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40 S&W Powders

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Grubby, Nov 8, 2012.

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  1. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    Hello, this winter I am looking to improve my skill set as a handgun shooter. I am terrible at this and have always wanted to get better. I looked through my powder supply and didn't really find a powder well suited for the 40. I was using Blue Dot powder for my loads, and I was reading that it's better for the magnum cartridges. What would be your powder choice that shoots well and good for beginners?
     
  2. bds
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    bds Member

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    I have used W231/HP-38 for lighter target loads and Universal/WSF/AutoComp for full power loads with good results.
     
  3. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    I agree. W231/HP38 are both great for 40s&w. I have loaded a lot of rounds with W231. Now days all I use for my 40s&w loads for practice, and Compitition is Winchester WST. I LOVE WST. Oh did I tell you I LOVE WST. It's has a little softer recoil, and a lot cleaner than W231. WST is a ball powder like W231, and meters well also. I load 3.9gr under 180gr Berry's RSFP for winter IDPA matches, and 4.1gr under 180gr Berry's RSFP for summer. WST is a little reverse temp sensitive ( gains pressure in cold temps, and reduces presure in hot temps), but not bad.
     
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  4. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    Ok, well that sounds good since I use 180 gr. XTP's. Is WST a common enough powder to find at say a cabelas?
     
  5. bds
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    bds Member

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  6. gunlaw

    gunlaw Member

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    I have tried many powders in the 40, but I always come back to AA#5. Its my go to for 165-180g cast and plated.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  7. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    The ol standbyes Unique and Bullseye are both great for .40. I prefer Bullseye personally, but be careful with it. It's extremely fast burning and .40 is a pretty high pressure round to begin with. Small errors can be magnified.
     
  8. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    The .40 S&W cartridge has a naturally fast occurring pressure peak. For that reason I've always stayed away from fast burning powders. If you decide to duplicate factory velocity with 155 or 165 gr. bullets the faster burners won't safely allow you to do it. For 180s I wouldn't use anything faster than W231 or ZIP and I really wouldn't prefer either powder. I'd go AA#5 or slower.

    bds recommended two very good choices with WSF and Autocomp. I'll recommend two more True Blue that is about the same burn rate as AA#5 but provides excellent accuracy. I've seen some reloading test where True Blue was the most accurate powder tested. The other choice would be Silhouette and it's in the same burn rate group with WSF and Autocomp. Before Ramshot started selling Silhouette it was introduced as Winchester Action Pistol, WAP, and is believed to be the powder Winchester used to develop the .40 S&W cartridge. If you ever decided to load self defense rounds Silhouette would be a great choice because it has a flash suppressant, one of the very few powders on the market that does. ;)
     
  9. srtolly

    srtolly Member

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    Lot of great suggestions here. I'm also looking to try something different. I'm currently using 5gr of unique under a berrys 165gr fp. Been pretty accurate so far. Anyone use AA #2?
     
  10. 918v

    918v Member

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    So don't load to the max with it. I like 4.6 grains under 180s.
     
  11. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    I do have some unique. I just couldn't find any data for it in my books. What is a load for the 180's? The only problem is that this powder is pretty old, it's made by hercules. I know powder stays good if you store it right for a long time. The recipies might have changed when hercules was sold to alliant.
     
  12. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    might want to look at HS6
     
  13. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    That makes my wallet cry. Try the HAP's. They load and shoot the same as the XTP and cost less than even Win FMJ's. Great stuff for duplicating your carry load.
     
  14. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    According to Alliant, you should be good with your old Unique. The newer stuff they say burns a little cleaner, but other wise no change. I asked Alliant by email if I should be worried about differences between new and old 40 year stuff, and they said no. Sure enough it works the same IME. Just watch for acrid odd-smells....if it smells like smokeless powder it's good.

    Unique works very well for me in both my .45's and my .40's....the powder is one of several good choices.
     
  15. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    How many grains of unique? Alliant's guide online lists a 6.7 grain charge. But I don't think there is much reason to go near that, espically since these loads are just for practice. The reason I use 180 XTP's, is that it was a gift. So I'm gonna use them up, but I will still stick with 180's.
     
  16. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I use light to moderate charges of Bullseye for most lighter bullets, but above 165 grains I switch to moderate charges of HS-6 or AutoComp.

    With this cartridge the reloader has to be mindful of the high pressure that it naturally develops and that even a little bit too much of any powder can be dangerous.

    I never load .40 cal to max, period.
     
  17. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    Trail Boss. Anything else is too fast, because .40 goes kaboom. It's actually not even reloadable. You shouldn't do it.
     
  18. rogn

    rogn Member

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    You mention being a beginner, I would under those circumstances use a powder than takes ups lot of space. This makes the possibility of double charges much less likely. Two powders I use are the before mentioned HS-6--good moderate range powder for 180gr. Good power loads can be worked up on Longshot. In all cases review the manuals. Inf can be accessed from the manufacturers on line. I also use long shot in the 10mm for hunting loads(nuf said)
     
  19. jr_watkins

    jr_watkins Member

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    Alliant Power Pistol is my favorite for 40S&W. Plenty of volume so you don't overcharge by accident like you can with faster powders.
     
  20. srtolly

    srtolly Member

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    I'm using 5.3gn of unique under 180gn hard cast lead. Has been pretty good for me.
     
  21. 4895

    4895 Member

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    Power Pistol.

    Buy a 4 lb. jug of it and don't look back!
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Any medium speed powder will work adequately. Anything from W-231 to HS-6, plus everything in between.

    I like Universal Clays for general .40 loading. It works well, and I have plenty.
     
  23. Josh45

    Josh45 Member

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    Blue Dot is better suited for the magnum cartridges as it is a slow burning powder.
    You would be better suited to use a bit faster burning powder.

    I would recommend,

    W-231 ( HP-38 )
    Power Pistol
    Unique
    Bullseye


    Out of those options, I liked W-231 and Power Pistol for the .40.
     
  24. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    I'm gonna plan on using unique until I run out. Gives me an excuse to purchase a different powder. Don't have too much left. After that though, it'll be a hard choice. It will probably come down to which powder the local gun shop has.
     
  25. JEB

    JEB Member

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    for my plinker/target loads (170gr SWC) i use w-231. when i want full power loads i prefer power pistol or AA#7.
     
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