The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools
Old August 26, 2001, 07:48 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 14, 2001
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 203
Back to Basics >I need a "Sanity Check"

I have been floundering around, trying to find a reload formula for my new Browning High Power in .40 S&W. ( Mark III)
The Gun is NEW and STIFF.
The factory recoil Spring is VERY heavy (for MY experience).


I like to use Hard Cast lead for economy.
I started out using 180 grain bullets ( That is what the factory ammo I was given with the new gun was > which works fine in the BHP).
I am partial to Hodgdon powders for their cleanliness.
( I have tried others such as AA #5)

All my reloads so far have NOT operated the BHP mechanism satisfactorily.
I get Stovepipes > failure to recock the hammer > and failure to lock back on an empty magazine.

It seems to me that these are all indications of INSUFFICIENT power in my reloads.

I am up at the MAXIMUM recommended loads and am STILL geting the results listed above (stovepiping etc).



Am I correct in assuming that:

1. the indications are that the ammo I am building is not powerful enough?

2. That "RECOIL" is what makes the gun CYCLE.

3. That Recoil (assuming I do not "limp Wrist > which I do not)
is relative to the product of: "Bullet Weight" times "muzzle Velocity".

4. That the SAMI recommended Maximum is 34000 cpu for a "fully supported chamber"

5. That the BHP DOES have a "fully Supported Chamber"

6. That if I use Hard Cast lead (ie laser Cast) I should keep my velocity below 1100 fps to avoid badly leading the barrel.


Should I use a lighter bullet and accept the leading that goes with the higher velocity?

Do I need to "Bite the Bullet" (no pun intended) and pay for Jacketed bullets?

Am I being too conservative in restricting myself to lower velocities?

Am I too cowered by the Lawyer driven Maximum Load

Should I substitute a "lighter Recoil Spring" for the factory supplied (20 #, I think) recoil spring
Perhaps with a shock buff installed to protect the gun against the resultant increased pownding?

I am up to all suggestions (including taking up golf)!

An Armed Society,
Is a Polite Society.
renaissance7697 is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 08:30 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: August 13, 2001
Location: Montana
Posts: 489
How about a little more information on your load? And is this related to the post of some time way back in history?

If it is, then your listed loads at that time were too light.
sricciardelli is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 11:53 AM   #3
Join Date: October 4, 2000
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 23
Does the pistol STILL cycle factory loads? The reason I ask, is that the pistol MAY be binding.
Do you use a go-nogo gauge for your finished cartridges? Do your finished rounds slide in and out of the chamber easily? Remove the barrel and use it as a gauge. Case bulging or not enough taper COULD cause loading/extraction difficulties.
C.O.A.L. is critical in this round, from what I've read. Pressures can spike dramatically if bullet is seated too deeply, so be careful as you approach maximum loads. My BHP .40 feeds 1.14" oal rounds reliably, though 1.135" is supposed to be max.
My Speer manual cites 35,000 as max.
My 2ยข
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin 1789

"The 2nd Amendment; it ain't about duck huntin'." bumper sticker I wish I had
SeaHaze is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 01:24 PM   #4
dick w. holliday
Senior Member
Join Date: January 13, 2001
Location: NC
Posts: 589
Your answer lies with that is the site for Wolff Springs--get a set of reduced power springs and your troubles will be over..When i get a new auto pistol they are one of the first calls i make...When i go shoot my 1911s be it 38 super or 45 auto i always tailor my springs to the load...start with the heavy springs and work your way down until you get 100% ejaculation (couldn't resist). anytime i see an autopistol throwing brass across the range i always think someones getting ready to crack a frame or slide....Since the Browning is on the small end size wise of the 40's you can bet they put those heavy springs in there to keep the gun from self destructing....Hope this helps....Dick
dick w. holliday is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 04:43 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: January 14, 2001
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 203
Details on the loads I have tried so far

I have only had the BHP for three Weeks
Have been seeking reload formulae (on this forum) for about two.

What were these "TOO WEAK" loads aired in the past on this forum.

I don't know where "Way Back in history is but:;

Here are the Details about some of the loads I have tried so far:


The loads I have tried so far are just about all combinations of

180 grain FMJ RNFP (generic)
180 Grain Hard Cast lead in RNFP configuration (generic)

Hodgdon CLAYS in weights from 3.1 to 4.0 grains in steps of 1/10 grain
Accurate AA # 5 in weights from 6.0 to 6.9 again varing in steps of 1/10 grain

The Lead were seated to an OAL of 1.132 > 1.135
The FMJ were seated to an OAL of 1.125 > 1.130

I had to go all the way up to 4.0 with CLAYS, before I could get anywhere near reliable function cycling of the BHP.
Even at that I still got a few stovepipes and failures to lock back on an empty magazine.
(The MAXIMUM Published Safe Load I could find anywhere for CLAYS and 175-180 grain Bullets was LYMAN > 4.0 for175 grain Alloy)
(Hodgdon listed a Maximum of only 3.5 grains for HDY XTP)

I was not comfortable working that near the high safe limit>


With AA# 5, I had to go to 6.6 grains to get somewhat reliable cycling and that too was NOT perfect.

The Maximum Load for AA#5 varies quite a bit depending who you go to.
Many sources give a Maximum of 6.0 for 175 / 180 grain >> Jacketed / Lead
Accurate gave max of 6.6 for a 180 XTP........ while
Lyman allowed a max of 6.9 grains of AA#5 with a 175 grain Lead RNFP.
PS The AA # 5 turned out to be VERY Dirty in my test loads


Part of the problem might be the existance of many "NOT FULLY SUPPORTED CHAMBERS" IN .40 s&w

I am shooting these in a Browning High Powder which DOES have a "FULLY supported Chamber.
So I am willing to TRY up to the HIGHEST MAXIMUM SAFE LOADs Published
I AM NOT however real comfortable with it.


I am seriously considering installing a less powerful recoil spring.

I guess, if I do, I will have to start looking for the right load all over again..


I read where springs are commonly available for the BHP in 9mm from 15 to 22 pounds
I have been told that the standard factory issue weight for the 40 is 20#
What are the available / suggested (allowable) spring weights for the .40 S&W?
An Armed Society,
Is a Polite Society.
renaissance7697 is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 07:19 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: February 20, 1999
Location: home on the range; Vermont (Caspian country)
Posts: 14,270

1) yes

2) close enough

3) again, close enough

4) screw SAAMI

5) maybe; how does it look?

6) no. Leading is per individual barrel; your results may vary.

(Didn't I give you a Power Pistol / 180g Rainier load?)
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
WESHOOT2 is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 07:59 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: June 5, 2000
Location: Job hunting on the road...
Posts: 3,827
Every gun is unique as to what loads are actually "good" or "max."

What do your primers look like? Maybe add powder or switch to a powder that may be more suited to the calibre/load, and give it another shot...
Job hunting, but helping a friend out at - and learning the finer aspects of becoming a precision machinist.

And making the world's greatest bottle openers!
Bogie is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 11:01 PM   #8
Johnny Guest
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,117
Two Posts, one response.

Please see my reply dated 26 AUG to your earlier question dated 20 AUG, Problems Loading for a .40 HP, or similar title.

It may be of some help with both but I see no point in double-posting the response.

Best wishes,
Amendment II ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights.

Blog: Expert Witness
Johnny Guest is offline  
Old August 26, 2001, 11:18 PM   #9
Join Date: October 4, 2000
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 23
Also try and for further enlightenment.
Using a different weight recoil spring isn't the desperate choice you seem to think it is. It's done frequently. Using one weight spring for plinking/targets and another for hot self defense loads makes alot of sense to me, and is easily and readily accomplished.
Do a TFL forum search on recoil buffers and you'll get an earful. Some love 'em others hate 'em. Not much middle ground. I've tried one brand and after mediocre results decided one more variable in the mix was too much for me. A $75 lesson I didn't REALLY need to make.
It occured to me that you might have a bad batch of lead. Maybe it's undersized and therefore not making a tight enough seal as it is propelled down the barrel. But I would recommend against exceeding maximum loads, in any event. I'm glad you're uncomfortable at those limits. Blowing up guns is not a good idea.
For $20 bucks or so, why not try a medium speed powder? Everything I've read indicates their use for this calibre. Hogden's Universal or Vihta Voury N350 work for me, but then I use FMJ bullets.
Rambling a bit as the weekend winds to a close......
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin 1789

"The 2nd Amendment; it ain't about duck huntin'." bumper sticker I wish I had
SeaHaze is offline  

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:32 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2015 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08249 seconds with 9 queries