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Thread: More questions on .40 S&W

  1. #1

    More questions on .40 S&W

    Count me among those frustrated with this cartridge, and I haven't even started loading cast boolits for it yet! I read as many threads as I could find, but I still have some questions.

    I've done some successful loading with jacketed bullets in the past for this, and I've loaded bunches of cast in other calibers, but this one is causing me some grief.

    I have three guns I want to shoot in this caliber. Slugging all three barrels a couple of times, I have come up with the following.

    SIG handgun - .400
    Beretta CX4 - .401
    Kel Tec Gen 2 Sub 2000 - .402

    So this is problem Number One. Given the high pressure of this round, am I asking for trouble if I size them all to fit the largest barrel, or do I need to very carefully size, separate, and load for each one?

    Going right along with that one, I have a .402 die for my Lyman 450, and I see I can get a die for .401. But, the next size up is .406! Am I correct in assuming the Kel Tec is going to need to stick with jacketed rounds, unless I want to lead it up real bad every time? It is more of a truck gun than a range toy, but I still would like to practice with it for a reasonable cost if at all possible.

    I have an NOE mold that is casting very nice looking boolits at 187-188 grains. It is labeled as .403. The boolits which are all straight wheel weights of unknown alloy, are dropping at .405 - .406.

    Any advice will be appreciated. Well, most advice, anyway.

  2. #2
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I use to have a MR Baby Eagle in 40 (the SIL has it now), that has a polygonal barrel that measured .4025
    I had lots of troubles with lead fouling, til I got a custom .403 sizer die and a NOE mold 402-160-RN, which drops a boolit just under .403 ..and that solved my lead fouling issues. The Boolit doesn't really get sized while lubing in a lubesizer.

    Also, I've used that boolit for ammo in three other guns (Hi-Point, Ruger, and Taurus), they all handled the 403 ammo just fine, as well as ammo made with .401 and .402 sized boolits from a Lee mold.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Walkingwolf's Avatar
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    Cast, and size to the largest size .402, oversize is better than undersized. BTW it is common with most if not all cartridges. Considering that the pressure levels of the .40, and the unsupported case in most firearms, I would not load to maximum pressure. IMO that is pushing ones luck considerably. Now new cases would be a different story, but that would be just as expensive as buying factory loads.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Everyone seems to agonize over the 40. It is no diff than loading the other servicer calibers IMO. It is no higher pressure than 9mm. The case head support is no less than most other service calibers. My loads run fine cast & sized to 0.4015" in several diff guns. I have never slugged the bores. I would give the 0.402" a try & if need be, open that to 0.403", should run fine. Unless you are pushing absolute max, the slightly over sized bullet is causing no issues.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    the sizer ain't gonna make no difference if you only get 401 from the mold.
    start there.
    see what you can get to work in your guns.
    the large diameter gun might need something different, especially if 403 doesn't chamber in the 401 gun.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  6. #6
    Boolit Master marlin39a's Avatar
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    I went to plain base gas checks on a Lee 175-TC sized 401 with carnauba red. I also use a Lyman M die. No leading.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master KYCaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
    Everyone seems to agonize over the 40. It is no diff than loading the other servicer calibers IMO. It is no higher pressure than 9mm. The case head support is no less than most other service calibers. My loads run fine cast & sized to 0.4015" in several diff guns. I have never slugged the bores. I would give the 0.402" a try & if need be, open that to 0.403", should run fine. Unless you are pushing absolute max, the slightly over sized bullet is causing no issues.


    What he said!
    Jerry
    Buzzard's luck!! Can't kill nothin', nothin'll die!!

  8. #8
    Thank you for the responses, gentlemen. I am not exactly agonizing, but I find it a lot easier, faster, and less painful to ask a few questions that might seem stupid ahead of time, rather than blow myself up because I missed something I should have seen coming.

    I can size these to whatever I need since they are dropping out of the mold at .405-.406. I will start with .402 and see how it goes. I do not load for the hot end with my cast loads. I am happy to stay in the midrange for just about all my cast boolits. That keeps my bores clean and my groups tight.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with Fred's take. Nothing special about loading for the 40.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the standard expander plug is typically about .397". That is too tight. NOE sells an M expander plug at .398" with an M step of .402. That might be too tight. I've retrofitted my RCBS expander dies with RCBS 401 Cowboy. Those have a .399" expander shank and .4025" M step. They are sold at Midway as Cowboy expanders for the 38-40 WCF. Note that the picture on the site is outdated. They are now the M style.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/27...mbly-38-40-wcf

    That is much better, but still a hair tight for a soft alloy in .402", and seating will swage the diameter some for a 402 bullet, in my experience. A harder alloy will help.

    FWIW, I also have an NOE 180 mold. Nice bullet. Loaded some powder coated bullets last night.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Shiloh's Avatar
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    I opened my LEE push through to .402.

    SHiloh
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Taterhead View Post
    I agree with Fred's take. Nothing special about loading for the 40.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the standard expander plug is typically about .397". That is too tight. NOE sells an M expander plug at .398" with an M step of .402. That might be too tight. I've retrofitted my RCBS expander dies with RCBS 401 Cowboy. Those have a .399" expander shank and .4025" M step. They are sold at Midway as Cowboy expanders for the 38-40 WCF. Note that the picture on the site is outdated. They are now the M style.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/27...mbly-38-40-wcf

    That is much better, but still a hair tight for a soft alloy in .402", and seating will swage the diameter some for a 402 bullet, in my experience. A harder alloy will help.

    FWIW, I also have an NOE 180 mold. Nice bullet. Loaded some powder coated bullets last night.
    Thank you! I will be putting in an order to Midway shortly, so I will be sure to add one of these to it. I'm also going to check a couple boolits, but I think (from the last time I checked) they were running about 12-14 BHN.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check