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Discussion Starter #1
.40 S&W.....what are some good all around bullets for plinking? Ammo looks pretty scarce so I thought I mine as well roll my own.

Also.....powders?? Reloading for pistol is Greek to me.
 

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If you have a GunBroker account 'plinking' bullets can be found really cheap sometimes. Get yourself in whichever caliber your wanting and type in 'used' or 'new - old stock' and there may be a batch or two or three that are cheap. I get cheap bullets like that all the time...
 

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Used to load 40 commercially. If you buy fired brass, you must run it through a proper resizing die. Not the type on a press, but the case must pass completely through the die.

The 40 has a tendency to bulge brass immediately ahead of the rim. You can get Lee pass through dies for your press, or get a Magma Research Case Master for high volume sizing. This beats roll sizing. Cases are more likely to fail when processed through a roll sizer.

Case Master JR Rimless Case Sizer - Magma Engineering Company

After that, if you have a Glock or H-K, they do not play well with cast, coated, or plated bullets. You need jacketed bullets. Zero Bullets work well. I always recommend the 165 gr bullet. The easiest way to prevent a case failure (KaBoom) in a Glock or similar arm is to avoid the 180 gr bullet.

Roze Distribution, Inc. - Zero Bullets and Ammunition

I prefer slower powders in the 40. Hodgdon's HS-6 and Winchester Super Field are superb in the 40.

Make sure you use a taper crimp die, and that you do not deep seat the bullet. The 40 round must be able to retain bullet seating depth during feeding. If the bullet is deep seated during feeding, pressures are steeply elevated.

All in all, it is a great round.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. Gun is a Beretta 96. Is it cheaper to buy ammo or is reloading more cost effective? I can't believe how little powder is used compared to some of my rifles!!
 

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Regarding "Plinking". How much shooting do you think you will be doing? Gearing up for reloading can be pricey but is very rewarding. I reload rifle, pistol, and shotgun and have accumulated a lot of equipment. I enjoy reloading as much as the shooting.
 

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Used to load 40 commercially. If you buy fired brass, you must run it through a proper resizing die. Not the type on a press, but the case must pass completely through the die.

The 40 has a tendency to bulge brass immediately ahead of the rim. You can get Lee pass through dies for your press, or get a Magma Research Case Master for high volume sizing. This beats roll sizing. Cases are more likely to fail when processed through a roll sizer.

Case Master JR Rimless Case Sizer - Magma Engineering Company

After that, if you have a Glock or H-K, they do not play well with cast, coated, or plated bullets. You need jacketed bullets. Zero Bullets work well. I always recommend the 165 gr bullet. The easiest way to prevent a case failure (KaBoom) in a Glock or similar arm is to avoid the 180 gr bullet.

Roze Distribution, Inc. - Zero Bullets and Ammunition

I prefer slower powders in the 40. Hodgdon's HS-6 and Winchester Super Field are superb in the 40.

Make sure you use a taper crimp die, and that you do not deep seat the bullet. The 40 round must be able to retain bullet seating depth during feeding. If the bullet is deep seated during feeding, pressures are steeply elevated.

All in all, it is a great round.


In that the FBI and many police departments are pulling back from the 40 S & W round arms chambered for it can be had for rather little. I have seen SIG pistols chambered in 40 S & W sell for ~$150 less that a like arm in 9mm.

I suspect that ammo will be fairly cheap too (in the past it was one of the most expensive to buy) - given the WuFlu buying scare things are goofy right now, but as law enforcement moves away there will be lots on the surplus market - until it dies off completely...


SHOOTING COACH - Stunning information - a favor to ask of you. Would you do the same synopsis for any other rounds you have knowledge of?? You've given me more info on the 40 in a few lines than years of reloading & reading ever have. Kudos.
 
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Coach, interesting information. I never knew about the pass thru case sizer, that there even was such a thing. I only reload 9 and 45, but for 9 I pick up range brass sometimes and my Lee resizer occasionally likes to hang onto a case and not cough it up. I attribute this to brass fired in someone else's gun and it looks like this tool could solve that problem.
 

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Thanks guys. Gun is a Beretta 96. Is it cheaper to buy ammo or is reloading more cost effective? I can't believe how little powder is used compared to some of my rifles!!
Your question "Is it cheaper to buy ammo or is reloading more cost effective" That is a good question. Since you already reload rifle ammo, you already have the press, scale, powder drop, etc. needed, you would just have to buy a set of dies ($40 or less) and maybe a shell holder. But the answer probably depends on what type of ammo you want to reload (FMJ plinking ammo versus some high dollar hollow point defense rounds). Since a 40 S&W is a common round you used to be able to find plinking rounds relatively cheap (may not be able to now. You would have to purchase small pistol primers (may be hard to find right now) but you might already have powder that would work (most shot gun powder can be used in pistols). Single stage reloading in a pistol does take a while due to the multiple passes you have to do on each case (you have either 3 or 4 dies for a pistol versus 2 for a rifle). As for saving money, probably not much with a 40 S&W unless you shoot thousands of rounds. Just like rifle loading, if you were loading some less common calibers the savings would be more.
 

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You do not have to push through or case size 40sw in you use a Lee Factory Carbide crimp die to taper crimp. I seat and crimp with two different dies. Before I started using the Lee FCD I was getting 20-22% rejects in my Shockbottle case checker. After the FCD, maybe one out of a hundred, and even that one would chamber and fire.

After having tried everything up to Unique in burn rate, I got my best results with Alliant e3. My major load was 3.7gr under a 180 @ 1.126" OAL for 172 PF. Minor load was the same except 2.8gr for 140 PF. Same spring, same hole at 15 yards. SDs were always single digit, and there is no temperature sensitivity.

e3 is surprisingly versatile. I used it for my 12b 7/8, 1 and 9/8oz loads, my 45 ACP bullseye load, the 40sw loads I mentioned above and now 9mm minor loads. I performs brilliantly in all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just bought 500 rounds of Blaser Brass. Got it for $20/box shipped which seemed like a good deal. Will keep the brass and maybe try loading a bit for giggles.
 

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Coach brings up a good point about used brass in a 40 S&W. If you shoot only your brass from your Beretta, you will not have the problem.

The cartridge got a bad start as most of the pistols available were glocks. The 1st generation glocks had a poor chamber design. It made the pistols reliable but it left the side of the case unsupported and cause a nasty bulge. Even ironed out those cases are weakened. Even with a pass through die, I never reused bulged cases. The 2nd generation glocks were better but the fired cases still had the "glock bulge" . More modern glocks seemed to have the design problem solved.

My Beretta 96 and Para 16.40 are both fully supported chambers and easy on brass. I use only a normal carbide sizer for reloading my own brass. I never use plain cast bullets with the .40 Short and Weak. I use copper washed, copper plated, poly coated or full metal jackets. The whole gun stays cleaner and a lot less smoke than cast lead. Cast bullets are a lot more tricky when the velocity goes up.

My favorites bullets. are Montana GOLD brand copper plated bullets and Black poly coated bullets from Precision bullet in Kemp Texas. Even though standard .40 load is a 180 grain bullet, I often use 165 grain for indoor target loads.

The only powder I had trouble with was Clays. It is too fast burn rate for that cartridge and I got some drastic velocity differences. I am very careful, yet some acted like they were double powder. WW231 is my favorite. Hodgdon TiteGroup does good also. I remember having good luck with Accurate arms #5. Winchester makes a powder called "Winchester Action Pistol" recommended for the .40 S&W. It works great for max loads if you need major power factor for action pistol competition, but is not great at paper target soft loads. Pushing a 200 grain flat nose a stiff load of WAP will SLAM the metal targets down.

The .40 is a pretty good cartridge. If the .45acp did not have a 75 year head start, and the problems with the early glocks giving it a bad start, the .40 would be far more popular today. I was late to the .40 S&W club, but with good pistols and a little experience, I have to admit, it IS a good round. Locally Winchester white box is going for $18-$19 a box of fifty. You can save 60% or more over new ammo when reloading.
 

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I've loaded 100's of 40 S&W that was shot in several different firearms and have never used a (Pass through Die). They all worked fine in several different firearms.
 

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I've loaded 100's of 40 S&W that was shot in several different firearms and have never used a (Pass through Die). They all worked fine in several different firearms.
With only hundreds, you have simply been lucky. Even running them through a conventional sizing die, when finished loading, if dropped in a case guage, you will see what happens on a “glockified” case. It doesn’t seem to happen to every case fired in glocks, as I’m sure there is more glock brass in the 1X brass I’ve bought in the past than just one or two. But, I’ve also been running all my .40 and .45 through Lee’s pass through dies to alleviate the problem. Too bad you can’t do this with the 9mm, or at least I haven’t heard of a method yet.

Leo, you should try powder coated cast in your .40. I’ve been loading that for a while. Working well for me. Cast my own as long as I can remember. With the low cost of my time, it makes pistol plinkin real cheap.

And to the primer issue. If you ever see small pistol magnum primers available, buy them. They work just fine on any load not approaching max charges. Lots of recommendations out there on the innerwebs on that. Google is your friend.
 

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My plinking loads that I have used for my XD 40's are 6.5 gr Unique with a 180gr Extreme bullet and 7.5gr Unique with a 155gr Extreme bullet. Way back when started out with RCBS carbide dies for loading 40S&W but switched over to Dillon dies as they seemed to do a better sizing job.
 

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Coach brings up a good point about used brass. If you shoot only your brass from your Beretta, you will not have the problem.

The only powder I had trouble with was Clays.
I shoot range pickup that has come out of my 1911 or a 2011, and so bulge is never an issue. A few years ago if you were "gifted" a big bag of law enforcement range pickup, you might as well throw it away as it was almost certain to have come out of a first generation Glock!

Clays has a bad reputation as a .40 propellent.

With only hundreds, you have simply been lucky. Even running them through a conventional sizing die, when finished loading, if dropped in a case guage, you will see what happens on a “glockified” case. It doesn’t seem to happen to every case fired in glocks, as I’m sure there is more glock brass in the 1X brass I’ve bought in the past than just one or two. But, I’ve also been running all my .40 and .45 through Lee’s pass through dies to alleviate the problem. Too bad you can’t do this with the 9mm, or at least I haven’t heard of a method yet.
I pass my muffin top 9mm through a 9mm Makarov factory crimp die. It works sorta....

K
 

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With only hundreds, you have simply been lucky.
I've loaded 1,000's of 45's, fired from lots of different firearms, including full auto, and several gen Glocks and have not had a problem using a standard carbide sizer die. I guess my luck has been good for over 30 years.
 
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