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Old 03-26-2012, 08:05   #1
SC Tiger
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Plan to start reloading .40 S&W

Hey guys. I have been reloading .357 and .44 for a few years and plan to start loading .40 S&W. However, I have some questions:

1) When I started looking at dies I got confused. My current dies are Lee and I would like to stick with those. However, I see 3-die and 4-die sets out there. I know the 4th die is a crimp die but for a plinking load do I need that die, or are the 3-die sets made for people who want a particular crimp? Revolver sets are 3-die sets and end with the seating die. I don't mind spending the extra money for the 4-die set if there is an advantage. Also, if you can tell me good sources for dies that would be great - MidwayUSA has everything on backorder it seems.

2) I see die sets for .40S&W and for .40S&W/10mm. Is there any advantage to the die set that only does .40 S&W?

3) What primer size does the .40 S&W use? Is it the same as either the .357 or .44? (admittedly I could look this up but while I'm asking the other questions...)

4) Any additional case prep tools I will need? Right now I have a deburring tool and a primer pocket cleaning tool and that's it.

5) Any good plinking loads for the .40 S&W in a Glock 22?

6) How many reloads can I expect standard brass cases to last in .40? I usually don't worry about this in the revolvers but both of them are pretty sturdily built.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT TO ADD: I will be doing this on an RCBS SB5 single-stage press (the one that looks like the Lee O-frame).

Last edited by SC Tiger; 03-26-2012 at 15:22..
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:36   #2
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1: The Lee 3 die set is all you really need, the bullet seater die also will apply a taper crimp which is needed for auto loads such as .40 s&w as opposed to the roll crimp you use for the .357 and .44. The Lee factory crimp die is not needed.

2:They are basicly the same dies, 10mm is just a longer and more powerful case and cartridge.

3: .40 uses any small pistol primer.

4: No additional case prep tools needed.

5: Good powders for the .40 are mid burners such as Unique, WSF, and Universal and several others.

6:With mid range loads they will last longer than your revolver loads that use a roll crimp and work the brass more.You should get at least 10 loadings + at mid range velocities.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:40   #3
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:53   #4
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I didn't pick up a .40 die set yet because I shoot mostly .357sig but I figure I'll just pay a little more for the 4 die set. I'll probably just knock the carbide sizing ring out and use it to crimp in a seperate station instead of crimping and seating the bullet in one step. Otherwise just get the 3 pc set.

Last edited by dkf; 03-26-2012 at 08:53..
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:40   #5
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Buy the 3 die set with out the crimp die. ADD the Lee Taper Crimp die. That way you avoid the dreaded FCD. I hate the FCD in .40/10mm. From experience. This is a hotly debated topic but you did ask so there you have it. NO ONE but Lee makes a die like the FCD so if you went with any other brand of die this would be a non-issue. I really like Lee's Deluxe 3 die set with the added taper crimp die as the 4th die. You do not need the 4th die and if your loading on a Single Stage I would skip it altogether.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:45   #6
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There are a TON of EPIC threads about the FCD. Even over the last 4 months. Do a search, read those threads and decide for yourself if you need/want a FCD.
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Old 03-26-2012, 13:24   #7
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Not much to add to the above, but if your loads are between start and midrange powder charges, you'll probably lose your brass before you wear it out (except for nickel-plated which IME tends to split more readily than unplated brass). Another nice, versatile powder for the 40 is Power Pistol. For light plinking loads, check out the article at:
http://www.handgunsmag.com/2010/09/2...40lite_091806/
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Old 03-26-2012, 16:24   #8
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i followed Colorado4wheel advice and haven't looked back.

I broke the decapper pin and called LEE and they had me one here in three days. Free.

FWIW

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Old 03-28-2012, 09:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoCG View Post
1: The Lee 3 die set is all you really need, the bullet seater die also will apply a taper crimp which is needed for auto loads such as .40 s&w as opposed to the roll crimp you use for the .357 and .44. The Lee factory crimp die is not needed.

2:They are basicly the same dies, 10mm is just a longer and more powerful case and cartridge.

3: .40 uses any small pistol primer.

4: No additional case prep tools needed.

5: Good powders for the .40 are mid burners such as Unique, WSF, and Universal and several others.

6:With mid range loads they will last longer than your revolver loads that use a roll crimp and work the brass more.You should get at least 10 loadings + at mid range velocities.
Thanks. Do any of those powders you list fill the case fully (or close enough to avoid a double charge)? I like to start out with bulky powders to prevent blowing the gun (and myself) up.

How about H110 or 2400? I use those in my .357 and .44 reloads frequently.

Also - FCS - Factory Crimp Die?

Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:20   #10
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http://leeprecision.com/cgi-data/instruct/AD3398.pdf

Page two has a list of powders and their VMD and approx disc size for a given charge. The larger the disc size to get that powder charge the higher bulk/volume that powder has. So if you look at Power Pistol and WSF you will see they are both bulky for the given load you might use in .40. Pull out your load manual. Look up the midrange charge, compare it to the list and you have a good idea how full the cartridge is going to be using different powders.
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Old 03-28-2012, 13:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC Tiger View Post
Thanks. Do any of those powders you list fill the case fully (or close enough to avoid a double charge)? I like to start out with bulky powders to prevent blowing the gun (and myself) up.

How about H110 or 2400? I use those in my .357 and .44 reloads frequently.

Also - FCS - Factory Crimp Die?

Thanks.

Neither of those is suitable for the 40. BlueDot fills the case almost completely but not needed. You just need a powder that fills the case enough that a double is easily noticed w/o serious scrutiny. Any of the medium burners fill that bill. Unique is particularly good in the 40.
No, the LFCD is not needed for any handgun round, ever.
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Last edited by fredj338; 03-28-2012 at 13:33..
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Old 03-28-2012, 13:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
Buy the 3 die set with out the crimp die. ADD the Lee Taper Crimp die. That way you avoid the dreaded FCD. I hate the FCD in .40/10mm. From experience. This is a hotly debated topic but you did ask so there you have it. NO ONE but Lee makes a die like the FCD so if you went with any other brand of die this would be a non-issue. I really like Lee's Deluxe 3 die set with the added taper crimp die as the 4th die. You do not need the 4th die and if your loading on a Single Stage I would skip it altogether.
What that guy said!
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:48   #13
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I use the Lee carbide 3 die set for my shorty forty loading. My pet load so far is 4.3 grs of red dot under a 180 gr TNT reloading hard cast lead bullet.. I'm gonna get into power pistol and create some jack the giant killer loads later on!!! Like you my loading has mostly been .357mag full bore loads of old..

Old Elmer Kieth put so much faith in the semi wad cutter design for hunting use that I'm thinking about makin up some heavy SWC 40 S&W loads for woods use in my G22... I'll have to test the reliability of SWC's in my Glock first though!!!
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC Tiger View Post
Thanks. Do any of those powders you list fill the case fully (or close enough to avoid a double charge)? I like to start out with bulky powders to prevent blowing the gun (and myself) up.

How about H110 or 2400? I use those in my .357 and .44 reloads frequently.

Also - FCS - Factory Crimp Die?

Thanks.
Yes, all of those powders mentioned fill the case sufficiently to eliminate the chance of double charges. Power Pistol will also do that and work fine but it has a quite loud muzzle blast.

As stated above H110 and 2400 are not for the .40 s&w.
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Old 03-29-2012, 14:36   #15
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I checked on Midwayusa.com and they do not recommend the taper crimp die for a die set made after 1986 - they say it is not necessary. I ordered the Lee three-die set, along with some bullets and some other goodies.
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Old 03-29-2012, 14:38   #16
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Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Neither of those is suitable for the 40. BlueDot fills the case almost completely but not needed. You just need a powder that fills the case enough that a double is easily noticed w/o serious scrutiny. Any of the medium burners fill that bill. Unique is particularly good in the 40.
No, the LFCD is not needed for any handgun round, ever.
thanks. One step I do is to check over the loading block with a flashlight to make sure I don't see anything wierd. If a case looks over-filled, it gets dumped and re-loaded.
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Old 03-29-2012, 14:56   #17
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Originally Posted by SC Tiger View Post
I checked on Midwayusa.com and they do not recommend the taper crimp die for a die set made after 1986 - they say it is not necessary. I ordered the Lee three-die set, along with some bullets and some other goodies.
They are wrong. The taper crimp die is nice if you want to seat and crimp in separate steps. Besides that Lee's is really no better or worse then anyone else s from a function point of view. They all do pretty much the same thing (except the FCD which also sizes)
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Old 03-29-2012, 15:29   #18
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IIRC the Lee 3-Die set does have a Taper Crimp Die included. With the 4-Die set I think you're also getting the "Factory" Crimp Die as well. For a semi the taper crimp is fine, just don't over do it since many of these ctgs headspace on the neck of the case.
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Old 03-29-2012, 15:45   #19
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If they include a taper crimp in a 3 die set, they are crimping while the bullet is still being seated:
  1. Decap and resize
  2. Expand (and drop powder)
  3. Seat and crimp
I prefer to have the taper crimp as a separate operation. I might not do it that way if I was using a single stage press but with a 4 station Dillon, it is easy to have a separate taper crimp die in the last station.

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Old 03-29-2012, 16:04   #20
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You can always do like I use to do and back the taper crimp die out a bit so it won't crimp and just use it as a seating die until all your rounds are loaded. Then back out the seating plug and adjust the die to crimp and crimp everything. It's an extra step but it works fine that way.
I just gave up on it and started seating and crimping in one operation. Don't really notice much of a difference and it's a lot faster. Of course I'm loading lead bullets, might be different with jacketed ones.
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