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Stupid reloading question of the week: .40 S&W loads with Red Dot and Berry's 180

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by 1KPerDay, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Let me begin by saying I appreciate your patience and assistance with a total reloading noob. I've read that you're not supposed to use FMJ/JHP data when loading plated bullets, but that's all Alliant offers on their site... plus they don't even have Red Dot listed as an option for .40. I know some here have used it, and found one post with 4.7 gr of red dot under the berry's 180. I certainly wouldn't use a random post as definitive evidence of safety, however I would appreciate it if you could point me to some resources that do list red dot data for 180 grain plated (or I guess Lead is most comparable) for .40.


    ALSO: when working up a load... obviously you generally start with minimum listed and slowly increase, although from what I've read here, light loads with Red Dot and similar powders can be problematic.

    What about OAL? Do you just work up some dummy rounds and find one with the longest OAL (within spec) that seems to reliably feed and use that as the basis and see how it goes?

    It seems that varying BOTH powder charge AND OAL when working up a load would introduce far too many variables, so it would be preferable to stick with one OAL, wouldn't it?

    Thanks again for your patience.:cool:

    For those curious: I am (hopefully) starting with Red Dot because:
    1. it is bulky for its weight and will fill cases better than most other powders, preventing double charges
    2. I have a few pounds of it ready to go.

    One last thing: Am I correct in my assumption that fully plated rounds are okay for use in stock Glock barrels? I've run some searches and it appears so but I wanted to get another fresher opinion. I have read here that some are having no trouble with fully lead ammo in stock barrels but I don't plan on doing that at this point.
  2. Bovice

    Bovice Well-Known Member

    There are plenty of people shooting plated bullets through stock glock barrels. I see it a lot in IDPA. Mostly everyone is using a plated bullet for that matter.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I like 700X with 155 grain plated bullets for light loads in .40 for two reasons. Lighter bullets are better with the fast powders, and 700X behaves better than Red Dot as the pressure goes up. Red Dot can be "spikey", meaning as it gets up there in pressure all of a sudden another .1 increase can really increase pressure. That does not mean you can't use it, and should not be scared of it. Just work up slow. Do not get impatient and make a .3 grain jump when you are close to max by the book.

    I really like Universal Clays for medium to close to max .40 loads. Burns clean and is accurate enough for me. The medium speed powders are really better suited (in general) for .40 S&W.

    Using medium speed stuff like Unique, Universal, True Blue, HS-6 N340, AA #5 etc I would not hesitate to go to 75% of jacketed data with those Berrys bullets. (Or a little more if things look good)
  4. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I've read in threads here about the spiky nature of red dot, and I don't plan to get close to max.

    I've also checked my Hornady manual and no loads are listed for red dot...

    Is Herco any better? No loads listed for it either.

    Should I just start with .45 ACP?
  5. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    First of all, Berry's website recommends you use up to mid range jacketed load data but not exceed it. Secondly, there is no currently published load data for Red Dot and 40S&W. Alliant's website states Promo has same burn speed as Red Dot. This is the listing of currently published load data for Red Dot - http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/Powder.aspx?powderid=4

    I did some load testing of Promo powder using Red Dot load data as reference point on this thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=518185

    Disclaimer: Alliant currently do not publish Red Dot load data for 9mm/40S&W. Use the following powder charge information at your own risk.

    Red Dot load data provided by SteveC:

    Here are some excerpts from my Promo test threads:

    Yes, as you should for working up any other powder. I have shot a lot of 40S&W loaded with mid-high range W231/HP38 loads and have not experienced issues. YMMV If you attend matches, you'll see a lot of faster burning Titegroup used predominately at charges I dare not approach. Red Dot/Promo is even faster burning on the Hodgdon's burn rate chart than Titegroup/W231/HP38 and care should be exercised when working up the load. Since there is no current published load data for 180 gr 40S&W plated bullet for Red Dot/Promo, you could start out at 4.0 gr and work up in .1 gr increments.

    I used 1.125" OAL for 180 gr TCFP bullets (I typically load most of my 40S&W loads at this OAL).

    Yes, find the OAL that will function test well (reliably feed/chamber from the magazine when the slide is manually released) and THEN work up your powder charges.
    I am continuing my Promo testing with 45ACP, but the 4.0 gr with 200 gr lead SWC has been shooting so well, I am too busy having fun with that load. I plan on doing more testing working up the charges towards 5.0 gr soon.



    40S&W comparison:

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much. I was hoping you'd weigh in.
  7. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

  8. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Getting your feet wet with published load data would be a good idea and lessen the anxiety at the range.

    I noticed I would unintentionally flinch when I was initially testing the higher Promo charges for 40S&W, which produced firm recoil even for me (and I am used to snappy 40S&W recoil). :D

    If you are using 200 gr lead SWC bullet, I would suggest you try the 4.0 gr charge (I load it to longer 1.25"-1.27" OAL). It's my wife's favorite load that produces light recoil yet accurate shot groups.

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  9. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    1KPerDay, I checked the link you provided and got this

    Well, that's pretty much where I stopped my 180 gr lead TCFP testing (I stopped at 4.4 gr).

    Since I got more accurate shot groups with 180 gr Rainier plated bullet and 4.5 gr of Promo, perhaps that could be your work up range (4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 gr). I would not argue with powder manufacturer's recommendation.
  10. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    I forgot that your OP question was for 180 gr Berry's plated bullet and Red Dot. :D

    I actually got smaller shot groups with 4.5 gr and 180 gr Rainier plated bullet. Keep in mind that Rainier sizes their 40 caliber bullet to .400" diameter (same as jacketed diameter) and Berry's sizes to .401" (same as larger lead bullet diameter).

    I would do the work up for Berry's 180 gr bullet the same as lead bullet (4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 gr).

  11. Berry's MFG

    Berry's MFG Well-Known Member

    Whenever we schedule testing for accuracy we always start with a stock Glock platform, if we can get the stock Glock to shoot well then we move on to other platforms.
  12. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Good to hear from you sir! I was unaware you were a forum member. Thanks for the input.
  13. Berry's MFG

    Berry's MFG Well-Known Member

    You can always email with any questions, I promise I won't sugar coat my answers. I will always give you an unbiased honest answer.
  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Cool. Is there a chance you might start publishing reloading info/specs like the major bullet mfgs do? Or would that be too much liability?
  15. Berry's MFG

    Berry's MFG Well-Known Member

    We just don't have the facilities to run the tests properly to avoid the pitfalls of the liability. I will say that both Hodgdon and Alliant are working load data as we speak. My number one goal is to have data in hand to answer the most asked questions we get.
  16. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    (Disclaimer: you are responsible for anything you do, obviously. I don't recommend these loads and disclaim any liability resulting from blah blah etc.)

    Follow-up for those interested:

    Had a chance to try out my .40 reloads yesterday compared to factory federal 180 ball. Glock 23C, 3rd generation.

    Distance was about 30 feet, standing, braced on a gun bag on my car. The larger target circles are 3 inches across, the smaller are 2 inches.
    Shot a group with the federal first:

    The 4.1 and 4.2 loads seemed most accurate (about the same as factory), and recoil was maybe slightly lighter than factory 180. 4.1 on the left, 4.2 on the right.

    4.3 and 4.4 were less accurate, recoil was about the same as factory,


    4.5 looked to be accurate (may have been a fluke) and recoil was getting sharper.

    Cases and primers looked fine; no evidence of the Glock "smiley." There were no malfunctions. I think I'll stick with the 4.0-4.2 in .40. I wouldn't personally shoot the 4.7 gr loads I've seen recommended on other places on the net.

    On the subject, 4.0 red dot with 230gr plated round nose berrys was surprisingly accurate and easy-shooting through my Para-Ordnance P14-45 Limited. I'm really pleased with this load.

  17. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Nice job on the follow-up range report.

    This is THR, no need to prove your "manliness" like some other gun forums! (some consider blowing up your gun with over charged loads a rite of passage :rolleyes: ).

    When you run out of Red Dot, you could consider using the cheaper Promo.
  18. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  19. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    thanks again
  20. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    Follow up for those interested:

    We've shot about 700 rounds of these .40 reloads during plinking and "practical" matches so far and the 4.1-4.2 grain red dot (the charge weight range that my Lee Pro auto disc drops on this setting; usually 4.1) with 180 grain Berry's TCFP has proven to be completely reliable and very accurate out of Glock 22 and 23. Zero malfunctions. I haven't chronographed it yet as I have no chrono... yet. :)

    The 4.1 grains of red dot and Berry's 230 round nose out of my Para-Ordnance P14-45 has also proven 100% reliable and very accurate. I've only shot one match with it but I have put a hundred plinking rounds or so through it, as well as a series 80 Commander and an H&K USP 45 with no malfunctions.

    My Glock 30 didn't like it; I had multiple nasty double feeds, but that was during a night match where I was holding a flashlight in one hand and shooting with the other. I suspect I wasn't locking out firmly enough and was getting limp-wrist-caused malfs. I have yet to reevaluate that pistol with this ammo under "normal" circumstances. I suspect recoil is a bit lighter than most "full power" factory ball and that may be a contributing factor.

    I'm currently working up my first lead loads using Missouri Bullet's 180gr "IDPA" 18 brinell .40 pills, starting at 4.0 gr. red dot. I'll let you know how it goes. The trial/dummy rounds I built using an OAL of 1.125 cycled fine manually but I haven't had the chance to fire any yet. Hopefully they'll be as accurate and reliable as the Berry's have been for me.

    Just in case anyone was interested.

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