1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Issues with loading .40 S&W

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wildman5759, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    Hey guys, I've been reloading for awhile and have recently seen an issue pop up that maybe ya'll can help me with. Here's the load data for starters:

    Bullet: 180 Gr Rainier RN FMJ
    Powder: Hodgdon HP-38
    OAL: 1.120 - 1.125"
    Grs. Powder: 4.8
    Velocity: 913 ft/s
    Approx Pressure: 30800 PSI

    Here's the issue. Every 20-30 rounds, I have one go off where the bullet stops just at the rifling which of course fails to allow the next round to be chambered (thank God!). I have had this happen in a Glock 22, 23, and XD and a Baby Eagle .40.

    At first I thought it was my Glock, so I tried a few other guns and had the same issue. The recoil and report are identical, as far as my shooting partner and I can tell, when these non-performing rounds are squeezed off.

    So, I pulled 50 rounds from each of 6 batches and remeasured the rounds as well as re-weighed powders. All of the specs were within the above. The only thing that I can see is that maybe the base of the .40 bullet is too large in diameter because the bullet stops about 1/4" from fully entering the rifling of the barrel. The width at the bases measure out from .4010 to .4022(the widest measured and only 2 of 100).

    Could it be a bad lot? The first 100 I loaded functioned flawlessly, so I bought a brick of 1000 of the same bullets and loaded away. I hate to think I have 1000 loaded rounds of crap. Any insight from the great minds here would be much appreciated. Thank you!
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It could be oversize bullets I suppose.

    I bought a box of plated 9mm bullets a couple of years ago that ranged from the stated .356", to .357", to .358"!
    They were not Ranier though.

    The .358" ones would not chamber in my SIG P6.
    Until I ran them all through a .356" Lyman bullet size/lube die.

    On the other hand, it could be you are just not taper crimping them enough.

    MAX outside case mouth measurement for the loaded .40 S&W is .423".

    I would taper crimp them to .422" with your .401" bullets if you want them to work like factory loads.

    As for having to pull all of them if it is oversize bullets?

    Just take the barrel out of the gun they won't fit, and chamber check all of them.
    You then only need to fix the ones that are broke, not all of them that aren't.

  3. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Was that velocity recorded with a crony or did you get that from a manual?
  4. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Were you using a mic to measure to the 1/10,000 ?
  5. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    RCModel - I'll check the crimp case mouth measurement and see what that's coming out to. I didn't think about chamber checking them before pulling. I guess that would provide a simple solution. Might also help me figure out what the exact issue may be.

    MtnCreek - Yes, that's chrony'd velocities, and is the average from a few dozen fired rounds. And no mic, using a Mitutoyo Digimatic Caliper (Model# 500-160-20). Does that matter?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  6. Scimmia

    Scimmia Well-Known Member

    No, the bullet would have to be far more oversized than that to be a problem You've got a whole lot of pressure pushing the bullet, even a bullet oversized by .025 should head into the barrel. Furthermore, if the bullet did get stuck and the primer and powder ignited correctly, you'd have a pressure spike that would blow the head off the case at the very least.

    There's a story floating around of some company that rechambered a .308 rifle to fire a .35 Whelen but didn't change the bore at all. That's a .358 caliber bullet down a .308 bore.
  7. cberge8

    cberge8 Well-Known Member

    I have had this happen to me in the past and think I may have found the culprit.

    Are you tumbling after de-priming? This happened to me because of tumbling media stuck in the flash hole causing poor powder combustion.

    If this is not possible with your reloading setup, the weights of the problem bullets would also be helpful in trying to figure this out.
  8. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    Scimmia - I figured as much on the oversizing. I'm amazed at what I've seen squeezed through a barrel at the gunshop here.

    The brass always makes a nice little pile about 4 ft to my right(at least from my Glock, the IWI throws them like a mini-14). I pick up after every magazine and the brass was all accounted for each time in that pile. I assume since they aren't getting thrown short (underpowered) or overthrown (excessive powder) that the charges must be all about the same. I'm perplexed to say the least.
  9. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Just wondering if that was a typo because my caliper measures to the 0.001.

    The bullets that stick in the barrel were fired, correct? You pulled the trigger, gun went bang and bullet stuck, correct? The the slide fully operate?

    What were your high and low crony readings?

    The reason is 913 fps and anything close to that should have plenty of pressure where you wouldn't get a bullet stuck.

    Are you 100% sure?
  10. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    Crap Cberge. I did tumble about 200 of em after priming (was trying a new media and had already primed 1k rounds). I have each batch marked and I know which ones they are. They're the ones that I've been shooting from. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I'm going to shoot a couple hundred from the other batches and see if there are any issues there. I hope you're right, and it seems completely plausible.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I am of the opinion that a speck of tumbler media in a flash hole has about the same chance of surviving the primer going off as a fart in a tornado.

    I poke them out with a wood toothpick all the time.
    How about hitting them with several thousand PSI of white hot gas from the primer explosion?
    Yea! That aught to know them right out too!

    Not to mention turning them instently into smoke.

  12. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    MtnCreek - Yes, fired bullets. Just the bullet itself. The only reason I noticed any difference was because the slide cycled, stripped off the next round and went ALMOST back into battery. The stuck bullet(each time) was just far enough in to prevent the next round from fully chambering. High chrony readings were around 928, lows around 907.

    rcmodel - A well fitting piece of media jammed into the flash hole wouldn't prevent the full combustion of the primer to the powder? I'm going to have to jam a piece of media into a primer only case and set it off now just to see.
  13. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    If that's what happen, your chamber should still have the unburnt powder in it.

    If I was picking loto numbers, I would pick 'Squib'.
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Don't look down the barrel when you do it.

    I GayRonTee ya it will shoot your eye out!

  15. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Well-Known Member

    It sounds to me like their was no powder in the cartridge. I agree with RC Model in the primer would have blown anything out of the flash hole that would have been in there unless it was made out of limestone. I have stuck a few bullets in my barrel myself and I know it was because there was no powder in the barrel. It fits the mo of your problem perfectly.
  16. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    That's what wax bullets are for! They usually fire great primer only, so it'll be a good way to check.

    Assuming squib, I guess I'll have to start doublechecking powder more often. I already check every 10 rounds(I'm overly cautious about doublecharges in the .40).
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I have to agree that the only possible way for that to happen is:
    You failed to put the powder in it.

    A primer by itself has exactly enough energy to stick a bullet in the rifling right in front of the chamber.

    You need to seriously review your powder charging safety procedures.
    And incorporate at least one visual powder level check in each and every one before you seat the bullets.

    A double charge of HP-38 will fit in the case just fine.
    And if you missed one, how do you know you didn't put it in the next one twice???

    A double charge of fast powder will take your gun apart!!!

    Now, with this new information at hand, maybe you should pull them all!

  18. wildman5759

    wildman5759 Active Member

    rcmodel - While I appreciate you expertise, I have been loading for 8 years now and know my safety procedures quite well and am extremely careful when loading. I visually inspect every case and weigh the charge on every 10. But for the sake of arguing, we'll say that I screwed up big time and failed to drop 26 charges out of 200 rounds.

    Btw. I just stuffed a good size chunk of corn cob media into a flash hole. Popped a primer in it, capped it with a wax bullet and fired at a target in my shop...guess what....the wax bullet didn't even make it out of the barrel. I shoot these all the time and can usually get decent accuracy at 5 yards. This one didn't make it 5 inches.
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    The fact remains however that the primer either ignited the realtively fast burning HP38, or it didn't.

    If it lit the powder at all, the bullet would be gone out of the barrel.

    If it didn't, the powder would have still been in the case & gun when you got the dud out.

    Was it?

  20. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    Could we be looking at a bad batch of primers here? Perhaps a few rows of them got wet or something and now have lost there "fire" so to speak.

Share This Page