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Old July 19, 2012, 05:29 PM   #1
Ricky Bobby
Join Date: October 23, 2011
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Loading for the 40 S&W

I am going to start reloading for my 40 S&W. It is a XDsc. What bullet and powder combo would you suggest & why? Not looking for your exact load. Just wanting some suggestions on bullets and powder for a good, solid starting point.

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Old July 19, 2012, 06:18 PM   #2
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I handload for more than the 40 sw semi auto.
I also handload for 25acp, 32acp, 7.62x25mm, 30 Mauser, 380, 9x19, 9x23, 357Sig,10mm, and 45acp.
I have some universal rules I work with.
I try to load with Power Pistol as a first choice, as it tends to give the most velocity for how much peak pressure it makes.
I am bounded in my choice of powder charges.
Too little and the bullet will get stuck in the barrel or the pistol will stove pipe jam.
Too much powder and the chamber can split, the primer pocket can get loose, the case head can blow off, the guppy belly on the case formed over the feed ramp can burst, the primer can pierce, or the slide in recoil reaction can slam into the frame like a hammer.
The ideal load [to balance powder charge and recoil springs] is when the cases land 5 feet from the shooter. This load is balanced between too little powder and too much powder. Cases eject further by putting in wimpier recoil spring or putting in more powder. Conversely, cases land closer with less powder or more recoil spring force.
In working up a load with different powder charges, I wrap the pistol and my hand in a towel so I can capture the ejected case and examine it for case bulge or primer pierce before I fire the next round. I like to work up in 0.1 gr increments if I have the time. If I see anything wrong, I stop the work up and consider that the threshold of trouble, go home, and load more ammo with a percentage reduction in powder charge from that threshold.
In particular for 40 sw, there are some old Glock chambers that have deep feed ramp intrusion AND oversized chambers. If the rear of the chamber is more than .4314" or if the feed ramp intrudes more than .235", then some special precautions should be taken.
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Last edited by Clark; July 19, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
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Old July 19, 2012, 06:25 PM   #3
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Power Pistol has been excellent in my testing using a 180 grain plated bullet. 10 shots from a load 10% under maximum. The pistol was a Glock 20 with a .40 S&W conversion barrel.

956 fps Average
Extreme Spread = 59 fps
Standard Deviation = 14 fps

That's good enough for me. I have no plans to increase the powder charge.
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Old July 19, 2012, 06:44 PM   #4
David Bachelder
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I like a 180 grain plated bullet over 5 grains of Universal.

Works for me in my Glock 23.
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
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Old July 19, 2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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I found the attached file to be the most comprehensive I have found.

Now all the usual disclaimers: don't use any load data you find on the internet without first confirming in additional sources the load is safe. But good luck finding this wide of a range of loads.
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:20 PM   #6
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For what it is worth; From my XD40

155 Grain precision black bullet
5.2 Gr W231 @ 1,120 AVG 993

170 Grain precision black
4.5 Gr w231 @ 1.120 AVG 880

180 Plated
4.5 Gr W231 @ 1.120 AVG 822

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Old July 20, 2012, 07:01 AM   #7
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Stick with Med-slow burners and you will be fine. Stay away from ultra fast powders like Titegroup.
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Old July 20, 2012, 03:02 PM   #8
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The good thing for IPSC/USPSA is the power floor has for Major has been lowered to 165 from 175. The loads shown in Jepp2's listing are really nice and can now possibly be reduced. YMMV.
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Old July 20, 2012, 03:10 PM   #9
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.40 S&W is a "high pressure" caliber I'm careful with it...

but I load 180gr FMJ bullets from Montana Gold exclusively in that caliber. I would not use a "plated bullet" like Rainier in that caliber...( plated coatings are pretty thin )....

I like Hodgdon Universal as a powder...but Min and Max aren't too far apart --- so the load requires some precision / good press / good procedures and tolerance on powder no more than + - 0.1 grain.

I also wouldn't shoot .40S&W except in a gun with a fully supported chamber....which I think the XD is ...but I'm not sure../ .40S&W is a little snappy I like it in a heavy gun for the most part ( like a Sig 226 )...vs something very light ..
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Old July 20, 2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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I use HP-38 and I charge that is towards the middle of the recommended range. I believe 4.7 or 4.8 grains and 165 grain FMJ bullets made by Montana Gold.

It works fine in my Glock.
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Old July 20, 2012, 05:38 PM   #11
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I shoot lead bullets almost exclusively just because they are much cheaper. I shoot in a pistol league where speed is the focus(well after safety) and accuracy isn't super critical. So I make my reloads wimpy to keep recoil at a minimum.

I've been using 155 grain SWC bullets. My softest shooting loads is that bullet with 3.6 gr of Clays. Clays can be a touchy powder in that it typically has a very narrow usable range as far as the charge weight goes. So I generally don't recommend it for someone just starting out reloading. I've shot a couple thousand of these and never had a problem.

I also like Win 231(same as HP-38) and Power Pistol. The beauty of these powder is that they are very fine grained, so they feed very well through measurers which provides consistant charges.

With 231, I use 5.5 grains with the 155 grain bullet.

With Power Pistol, I use 6.5 grains.

The 231 and Power Pistol load have noticably more recoil than the clays load, but they are still very easy shooting.
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Old July 20, 2012, 06:32 PM   #12
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My last batch of .40SW was with Nosler 135 grain JHP's - I picked up a bunch of "blems" from their outlet store. With 6.7 grains of HP-38 I'm getting about 1140 fps & good groupings with the Bersa Thunder 40 Pro.

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Old July 20, 2012, 08:57 PM   #13
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180 grain lead truncated cone fp bullet sized .401"
Speer brass, CCI or WW small pistol primer
5.0 Universal
4.0 titegroup
4.2 Red Dot
4.8 Unique
6.0 Power Pistol
5.5 true Blue
4.5 WW231/HP38
One of these loads should get you there. Check the Hodgdon, Alliant and Western Powder booklets for max charges.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:12 PM   #14
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I use Berrys plated bullets in 180 FP and 165 FP. Power Pistol spins 'em down range, but have also used W231 and VV340 with good results
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Old July 21, 2012, 06:18 AM   #15
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For my S&W M&P's:

180gr Montana Gold FMJ TC
4.1gr WST
1.125 OAL

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