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Old 10-10-2009, 09:25   #1
nytehawk
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Is it safe to reload .40S&W for Glock, Walther?

I have a couple Glocks (9 & .40) and a .40 Walther P99, and I'm considering the possibility of reloading target/practice ammo for both calibers. I've been led to understand that (besides liability reasons) one of the reasons Glock has strong warnings against the use of reloaded ammo is due to the slice of unsupported case where the barrel's load ramp leads into the breech. My Walther exhibits this same characteristic. (Walther also discourages reloaded ammo, though not quite as firmly as a the Glock manual.)

Last night I was browsing a freebie "Basic Reloading Manual" courtesy of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders. When I came to the load data for .40S&W, there is a very clear warning that, "This data is intended for use in firearms with barrels which fully support the cartridge in the chamber..." (They don't show this warning explicitly with any other caliber's load data, only 40 S&W.)

So, all this has me wondering just how much of these warnings are liability protection vs. how much it might be genuinely unsafe for me to reload for these guns -- especially the .40's. Any thoughts? I am perfectly willing to carefully inspect my brass for signs of degradation, provided I know what to look for. Also, I have no need to shoot maximum loads since I would just be reloading for target/practice shooting. And although I'm new to reloading, I have strong attention to detail as well as a friend/co-worker who is a very competent reloader and trustworthy source of advice. (He reloads mostly .45 ACP and occasionally some 9mm, but not any 40S&W.)

Many thanks in advance for your wisdom and feedback!
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Old 10-10-2009, 09:28   #2
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I dont know how supported the facts are but I have heard that the .40 is one that has been known to have problems when reloading
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Old 10-10-2009, 11:01   #3
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There are many people here who shoot reloaded .40 S&W ammo in Glocks. I do for my G35. The safety of reloaded ammo is up to you. By design and preference, my .40 loads have a lower power factor than factory ammo.

Be careful and very attentive. Start loading on the low end of the powder recommendation in the manuals. Did I say that you should be careful and attentive?
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:03   #4
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I had the same concerns when I started reloading and looking into reloading for my G23 but I read from tons of people that put 10k+ rounds of reloads through with no problems. All I shoot is practice/plinking reloads through my G23, all my full power self defense ammo is factory loads so I haven't worried about it, never saw any signs of problems with the reloads.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:08   #5
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It's all liability. You'll find few manuf. that say it's fine to use handloaded ammo in their guns. The biggest issue w/ the 40 is it's a high pressure round. SOme chambers have less support than others & something simple, like a bullet setback, can jack pressures to 1.5x acceptable levels, huge potential KB. Use med.-med. slow powders, make sure you have good bullet/neck tension & stay off max. loads & you'll be fine for any handgun in any caliber. Many of the KBs reported are guys using fast-uberfast powders & heavy bullets to make major. No room for any error there.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:11   #6
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Plenty of reloads through my G23, no issues (still have all 10 fingers)
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:15   #7
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I have a G27 and have put a few hundred rounds of reloads thru it and I am a newb as far as reloading. My father just tought me a few months ago, I always load on the low end and all has worked well.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:51   #8
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I reload for 40 cal with my glock 22. No problems so far after around 200 or so rounds.
I Use AA#5 with 6.9 grains at the start and did move up to 7.2 grains. Still well under max
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
It's all liability. You'll find few manuf. that say it's fine to use handloaded ammo in their guns. The biggest issue w/ the 40 is it's a high pressure round. SOme chambers have less support than others & something simple, like a bullet setback, can jack pressures to 1.5x acceptable levels, huge potential KB. Use med.-med. slow powders, make sure you have good bullet/neck tension & stay off max. loads & you'll be fine for any handgun in any caliber. Many of the KBs reported are guys using fast-uberfast powders & heavy bullets to make major. No room for any error there.

Thanks guys very much for the quick replies! Based on your responses, three quick follow-up questions:

1) fredj338 noted that the 40S&W is a high-pressure round. But looking at load data, the .40 pressures appear to be generally in the same ballpark as many 9mm loads -- low 30,000 psi range. So why is this pressure more of a problem in the 40 than the 9? Is it because the 40 brass has more surface area on which that pressure can act (due to slightly larger case size)?

2) You also recommended using med to med/slow powders when reloading .40. Is TiteGroup acceptable? According to Hodgdon's website, TiteGroup is the 10th fastest of 117 powders listed. (http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html)

3) Would it ever be advisable to use less powder than the recommended starting load in order to further avoid possible overpressuring? Or could that also be dangerous as the under-pressure condition could result in incomplete powder burn, etc.?
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Old 10-10-2009, 14:08   #10
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I can't answer your first question but the last two I'll take a run at.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Titegroup is a very fast powder. Many people recommend that new reloaders stay away from these types of powders because the powder can be accidentally double charged and still fit in the case without spilling. That will probably cause most pistols to Ka-Boom (KB).<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
If you choose to load with Titegroup type powders then you must be extremely cautious. One mistake can be very serious.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Yes, you can download powders below the minimums listed in the manuals. I do that for my training and competition rounds. I made up about 10 cartridges for each grain or so removed until my pistol did not cycle reliably. Then I came up until I liked the accuracy and feel of the shot. This process took some time to complete. Once I found the load I liked I chronographed the rounds and found I was at a power factor of 142 to 144. If you don't know what power factor means you can Google it.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
My recipe is 3.7 grains of Titegroup using a 180 grain Montana Gold bullet. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Iím a relative newbie reloader with just a few thousand rounds reloaded. I am absolutely anal about checking the powder drop on each and every cartridge. If Iím unsure about anything I pull the case out and recycle it. Even a finished cartridge Iíll pull the bullet, dump the powder and do it again.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
You canít be too careful!<o:p></o:p>
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Old 10-10-2009, 14:09   #11
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AA#5 fills up a case nicely and if you double charge, you will know it. Almost pours out of the top
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Old 10-10-2009, 14:19   #12
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I've been reloading .40 S&W rounds for 10 years on a Dillon 550B press. My reloading log shows I've loaded over 20,000 rounds in that time and I've fired well over half that ammo, 90% of it through various Glocks, the rest through my Ruger PC4 carbine. As a LEO, I use once fired brass that I get from my department range, which is mostly Glock fired brass.

My point is I reload Glock fired brass to be used primarily in Glock's. I load at regular factory loadings using either 4.5 grains of Tite Group or 6.5 grains of Power Pistol with 180 grain jacketed bullets. I have never, ever had so much as one ammo related malfunction.

Just for my own satisfaction, in 2007 I set aside 200 rounds of factory ammo, Remington and Winchester headstamped. When I shot this ammo I made sure I segregated the brass from the rest so I could keep count of how many times I could reload it. Over a period of several months I fired it through my Glock 23 and reloaded this lot of brass 9 times. After 6 or 7 reloads I had three rounds with split cases at the mouth of the brass, but this could be expected with any round loaded half a dozen times. Not once did I have a bulge, kaboom, or busted case on the bottom end.

I see no significant issue with loading .40 S&W as long as you don't try to make major with the load. If you want a hotrod, get a 10mm, otherwise the .40 is just as safe as any other round to reload. Even if shooting through a Glock.
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Old 10-10-2009, 15:54   #13
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I had the same concerns when I started reloading and looking into reloading for my G23 but I read from tons of people that put 10k+ rounds of reloads through with no problems. All I shoot is practice/plinking reloads through my G23, all my full power self defense ammo is factory loads so I haven't worried about it, never saw any signs of problems with the reloads.
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Old 10-10-2009, 19:01   #14
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I'll go one step further ---- I load 175 gr LEAD 40 S&W using 4.8 gr of W231 through my G23!...... using a stock barrel... Am I INSANE or what?!!!!
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Old 10-10-2009, 20:26   #15
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I'll go one step further ---- I load 175 gr LEAD 40 S&W using 4.8 gr of W231 through my G23!...... using a stock barrel... Am I INSANE or what?!!!!

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Old 10-10-2009, 20:30   #16
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Originally Posted by nytehawk View Post
Thanks guys very much for the quick replies! Based on your responses, three quick follow-up questions:

1) fredj338 noted that the 40S&W is a high-pressure round. But looking at load data, the .40 pressures appear to be generally in the same ballpark as many 9mm loads -- low 30,000 psi range. So why is this pressure more of a problem in the 40 than the 9? Is it because the 40 brass has more surface area on which that pressure can act (due to slightly larger case size)?
I suspect brass thickness & chamber support. Add to that the heavier bullets used w/ limited OAL resitrictions. Bullet setbacks are rare w/ the slightly tapered 9mm, but can happen easily w/ the 40.
2) You also recommended using med to med/slow powders when reloading .40. Is TiteGroup acceptable? According to Hodgdon's website, TiteGroup is the 10th fastest of 117 powders listed. (http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html)
I would not use TG, but many do. That is just my prejudice against powders that have such a narrow load range & steep pressure curves for a high pressure round like the 40. Something like WSF gives broader load range, less rpessure for any given vel. than TG & great accuracy. The only downside is you use slightly more powder, big deal. Powder is the cheapest part of any pistol load.
3) Would it ever be advisable to use less powder than the recommended starting load in order to further avoid possible overpressuring? Or could that also be dangerous as the under-pressure condition could result in incomplete powder burn, etc.?
I would NOT. Starting loads in semiautos often won't give relaible feeding. Going lower only makes this worse. I NEVER shoot low recoiling "mousefart" loads. It is diff. for a newb shooter to realize he has had a squib load if there is no recoil. Use starting data & workup in small batches in 0.1gr increments until you get accuracy & reliable feeding w/ complete pwoder burn (too low in pressure loads of med. powder will often leave unburned powder behind)You want low recoil, shoot a 22lr.

As always, JMO.
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Last edited by fredj338; 10-10-2009 at 20:33..
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Old 10-11-2009, 16:45   #17
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I'll go one step further ---- I load 175 gr LEAD 40 S&W using 4.8 gr of W231 through my G23!...... using a stock barrel... Am I INSANE or what?!!!!
You're a *****. I use 5.0 Bullseye with a 180LFP in a G27 with stock barrel. What I did find though is that I get the same velocity with a starting load of Unique. A starting load of Unique has lower pressure than a max load of Bullseye, so it's my new go-to load after 12 years of doing it with the BE load. Both give me a cheap copy of 180 grain factory loads.
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Old 10-11-2009, 18:56   #18
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You're a *****. I use 5.0 Bullseye with a 180LFP in a G27 with stock barrel. What I did find though is that I get the same velocity with a starting load of Unique. A starting load of Unique has lower pressure than a max load of Bullseye, so it's my new go-to load after 12 years of doing it with the BE load. Both give me a cheap copy of 180 grain factory loads.
Wisky:

Yup, my loading comes close to factory and even self defense. Darn cheap too. Used to cost about $2.50 per 50. Since the price increases it's probably about $3.00 now. Only down side is I choose to scrub the barrel after 100 rounds or so. No free lunch, I guess.
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Old 10-11-2009, 19:15   #19
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Wisky:

Yup, my loading comes close to factory and even self defense. Darn cheap too. Used to cost about $2.50 per 50. Since the price increases it's probably about $3.00 now. Only down side is I choose to scrub the barrel after 100 rounds or so. No free lunch, I guess.
Yeah, that's about right. I'm still using commercial cast bullets because I have a few thousand left from back when I could buy them for $24.00/K. I started casting and got a 358477 mold for my 38/357 and now that the bullets are basically free, primers have gone up but powder is still around $17.00/# for the 4# jugs of Unique I bought.

I have to get a 40 mold once I run out of the bullets I have and would actually like one at 165 grains since I carry 165 Rangers that I have a large quantity of. Nobody seems to make a 165, so I'm thinking a Lyman mold mild down a bit might not break the bank like a custom mold would. The Lyman molds are 175 I think, but my free lead runs a tiny bit heavier than Lyman #2 alloy and they'd probably be around 180. The 180's hit a bit high in my G27 as compared to the 165's, but in my Beretta 96 they hit about the same.
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Old 10-11-2009, 22:30   #20
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My 550B has churned out quite a few .40's and they've all ran fine and dandy through my various Glock .40's.
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Old 10-12-2009, 00:04   #21
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Yeah, that's about right. I'm still using commercial cast bullets because I have a few thousand left from back when I could buy them for $24.00/K. I started casting and got a 358477 mold for my 38/357 and now that the bullets are basically free, primers have gone up but powder is still around $17.00/# for the 4# jugs of Unique I bought.

I have to get a 40 mold once I run out of the bullets I have and would actually like one at 165 grains since I carry 165 Rangers that I have a large quantity of. Nobody seems to make a 165, so I'm thinking a Lyman mold mild down a bit might not break the bank like a custom mold would. The Lyman molds are 175 I think, but my free lead runs a tiny bit heavier than Lyman #2 alloy and they'd probably be around 180. The 180's hit a bit high in my G27 as compared to the 165's, but in my Beretta 96 they hit about the same.
The Lee 170grTC cast of #2 will be pretty slightly less than 170gr. The Lyman 175grRNFP cast of ww goes right @ 172gr lubed. CLose enough to 165gr to make it work by adjusting powder charges.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:31   #22
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Lee lists a 145 and two 175 molds these days. Lyman lists a 150 and a 175. I've had one Lee 158 mold that cast at 160, and a Lyman 150 mold that casts at 155 with the range scrap I use. I'm thinking that it might be cheaper and easier to get the Lyman two cavity and have a machinists mill it down so the bevel base is gone, maybe a bit more, and have it throw at 165 or so with "cheap" alloy that works well otherwise.

First step will be to get one of the 175 molds, I'm leaning towards Lyman now, and see how it does as is. Then I can hunt down a guy to mill it and see what that costs. It should be cheap, but everyone I come across down here thinks Yankees are all rich and try to gouge me on simple stuff. FWIW, when I say "mill" maybe I mean grind. I'm not a machinist, but I have walked through shops that were trueing up the face of cylinder heads with a grinder.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:42   #23
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I would add one caveat for those reloading to USPSA Major PF with 155 gr bullets....throw away the cases after 6-8 reloadings for safety's sake....; I have seen my friend suffer 4 case head seps using a batch of 1000 rounds of brass reloaded 15-20 times. The 4rth case separation convinced him!
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:53   #24
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Lee lists a 145 and two 175 molds these days. Lyman lists a 150 and a 175. I've had one Lee 158 mold that cast at 160, and a Lyman 150 mold that casts at 155 with the range scrap I use. I'm thinking that it might be cheaper and easier to get the Lyman two cavity and have a machinists mill it down so the bevel base is gone, maybe a bit more, and have it throw at 165 or so with "cheap" alloy that works well otherwise.

First step will be to get one of the 175 molds, I'm leaning towards Lyman now, and see how it does as is. Then I can hunt down a guy to mill it and see what that costs. It should be cheap, but everyone I come across down here thinks Yankees are all rich and try to gouge me on simple stuff. FWIW, when I say "mill" maybe I mean grind. I'm not a machinist, but I have walked through shops that were trueing up the face of cylinder heads with a grinder.

Wisky:

Magma Engineering lists four mould designs that you might want to take a look at... two flat base designs and two bevel base designs. None of them are 165 grain but a couple are close;

Flat base:
160 grain Mould number, 10-160 SWC FB

170 grain Mould number, 10-170 FP FB

Bevel base:
155 grain 10-155 SWC BB

170 grain 10-170 SWC BB

Don't know if you'll have trouble feeding a SWC or not.

If you're not familiar with Magma Engineering they are located in Arizona and are the new manufactures of the Star sizer.

Telephone number: 480-987-9008

Jack
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Old 10-12-2009, 13:48   #25
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Good points Jack. I'd prefer a TC and I wonder if those SWC will run in a Glock. I had bad luck with SWC in a G17 because the extracting empty would hang up on the leading edge of the SWC shoulder in the mag below it. I think Magmas are spendy too? Are they iron/built to last? That 160 SWCFB casting a little heavy with my cheapskate lead would be close enough, maybe even exactly at 165.
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