Qustion about powder choice and accuracy in handgun reloading - .40 S&W.

Qustion about powder choice and accuracy in handgun reloading - .40 S&W.

This is a discussion on Qustion about powder choice and accuracy in handgun reloading - .40 S&W. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Well, I just finished my 4th batch of 1k rounds (.40 S&W). As usual, before I get started on reloading what I have, I double ...

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Thread: Qustion about powder choice and accuracy in handgun reloading - .40 S&W.

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Qustion about powder choice and accuracy in handgun reloading - .40 S&W.

    Well, I just finished my 4th batch of 1k rounds (.40 S&W). As usual, before I get started on reloading what I have, I double check the published reload data, do a little online searching for info, go over my notes from the last batch, and spend an hour or so verifying everything on my progressive press like primer seat, powder charge, COL, and crimp.

    This round I found some info on reloading my .40 about what powder (burn rate) is best. The first & second time I went economical (lowest charge) to stretch my powder out, the third time I used what I could get (during the component shortage crisis - #5 IIRC), and this last time I went cheap again since it seemed to work.

    The article I found stated that a slower burn powder requiring a bit more of a charge is better (wish I had found that before I bought my powder).

    This and the last batch were Accurate #2 @ 5.28gr, Wolf Primers, Precision Delta FMJ RN 180gr bullets, 1.135 COL. No chrono so I have no idea what velocity I am getting. Planning on buying one in the next few months.

    I have been having accuracy issues that I thought were me (lack of sufficient range time) but may actually be my reloads.

    I know I know how to be accurate (been able to keep 8" group @ 100m bench shooting, and 6" @ 30yd freestyle), and I know my gun is accurate. These were using my reloads but not sure of the powder at the time. Might have been #2 or #5

    At what point/distance does the powder charge & burn rate start to significantly impact handgun accuracy?

    If you are reloading .40 with FMJ 180gr in an effort to match your SD carry rounds as far as felt recoil, I would really love to hear your recipe. I know a lot of people load cheap and light but carry hot and heavy (READ - practice and compete using low gr. bullets/loads, carry high gr. SD rounds)

    NOTE- The bolded items are the answers I am seeking, the rest is my usual dribble that I spew when posting.

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    The chrono will be a help in accuracy. Powders that meter well give a more consistant charge, which will aid in accuracy. I load up 10 or 20 rounds and test them before loading up a batch. No sense having 1000 rounds of ammo I don't like.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    I'm not into high-level competition where every bullet has to go thru the same hole or you're out, so I don't get into the velocity, burn rate issues too much. For my typical range practice I like low to medium loads. I look at the data on various powders, look for those powders that produce less than max pressures and velocities, and then, hopefully, also work in each of the calibers I reload. I reload .45 ACP and 9mm Makarov currently, and HP38 works well in both. If it goes where I want and feeds reliably, I call it good.

    What I have found is that for any bullet weight in a certain round, those powders that fill the case more fully tend to perform better than those that fill the case less. They're also less likely to get a double charge.
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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    As other have stated, why load a high volume of something unless you know how it shoots? The burn rate is not necassarily the key here. It has nothing to do with accuracy at a given distance, that is more a function of bullet stability in flight, generally speaking. The slow to fast burning rates have more t do with achievable velocities in a given barrel length. Shorter barrels do not allow for a full burn of slow powders, so fast burners may be more economical to shoot as they fill the case less, but this also can give inconsistant pressures and as OkiVet stated, can lead to a mistaken double charge easier.
    Without a chrono, you really dont know whats going on. IMHO, the 40 is not a friendly round to reload, and by this I mean it works on high pressure. There are no +p 40 loads. Take care and use the medium load data until you get a chrono. Without that you cannot properlt see whats going on such as checking shot to shot velocity deviations, which gives you alot of the clues that lead to good load/powder selection.

    My advice would be to use something like Blue Dot and load to just under max given by a grain, that should put you in the middle with most bullets and check for signs of pressure until you get a chrono.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Jmac00's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Rochester, NY
    I shoot a 40cal, for competition (USPSA). when I reload I use International Clay gun powder(yep, shotgun powder). I use a 155gr bullet, it gives me power and accuracy and I don't spend a fortune on powder.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Making ammo.
    I can save you a lot of trouble. For the .40 S&W use WSF powder only.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

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