View Full Version : 40 Smith and Wesson

05-04-2006, 04:05 AM
Howdy. I'm hoping to load cast for a 40 S&W pistol I've got, and in the past have had some minor leading issues with Laser-Cast bullets. Plated bullets function flawlessly. I have a lee mold to cast tumble lubed 175 grain SWC. (TL401-175-SWC, #90433)

I use titegroup for pistols. I was hoping for some loads or reccomendations for getting the easiest use out of the 40. I realize it is a higher pressure cartridge compared to 45ACP, which I also load. Is there a strategy to minimize lead, and ensure good case sealing?

I used the search function and couldn't find the 40 even mentioned... I like mine (Taurus PT140 Mill Pro) for a backpacking gun over the 45 because it is small, much lighter, and holds 10.


05-04-2006, 11:02 AM
I use the same bullet for my 40 S&W. I was having sometrouble with the bullet feeding occationally getting jams but the problem went away. I started water quenching my bullets to make the lead harder thinking it would slide up the feed ramp a little easier. I don't really know if that worked or if I was getting the jams because my gun was new and tight but I haven't had a jam in the last 6 or 8 boxes of shells. I did notice a little leading in the throat but not enough to bother me because it is such a small amout it will clean out easy. I have since ordered the Lee TC 175g mould but have yet to try!
By the way I have been using 5.2g of W231 which is a light to moderate load.

05-04-2006, 11:21 AM

If I didn't say so earlier--welcome to the asylum.

The 40 S&W is a high-intensity cartridge, as you have said. Its pressures approach those of some rifles, and it shares with the rifles (and the 9mm Parabellum) a relatively fast barrel twist rate (1-10") that serves some purpose I can't understand. 1-20" would be better, given the length of the boolits/bullets the cartridge uses.

What this means is that the 40 S&W isn't the user-friendly cast boolit critter that the 45 ACP usually is. Most 45's run 1-16" twists, and use pressures roughly half that used by the 9mm and 40 S&W. My successes with these two high-pressure pistol calibers have come from treating the pistols as if they are rifles in some respects when attempting cast boolit usage.

I use relatively hard alloys in these calibers--"Taracorp", AKA 92-6-2. I size the boolits to fit the barrel's throat, which in my now-departed Beretta 96 was .401"--its grooves were .400". I use rather soft Javelina (Alox/beeswax) lube with these calibers.

I seldom tried for max velocity with cast boolits in the 40 S&W. My goal was to get to service load duplication levels--180 grain boolits at 950 FPS. The combination used the Lee 175 grain TC--6.4 grains of Unique--and WW SP primers, with light taper crimp to straighten out the flared case mouth. I got zero leading with this combo, and sometimes fired 150 rounds at fairly high rates in a given range day.

One other caution when dealing with the 40 S&W or 9mm--boolit seating depth can DRASTICALLY affect pressures. The longest possible overall length that won't interfere with magazine length limits or rifling leade in the chamber--and promotes reliable feeding--is my watchword with these calibers and boolits lacking published info--which is most of them, as you've discovered. It's not exactly a state secret that component makers are a little concerned when they hear of 40 S&W's doing KA-BOOMs once in a while. There's a few theories "out there" about how these come about, but if good safe reloading practices are adhered to and the temptation to "hot-rod" the 40 S&W isn't yielded to--things will go well, I'm sure. I don't think the 40 S&W has much safe room for ballistic "extension", as the 9mm Para certainly does (as loaded in the USA).

I have no experience with the Lee TL boolits, so can't offer any experience with them in any caliber.

05-04-2006, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the remarks. I'm just trying to get a servicable round, not a hotrod. I appreciate the comments and the theory.

05-04-2006, 12:25 PM
Welcome :drinks: