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Old February 7, 2000, 04:14 PM   #1
Bill in NM
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Here's the deal. My brother is shooting and reloading for his Sig P239 in .40 S&W. Load is 4.2 gr of Win 231 (this is starting load in Lymans 47th edition) behind a 200 gr Gold Dot (if I remember right), using Federal primers. The problem is that it is definately flattening the primers. He tried 4.0 gr. of W231, and it wouldn't even cycle the action. No other signs of overpressure, but he is very concerned. Factory ammo does not have this problem. He's using a mild taper crimp, and it fits fine into the headspace and OAL gauge. Any ideas as to what's happening here?
Thanks,
Bill
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Old February 7, 2000, 04:38 PM   #2
Mal H
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There could be several things to look into.

First of all a flattened primer may be an over pressure indicator, but not necessarily.

A 200 gr jacketed bullet is not usually loaded for .40 S&W, 10mm yes. Check the OAL, it should be a tad longer than, say, a 180 JHP. If he is seating the 200 grainer in so that it fits a standard .40 S&W OAL gauge, he might be seating it too deep. I don't have any bullets of that type to check so I'm not sure they will even fit in the magazine with the correct OAL.

The powder load may actually be too small instead of too large causing the OP. This might be a case of the bullet sliding out to the lands and stopping, pressure builds over max and the bullet takes off. This happens in rifles more than pistols.

Don't use a "mild" crimp, use a good solid taper crimp.

[This message has been edited by Mal H (edited February 07, 2000).]
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Old February 7, 2000, 09:05 PM   #3
SVSUPER
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I run wst in a 200gr bullet for 40cal and my load is much hotter than 4.2 gr and experience no pressure signs. I would check overall legnth and my crimp. Have you shot the loads in any other gun with the same results? Check your scale to make sure you are accurate on your powder charge. I would runs an oal of @ 1.125 to 1.150 depending upon what your mags will take.
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Old February 9, 2000, 09:22 AM   #4
Bill in NM
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I was wrong, it's 180gr Gold Dot. Here is the actual email that I received from him.

"I'm using 4.2 grains of 231, Federal small pistol primers, Speer Gold Dot 180
grain JHP bullets, and I'm loading to the maximum overall length of 1.135". If
I go down to 4.0 grains, the action doesn't cycle reliably."

I've heard that Federal primers are softer than other brands. Could this be the cause?
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Old February 9, 2000, 12:11 PM   #5
Mal H
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Bill, first of all you might ask your friend where he got that particular load, was it from Lyman's? Because they don't list the 180 GD. The 190 gr JHP they have there does have an OAL of 1.135 and 4.2 W231 is the starting load. This load does not mean you can use it for the 180 GD. You cannot take the OAL spec given for one bullet and use it for another. The bullet shapes may be completely different and the resulting case capacity may be too much or, even worse, too little. He may be creating a bomb, not a safe cartridge with that practice.

Speer #13 unfortunately doesn't list W231 for the 180 GD. But the starting load for the 165 GD is 5.8 gr. So the starting load for the 180 would be less than that. I won't give you my estimate, because that may be as dangerous as what he is doing. He could go to a different powder, many of which are listed. Or he could use Sierra's recommendation of 4.4 gr as a starting point for a 180 JHP. That fits nicely with Lyman's 4.2 gr for a 190 JHP and 4.6 gr for a 170 JHP so it sounds like a good start.

Speer #13 lists the OAL for the 180 GD as 1.120.

I think my advice about the small powder load may still be the case. And be sure to tell him to use a good taper crimp, but don't go overboard. You might want to ask him what a "mild" crimp is.
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Old February 9, 2000, 03:44 PM   #6
Cat
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Bill in NM,
Another thing that you might try is switching to either CCI or Winchester primers.
Federal primers have the softest cup metal of the three. They are excellent primers and I us them exclusively, but not in maximum loads. In my experience they will start to flatten out at a lower pressure.
Anyway, it's something to try.

Neil Casper
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Old February 10, 2000, 12:31 PM   #7
CrowShooter
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Try Winchester Small Rifle primers.

CS
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Old February 10, 2000, 02:38 PM   #8
Bill in NM
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I just dropped off a box of Winchester Small Pistol primers for him to try. He's also checking with Speer for a correct OAL. I'm going to try a box of his Federal SP primers in one of my loads to see if I start flattening them.
As far as the crimp goes, he says the he used a dial caliper to set it to what the book says.
CrowShooter,
He's already concerned about overpressure. Wouldn't rifle primers increase pressure?
I'm trying to get him to register here so that he can talk to you directly, but not sure if he will or not.
Thanks for all the help/suggestions.
Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill in NM (edited February 10, 2000).]
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Old February 10, 2000, 02:51 PM   #9
Mal H
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Right you are Bill.

CrowShooter, I hope you meant Win Small Pistol primers.

I'm not sure you guys are listening. Bill if your friend has a high pressure problem, and the jury is still out on that, why would you want to mask it? Find out what is causing it first before changing primers. There is nothing wrong with Fed. primers. Maybe it's good that they are a little softer, they will show up pressure problems more readily.
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Old February 10, 2000, 06:00 PM   #10
Bill in NM
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Mal,
First of all, thank you for the ideas and information. I will pass along the 1.120 OAL spec to him. This may be the problem, as it looks like he's 0.015 over spec.
For the record, same brother also had some 200gr lead bullets loaded with 4.5gr of W231 (per Winchester loading guide, min is 4.2gr, max is 5.5gr)that showed same primer flattening. This is the only indication of possible overpressure. I really don't think that there is an overpressure problem, but I've only been reloading for about a year and I'm not about to tell ANYONE that "a flattened primer is OK, just go ahead and load 'er up". That's why I'm here trying to get information. That's also why I brought home a box of his Federal primers to test in my known good load. Unfortunately, I don't have a .40S&W gun, so I'll have to test them in my 9mm, which may or may not tell us anything. I'll post report on the primer swap when I have any info.
Thanks again for all the help. I'm always willing and eager to listen to someone elses ideas/suggestions.

[This message has been edited by Bill in NM (edited February 10, 2000).]
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Old February 10, 2000, 06:05 PM   #11
Mal H
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Thanks, Bill, that sounds like a plan. Do let us know what you find out.
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Old February 10, 2000, 10:24 PM   #12
WalterGAII
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Got a little input on flattened primers. I've been shooting .400 Cor-Bon through my G21 for some time now. Have been using CCI Magnum L.P.P., with fine results. Loaded up a hundred or so with the same powder charge, bullet, and o.a.l., but with regular CCI L.P.P. The regular primers were flattened pretty badly; the magnum primers, nicely rounded. I'm not shootin nearly a max load. Probably half the pressureof that of .40 S&W.

------------------
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Old February 10, 2000, 11:22 PM   #13
CrowShooter
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Well, I thought his post said that it was a starting load and that the OAL is in spec. So, if that is true, then it sounds like the primers COULD be the culprit. In other words, what I heard was that the load should be light, and he is having pressure signs. Does the Sig have to use ammo as short as he lists? BTW, a small rifle primer will usually only mask pressure when used in conjunction with a longer firing pin, like when you use an overlength FP in a 1911. Without the long FP, if the pressure is actually there, you will still see it. Just something to try, not saying that it is the cure. That's why my post said: TRY WSR primers. I can interchange WSR and WSP in my P-16 and see only about 2-3 fps difference across the chrono, so I don't think the rifle primers are increasing pressure.
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Old February 12, 2000, 11:38 AM   #14
Bill in NM
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Well, I loaded up 20 rounds of 9mm with the his Federal primers with no apparent flattening. I have passed along all info to him. He hasn't had a chance to load up any more since my passing info to him, so don't have any other info at this time.
Thanks again, will keep you posted.
Bill
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Old February 12, 2000, 11:30 PM   #15
dundee
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Primers for pressure indicators are of some use but I noticed that the reloader had a dial caliper for checking overall length. He should be able to use this to check for case expansion. Check some factory ammo cases from the same gun and then check the 4.0 load of 231 and the 4.2 load of 231 cases to see if the case expansion is greater than the factory cases.

do a search for 40 cal and case expansion for what other people are reporting for that caliber.
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