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Advice on .40 S&W?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Legionnaire, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. Hartebreak

    Hartebreak Member

    I've had some good luck with unique in .40.
    4.8gr with a 180gr and 5.1gr with the 155gr.
  3. jleyring

    jleyring Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Arbo

    Arbo Well-Known Member

    have done much 40 yet.. but used 231 and was happy.
  5. TfflHndn

    TfflHndn Well-Known Member

    Try Green Dot

    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.
  6. Ex

    Ex Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  7. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    AA5 or Silhouette

    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
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. JO JO

    JO JO Well-Known Member

    have had good luck with HS6 and 40 s&w and it meters really too
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    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.

  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

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

    Vartarg Well-Known Member

    W231 and 165 FMJ's.....great combo
  15. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Well-Known Member

    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.

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  16. david bachelder

    david bachelder Well-Known Member

    I like 5 grains Hodgden Universal under 180 grain bullets.

    Works for me.
  17. cwbys4evr

    cwbys4evr Well-Known Member

    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
  18. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. gab909

    gab909 Well-Known Member

    +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.
  20. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Well-Known Member

    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.

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