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40S&W and Herco for lead/plated bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LiveLife, Feb 9, 2014.

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  1. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Disclaimer: Following post lists loads that are currently not listed by Alliant so use them at your own risk.

    While I have used Bullseye, Red Dot/Promo, Clays, WST, Green Dot, W231/HP-38, Unique, Universal, Power Pistol, HS-6, WSF and Auto Comp for 40S&W, I have been wanting to try Herco that I got for loading 45Colt. Based on the burn rate chart, Herco is listed around Power Pistol/WSF and in times of powder shortage, I figured it should work at least for plinking loads (When I tested Bullseye, Red Dot/Promo, W231/HP-38 and Herco for 45Colt, Herco produced the least accurate shot groups).


    After checking 2004 Alliant load data which listed 7.0 gr as max charge for 180 gr JHP bullet at 1.125" OAL, I wanted to work up loads for 180 gr TCFP lead and plated bullets. After weighing the powder drops from various Pro Auto Disk holes, I decided to try the following:
    Herco flake size is smaller than Unique and metered with .1-.2 gr variance from Pro Auto Disk as weighed on Ohaus 10-10.


    Initial Range Test:
    Glock 22/23/27 with factory barrels for plated bullets and Lone Wolf barrels for lead bullets. All the test rounds were loaded to 1.125" OAL with .422"-.423" taper crimp. Shot groups measured center-to-center.

    180 gr Missouri lead TCFP:
    4.8 - 1.25" at 7 yards and 2.5" at 10 yards
    5.2 - 1.0" at 7 yards and 2.5" at 10 yards
    5.6 - 1.5 at 7 yards and 2.0" at 10 yards
    6.1 - 1.0" at 7 yards and 1.25" at 10 yards

    180 gr Berry's plated TCFP:
    5.6 - 1.5" at 7 yards and 3.0" at 10 yards
    6.1 - 1.25" at 7 yards and 2.5" at 10 yards
    6.4 - 1.75" at 7 yards and 2.5" at 10 yards


    Shooting Impressions:
    Felt recoil was definitely more snappy than my W231/HP-38 target loads using the same bullets. After 100+ rounds, Lone Wolf barrels were clean without any leading. Comparing the range test notes I did with Promo/Red Dot, recoil was comparable to moderate Promo loads - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6509911#post6509911

    If Herco was only powder available for 40S&W lead/plated bullets, I would not hesitate to use it. If I had to choose between Herco and Red Dot/Promo for 40S&W, I would go with Red Dot/Promo and use mild/moderate loads like 4.0 gr for the 180 bullets. I have been sick with the flu this week and may do some more range tests after I feel better. I am thinking of comparing 4.0 gr Red Dot/Promo lead/plated loads as well.

    Here's Promo/Red Dot range test for comparison.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  2. Rico567

    Rico567 Member

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    Good grief- I didn't even know they still made Herco powder. That takes me back way down the time tunnel- first reloading I ever did, around 50 years ago, on a MEC 600 jr. 20 ga. press, cranking out some fairly stiff 1 oz. dove loads. Banging Win 209 primers that were a BIT large into Remington hulls (because that's what I could get).
     
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I am updating my "Bucket List" and testing Herco for 40S&W was one of them. :D

    When I bought my last 8 lb container of Red Dot, the vendor had an old bottle of Herco that I bought just for the old container. I am using up the powder for 45Colt cowboy loads and after my range test, may use it up in 45ACP loads.
     
  4. SFreed

    SFreed Member

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    Thanks for the info bds. I appreciate all you put into your posts. I know Ken Waters was a big fan of Herco in the 40, but never had a reason to try it out. How was the burn? I was under the impression that it was more of a upper charge powder. I'm stuck on Longshot and SR4756 myself, but with things the way they are now, always good to have another option.
     
  5. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    That's interesting some interesting data with Herco in 40 SW.

    I can tell you I've had good luck with Herco in 45acp, but always get a few unburned flakes. It likes to be loaded at the top end though.
     
  6. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Thanks bds. I have a couple pounds of Herco left and I use both of those bullets. :cool:
     
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Funny, this takes me back to my old 600 Jr. beginnings also. I haven't even thought about Herco in more than 30 yrs.. I used to use it in a 12 ga. load for quail, also used it for clays some.

    GS
     
  8. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Went to the range today and I have some interesting things to report.
    Herco's burn rate being listed between Power Pistol and WSF, I thought the same and figured I wasn't going to get clean burn until upper end of load data. So for range test #2, I paid particular attention to how clean the cases were and even the lowest powder charge loads of 5.9 gr were relatively clean burning compared to 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot and 4.0-4.3 gr W231/HP-38 loads.

    Range Test #2:

    - To reduce gas leakage around the bullet, I increased the OAL from 1.125" to 1.130" and used the same .422"-.423" taper crimp.

    - 180 gr MBC lead and Berry's plated TCFP bullets were loaded with 4.0 gr of Promo/Red Dot at 1.130" for comparison.

    - 180 gr lead bullet was tested at 5.9/6.1/6.4 gr of Herco.

    - 180 gr lead loads were shot in factory Glock barrels.


    4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot:
    180 gr Missouri lead TCFP - 2.0" at 10 yards
    180 gr Berry's plated TCFP - 1.25" at 10 yards.

    180 gr Missouri lead TCFP and Herco:
    5.9 - 2.5" at 10 yards
    6.1 - 1.25" at 10 yards

    180 gr Berry's plated TCFP and Herco:
    6.1 - 1.5" at 10 yards
    6.4 - 1.75" at 10 yards

    180 gr Missouri lead TCFP and Herco with factory Glock barrels:
    5.9 - 2.25" at 10 yards
    6.1 - 1.25" at 10 yards
    6.4 - 1.75" at 10 yards


    Findings/Impressions:

    - 1.130" OAL improved accuracy over 1.125" OAL, especially for Berry's plated bullet loads.

    - 6.1/6.4 gr Herco loads' felt recoil was slightly less than 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot loads.

    - All Herco cases were relatively clean on the inside without any unburnt powder flakes felt during firing.

    - There was no leading in the Lone Wolf barrels after 100+ rounds of Missouri lead bullets.

    - 6.1 gr Herco seems to produce the most accurate smallest average shot groups for both lead and plated bullets.

    - Using Missouri lead bullets with factory Glock barrels not only produced accuracy but the barrels had no leading and only very slight fouling build up along the rifling.


    For range test #2, I had higher hopes for 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot loads but was surprised to find softer felt recoil from 6.1/6.4 gr Herco loads. Since 6.1 gr lead and plated loads shot well, especially lead bullet in factory Glock barrels, I will give Herco consideration as an alternate powder to use for 40S&W (like Green Dot) when W231/HP-38 is not available.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  9. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    Thanks for posting that up.
    I don't recall Herco being all that "dirty" in 45acp, but the unburnt flakes could be considered "dirt". Mostly I have to wash them off my arms.

    I suspect Herco likes the higher pressure of the 40SW.
     
  10. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Due to lead bullets being cheaper than plated/jacketed bullets for practice (especially for 40S&W), I decided to test longer OAL to squeeze out as much accuracy out of the 6.1 gr Herco load. Although SAAMI max for 40S&W is 1.135", Glock/M&P/Lone Wolf barrels will accommodate various TCFP bullet lengths to 1.149" and reliably feed/chamber 1.145" from the magazine.

    For this range test, mixed range brass that have been reloaded several times and shot in Glock/M&P/Lone Wolf barrels (I intentionally selected the worst looking cases) were used with Glock 23 and Lone Wolf barrel for more "practical" practice of my carry G23.

    6.1 gr of Herco and 180 gr Missouri TCFP were loaded using .422" taper crimp and shot at 10 yards (group size measured center-to-center):

    1.135" OAL - 1.23"

    1.137" OAL - 1.10"

    1.139" OAL - 1.22"

    1.141" OAL - 1.35"

    1.143" OAL - 1.43"

    All of the 6.1 gr loads burned fairly clean and I did not see the typical blackened soot inside the cases I get with Red Dot/Promo and W231/HP-38 loads. After 100+ rounds of lead Missouri bullets, the Lone Wolf barrel was clean without any leading or fouling build up. The barrel was clean enough a wad of paper towel pushed through cleaned the barrel enough for another shooting session - but I still cleaned the barrel with Hoppes #9 and copper bore brush).

    Interesting thing to point out is that while 1.137" OAL posted the smallest shot group size at 1.10", the 1.141"/1.143" OAL loads showed rounds clustered together with one to two flyers that opened up the group size (see target pictures below). Without the flyers, the group sizes would have been under one inch. I will do some more range test with 1.137" and 1.142" loads next.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Crashbox
    • Contributing Member

    Crashbox Member

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    I also think this is interesting, thank you for sharing this data.

    Herco is one of my favorites for .357 Magnum cast rounds but I've never tried it in the .40 with cast... certainly worth considering since I have over a keg of it in stock.
     
  12. SFreed

    SFreed Member

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    Thanks for the follow up. It's always good to have another option these days. That's some good shooting! Do you shoot off of a rest?
     
  13. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, it is always good to have options. I normally use sandbags to rest my pistol for accuracy testing but lately, I have been using a small ice chest that's the perfect height to rest my hands on the indoor range shooting bench (it's also handy to keep refreshing ice cold beverages for hydration).


    I wanted to verify my results from the last range trip so I loaded up some more 6.1 gr Herco loads at 1.137", 1.140" and 1.142". Glock 23 was used with Lone Wolf barrel at 10 yards. Mixed range brass was used and intentionally worst looking brass were used that have been reloaded several times.

    Range Report (30 rounds of each OAL were shot in 5-shot groups):

    1.137" OAL - On this range trip, 1.50" shot group was the best I could do. I would start well with 3 rounds clustered at 0.75" but subsequent rounds opened the shot group to 1.50". Perhaps the 1.10" shot group on the last trip was a fluke?

    1.140" OAL - 1.35". This was consistent with the last range trip. I got many 3 rounds clustered at 0.75" with subsequent rounds that opened up the group.

    1.142" OAL - 1.10". This was more promising. 3-4 round clusters measured sub 0.65" and last 1-2 rounds opened up the shot groups to 1.10"


    I also did some fast draw fire and double-tap drills at multiple targets and was able to keep all of my shots inside the 1/2 sheets of 8.5"x11" copy paper targets.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    thanks for the post B,

    I use Herco in 9mm and have gotten a pretty accurate (for me) load worked out.

    I like it and it seems to be more available, I see it everywhere, relatively speaking.

    I have noticed it's a bit "snappier" than some. Seems like all of the shotty powders Ive tried are somewhat snappy in 9mm.
     
  15. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Many thanks to bds for getting me inspired to take another crack at solving the mystery of why I couldn't find an accurate load for this batch of Berry's 180 TCFP. I'd tried multiple powders, different crimps, etc. But thanks to this thread I tried a few variations of OAL with Herco and HP-38. The HP-38 was inconsistent as my previous attempts, but 6.0 Herco at an OAL of 1.14" (which I never would have tried without bds' recommendation above) works great! More accurate than factory for me, and doesn't have the occasional FTF jam in my Storm Lake barrel that I was getting with these bullets at 1.125" which is my usual OAL.

    Yay! Thanks again bds! :cool:

    Groups fired at 10 yards from an upside down bucket rest.

    60grainshercoberrys180tcfp_zpsd8fc9ddf.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I love happy endings! :D

    This is the joy of handloading/reloading as we can tailor the reloading components to attain much better than factory accuracy at significantly lower cost for practice/match shooting.

    I tell you, I have done simulated USPSA multiple target double-tap drills and I think the Herco load is accurate enough for match shooting. And added bonus is the cases/pistol stay relatively clean.

    Congrats!

    Yes, depending on the bullet type used (FMJ/JHP Montana Gold vs various brand plated/lead bullets) I found that optimal accuracy varies depending on the powder used and the "sweet spot" we all look for won't be identified until we conduct full powder work up using variables such as OAL/COL (This is why Walkalong's thread on determining the max OAL/COL is so applicable when looking to produce the most accurate loads).

    I find dropping in a new $7 factory Recoil Spring Assembly in my Glocks with older springs will noticeably reduce the snappy recoil and you can always use heavier spring rate to "custom tailor" the pistol to the load (I have setup similar to Springco used for Limited 10 USPSA division) so the felt recoil is comfortable for fast double taps for match shooting. I know that you have been developing loads for match shooting and matching the spring rate to the identified accurate match load is the next logical step to improve your stage accuracy/times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Wanted to update the thread with RMR 180 gr HM RNFP bullet testing at 15/25 yards.

    Due to the nose profile/ogive of the bullet, Glock magazine max length of 1.165" dropped in the Lone Wolf and Glock 40S&W chambers freely with a "plonk" and spun without hitting the start of rifling. Taper crimp used was .421". However, 1.165" dummy rounds got stuck in the magazine tube when I loaded 3 rounds. While 1.160" dummy rounds fed and chambered from the magazine even in tight chambered Lone Wolf barrels, 1.155" was decided as the final working OAL to compensate for variations in resized mixed range brass lengths.

    I check for sufficient neck tension by measuring OAL before and after feeding/chambering the dummy rounds from the magazine and releasing the slide without riding it. After two chamberings, I did not measure any bullet setback so I rechambered five times. Guess what? No bullet setback! With many jacketed/plated bullets, I will experience some bullet setback after several chamberings but not with these bullets. Perhaps harder lead alloy (11-12 BHN) used as bullet core is not being squished to maintain greater neck tension.

    RMR 180 gr HM RNFP with 6.1 gr Herco at 1.155" at 15/25 yards with Glock 22

    [​IMG]
     
  18. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Looks like they work! Thanks!
     
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