-6 is also a good choice along with Longshot. I'm a big fan of HS-6 but stopped recommending it for the 40 S&W and 9mm because HS-6 performs much better when ignited by a magnum primer and many reloaders resist using magnum primers. So, I started recommending Longshot instead. You will also notice in my OP I mentioned HS-7 before I said anything about Longshot. W571/HS-7 was the very best 40 S&W/10mm powder ever made IMO.

beatledog7
April 27, 2013, 07:20 AM
...a full gallon thing full...

Really? Smokeless propellant by the gallon? How many drops do you use in each .40S&W round?

Vartarg
April 27, 2013, 07:31 AM
W231 and 165 FMJ's.....great combo

Legionnaire
April 27, 2013, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll have to see what other powders are available locally. I'm hearing Longshot and W231. Still have a couple of questions re: Unique, though.

I've had some good luck with unique in .40.
4.8gr with a 180gr and 5.1gr with the 155gr. Are you loading jacketed or lead bullets at that level? Alliant's data, reproduced in the Lee manual, show a starting load of 5.8 and a max load of 6.4 gr Unique with 180 gr jacketed bullets.

Those of you with experience shooting Unique in the .40, what are your pet loads? I don't want to load hot out of the gate.

david bachelder
April 27, 2013, 09:15 AM
I like 5 grains Hodgden Universal under 180 grain bullets.

Works for me.

cwbys4evr
April 27, 2013, 09:27 AM
I use Bullseye for 40, but I would say use what ya got, work up 10 rounds or so and see how you like it.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2

gahunter12
April 27, 2013, 09:54 AM
I load my .40's with WST. It meters very well like W231/HP38, a lot cleaner than W231, and has a nice low recoil with little smoke. 3.9gr of WST under a 180gr bullet is a great combo that's very accurate.

gab909
April 27, 2013, 04:00 PM
+1 on the Unique, I have alot of it and I don't mind cleaning my gun every once in awhile. I shoot the lead 155's and have no problem with leading, making it very economical for shooting alot. I go down to the range and fire a few hundred of each caliber for pistol and then go shoot some rifle. Nice to have the entire range to yourself nowadays.

Muddydogs
April 27, 2013, 05:30 PM
5.8 grains of Unique behind a 165 grain slug seem to do fine in all 3 of my .40's. Never noticed it being dirty and I have shot 500 rounds at one time. Working on 2000 rounds out of my main carry .40. I do use Unique in all my pistol loads and load light lead .40's to defensive rounds in the .40.

Kayaker 1960
April 27, 2013, 05:53 PM
I've used Unique for loading .38, 357 Mag and .40 No complaints here.

Legionnaire
April 27, 2013, 07:03 PM
Stopped by my LGS this afternoon. No Unique, no Longshot ... did have a pound of Greed Dot, though, so I bought that to preserve my remaining Unique for my .357 and .44. Hope to work up a serviceable load in the next couple of weeks. I will keep my eyes open for a can of Longshot. So many choices (in theory, at least, given the limited availabilities).

Thanks, all!

Dframe
April 27, 2013, 07:32 PM
The ONLY powder I use for 40 S&W is Hogdon "Clays". It's the cleanest powder I've ever used. My favorite bullet is the 155 grain copper plated bullet from either Ranier, Berrys, or X-Treme. I've literallty shot them by the thousands. Cleanup is a simple wipe down and a patch or bore snake through the barrel.

SDGlock23
April 27, 2013, 08:30 PM
No idea about Green Dot, but with Unique and 180gr, I've gone as low as 5.5gr and book max is either 6.7 or 6.8gr. I do know that 6.5gr is fairly warm-ish full powered load with a 180gr loaded around 1.125", and will exceed 1000-1050 fps from a 3" barrel. Looking at my notes, 5.5gr did around 950 fps from a 4" G23.

noylj
April 28, 2013, 12:11 AM
A gallon of powder is about 8 lbs.

ArchAngelCD
April 28, 2013, 02:07 AM
The ONLY powder I use for 40 S&W is Hogdon "Clays". It's the cleanest powder I've ever used.
Be very careful using Clays in high pressure cartridges like the 40 S&W. Clays is an extremely fast powder and it's been known to spike pressures when used in high pressure rounds.

Do you really get acceptable velocities when using Clays in the 40 S&W without generating excessive pressures?

bds
April 28, 2013, 02:24 AM
Advice on .40 S&W?

I'm looking for something to drive 180 grain TMJs and JHPs, primarily at target velocities, although some full-power defensive loads would be good, too.

a pound of Greed Dot ... I bought that to preserve my remaining Unique for my .357 and .44. Hope to work up a serviceable load in the next couple of weeks.
I would use Green Dot for target loads but for full-power loads use Unique.

During the last shortage when W231/HP-38 were hard to find, I found Green Dot to be fairly comparable (most of my 9/40/45 loads needed .2-.3 gr more than my W231/HP-38 loads).

Here's 2004 Alliant load data (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=182147&d=1364769070)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=183380&stc=1&d=1367130276

ArchAngelCD
April 28, 2013, 03:54 AM
During the last shortage when W231/HP-38 were hard to find, I found Green Dot to be fairly comparable (most of my 9/40/45 loads needed .2-.3 gr more than my W231/HP-38 loads).
I agree, Green Dot is close to W231 in performance but I have also found Green Dot to be very difficult to find the sweet spot. It seems Green Dot will be very accurate in an extremely narrow charge range, at least for me.

Along with W231/HP-38 and Green Dot I found Ramshot Zip to be very close in performance too. I think Zip is even closer to W231 and Green Dot.

greenlion
April 28, 2013, 09:17 AM
I usually use either HP-38/Win231 or Universal, but I would certainly not hesitate to use Unique if I had it.

glc24
April 28, 2013, 12:17 PM
Has anyone tried Win WSF in their .40 165gr FMJ reloads?

Greg

bds
April 28, 2013, 12:17 PM
Green Dot is close to W231 in performance but I have also found Green Dot to be very difficult to find the sweet spot. It seems Green Dot will be very accurate in an extremely narrow charge range, at least for me.
For me as well. My comparable 9/40/45 Green Dot loads were not as accurate as W231/HP-38 loads but I was recommending Green Dot to new reloaders when W231/HP-38 were not available so the slight drop in accuracy didn't matter much.


Has anyone tried Win WSF in their .40 165gr FMJ reloads?
Yes. I like WSF for loading moderate to full-powder 9mm, 40S&W and 45ACP loads. I also use WSF with bulk Speer Gold Dot and Remington Golden Saber JHP bullets to load practice defensive loads as I use factory Speer GDHP and Remington GS BJHP ammunition for SD/HD pistols.

Dframe
April 28, 2013, 12:33 PM
Yes I'm doing fine with the Clays. I always keep my loads within specs and have fired many thousands without any mishap. ALL of the others I'm seeing recommended are also very fast. Generally fast powders are required in recoil operated semi autos in order to provide a fast enough impulse to operate the slide properly.

bds
April 28, 2013, 01:00 PM
The ONLY powder I use for 40 S&W is Hogdon "Clays"
Be very careful using Clays in high pressure cartridges like the 40 S&W. Clays is an extremely fast powder and it's been known to spike pressures when used in high pressure rounds.
Yes I'm doing fine with the Clays. I always keep my loads within specs and have fired many thousands without any mishap.
Just keep in mind that so did everyone else until they experienced problems. ;)

Consider this.

For higher pressure 40S&W, especially if mixed range pick up brass with unknown reload history is used, I recommend slower burn rate powders than W231/HP-38 at mid-to-high range load data and not max load data. With mixed range brass, you never know when you pick up a brass that's been fired several times with hot loads in less supported barrels that stretched / thinned / weakened the case wall then fixed with push-through sizing die (Redding G-Rx/Lee FCD) and polished to look nice again. You won't know this until you experience case failure, sadly.

Loading for 40S&W with too many reported KaBoom incidents, I recommend using caution. I reserve verified once-fired brass for max loads but that's me.

Arbo
April 29, 2013, 11:50 PM
Most of my .40 brass is once fired from the local cops. ;)

Out of curiosity, does anyone 'trim' their .40 brass? I know I've read a lot of people (most actually) say no way on .45, was wondering if it was more important on .40 considering possible issues.

frankenstein406
April 29, 2013, 11:53 PM
Most of my .40 brass is once fired from the local cops. ;)

Out of curiosity, does anyone 'trim' their .40 brass? I know I've read a lot of people (most actually) say no way on .45, was wondering if it was more important on .40 considering possible issues.
I've only heard of people trimming revolver brass.

I'm trying green dot hopefully it goes well in these plinking loads.

noylj
April 30, 2013, 12:46 AM
If you trim a case that head spaces on the case mouth, all you are doing is INCREASING headspace, not something that encourages either accuracy or reliability.
Straightwall cases don't seem to ever grow, but most will shrink.

ArchAngelCD
April 30, 2013, 05:04 AM
Most of my .40 brass is once fired from the local cops. ;)

Out of curiosity, does anyone 'trim' their .40 brass? I know I've read a lot of people (most actually) say no way on .45, was wondering if it was more important on .40 considering possible issues.
In reality most straight walled pistol brass will shrink slightly rather than stretch so that's why many will suggest no trimming necessary. Check for yourself and you will see what I mean. When I first started reloading I checked pistol brass for length and quickly realized I was spending time where it was no necessary so I stopped.

Legionnaire
April 30, 2013, 08:38 PM
Well whadyaknow. I was poking through my powder and found a can of Longshot! I didn't buy it, so it must be one of the powders given me by my father-in-law when he gave up reloading. I'm guessing he used it for his .357. In any event, I have some to experiment with. (And I guess I need a better inventory system.)

ZeSpectre
April 30, 2013, 08:46 PM
After a great deal of testing and fitzing around I came up with these loads and now that's all I do for .40 S&W.

1) Target Loads: 6.0gr Unique behind a 155gr Berry's Plated FN bullet
2) "Full House" #1: 6.2gr Unique behind a 180gr Sierra (8460) JHP
3) "Thunderhead" load #1: 10.0gr BlueDot behind a Hornady 155gr XTP (#40000)

I've shot vast amounts of #1. It's a nice stable practice load.
I've also shot a lot of #3 but I'll tell you right now it is a LOUD load!

Ex
April 30, 2013, 11:12 PM
Well whadyaknow. I was poking through my powder and found a can of Longshot! I didn't buy it, so it must be one of the powders given me by my father-in-law when he gave up reloading. I'm guessing he used it for his .357. In any event, I have some to experiment with. (And I guess I need a better inventory system.)
I think you'll really like the LongShot! Last week I cleaned my G22 after 4 trips out and about 400 rounds. 1 wet patch through, 2nd dry and it was clean. No deposits in the mag well or breach/chamber/port area. Just clean.

JO JO
May 1, 2013, 01:41 PM
a quick question on longshot can it be loaded to velocities say around 1000fps
or does it need to be full tilt, to burn well looking at the new hornady book
its including longshot for the 40 s&w and show data from mild to full speed
been using hs6 but might give it a try,
lots of good info on this thread :D

Ex
May 2, 2013, 01:43 AM
a quick question on longshot can it be loaded to velocities say around 1000fps
or does it need to be full tilt, to burn well looking at the new hornady book
its including longshot for the 40 s&w and show data from mild to full speed
been using hs6 but might give it a try,
lots of good info on this thread :D

.40 is probably the single round I have loaded the most for... by far. I shoot .40 pretty hot, using 2# heavier recoil spring and recoil buffer pad.

LongShot does produce a high velocity load! The low end data for a 165 gr JHP is 1139 and in my g22, I find that anywhere in the range (1139-1185) is consistent, clean and much more accurate than I am even off a bench. I will say that the lower 3rd of the formula burns dirty in a friends Ruger SR40 and totally clean in my G22. I solved the dirty issue in the SR40 by either upping the load slightly or tightening the taper crimp just a tad. Either, upped the case pressure in the SR40 and got the brass to seal, and thereby improved burn.

If you are looking for 1000fps with pretty clean burn, (and economical) you might run some TiteGroup. mid range load with TiteGroup is about as economical as you can get with very good consistency.
165 GR. BERB FP Titegroup .400" 1.125" 4.5 960 24,300 PSI 5.1 1060 31,800 PSI
TiteGroup meters exceptionally well and as you can see, mid range it's only 4.7ish grs so it goes along ways on a pound of powder. TiteGroup is considered to be a pretty fast powder but is fairly forgiving for being fast and is remarkably not case position sensitive for a low case fill.

If I was out for mid range speed at low cost with good balance of accuracy, it would probably be TiteGroup. Followed by Unique, with LongShot holding the favoured
position.

Lj1941
May 2, 2013, 12:16 PM
I have found that 3.8 Grains of Hodgdon Clays or Alliant Clay Dot works fine as a target/IDPA load with a 40 Berrys 155 RNHB or Flat Point. Velocities are not high but this is a very accurate load which is much more important:).

Havok7416
July 29, 2013, 03:59 AM
I load 5.1 grains of Unique behind a 180 grain plated bullet and it does just fine. I just started looking for a suitable load for 180 grain lead bullets using the same powder.

Dframe
July 29, 2013, 10:08 AM
For BDS. I avoid range scrap. I also load no more than 3-4 times (at slightly less than full power) then the brass goes to the recycler, especially since I'm "Glock"ing a pretty good number of them. I've never trusted "Glock Brass" entirely.

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