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Old May 29, 2013, 03:15 PM   #1
Ashbane
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New to pistol reloading, question on first batch.

I recently started gathering supplies to reload 40 sw. I bought the Hornady LnL single press kit and read the reload book it came with as well as researching several forums and YouTube videos so I felt pretty comfy doing my first 100 rounds. But recently I saw something that threw me off. I chanced into a box of Berrys 180gr fp bullets and federal small mag pistol primers happened to be on the shepf one day so I grabbed them. Everything I've read says mag primers will work fine as long as I start with starting loads and work up. In the Hornady book starting loads for 180 gr xtp bullets and Hogdon Longshot (wich is what I have) starts at like 5.3 grs. So I did 50 at 5.3 and 50 at 5.9gr. So I'm seeing on Hogdons site as well as the lee die tool data sheet a starting load is like 6.3 or something like that. Will these reloads work?
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Old May 29, 2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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Most likely, yes. Start with the 5.3gr load, then proceed with the 5.9gr load assuming no issues with the first batch. Watch for pressure signs & if ANYTHING seems out of place, STOP AND INVESTIGATE before continuing!

Although it sounds like this advice is a little too late, I would highly recommend working with much smaller batches to start with, *especially* when testing out new recipes for the first time. 5-10 rounds at each charge weight you want to test should give you a useful qty to function test with, without having to worry about tearing apart the rest of your 50 or 100-round batch if they don't function properly. You'll really grow to appreciate that the first time you experience having to pull down the other 49 (or 98) rounds that you just loaded when you go to fire them & find that they don't perform as expected...

That said, the magnum primers tend to increase pressures (at least somewhat) beyond that of a standard primer, so your 'hotter' primer combined with the slightly lower-than-recommended-starting charge should counterbalance one another to some degree. It is a standard safety practice to begin working loads up from the starting charges again any & every time you change ANY component from the listed recipe.

With your charges below recommended starting charges you should be in safe territory as far as pressure is concerned (even with the mag primers); your potential issues will likely be:
  1. inefficient powder burn due to pressure too low ('dirty' burn - sooty cases & possibly unburnt powder in the barrel/action)
  2. stuck bullets - not so much a problem in & of itself, but potentially disastrous to you/bystanders & the firearm if followed by another round while the barrel is obstructed
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Old May 29, 2013, 03:55 PM   #3
Ashbane
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Re: New to pistol reloading, question on first batch.

Thanks for the reply, great info. I will absolutely be paying attention to the first round. I planned on buying a box of factory 180 grns to start with. Once I get a feel for those I'll try the 5.3's. After seeing the big difference in starting load data I worried that the load might not even push the slide back enough to eject the shell so I plan on making damn sure the first batch works one by one. If I gotta pull them then so be it, I gotta learn my lesson.

Why would the starting load data be soo different from the Hornady book and Hogdon's site?
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Old May 29, 2013, 05:45 PM   #4
YunGun
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Quote:
I worried that the load might not even push the slide back enough to eject the shell
That could also be a potential issue, though should not pose a safety concern. I suppose we could make that item#3 in my previous list, though I'm sure it still wouldn't be complete

Quote:
Why would the starting load data be soo different from the Hornady book and Hogdon's site?
It's pretty common to see variances between data sources; this is largely due to differences in the test platform used by the lab/manufacturer that provided the data, testing methods used, lot-to-lot variations on powder, etc. etc. This underscores why it is important to cross-reference load data between multiple sources, not to mention using current load data, & always starting low & working your way up carefully. Some older manuals list higher charges; not (only) because of lawyers & liability as some suppose, but because newer testing methods are more sensitive & accurate. Although I imagine everyone has their own opinion, I tend to favor the data provided by the powder manufacturer, or start with the lower value & work up.

Who knows, those loads may work great for you just the way they are & become your new target/plinking load...
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Old May 29, 2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Although it sounds like this advice is a little too late, I would highly recommend working with much smaller batches to start with, *especially* when testing out new recipes for the first time.
Absolutely.

Way back when I started, I loaded up 50 rounds of .380, using the starting load for the bullet and powder I had. They were too weak to reliably cycle the Makarov I was shooting at the time. I didn't have a bullet puller at the time, so I was kind of stuck working through that box.

You want to inch your way through the published range. Say, a magazine full for every 2/10 of a grain increase in powder charge. See if there are any problems, or a "sweet spot" where things seem to work very well.

For .40, you want to be mindful of the seating depth warnings. It's a pretty high pressure round.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:02 PM   #6
Ashbane
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Re: New to pistol reloading, question on first batch.

Thanks. The Hornady book that came with the press is the latest issue so I felt pretty confident in it. Just seems like such a large difference with the powder maker. But I would think one should err on the safe side and go with the lower amount. I've been buying the parts one by one since Feb and a kinetic puller was the latest addition. I've been measuring each load instead of relying on the powder dispenser, making sure each case is not over .850", and my oal's are coming out between 1.125-1.130.

I've also been watching a few videos on YouTube covering signs of high pressure. Looking forward to trying these out at the range. I don't own one yet but hopefully in the next month or so I will. I've been eyeing the Beretta px4 Storm with it's rotary barrel. The S&W MP looks good too.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:47 PM   #7
lee n. field
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Quote:
making sure each case is not over .850"
I stopped measuring handgun cases for length a long time ago. They don't stretch any amount that matters, over their useful lifetime. (Useful lifetime defined as "before you lose it".)
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Old May 30, 2013, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
They don't stretch any amount that matters, over their useful lifetime. (Useful lifetime defined as "before you lose it".)
I used to measure & trim my .40 brass as well, but eventually proved to my satisfaction that the above statement is true. Saves quite a bit of time during the case prep stage.

While you're still getting used to the process just take it slow & double/triple-check everything. If you're not sure about a powder drop, dump it & do it again. Perform each step as many times as necessary until you are certain that it was done correctly, & perform any additional steps that you wish to help familiarize yourself with the process & raise your confidence level somewhat.

As you become more familiar & comfortable with the process you'll get a better feel for what you NEED to do vs what you don't really need to do, & probably a few things you may not need to do, but decide to do anyway (like tumbling brass shiny, for example; not necessary but they sure look purty!)...
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: New to pistol reloading, question on first batch.

Ok I found a coworker that is pretty knowledgeable on this and he pointed out the Berry's bullets are plated, not jacketed xtp which was the catagory I was using in the Hornady book. I bought "Modern Reloading" book by Lee wich has a lot more options than the Hornady one as well as more reloading info for me to study. I'll also be going more by the powder manufacturer site I think and use the books to verify data. At least the Lee book has info about the dies I got from them and has a plated bullet section.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:54 AM   #10
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I pretty much use the numbers for leads when I am running Berry, or Ranier plated bullets.
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Old June 1, 2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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Plated bullets normally come in two flavors. Heavy plating and thin plating. The thin plated ones use the same load information as lead bullets of the same shape. The heavy plated bullets can use jacketed load data up to mid range. Starting data probably will be closer to the mid range to upper end of lead data. It is always best to find data matching the bullet you are going to load.

My first things I do when working up a load is to start at or near the low end of the data I have. I work up 5 to 10 rounds at that point and 5 to 10 more with .1 grains more powder. I continue until I'm about .2 under the max level. The next thing I do when testing is make certain I have a clean target to shoot at. I make certain there is a hole in the paper for each shot fired. When I'm not certain a new hole it in the paper it is time to check the barrel for an obstruction.

Next I test to see if my new round will cycle the gun. If it does this I start looking for the powder level that will give me the best group. I shoot from a rest or at least have something stable to rest the gun on to keep movement to a minimum. I do skip some loads if the gun doesn't cycle. An example is the minimum load is 5.0 grains of powder and won't cycle the gun. The next ones I try will be 5.2 gains of powder. This continues until the gun cycles. At that point I start looking for accuracy. Check the cases to see if they are black for a low charge or very flattened primers normally resulting for pressure.

Once I find a load that works and most of the time it works well plus over a .3 grain spread or better I select the center of that good group of loads to load up 50 rounds. I then shoot these to see how they work over a longer test. If those meet my needs I probably load up quite a few to shoot.

Keep notes of everything you are loading. This means the good and the bad. You can refer to your notes later and keep from making loads that don't work well as well as making loads that do. I always refer to my notes prior to loading anything. My memory tends to make errors.
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Old June 1, 2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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Thanks. The Hornady book that came with the press is the latest issue so I felt pretty confident in it. Just seems like such a large difference with the powder maker. But I would think one should err on the safe side and go with the lower amount.-Ashbane


Welcome to the affliction! I think you'll find that some manuals are consistently conservative and some sources publish somewhat higher max loads. This is often due to differences in components and test conditions, possibly other factors as well. I can tell you that when Hodgdon says it's a max load, it's a MAX load. Regardless of the source, one principle still applies: start low and work your way up. I generally find my best load before I get to a max load.
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Old June 1, 2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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On the several book I own I have seen these differences as well moreso between Hornady and Lyman and Lee on some the larger charges reflects the longer COAL, as you see that sometime the pressure listed is changed as well on the longer ones yes again some older books seem to favor more powerful load data than today Lawyered down versions, but again books printed within the last 10 yrs take into account the modern powders this is not to say I won't use high end load data from the older data books as I choose to use full load vs watered down loads be sure to watch the COAL's and you'll be safe have some fun designing you most useful for your general desires.
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Old June 1, 2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Just seems like such a large difference with the powder maker.
Just wait until you find a load in one source where the maximum is less than the minimum of another source!

Sometimes you can find the reason for the difference in the "fine print" such as the COAL tested. Sometimes the difference makes little sense at all.

As Babossa said, "...the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard..!"
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:24 PM   #15
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Already stated, I know. But for reinforcement:

Most likely, your loads will shoot just fine.

And run smaller batches (10 - 20 rounds) from now on when you're experimenting with new loads.
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Old June 2, 2013, 12:27 AM   #16
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COAL is only valid if the load tables use the exact same bullet! When using different bullets, you know the drill: start low, work up.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:28 AM   #17
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I always check more than one source for loading data. Usually this is one paper source and one or more Internet sources like handloads.com. This verifies that the information is reasonable.

I never use data from a forum cite without verifying that it is reasonable by looking at other sources.

I use platted projectiles or lead cast and these need lower velocities than jacketed bullets.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:51 AM   #18
Nathan
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Cartridge: 40 S&W
Load Type: Pistol
Starting Loads
Maximum Loads

Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Bullet Diam. C.O.L. Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure
180 GR. BERB FP Hodgdon Longshot .400" 1.125" 6.3 1013 26,200 PSI 7.5 1150 33,400 PSI
180 GR. HDY XTP Hodgdon Longshot .400" 1.125" 6.5 1009 25,000 PSI 8.0 1159 32,300 PSI


Interesting data from Hodgdon.

At 5.3, I would be worried about the bullet coming out of the barrel consistently. Ejection will very likely be a problem. Still, I would try to shoot both loads while checking to be sure it does not squib. If the loads don't function normal enough to get going, just pull them with a $20 inertial puller! It will be a lesson well learned!

Are you saying the Hornady book showed 5.3gr for a 180 gr cast ot plated bullet of similar shape? I would double check that and probably call Hornady for support on their manual.

Also, for reference, I would load 10 of 7.5, 7.3, 7.0, 6.6, 6.3. My weird load selection is based on experience saying hotter loads usually make me best accuracy. Since you have mag primers, I think a more even distribution like 6.3, 6.6, 6.9, 7.2, 7.5 would be best.

While I usually ignore published OAL's, I do find 1.125" to be magical in my 40's.
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