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Old July 13, 2001, 12:21 AM   #1
brianidaho
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.40 Reloading questions

OK, I'm a newbe to reloading, just got a RCBS 2000 and am reloading for the .40 S&W, in a Witness compact. I have a couple of areas where the more I read, the more confused I get...just hoping from some advice from the experts.

1) I'm loading 155 grain bullets, currently Noslers, since they were least expensive at my local dealer, and I have just received 500 from Berrys. My Spear #13 manual gives load data with a COL of 1.120 (for all all bullet weights from 155 to 180 gr) and a max of 1.135. When adjusting for the 1.120 dim, how tight of a tolerance should I be trying to hold? +/- .003 or so seemed to be about as good as I was getting. If anything, should I load to the long side (say 1.125), and shoot for the 1.120 as a minimum? FWIW, it seems to me that the critical dimension would be from the base of the bullet. Granted you can't measure that directly, but easy enough to come up with if you measure and average the length of some bullets. I've seen comments here on TFL of loading to considerably longer dimensions than in my manual as well.

2) On to crimping...I have a 3-die RCBS carbide taper crimp die set. I understand that overcrimping can increase pressure, but so can bullet setback. Sooo-how much crimp is enough? I have been adjusting my die so that the leading edge OD of the crimp is essentially unflared after crimping, bringing it back to the .421-.422 (IIRC) that the remainder of the case is sized to. I've read my manual, and am not sure that I am completely comfortable here. It seems like a little more crimp would cause less of a pressure spike than bullet setback would. Should I periodically pull the last couple of rounds out of a mag (after firing the remainder) and measure for COL to see if setback is occuring?

3) What is a good load of AA#5 with the 155 grain Berrys? My manual is centered around Spear bullets.

Thanks in advance for any advice and for bearing with some FNG questions.

Bri
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Old July 13, 2001, 12:58 AM   #2
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Bullet setback isn't limited to the effect of recoil. I got some good looking factory hollowpoints once, and noticed SUBSTANTIAL setback after chambering the same round 5 or 6 times. (Yes, I unload my carry weapon when it's not in my immediate control)
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Old July 13, 2001, 02:22 PM   #3
LilJoe
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Gray hair

Save your hair for later and spend the 12.50 and get the Lee Factory crimp die and use that after your seating die. Makes a world of difference when we load 40's.

Our favorite 40 load is 4.8 grains of WST (AA is too gritty for us plus wst was cheaper) and 170gr LSWC and 180gr LRN. COL is running 1.125 and 1.127. For the 150gr jhp we use 6gr. and col is used the same.
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Old July 13, 2001, 08:54 PM   #4
mbott
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Ditto what LilJoe recommends on the Lee factory crimp die. Well worth the cost for what it delivers. Creates reliable feeding ammo and minimizes/eliminates bullet set-back in my experience. I have them for the three major calibers I reload: 9mm, .40 caliber and .45 caliber. They are almost idiot proof.

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Old July 14, 2001, 12:58 AM   #5
brianidaho
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What's the advantage of the seperate crimp and bullet seating die? (Lee). I can see where it would take a little less "iterating" to dial in seating depth vs. crimp, is this the only benefit? I have a open station in this press where I was planning on installing a lockout die, or powder check die in, would I be better off leaving out this step and going with the seperate crimp die instead?

Bri
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Old July 14, 2001, 07:31 AM   #6
LilJoe
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Less feed problems and better crimp.
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Old July 14, 2001, 09:46 PM   #7
Clark
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Dito what Lil'Joe said.


I used to take out the decapping pin and resize the loaded ammo.

The pistol factory crimp die resizes the ammo a littel bigger than a the brass resizing die, but plenty small to fit in the chamber without jamming.

Buy the Lee factory crimp die and save yourself some grief.
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Old July 16, 2001, 12:02 PM   #8
hearthethunder
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I've been using Accurate Arms #5 with CCI500 primers along with 150g Nosler JHP's in my Browning HP for pretty nice tight groups. I've found that 7.5g works nice without messing with the high pressures or max loads. I crimp with a Lee factory taper crimp die somewhere inbetween what they call for light and heavey crimps (3/4 turn). I read some of the posts on here and other forums about the KB's, so I choose not to test the max loads. (for now)
Interesting note:
Compare the Lee and Lyman manuals on the .40 S&W....
Why such a spread?.. usually Lee has somewhat lighter loads....not here!, but check Lyman....so light needed to increase just to get the action running correctly.
Have tried some Unique loads too... Unique is a good shooter, but nasty...and this is the cleaner stuff.
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Old July 17, 2001, 10:06 AM   #9
Bullitt
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Wow, this is excellent advise on crimping, thanks everyone!


brianidaho,

To help with your first question, I purchased a case gauge from Midway and its great. It quickly and easily tells you the critical dimensions just by dropping the cartridge in. To give you an example, I was loading a new cartridge last night and went to check my first 10 and I dropped one in the case gauge and it didn't fit. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the area at the base of the .40 S&W case was badly bulged. I probably would have missed it if not for the gauge. I hope this helps.
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Old July 17, 2001, 10:19 AM   #10
hearthethunder
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Good information on the case gauge and a reminder that I need to add that to my collection for this .40 caliber....

This month on Midwayusa.com for $8.79
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Old July 17, 2001, 02:40 PM   #11
jtduncan
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Lee FCD and get a Midway Quik Check Case gauge or a Dillon so you can test all dimensions of the finished round at once.

If there is not enough crimp, too long, too short, split case, the all dimension case gauges will catch it.

I usually test every 1/100 as I dump finished cases into my ammo cans.
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