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Old 07-30-2011, 20:54   #1
plainshunter
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.40 S&W Reloading

I just started reloading and am working on a 40 load. I have one question, how do I tell if the crimp is right or not? I have a Wolf barrel for my G27, plus the factory. I dropped a reload into it to see how it looked, and seemed fine.

I'm using the Lee 4 die set (w factory crimp), but I'm not sure what the crimp should look like. Any suggestions before I hit the range?
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Old 07-30-2011, 20:56   #2
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You want just enough to hold the bullet in and for it to gauge properly. In any caliber, but especially the higher pressure ones, you DO NOT want to over crimp as this can cause an increase in pressure and lead to problems.

If you have any doubt, pick up a factory 40 round and compare the crimp on that to your own load.

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Old 07-30-2011, 20:57   #3
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what do you mean when you say "gauge properly"?
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Old 07-30-2011, 20:57   #4
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This might be elementary but check for bullet setback.
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Old 07-30-2011, 21:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainshunter View Post
what do you mean when you say "gauge properly"?
Various companies offer case gauges to see if the bullet will fit/headspace properly. Even though I have case gauges for all of my calibers I still gauge a few rounds at the beginning of each batch with the barrel of the pistol they're going to be shot in to make sure everything is in order. It's rare, but sometimes you can get rounds that fit fine in your case gauge but might not in your barrel, especially with aftermarket barrels that usually have tighter chambers.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/conte...gun_Case_Gages
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Old 07-30-2011, 21:06   #6
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ok, right. that's what I thought you meant. Great. Thanks FM.
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Old 07-30-2011, 21:08   #7
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Originally Posted by plainshunter View Post
ok, right. that's what I thought you meant. Great. Thanks FM.
No problem brother. Good luck.
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Old 07-30-2011, 22:07   #8
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The crimp does not 'hold the bullet in', proper bullet tension (case mouth tension) does.
Tension is achieved by not over flaring or over expanding the case mouth. Bullet tension also prevents bullet set back.
I use my taper crimp to bring the case mouth back to straight, no measurable crimp.

Over crimping will not cause excessive pressures.
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Old 07-30-2011, 22:15   #9
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What ever method you choose you should make up a few dummy rounds (no primer or powder) with the components and dies you will use for your reloads and measure their length. Cycle them into your gun from the magazine by pulling the slide back and letting it fly forward and chambering the rounds, like it would during live fire. The rounds should not be more than .005" shorter after you have cycled them 2 or 3 times.

Bullet set back is one of the biggest dangers in handloading the .40, right up their with too much powder.
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Old 07-30-2011, 22:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAMMERHEAD View Post
Over crimping will not cause excessive pressures.
This I have to disagree with, as I have even done it in the past to prove the point.


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Old 07-30-2011, 23:11   #11
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You have over crimped on purpose and measured the increase in pressure?
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:22   #12
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Your doing it right. The bullet is held by case tension (the case must be 0.001" smaller in ID after expanding the case than the bullet for tightest fit and should never be less than 0.002" smaller than the bullet--particularly if you're loading cast, swaged, or thin plated bullets as they will be deformed)). All the taper crimp does is remove the flare/bell from the case mouth so the case drops intot he barrel easily. Every gun comes with a perfect case gage--the barrel.
You should create a couple of inert "dummy" rounds when you are setting up the dies and playing with COL so you can verify magazine fit and that they feed and chamber in your gun(s).
Some people like to set the crimp using a factory round. This is OK, but generally excessive and can damage the bullet.
Crimp is easy. Read the manuals.
The only cartridge I think is harder to load than the .40S&W is the 9x19. Why couldn't you have started with the .45 Auto? It is so easy for the beginner.
Be very careful of any over-charge with the .40 and work up to max loads, if you even want to work up to that level, very carefully. The .40 is, to me, a very marginal cartridge for the pressures and performance it is asked to handle and will bite you so easily. Check the history of KBs, particularly in competition.
I consider 231/HP38 as about as fast I want, and prefer powders in the Unique to WSF range for anything beyond light target loads (say, for major loads in IDPA or whatever). I find AA5 is very accurate, but there have a number of .40S&W/AA5 KBs for some reason.
I load for it, but never have considered any bullet over 180gn.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAMMERHEAD View Post
You have over crimped on purpose and measured the increase in pressure?
Yes, I have over crimped and there was a measured increase in pressure, but the projectiles used were "plated" bullets.

YMMV

And yes I stand corrected, the crimp does not hold the bullet in, but it does help keep everything in place, especially on magnum ammunition with a roll crimp. Sometimes in an attempt to make a simple explanation to someone new, things are stated a certain way which are not 100% correct.
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Last edited by Fire_Medic; 07-31-2011 at 07:53..
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:05   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAMMERHEAD View Post
The crimp does not 'hold the bullet in', proper bullet tension (case mouth tension) does.
Tension is achieved by not over flaring or over expanding the case mouth. Bullet tension also prevents bullet set back.
I use my taper crimp to bring the case mouth back to straight, no measurable crimp.

Over crimping will not cause excessive pressures.
All of this.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:11   #15
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Thanks for all the replies, great info.

And noylj, I actually started with .38 spcl which is, I think, pretty straightforward. And I'm using Unique.
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Old 08-08-2011, 17:17   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainshunter View Post
I just started reloading and am working on a 40 load. I have one question, how do I tell if the crimp is right or not? I have a Wolf barrel for my G27, plus the factory. I dropped a reload into it to see how it looked, and seemed fine.

I'm using the Lee 4 die set (w factory crimp), but I'm not sure what the crimp should look like. Any suggestions before I hit the range?
(I'm new to reloading as well) Lee has two die sets: one with a "factory crimp die" and one without it. From reading this thread, I'm assuming you don't really need the above-mentioned die? Or is it just nice to have?
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Old 08-08-2011, 19:35   #17
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*MY* crimped diameter is .422.
Those run fine in *MY* stock bbl.
LW bbl's are a little tighter. So you should check accordingly.
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Old 08-08-2011, 21:02   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by light-switch View Post
(I'm new to reloading as well) Lee has two die sets: one with a "factory crimp die" and one without it. From reading this thread, I'm assuming you don't really need the above-mentioned die? Or is it just nice to have?
If your dies are set correctly, the Lee FCD serves no real purpose. The finished rounds should not be effected by it. If you have something out of adjustment, the FCD is supposed to fix it.

I have them, used to use them. Now they reside on the appropriate toolheads but raised up so far that they serve no purpose other than to fill an otherwise empty hole.
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Old 08-08-2011, 21:27   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plainshunter View Post
I just started reloading and am working on a 40 load. I have one question, how do I tell if the crimp is right or not? I have a Wolf barrel for my G27, plus the factory. I dropped a reload into it to see how it looked, and seemed fine.

I'm using the Lee 4 die set (w factory crimp), but I'm not sure what the crimp should look like. Any suggestions before I hit the range?
It should look as that you just removed the flare induced for bullet seating. You can measure it too.... crimp equals bullet diameter plus two times the case thickness. For a .40 S&W that is .400 + (0.024 x 2) = .424 so anywhere in the .422-.423 range is great.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:06   #20
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I just loaded my first thousand of 40S&W, and I was having a bear on getting crimp die set.
The rounds would fit in my G22 barrel, but not settle flush in my EGW case guage. I probably had to turn the crimp die down a tad more than a complete turn and everything was passing just fine.
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